Just like how I upgraded my Pixel 5, my PC needed a serious upgrade after only a few months.

The keyboard finally became largely unusable. Keys getting stuck or coming off. Non-standard layout options made it hard to type, especially with key combos. I never knew if my number pad or capital lock key was implemented, as neither had a light indicator to tell me if on or not.

The software, even the operating system, would no longer work appropriately. I couldn’t locate certain programs, while being unable to download fresh installs. Even core Windows apps like the Microsoft Store, Disk Cleanup, and Photos wouldn’t load. After both a reset and a clean install, I still couldn’t load or install anything. Something deeper than Windows was corrupted.

And I didn’t have insurance on my former MSI.

Between a non-standard keyboard layout and something going on with the software where even a fresh re-install didn’t fix issues, it was time to unload this MSI for something new … something powerful.

Computers are one of those things that, while I can find for cheaper online (or with better specs for whatever my budget is), are still one of those few things I’d rather go to the store for, so I can get a feel for the ergonomics. My local Target still only carried the same three gaming laptops I previously bought from, but I wanted something more powerful. My local Walmart only carried cheap laptops with low-end processors, maybe one or two with Intel i3, but they weren’t large nor meant for gaming and other heavy tasks. So … off to Best Buy.

I actually took a few days to do some research on their site, restricting my search to in-stock items. I found some with 1440p panels. with OLED, or really high refresh rates; as small as 13″, others as large as my previous 17″. Some with newer GPUs, others with the older NVIDIA GTX 1660 I previously had, paired with an i5 CPU and only 8GB of RAM. Some with a small SSD with a 2TB hard drive attached. Some were more muted, others screaming with RGB lighting. There were two pre-configured towers all ready to go that were cheaper than many of the laptops.

I ended up buying this upgrade from MSI. The screen is smaller but crisper. The graphics card is an overkilling Nvidia RTX 3070, as none of the games I play currently have ray-tracing. An i7 is powerful enough to play more powerful games and do some occasional video editing. The 1TB SSD gives me plenty of room for games, backups, and the chance to dual-boot. Plenty of I/O, more than I usually use, but I am sure that ethernet port will more than come in handy if wifi ever goes out.

Like my previous MSI, there is the option to keep my battery only partially charged when docked on a cable, make function keys secondary to easily access audio and brightness options, change power consumption, etc through their preinstalled software, rather than mess around in the BIOS.

MSI really added some tweaks through their “bloatware” to help less tech-savvy users tweak settings that normally require updates in the BIOS/UEFI.

I wish I didn’t skimp on the upgrading in the first place, but my gaming experience has come a long way since trying to game on Stadia with my former iPad. While I’m not a full-time or hardcore gamer (and most def not a streamer), it is nice having a general, powerful rig to also watch movies and YouTube on, play all the same games my friends are into, and keep up with the few kitsch things I also love to play.

After having had her for a bit now, here’s my thoughts. She’s overkill for what I play and do. After years of Chromebooks, netbooks, DeX, and the limitations of the iPad, it is nice having a powerful PC that I know will last me for some time to come. The default speakers play music crisply at lower levels in my small room, but falter at higher levels. My new rig’s smaller screen make that 1080p display a bit crisper, but still easy to enjoy watching something. Multitasking with a dozen or so browser tabs open is easier. A standard keyboard layout helps with muscle memory; I know when my caps and number lock keys are in use once more. I also like that I can alter the key backlights.

My only gripes are the loss of the numeric keyboard on the side, and missing the 17″ screen. Other than that, I can’t complain about her. Let’s hope I can keep her going for years. 💻🧡🙏

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