Razer Blade Pro Issues & Solutions : Review Follow-up

Despite all the hassle and quirks I have become very attached to my Razer Blade Pro. Even though I was able to obtain an RMA from Razer I have decided to keep the computer, abandon the notion it will be perfect and work through whatever issues pop up.

The biggest issue I had was the RAID 0 failure. Having the computer crash randomly and boot into BIOS is not okay. After going though the F9 recovery option (a reinstallation of Windows) and repairing Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology controller, I was still experiencing crashing. I decided to nuke my RAID, set the drives up separately and do a fresh install of Windows 10. Here’s my weekly video on the topic:

The computer has been very stable since I removed the RAID. No crashes to BIOS (or any crashes at all, for that matter). I have spent a good amount of time in Premier Pro and various 4K games like DOOM and Battlefront with no issues either. The current theory is that one of the drives isn’t as quick as the other (perhaps because of thermal throttling) and the RAID controller doesn’t know how to compensate, the computer hangs and then crashes. Regardless, with no RAID present it seems to eliminate that issue.

One thing I really like about having two separate drives is how easy it is to reinstall the OS. I was messing around in the registry the other day and I deleted a few CLSIDs that I thought were causing problems. Bad idea. Embarrassing. I had exported the entries but adding them back in wasn’t doing the trick. “No sweat,” I thought. “All my stuff is on my D drive.” I had Windows 10 reinstalled in 30 mins. #nuketheraid

People have commented about heat issues with the Razer Blade Pro and I have certainly seen some high heat levels in my computer. When doing rendering in Premier Pro, for example, I have seen the CPU temperature climb to 96°C. I think at that point the CPU gets throttled a bit. I’m not too concerned though- rendering is particularly CPU intensive and I don’t see the core temperatures climb past the 80s during gaming (the GPU stays in the 70s). I’m actually pretty impressed with the thermals in this laptop given its dimensions. My only heat-related beef would be that the fans are audible even when the computer is resting. Since I usually have music playing that’s just me looking for something to complain about.

Aside from fan noise I’m not completely happy with the screen. Although it’s world’s better than the first go around, my current screen still exhibits “dirty” patches (columns) that are visible in lightly colored backgrounds. To be fair the only time this is an issue is while watching videos with light backgrounds (grays and blues, specifically) where there appear to be points on the screen that don’t move. While this type of issue is common on LCD displays I hate to see it on this laptop.

raer-blade-pro-screen-grey-test

Here’s a list of some other issues I’ve had and their solutions (if I’ve found one)

1) My screen had vertical columns of discoloration. Solution: I sent the computer back and got another one. Screen issues (discoloration, dead pixels, etc) is not something that can be repaired.

2) My SD card reader didn’t work. Solution: Uninstalled / Reinstalled all USB drivers. Making sure you have the latest drivers never hurts either.

4) My mouses settings (i.e. speed) would get messed up every time the computer came out of sleep or got restarted (using a Razer Mamba). Solution: I tried EVERYTHING to fix this and nothing made a difference. But! The problem went away after I reinstalled Windows 10.

5) Sometimes my computer doesn’t go to sleep properly (it will stay awake even though it’s configured to sleep after 15 mins on non-use) or it wakes up when I don’t want it to.  Solution: If you type “powercfg -requests” into an elevated command prompt you can see what’s preventing the computer from sleeping. In my case it’s the Realtek Audio Driver. The computer think there is an audio stream playing. The issue is intermittent but easily traced to Chrome. Unfortunately a “”powercfg -requestsoverride” of the Realtek driver doesn’t work. My options seem limited to closing the Chrome browser or putting the computer to sleep myself. Additionally, something is waking the computer back up. In the device manager I recently configured every device so it’s not allowed to wake the computer up. It seems like this has helped.

6) Sometimes the computer’s battery will show as 99% with a “plugged in, not charging” status. It did this when I got it and after the new Windows 10 install. Solution: I think I have this figured out. It looks like the computer won’t charge unless the battery is below 95%. Over time the battery drains even when it’s not being used it will drain a bit and not fully recharge. As far as I can tell this is a feature to maintain battery integrity. It’s just not a feature anyone ever mentions or talks about…which seems bizarre.

7) Keyboard doesn’t always go to sleep with screen, defaults to wrong setting on start up & the lid logo sometimes doesn’t turn off. Solution: I think Razer’s Synapse gets confused regarding what colors to show on the keyboard. It’s just something we Razer users must live with.

8) There are many errors in the Event Viewer system logs. Solution: I have learned not to try and “fix” them. Most of these errors are not relevant to user experience and do not negatively impact Windows functionality.

Wow, right? Throw that thing in the trash! Well, hold on a second. Most computers have something screwy about them but people just restart them and call it a day. Not me- I’m what they refer to as slightly OCD (clinically insane). For some reason- possibly the outrageous price of this laptop or aforementioned insanity- I feel like everything should be perfect. Maybe it should be, but it’s not, so be it (ahhhhhhh!). There’s so much technology packed into this computer that it’s hard not to be impressed and a little bit tolerant of bugs.

 

Movies Watched in 2016!

I have dedicated this page to movies that I have watched in 2016 (these have to be fairly current movies from this year or late last year to make the list). Older years will show up as blog posts (there is a link section at the bottom of this page). Newest movies are at the top. My goal this year was (as always) 50 movies, half in a theater. I ended up with 64 movies total & 25 in theaters. Not too shabby!! 

Sing, 7.5/10 – Better than I expected. I always like a good underdog story and this is a about several of them all mixed together. Sidenote: I think paper tickets are slowly fading away…
sing-movie-dec-2016

Star Wars: Rogue One, 7.5/10 – Very high production values. CG Tarkin & Lehi were a little uncanny-valley to me but it was the best human CG I’ve seen. Maybe it was because I already knew everyone was going to die but I didn’t feel any strong emotions when they did. It made me feel the movie was sort of soulless. A great action flick nevertheless.
rogue-one-movie-dec-2016

Jason Bourne 7/10 – As an action movie it was great. Honestly I didn’t understand some of the character motivations which made it hard to get invested.

Dr. Strange, 7/10 – I feel like Mr. Grumpy Pants giving this a 7 but I don’t get Dr. Strange as a hero. When you find out there’s a whole school of people being taught these same cosmic secrets it takes away from his special-ness.
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Moana 7.5/10 – Meaningful and fun to watch. Good songs too!
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Hacksaw Ridge, 9/10 – Exceptional. There’s just not another word for this movie. Wow. Okay, I found another one.
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Hell or HighWater, 7.5/10 – There’s not really anything here to dislike. I’m not sure why I’m giving it a 7.5. I think it’s because of the ending- the movie leaves you with both eyebrows raised.

War Dogs, 7/10 – Interesting action thriller. I don’t feel like Jonah Hill pulls off his role very well.

Mechanic: Resurrection, 5.5/10 – I’m going to be hard on this one because it’s got to be one of the stupidest movies I’ve ever seen. No part of this movie makes sense to me. Fun to watch, but hard to watch.

Don’t Breathe, 7/10 – If you’re into thriller’s this one isn’t too bad. It’s got some weird twists but I feel like it achieves its goal of being intense.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, 6.5/10 – I actually appreciated that the movie tried to stay true to the cartoon’s roots- sort of a wild throwback! That doesn’t make it good, but it’s definitely not bad.

Bad Moms, 6/10 – Probably not for dads? There were some really great exasperated parent moments, but the movie as a whole was a bit of a stretch.

Sausage Party, 6.5/10 – I watched this edited so I probably missed a bit of the movie’s desire to shock. Animation is so-so, the movie is preachy in an “everybody be friends” kind of way. Love the concept, execution was okay.

Race, 6.5/10 – The inspiring story of Jesee Owens and his 1936 Olympic triumph. I kept waiting for Jason Sudeikis to say something funny but he didn’t. Few people can transition between comedy and drama well (Robin Williams set an impossibly high bar).

Nerve 6/10 – I like the idea of a social game that required more and more interesting dares in exchange for money. The execution in Nerve wasn’t bad, per say but it doesn’t really teach the lesson it wants to. (I really need to get into my theater swing).

Warcraft, 7/10 – Some bad GC and acting, but also some good CG and acting!

X-Men: Apocalypse, 8/10 – I fully admit that I don’t understand how or even if the new movies form a single continuity anymore. But I know I love watching the X-men kick butt and fight a super mutant bent on world extermination.

Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping, 7/10 – Some genuinely funny and insightful stuff. A surprising amount of heart.

The Purge: Election Year, 6.5/10 – I wasn’t all there when I watched this movie but I get that the Purge is a crazy night.

Central Intelligence, 6.5/10 – Some good humor, but I don’t like seeing the Rock play a naive dumb-guy character.

Now You See Me 2, 6.7/10 – Less of a heist-type movie than the original. You can see the major plot twist about 2/3 of the way in. You hope they don’t try and sucker punch you like that but they do. Still a fun romp.

Star Trek: Beyond, 8/10 – This movie goes from 0-60 in no time which I like. It’s not perfect, but good action makes up for it.
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The Legend of Tarzan, 8/10 – This got blasted by critics but I’m not sure why. The ending is a little over the top but the movie is a total blast.
ledgend-of-tarzan-movie

Angry Birds, 6.5/10 – I kept wondering what kind of plot they’d come up with to turn the game into a movie. The movie starts off pretty well but by the end it’s sort of like watching cut scenes from the game. Solid effort in many ways.

Kubo and the Two Strings, 8/10 – There is so much to like here. Great story, visuals, humor and adventure.
kubo-and-the-two-strings-movie

Hail Caesar!, 6.5/10 Sort of bizarre. It’s like a bunch of celebrities got together and decided they wanted to make an old fashioned movie. But you can’t make old fashioned movies now so they made a movie about old fashioned movies. A semi-enjoyable mess.

Miracles from Heaven, 7/10 – This is a sweet faith promoting movie. Acting was pretty solid. The it drags a bit the story is interesting (although it’s given away completely in the trailer).

Criminal, 6.8/10 – And once again Ryan Reynolds’ memory has to be transferred. This guy! Kevin Costner was fantastic.

The Secret Life of Pets, 6.5/10 – Unfortunately the trailer was the best part of this movie. Too many characters I disliked, doing too many things I didn’t care about.
secret-life-of-pets-movie-2016

The Visit, 7/10 – M. Night shows us he’s still got (some of) it. The twist is great- didn’t see it coming at all. But it was revealed prematurely and the ending lacked oomph.

Ghostbusters, 7/10 – Silly. A okay update. Loved the effects.
ghostbusters-movie

Free State of Jones, 7/10 – While excellent on many levels (it’s portrayal of racism is deeply disturbing) it started to drag on toward the middle.
free-state-of-jones-movie-july-2016
Self/Less, 7/10 – Not bad. I don’t understand how Ryan Reynolds ends up in this role over and over though. It’s bizarre.

Eddie the Eagle, 7.5/10 – Fairly inspiring. Although the “celebrate mediocrity” undertones the movie champions are less so.

The Hateful 8, 7/10 – It feels like it should have been a good murder mystery. But the “mystery” is revealed too soon, it’s messy and the ending is unfulfilling.

The Shallows 7.5/10 – Jaws for 2016!
the-shallows-movie-july-2016

Independence Day: Resurgence 6.5/10 – This mess hurt me. There are so many bizarre plot holes that my mouth fell open. “Let’s remake the first movie. But let’s make it really bad this time.”
independence-day-resurgence--june-2016

Finding Dory 8/10 – Cute and mildly moving. It was nice to see a Disney movie with a happy ending.
finding-dory-movie-june-2016

Secret In Their Eyes 6.5/10 – Wasn’t really feeling it. Julia Roberts was solid. Nicole Kidman – what the hell?

Gods of Egypt 8/10 – I was ready be offended by poor acting, storytelling, visual effect and cast white washing, I imagine the critics must have watched a different movie. This was exciting, fun and the visual effects were awesome. Great action / adventure flick.

Risen – 8/10 – The fictional account of the conversion (?) of a centurion tasked with disproving the resurrection of Christ (on a “find the body” mission). Firs class film making all the way. Touching and thoughtful.

The Jungle Book – 8.5/10 – Lots here to like. CG animals have come a long way. Truly menacing at times. I wish they hadn’t worked in King Louie’s song (it didn’t fit in this non-musical) but that’s a minor grip and my only one.
jungle-book-movie-may-2016

The Finest Hours – 7/10 – A slightly above average overly embellished sea-rescue-action-drama. Some truly thrilling moments mixed with some less than interesting exposition.

The Abolitionists – 7/10 – The subject matter is deeply disturbing but I feel like this documentary brings needed awareness to a very serious problem. I hope the film’s motivations are altruistic.
the-abolitionist-movie-may-2016

Jobs – 8/10 – I’m a little late to the party on this one. I thought it was very well done and in a twisted way, I really related to Steve Jobs as an adopted child, wary parent and perfection-driven businessman. Myabe he wasn’t the nicest guy, but sure got a lot done.

5.5/10 The 5th Wave – I know this wasn’t a big budget movie but… man. I didn’t read the novel this was based off of so I’m probably not invested enough either. This movie made my head spin with it’s nonsensical plot and painful acting. Can’t win them all.

Captain America – 8/10. Just because it was awesome to watch super heroes fight each other. Way more interesting to see good vs. good.
captain-america-movie-2016

Sisters- 6/10 – Had it’s moment, but as a whole not very funny.

The Big Short- 8/10 – People should have gone to jail.

Victor Frankenstein- 6.5/10 – Not a terrible effort, actually.

Point Break- 6/10 – This should have been a 30 minute documentary on extreme sports. Instead they tried to make a movie. Stick with the original.

Trumbo- 7.5/10 – Great story, historically interesting. Prior to the movie I had no idea who Dalton Trombo was but I am reminded that in a world of seven billion people each person had a fascinating story.

Allegiant- 6.5/10 – Sort of plodding stretched. Not as good as the first two. Peter’s character makes zero sense to me.
allegiant-movie-2016

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice- 7/10 – Pretty dark and humorless. Everything is driven by rage, fear and lust for power. I like the casting here, but is not a movie that’s going to launch an empire.
batman-vs-superman-movie

10 Cloverfield Lane- 8.5/10 – This is an intense movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat. In a word: disturbing. Also, VIP luxury seats are only $5 on Tuesdays!
10-clover-field-lane-movie

Zootopia – 9/10 – And adorable movie with a poignant message. Zootopia delivers on so many levels – superb acting, enthralling visuals & plenty of laughs.
zootopia-movie-march-2016

Deadpool – 7.5/10 This movie definitely tries a little too hard. It has some hilarious moments and plenty of great action but it just goes too far. Which may be the point.
deadpool-movie-feb-2016

Bridge of Spies – 8.5/10 A strong thriller. I love the story and the pacing was excellent.

Hotel Transylvania 2 – 6 /10 A few funny moments, but in general the characters come across as helpless morons.

Cinderella – 7.5/10 Great version of the Disney classic. Strong performances all around and a lot of fun.

Age of Adeline – 7/10 Far fetched but a moving story nevertheless.

Kung Fu Panda- 7/10 – Felt predictable. Some of the characters seemed to be bored (is that even possible w/ CGI?). Still, uplifting, visually excellent and Po finds his Dad and he’s not a total looser. BTW: $5 Tuesday at the Megaplex includes 3D!
kung-fu-panda-movie-2016

Goosebumps 7/10 – I didn’t read the Goosebumps series much (if at all) but I was familiar enough with them that the movie felt familiar. Overall this was a fun movie.

Concussion- 8/10 – Some people stand for something. Others die for it. Will Smith and the supporting case deliver a gripping performance.
concussion-movie-2016

Everest- 7/10 – Engaging and compelling, but ultimately a bit depressing. Why do people feel compelled to climb it? We got to watch this with someone who had just gotten back from Everest and it was fascinating to hear a first hand account.

The Walk- 8/10 – What a rush! Even the second hand vertigo is intense.

The Revenant – 8.5/10 – brutal and one dimensional, yet viscerally enthralling. I’d swear Tom Hardy is a real-life nut job.
revenant-movie-2016


2015 Movies
2014 Movies
2013 Movies
2012 Movies
2011 Movies
2010 Movies

2016 Razer Blade Pro Review

The New 2016 Razer Blade Pro

I love laptop computers. I have never cared that their are disproportionately more expensive than their desktop counterparts and, in some cases, they aren’t even the best choice for a job (i.e. in a work environment). Technology intrigues me and I’m enamored with the idea of stuffing as much as possible into a tiny folding box. After lusting for years I bought my first laptop in 1998 (I still have it) and since then I have owned dozens of different models. While the simple folding laptop design has remained very much the same it’s been thrilling to watch the technological evolution that’s occurred within over the last 18 years. As 2016 draws to a close I am blown away by just how far we’ve come and the Razer Blade Pro is shining example of that journey.

After purchasing the 2014 Razer Blade I wrote, “I think Razer is really getting close. I would like to see the next Blade with the addition of an SSD reader, a network jack, customizable keyboard colors, 16GB ram, TB SSD and a 15″ screen in same chassis. Because… why not?” Wow, right? Sure, it’s not a 15″ screen in the same package but I wasn’t even considering the possability of a 4K 17″ monitor like the one I’m looking at right now. I admit I’m gushing a bit… but that’s only because I’ve gotten over some initial disappointment and have been really enjoying myself.

In November I purchased a Razer Blade Pro. It arrived quickly enough and I proceeded to do an unboxing review and discovered that the screen had an issue. A deal breaking issue as you can see in my video below:

[Video Summary: Box is opened. I like it! As I start the setup process I notice that the screen has some discolored columns present. I open paint to demonstrate how visible the discoloration is on grey backgrounds. I think with a computer this expensive the screen is unacceptable and I prepare to return the unit to Razor]

I was eventually able to sort the problem out with Razor and I was sent another Laptop. After unboxing the new Blade Pro it was clear that the screen was much better than the previous computer. Below is a quick review, discussion of some issues and Razor’s customer service:

[Video summary: The screen on the this Blade Pro is much better. Still some mild areas of discoloration but I’m happy with it. MS Paint shows the color consistency is much better. The screen’s color is very red / warm with the standard color profile- I made a new profile with less red. After watching a few 4K nature videos I decided the screen is excellent. The overall build quality of the Razer is exceptional and the laptop is remarkably thin. I like the keyboard (the clickity clacks are great) but don’t understand why the shift & function symbols aren’t backlit. The trackpad is nice but seems to have trouble with small precise movements. I like the chroma backlighting on the keyboard and trackpad. The speakers are okay- a little more volume than the Razer Blade. The computer’s 3D Mark Fire Strike score is 14018 which seems acceptable. The fan is very loud under heavy load. A couple new issues 1) The SD card reader didn’t work. I called tech support and they sent me a document showing how to reformat my hard drive and install Windows 7 (not helpful). Resolved by reinstalling USB drivers. 2) Blade Pro crashed while using Premier Pro and restarted booting to the Aptio setup utility (bios). Restarted a couple of times and everything seemed to work okay. A fluke? Razer’s customer service is quirky. They try hard but don’t rely on them for much technical help. Despite the hiccups I really like this computer and, assuming it keeps working, intend to keep it.]

Maybe it’s silly to summarize the content of videos I’ve made but there ya go. I’m that nice. Or I’m nuts. Probaby nuts. I stand by what I said in the video but want to emphasis that the more I use the Razor Blade Pro the more I like it. It’s not perfect- there are still a few things I’d like to see improved but this is, unequivocally, the best laptop I’ve ever used / had so far. There are a lot of really nice touches on this laptop that show Razor is trying to be user-centric and provide practical hardware that people want. This laptop isn’t like previous high resolution offerings- the Pro has the power it needs to utilize the hardware inside. Playing DOOM at 4K with ultra settings enabled on a laptop is something special.

TECH SPECS

razer-specs

Other Links:

Review: Pulse 17

Review: 2014 Razer Blade

Reazer.com: The New 2016 Razer Blade Pro

Other Images & Informationfire-strike-3dmark

crystal-disk

razer-blade-pro-front

razer-blade-pro-exterior

razer-blade-pro-keyboard-thin

Notes for a future video about some of the things I like / dislike (I will add to this section periodically):
Likes:
1) The power cord is braided and seems to be high quality.
2) The AC adapter is pretty compact.
3) The power cable running into the computer is reversible.
4) The scroll wheel over the trackpad is a great feature.
5) Backlighting around trackpad makes it easy to find

Dislikes:
1) System gets hot and loud
2) The “?” button isn’t were its supposed to be relative to the shift key causing typing problems .
3) Booting up into Bios isn’t a great thing.
4) Battery charging issue? Power management is finnicky.
5) No backlighting on shift & function keys

Neutral Observations:
5) After listening to lots of music through the Pro speakers I maintain that they are so-so with fair volume.
6) The bezel area on the computer seems overly large, but justified given keyboard / trackpad / speaker layout

 

 

Turbo S Center Lock Cap Replacement (Adobe Premier Practice)

Finally! As many of you know I’m not a big fan of gold. I make concerted efforts to replace gold parts on my car with silver equivalents. In fact I tried to replace these in February but Suncoast sent the wrong parts. This past week I got an email from them indicating that has the right part and so I pulled the trigger. Score!

CAPTION

Cap transition from silver & gold to black & silver. I like ’em much better. All is well again.

Some more text here? Nah. I think it’s all covered.

Porsche 991 Turbo S – 6 Month Review

I’ve had the 911 for about six months now so I thought I’d do a quick ownership thus-far review. Right off the bat I can say that I’ve driven this car nearly 5000 miles those six months. Maybe that’s not a lot for some people but consider this: I drove my C7 Corvette about 2200 miles in the year I owned it.  Driving the 911 is a pleasure. I go out of my way to drive this car and look forward to it every time- not something I take for granted.

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Reliability:

As I mentioned I’ve been nearly 5000 miles and never had any driveability issues. The car handles like exactly like it’s supposed to- perhaps better. I’ve got zero bad things to say about the engine, drivetrain, brakes and various suspension & stabilization-related equipment.

Unrelated to divability there are a few things small issues that have popped up. For example, I had to have the washer pump reservoir replaced (it was leaking- taken care of under warranty). I’ve got some rattles here and there that I have to periodically troubleshoot (i.e. the sunroof). Additionally I’ve had my door panels off a few times hunting down speaker buzz. There is also periodic mooing sound coming from somewhere behind the dash (maybe a failing pump- but it hasn’t failed yet). Given the mods I’ve done to the car I’m pretty impressed that I haven’t had anything remotely close to a “problem.”

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Features:

Having six months of the Burmester under my belt has left me extremely satisfied with the stereo. It never quite makes you tingle (an attribute of higher end systems) but it’s extremely clear, the mids are rich and full and the bass does it’s job. All in all this is my favorite factory upgrade. My biggest stereo gripe (minus the door buzz) is strictly related to the interface: No volume indicator. I guess they just figure you can hear how loud it is… unless you can’t (like if there’s something wrong with your source). I’ve been burned by this little omission more times than I care to admit.

I still love the sunroof. It’s easily my second favorite factory option. I love being able to have additional cabin light, I relish the breeze / wind that comes in and I think the exterior is well served by the black contrast. Every time I get in I appreciate how much headroom there is despite the sunroof’s presence.

There are many other features that I continually enjoy too- the lightning design package (that ambient light is sweet), the entry and drive system, ventilated seats and the LCD screen in the gauge cluster. Admittedly many of the car’s features I don’t really use such as the back up camera, PDCC, navigation, the auto start/stop function and things like that. I don’t really miss the HUD from the Corvette either.

Comfort:

The 991 really is a comprehensive synthesis of “sport” and “luxury”. The 18 way adjustable seats have accommodated me perfectly on all 5000 miles. And another mention here of how spacious the interior of the vehicle is- I have never felt cramped inside the 991. Getting in and out can sometimes be a bit of a challenge for friends though (okay, and me too). The back seats aren’t comfy, but it’s a huge plus that they are present at all.

The suspension on this car can be a little jarring which I continue to notice from time to time. I do have the option to lower the tire pressure a bit for a more comfortable ride, but I can’t bring myself to do it. The interior noise (compounded by my aftermarket exhaust) is still an issue when I have guests, but when I’m driving alone I never give it a second thought.

I’m not sure where I put this so I’ll stick it here: Visibility in this car is top notch. I really feel like Porsche nailed that. No claustrophobia, but I also don’t feel like I’m in a fishbowl. On the freeway I rarely feel like I might hit the driver next to me while changing lanes (candidly the lane change assist option now on the 17’s would be cool).

Driving & Handling:

So good. So amazing. The car does whatever you ask and most of the time it seems just as excited as you are. It hugs the road with ferocity. It takes the sharpest turns without excuses. It’s fast and then it goes faster. As soon as you’re ready to brake you realize you’re already stopped. This car is just pure bliss to drive. The only thing that’s changes over six months is that I’ve gotten a bit better at driving it- but that only makes me realize how much untapped potential the car has left (I’m not a great drive, by the way).

The PDK transmission deserves it’s many accolades- it has you covered in every situation and it’s smoothness is unrivaled. I don’t think there’s a better transmission out there. I still haven’t given the “missing” manual gearbox a second thought.

The all wheel drive system in the 911 enhances every aspect of driving. For example, the launch control is out of this world. The steering, the grip and they way the car transfers torque / power where it’s needed is exceptional. I finally had a chance to make a run through the Alpine Loop. I couldn’t even make the tires chirp- unreal.

may-2016-porsche-991-turbo-s-7-rev2

Styling:

I still love the car’s looks. After six months I can state with absolute certainty that this car rarely garners much attention (which is just fine with me). It’s not as visceral as some cars, but it’s still refined. I still love the color- metallic white was the right call, especially with the added carbon fiber accents. Interior color has been great. I’ve never gotten in the car and thought “This is boring” or “I’m sick of this color.” I really wish there was somewhere to put my phone- that’s annoying.

Mods:

I second guess a lot of things and the mods I have are no different. I’ve been happy with everything but I always wonder if I’ve made the best choices. I guess that’s something I might not ever know. Given that my day at the track gave me a 10.8 @ 132 mph I definitely feel like the modifications work and the car is running very well. Most of the mods you don’t hear or see if they are doing their job well. The exhaust is probably the exception to this. I’m really happy with how the the Fabspeed looks- it’s worlds better than the stock offering. I like the sound quite a bit but it definitely has some droning / resonance at certain speeds. I’m not 100% sure if I’d do the Fabspeed exhaust again.

Conclusion:

Having owned this car over six months all I can say it’s still blowing my expectations out of the water. It is refined, powerful and a true diver’s car in every sense. Hands down this is the best car I’ve ever owned.

 

White Turbo Upgrade?

I have been thinking about a change. I feel like if I went this direction a lot of people wouldn’t even notice I had a new car (it would still be a “white turbo”). Pros: None. Cons: All. But it’s fun to dream. white-turbo-s-mods

Rocky Mountain Raceway: The Revenge

The mods were installed, the race tune was dialed in and I had plenty of practice runs under my belt. It was time to go back to the Rocky Mountain Raceway for a “real” quarter mile run. It was time for revenge.

Anyone who knows my history can attest that my quarter mile goal has been to run in the 11’s since I saw the Fast and Furious (judge me if you must). I’ve had numerous cars theoretically capable of running in the 11’s but somehow things never panned out. My fastest official time was a 12.1 @ 131mph run. I was sure this time would be different…

I bought some Sunoco 260 GT Unleaded 104 octane racing gas (I picked this up from Keller Strauss in SLC). I knew I’d also need a helmet and I found this Snell 2005 compliant beauty for $30 on KSL. Go Speed Racer!

race-day-prep

My Vbox said I was a shoo-in for a 10-something quarter mile but no one believed me (I bet a friend a steak dinner I could do 10.9 or less). I actually called Rocky Mountain before I went up to make sure there wasn’t going to be an issue if I ran in the 10’s. The track manager said he thought that would be unlikely but told me to “bring your car up and go for it.” Admittedly I started to have some doubts. My priority going in became to test the Vbox results against the actual track time.

Jim and I got to RMR around four in the afternoon and were some of the very first cars in line. That meant that we would run as soon as the races officially started- around six. My family was on their way up but wasn’t going to be there in time for my first run. Since it was warm out and the DA was around 6100 I figured it would be my slowest quarter of the day so it wouldn’t be a big deal. No tricks on my first run- street tires, same tire pressure I came up with, no ice on the intercoolers. I was focused on testing out my Vbox. My turn came up and I was off:

Below is my time slip (a close up and then the full slip). I ran the Vbox concurrently during my quarter mile run and the results were shockingly similar. More than a few people became Vbox believers that day. I was pretty happy I’d hit a sub eleven given the time of day, my mediocre 60′ time and the altitude handicap I was facing. It was a solid first run… sadly it was also my last quarter mile run of the night.

rmr-sept-2016-times

If you finished the video above then you heard the track staff telling me I’d be limited to 1/8 mile runs. That was very frustrating. RMR’s posted rules for midnight drags only state that the car has to be under 135 mph. As I mentioned I had called the track manager to make sure there were no surprises. He said “if” I ran a ten something under 135 mph they’d work with me. I was assured they wanted everyone to have funand show the audience a good time.

midnight-drag-rules

Apparently an elapsed time (ET) under 11 seconds requires additional safety measures (which another track employee said he wouldn’t ever do to a car like mine). I found the situation extra frustrating because the guy telling me I was too fast was the same guy I’d talked to when I called the track (I cut the video short because it turned into a bit of an argument). I could have easily dialed my car back and saved a faster run for later. That would have given my family a chance to see me race a quarter mile. But there was zero recourse- it was 1/8 mile or nothing. He wouldn’t even let me slow the car down and said if I did the quarter again I’d be banned. Ah well. I had my Vbox so I wasn’t too bummed.

Later I decided to run in the 1/8th so my family could see me drive something:

Taking my foot off the accelerator after and eighth mile felt like castration (okay, I don’t really know- but it felt bad). On the upside the track had become very slick- I’ll explain why that’s a plus in a sec. Let’s get the facts out there: On the street my 60′ time is consistently around 1.6 seconds. Even though I was one of the first guys on the track at RMR my 60′ time was nearly 1.8. Track prep at RMR doesn’t seem to be much of a priority. By the time I ran my 1/8 mile (maybe an hour later) my 60′ dropped to over 1.9 seconds. Had waited to go “all out” until later in the night my time may have been worse than 10.84 due to the track degradation.
All things considered I had a lot fun. I got to hang out with Jim, meet some new (and very interesting) people and see a lot of sweet cars. I ran a quarter in the tens, made an awesome video and confirmed Vbox accuracy. My family got to watch me do an 1/8 mile run and I got to spend time with them and many other friends while we watched the drag race. Overall a great night.
rmr-sept-2016-family
I’m at a little bit of a loss now… Without access to the track I’m not sure how much faster I’ll make my Turbo S (side note: how the hell are these forum guys running 10’s and 9’s on their local tracks with no safety equipment – no NHRA certification or something?). I don’t see a point in making my car too much faster for the streets. Maybe it’s time to build a “real” racecar. Whoa- almost forgot. I tried that already. Hopefully I’ll think of something.