Horsepower vs Torque vs Misc

Of of the most constant struggles of my life has certainly been to actually understand the relationship and functions of torque and horsepower (along with its cousins: watts, amps and voltage… but that’s for another time). When you modify car components to increase power, the evaluation almost always revolves around how acceleration within a specific measurement (i.e. distance) has been affected.

Here’s are the fundamentals:

Horsepower is the total power output of an engine, while torque measures the “turning/torquing ability” of the engine. Practically, torque is a better measurement of how quickly your car will accelerate, while horsepower (relative to weight) is a better measure of your car’s top speed

This is one of the best explanations of torque and horsepower that I’ve come across:

If you watched the video now it all makes sense 😭😂

I even decided to leave a comment:

This is a great explanation. Although horsepower is Torque x RPM ÷ 5252 (which is the magical point where torque and horsepower lines cross on graph). Also in the car racing example there were certain parameters left out (i.e. the race’s distance). It is possible that the car with less horsepower and more torque could actually win a very short race. The discussion about gearing in this example is confusing because gearing can alter torque. All things being equal the one with more power will eventually be quicker.

Torque is force x distance
Horsepower is force x distance x RPM / constant 
so, more specifically,
Horsepower = torque X RMP / 5252 (this is the point where torque and horsepower lines cross on a graph).

I made my comment above because I felt the video slightly misrepresented things @ 3:15. It’s really not a big deal but it could be slightly confusing for those of us truly looking for the light.

Below I’ve also posted an interesting comment made on this video by Martyn M. I have edited parts of the story for brevity and clarity, but the content is intact. 

Torque is a turning force. It is measured in either Newton Metres, or Lbs Feet. In this example we will just keep things simple. Think of torque as brute strength.

Horse Power is a method of measuring how much work is done in a given time.

You need torque, multiplied by how many revolutions per minute, that torque is applied, to work out how much horsepower is achieved in a set time.

This is the way I think of it…

There are two piles of bricks, one hundred in each pile, and they need moving up a fairly steep hill on a building site.

A muscle man and a marathon runner challenge each other to a race, to see who can move a pile of the bricks the fastest.

The chap with a lot of muscle and strength is big and immensely strong but heavy and quite slow ( (we will think of it as having lots of torque). He is quite capable of scooping up a whole load of bricks and carrying them up the hill. He might carry 20 bricks at once and slowly walk (at low revs) up the hill. He could move all the bricks in 5 trips and take 10 minutes.

The seriously fit runner, who is light and fast on his feet might only carry 5 bricks and sprints up and down the hill. He has a low amount of muscle (or torque) but his legs can run (or perform revolutions) at a much faster rate. It takes the runner 20 trips to move the bricks. Also in 10 minutes

Now if they both complete the task in the same time, then they have both done equal amounts of WORK (which can be measured in Horsepower or Kilowatts) then it’s a draw.

However, if the muscle man could carry 25 bricks per trip, at the same pace, he completes the task in 4 trips, and in just 8 mins. He will have put out more horsepower. He carries bricks at a slow pace compared to the runner, but by applying more torque, each rpm is doing more work. Then it’s just a case of multiplying the two together. Torque x RPMs.

However, the runner, still only carrying 5 bricks, refuses to be beaten. He hasn’t got the strength (or torque) to carry more than 5 bricks, but he can pick up the pace so he runs faster. He finishes the task in 7 mins. His body, although weaker at lifting, has now worked harder, because his low amount of torque, could be multiplied by very high revs.

Keep this example in mind and think of your car engine. Horsepower is simply a way of measuring work done in a given time. It is not a unit of force, or a measure of how fast it can travel. The ability of an engine to provide power is achieved either by applying large amounts of torque at low revs, or applying lower amounts of torque at high revs.

The amount of gratitude and praise for this post is surprising because ultimately I think it misrepresents the relationship of torque and horsepower (unintentionally). Based on this story, both machines (brick movers) accomplish the same amount of work in the same time period. But I think he confuses the issue at some point during his explanation and arrives at the conclusion that both the muscle man and the runner have accomplished the same amount of work in the same amount of time and so their horsepower is equal. It is not. In this example the work being done has been erroneously broken into impossible parts.

The power an engine produces is called horsepower. In mathematical terms, one horsepower is the power needed to move 550 pounds one foot in one second, or the power needed to move 33,000 pounds one foot in one minute.

A car cannot be moved in 100 pieces arriving at it’s ultimate destination over any period of trips. Am I thinking about this incorrectly? I’d value any insights into this matter- there’s just something here that I can’t completely wrap my head around…

Another question I’ve been thinking about is this: When you alter the gearing in vehicle you can change the torque but you cannot change the horsepower. Why is this?

Let’s say your vehicle makes 600 ft lbs of torque @ 7500 rpms. Your horsepower output would be 600 x 7500 / 5252 (the point where torque and horsepower lines cross on a graph). This gives you around 856 HP. You can change the gearing on your car to give you more lower end torque. Let’s say you make an adjustment that gives you 650 ft lbs @ 6900 RPMS. How much horsepower do you have? Yes- the same. The theory here is that you’ll be faster inside of a certain window (in this case up to a certain speed you’ll be quicker).

All things being equal, one could probably make a simplistic assessment that horsepower is the definitive measurement of power. If you’re obsessed with top speed then that is the number that matters. If all you care about is how quick your car feels off the line then you’ll need more low end torque (and this, of course, is why measurement of peak output don’t paint the whole picture).

An engine only produces peak horsepower and torque at certain ranges. You can take a snapshot of the car’s maximum output but this doesn’t always give you the true picture of a car’s power over the entire output range (I’m probably misusing the term “power” here…).

I think this is why, in theory, a car purported to have “600 hp & 500 lbs of torque” could be “beaten” (in a shorter race and absent any considerations of weight or aerodynamics) by a car with “550 hp and 480 lbs of torque.” This is why people take their cars to the the track and put them on dynometers; You need a physical application of the engine’s power to really appreciate their real world performance.

And speaking of real world performance (I alluded to it above) but there are no many more factors than just horsepower and torque to take into account when you’re trying to make assessments. A car’s weight, drag and even friction could play a part in a car losing to a less powerful competitor.

Anyway… quite a rabbit hole. The amount of information about horsepower and torque online is truly overwhelming and the debate about what’s more important and the misunderstandings about their relationships will probably continue forever (they are both important). As for me- I’m just going to live my life by the stopwatch. No one can argue about time*.

*They can argue about who robbed them, why they were robbed, what went wrong, etc, but they cannot argue about how long a particular race event took (except in the absence of any accurate timing device). Ah… who am I kidding. Time is relative, right?

Movies Watched in 2019

I have dedicated this post to movies that I have watched in 2019 (these have to be fairly current movies from this year or late last year to make the list). Newest movies are at the top. My goal this year is 60 movies, 1/2 in theaters! Bring it!

Final Count: 37 Movies –  It was a busy year… I think I’m actually missing quite a few movies. I was going to try and figure out what I was missing but I’m just going to try and keep better track in 2020.

Jumanji: The Next Level – Not as good as the first, but not as bad as I feared.

Star Wars: The Rise of Sywalker – This movie met my expectations. I think it could have been much worse, but at the same time it could have been much better. It does a fine job of wrapping everything up and it’s probably what we needed.

Knives Out – Another great movie. It’s got a lot of Clue-like mystery and it’s smart and well done. Bravo for original storytelling.

Ford vs. Ferarri – Man, I can’t say enough good things about this movie. Everything is polished and solid. Loved the story,

The Lion King – Man, did they rip the soul of out of this one. The animation is impressive and the movie is very much like the original but some things are best left alone (I feel like I’m ripping every movie I’ve seen lately… guess they should make better movies).

X-Men: Dark Phoenix – At this point I’m having a hard time sorting all the movies in my head. I’m not sure when things happened. Frankly I’m not even sure what’s happening at this point.

Terminator: Dark Fate – What a mess. There were certainly parts I enjoyed, but the storytelling was sloppy. I wish they could nail a sequel.

Toy Story 4 [Home] – This was fantastic. The level of animation was incredible to the point that some shots looked like real life. This thing made me tear up at least twice.

Zombie Land: Double Tap – A worthy sequel in many ways. Very funny. I’d do a third.

Joker – Huh. Not as disturbing as I thought it would be. I think the goal here was to try and elicit some sympathy for the Joker. But there’s a deeper lesson- find compassion for the mentally ill.

Hobbs & Shaw – I spent a good chunk of the movie asking myself what I was watching. It was so over the top. A two-plus hour assault on my senses and movie making in general. Not bad.

The Missing Link – Certainly cute. The animation was amazing. It’s too bad these kinds of movies don’t typically do well.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Wicked good.

Men In Black: International – This had terrible reviews, but I thought it was a lot of fun.

Crawl – If I ever get into a situation where I have to evade crocodiles I hope I have a strong swimming background and a shower stall as tough as the one in this movie.

Spiderman: Far From Home – Epic Marvel movie. Lots of good twists and turns in this one.

Child’s Play – Thanks Mark Hamill! For nothing. When your creepy “My Buddy” doll murder your cat you just call it a day right then and there.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters – Great news. He’s on our side now.

Aladdin – A fun remake. Go strong women!

Ma – For me it all goes wrong when they reveal why she wants to murder everyone.

Brightburn – Evil Superman? Interesting.

John Wick 3: Parabellum – As they expand the Wick Universe things seem to be getting a little stranger.

Pet Semetary – A solid remake.

Shazam! – Great. Funny, entertaining and a great DC entry.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crimes of Grindwald [Plane]- Unmemorable.

Mortal Engines – Liked it. I would totally drive one of these little cities.

Captain Marvel: Not necessarily high on my list but I figured I’m in like 20 Marvel movies anyway so I’d better get to the bottom of Carol Danvers (and I mean that in the least sexy way possible). The movie was fine- that’s the best I can do. I like when people whip out that latent side of their humanity and it makes them strong. 7/10

Creed 2: Rocky III & Rocky IV mashed together. I’m impressed with how far they can take these movies. Not great, but fun. 7/10

Alita [Theater]: I saw this when we went to Oahu. I enjoyed it so much I decided to go see it again in IMAX 3D. This movie pushes all the right buttons for me. I love the visual effects and the story (it’s a little light on some plot elements, but it’s not something I’d complain about). 9/10

Glass [Theater]: Plot twist: M. Night is making fun movies again. In terms of what’s going on (visual effects, locations, etc) this is pretty basic. But it works really well and the ending doesn’t really let you down.  7.5/10

Predator [Home]: Absurd. I don’t every understand why I pushed myself through this. Luckily there was the insane clown posse (not the musical group) and they made it a little more fun. 5.5/10

Happy Time Murders [Home]: Wow. Brian Henson helped make this, eh? What a sad end to his Dad’s legacy. A few funny moments… but pretty bad overall. 5/10

Adrift [Home]:Props to Shailene- she did a great job. This reminded me of “All is Lost” but they used a plot twist element that makes it a little more interesting and a lot more depressing. 7/10

Replicants [Theater]: This is the one I was waiting for. So bad it’s good. “Yeah, I can grow a human in 17 days even though I’ve never done it before.” This has more holes than Swiss cheese. The acting is awful. Nothing makes any sense. I’d watch it again in a heartbeat. 5/10

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [Theater]: This was fantastic. One of the best movies I’ve been in a long time. I loved the animation and the entire movies was a non-stop delight. Somehow I lost the email with the ticket confirmation. It just disappeared (maybe it was transported to an alternate dimension). But the Megaplex can look up your tickets via your gift card number. Nice. 9/10

Aquaman [Theater]: What a fantastic pile of epic action garbage. I loved it even though it had bad CG, plot holes galore and some of the weirdest action I can remember seeing in a movie. 7/10

BumbleBee [Theater]: Cute. That’s not a word I like to use to describe my robotic alien homeboy. But he really is. Not just cute- scrappy. The dude fights past his weight class. I really liked the Cybertron flashbacks w/ the G1 styling. Classic “bad guy is really a good guy” sub-plot. Fun, bu probablyt for younger audiences. 7/10

Razer Blade 15 4K OLED (2019). The Best Yet!

Here’s the reality: The new Razer Blade 15 4K OLED model isn’t much different from the last model I owned. The “only” changes are a better GPU, a slightly newer CPU, the 4K OLED screen and a small, but not unimportant, cosmetic upgrade. These revisions do not necessarily represent a good reason or value if you’re moving from the laptop I previously used (and for the record, that’s not why I migrate). However, if you’re fascinated with emerging technologies this is a laptop worth checking out.

Let’s start with the big one: The OLED screen. In a word: Wow. I have been watching television on a 60″ LG OLED TV for the past couple of months and it’s breathtaking. The 15″ 4K Samsung screen on the Razer is no less breathtaking and it’s difficult to believe how far screen technology has come (for some reason I’ve had the image of a CRT laptop stuck in my head for years).

The level of color richness is intense- maybe even a little exaggerated (which you could always adjust if you hated the insane level of beauty). To be fair the color on some LCD screens comes close, but in terms of contrast there’s just no contest. The Razer’s screen has no edge bleed and, when watching HDR content, the black screen is nearly indistinguishable from the bezel (this is an excellent OLED screen demo). Color evenness and brightness are excellent and my screen, so far as I can tell, is defect free (pixel density is so high I doubt a single dead pixel could be easily seen with the naked eye). Overall, a very solid win.

It’s not completely perfect thought. Past OLED panels have suffered from screen burn in. That’s a TBD issue at this point, but a computer screen has many static components (hey Windows bar, I’m looking at you). Also, while OLED screen are more energy efficient when showing black (as the pixel is effectively off) they consume more power than LCD counterparts when showing white. Thus far in my testing the new OLED Razer has shorter battery life than the my previous model. Finally, there is a strange, almost unnoticeable flickering effect when scrolling through dark images on a white background and even sometimes while typing or selecting text (I changed my screen to 59hz and turned off the screen refresh in the Intel graphics control panel- this seems to have eliminated the typing flicker which was my biggest concern).

Out of the box the Razer 15 ran a respectable 16463 in 3DMark’s Firesrike. After a RAM upgrade (16GB to 32GB) and an SSD swap (512GB to 2TB) the computer managed a 16108. This drop may be a software (driver) configuration issue – I had a hell of a time getting everything loaded back onto the computer and working so there’s a chance I messed something up somewhere. Still, this is a fairly mild performance drop and not something I’ll worry about too much while I work to sort it out. I ran the Firestrike test several times and, oddly, the score was better with the Razer Synapse performance modes set lower (follow up: after more tweaking this was not an ongoing issue).

Based on my very limited 3DMark testing the GPU is a solid step up (the RTX 2080 scored an 18912 vs the GTX 1070’s 15917). However the CPU-intensive physics score seems to take a significant hit compared to my previous computer’s performance (the i7-9750H posted a 14348 compared to the i7-8750H’s 16783). I definitely have some questions about what may cause this performance drop (I know Razer is undervolting the CPU but it shouldn’t affect the score this much). Overall the performance on this new Razer is more than sufficient for my needs. I’m not a huge gamer but I tried out my go-to favorite, Doom, at 4K and it played well and looked incredible- that contrast!

3DMark Follow Up: I changed a couple quick settings and I came up with this new run. The surprising thing here is that g-sync is on (or, at least, it thinks that it is). What’s even more surprising is that there’s no way to enable / disable g-sync in the Nvidia control panel (the “display” portion of the menu isn’t there). After fiddling with a few more setting I ended up with the following run. Bizarrely I didn’t get a g-sync warning and the while the graphic portion of the score is higher the CPU side of things has tanked a bit. I would love to understand what’s going on (tell me, dammit!).

So… what did Razer get right? It’s a big one for me because I work in the dark so often (physically and metaphorically). All of the keys are their respective functions are now backlit. It’s small modification but it will make things so much easier in low light situations.

Aside from the keyboard illumination this new Razer is nearly identical to it’s predecessor. Scratch that- it is identical. There’s very little point in covering it’s appearance, build quality, etc., because none of those aspects have changed. I will restate that it’s a beautiful looking laptop.

My gripes with the model are still the same as before. I’d like an SSD card reader and a network jack. I’d also like to see some better thermal control on the left side of the palm rest. When doing day to day tasks it heats up a bit warmer than the right side. This is not to say it’s uncomfortable, but the inconsistency is off-putting.

We’ve come a long way from my first Razer. In my opinion, the new Razer 15 4K OLED  (2019) is exceptional and, for the time being, about as close as you can get to a perfect portable workstation. The performance increase is respectable and the OLED screen is something you have to see to believe. No regrets on this one.

Model: Razer Blade 15 – Advanced Model
OS: Windows® 10 Home (64-bit)
Processor: 9th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-9750H 6 Core (2.6GHz/4.5GHz)
Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX™ 2080 with Max-Q Design (8GB GDDR6 VRAM)
Display: 15.6″ OLED 4K Touch 60Hz, 100% DCI-P3, HDR400, factory calibrated
Storage: 512GB SSD (NVMe) / Upgraded: 2TB Samsung SSD (NVMe)
Memory:16GB Dual-Channel (8GB x 2) DDR4 2667MHz / Upgraded: 32GB (16GB x 2)
Battery: 80Wh
Keyboard: Per-key RGB powered by Razer Chroma™
USB 3.2 Gen 2 (USB-A) x3, Thunderbolt™ 3 (USB-C)
Wireless: Intel® Wireless-AX200 (802.11/a/b/g/n/ac/ax), Bluetooth® 5
Webcam: Windows® Hello built-in IR HD webcam (1MP / 720P)
Finish: Black with backlit green logo and green USB ports
Dimensions: 0.70″ x 9.25″ x 13.98″ / 17.8mm x 235mm x 355mm
Weight: 4.83 lbs / 2.19 kg

Other Laptop Links:

Apple 520C
Apple 540C
Review: Pulse 17
Review: 2014 Razer Blade
Razer Blade Pro
Razer Blade 15 (2018)
Razer Blade Stealth (2019)

Movies Watched in 2018

I really dropped the ball in 2018. I don’t think I even wrote down some of the movies that I watched. I know I can do better in 2019!   My goal for 2019 year is 60 movies, 1/3 in theaters! Let’s do it! 

This post covers all the movies that I have watched in 2018 (these have to be fairly current movies from this year or late last year to make the list). Newest movies are at the top. 2018 movie total: 37 movies, 21 in the theater. If anyone is curious about previous years just search “movies watched in” to find more posts.

Marry Poppins [Theater]: I definitely preferred the original, although that might just be nostalgia talking. The new one was good but I didn’t leave the theater singing any of the songs.

Crazy Rich Asians: What a life- not sure if I mean that in a positive or negative way. Certainly an interesting movie that provides an interesting window into a niche part of another culture.

The Mule [Theater]: Thew preview made this look soooo sad. But it really wasn’t that bad. A solid thriller / mystery mixture. Side note: Clint Eastwood may be old but the guy is still a badass.

Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet [Theater]: I loved the depiction of how the Internet works and the scene with the Disney Princesses was an instant classic. Solid entertainment.

Instant Family [Theater] – Loved this movie. Adoption is something that’s near and dear to me and I feel like this movie captures a lot of the right emotion. It’s a bit over engineered but not preachy.

Free Solo [Theater] – Alex is insane. There’s no other word for it. But being insane also makes you incredibly interesting. Watching Alex summit El Cap with no protective climbing gear is literally breathtaking.

The Spy Who Dumped Me: Laaaame. Also, I need to finish this.

Mission Impossible: Fallout: Tom Cruise can only give 100%. Ethan saves the day again and it’s pretty darn exciting.

The Meg- Absolutely ridiculous. To really enjoy this movie you’d have to suspend belief to a level that is simply not achievable in this reality.

Red Sparrow: Dark, exciting & well done.

Tag: Ehhh… love the idea. The movie was so-so.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: These movies just get bigger and weirder. At this point we have an heir apparent murdering his mentor and scientists so he can auction off dinosaur “weapons” to international terrorists. It’s a long way from an amusement park.

Ocean’s 8: Enjoyable. Who knew Danny had a sister?

Transformers the Movie: Brought back some serious nostalgia.

Rampage [Theater]- Are we a little Rocked-out yet? Maybe a little. Not great, but as an avid player of Rampage in my youth (on an Apple IIe, no less) I found this a nostalgia-inducing ride.

Ant Man & The Wasp [Theater] – I liked this better than the original (although, I probably don’t remember the original very well at this point). Every Marvel movie is similar but their formula works so well I’m not tired of it yet.

Pacific Rim 2- I guess this is what happens when you make a sequel no one wanted? It’s got some fun moments, but it’s just not epic like the first one.

Incredibles 2  [Theater]: Not as good as the original. Those were big shoes to fill.

Tomb Raider – This movie legitimately numbed my mind. Every single decision that Laura Croft makes is wrong. It’s seriously like she has the frontal lobe of a three year old kid. It’s a bad movie. There’s no other way to describe it.

A Quiet Place  [Theater]: Good ‘n scary.

Solo [Theater]: Why did critics bag on this? Awesome.

Dead Pool 2 [Theater]: First one was better.

Overboard [Theater]: A funny modern update. Worth a watch!

Avengers: Infinity War [Theater] – This movie was a beast. There’s so much going on here all the time that it’s fairly intense to watch.

I Feel Pretty [Theater] – Fun movie espousing the virtues of self confidence (or maybe obliviousness).

Black Panther [Theater] – Good, but not fantastic. I can absolutely appreciate the diversity here but I think it overshadowed the actual movie. Michael Jordan is a great bad guy.

Ready Player One [Theater] – Not like the book, but still pretty fun. I’ll be curious to see how my kids enjoy it (or not).

Maze Runner: Death Cure [Theater] – I can’t even pretend to understand this series. But I’m glad Dylan O’brien has healed up.

Geostorm – One day! Probably not. I like how there’s only one guy in the whole world who can fix stuff in these movies.

Annihilation [Theater] – I liked it. Wild visuals. Saw this with Fran and I think it really disturbed her.

Murder on the Orient Express [Theater] – I guessed the ending (I haven’t read the book)! Fun to watch it play out.

I completely forgot to write down what I was watching… I suppose as I get older my inclination to judge has dwindled. I think I’ll just jot down the movies I’ve seen with a few thoughts instead of trying to rate them.

The Greatest Showman [Theater] 8.5/10 – Ha! Wow. I loved this movie. I’m sure some would call the plot contrived, but I don’t really care. It pushed all my feels and the soundtrack was spectacular. Best movie of 2018 so far.

The Mountain Between Us [Home] 6.5/10 – I don’t know what it’s like to be in a plane crash and then get trapped on the side of a mountain. But I would think people would be a little more desperate. They would certainly not act like they were just going for a hike. Would they? Implausible but enjoyable enough.

American Made [Home] 8/10 – I wasn’t expecting the ending although when you deal drugs internationally I suppose that’s what happens. Another great job by Tom Cruise (why can’t this guy get the respect he deserves?).

The Hitman’s Bodyguard [Home] 7/10 – Quite a bit more thoughtful and entertaining than I expected. Ryan Reynolds always plays the same guy. And Samuel Jackson always plays the same guy. It’s weird, but here it seems to work.

Baby Driver [Home] 7/10 – I thought this started out great. But somehow toward the end it got a little silly. Maybe that was the movie’s intent, but I didn’t feel like it worked. Still, I like any movie with a car that gets driven fast.

Thor Ragnarok [Theater] – Awesome. Easily my favorite Marvel movie in years. Growing up I never felt like Thor was cool, but now he might just be my favorite.

SideShow “Shouldn’t-A-Bought” Showcase

Sideshow Toys is killing me. As a kid I loved action figures I could play with and now, as an adult, I love action figures I can’t play with. Some of the stuff they put out is just too much for me to resist. Like this Infinity Gauntlet. Seriously, who doesn’t want one of these floating around their home:

And over on the work side of things I added a few more statues from various shows, movies and games that I like: The Captain America solider (stealth version), Iron Man (Mark III), and Ken from Street Fighter II.

I’d love to say these make the office a bit more classy… but that’s not really the effect they’ve had.

I moved a couple of the Primes over to work and added the Prime 1 Studios Megatron. I hate to admit it, but I think he’s a cooler figure than the Prime 1 Optimus. In general, and despite my weird nerd junk, I feel like the office is coming along well. I need to get my art put up. I’m so happy they let me have an office. I should totally go work there sometime (maybe sooner than later).

Prime 1 Studios makes some really badass stuff. Can’t wait for their next Robotech release.

YouTube progress- 500 Subs. Progress in General?

It’s not a huge deal, but I’m finally up to 500 subscribers on my YouTube channel (actually over 600 at this point).  If I ever reach a thousand there’s a good possibility that I could become monetized again. While I didn’t make a ton of money from my channel before ($90 in three years) it still felt pretty bad when they decided I was too small to participate in the ad program. There… publicly sharing my feelings makes me feel soooo much better :/

Recently my Hue Light video gained some steam (it’s at about 128K views) and I think that drove people to my channel. In 2019 I’m going to work harder on building quality content and get my channel in a position where I can earn a few bucks again. I’m not big on the idea of being “putting myself out there,” but who knows what will happen (actually I know- with higher expectation I won’t make anything at all).

Speaking of silly accomplishments: I earned Elite Plus status again at Best Buy (hooray for me?). Their Best Buy credit card and reward system has actually kept me coming back. Now that Amazon collects sales tax and Best Buy is willing to match Amazon’s prices I do almost all my electronics shopping at Best Buy. If you don’t care about rewards but need to buy some electronics hit me up and I’ll buy your stuff & give you some cash (almost nothing)!

*This was accomplished with some business purchases in addition to my own frivolous spending. It’s probably crass to post this. But I am crass so…

2019 Razer Blade Stealth 13″ 4K Laptop

For Christmas this year I picked up a Razer Blade Stealth 13″ laptop. Recently I have found myself needing a more mobile laptop solution and even the Razer Blade 15″ was somewhat cumbersome to transport (which is crazy when I think back to hauling around the 17″ Pro). I admit that I didn’t need the Stealth but I was very interested in trying it out. No regrets so far!

She’s Got the Look:

Razer has nailed their “We are the Apple of the PC world” strategy (at least I assume that’s their strategy). The look and feel of this laptop is just off the hook. I can’t get over how compact it is and the the smaller bezel size is a huge improvement over their previous generations.

Below is a video showing the unboxing experience and showcasing the Stealth 13’s options and my initial impressions:

One of the Stealth’s optional highlights is the 4K 13″ screen. In some ways the screen is overkill but it looks amazing. I remember about seven years ago when I picked up a Sony 13″ laptop and it had a 1080p screen. The resolution seemed unreal at the time. Fast forward to now and the 4K resolution on the Razer 13 seems unfathomable to me. Here is a more in depth look:

Performance:

It’s a little strange to see a new laptop run slower than a laptop from almost 4 years ago, but I suppose it’s also indicative that the rate of technological development has slowed or, at least, doesn’t have a need to progress as rapidly. Regardless, the Stealth 13 does everything that a modern computer needs to do. I fired up Doom and, speaking anecdotally, it plays respectably at 1080p with medium settings. Without the GeForce MX150 the 2019 Stealth wouldn’t be much of a fighter so I’d definitely recommend it as a purchase option. In some ways the 4K screen option is just beautiful bling as no game will be playable with the 4K settings. I’m not quite certain why the 3D Mark scores have validation errors- as far as I know everything is up to date (probably the custom driver builds that the 13 Stealth uses). Still, the scores should serve as a solid comparison metric.

Pros:

• In terms of attractiveness and size I don’t think anything compares to the new Blade models.
• With Windows 10 GUI scaling the 4K screen is usable and the sharpness / crispness is at another level.
• I am very impressed with the four speakers in this laptop- it’s louder than the 15!
• Non-illuminated logo on the laptop’s cover (I don’t miss the green).
• I am delighted they finally illuminated the alternate characters on the keyboard. Hooray!
• I love how small the power adapter is. I suppose when you don’t need a ton of power you can get away with that!

Cons:
• Needed a driver update (unavailable on Razer’s website) to correct a fairly serious speaker static issue.
• I’m not a fan of the reduced keyboard size. I suppose all things considered I’d rather have a smaller keyboard than a larger chassis.

Neutral Opinions:

• I’m working with a Chrome browser open to a WordPress website while playing Pandora and I’ll probably get 4 hours of life. Not bad, not great. There are probably several things I could do to optimize battery life.
• The travel on the keyboard is shallower than I’d prefer and it takes a little getting used to (I miss / skip a letter pretty often).
• I still wish they’d find  way to include a network jack and an SD card reader. But USB peripherals get the job done.
• After using the laptop for several hours it’s warmer than I’d like but not uncomfortable.

Conclusion:

As an “Ultrabook” the Razer 13 Stealth shines. I think Razer should refrain from advertising it as a “gaming” laptop because it’s not. But as a great looking portable powerhouse (relatively speaking) I think it’s awesome. I wrote this post on the Stealth 13 and, aside my unfamiliarity with the keyboard it’s been awesome.

Specifications: 
OS:
Windows® 10 Home (64-bit)
Processor:
Quad-Core 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8565U Processor
Graphics:
NVIDIA® GeForce® MX150 (25W) 4GB GDDR5 VRAM
Display:
13.3″ 4K Touch w/ 4.9mm slim side bezel
Storage:
512GB
Memory:
16GB dual-channel (fixed)
Battery:
Up to 8 hours (53.1Wh)
Keyboard:
Single-zone RGB powered by Razer Chroma™
Finish:
Anodized black finish, tone on tone Razer logo
Dimensions:
0.58″ x 11.99″ x 8.27″ / 14.8mm x 304.6mm x 210mm

Other Laptop Links:
Review: Pulse 17
Review: 2014 Razer Blade
Razer Blade Pro
Razer Blade 15

Razer Blade / Windows 10 Adaptive Brightness Problem & Solution

For the most part I love my Razer Blade 15 and it’s been a reliable Clydesdale workhorse that looks like a thoroughbred Arabian. However, once in awhile some small issue will pop up and drives me nearly insane. This latest issue has to do with the adaptive brightness “feature” that’s included in Windows 10.

In case you are unfamiliar with the adaptive brightness setting here’s the gist: your screen backlight is automatically dimmed when anything on the desktop is a darker color. The effect is extremely noticeable in an application like Photoshop (the GUI is dark-themed) and the screen dims to the point where white looks like gray and it’s difficult to do any real work. Why anyone would choose to have the adaptive brightness enabled is beyond me.

In theory it’s very simple to turn the setting off. You simple open your “power options” then navigate to “change plan settings” and the click the “change advanced power settings” link. This brings you to a pop-up box and under the “Display” options you can switch adaptive brightness on or off. Easy right? Not so fast…

When my Razer Blade is plugged in Windows respects the setting and everything is just fine (well, usually- sometimes I do have to restart my laptop). But when the laptop is operating on battery power the adaptive brightness setting is completely ignored. I searched and searched online for an answer to my problem and came across an excellent article suggesting a myriad of different solutions:
https://windowsreport.com/adaptive-brightness-windows-10-wont-turn-off/

The root problem appeared to be a power management setting for the integrated Intel graphics. This setting was a redundant adaptive brightness routine that was overriding the Windows 10 version. Eureka! Only there was an issue…

…I didn’t have an option to access the Intel graphics settings. The registry edits suggested by the article also proved impossible because the corresponding file location wasn’t present. No amount of rooting through Windows 10 allowed me any access to any Intel-related graphic settings. Additionally, no amount of online searches brought me any closer to finding a solution. A few articles suggested the only way to fix a problem like mine was through settings in the BIOS. Did I even have Integrated Intel graphics?

I already knew the answer to that. I’ve installed a few games that haven’t recognize the Nvidia GPU, defaulted to the Intel chip and had to be manually configured (i.e. Transformers: Devastation). A quick peek under the advanced display settings and it was clear the Razer Blade was using an Intel UHD Graphics 630 while on battery power. Okay, so it was still there and it was working.

So what on earth could cause my Intel control panel to be missing? Maybe that there was software that I could get directly from Intel. No dice. Intel’s website suggested contacting the OEM if the Intel Graphics Setting option is missing. I imagined trying to get Razer to help me with my problem chuckled. Okay, so maybe I had the wrong driver installed.

I racked my brain and it hit me. I had swapped out my hard drive and that necessitated a Windows 10 installation. Maybe I had missed something when I was reinstalling my drivers! It certainly couldn’t hurt to reinstall them again.

I downloaded the Intel Graphic Driver file from Razer’s Support page. I ran the installation (side note: Windows Defender repeatedly warned me that threats were detected during the installation, but it completed just fine). And then:

After the installation and a restart there was the “Intel Graphics Settings” option right where it was supposed to be. I held my breath and opened it.

Under the power settings there is an option to disable “Display Power Saving Technology.” Click it, hit apply and voila!

This fixed the problem. Now on battery power the laptop will respect the Windows 10 adaptive brightness settings. I suppose part of me understands why the power saving is enabled by default but what an absolute pain the neck.

Summary Version: If you can’t turn off adaptive brightness then you need to disable the power saving feature in the Intel graphics settings. If the Graphics settings aren’t visible make sure you have the correct OEM driver installed.