Finally deciding to buy a new laptop

Here's the post where I justify buying myself a new laptop. I know exactly 0 human on the internet cares. But dedicating a post forces me to actually think about it and to not buying crap I don't NEED (that's the key word here). Even if no one reads it, publishing it on the internet feels like someone is watching.

Do I need a new one?

My old one is nearly broken and I've postphoned purchasing for more then a year. It is an Acer Spin 5 (8G soldered RAM + Intel i5 8250U + 256G SSD) purchased 6~7 years ago. It had been a good purchase as I took it everywhere back in college. However, now the battery is nearly dead and I had to replace the entire motherboard ocne due to PMIC failure. Luckly that was back when it was still under warranty. It also has too little memory for my needs now. I switched to using the work laptop my at-the-time employer gave me (my last boss is an awesome guy). That worked until I switched job. My current employer also provided me with a work laptop, but it's preinstalled with corporate malware and I avoid loggin into personal accounts like the plague.

I tried to subsitute my personal laptop with a PineTab 2. Thinking I can just SSH into my servers and do everything there. I thought it'll work but ended up not. Mainly 2 reasons: 1. People haven't sorted out the WiFi driver issue yet. And the USB dongle I bought absolutely sucks. Secondly, I need enough CPU power to browse the internet and read documents. I was thinking a tablet would be a good form factor for documentation reading. But the PienTab2 is too slow to run web pages smoothly. As much I don't want to have any e-waste. The PineTab2 is slowing me down and I won't be using it much anymore. I'll probably repurpose it as a light weight server or something.

I do have a workstation providing very good computing power. However, I visit my father's place every one a while, where I don't have access to the workstation. I take my laptop to conferences and hackathons. In the past months, I've been attending a local hackerspace, requiring a laptop do to work on. I think reasons are sufficient.

Why a Framework? It is difficult to justify the 27,600NTD (~875USD) base price and the 51,000NTD (~1600USD) fully configured price for the Framework 13. It's a very tough sell. I could buy a top of the line ThinkPad or MacBook Air 15inch. I considered a ThinkPad but backed out of the deal because a friend of mine, who works on Lenovo's firmware, told me how he hates the codebase. And I don't like Apple as a company. Framework on the other hand fits my goal of not buying unnessary products very well. Assuming they kept on surviving as a busness (which my purchase will help). They will keep on producing new motherbaord and modules. In the future, when the Framework I bought eventually dies or became too slow for my need, I can buy a new motherboard at a compartively low price to replace my existing one. And be able to turn the old one into a server.

Furthermore, I hope my purchase will eventually lead to less greenhouse gas emission. I understand buying anything is not exactly enviromentally firendly. I have to buy what I need. But I have the privilege to choose a less harmful product. For this purchase, I'm going to max out the specs. I learned the hard way last time, RAM is the limting factor for my usage pattern. And either can't or needing to buy an entire new RAM sticks is a major pain. Leading to replacment needs earlier.

My plan is to run OpenBSD on the laptop. I've outlined my idealized setup in a very eary post on this blog (man, how long I've waited for a new laptop). I've already tried booting the OpenBSD installation media on a friend's framework - I know it works. What I don't know is if audio and WiFi works. I'm not too worried about WiFi. I can always swap out the WiFi module for a supported If I can't get audio working, I'll have to switch back to Linux. And I do know support for the Framework is very well documented on the Arch Wiki.

I have experienced stablity issues with OpenBSD 7.2 on my old Zen2 workstation. I'm not sure if it's the OS or the hardware. Hopefully 7.4 fixes it or it's a Zen2 specific issue.

Author's profile. Photo taken in VRChat by my friend Tast+
Martin Chang
Systems software, HPC, GPGPU and AI. I mostly write stupid C++ code. Sometimes does AI research. Chronic VRChat addict

I run TLGS, a major search engine on Gemini. Used by Buran by default.

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