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Old 02-10-2014, 12:22 AM   #1
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Arrow Good laptops for tuning purposes only

Miataturbo.net members,

Ordered a MS3 basic from Reverant and need to get a laptop that will be used exclusively for tuning the car and was curious to what the general consensus is on a particular model or criteria it should meet.

Also, I have a AEM digital wideband gauge and ordered a GM IAT so is there anything else I will need to get? What size vacuum line does it use?

I really appreciate everyone's contribution to this topic and hopefully it will help others in the future.
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:37 AM   #2
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As a reference to what I have been considering, here are a few examples:

$85: Dell Latitude D420
-Intel core duo @ 1.2 Ghz
-2.5 GB Ram
-60 GB HDD
-external media drive
Dell Latitude D420 Laptop Intel Core Duo 1 20GHz 2 5GB RAM 60GB HDD B29 | eBay

$144.98: Dell Latitude E6400
-Core duo 2 @ 2.26 Ghz
-4 GB RAM
-160 GB HD
-DVDRW
-14" LCD screen with 1280x800 resolution
http://www.ebay.com/itm/161213343425...84.m1423.l2649
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:48 AM   #3
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Find Joe Perez's favorite Latitude e4200. Around three times as much as the above listed d420, but a very good machine. Everything from it's silent hard drive, to it's full keyboard, to it's awesome mouse pad is just perfect. There's a USB port for your tuning cable on either side.

Look like they're $225-250 currently.
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:39 PM   #4
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I would stay away from d420. zif connector 1.8 hard drive that could fail anytime and costs as much as the whole laptop.
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:19 PM   #5
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Thanks curly and Bax for your responses. I have already ruled out the D420 due to the hassle of having an external media drive, still not 100% on which one but the E4200 looks like it will be the best candidate.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:36 PM   #6
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Dont do a netbook. I've only ever owned netbooks (desk tops for life yo), and the small screen blows dick. I dont think I could live with any lap top that got less than 6 hours of battery life though, preferably 8. Which is why netbooks were always the only thing on my radar, tiny dick screen be damned. Having a $250 laptop you can throw across the shop in anger without regret is really nice though.
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafy View Post
Dont do a netbook. I've only ever owned netbooks (desk tops for life yo), and the small screen blows dick. I dont think I could live with any lap top that got less than 6 hours of battery life though, preferably 8. Which is why netbooks were always the only thing on my radar, tiny dick screen be damned. Having a $250 laptop you can throw across the shop in anger without regret is really nice though.
While the tiny screen does suck *****, for regular use, but for tuning in a tiny car with, small netbook with good battery life is actually pretty nice.

Source: I tune with a netbook
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:52 AM   #8
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likewise, i have an old asus 904ha that's been sitting around - and now has purpose again. works well with about 5 hr run time. the downside, as mentioned earlier, is the lack of screen real estate. for tunerstudio, it's fine. megalogviewer is useless on 1024x600, so i run it on my main laptop.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:39 AM   #9
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one computer I've found to be a decent balance is the ASUS X202E, which has a touchscreen if you want one. some can be found on craigslist for around 300 or less, some with upgraded ssds. When I got one, it was 360 new, slapped an ssd into it and then sold it later for more

it's not a netbook, but is netbook size. resolution isn't great, but it's at least 720p. powerful enough to use for other things than just tuning so the price premium is offset a little bit. Don't expect to play any games, but plays movies fine, has an hdmi out, bluetooth, etc.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:07 AM   #10
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If I were to buy something solely for in-car tuning, it would be either a tiny netbook out a Win8 tablet.

If I were to buy something for general use, it would be basically the same ad my current Dell E4200, but newer. The machine is just starting to show its age a bit in terms of CPU power and memory capacity. I'm still perfectly happy with it and have no plans to replace it anytime soon, but I don't think I'd recommend it as a newly-bought primary laptop anymore, assuming that something comparable in quality and form-factor has superseded it.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:22 AM   #11
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The hard part about getting a win8 tablet is getting one with the full version of windows 8 so it can do like actual stuff rather than tablet stuff. And of course you're also stuck with windows 8 on it.
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafy View Post
The hard part about getting a win8 tablet is getting one with the full version of windows 8 so it can do like actual stuff rather than tablet stuff. And of course you're also stuck with windows 8 on it.
Actually it's getting easier because the mfg's have pretty much given up on RT (excepting MS maybe).

You can still find the Samsung ATIV 500 around for not much money that's a full tab + detachable keyboard. I have one and after dumping all the **** on the SSD and reinstalling Windows 8 (now 8.1) I kind of like it. I boot to the desktop though.... I still despise Metro.

I do keep a Netbook with W8 installed just with Tunerstudio on it because I like having 8+ hours of battery and the screen size isn't too bad for TS.
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:56 AM   #13
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If anyone wants windoes 8 or 7 message me i have it laying around at least 5 people can use it
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:20 PM   #14
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I'm not saying netbook, but I bought a cheap HP Windows 8 machine on line, and it ended up being 17", which is a pain to work with in the small confines of the Miata.

I would say a 13" screen would be ideal. Windows 8 is livable once you get it to emulate Windows 7, but had I known what a junky OS it is I would have paid more $.
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafy View Post
The hard part about getting a win8 tablet is getting one with the full version of windows 8 so it can do like actual stuff rather than tablet stuff. And of course you're also stuck with windows 8 on it.
This used to be the case, but the opposite is now true. Manufacturers have pretty much given up on Windows RT, and most tablets now use standard Windows.

Basically, if it has an x86-class processor (Bay Trail / Atom, Core, etc) then it probably does not run RT. There are still a few RT machines out there, so check the fine print, of course, but the majority run regular Win8.




Quote:
Originally Posted by DNMakinson View Post
I would say a 13" screen would be ideal.
Speaking from personal experience, I disagree.

I have tuned Miatas using an 11" laptop (Sony Vaio), a 12" laptop (Dell E4200), a 10" Netbook (Asus Eee PC), and two tablets, a 9" and a 10".

The 12" laptop is too big. The 11" laptop was slightly less too big, but still larger than ideal. The 10" netbook was pretty good. The tablets were actually the most ideal form-factor (as you could just toss them onto the pax seat), but the ones I used were ancient devices with shitty stylus-based touchscreens running Win2k / XP, and so data entry was a horrible pain in the *** on them.

If a Win8 tablet running TunerStudio has a better interface for data entry, it'd be my absolute #1 pick, hands-down. If not, I'd look for a used 10" Netbook (I'm kind of annoyed that nobody makes these anymore. Why is it that every time I pick a favorite ultra-small computer, the whole category winds up getting discontinued?)
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:02 AM   #16
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Joe, couldnt you buy an x86 based chromebook and install windows/linux? More or less the same thing. My problem with the tiny screen is that if you ever want to tune something other than MS; the AEM, Haltech, Rom Raider, HP Tuners, newer MOtec (the DOS based old one works great, lol) software all are formatted for at least 786pixel tall screens. Haltech is the worst for this, with the other software you can almost always re-size or move a popup window so you can work it (but you have to do it, every. single. time. you open that window), but there's no way to click ok on the properties window in Haltech unless you switch to the 1024x768 scrunched screen resolution that looks like ****. So for me, a tuning laptop needs to have a native screen resolution of 1xxx X 768 or higher, which you just dont get in the netbook form factor.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:22 AM   #17
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I use a dell D500 got it used on ebay from a commercial lease was $98 shipped to my door. only thing it ever does is surf the internet and tune works great. I did have to buy a new battery but that was $15 shipped.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:25 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafy View Post
Joe, couldnt you buy an x86 based chromebook and install windows/linux? More or less the same thing.
Probably could.

I'm just at a point in my life where I don't want to have to **** around with computers in order to make them work, I just want to pay money and get what I want. And when it comes to recommending something to someone else, I prefer not to recommend things that require them to do hacking / rooting / whatever.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafy View Post
So for me, a tuning laptop needs to have a native screen resolution of 1xxx X 768 or higher, which you just dont get in the netbook form factor.
Sounds like they need to fix their tuning software.

The OP, in this case, is asking about a Megasquirt specifically. I know from personal experience that you can tune an MS (or an EMU) just fine in 800x600.

Also, the 10" EEEpcs had a 1366768 display, so they'd be fine for you. It was the 8.9" machine that had the 1024600 display.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:30 AM   #19
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I know it's a level or 2 above the prices you are looking at, but I've got to recommend a touch screen ultrabook for tuning. I got some acer one for ~$550 or so, and the touch screen is the **** for usability in the car. If you can find a netbook with a touch screen in your price range, that's what I'd go for. Here's an HP one with a touch screen for pretty cheap.
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:30 AM   #20
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Not all the 10" screens. Both of my 10.1" EEEpcs had 1024x600 screens, that you could run at 1024x768 and cut off the sides (or made it a scrolling desktop depending on the setting), and made it look all fuzzy and shitty because it wasnt the native resolution. My first one was a 1005HA and my current one is like the older dual core brother of the same one.
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