I didn't feel willing to drop 2300 for a new one, but I wanted to try one out for a week or more after testing them at Blizzcon and Dreamhack. I won an ebay auction for 1180$ (2013 14" 512GB edition) and have been using it now for about a month.
It's kind of fun to take this to a coffee shop, sit down between all the MAC users and watch the funny looks they give me.
The 512gb embedded ssd has proven an absolute must for me(so no 256gb). The 765m gtx video card, while faster than my old 675m gtx is having a few lag moments when I run greater rifts in Diablo 3. Star Wars battlefront seems to be running fine.
This thing is getting really hot and when it does, the internal fans get really loud. For the first time I have been using my Cooler Master Note Pal with fans and it is finally a needed component.
These laptops do not have optical drives nor a RJ45 jack for wired networking. There are only 3 USB 3.0 ports to work with. To reload the OS I can either use the embedded partition or slipstream with a pendrive (super fast). I purchased a J5 Create USB3 (www.j5create.com/our-products/ethernet-adapters/juh470.html) gigabit network adapter plus 3 port USB hub and it is working perfectly!
My only remaining challenge is that I would like to start using this as my work laptop (instead of the heavy dell inspiron I currently use). There are 2 problems here. First, a technical one...how do I get my work environment to this machine. I think I have this one solved by using VMware to create an image of my work machine. The second problem is an IT policy that does not allow the use of personal devices; however, in my role I rarely use my actual machine during my "profitable" (when I am delivering training) work activities. Most of the time I am connecting to a classroom of Virtual Machines with GoToMyPC while being connected to an "Islanded" network outside the DMZ.
In the end I really like this machine so much that I think I will buy a new one after the new year to upgrade to the 970 video card, 16gb ram, and have a machine under warranty. I am half tempted to wait for CES and hopefully a new 2016 model so I can buy the 2015 model new on a clearance sale. The only part on the new model I don't care for is a touch screen.
I use something similar to the J5 Create USB3 with my Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 but i rarely use it because it doesn't need wired much.
I guess the heat issues are to be expected with the smaller form factor, my Yoga gets hot as hell these days and that is even without a a dedicated GPU. I have been loving using the ultra portable laptop and I had thought about going with something similar with a dedicated GPU but I'm not sure how much I would really be gaming on it. With how much you travel I could see the saved weight of going to the Blade being a HUGE improvement
Well the battery terminal for the positive side is damaged from the alarm system install and needs replaced so I just got done taking the battery out and cutting the terminals off and stripping the wires. I will get new terminals and replace. Thinking of getting a nice smaller battery as well for racing since it will save 15lbs.
The list of the next mods are:
1. Nitto NT555R tires - prob 275/40/18 - drag radials.
2. Shaftmasters 1 piece aluminum drive shaft - saves weight - worth about .2 seconds off your 1/4 time.
3. Adjustable rear shocks - haven't decided on brand as of yet.
4. BMR Rear Sway bar
5. Torque Converter - 3K stall or better - will allow for better launches by getting higher into the powerband. Stock converter is rated at 1850 stall which is about 750 to 1000 rpm below where the power band opens up.
Been looking at it and I think that right now - if i go with a power adder - I will go with NOS. Found a nice wet plate system for about a total of $2K with a remote bottle opener and bottle warmer kit with purge as well. This would allow me to run a 100HP / 125HP shot of NOS which should put me in the low 12's close to the 11's with the suspension mods.
I want to see what it will do with these suspension mods as the above should get me into the high 12's around the 12.9 to 12.8 area.
Setting up the suspension to hook will benefit me in the long run more than throwing more power at the car right now.
Wes I have one of those datavac. It's is amazing to everyone I show, when I blow the dust out. Works better than an air can and its electric!
It shouldn't be called a VAC though because its really a blower. But that thing rocks!
This holiday I was graced by a delicious new EVGA 980 TI Hybrid water cooled video card! It is amazing, You can run everything on max settings on nearly any game and the temps are around 50C! Hardly any noise at all. Amazing!