Aside: I bought (what should be) a refurbished MacBook Pro for less than a grand.

I got tired of waiting for Apple to ship a reasonable laptop with a discrete graphics card and started looking at PC alternatives. I recently pulled the trigger on a refurbished unit from Acer.

I’m not sure why I waited.

My new machine may only have a 4th generation quad-core i7, 16GB of memory, and a 2TB hard drive but it’s got a powerhouse mobile graphics capability in its Nvidia GTX 960M. It runs actually runs CS:GO at 1080p60 with at least a hundred frames to spare. It even renders ArmA 3 at a playable level, with a consistent framerate in the 50-60 FPS range at the same resolution.

It’s conceivably portable, even. The battery life is reasonable enough considering it’s powering a 17″ screen and enough computing power to handle most of what I’m looking for when I absolutely need to use something other than my phone.

Even if the design of the laptop’s casing isn’t up to Apple’s standards, it’s got to be more powerful than most MacBook Pros are today (at least the configurations priced south of three grand). And that realization is a shame.

My main computer until now, a MacBook Air, was a consistent champion considering how underpowered it was, but one thing I always preferred about it was the snappiness of how everything seemed to be thanks to a built-in SSD and modern low-power processor. For what I paid for it, I definitely think I’ve gotten value out of it.

The Acer I picked up is signaling to me that it’ll be giving more value than I could have hoped for.

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