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Lap top recommendations

EFI Tuning Fundamentals

Discussion and questions related to the course EFI Tuning Fundamentals


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Hi just wondering the best all round lap top to use for tuning purpose?

I would say get the best you can buy that has high IPC. That way it can keep up with the ECU in the car

You really don't need anything super powerful or expensive. I aim for a middle of the road laptop with plenty of USB ports and good battery life. SSD hard drive is a nice addition as it's less likely to fail due to vibration. I'm currently using an HP Elitebook 840 and it has been great. Laptops generally have a limited life span for tuning so there's no sense spending thousands on something that you may be replacing in 12-18 months time.

Here's some other considerations:

Screen Resolution - if your ECU and/or logging software is flexible with layouts etc then more screen res allows you to fit many more tools on one page.

SSD - not only good for vibration as Andre has already mentioned but these make a big difference to battery life and boot times. A must have in my opinion.

Keyboard layout / Number keys - most ECU software uses "Function keys" as short cuts. Some laptops are a pain in the ass with the Function keys sharing the same keys as numbers. Make sure you look for one where these are separate keys. I use an older Elitebook that also has a separate number pad beside the keyboard which makes it nice to enter many numbers quickly.

Screen - if you intend to tune/log outdoors - at the track or on the road, try to test the screen in sunlight - some (especially the glossy ones) are very poor in sunlight.

Charging port - even with good battery life, you will often find yourself needing to tune with the charger plugged in - look for a robust charging port and think about its positioning too - Some will have different preferences to me but for instance I like most of my cables coming out the left side so that all the clutter is towards the passengers seat and not tangled around my legs etc (RHD in NZ).

Laptop weight is another consideration, as well as where the internal ventilation fans intake and exhaust from. I have used laptops that have the fans drawing from underneath the chassis, this is fine when it is on a desk or other hard surface, but when it was on my legs in the car on the dyno, the inlets just happened to line up with my legs, blocking the ports and causing the laptop to overheat.

When it comes to heat management, for the most part, the faster and more powerful a laptop is, the greater is its cooling requirements. You can use a lower spec laptop with most tuning software, without a performance hit (just get more memory as a tradeoff for a slower processor) and it will have a longer battery life, and not get as hot.

The layout of the ports is also important, my current laptop (work supplied) has most of the ports on the back edge of the chassis, this means that they are constantly being bent as they catch on the steering wheel, as well as getting in the way and making it harder to place the laptop in a convenient location when connected to devices.