LG Gram 17 Warnings

Discussion in 'LG' started by msintle, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. msintle

    msintle Notebook Consultant

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    Hey folks,

    At my place of work I got a new LG GRAM 17 notebook, which I was expecting to be a marvel of a device. I thought it might finally help me replace my Surface with a better alternative. Ever since the Surface Pro 5 (marketed as Surface Pro 2017) and including the Surface Pro 6, the 1 TB i7 devices have had a serious issue throttling under thermal pressure. Plus, the devices peak at 1 TB / 16 GB RAM, which is overdue for an upgrade. So the LG, with its upgradeable memory slot, and TWO SSD slots, seemed it would be the perfect solution.

    WARNING!!! THIS IS NOT THE CASE. This device has some serious issues, which make it a worse alternative than the Surface Pro 6, at least for now (assuming the bugs can be fixed at the firmware/UEFI BIOS level).

    1) The UEFI BIOS is buggy. If you upgrade the device to use two SSDs, both may need to be the same type. The documentation indicates that the SSDs are "Self-Configuring". While this sounds great on paper, it doesn't work well in practice at all. I inserted two different types of SSDs, and the device rebooted itself a few times (never booting Windows), and eventually powered down completely. I figure the speed auto-negotiation failed. I was going to run it with a 2 TB Samsung 960 PRO and the 1 TB of the previous generation Samsung. Now I am using just a single 2 TB Samsung 960 PRO.

    What is most frustrating is that if you could actually get past the UEFI BIOS, it would work properly. In my case, if I cleaned the second SSD using diskpart clean on another PC, it would get through the UEFI BIOS just fine, boot into Windows. I even formatted the SSD and installed a ton of stuff there. Then after I rebooted...imagine my surprise when the device just wouldn't reboot until I had removed the second SSD.

    2) The CPU THROTTLES SEVERELY. Please see attached screenshot:

    super slow.png

    This is a REAL-WORLD SCREENSHOT from the LG GRAM 17.

    That's right, its running slower than 400 MHz!

    Mind you, this isn't while the PC is idle or doing normal power saving via SpeedStep or similar. It's when you're actually trying to do work on the PC.

    3) FORGET ABOUT SUPPORT. Here's what LG support had to say regarding both matters above:

    #1 - I will be more than glad to provide the right information that you need to know about the laptop that you have. Our 17" laptop is built with 2 SSD slot and both slots can only take up to 8 Gb each, the laptop is already on its maximum performance and no longer can take higher RAM than 16gb.

    Notice how the agent is totally confused between SSD and RAM slots. Totally reassuring, I know.

    #2 - In regard with this, let me provide you the right information about this matter. We have checked our support system and if the laptop is under heavy load, then it is normal for it to slow down.

    Great, get used to running at 300 MHz in 2019.

    And one other minor thing:

    4) There's no gigabit LAN adapter. The device actually ships with a USB C 100mbit LAN adapter. Yes, LG couldn't figure that it might be a better idea to include a gigabit LAN, or better still, a USB C dock type solution.

    I am a huge fan of the LG LW70 from a decade and half ago:

    http://www.notebookreview.com/notebookreview/lg-lw70-review-pics-specs/

    Like the LG GRAM 17, the LG LW70 was super thin (for its time), super light (again for its time), and had super long battery life (you get the idea). It was sheer delight using it.

    The LG GRAM 17 remains FAR SHORT of what they had achieved 15 years ago.

    Huge promise, even greater disappointment.

    I cannot recommend this device to anyone.

    The weight and thinness benefits are self-standing. Everything else about it falls short. You expect some kind of performance scalability from a 17" laptop, after all. Not that it runs at 400 MHz, a speed I've NEVER seen my Surface Pro 6 scale down to.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
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  2. msintle

    msintle Notebook Consultant

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    5) I do have a new problem. I have connected a single external USB drive to my GRAM 17 as well as a USB C dock for gigabit LAN.

    The battery is currently draining DESPITE the GRAM being plugged-in.

    It has drained about 20% in the past hour:

    discharge.png

    I thought this device was supposed to have all-day battery support...and not 5 hour UPTIME while PLUGGED-IN TO THE A/C MAINS!!!
     
  3. msintle

    msintle Notebook Consultant

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    6) Sadly, any time I seem to think the machine has stabilized, a new issue seems to be cropping up.

    New issue today: Connect an HDMI cable to a TV. Device immediately blue screens with an Intel driver file referenced. Driver stock. OS installation stock.

    Super disappointing.
     
  4. hfm

    hfm Notebook Prophet

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    It's beginning to sound like you should exchange it for another one. I haven't had any of these problems you are having.
     
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  5. Sir Punk

    Sir Punk Notebook Deity

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    All the LG Gram make a compromise of weight so you have to expect some trade offs. The heat management is really poor, and yes the customer service is useless. So you have to accept these compromises. It's too bad because it's a great concept.
     
  6. hfm

    hfm Notebook Prophet

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    I love it. Improvement in the heat management just to get some higher sustained boost clocks is literally the only complaint I have.
     
  7. Briarned

    Briarned Notebook Enthusiast

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    It sounds like you got a lemon, which does happen unfortunatley.
    I have an LG Gram 13 and it has been working flawlessly. I like it much better than XPS 13 it replaced.
     
  8. kneehowguys

    kneehowguys Notebook Evangelist

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    I had an unrelated question asking for advice:

    Where would you buy the LG gram 17 if you wanted a good return policy? (In case you get a lemon)
     
  9. DKLMaui

    DKLMaui Newbie

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    As this seems to be the only forum on LG Gram 17" technical issues that I can find in Google, I'm posting some hopefully helpful observations myself.

    First, thanks to MSINTLE for the original post, quite informative. Despite his warnings, it let me know I could add a 2tb drive to the machine, so I went ahead and bought one at Costco where I can return it for 90 days if it doesn't work out.

    However I did have a serious challenge trying to upgrade the SSD.

    After cloning the original drive with Acronis, it wouldn't boot. Acronis is still working on the problem, 24 hours after a 2 hour support chat. LG support was useless, they said not to install anything larger than 1tb IN TOTAL (both drive slots)! I still haven't heard back from Acronis as of this writing but was able to get it going myself after turning off Secure Boot in the UEFI settings. For some reason the UEFI just wouldn't recognize the cloned SSD as safe.

    I am using an Intel 660, M.2 NVME PCIE 2 tb, which after the initial booting struggles seems fine. I also added another smaller 256G drive of the same type (not SATA) and it recognized the two drives fine.

    So far I haven't seen any of the other reported issues with HDMI or throttling, but will report back if I do. I don't game but do a lot of photo editing (so the large screen is awesome) and so far it seems fine for that purpose.

    I have also tested Throttlestop, a CPU undervolting utility briefly, which seems to not only reduce heat but allow you to (CAREFULLY) set your own throttling parameters based on heat limits. Still very initial, I'm actually hoping I don't have to bother and so far it seems fine with whatever the latest factory software is doing. I will report back later if different.
     
  10. hfm

    hfm Notebook Prophet

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    I would imagine we're all using Throttlestop to try to optimize voltages (therefore heat) and power limits. The only problem there is you can't trust what works for someone else due to CPU tolerance variances, tolerances of other components, heat management variances, etc... (long gone are the days of the Celeron 300A where everyone could just safely assume it would run at 450Mhz.. heh).

    Give Macrium Reflect a try, I've never had an issue cloning a drive before and UEFI causing an issue. I think the only time that's ever happened is cloning the drive and having both the old and new drive in the system at the same time. You will probably need to wipe the old one. I'm not even sure that's still an issue honestly. Had something to do with volume ID collision or some other related issue causing a problem in Windows.

    EDIT: quickly searching Volume ID looks hardware dependent, probably partition GUID or something.
     
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