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Laptop advice


Where am I? What turn is it?
Jun 7, 2012
Milwaukee, WI, USA
To start, I should note, I don't have much experience buying laptops myself. I've recently been looking, but I can't really say that I know what I'm doing. Currently I'm looking at one that is in my price range, and seems to have decent reviews, but I can't be sure.

I'm looking at the highest level Dell Inspiron 17r

Spoiler :

Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64-Bit, English
2nd generation Intel® Core™ i7-2670QM processor (2.20 GHz, with Turbo Boost up to 3.10 GHz)
8GB Dual Channel DDR3 1333MHz
1TB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive
NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 525M (128-bit) 1GB
8X DVD+/-RW Tray Load Drive, no-software
DataSafe 2.0 Online Backup 2GB for 1 year
Switch by Design Studio - Diamond Black
17.3" High Definition (900p) LED Display with Truelife™
Integrated 1.0MP Widescreen HD Webcam
6-cell (48WHr) Battery
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 1030 & Bluetooth
HD Audio 2.0 Support SRS™ Premium Sound
Integrated 10/100 Network Card
Adobe Acrobat X Reader
DAO English Regional Base Components
Inspiron 17R

What I like most, is it seems to have great RAM, hard drive space, and the top I-series processor. I think it has a decent graphics card, but i honestly can't say. Also, it nails my price range at $849.99 (+ or - maybe $75 is my range, but not particularly strictly).

All i need to do on it, atm, is run CiV. Aside from that, i stick to web surfing and Microsoft Office. Not particularly high demands (Though I'd enjoy running CiV at higher than minimum, as I do now. I know I don't even try huge maps anymore :lol: ).

I've been told, however, that Dell's run like crap. So, my question is, what would you recommend around the same price range, that you think would be best?

Any help is appreciated.
If you're dead set on getting a gaming laptop, I'd stay away from Dell and look towards other computer manufacturers like Asus. Since CiV is a graphical intensive game, you're going to need a separate video card (e.g. Not an integrated video card), which by the looks of the Nivida card, it is :). If you get a chipset that does the hybrid integrated/discreet card (like the Nividia Optimus line), you may have to set it up so that it will use the discreet card instead of an integrated one.

Cooling is also another issue, unlike a desktop where it has enough space to cool itself, you're going to need some active cooling pads to place underneath to add in airflow. Some air pad models have fans that can be powered directly from your laptop via USB.

My experience with Dell largely comes from experience not only with the poor quality of their computers, but also with their customer support.
CivGeneral, I would have to disagree here. I am currently running that very laptop, but I have the Nvidea 555M optimized. Nvidea is not an integrated video, and the 550M/520M is an optimus video card.

The game runs very smoothly at full everything. It would even work if you down rezed the game. I can even hook it up to a 60 inch Pioneer Plasma and the colors changed slightly since the Plasma is not quite HDCP ready. I added the 3D option, with glasses but the 3D is not something to die for game wise. I upgraded the DVD to blue-ray as it was a chance to get both a 3D blue ray player and a great computer at the same time. Even at 8 Gig of ramm, it is still ok.

Not only do ships and airplanes cast a shadow, but you can see colored reflections of both in the water. I played an epic game huge map to about 2000 turns in a few days.

I do agree on the cooling and you can hear the fans screaming so playing in a cool space is advisable, and/or get a room fan to keep air circulating. This laptop, the XPS, version is not a flat laptop. The battery housing comes down about an inch, lifting the laptop up at an angle, to allow air to circulate underneath, but sorta defeats having a cooling pad under it. I went for this instead of a gaming laptop, because Dell lets you pick and choose additions. Gaming laptops are not as modable.

For those with LED screen laptops, the back lighting defualts to very bright. I had to adjust mine down a couple of notches, due to it giving me a headache.
That Dell should be suited for Civ5, as far as laptops go.

To throw in a potential alternative for a similar price:


A bit smaller and more portable, a bit more graphics power, 8 or 6GB RAM will make no difference.
Smaller but faster HDD.
CPU will be a bit slower in highly threaded applications, in Civ5 probably no difference to the one in the Dell.
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