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Thinking of getting a laptop...

Discussion in 'Computer Talk' started by tycoonist, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. tycoonist

    tycoonist Deity

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    So I badly need a new computer (my current one is, frankly, on its last legs. its had a good life, but crashes and the speed have become unbearable.) Thing is, I'll be off to university by this time next year, so i would rather get a laptop than a desktop, as carting a desktop back and forth from (hopefully) Cambridge doesn't sound too appealing. However, I want it to have at least an average capacity for gaming - It needs to be able to run certain specific games - TF2, COD4, Civ4 and preferably civ5 when it comes out. i realise that the price for gaming laptops can be quite prohibitively expensive, so i was wondering if i could get some pointers as to a good place where i could find a reasonably priced laptop that meets these criteria... or you can try and dissuade me from getting a laptop altogether if you want :p
     
  2. PeteAtoms

    PeteAtoms FormulaRandom

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    I think you should provide a price range, it would be helpful to know :)
    What do you consider "reasonable?"
     
  3. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    For all of those except perhaps Civ5 (to be determined), you don't need a gaming laptop to have good graphics, excellent frame rates, and a fun experience. Average - which is much cheaper than gaming - should be adequate. My 2.97-year-old laptop with a video card that is identical to the GeForce 9500M GS plays COD4 at 1280x800 with more than 60 FPS on all except a couple maps, with medium settings except no anti-aliasing. Average today should do better.

    This Dell Studio is a good example of a laptop that will handle these games quite capably, without any upgrades. I don't know what your definition of "reasonable" is, but factoring in the exchange rate and general higher price of PCs in the UK than the US, it seems like a pretty reasonable price to me.

    A decent place to find laptops that have particular video cards is Notebookcheck, whose ATI 5650 page I used to find that Studio. It'll allow you to figure out what level of video performance you need, and then compare laptops with that level of video performance.

    I agree with going with a laptop over a desktop for college. Although I only travel to and from college 4-5 times a year, having my laptop at home instead of using an old computer on its last legs is definitely worth having a well-performing laptop instead of an awesomely-performing desktop during the year. The one time I left it behind over a short break and surfed the 'Net like it was 1999 confirmed that.
     
  4. Genocidicbunny

    Genocidicbunny Bug squasher

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    Dont get a Dell, HP, Gateway, Toshiba or Acer consumer-grade laptops. That includes Dell Studio. They are made to break, and often right after warranty expires.

    I would suggest looking at the business lines as they are generally much more reliable. For a single consumer, (insert laptop manufacturer) can expect repeat business maybe once a year to the tune of 2000$ while with a business, every other year they can expect, tens, maybe hundreds, or with a large company, millions in purchases. Thus, quality varies accordingly. They don't care if your little consumer laptop breaks, they lose practically no business to that, but if a company that makes major purchases isnt happy, they will lose a lot of money.

    With that said, some things that you need to tell us is first off, what is a reasonable price? Is it 2000$? 500$? What?

    Second, what kind of weight are you willing to put up with? A gaming laptop will be heavy -- too heavy to take to class easily, and will mostly be tied to a desk, albeit still more portable. A smaller 13" model on the other hand, will be fairly light and you will get more mobility out of it.

    How important is gaming to you with this? I can give you a laptop that will run TF2 just fine, but it wont be pretty at all. Price range will really limit your choices, so if being able to run games really well is your primary concern, be warned that you will need a higher budget.

    I won't try to dissuade you from getting a laptop, but know this: with a similarly priced desktop, you will get a much better computing experience. So don't try to kid yourself that you'll be getting a gaming beast. Very few people can afford a laptop like that.
     
  5. taper

    taper Meet Tux

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    I second looking at business laptops. They're generally built better than the regular consumer ones. Whatever you do never buy the cheapest student model from any maker.

    You might also look at getting a gaming desktop and a lower-end netbook or laptop for carrying to class. Depending on your needs you might even end up spending less this way because high end laptops can be pricey.
     
  6. Fëanor

    Fëanor Chieftain

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    If you want a mid-level gaming laptop I would suggest you at very least wait that the mobile version of the nVidia GTX460 is released.
     
  7. Genocidicbunny

    Genocidicbunny Bug squasher

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    That's gonna take a while, and a mobile 460 will be the highend 4xx mobile chip. Doubtful that you would find it on anything under 1000$
     
  8. tycoonist

    tycoonist Deity

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    Thanks for the replies...

    I'm not entirely sure what kinda price i consider reasonable... part of the cost of the laptop my parents will pay for i hope. I started this thread to get an idea of the kind of price range i would be looking at for a mid-range gaming laptop. To expand a bit more on the gaming front, I want it to be able to play games like TF2, COD4 at a high level, and i would also like to be able to play some newer releases, if on lower graphics (games like L4D2, Civ5, Fallout New Vegas, Portal 2, Deus Ex 3)

    As for weight, that doesn't really concern me. I don't plan on using it to take notes at uni, i have always found that writing is better for me, i seem to remember stuff i write down better than stuff i type. I have written all my notes for 17 years, i don't see why i should change now, just seems pretentious. Basically, this laptop is gonna sit on a desk, but be moved between houses maybe six times a year. You won't find me typing out my latest short story at Starbucks ;). N.B. this also means that battery life probably won't be much of a factor, neither will the laptop heating up now that i think about it...

    i'm not concerned about looks much either. if it runs nicely, i don't particularly mind if it looks like it was carved out of a block of cement.
     
  9. LightFang

    LightFang "I'm the hero!"

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    I highly recommend that, if you want to play video games (who doesn't? ;) that you get both a desktop and a netbook. Use the netbook to go to class; use the desktop back in your room for serious gaming. For the price of a decent gaming laptop you could get a pretty nice desktop + netbook combination.

    The problem with gaming laptops is that they have the worst parts of desktops and laptops. They're heavy, the battery life sucks, they're not upgradeable...

    P.S. Don't get Alienware, those are overpriced.
    P.S.S. I like my HP. I've never had bad experiences with HP computers, though your mileage of course may vary and obviously anecdotal evidence is hardly evidence.
     
  10. civ_king

    civ_king Deus Caritas Est

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    I think the MAINGEAR eX-L 15 is a very nice laptop, ($1600 though)
    15.6" 1600x900 screen
    i5-520M 2.4GHz (3MB L3 Cache)
    ATI® Mobility Radeon™ HD 5870 1GB GDDR5
    4GB 1333MHz RAM
    250GB WD @7200
     
  11. Fëanor

    Fëanor Chieftain

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    Price: €999 ($1270)
    Medion Akoya X7811
    17" 1440x900 (WXGA+)
    Intel Core i7 720QM 1.6Ghz with Intel® Turbo Boost up to 2,8 GHz and 6 MB Intel® Smart Cache
    4GB DDR3 (SODIMM) PC8500 1066 MHz
    ATI® Mobility Radeon™ HD 5870 1GB GDDR5
    500 GB @ 5200 RPM

    The screen is pretty atrocious (16ms reaction time) but the rest is pretty good for that price
     
  12. tycoonist

    tycoonist Deity

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    thing is, i don't want the laptop for going to class. the only reason i want a laptop rather than a desktop is that i don't want to cart a desktop back and forth between Cambridge/Durham/York and London 6 times a year.
     
  13. civ_king

    civ_king Deus Caritas Est

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    What about Small Form Factor? Like shoe box size? (212 height/170 width/393 Depth)
     
  14. mdwh

    mdwh Deity

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    And just to add to his point about it being for University, people might not be aware that the problem with Cambridge is that they kick you out every term, so it really is moving your stuff six times a year, with no opportunity to leave things, or stay there all year round. (I went when laptops were expensive things, so I had to lug a desktop, not to mention there were no flat screen monitors in those days... then there was the boxes of stereo system, CDs and tapes - it's interesting to think that now when I take my laptop, I'm effectively carrying more than what used to take up loads of big boxes. And I'm not that old, this is just what's happened in 10 years or so!)

    @tycoonist - good luck with Cambridge!
     
  15. tycoonist

    tycoonist Deity

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    I'm running a shuttle atm, had it for a few years. built it myself, with a bit of help from the 'rents. its kinda cool i guess, and certainly easier to transport, but i've found it very hard to upgrade (newer graphics cards don't fit, PSU is a serious issue) which makes it as bad as a laptop. also, i'd still have to move around the monitor, keyboard etc.


    @mdwh: thanks! really hope i get in. its all kinda dependent on getting some good (and i mean really good) AS level results. competition's kinda fierce, but i reckon if i can get an interview i'll stand a good chance.
     
  16. civ_king

    civ_king Deus Caritas Est

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    If you could fit all video cards in it and it had a 1KW PSU? With top of the line CPUs?
    It can even fit the "OMFG THAT GPU IS A FOOT LONG!" Radeon ATI 5970 :eek:
     
  17. Genocidicbunny

    Genocidicbunny Bug squasher

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    But thats the thing, you cant, not without some serious heat concerns.

    Also, 12" GPU's arent all that amazing. I used to have a graphics adapter that was closer to like 14 or 15"
     
  18. civ_king

    civ_king Deus Caritas Est

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    Then why would Maingear sell the X Cube which you can BTO with ATI 5970 and i7-980X?
     
  19. Genocidicbunny

    Genocidicbunny Bug squasher

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    And like I said, serious heat concerns. If they stuff a liquid cooling system in there, maybe, its possible, but otherwise, with such a small space it is going to run hot and very loud.
     
  20. tycoonist

    tycoonist Deity

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    This is just from my personal experience, but i found that to upgrade my shuttle, i needed a new graphics card, for which i needed a new PSU, neither of which fit.

    Besides, that's not why i want a laptop.
     

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