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Author Topic: new laptop  (Read 1704 times)

Ernest

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new laptop
« on: 30 Dec 2008, 18:38 »

right.  so my last laptop (a Velocity Micro that cost about $1700 originally) was recently stolen out of my house on campus by a group of hoodlums.  anyway, the insurance company will give me some money for it, and I'm using that plus other money to buy a new computer.  I'm looking at HPs and other Velocity Micros right.  The HP seems to be the choice as far as price goes, but I'm gonna want to be able to play some games on the computer, and I don't know if HP outfits their laptops with the appropriate sort of cooling systems and whatnot.  My stolen Velocity Micro had one of those spoiler fans on the back, and it would still heat up pretty good in the middle of a large battle in Medieval II.  It wasn't a wussy machine, either.  Velocity Micro makes affordable gaming PCs.  I just don't know exactly what to get right now.  also, I go to school, so it has to be a laptop.  any suggestions?  thanks 
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Dimmukane

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Re: new laptop
« Reply #1 on: 30 Dec 2008, 19:51 »

I haven't used one myself, but supposedly those chillpad things work pretty well.  They attach to the bottom and provide additional cooling and are fairly cheap.  Getting a good gaming laptop that doesn't have heat issues is not going to be easy.  The Dell XPS M1730's aren't too bad.
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KvP

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Re: new laptop
« Reply #2 on: 30 Dec 2008, 20:23 »

I'd advise cruising through Newegg and like sites. You might find some notebooks that aren't really "name brand", per se, but for the price of an HP or Dell machine you can get an ASUS or Acer notebook with better hardware. The internal parts of every single computer on the market are invariably made in the same places by the same companies, the only real differences between brands are going to come down to customer service and, more importantly, driver support. You can get a pretty decent gaming notebook for around $700-900, if you look around. Generally the really hardcore gaming notebooks are going to cost you a lot more than that, and unlike with desktops the differences in rendering power between a $1,500 and a $2,000 machine aren't going to be that drastic. But for under a grand you can get a machine that will play most recent games very fast at medium settings at not-too-small resolutions. If you've got an extra hundred or two to invest in a no-questions-asked warranty, all the better.

I got an $800 notebook last month and it runs Mass Effect and Neverwinter Nights 2 at very high frame rates with little compromise as far as graphics settings go. Fallout 3 has some hiccups but it's otherwise golden. As far as cooling goes, well... My lappy runs pretty warm most days, and the vent is on the right side, and I'm right handed so I get sweaty hands when using a mouse, but if you've got still more money to burn ($40-100) you can get a base for your notebook that will cool it while running off a USB slot. Those are pretty nice.

So obviously, you'll want a computer that comes with something better than a standard GFX chipset (avoid Intel GMA chipsets or whatever. Gravitate towards ATI or Nvidia chipsets, the higher the product number the better, generally) with at least 512 MB of DDR2 VRAM. If you can get 1024 MB, great (this is what I got). If you can get DDR3 VRAM, even better. You'll want a 2.0 Ghz dual core processor at least. If you can find a better processor, great, but I don't think that you will, as even the 2.12 Ghz's get up beyond a grand most days. If you're going to leave Vista on the system, make sure it's got at least 3 GB of RAM. If you'd rather not deal with Vista, see if the vendor sells XP drivers for the notebook on a disc. You'll still need an XP install disc. Or you could Linux it. With WINE it's not as bad of an OS for gaming as it used to be.

Other thoughts, read customer reviews (Newegg's good for this) and try to pick out consensus on problems and strengths. If the computer has flimsy keys or badly placed vents or impractical LEDs or shoddy disc drives, people will notice and complain. Also, don't be afraid to wait it out until you're absolutely sure you need to buy. With laptops, just like with desktop processors and video cards, there's a lot of competition, and as such prices are always going down. Buying something only to see its price drop by $100 or $150 a week later is a common occurrence. But keep in mind that one of the ways they keep prices low is by limiting supply, so if you think something you want is going to sell out quick, jump on it.

Hope that helps.
« Last Edit: 30 Dec 2008, 21:07 by KvP »
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Melodic

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Re: new laptop
« Reply #3 on: 30 Dec 2008, 21:02 »

Don't do Acer, Dell, or HP; look into Lenovo and Asus. Don't expect miracles, and don't browse specifically for "gaming" laptops.

Most laptops can be broken into price ranges: whereas some desktops might have high-end processors but shit for GPUs, almost invariably if you pay for a strong CPU you will get an equally potent video card. Ignore outright any laptops with Intel integrated graphics, and remember that any M-version chipsets are generally about two steps lower than their desktop counterparts (an 8600M would behave like an 8400GT).

Mobile CPUs are very limited in terms of scope. You'll have an array of speeds from 1.4 to 2.2ghz to choose from, and more importantly than speed is the chipset the processor is based on. The Pentium M & Celeron M chipsets suck. The Core 2 Duo or Turion 64 x2 are what you want to look into.

RAM is important, especially since no modern laptops ship with XP anymore. 2GB is absolutely minimum, and 3GB is probably a safe distance for gaming. The usefulness of 64-bit OS in laptops is really slim, so upgrading for an extra gig of RAM is probably not worth it.


If I had to name names, I'd take a look at Lenovo's line of IdeaPads. In terms of gaming, expect universally to pay exponentially dependent on what maximum year you want to be playing modern games: you can play Fallout 3 at fair resolutions, but expect to pay an arm and a leg. Be reasonable about what you're expecting. A laptop that can play games reasonably, with good storage space, will probably set you back upwards of $1,000.
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clockworkjames

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Re: new laptop
« Reply #4 on: 31 Dec 2008, 01:00 »

Stay away from acer.

If you want a *Gaming* laptop, I recommend you find the best company for your country. In the UK it is Rock who make the best laptops for good value/quality/aftersales so just look for the people who back up their own work with their own warranty using trusted components, but (hard part) are a small enough company so you are not just a number on a billing slip to them, I know alot of people who have had alot of laptops, Rock always come out on top.

They had some guy stealing alot of hardware from them while working for them, they almost ceased trading but now they are back on top for customer care and awesome laptops.
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Ernest

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Re: new laptop
« Reply #5 on: 01 Jan 2009, 22:56 »

Thanks a bunch for all the help, guys!  I'm not looking specifically for "gaming" laptops, but rather a laptop that will be able to run new games at medium to high settings for the next year or two.  there is some stuff coming out in the near future I want to play.  my price range is definitely over $1000 and almost certainly under $2000
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