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Laptop Suggestions Please...


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#1 Rogue Runner 7

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:04 AM

Hello all,
This looks like the place for advice (as i know zilch) about computers and cpus and gpus etc,etc. Now i do know that i could build a good desktop system for my budget after reading possibly every recommendation thread in here...lol but as i dont have the space and am only a casual gamer i thought id ask for your recommendations.

OK...budget £600-£700
prefer a 17" screen if poss, no desire for SSD and would like the best performance i can get.
Im from the UK
Simples!

Thanks in advance for any suggestions(unless they are derogatory or insulting)

#2 Gaeb

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:17 AM

I've been a repeat customer at ibuypower.com and just got a CZ-17 from them (17" laptop) - they're a good place to start; prices are really, really reasonable and their techs/help desk are really knowledgeable. I called asking whether to upgrade my video card on my desktop to 2 cards since I had a minor windfall while it was still being built, and the sales rep asked what games I played and then talked me out of spending more money since the card I had ordered was more than sufficient on its own.

If I remember correctly, 700 pounds ~= $1400 (haven't looked at that exchange rate in ages so apologies) which is a mid range CZ-17. Not sure if they ship overseas. Hope this helps!

Edited by Gaeb, 11 December 2012 - 05:56 AM.


#3 Bad Karma 308

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:27 AM

I've always found Sager to have some really top quality laptops for gaming. I've owned several both personal and for business.

http://www.sagernote...selected_cat=11

I'm usually like a kid in a candy store with all their configuration possibilities.....!

Edited by Bad Karma 308, 11 December 2012 - 05:29 AM.


#4 Egomane

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:44 AM

If you want the best performance you should go for an SSD as soon as possible, but let us take a look at some laptops for now ...

I have the feeling that laptop prices in the UK are a bit on the high side, when I look at amazon.co.uk. Haven't found a suitable one there. I will now extend my search to other shops ...

Through idealo.co.uk I found the Toshiba Satellite Pro L870, that would fit your needs in that price range. There is a 120 pound more expensive version where the only difference is, that it runs with win7 professional.

I don't know how reliable the listed shops are.

#5 Bad Karma 308

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:08 AM

View PostEgomane, on 11 December 2012 - 05:44 AM, said:

If you want the best performance you should go for an SSD as soon as possible, but let us take a look at some laptops for now


Egomane is absolutely correct. The largest performance gain that you can actually see is when you go from a mechanical platter drive to an SSD. Traditionally mechanical hard drives have been the #1 largest bottleneck in a system. Many SSDs are now fast enough that the software code is becoming the limiting factor. But the best part is that the prices have dropped radically over the past year and many top performing drives can be had relatively cheaply.

Edited by Bad Karma 308, 11 December 2012 - 06:09 AM.


#6 Catamount

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 08:35 AM

SSDs are a luxury for people with larger budgets. They're nice, but if the OP starts worrying about that, he's going to end up taking money away from where it should be going, which is gaming performance, something he'll already be scraping by on on that budget. If he wants the computer to be able to do gaming even remotely competently, he's going to have to give up opening his programs a little faster for the time being. If he really wants an SSD, he can get one later. For now, the budget just isn't there for a decent GPU, CPU and SSD.

So, OP, what you're really shopping for isn't a laptop, it's a laptop GPU. That's what's going to make the difference between the laptop being able to play games, and not being able to play games, and while that's a statement of the obvious, it's literally the only thing you should care about in terms of shopping for a notebook. Your budget is small for a gaming laptop, and no other hardware really matters, because your computer will do anything else you need regardless of what else besides the GPU is in it. It's not like you can get a good gaming machine at the expense of word processing ability ;)


I am confused on one point though. Why the 17in screen? I understand if you only have the budget for one computer, and want/need it to be a laptop, but if you want it to be a laptop, why are you foregoing all the portability? In any case, it's likely not within your budget. The bigger screen will sap money from the GPU.

The best deal I was able to find you, right at the top of your budget, is this machine:

http://www.pcspecial...s/optimusIV-15/

A Geforce GTX660M is a fairly powerful laptop GPU, and about twice as powerful as the 7670M from the machines linked above. I'd expect MWO to run on mediumish settings (maybe low-medium at 1920x1080 until game performance improves). The screen is only 15.6 inch, but it's 1080P, so you won't lack for actual digital screen real estate like my 1366x768 screen does (the low resolution is annoying as hell when web browsing).

Just configure it like this

Posted Image

It ends up at £702, including delivery

(Everything not shown is just left at default). You might want to spring for the 30 day dead pixel guarantee, since it's only 12 pounds, but that's up to you. I would have preferred to squeeze in 8GB of RAM instead of 4GB, but that's something that will be cheap -~30 pounds- for you to upgrade yourself down the road, when it becomes necessary (and that could be awhile). For now, games are still 32-bit, so they don't use more than 2GB. The hard drive isn't spectacular, but hopefully it'll be big enough, and it is a 7200rpm drive, so it won't be painfully slow (it just won't be super fast). It was just making whatever tradeoffs were necessary to get you a good CPU and GPU while sticking at close to the £699 budget as possible.


Someone might find a better deal than that, but I'm doubtful :P. I've been looking around a lot of UK sites, and have found nothing anywhere close to the same deal (still, waiting a couple days to see wouldn't hurt).



Also, OP, note that if you want a 17 inch screen, it IS available for that machine for just a little bit more.

http://www.pcspecial...s/optimusIV-17/

If you configured that computer the same way, it'd come to £719. Whether it's worth paying a few bucks more for a bigger screen, but a lot less portability (keep in mind, a laptop bag will be more expensive for that, too), is entirely up to you. I won't lie, the 17 inch screen is nice, but I assume you'll be carrying the computer around a lot if you really want a laptop (like me; I carry mine like half a mile every day around campus), and believe me, lugging a big laptop, and trying to find space for it on whatever surface happens to be around, is a pain. A 15inch laptop is much nicer to deal with.

Edited by Catamount, 11 December 2012 - 08:52 AM.


#7 Egomane

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:30 AM

I agree to everything Catamount wrote in the technical part. If I had found that source, I would have made the same choices for most of the build.

Where I don't agree is that a 17" Laptop is in any way limiting. If you don't use a shoulder bag but a backpack for transportation, you won't notice much of the bigger mashine. The 17" will provide for a full size keyboard with seperate numerical keypad, which I find extremly comfortable.

I'm having much fun with my 30 months old 17" laptop and I am carrying it almost everywhere I go. At low settings it is even capable of providing stable 30 fps in MWO. :P

Edited by Egomane, 11 December 2012 - 10:31 AM.


#8 Catamount

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:44 AM

Well, to be honest, I didn't expect anyone to have a deal that good, either :P I was highly surprised any UK store has prices that good (UK prices are usually kind of lousy compared to ours).

As for the 17 inch screen, like I said, it is nice to use. If the OP thinks they don't mind having the machine be a pound heavier, and having to use a full sized backpack instead of a tiny laptop satchel, then I don't see what's wrong with having one, since I've made due with big laptops myself. But the 15in is still that much easier to deal with. I guess it ultimately depends on what the OP's intended use is, but I can think of a lot of travel situations I've been in where a 17' machine would have been a nightmare.

I've linked both machines, so now I'll leave the final judgement on that to the person plopping down the money :P

Edited by Catamount, 11 December 2012 - 10:44 AM.


#9 Quad Ace

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:08 PM

I play on a Lenovo y580. Works great, about $1100 for the good model (google says 645 pounds).

I've got this one.

Edited by Quad Ace, 11 December 2012 - 12:20 PM.


#10 Sen

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:34 PM

Quote

[color=#959595]but I can think of a lot of travel situations I've been in where a 17' machine would have been a nightmare.[/color]


YOU HAVE *NO* IDEA!!!!!!!!!! Especially when you ALSO have to lug an additional 8 lb 15" work "toughbook" style notebook in the same bag UGH >< I had a 6 month stretch where I was flying around for work almost every week. . not a fun experience.

My suggestion to the O/P. . this is all situational, but generally you can get better performance/dollar by dropping down to a 15" notebook. . and then just buy/use an external monitor while at home. There's a reason why they call most 17" notebooks "desktop replacements". and it's *NOT* because of comparable performance :)

[note, i don't just advocate this, I regularly setup my notebook with an external monitor in other parts of the house when my wife wants to keep me closer [presumably so she can beat me] it's a little more convenient than carting around a 20+ lb desktop , etc. Add to that one mouse, one small keyboard, and it actually becomes a fairly convenient portable solution]

Edited by Sen, 11 December 2012 - 02:38 PM.


#11 Tungsten Phoenix

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:19 AM

I have an 2 year old ASUS G73, and it still plays games between medium and ultra settings. It only has an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 card inside. Haven't tried MWO on it yet.

My brother and friend currently use the ASUS G74 series of laptops to play MWO on, with no complaints.

Now ASUS has the G75 series out featuring a Nvidia 670m.
http://www.xoticpc.c...s72-p-4475.html

#12 Egomane

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:22 AM

Did you even look at the price range the OP wants to buy a laptop at, Tungsten?

Those ASUS Laptops cost a lot more!

#13 Tungsten Phoenix

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:35 AM

View PostEgomane, on 12 December 2012 - 07:22 AM, said:

Did you even look at the price range the OP wants to buy a laptop at, Tungsten?

Those ASUS Laptops cost a lot more!


1400 USD is equal to about 867 BPS, right? Not that far off.

Also, if he can find an Asus G74 somewhere, you are probably looking at below his budget.

http://www.tigerdire...4410&CatId=3998

^That one, though it has some different hardware, is 711 BPS according to Google Currency Converter

Edited by Tungsten Phoenix, 12 December 2012 - 07:47 AM.


#14 Sen

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:01 AM

Have they fixed the trackpad on what's now the G74/G75? It was virtually UNUSABLE on the G73 :P

I can't recommend Asus at all for that very reason. . even if you carry a mouse with you at all times, if you EVER have to use the trackpad, forget it ><

#15 Rogue Runner 7

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:24 AM

Thanks very much for all the replies so far, gonna have to look through them when i get home as im sneaking a look whilst at work lol. As with many posts asking for advice i may have to change things and extend my budget to £1000 max.. (definitely! no more) but this will mean waiting til end of January.

Please keep the suggestions coming as i may not have the budget extension, but, IF it happens what do u reckon?
Is SSD then affordable if so whats it for and what size? Is it better to go quad core? Is a Gtx 670m 1.5g better than a Gtx 660m 2g?
Sorry lots of questions and little time. Thanks

#16 Tungsten Phoenix

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:24 AM

I haven't messed with the G74, I don't know.
Never had a problem with the track pad on my G73, only the Keyboard missing a keystroke that they fixed with a BIOS update.

#17 Catamount

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:47 AM

View PostTungsten Phoenix, on 12 December 2012 - 07:35 AM, said:

1400 USD is equal to about 867 BPS, right? Not that far off.

Also, if he can find an Asus G74 somewhere, you are probably looking at below his budget.

http://www.tigerdire...4410&CatId=3998

^That one, though it has some different hardware, is 711 BPS according to Google Currency Converter


Well first off, you're not accounting for UK VAT, which is 20%, so 867 (still WAY out of his budget) is really 1040 after taxes, and 711 becomes 853, still way out of budget.

Secondly, you can't do that with international prices. You can't just take what we'd pay, plug it into a currency calculator, and assume that's what they'll pay. Nations have their currency rates fluctuate against all sorts of other nations all the time; it's not as though UK Laptop Manufacturer X looks at the exchange rate and says "alright guys, we lost two percentage points against the Yanks today, time to drop our machine prices!". Even if they did somehow tie computer hardware prices to US currency (what is this, China?), they just don't get hardware for the same prices. That imported hardware is subject to different fees, their computer hardware markets are subject to different influences based on their own supply and demand situation, there's just a whole slew of factors that influence what a customer will pay for a piece of hardware in a given country, none of which has anything to do with what we'll pay in our little corner of the world.


Third, you have to account for what models are actually available out there. For instance, I might buy Rosewill cases and PSUs here in the US, but the UK doesn't even get them (Newegg's house brand). Other stuff might be available, but only very limitedly. Some brands are very, very rare in some nations. Roccat, for instance, has only been recently available here in the US via Amazon, and they're still only carried in a few places. Even if the UK might have Asus gaming laptops, they might be rare, and they might have a much different selection of tangibly available models.

If you want to make a recommendation for someone in a different country, you have to actually go to sites of that country, and see what's available for what price. I linked the best deal I could find, in actual UK prices; if you think you can do better, then by all means, the OP would be served by it, but there's a certain way you have to go about that.

Edit: Didn't see the expanded price by the OP, but the point still stands. You gotta do the work to find what they'll pay.

Edited by Catamount, 12 December 2012 - 09:15 AM.


#18 Tungsten Phoenix

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:18 AM

View PostRogue Runner 7, on 12 December 2012 - 08:24 AM, said:

Please keep the suggestions coming as i may not have the budget extension, but, IF it happens what do u reckon?
Is SSD then affordable if so whats it for and what size? Is it better to go quad core? Is a Gtx 670m 1.5g better than a Gtx 660m 2g?
Sorry lots of questions and little time. Thanks


I'd say go quad core as more games are being developed to take advantage of it.
As I understand it, quad core processors like the Intel i5 and i7, the main difference is Hyper-threading (4 additional virtual cores). The performance increase on the i7 with the Hyper-threading has been reported to be around 5% on average when used for gaming, as most games do not utilize the additional virtual cores.

As far as mobility versions on video cards, I'm really unsure. The ATI 5870m in my laptop I believe was actually a 5770 desktop chip.

EDIT: http://forum.notebookreview.com/ is a great place for researching laptops of many brands.

Edited by Tungsten Phoenix, 12 December 2012 - 09:25 AM.


#19 Catamount

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:10 PM

View PostRogue Runner 7, on 12 December 2012 - 08:24 AM, said:

Thanks very much for all the replies so far, gonna have to look through them when i get home as im sneaking a look whilst at work lol. As with many posts asking for advice i may have to change things and extend my budget to £1000 max.. (definitely! no more) but this will mean waiting til end of January.

Please keep the suggestions coming as i may not have the budget extension, but, IF it happens what do u reckon?
Is SSD then affordable if so whats it for and what size? Is it better to go quad core? Is a Gtx 670m 1.5g better than a Gtx 660m 2g?
Sorry lots of questions and little time. Thanks


It's tough to say what to do on a budget like that. You could put it into a better GPU, a better CPU, a bigger screen, or an SSD, or all of the above.

To answer your questions, yes the 670 is better. You won't use more than 1.5gb of video memory (you won't ever even use more than 1GB more than likely). Whether it's better to go for a quad core is a more complicated question. Gaming performance will occasionally improve, but not often since most games aren't CPU demanding (MWO shouldn't be once DX11 comes in), and you'll suck up battery life and put out a lot more head at high loads having it. All in all, I'd say it's worth having for a gaming laptop. For the SSD, 120GB should be the minimum, but the bigger, the better. You'll want to put bulk data on an external drive or a second hard drive (if the laptop supports 2) if you go this route.


In the 15" selection, you could get this

http://www.pcspecial...s/vortexIII-LE/

You could configure that with a 670M, put in 8GB (2x4) of DDR3, now you can afford to get the quad core Core i7 3630QM, and you can easily fit a 180GB SSD in there (One of the Intel 330s). Then add a second 500GB 5400RPM drive in there for the second hard drive; that will just be for bulk data storage so it doesn't have to be fast. This is the best 15" I can come up with, but be warned that heat could be a problem.

Be warned, this machine will get hot. That GPU and CPU can easily output 100W+ under high combined load.


At 17", you could get this machine

http://www.pcspecial...ooks/skyFireII/

Put a GTX675M in there, a Core i7 3630QM, 8GB (2x4) of RAM, and a 120GB SSD, and you squeeze in under your budget at £996. You won't have money for a bulk storage drive, but that's okay for now. You can get another hard drive and install it later (it's really easy; the bay is just on the bottom of the laptop under two screws).


Since you think you want a 17" machine, this last machine is honestly probably the way to go. You get all the perks (the quad core CPU, the fast GPU, the SSD), and the 17" chassis will help it dissipate the massive TDP of that CPU and GPU without getting to ungodly temperatures.

Again, it'd be nice to know more about your usage to make sure the 17 inch machine isn't a colossal mistake, but this seems to give the most power at the best price, and again, the bigger machine helps dissipate heat once you start getting to higher end hardware.

Edited by Catamount, 12 December 2012 - 02:16 PM.


#20 Egomane

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:28 PM

I'd configure the second laptop (the SkyFire) a little different. That is purely personal prefernce.

I'd only go for the GTX670m, an i7 3630QM, 8 GB RAM (2x4), a 120 GB intel 520 series SSD and a 500 GB ordinary HDD as a second harddrive for a total 988,- £ including VAT and delivery.

In my configuration you will lose 15 to 20 % power on the GPU, so Catamounts configuration is the better one, as you can most likely upgrade to a second harddrive at a later time. Or you simply mount an external HDD if needed.





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