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Affordable Gaming Laptop?

BlankzillaBlankzilla The Year 198XBeing Xtreme to the MaxxRegistered User regular
edited December 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey there H/A,

I am looking for a new laptop. Something in the 500-600 range, maybe a bit more if necessary. My current laptop is, well, a piece of shit. It is two years old and wasn't very good when it was new. I tried to run The Old Republic today and got a lovely Star Wars themed slideshow. So, I am looking for something that is fairly decent for games. I don't need to run Battlefield 3 or Rage on High or anything, but I would like to be able to play new things.

Any advice?


  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    Do you need a laptop? That's the first question.

  • BlankzillaBlankzilla The Year 198X Being Xtreme to the MaxxRegistered User regular

    That is why I am asking for one.

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    Affordable, gaming, laptop. Pick two of the three.

  • PeccaviPeccavi Registered User regular
    You can probably find something in the $6-700 range, that's how much mine cost a few months ago. Won't be able to play the latest shooters on superhigh, but regular games and mmos? Easy-peasey. Yay Xbox 360 keeping hardware requirements down.

    Best to look around on newegg. Can't do any searching at the moment as I'm on my phone, just wanted to offset the idiotic "lol gaming laptop" replies.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Affordable, gaming, laptop. Pick two of the three.

    Not necessarily....

    $600 will get you a decent laptop with (most likely) an onboard intel video chip or a low end ATI, but it'll have a core i5 and 4 gigs of ram behind it, with possibly a 7200 rpm hard drive.

    I mean obviously video is going to be the dominant factor, but I've got a build similar to that in my laptop and I can run most games fine as long as I'm not all about the high end graphic sliders.

    There's a difference between "can it run this game at a reasonable 20 something fps so it's enjoyable" and "can it run RAGE on full blown money shot mode"

    But honestly yeah, I laptop that will run games at the console standard of graphical enjoyment is probably going to set you back closer to $800 after taxes. I think for that you can get one with a 1gig dedicated card and no battery life.

    However since you already have a laptop that'll check e-mail and play the youtubes $600 will get you a decent mid range gaming PC.

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  • BartholamueBartholamue Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    The key to finding a gaming laptop is to not look for the words, "Onboard" "Intel Video Card" on the tag. Look for AMD/ATI/NVIDIA. Intel video cards are used for general things, ie: stuff that isn't games.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Careful with that, some of the ATI/Nvidia chipsets are just as bad as the intel ones. Avoid matrox like a fucking plague, yes apparently there are still some matrox chipsets running around in the wild.

    bowen on
  • BartholamueBartholamue Registered User regular
    Yeah, I agree with that, too. I think on-board video in general, is bad.

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  • EgoEgo Registered User regular

    This isn't the chart I normally link for laptop GPUs, but for some reason I'm having trouble finding the one I'm thinking of. If I do, I'll link it. That said, this one looks to be similar and about as accurate.

    So, I'd basically identify a large group of laptops in your price range (that run ATI/nVidia GPUs), hunt up which ones have the best GPUs, and then compare the rest of the hardware in the systems.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular

    Might let you run SWTOR on medium settings. Don't get your hopes up, gaming laptops are generally terrible, or super expensive.

  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    I know you already confirmed you need a laptop, but if there's anyway around it I would advise you to reconsider. I have been down the "gaming laptop" road. I got a machine that served me well for a couple of years, but it was still inferior to a desktop I could have built at the same time for several hundred less, and when it began to struggle with the latest games there was of course nothing I could do to improve its performance in any meaningful way.

    Some gaming laptops are undoubtedly impressive machines for what they are, but for the same amount of money you could get a very good gaming desktop and a netbook or a decent desktop and decent general-purpose laptop.

  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Gaslight wrote:
    Some gaming laptops are undoubtedly impressive machines for what they are, but for the same amount of money you could get a very good gaming desktop and a netbook or a decent desktop and decent general-purpose laptop.

    Not with the amount of money ($500-$600) he has to spend he's not.

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  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    Oh. I missed where he specified that his pricerange was $500-600, I just saw he wanted a "gaming laptop." My bad. Well, good luck. I don't doubt you could get something that will play WoW or TOR for that. Anything more intensive than that, I don't know. He said he didn't need to play BF3 or Rage on high, but I would think he'd be lucky to get to high settings in TF2.

  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    You can get a pretty decent gaming desktop for $500-600, assuming you already have a monitor. Whereas any laptop you buy in that budget, especially if it's supposed to have gaming specs, will be poop from a butt. The trade-off for specs in that price range is going to be cheap components and terrible build quality.

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  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    I'd keep an eye on NewEggs e-blasts (their email specials) and jump on the first big sale you see. Also keep an eye on Woot.com

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    The only way you will get anything that even begins to deserve the label of 'gaming laptop' in the 5-600 dollar range is to jump on a blowout sale, but it's frankly unlikely you'd find a good value at that price. You might be able to get by on something like the one bowen linked, but it probably wouldn't deliver what you'd call acceptable performance.

    You might be able to find a refurb in your price range that'd give you better value, but 'refurbished laptop' is an even bigger RUN AWAY sign that 'gaming laptop.'

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  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    Keep in mind that the gaming laptop will run hot and heavy, and if you have to run a game off the CD drive it'll also generally be loud, because with the mobile graphics card and high end processor squeezed in there they usually skimp on all other components. You're pretty much guaranteed to need a service plan if you use it over a year, and forget about batteries: the 2-3 hour span you get with intense gaming will dwindle down to a dead battery in 1 to 1.5 years.

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  • CatrichorCatrichor Registered User
    I have a relatively good gaming laptop that I got around about your price range. Its a refurbished Dell laptop.

    They have a website where they list newly refurbished ones everyday, and if you're patient (and perhaps don't mind a scratched case) you can actually get some good stuff at a great price.

    You have to check it out regularly though as they only usually have one of each model. So be quick.

  • CasualCasual Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Flap Flap Flap Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Affordable, gaming, laptop. Pick two of the three.

    Agreed. I don't know how much cheaper electronics are in the US but in the UK a gaming laptop worth the name will set you back £1000 at least, a decent one would be £1200 and the mutts nuts will be ~2k. $600 is probably decent general purpose laptop money but not a gaming rig. I would consider either stashing the money until you can save an extra couple of hundred and get something worth the cash or changing your laptop only stance.

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  • EliminationElimination Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    I paid 600 for my Acer. It has an AMD 5670 (1gb dedicated) and a quad core CPU, as well as 6gb's of DDR3. Runs games great. Even on high settings. I run stuff like Space Marine on highest setting at around 35 FPS (So not FPS-whore speeds, but more than playable.) the laptop actually surprised me it worked so well for the price.

    Just look for AMD heavy laptops, as the APU/crossfire hybrid laptops are fairly cheap, and have real dedicated video on them, not those crappy intel integrated chips. These should allow you to play anything out there. Maybe not everything at the HIGHEST, but you'll be able to play at decent and playable settings anything that is out there. APU/Onboard hybrid laptops also dont run very hot AT ALL (Mine sure doesnt, even in heavy gaming at lan parties or when im travelling.) so the "it overheats!" is a misconception with AMD parts.

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  • RynaRyna Registered User
    for a few bucks over $700 you could get a laptop running a NVIDIA GeForce GT 540 which would run games quite fast on a 1366x768 screen. I saw a Gigabyte model.

  • mr_michmr_mich Registered User regular
    Resolution is very important here. Good luck getting a laptop to run new games on 1920x1080 at a reasonable price. If you don't use an external monitor, a lot of laptops have smaller screens (especially at lower price ranges) with lower resolutions to match.

    I got an Alienware M11x for like $600 when they were doing the hardware refresh. It's no beast, but being able to play Civ5 and such while at the cigar bar is nice. I don't really endorse Alienware, but it's a solid laptop and portable to boot, if that's your thing.

    Still, remember that with a laptop you're committing to the life of the hardware, inside and out. Whether waiting until one of those stops being useful or dies, that's how long you're making this investment for. You're buying a system that will last you for a few years, you should plan on it not being a paperweight by then. Unfortunately, that's going to cost you way more than such a machine would really be worth, in my opinion.

  • shutzshutz Registered User regular
    Back in August 2010, I purchased a gaming laptop from Amazon. (It was actually Amazon.ca, and the laptop cost about 1200$CA)

    The laptop in question is an Asus Republic of Gamers laptop, and it's worked pretty smoothly for me. I got it because my 4 year old laptop (which was top-of-the-line in 2006, and cost 2400$CA) couldn'T run Starcraft 2 acceptably. The new laptop runs Starcraft 2 at 1920x1080 smoothly. In fact, the only upgrade I've been considering recently is to add more RAM (4GB is getting a bit tight for when I'm running a bunch of things simultaneously.)

    Not much point in recommending my particular model, but I recommend taking a look at what Asus currently offers in that particular line. Here's a link to Amazon.com which shows all the relevant models:


    You might have to consider going up to 800$ or 900$ for something worthwhile, because at less than 700, I wouldn't expect much more than integrated Intel video, or something equally low-end, which will be OK for 2-year-old games, but not for current games.

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  • RadicalTurnipRadicalTurnip Registered User regular
    I, like others here, would recommend a Desktop if it's at all possible. Furthermore, if you can build it yourself, that would be highly recommended. If not, can you build a laptop yourself? If not, it will need to be refurb on a deals site or something like that.

  • flameshocksflameshocks Registered User
    Excuse me, I have been looking at laptops for over a week now and i simply do not know what i want to get. i was looking at hp pavilion dv7-6c95dx. I want a laptop that will run WoW on high maybe ultra settings, but i want it to run smoothly the entire time. I also want to be able to play new games coming out like skyrim and stuff. any suggestions? Also Bestbuy geek squad laptop insurance and remarks?

  • Captain MarcusCaptain Marcus The East Germany of the U.S.Registered User regular
    Excuse me, I have been looking at laptops for over a week now and i simply do not know what i want to get. i was looking at hp pavilion dv7-6c95dx. I want a laptop that will run WoW on high maybe ultra settings, but i want it to run smoothly the entire time. I also want to be able to play new games coming out like skyrim and stuff. any suggestions? Also Bestbuy geek squad laptop insurance and remarks?

    I would head over to G&T if I were you. They'd know.

This discussion has been closed.