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Help me pick a laptop

lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
So my old Dell XPS has died and I need a replacement. I could probably go as high a s $1500 but lower is definitely better.

Priorities are
1) Capable of light gaming (I can play demanding games on my desktop)
2) Boots up/wakes up quickly
3) Decent screen/keyboard. I think matte would be much better than a glossy screen.
4) Need to get it by mid July since that's when I'm hitting the road

Options so far:

Sager 9165
2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i5-2450M/nVidia GT 650M
Pros:
1080p screen
Can be set up with SSD boot drive and a platter data drive.
Cons:
Expensive compared to other options
Not exactly thin and light

HP Pavilion dv6t
/nVidia GT 650M
Pros:
1080p screen is supposed to be very nice.
Can be set up with 32GB SSD Cache drive.
You get a lot for the money if you find a good coupon code.
Comes with nice bonuses like Blue Ray, i7 etc.
Cons:
HP doesn't have a great reputation for quality on non-business
Not as compelling without 33% off coupon and I can't wait for too long for one.

Samsung Series 7
i5 2450M/HD6750M
Pros:
Light/Thin
"Hybrid Sleep" seems like just what I want for quick startup times.
Built in 8GB SSD Cache could be bigger but should help disk access times.
900p screen should be high enough resolution and be a bit easier for the video card to handle.

Cons:
Screen is supposed to be not the greatest
Battery is not renewable.

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Posts

  • floobiefloobie Registered User regular
    Can you define "light gaming"? Because, for people who already have a desktop, I'm usually pretty inclined to recommend a Macbook Air. It checks all your other boxes. They can handle Blizzard and Valve games pretty well, and most any indie title without any issues. But, if that's no enough for you, or you have a distaste for Apple, just ignore that.

    I'm of the opinion that a laptop should be about mobility and build quality first. Sacrificing either totally defeats the purpose of having a mobile computer. It should be able to function for a decent amount of time without a power source (my personal cutoff is 5 hours), and it should be designed to be moved around constantly (a consideration desktop computers aren't bothered with). Most any Macbook covers all those bases very nicely. So do a lot of Asus notebooks I've encountered, and the odd Vaio as well.

    If you don't mind it being a bit beefy, and you want some rock-solid gaming performance, consider one of these: http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/MX35848 (note, Canadian dollars, and they can be specced higher). Great build quality, decent battery life (given the size of the thing), and what should be ample performance for gaming. If you find that excessive, have a look at some of Asus' less gaming-oriented offerings.

    I've also heard good things about Dell's current XPS lineup, though I haven't personally tried one.

    As for the ones you have listed... Samsung seem to be decent enough, and I've seen Sager mentioned here a few times, though I have little experience with both. HP, on the other hand, will have to change pretty dramatically to get a recommendation from me. I've seen and endured far too much poorly made garbage from them to speak favourably of them.

  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    floobie wrote: »
    Can you define "light gaming"?

    Well, I keep on changing my mind about exactly what it is, I want. On the one hand, I have enough older games or not so demanding games in my Steam Bank (TM) that not much of a GPU would be needed. On the other hand, a moderate GPU seems to be quite good so why not.

    That said, I think I could consider any PC that could play, say, Civ V.

    I don't have any real desire to own a mac, partly due to old prejudices and also the fact that they come at a premium.

    I'll look further into Asus, I know that they are often recommended for actual gaming PCs but I haven't had a model catch my eye yet.

    [Edit] Seems like this one might be worth looking at. Hard to get a full spec sheet though.

    lowlylowlycook on
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  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    Yeah my friend has an Asus very similar than that one you linked and loves it to death. I'm willing to bet money that it will suit you just fine.

  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    Well, I was reading up on that Asus N56VZ on Notebookreview's forums and apparently while it was still on pre-order the version Amazon has listed a 786p screen. Someone called up Asus and they said that all the N56VZs had 1080p screens and that's how it's listed now. But someone has reported getting the laptop and getting a low res screen.

    If I ordered it off of XoticPC it would be several hundred more.

    Bah.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I was probably going to recommend a mac air too. Unfortunately if you like to play civ 5 with others this rules out macs of any flavor as they're not kept up to the latest patch level as PCs.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • floobiefloobie Registered User regular
    Hm, Civilization V is relatively demanding from what I hear. Certainly too much for integrated graphics to handle. So, that would indeed rule out a Macbook Air.

    Yeah, I'd go with the Asus. See if Newegg or Tigerdirect has any in stock.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Civ 5 is fine unless you play it longer than 20 minutes.

    Oh god is the performance terrible. My macbook pro is the only computer I have that can run it without shitting its pants. But I'll double agree on the Asus, seems like the best choice.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Registered User regular
    I'm also in the market but I've been holding off for the rumoured Windows 8 upgrade offer launch as well as waiting for some third gen i5 models to hit.

    Anyone have any impressions of the 1600x900 or 1920x1080 screens? I'm curious if it's worthwhile putting the better resolution on my wishlist because that requirement seems to really restrict my options. Primary the laptop would be used for development with running Diablo as a secondary function. I very (very) rarely watch tv/movies on my current machine and my wishlist does not include a blu-ray drive.

    [PSN: SciencePiggy] [Steam]
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Well there is a separate question about the quality of screens vs. just the resolution. Poor screens might have narrow viewing angles or low contrast. Also how reflective the screens are. Clear screens are brighter and maybe sharper but show a lot of reflections so can be harder to use with bright lights or outside.

    The resolution is a matter of personal preference; Do you want more information on screen or do you prefer larger icons/text? (of course this can be adjusted by software as well). One downside of higher res screens is that it takes a more powerful GPU (read hotter, more expensive and sucks down your battery) to get the same graphics in games at that higher resolution. But beware it seems that most low res screens are made just to be cheap and are often pretty bad as far as the quality goes. Normally, programmers want high resolutions screens so they can have as much info on there as possible, but maybe an external screen could help you there.

    As laptop prices have come down generally the manufacturers have gone cheap so that it is true that insisting on a good screen will limit your options.

    There are other issues such as accurately reproducing colors, etc., but if you needed to know about that you probably already would.

    [Edit] Oh, and I haven't tried the betas or whatever but I haven't heard much good about Win8 as far a actual computers go. Maybe if you had a touch screen it would make more sense.

    lowlylowlycook on
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  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Thanks for the response.

    I generally treat my current laptop as a portable desktop. Whether I'm on site or at the home office (sitting on the couch with a laptop cushion) it's plugged in. That is, battery life isn't an issue but heat related to playing Diablo on the couch may. I was leaning toward the higher resolution for coding (either more terminals on the screen or increasing the "coding area" real estate in VS) but was somewhat hoping for some "you don't need it" stories to widen my buying options. Oh well, back to playing the waiting game.

    Edit: I haven't heard many good Win8 stories yet either but it would be nice to have the $15 upgrade option if I ever want to give it a shot. And if the rumors are correct we should be hearing something within a week.

    EvilMonkey on
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  • GnomeTankGnomeTank What the what? Portland, OregonRegistered User regular
    Win8 will be fine for desktops at release, but the community preview was a disaster on desktops. Basically Microsoft had disabled the option to just use a regular Windows 7-style desktop on PC's, forcing Metro on. This will not be the case at release. You will be able to "anchor" metro in a very small portion of your screen, or just turn it off completely.

    I've owned two Sager's in the past (one under the Sager nameplate, one under Clevo), and they were both really solid laptops. They can be on the pricey side, but they tend to be put together well, and they use high quality parts.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • floobiefloobie Registered User regular
    EvilMonkey wrote: »
    Thanks for the response.

    I generally treat my current laptop as a portable desktop. Whether I'm on site or at the home office (sitting on the couch with a laptop cushion) it's plugged in. That is, battery life isn't an issue but heat related to playing Diablo on the couch may. I was leaning toward the higher resolution for coding (either more terminals on the screen or increasing the "coding area" real estate in VS) but was somewhat hoping for some "you don't need it" stories to widen my buying options. Oh well, back to playing the waiting game.

    Edit: I haven't heard many good Win8 stories yet either but it would be nice to have the $15 upgrade option if I ever want to give it a shot. And if the rumors are correct we should be hearing something within a week.

    Going super high resolution on a laptop can be a bit iffy. The 15" Macbook Pro I have is running at 1680x1050. I love it... I can get so much on the screen at once, especially coming from my old Macbook at 1280x800. But, I know others find things to be generally too small on the screen, so they opt for the standard 1440x900 display. I can see 1080p on a 15" laptop being a bit much. Makes for great pixel density, though...

    It seems to be pretty difficult to get a decent screen on a consumer laptop, though. They all seem to be tending toward the 16x9 aspect ratio, instead of 16x10. I definitely appreciate having a bit extra vertical resolution. And the 1366x768 resolution most of them seem to be adopting feels particularly lacking in that regard.

    As for Windows 8: Are they actually segregating the two interfaces more, allowing for Metro to be almost completely disabled? Or is that still speculation? That would definitely address the majority of my concerns with it.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank What the what? Portland, OregonRegistered User regular
    They are doing that. In fact, it's done, just disabled in the community preview. It was mentioned in some interview with one of the Windows 8 product managers, in response to all the angst from desktop users.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    floobie wrote: »
    Hm, Civilization V is relatively demanding from what I hear. Certainly too much for integrated graphics to handle. So, that would indeed rule out a Macbook Air.

    Yeah, I'd go with the Asus. See if Newegg or Tigerdirect has any in stock.

    Integrated graphics on Macs (Intel HD3000) can handle Civilization 5 just fine, FYI. They've improved quite a bit over the past few years.

  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    Grab one of these but option up an SSD? That should still cost less than $1500, and be pretty bloody good for playing games on. Hell, slap a quad-core in it and it's still under $1500...

  • floobiefloobie Registered User regular
    Esh wrote: »
    floobie wrote: »
    Hm, Civilization V is relatively demanding from what I hear. Certainly too much for integrated graphics to handle. So, that would indeed rule out a Macbook Air.

    Yeah, I'd go with the Asus. See if Newegg or Tigerdirect has any in stock.

    Integrated graphics on Macs (Intel HD3000) can handle Civilization 5 just fine, FYI. They've improved quite a bit over the past few years.

    The 9400m in my old Macbook was surprisingly competent. I played Starcraft II comfortably on it. I haven't personally played Civ V... I've just heard random people saying it requires a fair bit of power. If you actually play it, your opinion is worth a lot more than mine is.

  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    As aware some as the macs might be, one of those windows laptops will do a better job for less cash.

    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | Switch: 5961-4777-3491
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  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    Grab one of these but option up an SSD? That should still cost less than $1500, and be pretty bloody good for playing games on. Hell, slap a quad-core in it and it's still under $1500...

    That's one of the cases where I wish you could downgrade a video card. Really for my needs a 650 is already probably overkill. But otherwise it seems like a nice deal. I'll give it a look.

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  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    There are a bunch of different bases to build from on their site.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    As aware some as the macs might be, one of those windows laptops will do a better job for less cash.

    Goes deeper than this. OSX is less intense than Windows7 on CPU and memory if I recall.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    As aware some as the macs might be, one of those windows laptops will do a better job for less cash.

    Goes deeper than this. OSX is less intense than Windows7 on CPU and memory if I recall.

    Windows 7 laptops are better for gaming dollar for dollar. That's how it works.

    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | Switch: 5961-4777-3491
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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Plus they make good leg warmers, like I said, it goes deeper than this.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    Let's not make this about Apple. I'm not about to buy one.

    In other news this makes me think that HD3000 wouldn't really run Civ5 at 1080p given that HD4000 is supposed to be a lot faster:

    47220.png

    From Anandtech.

    It's pretty annoying see Civ be harder to run than TotalWar.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    It's mostly end game that it starts to drag FPS/CPU I think. I'd crank down resolution and quality a notch though, laptops aren't supposed to be "beautiful" quality in game at high resolutions (plus ow your legs, ow). In civ5 especially.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    He doesn't want a Mac. Let him get a Win7 laptop. Both options are great.

    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | Switch: 5961-4777-3491
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  • kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    What's your usage profile? You said hitting the road - are you literally driving around with this thing? Are you talking it to class every day? Flying around with it in your luggage?

    kaliyama on
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