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Laptop Replacement/Suggestions Thread: Bring out yer dead laptops!

CheesecakeRecipeCheesecakeRecipe "Should not be allowed to post in the Steam Thread" - IsornSqualor Victoria, Squalor Victoria!Registered User regular
So my old Macbook Pro that I bought for school 6 years ago finally had the power brick give out a few weeks ago. After replacing one fan and seeing the other dropping out slowly, having a 10 minute battery life and the power brick finally dying I decided it is time to cut my losses and get something new. I've kept up with desktop parts but hardly their mobile equivalents so doing some shopping around has left me wondering what exactly I want or need, and what is the best I can get for my budget. Due to constraints, i'm looking at a budget of about $500-$650, and I don't think I have much more wiggle room than that.

Right now the most tempting one I've found is this neat model of Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 which has most of the specs i'm looking for (Higher than 4GB of RAM, i5 mobile proc, nvidia graphics solution) but the reviews are showing that this model may be prone to failures and there are a ton of horror stories about Lenovo's tech support. I'm not quite sure I want to take the risk, but that price is pretty nice for what it's packing. I've looked at some Asus, HP and Sager models but each one seems to be either of a lower end processor, intel HD 3000 only graphics, or way above my price range.

To give an idea of what I want to be able to do beyond the usual media capabilities, something that can handle multitasking between several chat programs, a media player and a hefty web browser (I consider myself an internet power user, for better or worse my several week long 80 tab firefox sessions have become legend to my friends). I do want to have some kind of gaming capability on the go, something beyond just Football Manager and Dungeons of Dredmore. Being able to run 3D stuff at least somewhat decently is what i'm after, League of Legends and Legend of Grimrock, etc. More examples can be worked out if need be.

So how screwed am I for selection, Moes? It's a really tough call being able to find an affordable and reliable machine that could offer what i'm after for that price but i'm hoping you guys know more about laptops than I do and can help point me in the direction of some models you think would work for me, ones you've had experience with would be even better.

CheesecakeRecipe on
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  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    If you are looking for a cheap laptop that can play games, it might be worth waiting until AMD Trinity comes out. That would make it possible to get a laptop without a separate GPU which for the same price could mean a better overall laptop.

    This review should give you some idea of what to expect as far as gaming performance.

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  • AlectharAlecthar Alan Shore We're not territorial about that sort of thing, are we?Registered User regular
    Both AMD (Trinity) and Intel (Ivy Bridge Mobile) are releasing new mobile platforms fairly soon. Both will have fairly solid integrated graphics, with AMD having the advantage in graphics, and Intel the advantage in CPU horsepower.

  • CheesecakeRecipeCheesecakeRecipe "Should not be allowed to post in the Steam Thread" - Isorn Squalor Victoria, Squalor Victoria!Registered User regular
    Eegad, those processor benchmarks are a near total whopping, but those GPU benchmarks are something else! How soon are we talking for launch of either of these though? I'm going to be doing a lot of travelling starting the 22nd of June through the week after the 4th of July and would like to have something set up before I get on the road.

  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    In theory Trinity should be out and I think dual core Ivy Bridge cpus should be out just about now. However I haven't noticed any actual trinity laptops just yet.

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  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Registered User regular
    sony.ca looks to be finally adding some Ivy Bridge options...

    $1179.99 - 15.5" S
    i5-3320M
    GT 640M LE (2GB)
    8GB (4GB fixed onboard + 4GB removable) DDR3-1333MHz
    640GB (7200rpm) hard drive
    15.5" LED backlit Full HD IPS display (1920 x 1080)

    $200 more gets you an i7-3612QM
    $50 less downgrades you to GT 640M LE (1GB)...which I'm little confused about (same model that is)

    I is tempted.

    [PSN: SciencePiggy] [Steam]
  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    EvilMonkey wrote: »
    $50 less downgrades you to GT 640M LE (1GB)...which I'm little confused about (same model that is)

    Not that uncommon for the same card to exist in two versions with differing amounts of memory. The Radeon 6950's in my desktop system come in both 1GB and 2GB flavors.

    bowen wrote: »
    The bacteria in your poop exist everywhere.
  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Gaslight wrote: »
    EvilMonkey wrote: »
    $50 less downgrades you to GT 640M LE (1GB)...which I'm little confused about (same model that is)

    Not that uncommon for the same card to exist in two versions with differing amounts of memory. The Radeon 6950's in my desktop system come in both 1GB and 2GB flavors.

    Good to know. Now to dig up some comparisons. Or...work I suppose.

    EvilMonkey on
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  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    I think that the 640 LE might be a pretty bad card. I think it might be Fermi generation while the 640 is Kepler.

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  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    I think that the 640 LE might be a pretty bad card. I think it might be Fermi generation while the 640 is Kepler.

    It feels like I have so few options. Don't do this to me cook! :P

    EvilMonkey on
    [PSN: SciencePiggy] [Steam]
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    Another thing is that on laptops you should pretty much ignore the amount of video ram. Unless you are getting some 2 GPU monstrosity (and you shouldn't) there isn't going to be enough computing power to use more than 1 GB of RAM.

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  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Most of what I read when I purchased my desktop GPU(s) indicated that unless you're going above 1080p in resolution, more than 1GB of video RAM isn't going to make much difference anyway.

    Edit: Oh shit, I didn't notice one card he's talking about is a 640 and one is a 640 LE, I thought their model alphanumerics were exactly the same. Yeah, I'd be willing to bet the "LE" is a gimped (SE, "Suck edition") or otherwise lesser card even apart from the amount of RAM.

    Gaslight on
    bowen wrote: »
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  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Registered User regular
    They were both LE's unfortunately. The only options I was allowed for the S series was HD4000, 640M LE 1GB, and 640M LE 2GB.

    [PSN: SciencePiggy] [Steam]
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    What exactly are your looking for in a laptop, EvilMonkey?

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  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Registered User regular
    I had posted in your thread as well, but essentially....
    - Max $1500
    - 15" at least 1600x900 resolution
    - ~500 GB, 7200rpm
    - 8GM RAM
    - A plain case that doesn't scream "gamer" or look military grade. Mostly because I think the later is ugly and I wouldn't want to bring the former into a client office.

    I work with VMs and have a NAS for backups / media so want a fast HDD with reasonable space. I'm assuming SSD isn't an option but wouldn't complain if the price was right.

    I want to run Diablo 3 on say medium and maybe BF3 on low. I don't expect to run anything on high but in terms of what kind of future-proofing I'd like, I'd hope to be able to play the current gen stuff on low. This is however primarily a work machine so this is the first wish-list item to get axed if need be.

    [PSN: SciencePiggy] [Steam]
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Shouldn't be too hard to find. Sager/Clevo in particular have a very plain look.

    I'm still considering this one. Which could be had for $1000 if you don't mind a glossy screen (make sure you order an OS). That would leave you plenty of money for an SSD and you could still use the hard drive for backup or storage or whatever. Meanwhile it will be quite a powerful gaming machine. Xotic ships to Canada but there may be taxes/fees involved. If you are interested you could look into a Canadian resellers.

    Now finding a PC that fits your description and is as light as that Sony will be much, much harder.

    lowlylowlycook on
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  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Registered User regular
    Shouldn't be too hard to find. Sager/Clevo in particular have a very plain look.

    I'm still considering this one. Which could be had for $1000 if you don't mind a glossy screen (make sure you order an OS). That would leave you plenty of money for an SSD and you could still use the hard drive for backup or storage or whatever. Meanwhile it will be quite a powerful gaming machine. Xotic ships to Canada but there may be taxes/fees involved. If you are interested you could look into a Canadian resellers.

    Now finding a PC that fits your description and is as light as that Sony will be much, much harder.

    Finding a Canadian reseller has been problematic but I should look into what kind of damage shipping+customs+whatever would be.

    And that Vaio is a sexy beast but not the end of the world to lose out.

    [PSN: SciencePiggy] [Steam]
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    You might read this thread. It seems that you end up paying the same taxes either way, so it's really a balance of shipping costs vs prices.

    And don't necessarily let me talk you out of that Sony, if the video card is good enough for you then the fact that it's a rebadge of a last gen part doesn't really matter.

    [edit] Or this thread.

    lowlylowlycook on
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  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Registered User regular
    Well your links did help uncover some Sager dealers I didn't know about. It sucks not having a local vendor for DOA scenarios but may have to bite the bullet on that one. Thanks much sir.

    [PSN: SciencePiggy] [Steam]
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Haha, if I've convinced you on the Sager, you might have convinced me on the Sony.

    It turns out that that only some GT 640M LEs are the old Fermi chips. Hopefully Sony used the good 640M LE which is just an underclocked 640M. Which should be enough to play any game I'd want to play on a laptop except for perhaps Civ V (I don't really care to play that at 768p and I can't find very many benchmarks for that class of GPU).

    Hmmmmm.

    Oh and a big Fuck You to NVidia for such an amazingly dumb naming move.

    lowlylowlycook on
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  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Hmm there does seem to be some hope there...
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Sony-updates-its-S-series-laptops-with-Ivy-Bridge-and-Kepler.75106.0.html

    Edit: Their "chat now" staff were less than helpful. Assuming it even was a person typing. I did get a chuckle when his language became less robotic (for lack of a better term) when I asked for a person rather than a bot. I'll try calling in tomorrow.

    EvilMonkey on
    [PSN: SciencePiggy] [Steam]
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    Now I've also got my eye on this gigabyte.

    Basically its a 14" ultrabook with a 640M (no LE!) and a 900p glossy screen. So it's a tradeoff between losing the optical drive and getting a better video card. Should be out mid-June which is cutting it close for me.

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  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    I hate that my MSI fx420 has an optical drive. I wish it didn't.
    It's not a trade-off.

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  • CheesecakeRecipeCheesecakeRecipe "Should not be allowed to post in the Steam Thread" - Isorn Squalor Victoria, Squalor Victoria!Registered User regular
    I did some more digging around, and I found this Asus Laptop that seems to have a better graphics card but a higher resolution than the Lenovo I found. What do you guys think of this one?

  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Registered User regular
    After trying "chat now", calling, and sending an e-mail, Sony's official answer regarding Fermi v Kepler is....we don't know.

    I've read multiple, unofficial, reports that they are using the Kepler models but with no return policy (other than DOA scenarios) they are doing a great job of pushing me towards a Sager.

    [PSN: SciencePiggy] [Steam]
  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    EvilMonkey wrote: »
    After trying "chat now", calling, and sending an e-mail, Sony's official answer regarding Fermi v Kepler is....we don't know.

    Inexcusable. There has to be somebody who knows.

    bowen wrote: »
    The bacteria in your poop exist everywhere.
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    I did some more digging around, and I found this Asus Laptop that seems to have a better graphics card but a higher resolution than the Lenovo I found. What do you guys think of this one?


    On your budget, I'd be going for something like this Pavilion from HP

    dark umber
    Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
    AMD Quad-Core A8-3520M Accelerated Processor (2.5GHz/1.6GHz, 4MB L2 Cache)
    1GB AMD Radeon(TM) HD 7690M GDDR5 Discrete Graphics(TM) [HDMI, VGA]
    FREE UPGRADE to 6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
    FREE UPGRADE to 640GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
    Microsoft(R) Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word/Excel(R) only, No PowerPoint(R)/Outlook(R)
    No additional security software
    6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (standard) - Up to 5.5 hours of battery life +++
    15.6" High Def LED HP Brightview (1366x768)
    SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
    HP TrueVision HD Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone and HP SimplePass Fingerprint Reader
    802.11b/g/n WLAN
    Standard Keyboard with numeric keypad
    HP Home & Home Office Store in-box envelope

    Total of $600 with coupon code NBW3244

    Ideally you'd upgrade the screen but I don't really see how to manage that.

    Again, I'd wait for the Trinity (A10) version of this. Maybe then you could cut out the GPU and upgrade the screen.

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  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    For what it's worth, I've had a Sager 8660 for 4 years now and really still like it. I got it from powernotebooks.com which has an absolutely amazing customer service experience.

    Other than the fact it's heavy as hell, I mean.

    I am in the business of saving lives.
  • CheesecakeRecipeCheesecakeRecipe "Should not be allowed to post in the Steam Thread" - Isorn Squalor Victoria, Squalor Victoria!Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    I did some more digging around, and I found this Asus Laptop that seems to have a better graphics card but a higher resolution than the Lenovo I found. What do you guys think of this one?


    On your budget, I'd be going for something like this Pavilion from HP

    snip

    Total of $600 with coupon code NBW3244

    Ideally you'd upgrade the screen but I don't really see how to manage that.

    Again, I'd wait for the Trinity (A10) version of this. Maybe then you could cut out the GPU and upgrade the screen.

    I'm looking for it on the site, I don't see the exact model yet but the coupon code is neat ($75 off). Though the model you listed has a much weaker processor and GPU compared to the Asus I linked, as well as a smaller screen resolution. Also, HP's shipping solutions are putting me all at "Will ship on the 19th", which is cutting it way too close to the 22nd for my liking. What makes this HP desirable compared to the Asus I linked for the $50 difference that seems to make a world of performance difference?

    EDIT: As well, and unfortunately for my selection I want to steer away from AMD parts as much as possible. I have used their graphics cards in the past and it was a constant, hair pulling nightmare both hardware and driver wise. I'm not entirely against the idea, but let's just say I see AMD and I get gunshy.

    CheesecakeRecipe on
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Well the HP's GPU is actually better and in theory can do crossfire with the CPU's built in GPU.

    Also it's a 15" laptop so it's easier to tote around.

    lowlylowlycook on
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  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Found a new one to do some research on...
    http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/webca/LenovoPortal/en_CA/catalog.workflow:item.detail?GroupID=458&Code=20993AU&category-id=FD2E87DA2C36F27C12CC7CD3494BC0ED

    Lenova IdeaPad Y580 ($1,143.20)
    3rd generation Intel Core i7-3610QM Processor( 2.30GHz 6MB)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX660M 2GB
    8.0GB PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz
    15.6" FHD LED Glare Wedge 1920x1080
    500GB 7200

    Seem to find very mixed reviews on Lenova however.

    Edit: Or downgrade the screen to 1366x768 and save ~$300. Yikes.
    Edit2: Scratch that, you also lose the BluRay player for that $300. Shame that it doesn't seem like you can ditch just the BluRay.

    EvilMonkey on
    [PSN: SciencePiggy] [Steam]
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    EvilMonkey wrote: »
    Found a new one to do some research on...
    http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/webca/LenovoPortal/en_CA/catalog.workflow:item.detail?GroupID=458&Code=20993AU&category-id=FD2E87DA2C36F27C12CC7CD3494BC0ED

    Lenova IdeaPad Y580 ($1,143.20)
    3rd generation Intel Core i7-3610QM Processor( 2.30GHz 6MB)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX660M 2GB
    8.0GB PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz
    15.6" FHD LED Glare Wedge 1920x1080
    500GB 7200

    Seem to find very mixed reviews on Lenova however.

    Edit: Or downgrade the screen to 1366x768 and save ~$300. Yikes.
    Edit2: Scratch that, you also lose the BluRay player for that $300. Shame that it doesn't seem like you can ditch just the BluRay.

    Do you actually need a Blu-Ray player in your laptop? Last I heard, the functionality of them was absolute garbage in regards to software and what not.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

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  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Registered User regular
    Esh wrote: »
    Do you actually need a Blu-Ray player in your laptop? Last I heard, the functionality of them was absolute garbage in regards to software and what not.

    I don't, which is why I'm trying to see if I can keep the high-res screen but ditch the Blu-Ray :P

    [PSN: SciencePiggy] [Steam]
  • CheesecakeRecipeCheesecakeRecipe "Should not be allowed to post in the Steam Thread" - Isorn Squalor Victoria, Squalor Victoria!Registered User regular
    Well the HP's GPU is actually better and in theory can do crossfire with the CPU's built in GPU.

    Also it's a 15" laptop so it's easier to tote around.

    15-15.6" would be nice since I have a case for one that size, but the higher res screen for the 17.3" sounded much better than the 1336x that pretty much every 15" seems to come with. Overall, the AMD's just don't impress me with how bad their processors are, I tried to match an i5 with an AMD card like the one you listed for a bit more horsepower but alas, even with the coupon it still extends past $700. And my biggest problem with buying an HP right now is that the longer I wait to order, the later it takes. If I were to buy it right now (which I don't have the ability to right this second), it would leave HP on the 21st, a day before I have to leave. My vacation may be being pushed back a week, but even then it's just going to take forever. Especially if I wait for them to push out any new chips into their lineup.

    EvilMonkey wrote: »
    Found a new one to do some research on...

    Lenova IdeaPad Y580 ($1,143.20)


    Seem to find very mixed reviews on Lenova however.

    Yeah the first one I linked above (Lenovo IdeaPad Z570) was what I feel, a really nice all around computer but so many negative reviews and one look at the support forums backing up the claims that the IdeaPad lineup seems riddled with problems has scared me away. It doesn't look like it happens to all of them, but I don't know if I want to take that risk!

  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    OK, so I'm kind of liking the idea of the new Samsung 7 15".

    I think a 640GT is just about what I need and even if the screen doesn't have great view angles, I don't see that being a problem. Another downside is that the battery isn't removable.

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  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Registered User regular
    Samsung has been very slow releasing the new series 7 line in Canada. I've only found one configuration locally, hoping to see some variation soon.

    [PSN: SciencePiggy] [Steam]
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    According to some guy on notebookreview here are some facts about the new Vaio SE 15":
    Some users in China have received their S15. Some tests revealed some facts.
    1) Hard drive interface is still locked at SATA2. This is confirmed by two different sources.
    http://benyouhui.it168.com/thread-2213558-1-1.html
    Sony Vaio SVS15116GWB 开箱 - Mobile01

    2) Memory on board is using DDR3L (Low voltage version, 1.35V). It is not certain whether regular DDR3 will be compatible or not.

    3) GPU is using Kepler architecture, instead of Fermi architecture

    4) Fan noise is 19db(Idle) and 43db(Fully operating)

    link

    Both the Kepler and fan noise seem good. I guess I'm going to order one. Only drawback are the screen has some problem with showing orange instead of red. Well, I'd like the slice battery to be less than $150, but I'd be using that a few times a year at most anyway.

    lowlylowlycook on
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  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    Asus, why the hell would you put that weak-ass rebranded Fermi shit in the new Zenbook?

    Sorry, I am annoyed right now and this was the closest thing to an appropriate thread to express my irritation in.

    bowen wrote: »
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  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Somehow I managed to overcome analysis paralysis and I ordered the Vaio.

    After doing so many configurations to check pricing, coupons etc., it felt rather odd to actually order something.

    lowlylowlycook on
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  • EvilMonkeyEvilMonkey Registered User regular
    I almost walked out of a store with a $1250 ASUS.
    i7-3xxx (don't remember, online store is showing incorrect specs)
    750GB 7200RPM
    8GB RAM
    GTX 650M
    1920x1080 screen

    And now the motherboard on the better-half's laptop fried itself so shopping again. I actually might go the VAIO E series route for her.

    @lowlylowlycook: Be sure to post when you get it, would be nice to see another review.

    [PSN: SciencePiggy] [Steam]
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    I will. And that Asus should be nice. It was the other option at the end for me.

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