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Netbook, Laptop, Ultrabook[?] buying reccomendations

KadokenKadoken I'm an adultRegistered User regular
As I have "completed" my gaming desktop (by completed, I mean I have met my personal requisites for a title), and most of the games I buy are from sales, besides a few which I'd pay full price to have at or near launch date (Company of Heroes 2, Guild Wars 2). I'm setting my sights on something which I've been wanting for a while.

A portable computer. Now I've been looking at some netbooks, because they are on the small side, portable, and would be great for long car rides, downtime on vacations, and airplanes. I do play games, but really, I'm not expecting Crysis quality preformande. A good benchmark, however, would be something like Max Payne 2, Jedi Academy, or maybe Psychonauts. I've got a couple of older games in their cases and on Steam, Jagged Alliance, Command and Conquer and such.

What I need suggestions for is something optimal for it's price range, which I feel that I'd have trouble deciphering. I'd like to pay below $600, something that has a decent amount of hard drive space (over 150gb HDD) decent battery, RAM, and a mobile videocard that can play most to everything made before 2003. Also a decent CPU.

I like the lightness and smallness of netbooks compared to other computers, but I'm open to suggestion for a anything. Does anyone have any advice of a specific computer or brand to buy from?

suggestions.

Kadoken on

Posts

  • PwnanObrienPwnanObrien He's right, life sucks. Registered User regular
    From my recent personal experience...

    don't?

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  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    I have a super cool desktop, a 14" core i 5 MSI netbook that's supposedly gameable, an EEE PC 10" netbook, an iPhone 4S.
    If i'm not at the desktop or at the couch with the consoles, the only other thing I ever play is my iPhone.
    I never ever game on the go. If I'm not home, I'm socializing or traveling around or doing things that are cooler than pc gaming. The iPhone covers those "damn shoe shopping" or "this line at the bank never moves" moments.

    Of course, you're not me. But some sort of iOS or android ultra portable device might be a lot more gameable on the go than a notebook or other kind of computer.

    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | 3DS: 0130-2805-2850
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  • KadokenKadoken I'm an adult Registered User regular
    I've tried tablets (for long periods of times too) and I like my iPhone for surfing the web and watching YouTube, but I'd like to have something more by my side when travelling and being at the destination then a small phone. Not too mention, PC's are much, much less clunky and have more uses than a smart phone.

  • BullioBullio Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    We have a netbook that's about a year and a half old and I'm honestly not as much of a fan of them as I thought I'd be. They're slow machines that are saddled with W7 Starter and are barely capable of 1080p playback with a mobile Radeon card inside. An upgrade to 2gb RAM (1gb included is the general standard) is pretty much a mandatory upgrade and should be considered into the price. As for gaming, I would check out this list to get an idea of what does and doesn't run on netbooks. You could probably push a little harder if you find one with a Radeon inside. I managed to get WoW running and somewhat playable on ours. As long as you go in with the expectation that you're buying a "it'll do in a pinch, good enough" machine then you probably won't be disappointed, but if you're not pinching every penny (which you seem not to be) I would strongly suggest looking at lower end, cheap laptops like a cheap Thinkpad as your bare minimum.

    Netbooks are much, much better toys for Linux, IMO. It only ever became usable to me after putting Xubuntu on it (Ubuntu yielded similar performance to W7SE). And while it may not be true for you, I have a real hard time typing on netbook keyboards.

    Bullio on
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  • floobiefloobie Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    The only netbooks I've encountered that I found usable have been running some version of Linux. For anything else, you should be operating under the assumption that whatever you try to do on it will only work passably at best.

    For the games you describe, I'd consider this: Find a used aluminum Macbook or Macbook Pro and throw a copy of Windows 7 on it. What you're after in this case is the 9400m integrated graphics (or the 320m, if you can find one for a good price). They are integrated graphics, but they'll still handle the games you're after fairly well. Certainly better than any netbook. Alternatively, you could try to find a 2008 or older Macbook Pro, which will have dedicated graphics. They're quality computers, they're very portable, but still very usable (full-size keyboard, amazing trackpad). A quick pass through my local Kijiji indicates you should be able to get one within your budget. (Edit: Here's an example: http://calgary.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-sell-computers-Apple-MacBook-Notebook-13-Aluminum-Unibody-Casing-W0QQAdIdZ381679796)

    Of course, you can look beyond Macs. Just, in your case, finding a used ultraportable with good integrated graphics or older dedicated graphics would likely serve you much, much better than a new netbook for the same price. Netbooks are indeed small, but they have surprisingly poor battery life... don't expect to be playing games for an entire 8 hour car ride or something. You might get 2 hours out of it if you're lucky.

    floobie on
  • KadokenKadoken I'm an adult Registered User regular
    Eh, I was planning on getting another battery for whatever I got.

  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Where and what would you be doing with that machine? would you be at someone's house or a hotel? Would you have nothing else to do for long periods of time? Because I always give up taking the netbook out of the bag unless I'm going to be using it for a looooooong time.
    I mean, I know from years of experience that you can do more shit with a full laptop, theoretically. But in the end, for stuff like airports and air plane rides and a little gaming at the supermarket and quick email checks at a starbucks, a tablet is a billion times more useable. Also, extra batteries are kinda clunky, and you have to shut everything down to swap it.

    Oh, and playing anything mouse based or FPS on a netbook fucking sucks, and it's even worse on a plane. turn based strategy games are your best bet.

    Of course, this is my experience. I used to think just like you before having all this crap. Maybe you'll feel different, I don't know.

    Stormwatcher on
    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | 3DS: 0130-2805-2850
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  • KadokenKadoken I'm an adult Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Where and what would you be doing with that machine? would you be at someone's house or a hotel? Would you have nothing else to do for long periods of time? Because I always give up taking the netbook out of the bag unless I'm going to be using it for a looooooong time.
    I mean, I know from years of experience that you can do more shit with a full laptop, theoretically. But in the end, for stuff like airports and air plane rides and a little gaming at the supermarket and quick email checks at a starbucks, a tablet is a billion times more useable. Also, extra batteries are kinda clunky, and you have to shut everything down to swap it.

    Oh, and playing anything mouse based or FPS on a netbook fucking sucks, and it's even worse on a plane. turn based strategy games are your best bet.

    Of course, this is my experience. I used to think just like you before having all this crap. Maybe you'll feel different, I don't know.

    What? I have a phone to check on Email and do small things like waiting in a line. Gaming at the supermarket? Why would I take something out like a notebook/laptop or some shit at a supermarket. I wouldn't bring a laptop to the DMV. Waiting for an airplane, long car rides, downtime at hotels, downtime at relative's and far off friends houses, that's where I'd use it for. I would use it for doing more shit without some frustrations of a tablet. You can't do much with a tablet. At least you don't have some convenient things that I like. You can't put the library of older PC games that I have in cases, on GOG and on Steam in a tablet.

    Your incredulous attitude of me wanting to buy a laptop or notebook is irritating the fuck out of me, I'm sorry. Also, you end your posts with a variation of "You're not me"

    like these

    Oh, and playing anything mouse based or FPS on a netbook fucking sucks, and it's even worse on a plane. turn based strategy games are your best bet.

    Of course, this is my experience. I used to think just like you before having all this crap. Maybe you'll feel different, I don't know.
    If I'm not home, I'm socializing or traveling around or doing things that are cooler than pc gaming. The iPhone covers those "damn shoe shopping" or "this line at the bank never moves" moments.

    Of course, you're not me. But some sort of iOS or android ultra portable device might be a lot more gameable on the go than a notebook or other kind of computer.

    The turned based game comment? I have games like Fallout 1 and JA. I'm not taking this shit out at work (Maybe school for note taking). The socializing or "Doing much cooler shit than PC gaming" is annoyingly presumptuous. No, I'm not you.

    I didn't make this thread to get talked out of this, I just wanted a reccomendation of a portable PC that's at my price range which I would like to use while away at a stationary place like a hotel or a relatives house, at downtime. Perhaps while on the road. I don't see Fallout or JA being frustrating while in a car or a plane or some shit.

    Edit: the thread title doesn't mean I would only buy a netbook exclusively. In fact, it says Netbook, Laptop, and Ultrabook (Whatever those are).

    Kadoken on
  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Allergic to whimsy Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Ultrabooks are the PC counterpart to the MacBook Air. Super thin/Portable and usually a bit pricey. And if you're looking for a laptop below $600 thats a good portable...

    It's not a ultrabook, but this is a pretty good deal.

    Check it. 6 GB RAM, 500 GB HDD? Core I5? Average sized form factor? $600.

    Here's your video card benchmarks. Definitely won't be winning any awards but it'll play the pre-2003 things you asked for pretty damn well.

    Also, Lenovo. Very good brand.

    jungleroomx on
    Bama wrote: »
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    complacency sucks.
    It's not so bad once you get used to it.
  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    Then you need something with a beefy CPU. Any games that run on DOSBox, like most of the coolest GoG games, require a healthy amount of gigahertz. I tried playing stuff like that on a classic EEE with a 1.6GHz Atom and it sucked very hard. Early windows games that run natively on Win7 (regardless of needing compatibility settings) will run fine, but as far as I can remember, there are more DOSBox than Win9x games... And usually when a game that runs on both, runs with less troubles on DOSBox anyway, like the Wing Commanders (not IV though).

    But a VERY powerful machine will have less battery life, so striking some sort of balance is a good idea.

    TB games are better for airplanes, airports and long bus/car/train rides, because you can play them on the trackpad. Stuff like Max Payne 2 and even fast RTSs are better when you're at a room with a table or whatever.

    What about screensize? is 10.1 enough for you, or do you prefer 11 or 12 inches?

    I guess a top netbook is your best bet.

    This looks like a decent contender.

    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | 3DS: 0130-2805-2850
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  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Allergic to whimsy Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Aside from my passionate recommendations to steer clear of Acer and HP, that looks alright; After two fan AND RAM failures on my last two HP's, I avoid them like the plague.

    I think the OP may want something either not within his desired form factor or price range. The specs? You can get a decently specced pc for that price. The light, portable form factor? Too easy. Both of them together for $600? Difficult.

    I'd say the OP may want to be a little more flexible on either the form factor or the price, and really evaluate exactly what he needs it for. If he imagines portability, he's either gonna have to pony up a couple hundred more or be stuck with a damn-near-awful Atom series processor. If he was performance, he's gonna have to maybe deal with a little clunkier/heavier computer.

    jungleroomx on
    Bama wrote: »
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    complacency sucks.
    It's not so bad once you get used to it.
  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    Oh, I haven't mentioned ultrabooks because I don't know much about them. Also, many old games require a cdrom drive to be installed. Having an external drive at home is a solution (you can dump the ISO and fake it while in transit or some other solution we cannot debate), but carrying one around isn't really worth it.

    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | 3DS: 0130-2805-2850
    camo_sig2.png
  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Allergic to whimsy Registered User regular
    Most PC-based Ultrabooks have a DVD drive.

    Bama wrote: »
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    complacency sucks.
    It's not so bad once you get used to it.
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    The thinness requirement makes it difficult to fit an optical drive in an ultrabook. Most do not have optical drives; I think 2 have been released with (acer's 15" m3 and an option on the Samsung series 5).

    I think you'll need to figure out if your gaming requirements can be served using Intel's IGP. The only ultra book with discrete graphics is the acer ultra m3 and I can't find it anywhere. If an HD3000 can handle your gaming then an ultrabook might work for you though You'll have to spend at least $700 to play ball. They're a lot better than netbooks. Ultrabooks usually have non-upgradable ram and non-user serviceable battery.

    Since you said you'd be willing to keep another battery on you I think you want a traditional laptop w/discrete graphics if you need to keep it south of $600.

    Djeet on
  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    Most PC-based Ultrabooks have a DVD drive.

    Well, netbooks don't, though.

    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | 3DS: 0130-2805-2850
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