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Gaming lappy or build pc

NezerNezer regularRegistered User regular
Hello friends. I write a lot, and use a bunch of productivity software for a living. But I also game, a lot. I need a new gaming lappy, or perhaps build a PC. My old laptop ran it's course -well, my wife busted the hdd and some other parts, long story.

I was thinking of getting another laptop that can handle most gaming (it needs to be strong, but it doesn't have to play big budget multiplatform action games or benchmark games). I mostly play pc style games and older rpgs and strategy/sim style stuff. Yadda yadda.

Has anyone seen a sub-1000 buck laptop that can do most of the dirtywork, but isn't bloated with all kinds of nonsense-ware or overpriced like alien. Best Buy seems like their stuff is a little high priced and bloated to the gills, same with Alien.

I bought a custom laptop from Sager once, was a beast, but I returned it because it was too expensive and I felt guilty.

I could also build a PC and keep it in the other room. With all these streaming abilities coming out, it might work out. Probably be cheaper?

I dunno. Thanks in advance for muddling through this unclear line of advice solicitation.

Geth

Posts

  • see317see317 regular Registered User regular
    It'll definitely be cheaper to build a beast of a desktop PC then it will to get a beast of a laptop with equivalent power. Especially if you already have a desktop (or parts stash) that you can scrounge components from.

    If you have a few minutes, check out the Tech Forum, there's a thread there for building PCs.

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
    bowenLostNinjachrishallett83PacificstarInquisitor77Mr Ray
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    You're going to be paying about $1000 for the laptop for a low/medium grade laptop. $1000 will get you a pretty decent (more towards the high end) PC.

    If you need mobility, laptop is the answer.

    If you don't need mobility, laptops are silly overpriced thing.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, don't @ me
    BouwsTLostNinjachrishallett83Great Scott
  • NezerNezer regular Registered User regular
    I concur. Mobility is definitely a factor, sadly. I'm thinking I might be able to build a strongish PC for 500 bucks or so, the laptop that will smoothly run everything I want will push 1000.

  • NezerNezer regular Registered User regular
    I make bad decisions. If I hadn't bought a PS4, WiiU, and ipad in the last two months, my master would have let me drop 1200 on a lappy or PC.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    How important is that mobile gaming?

    You might be better off slapping $500-600 at a pretty decent PC and taking another $500 and getting a slightly lower end laptop. If all you need is office and some other office like tools, the $400 laptop is pretty decent for that since it doesn't need to be BITCHING AWESOME GRAPHICS CHIPSETS to do it.

    You're paying a premium for the video card in laptops, usually.

    Unless of course these productivity tools are things like... photoshop.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, don't @ me
    GethNezerInquisitor77EncGreat Scott
  • NezerNezer regular Registered User regular
    This is actually a great idea. I could steam stream to the laptop too when I needed. Not photoshop. Mostly microsoft suite and statistical database stuff like SPSS and such. I had high hopes for the Haswell chip's integrated graphics, but that has been meh from what I hear.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Most $400 laptops can play the older games too, so long as we're not talking high end graphics.

    Civ 5 on low settings should still run on them.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, don't @ me
    DoctorArch
  • hsuhsu regular Registered User regular
    I'm not sure what your mobile needs are, but I'd say the majority of us in the tech forum went with desktop plus tablet, and if we actually have a laptop, it's a work laptop, because work forced it on us.

    Why you ask? Because our gaming setup is no longer mobile. Not with dual monitors, a nice keyboard, a nice mouse, a hard mousepad, and a nice set of over ear headphones (or speakers), all of which are big upgrades for gaming purposes, but way too much stuff to be portable.

    As for tablet over laptop for our mobile needs, we just deal, as form factor wins out like 90% of the time. Heck, I traveled to China for 2.5 weeks, with an 8" Windows 8.1 tablet, as my only computer, and never thought I needed a keyboard or something bigger.

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  • NijaNija regular Registered User regular
    I bought an Asus ROG G75VW-AH71. I would call this a gaming laptop. I do not like traveling with it because it weighs close to 20 lbs (laptop, battery and charger). Don't get me wrong, I love my laptop. However, it just sits on my desk, because I don't want to carry that beast around with me.

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  • Joe Camacho MKIIJoe Camacho MKII regular Registered User regular
    I bought an ASUS ROG gaming laptop on the last cybermonday, and I'm really happy with it when playing games (When I have time to play them anyway.), for 999 USD + shipping and taxes, these are it's current specs:

    Intel Core i7-4710HQ 2.5GHz (Turbo to 3.5 GHz).
    1TB 7200RPM Hard Drive. 16GB RAM.
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M 2GB GDDR5 with Optimus Technology.

    I tried searching on amazon for it's name, but for some reason it just appears as "Asus Rog 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop, Black"

    Asus Rog 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop, Black

    But yeah, if you buy a gaming laptop, you must keep in mind that you won't get the best performance (specially for 1000 USD), but you get mobility, in this case, it's the 15 inch version, which is still not as heavy as a 17 inch laptop.

    I bought a gaming laptop because I traveled a lot for around 3 years while I studied my master degree; and I was planning on continuing my studies, so I bought another laptop.

    But if you aren't really going to travel a lot or leave your city for large periods of time, desktop + tablet/laptop is a better option.

    steam_sig.png I edit my posts a lot.
  • 143999143999 Tellin' ya not askin' ya, not pleadin' with yaRegistered User regular
    I bought a 17-inch Asus gaming laptop five years ago to the month to scratch the gaming itch. I basically had to, since the tiny apartment we were living in at the time had no room for a desk, and therefore a desktop.

    When people talk about mobility, they usually mean the higher-level stuff, going on trips, taking it to school and gaming between classes, taking it to work and playing at lunch, whatever. But over the last five years, the biggest mobility-based perk by far for me has been not being tied to one room in my main living space. Want to game in the living room? Bring the laptop in and HDMI that sucker up to the TV. Someone wants to watch TV? Take it in the office and game there. Hell, take it outside and game in the shade. (YMMV due to the glare from the Sun. And bees. Studies show that bees are jealous of people with mobile gaming capabilities.) Incapacitated for a week or two due to injury or illness? Plonk the thing on the nightstand and game in bed. (That last one saved my sanity a few times while recovering from surgeries.) Having your main gaming machine can change the way you think about where you game in ways you didn't imagine.

    Unfortunately, the 5-year-old laptop effectively hit hit its end of life, as the graphics card isn't DX compatible. We've since moved to a house, and I have my own office with a nice hefty desk, but I'm still considering going for another laptop, even with the added premium, the lack of ugradability, etc. I'm not a complete convert or anything, but after five years of taking it wherever to do whatever, the idea of being tied down to a desktop isn't something I'm looking forward to revisiting. Kinda weird, probably, but there you go.

    I'm kind of interested in what Alienware is doing with that not-base station thing that plugs into your laptop and allows you to throw a desktop graphics card into it, but their solution is all proprietary, so that's dumb. I think someone else is working on a maybe less proprietary version. I'm sure they'll both be expensive, and neither solution will be portable, but I do like the idea of being able to potentially beef up the hardware down the line.

    8aVThp6.png
  • FiggyFiggy regular Registered User regular
    With any gaming laptop there are sacrifices. You're going to pay more than a desktop equivalent (maybe 30-60% more) and you're sacrificing longevity. Brand plays a part there but I'm referring to both the very low upgrade ceiling as well as durability/lifespan of the laptop. You're cramming very powerful hardware into a very small space. I've never seen an actual "gaming" laptop last more than a few years. I wouldn't be happy spending $1k-$1.5k on a laptop I had to outright replace every few years.

    And with all that beefy hardware comes beefier cases. And beefier batteries. Etc. The battery life is pretty trash, so resign yourself to be near an outlet at all times. And they're heavy. Don't think you're going to be taking a sleek little number casually slung over your shoulder everywhere you go.

    I would recommend spending the money on a desktop computer and relying on your tablet for whatever you would need a laptop for. Grab a keyboard for it and you're set. I think owning a laptop + tablet is overkill. In practice, you're using them both for the exact same thing.

    And if you acquaint yourself with building/upgrading PCs, you save a ton of money over the years. The PC I use now is 10 years old and is only starting to show sluggishness with the newest games. Mind you, I've upgraded here and there over the years, but much better to spend $200/year on average to keep a PC on its toes than a brand new laptop all the time.

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  • ConstrictorConstrictor The Dork Knight SuburbialandRegistered User regular
    I would build a desktop and get something like a surface for your mobility needs.

    chrishallett83Inquisitor77bowen
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    We see this question pop up every once in a while, and the answer is always the same.

    A gaming laptop is an incredibly niche product. The only reason to spend that kind of money on a laptop (especially one that is actually not all that mobile) is if you have some sort of situation where you travel quite often and don't get to go home to the same place every day to spend your free time. In that case, your laptop is basically your home computer.

    Otherwise, unless you have the money to burn, it's always cheaper and better to get something that is good enough your work while spending the rest of the money on your desktop.

    Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
    chrishallett83
  • mojojoeomojojoeo regular A block off the park, living the dream.Registered User regular
    As a proud one time owner of a gaming lappy- build a pc. with the savings- get a smaller surface pro 2 or some sort of light pc for light on the go stuff.

    A gaming lappy no matter the cost and weight will lag behind a desktop meaning over time it will not e able to play the latest and greatest faster and there is no upgrade path. What you buy is what you get.

    They are generally heavier, hotter, and have no battery to speak of. a pc is the better way.

    Chief Wiggum: "Ladies, please. All our founding fathers, astronauts, and World Series heroes have been either drunk or on cocaine."
    Enc
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    even if you do travel frequently, you'd be better served to figure out a solution that uses a small/mini case and plugs into whatever the TV situation is at your destination. In addition to the above criticism w/r/t lifetime, performance, upgrading etc, 'gaming' laptops tend to be bad at actual 'mobile' functionality due to being bulky, hot and battery-limited

    the bottom line is that you can get a good-to-excellent, very forward compatible gaming PC for the same money that you'd pay for a decent-ish gaming laptop that'll be at the end of its useful life in 3-4 years. There's hardly any life situation that makes that a good deal

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    If you're thinking about dropping $1200 on a laptop for gaming, you are way better off dropping $800 on a PC and $400 for a laptop, you will not have a bulky laptop (which you will never take with you anyways, be honest, maybe twice in 4 years that it lasts).

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, don't @ me
    Gaslight
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    I don't know how honest that is, though.

    I'm my circumstances, I have a nice PC that I do most of my gaming at, but a lot of times I want to be in another room and play some games. A lot of time I like having the option of using my gaming laptop while I wait for my carpool to gather, or during lunch breaks. When I go on holidays once or twice a year its nice to have to take with me if I want to pop on a game or into a community. That said, for most of my uses listed above my PC does them better and my laptop choices are not made with gaming exclusively in mind. Especially if you are in a work or school situation where you have downtime but not the ability to get home to your PC a gaming-capable laptop makes a lot of sense.

    I'm now running a Surface Pro 3 for the ability to draw, do work projects, and run a few game applications like Minecraft, Roll20 and Hearthstone. Its not a gaming machine, but it can run some games. Would I pay bonkers dollars for a super-gaming laptop? If I were a full time student and also had the cash, definitely. Now-a-days? Nah. Surface is probably more expensive than most are looking for, but it does the photoshop/drawing tasks i need for work so it was a good pick.

    I'd recommend finding a mobility machine that does what you need and also can run some games, rather than putting the games first.

    Orogogus
  • OrogogusOrogogus regular San DiegoRegistered User regular
    Enc wrote: »
    I don't know how honest that is, though.

    I'm my circumstances, I have a nice PC that I do most of my gaming at, but a lot of times I want to be in another room and play some games. A lot of time I like having the option of using my gaming laptop while I wait for my carpool to gather, or during lunch breaks. When I go on holidays once or twice a year its nice to have to take with me if I want to pop on a game or into a community. That said, for most of my uses listed above my PC does them better and my laptop choices are not made with gaming exclusively in mind. Especially if you are in a work or school situation where you have downtime but not the ability to get home to your PC a gaming-capable laptop makes a lot of sense.

    (snip)

    I'd recommend finding a mobility machine that does what you need and also can run some games, rather than putting the games first.

    Agreed. I feel the OP's needs are very modest:

    "I was thinking of getting another laptop that can handle most gaming (it needs to be strong, but it doesn't have to play big budget multiplatform action games or benchmark games). I mostly play pc style games and older rpgs and strategy/sim style stuff."

    That seems like a low bar, and for that level of gaming most of the $600-800 laptops that show up on Slickdeals or Fatwallet should suffice as long as they have an AMD or Nvidia graphics chipset. I got something in that range 4 years ago and it played the Dead Space and Mass Effect games fine. If he never plays shooters then that could probably go down to the $400-600 range and might not even need a fancy non-Intel GPU.

    Regarding bulk issues I guess my laptop is inconvenient to take it with me to the grocery store, but it's mobile enough to take with me if I'm gone for a weekend or longer -- generally once or twice a month. And there are tons of games on Steam for budget-minded gamers without top of the line PCs.
    bowen wrote:
    If you're thinking about dropping $1200 on a laptop for gaming, you are way better off dropping $800 on a PC and $400 for a laptop, you will not have a bulky laptop (which you will never take with you anyways, be honest, maybe twice in 4 years that it lasts).

    I think a problem here is that the OP isn't thinking about $1200, he's looking at sub-$1000. At $900 base, if he goes with a 2-piece solution I feel he might be significantly compromising at least one of the machines, probably both. Mileage varies, but personally I would not skimp on the working computer; being unhappy working on a slow computer is a lot like being unhappy with work, which is a bad thing.

    chrishallett83
  • HevachHevach regular Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    even if you do travel frequently, you'd be better served to figure out a solution that uses a small/mini case and plugs into whatever the TV situation is at your destination.

    They make special LAN party cases in various sizes (including full sized ones) with handles built right in, works really good for this kind of stuff. If you go with a cheaper case, mounting a handle isn't too hard if the top panel is sturdy and doesn't have a bunch of stuff on/through it, as long as you make extra double sure to get all the metal shavings and dust out before you start installing components.

    Hevach on
  • VaelorVaelor regular Registered User regular
    even if you do travel frequently, you'd be better served to figure out a solution that uses a small/mini case and plugs into whatever the TV situation is at your destination. In addition to the above criticism w/r/t lifetime, performance, upgrading etc, 'gaming' laptops tend to be bad at actual 'mobile' functionality due to being bulky, hot and battery-limited

    the bottom line is that you can get a good-to-excellent, very forward compatible gaming PC for the same money that you'd pay for a decent-ish gaming laptop that'll be at the end of its useful life in 3-4 years. There's hardly any life situation that makes that a good deal

    This makes complete sense. But what about the following situation: 9+ month deployment to Afghanistan, no TV situation, mediocre internet (unreliable at best), rather high isolation factor and diminishing resources due to the overall drawdown in progress? I'm thinking a capable gaming laptop might make sense as a self-contained solution that is at least notionally portable, but folks in this thread seem to be pretty knowledgeable and may be aware of something I'm overlooking.

  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler regular Registered User regular
    Yeah get a midrange laptop and accept you won't be playing AAA titles right at release at max settings. The extra money you spend on a true gaming laptop can be pretty exorbitant and you really won't get terrific performance out of it anyway. It's not like Steam doesn't have a trillion games you can't play on virtually any machine.

    GethEnc143999
  • 143999143999 Tellin' ya not askin' ya, not pleadin' with yaRegistered User regular
    even if you do travel frequently, you'd be better served to figure out a solution that uses a small/mini case and plugs into whatever the TV situation is at your destination.

    That depends on your destination. I did a lot of business trips last year, and in my experience, the ports on hotel TVs are starting to get locked down.

    8aVThp6.png
  • 143999143999 Tellin' ya not askin' ya, not pleadin' with yaRegistered User regular
    Oh, and apparently whatever you do, don't buy a Lenovo.

    8aVThp6.png
    GaslightMichaelLCfightinfilipino
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