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Looking for <$1000 gaming laptop (looking at Lenovo Y500) - Feedback appreciated

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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April 13, 2013 9:31:55 PM

Greetings,

As the thread suggests, I'm looking to upgrade my old Asus ROG 2010 laptop to something newer. My budget is approx. $1,000 and I'm not looking to exceed that. Currently, I have my eyes on the Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 offered for $1000. This particular model intrigues me with the i7 and Geforce 650m SLI to provide support for the intense games I like to play (modded Skyrim being the primary). However, as I did last time, I would like to consult the folks here at Tom's Hardware to see if I'm getting the best bang for my buck. Any input and/or feedback is greatly appreciated, thanks!

1. What is your budget?
$1,000 max

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Anything 15.6'' and above

3. What screen resolution do you want?
1080

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Primarily a desktop replacement, but will be taking with me on business trips.

5. How much battery life do you need?
Preferably greater than two hours.

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
Skyrim - High
Far Cry 3 - High
Eve Online - High

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Web browsing, document writing

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Greater than or equal to 500GB

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Prefer Newegg since I get free 2 day shipping.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Last one lasted approx. three years, so somewhere around there

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Not an absolute necessary

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
Have past experience with Asus products.

13. What country do you live in?
USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
A touch screen would be an added bonus!
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April 13, 2013 9:49:31 PM

That is going to be hard to beat for the options and price. I believe that 1 of the GPU's is an add-on part that slides into one of the extra slots, but I could be wrong. This allowed Lenovo to sell the laptop with just 1 GPU and leave room for another HD or whatever you'd like to put in the extra slot. The only thing that I don't think you get (from some initial reading online) is that the Optimus option doesn't work with SLI GPU's. I could be wrong, but that was my initial research.
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April 13, 2013 9:58:14 PM

lunyone said:
That is going to be hard to beat for the options and price. I believe that 1 of the GPU's is an add-on part that slides into one of the extra slots, but I could be wrong. This allowed Lenovo to sell the laptop with just 1 GPU and leave room for another HD or whatever you'd like to put in the extra slot. The only thing that I don't think you get (from some initial reading online) is that the Optimus option doesn't work with SLI GPU's. I could be wrong, but that was my initial research.


I think you're right. That laptop will have terrible battery life with 2 gt 650's. I'd go for a sale on a y580(gtx 660m, i'm using one right now; it's good.) However, looking back, i'd rather buy a potable ultrabook for school and work, etc, and a DIY desktop.
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April 13, 2013 10:13:34 PM

Mike Friesen said:
lunyone said:
That is going to be hard to beat for the options and price. I believe that 1 of the GPU's is an add-on part that slides into one of the extra slots, but I could be wrong. This allowed Lenovo to sell the laptop with just 1 GPU and leave room for another HD or whatever you'd like to put in the extra slot. The only thing that I don't think you get (from some initial reading online) is that the Optimus option doesn't work with SLI GPU's. I could be wrong, but that was my initial research.


I think you're right. That laptop will have terrible battery life with 2 gt 650's. I'd go for a sale on a y580(gtx 660m, i'm using one right now; it's good.) However, looking back, i'd rather buy a potable ultrabook for school and work, etc, and a DIY desktop.


Yeah the Ultrabook idea is a good option, but in general if your only going to have a laptop than what he selected might be okay. I'd just invest in another battery to take around for those days that you can't plug in. There might also be the option to pull the extra GPU (if I read this correctly) out of the system and be able to use the Optimus technology. This way he could still have a decent battery life (running on integrated GPU) and then just push in the extra GPU (assuming you don't have to re-install drivers) when he needed extra GPU power.
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April 13, 2013 10:46:01 PM

Yeah, the dual-GPU is a power killer, but most ultrabooks offer only integrated graphics which are beyond sub-par when it comes to running high end games. I think in this case a GPU is absolutely necessary.
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April 13, 2013 11:01:10 PM

aliasxneo said:
Yeah, the dual-GPU is a power killer, but most ultrabooks offer only integrated graphics which are beyond sub-par when it comes to running high end games. I think in this case a GPU is absolutely necessary.


Well it should give you a fighting chance when gaming with the SLI'd 650m's running. The laptop is probably the best kept secret out, unless I'm missing some issues that it may have.
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April 14, 2013 7:21:42 AM

lunyone said:
aliasxneo said:
Yeah, the dual-GPU is a power killer, but most ultrabooks offer only integrated graphics which are beyond sub-par when it comes to running high end games. I think in this case a GPU is absolutely necessary.


Well it should give you a fighting chance when gaming with the SLI'd 650m's running. The laptop is probably the best kept secret out, unless I'm missing some issues that it may have.


Only issues I know of is the trackpad, low battery life, and it runs slightly hot (which would be rather obvious). The newer models offered on the Lenovo website have a single Geforce 750m in them rather than 650m SLI, but they are backdated to not ship until over a month from now and I need this a lot sooner than that.
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April 14, 2013 7:27:57 AM

Trackpad is garbage i dont know why anyone would get that. You can look at the stats of its performance in comparison to all the others
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April 14, 2013 7:29:35 AM

sub7forhire said:
Trackpad is garbage i dont know why anyone would get that. You can look at the stats of its performance in comparison to all the others


Trackpad isn't an issue since it's primarily a desktop replacement and I'll be using a mouse 99% of the time.
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April 14, 2013 5:25:58 PM

Trackpad has been fixed from a driver update, from what I've read. The MSI you linked is over the <$1k budget you set, so I didn't link it, but if you can afford that much there are some options around that budget. I'll link you what I can find around $1.2k, but I have to leave to work now and won't be able to respond for about and hour (commute time).
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April 14, 2013 5:41:38 PM

lunyone said:
Trackpad has been fixed from a driver update, from what I've read. The MSI you linked is over the <$1k budget you set, so I didn't link it, but if you can afford that much there are some options around that budget. I'll link you what I can find around $1.2k, but I have to leave to work now and won't be able to respond for about and hour (commute time).


Yeah, problem with me is I'm all about buying quality and would strongly prefer to buy something that's proven to last rather than go the cheap route and suffer by having to buy a laptop in another year. I choose the more expensive route back in 2010 and the Asus I'm on right now works flawlessly with the exception of a loose e key (which was my fault). So, if spending a couple hundred more would net me something that's going to last me longer in the end than I have no problem shelling out a bit extra. However, at this point I'm thinking that anything over $1.25k is pushing the limit a tad too far.
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April 14, 2013 7:37:57 PM

Also, how much worse off is the 660m than 650m sli? I know one 660m with optimus means better battery life and not all games support sli, not to mention it would probably run cooler (and actually be a "lap" top), but is it sacrificing a lot of power? In particular, I'm comparing the y500 to this sager: http://www.lpc-digital.com/sager-np6370.html

I'm kind of interested in the reputation that sager/clevo has in terms of making solid laptops. I'd feel much better if I knew I was getting good quality materials and slightly less performance than good performance slapped in a piece of plastic.
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April 14, 2013 10:54:22 PM

aliasxneo said:
Also, how much worse off is the 660m than 650m sli? I know one 660m with optimus means better battery life and not all games support sli, not to mention it would probably run cooler (and actually be a "lap" top), but is it sacrificing a lot of power? In particular, I'm comparing the y500 to this sager: http://www.lpc-digital.com/sager-np6370.html

I'm kind of interested in the reputation that sager/clevo has in terms of making solid laptops. I'd feel much better if I knew I was getting good quality materials and slightly less performance than good performance slapped in a piece of plastic.


Yeah that is just it "Quality". I tend to want to have the best quality for my parts, but laptops are hard to find good ones let alone quality ones. I like the Sager one you linked, it is 17" though, but that might not be a problem for you. I tend to do everything on my laptop now, even though I have an average gaming rig upstairs. I like the mobile part of a laptop and I use mine for gaming, office work, DVD watching/streaming, DVD burning/ripping, and everything else.

The Sager you linked doesn't come with the OS ($80 for Windows 7 64bit), but you can buy it from them, which is what I'd consider at the $80 price tag that they want. I would also think that the Sager brand is a bit better on quality and fit and finish than the Lenovo, but I haven't used a Sager brand laptop. I have seen a few over the years and they seemed to be well built.
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April 15, 2013 5:57:33 AM

I have a Y500 with 2 GT650 and the battery life with SLI is under 2 hours. If you remove one and pop in a DVD-RW the battery life is over 2 hours. I don't think Optimus is a option in the US model (I am in US). I have read that this may be an option later and i have also read that it will never have the option to use the HD4000 GPU on the I7.

I am very happy with the Y500. SLI is only about 20% faster than the GTX660. This system is real fast and only takes about 8 -12 secs to boot.

I have no issues with heat. it only takes 5 sec to remove\add the 2nd GPU.

The best review I have seen is here http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Lenovo-IdeaPad-Y500...

Some information on the HD4000 http://forum.techinferno.com/lenovo-ibm/2690-lenovo-y50...

MY System is a y500 with following specs:
Win 8
Intel Core i7-3630QM
8GB RAM 1x8GB
16GB mSATA SSD Cache
1TB HDD
2x GT650m 2048MB GDDR5

I have the extra DVD-RW for the Ultrabay.


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April 15, 2013 7:27:26 AM

olin9 said:
I have a Y500 with 2 GT650 and the battery life with SLI is under 2 hours. If you remove one and pop in a DVD-RW the battery life is over 2 hours. I don't think Optimus is a option in the US model (I am in US). I have read that this may be an option later and i have also read that it will never have the option to use the HD4000 GPU on the I7.

I am very happy with the Y500. SLI is only about 20% faster than the GTX660. This system is real fast and only takes about 8 -12 secs to boot.

I have no issues with heat. it only takes 5 sec to remove\add the 2nd GPU.

The best review I have seen is here http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Lenovo-IdeaPad-Y500...

Some information on the HD4000 http://forum.techinferno.com/lenovo-ibm/2690-lenovo-y50...

MY System is a y500 with following specs:
Win 8
Intel Core i7-3630QM
8GB RAM 1x8GB
16GB mSATA SSD Cache
1TB HDD
2x GT650m 2048MB GDDR5

I have the extra DVD-RW for the Ultrabay.




Have you had any issues with the SLI support? Also, is it true the trackpad issue was fixed with a driver? I like the way the Y500 looks, and all the reviews so far seem good, but I think I'm leaning more towards throwing a couple hundred more into a Sager and getting a 675MX which is faster than the 650m sli and of course has all the benefits of a single gpu (power, heat, support, etc.).
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April 15, 2013 7:45:01 AM

I have had no issues with the SLI. They changed the Trackpad to a diffrent brand and i have had no issues.

If you have the extra bucks the Sager may be a better option. Optimus would be nice, but I can get by with 3 hours on 1 GPU. Most of my usage is near a power outlet anyway. I wanted to be able to game away from home if I had the time. Plus, I got it for $869 on sale. And the 2nd GPU was $137.
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April 15, 2013 7:39:51 PM

Personally I'd opt for the Sager w/1 GPU, so you can have the benefits of Optimus (for those times that your unplugged and need more battery life). But this all depends on your preferences. I don't have any issue with the Lenovo, because I'm 99% of the time plugged in and battery life isn't that important to me. Your situation might be different than mine, but at least you have some budget room for either option. I believe the Lenovo is pretty much topped out in options, so the Sager would leave a bit more room for upgrades down the road.
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