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Computer spec novice looking for help getting a gaming/school laptop.

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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April 17, 2013 8:45:38 PM

Hey guys, new guy to Tom's here... I'm really a novice when it comes to computer spec knowledge, but I don't consider myself computer illiterate, I just get confused with the numbers of the components and which ones are better as I have yet to learn the internal workings of a computer. I'm asking for help so I can get a good laptop I can use to go to school with and do medium to heavy gaming on. I feel I should say I plan to go to school to learn the ins and outs of computers, such as what all the numbers mean to begin with as well as graphic design and programming. I have filled out the questionnaire I found while looking around the site to the best of my knowledge. Any help is appreciated! Thanks for reading!

1. What is your budget? $2000

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? Looking for 15" to 19". This doesn't matter too much...

3. What screen resolution do you want? 1280x800 or higher, preferably higher.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? Well I'm not sure really, I need a portable desktop in a way if that's possible. If not a desktop replacement is probably what I am in need of.

5. How much battery life do you need? 6 hours of battery life should manage for school, I don't have a problem being plugged in to do heavy gaming. I would like to get an extra battery and charger with the laptop as well. If each battery lasts 6 hours I will have gotten my monies worth on the battery in my opinion.

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)? I currently play Minecraft as much as I can, I would like to be able to play it at max settings while running the mod pack I use, which has over 60 mods. I would also like to be able to play Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3, but Minecraft takes a lot of my time.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) Schooling, (i.e computer programming, graphic design, photo/video editing, Computer related schooling, etc.) I would like to start streaming videos of the games I play and even record some videos for showing later.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? 500gb+

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. I have looked at a few places but bad reviews scare me and my money, looking for someone to point me to a good company that is trustworthy and not just out to get my money but actually want to give me a working product I'd be happy to recommend to a friend. Also I feel I should divulge I would have no idea how I'd assemble a computer if it came un-assembled. :-/

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? I'm optimistic in hoping I can find one to last about 4+ years. Also would be willing to learn to assemble one if it meant I could upgrade it easily down the line to keep it lasting longer.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? This doesn't really matter. If it comes with something which I can't opt out of then a dvd burners fine.

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. This is my first personal computer purchase, I only know the companies I haven't heard the best reviews of...

13. What country do you live in? US

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed. My current laptop can barely run iTunes or the internet sometimes. But it runs Minecraft at around eight to twelve frames per second at the lowest settings and I just can't have that. Also my current laptop is desk bound as it wont work unless it's plugged in just right and the slightest movement shuts the laptop down. Some days it's not worth trying to get it to work. I need a laptop I can move around and plug in around the house without issue. I would prefer a laptop with great graphics capabilities and the strength to run a heavy power game with high frames per second while recording the game using a video capturing program. Again I'm new to all this and had looked around and figured I'd ask the experts the best way I could. Thanks for reading and helping!
April 17, 2013 9:13:14 PM

For that much it would probably be better spent on a gaming desktop for the gaming use and probably an ultrabook for taking to school. Most of the gaming laptops wouldnt be viable gamers at high settings after a year or so. Unfortunately I can't give prices though as not in the US but im sure someone here could advise.
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April 17, 2013 9:15:19 PM

Might I suggest that you buy a low-end laptop and build a desktop? The laptop will be enough for school, and you'll get WAY better gaming performance by building a desktop.

It's very easy to build one - no harder than LEGOs for adults, and it only requires a single, normal screwdriver. There are lots of videos online to help you build it, and you have us to help you plan what to buy...
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April 17, 2013 9:23:00 PM

DarkSable said:
Might I suggest that you buy a low-end laptop and build a desktop? The laptop will be enough for school, and you'll get WAY better gaming performance by building a desktop.

It's very easy to build one - no harder than LEGOs for adults, and it only requires a single, normal screwdriver. There are lots of videos online to help you build it, and you have us to help you plan what to buy...


To be honest I have been giving a lot of thought to buying a desktop and netbook, this seems the best way. And I would like to learn how to assemble a computer and learn what all the components are and what they mean. Very well then, you've convinced me sir. I shall have to purchase a gaming desktop and a schooling laptop. So... Where do I start?
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April 17, 2013 9:36:13 PM

MrBic said:
To be honest I have been giving a lot of thought to buying a desktop and netbook, this seems the best way. And I would like to learn how to assemble a computer and learn what all the components are and what they mean. Very well then, you've convinced me sir. I shall have to purchase a gaming desktop and a schooling laptop. So... Where do I start?


The first place to start is with a little reading. Figure out what netbook you want first, and then consider buying a SSD to upgrade it with. SSDs are like hard drives, but 10x faster, completely silent, and they use WAY less power and produce way less heat. It is by FAR an incredible upgrade for a netbook - I use an old hp netbook that's four years old now, and because it has a good SSD in it, it feels like I'm using a high-end laptop or low-end desktop; and being able to boot in 30 seconds when it's needed in class is amazing.

After you figure out what you need to satisfy school, we'll work on building you a desktop. That'll probably be a mix of giving you reading on components and explaining why you do or don't want to do something. After we get you a computer build you like, you get to build it - and I'd be happy to be on the phone or skyping with you to guide you through it. (Depending on where you are, I could even show you in person - anywhere in Sacramento, Incline Village, or Reno might work for me.)

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April 17, 2013 10:13:30 PM

DarkSable said:
MrBic said:
To be honest I have been giving a lot of thought to buying a desktop and netbook, this seems the best way. And I would like to learn how to assemble a computer and learn what all the components are and what they mean. Very well then, you've convinced me sir. I shall have to purchase a gaming desktop and a schooling laptop. So... Where do I start?


The first place to start is with a little reading. Figure out what netbook you want first, and then consider buying a SSD to upgrade it with. SSDs are like hard drives, but 10x faster, completely silent, and they use WAY less power and produce way less heat. It is by FAR an incredible upgrade for a netbook - I use an old hp netbook that's four years old now, and because it has a good SSD in it, it feels like I'm using a high-end laptop or low-end desktop; and being able to boot in 30 seconds when it's needed in class is amazing.

After you figure out what you need to satisfy school, we'll work on building you a desktop. That'll probably be a mix of giving you reading on components and explaining why you do or don't want to do something. After we get you a computer build you like, you get to build it - and I'd be happy to be on the phone or skyping with you to guide you through it. (Depending on where you are, I could even show you in person - anywhere in Sacramento, Incline Village, or Reno might work for me.)



Thank you very much sir! At this time I should mention I wont be getting the computers until around August. Have to wait for financial aid. I will definitely be using an SSD. Also I would be ordering both computers at the same time. Perhaps we can exchange e-mails and hopefully plan out the purchase and I can learn as much as you'd be willing to teach me about the components and building a desktop?

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April 17, 2013 10:20:16 PM

Ahh, yeah, I know that wait. I'm currently trying to figure out how to stretch my paycheck and use a little credit to buy parts for watercooling.

I'm more than happy to teach you whatever you'd like to know; I love having students who are interested in learning. (I'm a teacher, so having someone coming to me asking to learn is always a pleasant moment.)

I just sent you a PM with my contact information. :) 
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