Laptop for Birthday

I'm a first time poster, but I have enjoyed a few articles here at Tom's, and this looks like the place to ask such a question.

I'm looking for a laptop that is either one I can get the parts for and put together by June 5th, 2013, or a good-enough (possibly web-site-customized and/or even parts I can instal at home) pre-built laptop that may be of a lower cost on the bang for my buck spectrum.

I would like in order from most to least important:

* Play Dark Souls 1 and 2 (specs are speculated for desktop version here: Game-Debate) at a performance similar to a good SDTV is fine with no significant drops from 30fps

* Battery life of 4 to 5 hours when gaming (finding a power outlet around my house all the time would be really annoying)

* Good wifi (I don't plan on using any physical medium other than SD cards and USB 2.0 and 3.0 devices. My main sources for games will be gog.com and Steam)

* Budget builds: older non-used/like-new parts/laptop (as long as life expectancy isn't bad. I would hope for around 4-5 years) at a good price (hopefully not $1000 and above).

Can I get a computer with nothing in the optical drive (cut some cost since I don't see a reason to have anything while allowing for other things to be installed later/give the computer empty space for heat to flow instead of one of those compact cases that don't have an optical drive option) and no hdmi (I want strictly a "hand-held-console-like" PC gaming experience with as unnecessary expenses as possible. However, still being able to use my HP Pavillion vf15 as a second monitor would be nice).

Doesn't have to have blue-tooth, webcam, and can get by with just a mic/headphone combo port. Again, I want to cut whatever costs I can for a "hand-held-console-like" PC gaming experience.

* Should I purchase Windows 8 64-bit (supposed to be speedier and more power efficient) or Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium (for greater compatibility with most current programs I use now)?

*How is the heat going to be? What is an affordable, portable cooling solution?

*Any additional purchases I should make in order to put this together/maintenance (grounding wrist-strap, screw-drivers, etc.)?

Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated. I have never done anything like this before and most guides for putting a laptop together use the term bang for your buck to focus more on the bang part and not on the buck (options for parts to lower the budget while not giving the absolute best performance for the price, which still may be pretty high. Laptops, being more expensive and hard/impossible to replace individual parts, seems like too risky an investment to go full-on best bang for my buck.

Can anyone understand my predicament and offer up suggestions? Thank you.
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  1. This might be along the lines of what you are looking for: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834312438

    Quote:
    *Any additional purchases I should make in order to put this together/maintenance (grounding wrist-strap, screw-drivers, etc.)?


    You cannot build your own laptop - the laptop parts are very scarcely available and really expensive at that, and most of the time things are soldered onto the motherboard so upgradability is very limited at best. You don't need to worry about that stuff - you're wasting money in that area.
  2. No laptop exists that you can game with, enjoyably, for 5 hours.

    You *can* build a laptop but it would be very difficult to get access to the parts as the parts stream is tightly controlled. The better option is to have one built to your specs.

    I'd start here and customize to your liking ... with the options I suggested, we're at $1,029. Discounts are available, bigger if a student or military. Suggest that you uy the OS on campus .... usually $10 - $25. Otherwise add $80 for Windows 7 or 8 Home Premium ... $140 for Professional.

    http://www.lpc-digital.com/sager-np6165-features.html

    15.6" Full HD LED-Backlit Display with Super Glossy Surface (1920 x 1080)
    NVIDIA GT 650M 1GB GDDR5 with Optimus® Technology
    Embedded Intel HD Graphics
    Intel Core i7-3630QM Processor (+$70 upgrade)
    Intel® HM76 Express Chipset
    High Definition audio interface
    S/PDIF Digital output
    1 Built-in Microphone
    2 Built-in Speakers
    THX TruStudio Pro Sound System
    8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB
    750GB 7200rpm SATA Hybrid Hard Drive with 8GB SSD (+90 upgrade)
    8X DVD±R/RW/4X +DL Super-Multi Drive & Software
    Internal 802.11 B+G+N Wireless LAN + Bluetooth Combo Module
    Smart Li-ION Battery Pack
    Fingerprint Reader
    FREE UPS Ground Shipping!
    1 HDMI 1.4a output Port
    1 CRT output Port
    2 USB 3.0 Ports
    1 USB 2.0 Ports
    1 eSATA Port (USB 3.0 Combo)
    1 Headphone Jack
    1 Microphone Jack
    1 S/PDIF output Jack
    1 RJ-45 LAN (10/100/1000Mbps)
    9-in-1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/SD/Mini-SD/SDHC/SDXC)
    1 MiniCard Slot for WLAN module
    Built-in Gigabit Ethernet LAN
    Built-in 2.0M Digital Video Camera
  3. I too was going to recommend the Y500.. that's probably the most bang for your buck. it's a great machine, and does everything you want / need. It even has a swapable cdrom for a second graphics card. Ive gamed on it.. it's rather beastly.
  4. I can game for a solid 4 hours on my Radeon 8770, it's possible.. but i also spent quite a bit more than he's wanting to spend, but if i tinkered, im sure i could get close to 5 hours with no issues.

    JackNaylorPE said:
    No laptop exists that you can game with, enjoyably, for 5 hours.

    You *can* build a laptop but it would be very difficult to get access to the parts as the parts stream is tightly controlled. The better option is to have one built to your specs.

    I'd start here and customize to your liking ... with the options I suggested, we're at $1,029. Discounts are available, bigger if a student or military. Suggest that you uy the OS on campus .... usually $10 - $25. Otherwise add $80 for Windows 7 or 8 Home Premium ... $140 for Professional.

    http://www.lpc-digital.com/sager-np6165-features.html

    15.6" Full HD LED-Backlit Display with Super Glossy Surface (1920 x 1080)
    NVIDIA GT 650M 1GB GDDR5 with Optimus® Technology
    Embedded Intel HD Graphics
    Intel Core i7-3630QM Processor (+$70 upgrade)
    Intel® HM76 Express Chipset
    High Definition audio interface
    S/PDIF Digital output
    1 Built-in Microphone
    2 Built-in Speakers
    THX TruStudio Pro Sound System
    8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB
    750GB 7200rpm SATA Hybrid Hard Drive with 8GB SSD (+90 upgrade)
    8X DVD±R/RW/4X +DL Super-Multi Drive & Software
    Internal 802.11 B+G+N Wireless LAN + Bluetooth Combo Module
    Smart Li-ION Battery Pack
    Fingerprint Reader
    FREE UPS Ground Shipping!
    1 HDMI 1.4a output Port
    1 CRT output Port
    2 USB 3.0 Ports
    1 USB 2.0 Ports
    1 eSATA Port (USB 3.0 Combo)
    1 Headphone Jack
    1 Microphone Jack
    1 S/PDIF output Jack
    1 RJ-45 LAN (10/100/1000Mbps)
    9-in-1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/SD/Mini-SD/SDHC/SDXC)
    1 MiniCard Slot for WLAN module
    Built-in Gigabit Ethernet LAN
    Built-in 2.0M Digital Video Camera
  5. yillbs said:
    I can game for a solid 4 hours on my Radeon 8770, it's possible.. but i also spent quite a bit more than he's wanting to spend, but if i tinkered, im sure i could get close to 5 hours with no issues.



    Well since you brought that up, you might as well tell us what laptop you have and what tweaks you have done to play games for a solid 4 hours.

    Laptops in general do not last more than 5 hours and that for light usage like surfing, playing a couple of short videos and perhaps listening to music.
  6. Thanks everyone, especially you, g-unit1111. I wonder how long that new egg 10% discount will last or if the price for the laptop will be down even further by the end of May?

    The Y500 definitely looks like the best option now. Only having up to 3hrs batter life is a little disheartening but maybe if I screw around a little with only having necessary programs and hardware running I will be able to squeeze out more time for my gog.com low spec games. At $900 plus $40 for Dark Souls that comes out better than the other laptop, and I am guessing having the second graphics card in place of an optical drive will be a godsend in maintaining frame-rate for graphics-intensive games like DS. Thanks, and keep me posted on developments I might find interesting.
  7. Hey jag,

    I probably over extended that just a bit. But i did just play artic combat for a solid 3hours and 12 minutes. I started with 99%, and ended with 17% I don't really do anything. Depends on the game i am playing really. A game like artic combat isn't to intensive, and not much going on at once, i can play with settings as high as they will go, the lights in the room turned off, and the screen just under half, just enough to be able to see and see well. I turn off the sound.

    I have a cooling pad that has two fans on it, they used to both pull air from the bottom, i rewired one of them to push it back up. The laptop i have has two single fan area's and the pad pushes, and pulls so i am able to dissable the fans in my laptop ( again, depending on the game im playing ) . This usually keeps my temps below 90 ( it's about 84-87 ). I turn off wifi, and hook it up to lan.
    Then i just game.

    I don't do this because i want to break anything, or because i think im awesome.. i just like to game on the sofa, and i hate wires. ANYWAYS, Sometimes you simply can't keep the fans off, or it'll just get to hot, but it's got a hotkey i can use to turn 'em back on.

    I have the samsung Chronos Series 7. it's probably the best laptop i've ever owned.
  8. http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:item.detail?GroupID=457&Code=59371952&category_id=6716C35E262487E9B548B6298FE58D3B#Reviews

    Is the above a better deal than the Y500? How will it be on power usage and being able to run the Dark Souls games decently?
  9. The y400 has better specs than the bottom tier Y500 with dual graphics cards. Plus, it has a better single GPU over the Y500. The only issue, which i feel is a very big issue ( for me ), is the 14 inch screen. I had a lenovo p400 touch, and it was 14 inches. I left it after a day, just way to cramped.
  10. As stated above, going to be nearly impossible to find a laptop capable of running games for 4-5 hours at a time.

    I know its a little out of your price range but I have a listing on ebay that might interest you. I am selling it cheap for the parts in it.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/111058598253?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

    If you want to talk about it shoot me a message through ebay and ill give you my phone number to call me :)
  11. Giauz Ragnarock said:
    Thanks everyone, especially you, g-unit1111. I wonder how long that new egg 10% discount will last or if the price for the laptop will be down even further by the end of May?

    The Y500 definitely looks like the best option now. Only having up to 3hrs batter life is a little disheartening but maybe if I screw around a little with only having necessary programs and hardware running I will be able to squeeze out more time for my gog.com low spec games. At $900 plus $40 for Dark Souls that comes out better than the other laptop, and I am guessing having the second graphics card in place of an optical drive will be a godsend in maintaining frame-rate for graphics-intensive games like DS. Thanks, and keep me posted on developments I might find interesting.


    Check out Lenovo's website - I ordered mine directly from there and got a much better configuration than the one offered on Newegg with 1080P screen, 16GB mSSD cache, optical drive, updated Geforce GTX 750M, and i7-3620M as opposed to the i5 offered on the Newegg configuration. The only downside to ordering direct from Lenovo is it's taken well over two weeks before they ship it, painfully slow.
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