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Laptop Gaming System - Is This Good Enough?

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September 2, 2013 8:44:10 AM

Hi There,

I am looking to buy a decent laptop that could run games like Battlefield 3, Call of Duty Black Ops 2, Garry's Mod and Minecraft etc... so I found a laptop called Toshiba Satellite Pro C50-A-17H. I will list the specifications below of the laptop and any answers would be greatly appreciated :) 


Operating System - Windows 8 64-bit

Processor - Intel Core i5 (3rd Gen) 3230M / 2.6 GHz ( 3.2 GHz ) / 3 MB Cache

Memory - 6 GB DDR3

Storage - 500 GB HDD / 5400 rpm

Display - 15.6" LED backlight 1366 x 768 / HD

Graphics - NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M - 2 GB DDR3

Those are the basic specifications of the laptop but if you want to see more, this is the link to where I found the laptop:

http://goo.gl/yDPLSg

Thanks for your time :D  Any replies appreciated greatly :) 

Alan.

Transferred to forum: Laptops & Notebooks, excessive tags removed. - G
a b D Laptop
a b 4 Gaming
September 2, 2013 9:05:40 AM

Operating System - Windows 8 64-bit
are you sure about windows 8? its a real pain to deal with. honestly it doesnt bring much good to the table but quite a bit of bad. your choice though.

Processor - Intel Core i5 (3rd Gen) 3230M / 2.6 GHz ( 3.2 GHz ) / 3 MB Cache
not sure about the mobile variant but i5 is typically fine for gaming. i dont think you will need the i7 mobile but i did go for it myself. depends on what else you plan to do besides gaming.

Memory - 6 GB DDR3
this is fine

Storage - 500 GB HDD / 5400 rpm
enough storage space but keep in mind 5400 drives are really slow. you might want to upgrade this (you can do it yourself). to a 7200 or ssd.

Display - 15.6" LED backlight 1366 x 768 / HD
i find it funny how they call this HD. while not particulary great (1080p is better) this does make the laptop cheaper and takes strain off the gpu for games so it will work fine. my own mid level laptop uses this resolution and while it works fine especially considering the price i paid...i do wish it was 1080p.

Graphics - NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M - 2 GB DDR3
an older mobile gpu such as the gtx670mx is still going to trounce the mid level 740m. perhaps this is something to look into as a year old laptop model should be cheaper (hopefully) but may give better performance in the long run. buying older high end tech can sometimes be better than new mid level tech. strange i know. just look into it is all i'm saying. i personally use a mid level gpu in my own laptop and i've done casual gaming on it but i never bought it for gaming in the first place so that was the basis of my decision. i only spent about $700 usd

the laptop i bought was actually similar to what you're looking at.

for about $700 i got an i7, 470m, 500gb hdd and 6gb ram with a 768p screen a few years ago. honestly i have to say that asus (specifically the models with the aluminum plate around the keyboard) are very good laptops to go with. even the new rog versions arent bad at all if you pick the one with the right gpu (the mx version).

the best upgrade i ever did for my laptop was throwing in a ssd drive. newer motherboards in laptops are fully capable of taking advantage of them and it will speed the system up alot. it really doesnt help with gaming though so it depends on what you expect from your laptop and what sort of cash you have.
September 2, 2013 9:25:01 AM

@ssddx Thank you very much for such a detailed answer :) 

For the operating system, I must say I don't mind Windows 8 that much but it has very little support for driver updating and what not so I have already purchased a Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit CD for myself. Problem Solved.

For the processor, of course I have looked into getting the i7 but it was really just not completely necessary for the extra price it adds so the i5 will suit me perfectly.

For the Storage, again I have considered looking at 7200rpm drives but trying to find laptops which include this and also reach my other needs are just out of my price range (my price range being 500 to 800). So would you recommend just getting an SSD for around 150? I heard Solid State Drives are pretty overpriced right now. Would the SSD make up for the 5400 HDD?

Resolution I am not worried about at all, I mean when I am playing on the laptop screen itself, even a 1280x720 resolution would do me fine, it keeps the FPS up in games anyway and I don't mind playing on even all the lowest settings, I think it gives a slight advantage to some situations in games. What FPS should I get on low/medium settings in BF3 and Call of Duty?

Thanks for your recommendation on the graphics card but here again, it's hard to find a laptop with that graphics card (already searched since you replied) and unfortunately I am not building this as custom, I am buying it stock from a website online as custom laptop builds generally cost a lot of money in Ireland. (I need to keep it to Ireland as I need this laptop by Wednesday morning).

Thank you again for such a detailed reply. Couldn't have been more helpful. :) 
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a c 246 4 Gaming
September 2, 2013 11:09:04 AM

-Nothing wrong with Windows 8. Honestly, if you're buying a Windows 8 laptop and then buying a Windows 7 disk, it's just a huge waste of money.
-For the processor, you definitely want an i7. In desktop terms, an i5 is the best for gaming as it is a good single-threaded quad core. In mobile terms, an i5 is a duo core, which isn't ideal for gaming. i7 is the only mobile quad core.
-Finding a 7200rpm laptop drive is hard and expensive, if there even is any. Additionally, if you replace it with a SSD, it's going to be expensive and you're going to lose a lot of storage capabilities. A 5400rpm HDD is fine for a laptop. If you worry about booting times, Windows 8 greatly decreases boot time with a standard HDD.
-Resolution is fine. Since laptop graphic cards aren't nearly as strong as desktop graphic cards, you can play games easier. Additionally, the screen is pretty small so the images should still be fine.

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a b D Laptop
a b 4 Gaming
September 2, 2013 12:02:22 PM
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didnt see anything on battlefield 3 but this review has some numbers on the 740m
http://gpuboss.com/gpus/GeForce-GTX-660M-vs-GeForce-GT-...

its about half as fast as the older gtx670mx which is about right since it is only classified as a mid range gpu. it should be enough to play at 1366x768 at decent framerates though if you keep the graphical settings lowered. at high setings at 1080p it gets anywhere from 9-30fps which should translate down to 40-50 at least at a lowered resolution and running on low settings. so should be playable .... but the next generation of games is going to kill it which is why i suggested an upgrade to a better gpu.

i know what you mean about not having the money however do realize that for a gaming laptop you need to buy all that stuff up front and cannot really add it in later like you could with a desktop. at least not without quite a bit of trouble.

a better gpu is more of a priority than a ssd or 7200 drive. i'd rather see you with a better gpu than going with a 7200/ssd since it will influence your gaming performance which afaik is the reason you want the laptop to begin with. if you want the laptop for schoolwork or other uses and gaming is not going to be the priority then i'd get the 7200 or ssd instead.

a ssd will make your laptop go from starting up in about 30-40 seconds to starting up in about 8. i would only go with a samsung 830, 840, 840pro or an intel ssd. i wouldnt go with anything else. a minimum of 80gb but you would be better off with 120 to actually give yourself space to work on.

have you had a look at the asus rog laptops? there was a deal here in the usa where you could get the g55 for about $800 and the g75 for about $1000 (my brother got the g75 with the gtx670mx). its a bit more money but it also has an i7, more ram and a better screen. retail stores might be high but you *may* be able to find a deal if you looke (look for sales).

-----

-Nothing wrong with Windows 8. Honestly, if you're buying a Windows 8 laptop and then buying a Windows 7 disk, it's just a huge waste of money.
windows 8 is more suited for tablets not laptops and towers. its a very poor choice to navigate away from the traditional feel of windows. it affects productivity and forces people to relearn something they already know. i do agree that its unfortunate the op may need to spend additional money to get windows 7 but really there isnt anything much you can do unless he bought a system with win7 installed already. most new laptops are coming with win8 preinstalled so you are almost always SOL.

-For the processor, you definitely want an i7. In desktop terms, an i5 is the best for gaming as it is a good single-threaded quad core. In mobile terms, an i5 is a duo core, which isn't ideal for gaming. i7 is the only mobile quad core.
a quad core is not required for gaming. while i do agree that an i7 would be a better choice and would offer better performance its not going to be as much of a setback as a weak gpu would since the gpu is typically where the bottleneck lies.

-Finding a 7200rpm laptop drive is hard and expensive, if there even is any. Additionally, if you replace it with a SSD, it's going to be expensive and you're going to lose a lot of storage capabilities. A 5400rpm HDD is fine for a laptop. If you worry about booting times, Windows 8 greatly decreases boot time with a standard HDD.
7200 laptop drives really are not all that expensive but are just marked up when placed into computer since they market them as more of a performance drive. honestly i believe the only reason they use 5400 drives are because they are cheaper and save on power which makes the battery life improve. when going with a ssd you do lose out on hard drive space which is a given nothing you can really do about that given the current prices. i agree a 5400 would work however when you have a good system you can really notice the slowdown. my brother has a win8 laptop with a 5400 drive. its quite slow to start.

-Resolution is fine. Since laptop graphic cards aren't nearly as strong as desktop graphic cards, you can play games easier. Additionally, the screen is pretty small so the images should still be fine.
really not sure what you are trying to say here. you are saying that the card is not as strong as desktop variants yet you can play games easier (better)? if anything having a mobile gpu would make the games play worse or at the very least require you to drop down the quality settings quite a bit. i've used both gaming laptops, semi-gaming laptops (similar to what the op is looking at) and my gaming towers and can definitely say there is quite a bit of performance differences between all 3.

not trying to be rude... i just do not agree at all with some things you have said.


a b D Laptop
a b 4 Gaming
September 2, 2013 12:18:38 PM

the only major difference between 7 and 8 for me was the start menu, which you barely need to use if you have desktop shortcuts (which i usually use anyway), other than that it feels and looks very similar. The start menu took about a week to get used to; it sped up some aspects of my searching while slowing down others. Not all older games are supported so well on it (although i suppose that could change in time with updates and stuff as 8 is still relatively new), but the only game out of like 10-15 that i installed that actually had a known compatability issue installing was fallout 3. even then it was more of a hit-or-miss thing from what i heard, for some it worked great and others not so much without tweaking to fix it
It does help if you are well-versed in windows keyboard shortcuts, but even then i never found it such a big deal. I might have liked windows 7 a lot, but there are also bits that are enjoyable about windows 8. Don't bother spending more to get 7 unless you really just cannot stand it (even then the next big update will supposedly address some of those). 8 works perfectly fine for a laptop/desktop, and isn't really even that big of a learning curve if you already knew your way around 7.

**It did annoy me that 8 seemed to be utilizing 100% of my hard drive at random times, until I realized i had auto-updating turned on. After turning that off I haven't had any significant trouble since then.

***I do agree about the 7200 rpm hdd, they easy to find and relatively cheap (within 10 second of googling i found a 2.5 in 750 gb 7200 rpm hdd for $70). Although in that case you would obviously have to either put it in yourself or get someone/place to do it for you

a c 246 4 Gaming
September 2, 2013 12:25:13 PM

-You're saying that Windows 8 is not good because it's different? There is nothing wrong with navigating away from the Windows 7 look. Additionally, I have Windows 8 and it looks exactly like Windows 7. Why? Because there's a lot of programs out there that can it look exactly like Windows 7. Start Menu 8 can add a start menu, boot right into desktop instead of metro, and disable hot corners.
-Sure, a quad core isn't required. However, most games utilize 4 cores. A duo core will definitely bottleneck. It's like getting an i3 in a gaming desktop. It can game, but it's much more recommended to grab a quad core.
-Perhaps I didn't state it clearly. Laptop gpus are weaker than desktop gpus. Therefore it's harder for it to keep good fps at good settings. By lowering the native resolution to 1366x768, it can play games much better. Additionally, thanks to the small screen of a laptop, it won't look too bad.
a b D Laptop
a b 4 Gaming
September 2, 2013 1:09:37 PM

in a manner of speaking... yes i am saying windows 8 is subpar because of the gui. i have the exact same issue with office 2010 where they added the ribbon bar. productivity is severely hampered. some people like windows 8, some people love office 2010. people who actually need to be productive however may have other thoughts. i used to be able to put all of my icons where i needed to in office but now i need to look through all the ribbons to find it. why is center vertically not with center horizontally in the ribbon bar? the world may never know! just like how win8 defaults to metro, has fullscreen metro windows with no title bar and how you cannot search for system items by pushing start then typing without first navigating further in and THEN typing a system command (like cmd prompt).

i am well aware of programs which change windows 8 to look like windows 7 hower does that not in itself say something is severely wrong with the windows 8 gui? dont get me wrong... i am not saying that win8 is unstable or unusable as clearly it does have some bugs but in general its not bad code wise. i'm saying that microsoft made a poor decision in not making it an option to revert back to windows 7 style.

again. i did say that an i7 would be ideal however given a choice between an i5m and an upper mid grade gpu or an i7m and a llower mid grade gpu you will notice worse performance on the latter. in a perfect world you would have both (as i did recommend to the op) but if given a choice the gpu has more importance in this case.

i agree now that you clarified what you meant about the laptop gpus
a c 246 4 Gaming
September 2, 2013 2:03:22 PM

There's nothing severely wrong with Windows 8. Microsoft made a decision, a decision that they wanted to open a new world to the Windows system. It's something different. Most people are used to the same old Windows, where you have the desktop screen and then the start menu. That's the only reason people dislike Windows 8, because we're so used to the desktop look.
The programs are made for people who dislike the metro screen and the changes, but want to advantages that Windows 8 has to offer (faster overall performance, boot up faster, better security, Skydrive, longer support period, etc.). I can definitely see why people dislike it, as I used to think the same before I made the change. It's just something that you get used to overtime, IMHO. Also, it's definitely nice to have a slightly different look to mix it up a bit.
In my opinion, I just think it's stupid to spend extra money to go back to the past.

a b D Laptop
a b 4 Gaming
September 2, 2013 3:12:59 PM

at best windows 8 is equal in performance to windows 7. if you look down the list and add up the totals its a crapshoot so you may as well pick whichever one has the GUI you like. yes i've seen actual benchmarks and yes i've personally used both windows 7 and windows 8.

change is not always a good thing. for a second lets just say that starting tomorrow we were going to reverse the accelerator and brake pedals in cars just because the manufacturer thinks its a good idea. now lets say that there are people paying extra money to have the old style layout installed in their cars. would they be so wrong? the only thing stupid about going back to the past is that we need to spend money to do it when it should have been an option to begin with.

look at autodesk autocad... it has ribbon bars just like office does however they included a classic mode which reverts everything back to how it used to be to please all of the previous customers. autodesk cares about its customers but it seems that microsoft does not (but we have known that for years anyways!).

its not very nice to be calling people stupid just because you dont agree with their opinions.

i've said before that windows 8 does have some good points but i also realize it has bad points so my opinion is that it is not a very good OS (and its also bad by proxy as every other os in the windows lineup has sucked over the years). if you like it then that is wonderful and you can enjoy it but dont try to tell me why its better (when its not) and why we should use it (because its cheaper to just roll with whatever they give us).

now.... unless there is a valid reason to discuss win7 or win8 i say this discussion on windows is over. the op already purchased windows 7 so its a dead issue and the only remaining issue is what laptop they will be purchasing.





September 2, 2013 5:01:11 PM

@ssddx Hey...... I cannot thank you enough :'(  You mentioned about the Asus ROG Gaming Laptops..... You saved me so much money!!!!!! I mean, I am in Ireland so it may take longer for the laptop to get here, but I would rather have the better laptop as cheap as possible!!!! The G55VW is $800, which converted to euros is only €600! The laptop I was going to buy was 645... extra €45 for a slower drained laptop! But thank you so much!!! :D 
a b D Laptop
a b 4 Gaming
September 2, 2013 5:17:54 PM

http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-660M.71...

gtx660m benchmarks. scroll to the bottom for game fps.

i'm not a huge fan of the "subwoofer" included on the laptop (unless thats only on the larger one?) and the chiclet keyboard leaves something to be desired however other than that everything else (again on the larger laptop) has been good. the screen doesnt look like a tn panel at all (didnt look up what kind of display it has but its better than my laptops for sure).


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