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Desktop Replacement Laptop Advice & Components including sufficient Mid-High Range Graphics

Tags:
  • Display Size
  • Operating Systems
  • Laptops
  • Graphics Cards
  • Components
  • Desktop replacement
  • 770M
  • 780M
  • Display Panels and Monitors
Last response: in Components
March 4, 2014 4:32:29 PM

Hello all.

This is my first post here and I'm hoping you knowledgeable folk can give me some useful advice as it is getting to that time for me where I am looking to get a new laptop.

This will be my second laptop and I feel that the 3 years of use which that £500 purchase has given me are sufficient enough and it is time to move on to a more powerful machine that will cost more but perform better and last longer doing the things I want it to do (current one struggles past moderate web browsing).

I will want this new laptop to cope with multi-tasking and fairly intensive web browsing with sometimes 50+ static page tabs open. I am also a big fan of (and have a quite a lot of!) music and would like my new machine to serve as a good multi-media system for entertainment with good sound capabilities etc.
I used to play games on a desktop several years ago (around the time of Crysis, Battlefield 2 etc.) and I now again would like to start being able to play games well also, even recent ones. Even if not at maxed out settings with full AA at an enthusiast level and large resolutions etc, I just want to be able to play new things like Crysis 3, Battlefield 4 at a level where they run smoothly whilst looking good for a reasonably priced piece of graphics hardware! By looking good, I simply mean at high-ish settings with reasonable reductions here and there of course at moderate native resolution - just not everything near minimum and pixelated to hell purely to be able to get playable Frames Per Second! I have been out of gaming a long while and never on a laptop.

In short, I am very much looking at a multi-functional Desktop Replacement Laptop and below is the hardware I am currently considering:

17.3" FHD 16:9 "Matte Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright LED Anti-Glare Screen (1920x1080)
4th Generation Intel® Haswell Core™ i7-4700MQ (2.4GHz - 3.4GHz, 6MB Intel® Smart Cache)
16GB - DDR3 1600MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M (3.0GB) GDDR5 PCI-Express DX11
Primary Hard Drive: 120GB Crucial M5 Series SSD [SSD2 - SATA III]
Secondary Hard Drive: 1TB 5400RPM [SATA II - 3GB/s]
6X Blu-Ray Reader + 8X DVDRW/CDRW Super Multi Combo Drive
IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU (Free Upgrade)
2x Integrated Dedicated Onkyo Front Speakers & 1x Integrated Subwoofer
Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio
Wireless: Intel Dual Band AC 7260 802.11 A/AC/B/G/N 2.4/5.0GHz + Bluetooth 4.0
Internal 9-in-1 Card Reader
Webcam: Integrated Digital Video Camera
Smart Li-ion Battery (8-Cell)

:: Total Cost $1473 // £882

- This set-up comes without an Operating System and only the Drivers for both Windows 7 & 8 and Utility Software. I assume purchasing and installing the Operating System myself shouldn't prove too difficult?
- For an additional $300 // £180, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M is available or $100 // £60 Radeon AMD 8970M. Is this is a worthwhile addition for future-proofing and given my wish for moderate intensity gaming, or does the performance : value balance decrease with this upgrade?
Would I be able to upgrade to a superior graphics card myself at a later date - is it easy to exchange them or do not all models' sizes fit in laptops and/or is it difficult to do?
- I am not entirely sure how to configure and what to do with an SSD but I am sure it is a good idea for speed and performance from my research!
- I am definitely not wanting to go smaller than a 15.6" screen for various reasons including the keyboard size. Is it a recognised fact that the same hardware is always more expensive in a 15" chassis compared to a 17" one? I seem to find this to be the case everywhere.

Thank you for your time to read this and any advice.
Regards

More about : desktop replacement laptop advice components including sufficient mid high range graphics

a b U Graphics card
March 4, 2014 4:42:32 PM

This will do well, don't need a 780M in my opinion.

It's hard to change laptop GPU's but CERTAINLY not impossible especially if you've got one with a dedicated card such as 770M.

Install OS is easy, just put the disk in.

I often find 15inch to be CHEAPER than 17inch so this is odd.
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a b U Graphics card
March 4, 2014 4:54:23 PM

Are you building this yourself or custom ordering it from someplace like Ibuypower? I only ask because I have never seen a laptop built.

- This set-up comes without an Operating System and only the Drivers for both Windows 7 & 8 and Utility Software. I assume purchasing and installing the Operating System myself shouldn't prove too difficult?

A) Put disk in. Follow Prompts. Done.

- For an additional $300 // £180, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M is available or $100 // £60 Radeon AMD 8970M. Is this is a worthwhile addition for future-proofing and given my wish for moderate intensity gaming, or does the performance : value balance decrease with this upgrade?

A) Go for the 770M. not much difference between the two. Major difference (as oer kast google lookup) is clock speed and sometimes RAM.

Would I be able to upgrade to a superior graphics card myself at a later date - is it easy to exchange them or do not all models' sizes fit in laptops and/or is it difficult to do?

A) For dedicated graphics, you can switch them out. It may be easy or difficult depending on the case.

- I am not entirely sure how to configure and what to do with an SSD but I am sure it is a good idea for speed and performance from my research!

A) SSD's will improve boot times, program loads up, and over-all fastness. WHEN YOU INSTALL WINDOWS, SO SHOULD YOU USE A SSD, make sure to select the SSD. It is pretty easy to select a regular HDD.

- I am definitely not wanting to go smaller than a 15.6" screen for various reasons including the keyboard size. Is it a recognised fact that the same hardware is always more expensive in a 15" chassis compared to a 17" one? I seem to find this to be the case everywhere.

A) I would also go with 17". My logic is that a 15.6 inch screen would cost less because it is smaller BUT you have to make everything smaller so... go figure.
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a b D Laptop
a c 100 U Graphics card
March 4, 2014 4:56:27 PM

usually the 15 inch high end ones that arent fully custom are more expensive due to the design that has to go into them in order to get the same performance and cooling as their 17 inch brothers. When looking to see if you CAN change gpu's, you must check with the manufacturer, as very few actually allow for upgrades after assembly (often the gpu and cpu are soldered to the motherboard)

the upgrade cost certainly does NOT make the performance boost worth it, and the 770m will almost run all modern games on high-ultra (about 45fps for bf4 on ultra @ 1080p would be common). to take into perspective the performance you could get out of a desktop system for this price, you could get an i5, and a 780, and get literally almost double the performance in games, and slightly better cpu performance for the same price, it just wouldnt be as portable obviously (we live in a society where portability has become a factor in pricing in that the smaller and more compact, the more expensive an item is.
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March 5, 2014 8:06:14 AM

Thank you very much to you all for your helpful responses.

This is a custom, configurable model on a website; I am not building it myself.

Given my current lifestyle, living environment and space etc., I do not have the facility to have a desktop. I was considering a ‘mini PC’ in this budget bracket and noted the hardware I could get for a similar price. However, then I would have had to add in a worthy screen to utilise the power. Besides, the extra performance offered by such a desktop would probably be superfluous to my current needs, considering my relatively modest gaming wishes. Sure it would serve well for further future-proofing perhaps but in a few years when the timing suits a desktop better for me, I will consider getting a more powerful non-portable system at that time.

The reason I asked about the 'upgradability' of the GPU is because some of the reviews I read about comparable machines covered the fact that some could be upgraded and some not (namely that most of the 17" models were able to be while the 15" models were NOT). This confused me as I assumed replacing a GPU was irrespective of anything and there were no inherent differences - that it's the same story with any machine: you open it up, replace the hardware and necessary software changes?

Glad to hear how simple the OS installation sounds. I am sure that installing the OS oneself also enables a 'cleaner' install without the bloatware and junk when a machine comes with things installed on it for you. So once I have installed the OS onto my SSD, what else does this member serve?

XxD34THxX
Sorry I don't think I grasped what you mean by "go figure”! That in a 15" model there is the increased possibility of more problems or things going wrong with heat etc? Or a clumsier, more cluttered build?


I am nearly at the point to make my final decision now but am being indecisive between some component match-ups:
i7-4700MQ vs A10-5750M.
And likewise between the following graphics cards:
GTX 680M vs GTX 770M vs R9-M290X vs 8970M.
The price difference between all these different permeations is virtually negligible such that I am more interested in what is actually the best combination performance wise. My personal uninformed gut would probably choose the i7 & 770M as originally posted. They seem most recent and I have heard more about Nvidia and Intel but that is precisely why I thought I, in my ignorance, should ask you to enlighten me - recent and well known may simply mean higher premium and not actually better performance?

Many, many thanks again for your time and patience. I am keen to make a good decision this time round on a decent piece of well-done and thought out kit and really appreciate your input in helping me to achieve this!
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a b U Graphics card
March 5, 2014 2:45:50 PM

Quote:
XxD34THxX
Sorry I don't think I grasped what you mean by "go figure”! That in a 15" model there is the increased possibility of more problems or things going wrong with heat etc? Or a clumsier, more cluttered build?


I am nearly at the point to make my final decision now but am being indecisive between some component match-ups:
i7-4700MQ vs A10-5750M.
And likewise between the following graphics cards:
GTX 680M vs GTX 770M vs R9-M290X vs 8970M.
The price difference between all these different permeations is virtually negligible such that I am more interested in what is actually the best combination performance wise. My personal uninformed gut would probably choose the i7 & 770M as originally posted. They seem most recent and I have heard more about Nvidia and Intel but that is precisely why I thought I, in my ignorance, should ask you to enlighten me - recent and well known may simply mean higher premium and not actually better performance?

Many, many thanks again for your time and patience. I am keen to make a good decision this time round on a decent piece of well-done and thought out kit and really appreciate your input in helping me to achieve this!
I meant go figure as in it makes some sense that 15 ' is expensive.GET A i7!!! AN AMD APU WILL DECREASE PERFORMANCE AND GET THE 770M.
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