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Please help me understand what games my new laptop will run (clueless)

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June 20, 2012 7:31:19 PM

Hi everyone,

My first post here, I've been looking high and low for a place that might be able to help with my question and you guys seemed perfect!

Anyway, I've just bought a new laptop. I'm pretty clueless when it comes to these things, but I'm hoping the one I have will be able to play some fairly recent games. I found a great site that explained all about the capabilities of the graphics card I have, but I'm guessing whether a game runs well or not depends on more than that one component?

My laptop is a Dell XPS 15. It has a 2.5Ghz processor (i5-2450M) that can be boosted up to 3.1Ghz. Apparently it has 4 threads and 3MB cache. It has a 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M graphics card and a resolution of 1366x768. It has 8GB of RAM (DDR3) and a 500GB HDD.

I'm hoping to be able to play Skyrim, can anyone advise whether or not my laptop will run it?

Finally, I've never played a PC game before but have played on consoles for 20+ years. If we talk of 'Average' settings (or 'High' etc), how do those terms compare to something like a PS3?

Thanks in advance for any help or advice.

Cheers,

Adrian
June 20, 2012 7:43:37 PM

I want to say that you can run most recent games. This card can play Battlefield 3 at medium-high settings at 30+ fps, Which says alot because console versions of bf3 run at medium quality and are locked at 30 fps, you can see here, your pc is better than this guys, and he can run it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9_xskzcRz4 So on battlefield you will get console quality gaming.
June 20, 2012 8:06:59 PM

That's great, thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I was a bit worried I'd bought a turkey (last-minute eBay panic buy!) but hopefully it'll be okay.

Anything that gets near console quality is brilliant, I was expecting the 'low' settings (notebookcheck.net lists BF3 is only playable on Low with my graphics card) to be really poor.

So, as a general rule of thumb, anything at 30fps or better should give an experience similar to current console gaming?
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June 20, 2012 8:30:13 PM

Well not really, there are console games that run at 60 fps, but pcs are able to go 60+ and generate better gfx, such as more detail textures, motion blur, that kind of stuff. But to answer you question, always shoot for 30+ fps, dont worry about quality because anything below 30 will lose that fluent movement and look twitchy. This is one of the most important things when playing online, the other being having a good connection.
June 20, 2012 8:37:45 PM

SuperADJ said:

So, as a general rule of thumb, anything at 30fps or better should give an experience similar to current console gaming?


30fps is the requirement for console games. They can run higher. They can also have moments/places where framerate dips a bit, but 30fps is the target.

Console games will sometimes get "locked" at 30fps so that the player doesn't experience too many fps spikes in places, then slow down again and it gives the illusion of poor performance.

Remember that your graphics card is not the only component of game performance. The CPU is a major component as well. Using an underpowered CPU will give poor performance even if paired with a top of the line GPU. Also, some games are more CPU-bound than others. Also consider if the game you're placing was console-led and you're playing a PC port, or if you're playing PC native and the console versions are ports. Different balls of wax.
June 20, 2012 8:59:18 PM

Thanks again for the help. I clearly need to do some reading! I'll buy a couple of games in the morning and have a go when the laptop arrives at the end of the week.

If I can run at around 30fps with detail that is roughly on par with consoles I'll be delighted. From the responses here and a few youtube vids/reviews it seems like that should be feasible. Fingers crossed!
June 20, 2012 10:08:45 PM

I have a very similar laptop. I have the xps17 and bought it last year, here are my specs:
i7-2720QM @ 2.2
8gb RAM
and I believe I have the nvidia gt555 or something along those lines. It doesn't come up in my dxdiag and I dont feel like searching further. Anyway my point is, before I finished my gaming desktop this may I played my games on this laptop.
Although I didn't play Skyrim, I played BF3 and arma. I would highlyhighlyhighlyhighly recommend playing windowed mode and getting a little closer to the screen. Playing windowed mode allowed me to reach a significantly higher fps and keep the graphics at a high level. It really helps a lot. I don't remember my fps since its been a while since I've played on my laptop, but windowed mode helped a lot.
June 20, 2012 11:07:30 PM

Also, remember to have AA off and shadows on low, those kill your fps. Keep AF around X4 and if all else fails turn down the resolution, no need to be on 1600x900 if Frames is what your goal is, 1280x720 is good ( its slightly higher than what bf3 runs on consoles) and if you thing your pc can take it 1336x800 is good.
June 21, 2012 2:55:15 PM

Again, thanks for all the suggestions. It's a little daunting to tell the truth. I'm used to putting the disc in, picking up the controller and letting my console do its thing.

My laptop is capable of 1366x768, so anything above that wouldn't work anyway. Sounds like the best plan will be to run in windowed mode. Can I adjust the size of the window to 1280x720 or is it pre-set to another size?

Now I just need to decide on how I actually get the games (downloading seems like a good idea but for some reason I like having something tangible to show for the money!) and buy a decent mouse!

July 30, 2012 6:21:01 PM

SuperADJ said:
Again, thanks for all the suggestions. It's a little daunting to tell the truth. I'm used to putting the disc in, picking up the controller and letting my console do its thing.

My laptop is capable of 1366x768, so anything above that wouldn't work anyway. Sounds like the best plan will be to run in windowed mode. Can I adjust the size of the window to 1280x720 or is it pre-set to another size?

Now I just need to decide on how I actually get the games (downloading seems like a good idea but for some reason I like having something tangible to show for the money!) and buy a decent mouse!

You can play in full screen mode, just set the resolution under display settings to 1280x720. you will still be in full screen but since it is a lower resolution you will see more pixels and the picture wont be as sharp. And also downloading games is very handy, if you ever get a desktop gaming system, all you would have to do is login to your game client ( orgin, steam) go to your games library and re-download the game. Super simple and dont have to worry about scratched disks :D 
July 30, 2012 10:11:16 PM

To be honest, console BF3 looks more like low to me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeTHztzTVzI&feature=fvwr...

That is a comparison. It was from the beta, so they both look slightly better than that now, but it still compares them. The PC appears to be on low settings.

Anyway, I think your XPS 15 should do OK in most games. Probably not ultra settings in most cases, but medium should work fine at 720P.


EDIT: Also watch this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnui2QAu5q0
Its a comparison between low and ultra. Not a big difference IMO.
!