So I'm looking to buy a laptop for university as well as for gaming (was thinking of buying from Ironside computers or Origin PC, thoughts?). But heres the deal: I dont really care for high quality gaming, I'm fine with playing on low or mid-low settings as long as the game provides good fps. With that in mind, what do you guys think of these laptop specs especially if I want to be able to play new pc games for the next 3-4 years - even if at low graphic settings?
first off I'd like to say that laptop and rig should not be used in same sentence. There are exceptions of course as there are desktop replacements sporting desktop chips inside that weigh in at about 15+ lbs, but I doubt you'd want to drag that with you on vacations and project meetings.
Anyway, getting back to your issue at hand, that machine is I'm guessing from Origin or similar. They are built on Clevo cases, which come highly recommended for their quality (I have one of the older models myself). The particular specs you've listed will be able to afford you medium settings at 1080p with decent fps, or if you drop down to 1280x720 or 1600x900 it will run 60 fps even at high and ultra settings, depending on the game. If you're not too overzealous with anti aliasing (which you're not judging from your post) then that laptop should get you at least 2-3 years of good gaming. I'd say that 4 years is the typical end of the line for laptops as at that point it becomes cheaper to buy a replacement machine than to try to upgrade aging hardware. With that said, high quality laptop such as the one you picked will last you for 6+ years if you treat it well for menial tasks such as surfing internet, watching movies, doing office work, etc. just not gaming (reason being is that the games would get a lot more demanding over the 4 year period and your laptop's cooling system will age resulting in poorer thermal performance).
One question for you, is this a 15" or 17" model? Do you have a preference between 15/17 sizes?
I'm going to take a guess says it's a 15". With that hardware it's a bit pricey at 1500, because you can get better hardware (i7+670) for around 1200-1300.
At xoticpc.com if you scroll down to NP9150 and NP9170 (the corresponding 15" and 17" models, respectively), you can see their default hardware. Reason I'm bringing up hardware, a better GPU, 670 in particular, is because if you can get a better GPU for the money now, you should do so, as it will last you little longer than a lower model GPU (obviously enough).
With that said, if you're not particularly set on Clevo case, there's a couple other companies that make "gaming" laptops, which might intrigue your taste:
Asus Gaming series - current ones are G75. You can check them out on xoticpc as well, there's a few different configurations and they are typically around $1400-1500 mark.
MSI gaming series - current ones are GT6 series (15" models) and GT7 series (17" models). There's occasionally GX models that come up, but they are rather rare, they do come with good GPUs, so check them out if you happen upon any. MSIs usually go for around $1300-1500 depending on the insides.
There's other brands out there, which I personally would stay away from, but they are worth mentioning as they might occasionally offer some fringe feature which others don't have:
Well, alright, I think that should give you enough info to look at. But to answer your main concern - an i7 + 660 + 8gb ram should last you a good amount of time with little problems. The only thing you'll have to watch out for is your storage, if you're like me you'll run out of space in about a year.
I hope that helps, if you got any more questions, just ask. Cheers
getting an SSD in a 15" could be problematic, because very few 15" cases offer a second drive bay. Which leaves you stuck with a small capacity storage if you put an SSD in there. If you can sacrifice the ODD, then you can replace it with large capacity HDD for storage. Check if the chasis has a 2nd drive bay, then SSD + HDD option is a good one. If it only has 1 drive bay, consider an mSata SSD or a hybrid drive which combines mSata SSD and HDD, where SSD acts as cache, similar to Intel SRT.