Looking for wisdom; laptop vs. desktop

Hey Everyone,

What to do? I am going off to college next year, and will be needing a laptop. Question is, should I go for the high-end stuff, and keep my mid-end desktop, or get a cheap laptop and build yet another high-end gaming rig.

My last rig cost me an arm and a leg back when Core 2 Duo came out (E6600/P5B Deluxe/6GB PC6400/500GB HDD/320GB HDD/Nvidia 7950GT). Sadly enough, the thing can't play Crysis the way I want to. It's probably the just the graphics card, but I'll have to change the motherboard, so why not change the whole thing to get a clean cut to SLI technology right?

Laptop Side
On this side of things, I am seriously considering the Dell XPS m1730; which will cost me around $3000. Although the laptop may be too big to carry around, I think I would really enjoy running high-end applications somewhere else than at my home desk. This is a big decision and don't want to make a mistake, I just wish I could demo the M1730 for a while.

Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 (2.5ghz/800fsb/6mb cache)
4GB DDR2 667mhz RAM
250GB Sata HDD w/ fall free sensor
8X CD/DVD Burner
Intel Wireless 1505 Wireless-N Mini-Card
Integrated Bluetooth
Windows Vista Premium

Desktop Side
If I choose this direction, I get a low-end laptop, and get a high-end gaming desktop. Problem is that I don't think I will enjoy using a cheap laptop, I enjoy decent performance, and the Dell XPS M1730 is what I'm looking at.

If I get the DELL XPS M1730, I still have my current mid-end rig as backup. Isn't a high-end laptop and a mid-end backup desktop the best solution? I do understand that a lot of gamers here would get a cheap laptop and get a high-end desktop with such a budget, but I like playing a few times a week, and having to sit in my house is a lame idea.

So, what would you guys do? What would you get (anything different)? Any personal experiences etc.?

Thanks for your support,

I also forgot to mention that I no longer live in the United States so I don't have access to those nice NewEgg prices like you do.
14 answers Last reply
More about looking wisdom laptop desktop
  1. If I were you, I just get a cheap Intel dual core laptop for email, web, and schoolwork. Then I'd upgrade your current computer for better gaming. I'd get an HD 4870 graphics card and overclock your cpu to 3.4 to 3.6Ghz. Make sure you have a quality power supply and cpu cooler. Unless you do a lot of traveling and have to game when you do, a $3k laptop is a waste.
  2. I'd do what orange would do if it was me.
  3. +1 to a cheap laptop and leave the gaming to the desktop. Firstly, any good gaming laptop will be hefty, and probably pathetic battery life unless its one with an integrated graphics in addition to a discrete one that you can switch on and off. Second thing to consider, desktops have a lot more upgradability, even with platforms changing rapidly, its still better than a laptop where you can likely just swap the ram/HDD easily. Grab yourself a cheap Dell or something, its easy to find a decent laptop for Office/Internet work for ~$500-700 and put the rest into a desktop.
  4. If you go the laptop route, I reccomend xoticpc.com . They have the Sager 5796 which is I think the best value for any laptop, and fully customizable with the newest gaming hardware.
  5. A new Video card, and upgrade proc and HSF (besides the aforementioned Power Supply) should be all you need to upgrade for your current rig. I say get a cheap laptop (with good battery life) for carrying around to classes/school work. Something like this would do fine for that: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834114487
    or: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834115491
  6. Hmmmm......
    I would rather choose to buy a low-end to mid-end with small screen laptop , that has long live battery so that you don't have to charge it so often, and a high-end with large screen desktop.
    Laptops main use is its mobility not power, I don't wanna be running around at the campus with a heavy, expensive and big thing in my bag/rugsack and looking for a power plug all the time.

    My main works and pleasures using computer will be on my desktop, thus it must be very powerfull.
  7. Honestly, buying a high-end laptop for me is just burning money.
    Their battery life is small, usually they are heavy and bulky, they heat too much ( there was some issues with the Dell they were cracking because of heat). So, you can always buy a MSI wind or the HP version.

    And you can get a pretty good decent rig, desktop in this case.

    First and fore most:

    DELL XPS M1730
    Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 (2.5ghz/800fsb/6mb cache)
    NVIDIA SLI DUAL 8800m GTX w/ 1GB GDDR3 Memory
    4GB DDR2 667mhz RAM
    250GB Sata HDD w/ fall free sensor
    8X CD/DVD Burner
    Intel Wireless 1505 Wireless-N Mini-Card
    Integrated Bluetooth
    Windows Vista Premium

    I know you are talking about a top end laptop, but:
    - It will never run like the Real McCoys in SLI. Honestly, they pull about 200W each one. Youll have a...500w watts pwoer brick ?
    - That 9300 wont push as much as you like to. Mobile CPUs are good, but fall behind due 35w TDP.
    - Laptop HDDs are usually freaking slow compared to desktop versions. And the money your paying for that 250gb, would buy a 1 tera, with much better performance.
    - Drivers. Really. Nvidia and Ati launches in a monthly basis new drivers. Do you think DELL will adapt them in monthly basis? Really ?

    You budget seems pretty big with taht laptop, if i were you, i would buy a Wind or the HP counterpart, and then a really nice gaming rig. And still be swimming in money to have a few drinks.
  8. Overclock your processor, stick a nice heatsink on it. Get a 4870, OC it--Keep your other stuff. You'll see a pretty huge boost in performance.

    Get a really cheap laptop. I got a 1.9ghz amd turion x2, with 2GB of ram. It does everything for school/web surfing/ etc. perfectly. It has a really lame nvidia 7150m or w/e the hell that graphics thing is, but i can play Warcraft 3 on all low details just fine when I'm not at my desktop. The battery makes it all the way through my 2 hour lectures too.

    Just a heads-up, as a college student myself, a laptop is an amazingly huge distraction in class. 90% of students in my lecture halls never took notes on them. They were all on facebook/myspace
  9. Hey,

    Thanks for all the suggestions, that's pretty much how I expected other people to think. I thought the same way but radnor's arguments did make me think about the price.

    Last night, I built a PC on NewEgg (desktop), the only problem is that I live in canada and I'll have to cope with TigerDirect's high prices and mediocre support. I also found a laptop that I liked last night, on tigerdirect, only problem was that I was on the american site. I found that same laptop in Canada for $240 more, that's total ****. $830 seemed to be a good price, but more than a grand!?!

    I've also been thinking about my desktop all night. The only botteneck I really have is the graphics card, it's seems to run slower than other users I've contacted.

    Any desktop cards you guys recommend? I cannot use SLI on my rig, but if I do change my mobo and everything on it, I would like to keep this card.

    *Just keep in mind that it must fit my current case (Apevia X-Cruiser) and you guys must advise what I need to do with my PSU, I have no links remaining and haven't really messed with this stuff (do splitters exist, etc.).

    Thanks for your help.

    (I'm currently checking out the GX260)
  10. effel said:
    Overclock your processor, stick a nice heatsink on it. Get a 4870, OC it--Keep your other stuff. You'll see a pretty huge boost in performance.

    This is a excellent suggestion.

    But if you really wanna roll out some money get a Corsair TX750 or a Thermaltake Toughpower 850W.
    And crossfire two 4870. Get a nice HSF for you E6600 and overclock him to hell and back ( loads of help in this forums in this case, im sure that many forum strollers here would give an advice no problem).

    Im European, so newegg is only good to get a nice grin. In Europe we have the diferent products. Same abilities. You wont see a Gainward, but you will see saphires. The references might change during countries and i doubt the informatics is almost 25-30% more expensive there.

    From what I've seen, you case would do fine.
  11. Just before I start, here is what I would take if I could have the US prices : http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4023064&CatId=2289

    Here's what I pay here : http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4023064&CatId=2289

    Sucks eh?

    I will probably get something like this: http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3943878&CatId=2289

    Only down side is that I wish I could have something like the 8600m GT, which is pretty good mobile card at a decent price, if only it'd fit in there. I would pay an extra $100 for something like that. This model also has a 9-cell battery; which will be useful in class.


    Alright, back to the desktop. I will probably have to get another powersupply, this is something I should have invested on in the first place, I currently have a 600W EchoStar (I got shipped the wrong PSU and it cost more to return it, so had to keep it...)

    About the Graphics Card, I haven't messed with ATI for a long time, but I know NVIDIA got kicked in the balls by their latest gen cards. I supposed that crossfire is pretty much like SLI (if it isn't please inform me), but I still can't put two cards on my motherboard (Asus P5B Deluxe Wifi/Ap), so I'll order just one. I could always try to sell this rig, I think I can get a decent amount of money for it, and invest around 1200$ to get something totally new. I'll have to take numbers down again.

    I will purchase my laptop BEFORE upgrading this rig, so I may not buy everything right now. If I do choose to upgrade the whole thing, I would rather receive everything at once.
  12. I have a question related to the Gateway laptop mentioned in my last post. On the description page, it says that it has a graphics engine of up to 512mb.

    Why the UP TO?

    Isn't the ATI 2600HD an actual card? And not an on-board accelerator? Or they just mention that it won't use the memory full time like any other card?

    Here's the link:

    ** Does anyone have any personnal experience with this card? Is it as good as it sounds? Thanks
  13. It is not a gaming card, but it run ligth games. Older games, or in low quality if you want. Even if not top notch it is always good to have a dedicated chip. It wont be slugged by Aero or Compiz-Fusion (if ever go open sauce), and in the end, that sis what matters.

    You can play Wow and other lighter games on it no problem.

    And yes your Asus P5B Deluxe supports Crossfire (ATI), doesn't support SLI i'm afraid. So have fun !!

    Edit: if you go vista, go Vista 64x in both your machines. You feel a huge diference on performance and stability. They need to be tweaked, but when you need it just ask. I already got a decent list of tweaks :)
  14. Yeah, I checked the ATI Crossfire thing, but it doesn't feel right that they use 4x PCI ports. At speeds like that SLI MUST performs better...

    Is the 2600HD similar (performance-wise) to the 8600m GT found in the XPS M1530?
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