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Confused on Gaming Laptop i5 versus i7 versus whatever

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March 30, 2010 11:02:21 PM

Hello Community,
I am looking to buy a new laptop within 1 or 2 months. First, I been looking at ibuypower.com for a gaming rig. I haven't been keeping up with what is best for what these days. So I am confused with the options given.

I plan on using this machine for mostly gaming, listening to music (videos), and movies. The games I play are usually twitch based games (ut3, fc2, bioshock 2, etc), some action games, and 1 mmo. I will be streaming some content as well. When I am gaming I will be plugged into the wall socket, so battery isn't really a problem, but I would like to be able to use it every blue moon for on the go purposes like trips or whatever. I will even look into getting extra batteries, as long as it meets my needs of gaming. I will probably be burning cd's/dvd's with it as well. I would like to keep the cost below 1.5 thousand dollars. And I want to be able to play my games on very high settings. I know that depends on the graphics moreso, but whatever I can do to help that out from the cpu will be great. I also listen to music while playing games (Makes my gaming experience so much better).

So, with that being said, what would be the best option for me? I been doing a lot of research and can not decide. I hear the i5 can do just as good as i7. What about hyperthreading? How is the performance difference? What would you suggest if you were in my shoes? I am willing to pay more if I have to, but I don't want to.

Edit: Oh and what does m, qm and nothing means in the cpu name? Like i7 920, i7 920m and i7 920qm
March 31, 2010 12:37:12 AM

http://ark.intel.com/ProductCollection.aspx?familyId=43...
They all can hyper-thread but for gaming this isn't really utilized vs. using more cores.(Even for that, games don't require having a quad core yet but it helps)

Judging by that list, for the i7 Q means no integrated graphics and is a quad core cpu. And M just means Mobile. The U in the name means low wattage (15 watts). The L I don't know exactly but it does have lower watts (25watt).
i7 920 is the Desktop processor .

All the i7 6xx series have 4mb cache and come with intergrated graphics , 2 cores / 4 Threads
All i7 7xx series have 6mb cache , 4 cores/ 8 Threads
All i7 8xx series have 8mb cache , 4 cores/ 8 Threads
The i5 's have 3mb cache , 2 cores / 4 Threads

i can see why the i5's can be just as good as the i7 6xx series. Specs are so close, I do not see why Intel has to confuse everyone with their weird naming schemes. A lot of these mobile processors seem to overlap over each other.

Also more watts means more heat, but if i were in your shoes I would stay away from the low wattage ones without researching their performance. And I use a notebook cooler myself and will never seriously game without one. (Just because I can feel the heat through the keyboard and makes my hands sweaty)

If you can spec out a few laptops at ibuypower or anywhere else and post them here. I'll check out the specs online and see if i can get any good reviews online.

And another thing, I'd buy the best mobile video card I can because usually they are very hard to upgrade. A lot of laptops can have their cpus upgraded as long as the socket and motherboard can support it. For graphics, manufactures like to make their own custom crap video cards to fit into their laptop shells.(so they can't fit into any other model/brand laptop)

Also, For gaming, just get the fastest processor (either i5 or i7) with the most speed as you can get. 2.0ghz and up minimum to play games. That and the fastest graphics you can fit into that laptop. Graphics above all else for a laptop + cpu speed for gaming.
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March 31, 2010 1:41:39 AM

Thanks so much. That was very informative. Here is what I am mainly looking at:
http://www.ibuypower.com/Store/Configurators.aspx?mid=5...

Now you said games should have a processor with at least 2.0ghz. Well would these i7/i5 chips always use this power boost system to reach the desired results? Basically I want a system that can play something like crysis on medium @ 30fps's. I am sure that if it can handle that, then it technically should handle almost anything else on full settings minus aa. I am not sure what other games are graphically intense. But I like COD4 Battlefield 2, UT3, etc. So I want to be able to play these games on max settings. I am gonna do some research on laptop graphics cards right now while I wait for response.
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March 31, 2010 4:39:02 AM

The one you showed me has got the mobility HD5650. After a quick search I turned up this site with some benchmarks with the same cpu.
http://www.notebookcheck.net/ATI-Mobility-Radeon-HD-565...

I don't know the credibility of this website, but it might give you a general idea on it's performance. There aren't a lot of sites that do laptop benchmarks.

For you purposes, I'd try to get a better video card, something like a geforce GTX260M would be good. I saw an Asus laptop with the core i7 with the GTX260M online at amazon. About the same price, but I do not know the specs are what comes with it. I think the GTX260M will suit you much better now and in the long run compared to the 5650.

Review/Frames in games: http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-260M.14... (CoD4and5 at 1680x1050 resolution. Crysis @ 1024x768)

May want to read this thread too: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/54634-35-4670-mobilit...


I forgot to mention the turbo boost, yes the core i7 720qm will turbo boost up to 2.8ghz. If it works like the desktop counterparts; the turbo boost will spool up when cpu demand ramps up.(Like gaming, cpu intensive tasks) And it's almost instant most of the time.

When you price it out some things you might want to consider is what can be upgraded later so I can cut costs somewhere now. What can't be upgraded , so i have to get the best now. Example could be the hard drive, you could get the lowest capacity to cut costs and upgrade later.


If you are in no rush to get this laptop and can wait a little longer, maybe you should shop around to see what other companys have to offer. Like that asus or maybe an alienware. If you are into warranty check out that too.

This is an investment and take your time to make sure you looked at all the options.
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