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School + Some Gaming Laptop, Suggestions?

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June 21, 2010 3:43:43 PM

Hey guys. I'm new. :hello:  ...I was wondering if I could get some advice! :) 

I don't know if this is the proper place for this thread, so my apologies. Also, I might add I'm not super pro at knowing all my computer stuff, so.. Be gentle, please. :) 

I've decided that I want to get a new laptop for school and some gaming.. I'll most likely be using it for word/excel, internet browsing, photoshop/illustrator, WoW, watching movies, and possibly recording some music every now and then. Recording music isn't a huge deal, since when I do decide to get serious about it, I'll get a computer specifically for that.

I've done a lot of research so far, trying to figure out what's best, for the least amount of money. I'm willing to spend $1300(lol before tax) - I'm saying this because I already have my eye on a laptop:

http://configure.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?s_tnt=2...

The problem is, is that I've read snarky remarks about "Dell", such as: "If you think a Dell is good, you might as well get a macbook" (lol), so I don't know what to think about the company, or this computer. To me, it looks good.. And seems like a great value for what it comes with.

I am wondering though, is this overkill? Or is it just right? Is there a better brand, similar pricing, better/similar quality?

What I like about the Studio XPS 16:
-The Processor
-Hard Drive
-Where the ports and such are located on the machine
-Screen Resolution
-The Memory (which is pretty standard anyway)

What confuses me about the Studio XPS 16:
-The quality of the graphics card (idk if it's that great compared to other laptops, I've read Nvidia makes decent graphics cards, but don't know too much about it)
-If there is a huge difference between i5 and i7 cores?! (I was looking at the other Studio XPS 16 version and it has an i5 core, no blu-ray, but higher screen resolution, for 100$ less..)
-Whether or not a macbook would be better than this laptop. LOL! ...Or any laptop for that matter.. For a similar price.

What I don't like about the Studio XPS 16:
-The size (except the weight doesn't seem TOO bad)
-The super glossy screen
-That it apparently runs hot (which I can possibly fix with a cooling pad?! If it gets to be too much?!)

I might also mention that I want to somewhat future proof my laptop - so that I can hang onto for a while..

Thanks for the help, in advance. :) 
June 21, 2010 6:01:01 PM

Or that no one really bothers with gaming laptops. Do you absolutely need a laptop? A desktop would be much, much cheaper and much, much more powerful.

I'll answer some of the general questions, as I don't deal a whole lot with laptops (and using one for gaming isn't advisable).

GPU: It's not that powerful. And (assuming the link is accurate) it's not made by nVidia. That's an ATI, which is better anyway.

CPU: In desktops, there isn't a huge difference (in gaming) between the i5 and i7. However, looking at the speed (1.6 GHz), that's absolutely pitiful for gaming. The cheapest desktop CPU will still be pushing 2.5-3.0 GHz.

Macs: Suck. Period. And $1,300 wouldn't get you close to something you could call a computer.

BluRay: Completely pointless for computers. Save your money and get a standard DVD drive.

Heat: All "gaming" laptops are going to run crazy hot. You'll likely need to only play in spurts of a few minutes to avoid overheating.

Future proofing: Doesn't exist in laptops. To be future proof, you'd need the ability to swap out parts, which is EXTREMELY expensive for laptops. It'd be better to just replace a laptop rather than upgrade it.
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June 21, 2010 6:24:15 PM

It really depends what sort of games you would like to play. My Hp laptop with a 3.2 Ghz processor and a mobility 9600 worked fine for my needs. I was able to play the games I wanted mostly on low settings. Some examples are: Company of heroes, X3 Reunion, C&C Tiberium Wars. Could you spend around 3-4 hundred bucks on a laptop and than have the rest for a desktop?
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Best solution

June 21, 2010 6:41:19 PM

why not do this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and use that for everything except gaming, and then build yourself a nice gaming copmuter.
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June 21, 2010 7:02:31 PM

I agree. If you need something portable to work on, I'd get a small laptop/netbook and then spend more on a good gaming desktop. Here's a gaming build for cheap (obviously, this is just a starting point):

CPU/GPU: X3 440 and HD 5770 $220 after rebate
Mobo/OS: Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 and Windows 7 Home 64-bit OEM $160 after rebate
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $110
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
Case/PSU: Antec 300 Illusion and Earthwatts 430W $110
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $19

Total: $674
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June 21, 2010 7:47:03 PM

Thanks for the replies, I'll have to look into it further..

The reason why I am going for a laptop is because they are not as clunky and don't take up all kinds of space. I live in a room, so space is limited for me.

I like the idea of having a separate laptop for school/work, internet.. And having an actual desktop computer for graphic design/gaming.. I just don't like how much space they take up.

I'll have to reconsider.. Possibly.
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June 21, 2010 7:52:29 PM

Oh.. and the 1.6 is without turbo.. It's quad core.. And it has a turbo that goes to 2.8.. So that doesn't seem terrible to me..?! Maybe I am all wrong..?!
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June 21, 2010 7:56:35 PM

You'd only reach that 2.8 if you had nothing else running (no background process, nothing) and the game only uses one core. Still 2.8 GHz ins't great. The CPU I suggest (X3 440) is at 3.0 GHz and only costs $75. It's pretty much the lowest CPU on the market...
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June 21, 2010 8:03:00 PM

I don't game that much.. so it seems silly to get a computer specifically made for gaming, to be honest.. I just want to know that if I WANT to play a game, I can.

The computer will be used mostly for school work and doing some photo editing every now and then..

Anyway.. Gotta think on it.
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June 21, 2010 8:16:12 PM

Pretty much anything over basic use is a little intense for laptops. You can easily throw in a bigger CPU into that build and have a great editing build. I'm willing to bet that even if you don't, the desktop would beat the laptop you had configured in pretty much anything that requires any kind of muscle.
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June 28, 2010 2:45:52 PM

I've decided to use my old laptop (just add some memory), and get a desktop computer for everything else.. I'm going to get an external hard drive & a USB flash drive to carry stuff around, when I need.
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June 28, 2010 2:46:52 PM

Best answer selected by StealthLikeThat.
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