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Purchasing new laptops

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April 22, 2011 5:40:22 AM

My old laptop just crapped out after 2 short years and I am thinking on picking up some replacements. I build my own desktops but have neither the time nor inclination to do the research for putting together a good laptop so I was hoping that I could get some info here for a good prebuilt one. I am a gamer and am looking to get a good gaming machine with at least a 17" monitor for myself and I might pick up another one for my wife who mainly uses hers to type and run Sims 3 (and anything that might ever come out with the Sims name on it). I play more fps and rts games on mine and have been playing a lot of SC2 recently. Hers would likely be a 15" laptop. Portability is a non issue for me though ruggedness is important. I am military and this laptop will be going to Qatar with me soon as well as many other places in the world and I have a feeling that the trips overseas is what shortened the life of the last laptop. I will likely be purchasing it through Newegg (where else) and hopefully getting this VERY soon. I am thinking that under 1K would be nice and under 800 would be much nicer for mine and will likely be getting a much cheaper machine for my wife as she does not need that much power, possibly under 500. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated even if it is just on the processor or video card and not an entire machine. The pricing on laptops seem so massively erratic that I am finding it difficult to compare. I keep seeing ones that are priced over 1K and have Intel's on board memory/dual core 2.4 and then see tri core phenoms/I3 with a dedicated card priced in the 600 range. This is VERY confusing as it seems the price has so little to do with what is under the hood....

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April 22, 2011 6:49:17 AM

It can seem that laptops are priced all over the place but you generally get what you pay for. CPUs of similar frequency do not always have similar performance.

One item that would increase durability and performance would be a solid state drive, but that will add a good bit to the price.

I think this might be about right for you:
Gateway NV79C50u
http://www.gateway.com/systems/product/529668736.php
I have an older model from this series and I'm very pleased with it.

Reviews
http://compreviews.about.com/od/deskreplace/gr/Gateway-...
http://www.amazon.com/Gateway-NV79C50u-17-3-Inch-Laptop...

At a similar price I configured something over at HP also

Components

• black cherry
• Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
• Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-460M Dual Core Processor (2.53 GHz, 3MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz
• 1GB DDRD3 ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 5650 switchable graphics [HDMI, VGA] - For Dual Core Processors
• 4GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
• 640GB 7200RPM Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
• No Additional Office Software
• No additional security software
• 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (standard) - Up to 5.0 hours of battery life +++
• 17.3" diagonal HD+ High-Definition HP LED BrightView Widescreen Display (1600 x 900)
• SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
• HP TrueVision Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone
• Intel 802.11b/g/n WLAN
• Standard Keyboard

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April 22, 2011 1:12:52 PM

Thank you for the suggestions. I just have 2 questions.
1. I noticed that the gateway does not have a separate video card. Will that really have the power for running today's games? I have heard that Intel HD really ends up being crap for gaming and found that, at least in the desktop world, if it is not a discrete card then it is not even worth a glance.
2. Is a dual core i5 better than a quad core choice?

Thanks in advance for any replies.
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April 22, 2011 6:49:52 PM

The Gateway has built-in Intel graphics, but that's not what it's using. It ALSO has a 5650. Here is the performance of the 5650:
http://www.notebookcheck.net/ATI-Mobility-Radeon-HD-565...

You do have to make some sacrifices at that budget level and screen size. If you go a bit over $1K you can get more.

Yes for gaming on a budget you'll be fine with the dual core. It's hyperthreaded so in some applications it behaves like a quad.
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April 23, 2011 2:18:23 AM

Well, sounds like a good deal but unfortunately that particular laptop seems to be unavailable :(  It is a good starting point though and I will look for something similar. Thank you.
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