Laptop / Cheap Desktop / or ?

Hi all,

I have not been much of a gamer for a few years, and have fallen out with keeping up with the latest specs and graphic cards and processors and everything else (my knowledge even then wasn't all that advanced, I never delved too deeply into knowing everything), and feel lost in knowing what to look for right now. I am a fan of Guild Wars, and want to try Guild Wars 2, which be be released soon, and what I have now won't support the game. I have googled around and read some sites and forum posts, but I am still lost.

The thing is, I have not purchased a new desktop for a long time. The graphic card in there is still PCI, with a motherboard that doesn't support AGP or PCI-e (I'm not even sure what GC is the "standard" now). I bought a laptop, and since am not a big gamer anymore, very rarely, if ever, even turn on the desktop. So that one probably won't run GW 2. I ran the "can you run it?" test on my laptop, and what failed was the GC, since its Intel graphics with 64 MB dedicated memory, while the game requires 256.

I don't know if it's ideal for me to get a desktop, since I don't use it that much, but it seems that most laptops don't game that well, and if they perform alright, they're pretty expensive (for my budget). So I am it possible to spend less than $500 on something that would perform well? If I could spend $350-$450 on a desktop setup that could run this well, I probably would do it. It's just that I'm wondering, if I will spend that on a desktop, I might as well pay a bit more and get something that will play other modern games as well...doesn't have to be top-of-the-line to play crysis type of gaming rig.

So, which of these options seem best/most feasible and would cost the least while giving me something that would work well with this/similar games? A) Buy a new laptop that's a bit-higher end that could run this. (What price range would I be looking at, and what specs should I search out?) B) Buy a really cheap walmart-esque desktop, and swap out the graphics card and add some RAM. (Would this work, and should I make sure to have any specific spec?) C) Just go to Best Buy and buy a mid-range desktop, or build my own custom one.

I'm just not sure which route to go, and really want to play this game. On the surface, a laptop seems best, because that is what I use in my daily life, but if it would cost a lot I would consider a desktop dedicated for gaming.

Lastly, what about something like this posting on Craiglist, does this sound like it's a good deal, and would work?

If I could get something cheaper like that on CL that would run GW 2 well and other mid-range games, I would probably be satisfied with that for now.

One more thing, actually. How does the release of Ivy Bridge affect this? Should I care much? If it's recommended I buy a prebuilt or build my own, is it worth it to wait for a system that has this?
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  1. I stopped at best buy today, and found this one for a pretty low price:

    Would I be able to use that as it is with GW 2? I understand that it's not top of the line, but would it even work well? And if not, would I be able to buy it, upgrade the video card and RAM, and then have it perform well with GW 2?
  2. No, I have an E450 based laptop. You do not want an AMD E series CPU for gaming. It's OK for low power, low performance netbook/laptop.

    These are the GW2 specs: (from

    Minimum System Requirements
    Windows® XP Service Pack 2 or better
    Intel® Core™ 2 Duo 2.0 GHz, Core i3, AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 or better
    NVIDIA® GeForce® 7800, ATI Radeon™ X1800, Intel HD 3000 or better (256MB of video RAM and shader model 3.0 or better)

    (The joker in the list is intel HD 3000 -- wonder how that snuck in, it's much worse than the others).

    Consider this one (refurbished = $320 +ship) HP Pavilion p7-1130z AMD A6-3600 2.1GHz 4GB 1TB with AMD HD 6450 512MB installed) here:
  3. Ah I would have bought that one...too bad I didn't see this post before I bought one. I ended up with something very similar, and on that same website, but dual core instead of quad, for just about $20 less.
  4. Excellent. Hope it works out for you.
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