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Desktop/Laptop Dilemma

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August 14, 2012 1:58:03 PM

Hello,

I am looking for the best bang for my buck for a casual gamer. Probably most intensive current game to be played is Diablo III - which both should play handily. Likes to play older games, RPGs, no MMOs... Not a lot of game time, though...

I'm frustrated that the old 'desktops are cheaper and more powerful than laptops' adage doesn't seem to be true right now - both of these configs are very close in price.

I'm agonizing between an XPS 8500 config and the Inspiron 17R Special Edition. Laptop has SSD, and of course added portability option is a nice plus (not really needed for this case, though). It pains me to pay as much for a desktop without a monitor as a laptop...

And, since I know it will be asked, every time I've priced out my own build, it wasn't worth it to build myself - I doubt I'll upgrade this machine much... Typically I outgrow and replace, not try to upgrade in place. It doesn't have to be Dell by any means, but I couldn't find a comparable system at a comparable price (coupons and all net these to between $800 - $950, and include an XBOX360 or $200 gift card as well)

Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated!

See below for specific config details:

XPS 8500 XPS 8500 Fast track config09
Chassis XPS 8500, Black Chassis w/19:1 media card reader
PROCESSORS 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3770 processor (up to 3.90 GHz)
OPERATING SYSTEM Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English
SPEAKERS No speakers (Speakers are required to hear audio from your system)
WIRELESS Dell Wireless 1703 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0+LE
SOUND CARD Integrated 7.1 with WAVE MAXXAudio 4
USB 3.0 Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet

INSPIRON CONFIG:

SYSTEM Inspiron 17R Notebook (Inspiron 7720)
PROCESSOR 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3610QM processor (6M Cache, up to 3.3 GHz)
OPERATING SYSTEM Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64-Bit, English
MEMORY 8GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 Memory
HARD DRIVE 1TB 5400RPM SATA HDD + 32GB mSATA SSD w/ Intel Smart Response
VIDEO CARD NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M GDDR5 2GB
INTERNAL OPTICAL DRIVE 8X Tray Load CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)
DISPLAY 17.3" Full High Definition (1080p) LED Display with Anti-Glare
WIRELESS CARDS Intel® Centrino® Wireless 2230, 2x2 bgn + Bluetooth
SOUND Skullcandy Speakers with WaveMaxx 4.0
NETWORK CARD Integrated 10/100 Network Card
KEYBOARD Dell Backlit Keyboard with Multi-touch Touchpad, English-Int'l

More about : desktop laptop dilemma

a b D Laptop
August 14, 2012 2:14:28 PM

you're missing the info on the HDD (or SSD), video and memory for the XPS8500
August 14, 2012 2:23:47 PM

Oops - bad copy and paste user error...

For XPS 8500

MEMORY 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 2 DIMMs edit
OPTICAL DRIVE 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW), write to CD/DVD edit
HARD DRIVE 1TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive 6.0 Gb/s edit
VIDEO CARD AMD Radeon™ HD 7570 1GB GDDR5

Thank you!
Related resources
a b D Laptop
August 14, 2012 2:51:40 PM

For your use: "best bang for my buck for a casual gamer. " you need a different CPU/Graphics balance for your desktop system. The desktop system spec'd has a $300+ CPU and a cheap video card. For a causal game system you want a $150 (or less) CPU with a $150 (or better) video card.

Go back and spec an i3-2100 or i5-2300 based system with a video card like GTX 550 Ti, GTX 560 SE or HD7770 or HD6850.

An i3 based system with an Hd7570 video card will game the same as an i7-3770 system with a HD7570 video card -- they will both be graphics limited.


a b D Laptop
August 14, 2012 3:13:59 PM

You're in for a rude awakening if you expect a "gaming laptop" to play games like a gaming desktop............... for any price. Desktop computers will ALWAYS have the capacity to be much more powerful than portable computers. It's a matter of physics.
August 14, 2012 3:17:51 PM

I am working on your suggestion, tsnor... Thank you!

My point regarding "gaming" desktop/laptop is we're not talking high end gaming rigs here - we're talking casual gamer level playing with Diablo III probably being the most graphically challenging app to be used... I could certainly be way off base here, but it seems like in this mid-performance space, the price difference between 'comparable' desktop and laptop configs is small...

I am thinking it is due to the much greater popularity of laptops over desktops these days...
a b D Laptop
August 14, 2012 4:01:53 PM

I agree with sharply closing price performance of laptop and desktop,

I think its part as you say volumes, part once you are "good enough" performance then the extra power possible in a desktop doesn't buy you that much noticeable and part the sharply lower cost of LCD monitors -- you can get a 15" or 17" panel really cheap now.

You also see this with All-in-ones replacing desktops. There is no real difference between an all-in-one and a laptop except all in one gets bigger screen and laptop gets battery.

Even for diablo III integrated graphics don't cut it. Here are the best integrated in the world, AMD trinity, unable to do much better than low quality on diablo III. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/a10-5800k-a8-5600k-...

Aside: the notebook you selected with GT650M can play diablo III on ultra http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GT-650M.718...

Aside: the HD7570 is a renamed HD6570 with same specs. You won't find many benchmarks on it with the name HD7570, but if you look for HD6570 you'll find some. You can also look at gameplay video for diablo III and HD6570 on youtube.
August 14, 2012 4:30:17 PM

I can't find much in the prebuilt realm that meets this (hard to get that decent of a graphics card with an older chipset - at least at my possibly meager sources)...

So perhaps I'll have to build instead of buy pre-built... I haven't looked much yet here, but how does this look (from Newegg)?

Intel Core i5-2400/P67/8GB/128GB SSD SuperCombo:

Ubisoft TrackMania 2: Canyon Game (Coupon Code Cards)
Rosewill Blackbone Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
MSI P67A-GD55 (B3) Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 LGA 1155 ATX Motherboard
MSI AMD Radeon HD 7770 1GB HDCP PCI-E 3.0 Video Card
Rosewill Green Series ATX Power Supply (80PLUS)
Intel Core i5-2400 3.1GHz Quad-Core Sandy Bridge LGA 1155 Desktop Processor
128GB Crucial M4 Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
8GB (2x4GB) Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR3-1600MHz PC3-12800 Desktop Memory

for a low $579.99 Free Shipping after rebate. Tax in CA, NJ, TN.
August 14, 2012 5:16:21 PM

Another option (pre-built) -- latest i5... 1333 MHz memory, though... SataIII...
iBUYPOWER Gamer Extreme NE925i Desktop PC Intel Core i5 3570k(3.40GHz) 8GB DDR3 1TB HDD Capacity AMD Radeon HD 7770 1GB Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit

Best solution

a b D Laptop
August 14, 2012 7:04:36 PM
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LeslieinNH said:
Another option (pre-built) -- latest i5... 1333 MHz memory, though... SataIII...
iBUYPOWER Gamer Extreme NE925i Desktop PC Intel Core i5 3570k(3.40GHz) 8GB DDR3 1TB HDD Capacity AMD Radeon HD 7770 1GB Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit

That's a decent option but I bet it will cost you as much as that laptop you specced out up top. Again you'd be overspending on the processor as that model implies overclocking, and I doubt you'd be doing that (besides I don't see it mention an after market cooler, which is a necessity if any overclocking is to be done)

I believe in your situation your best bet is to build it yourself. There's a plethora of guides and videos explaining how to get it done, plus you will have much better choice of the parts that go into your computer AND it will be at least $200 cheaper than any prebuilt.
August 14, 2012 7:06:42 PM

It would cost almost as much, BUT it has a much higher end video card, which seems to be everyone's top concern. I'm still thinking that since that laptop can play D3 on ultra with respectable frame rates, I really don't need much more... but who knows what awesome LAN multiplayer game might come out and just blow that away? :-D
August 14, 2012 7:48:30 PM

Here's my latest thought - build the following (need to know whether CPU cooler is required without overclocking)... I still want to know - is this REALLY *that* much better than the pre-built systems mentioned? :-) I'd hate to be frustrated for nothing *GRIN* THANK YOU!!!

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/eDjZ
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/eDjZ/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/eDjZ/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3550 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.98 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LK ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($129.93 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Patriot Gamer 2 Series, Division 4 Editi 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.98 @ NCIX US)
Storage: OCZ Octane 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($34.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 560 1GB Video Card ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.49 @ SuperBiiz)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($69.99 @ Microcenter)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($90.86 @ Amazon)
Total: $895.18
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-14 15:48 EDT-0400)
a b D Laptop
August 15, 2012 12:26:58 AM

Your build looks good. For a video card comparison, the HD7570 in the first system (renamed HD6570) vs. the GTX 560 in your build... http://www.hwcompare.com/10970/geforce-gtx-560-vs-radeo...

The "Core i5 3570k(3.40GHz) 8GB DDR3 1TB HDD Capacity AMD Radeon HD 7770 " looked like a good choice too if the price was OK. (and if the case looks OK).

For gaming, either of these systems would slaughter the i7-3770 desktop system, however the addition of a strong video card to the i7 system (think add another $150) would make the i7 system a monster.

a b D Laptop
August 15, 2012 12:31:31 PM

LeslieinNH said:
Here's my latest thought - build the following (need to know whether CPU cooler is required without overclocking)... I still want to know - is this REALLY *that* much better than the pre-built systems mentioned? :-) I'd hate to be frustrated for nothing *GRIN* THANK YOU!!!

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/eDjZ
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/eDjZ/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/eDjZ/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3550 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.98 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LK ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($129.93 @ NCIX US)
Memory: Patriot Gamer 2 Series, Division 4 Editi 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($69.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($99.98 @ NCIX US)
Storage: OCZ Octane 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($34.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 560 1GB Video Card ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.49 @ SuperBiiz)
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($69.99 @ Microcenter)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($90.86 @ Amazon)
Total: $895.18
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-14 15:48 EDT-0400)

Good build, my only concern is your RAM, I'd suggest to get 8gb ram @ 1600 1.5V for half the price, plus check if that particular ram kit model is approved for that particular motherboard.

Other than that it should be fine. You could also drop the ssd and probably get 560ti

Oh and as far as after market cooler, it's not necessary if you're not overclocking (intel stock cooler will do the job), in the future if you find intel cooler to be too noisy under load (some people do), you could replace it with a quieter cooler.
August 15, 2012 3:18:43 PM

AntiZig said:
Good build, my only concern is your RAM, I'd suggest to get 8gb ram @ 1600 1.5V for half the price, plus check if that particular ram kit model is approved for that particular motherboard.

Other than that it should be fine. You could also drop the ssd and probably get 560ti

Oh and as far as after market cooler, it's not necessary if you're not overclocking (intel stock cooler will do the job), in the future if you find intel cooler to be too noisy under load (some people do), you could replace it with a quieter cooler.


_____________________
Haha - actually, I ended up with a different config, as I had two threads going after I started thinking about the homebuilt idea... I figured I shouldn't extensively post about homebuilt info on the prebuilt forum :-)

I went with a i5-3570k (in case I get inspired to overclock - not planning on doing so initially). I got the ASRock Z77Extreme4 motherboard, and Samsung memory (8 GB, highly rated, also for overclocking). Changed to Western Digitial Black 1 TB SATAIII drive with no SSD. GPU is a Radeon 6870. Changed to Corsair PS (600w) and a LiteOn optical drive... Same case, though! *haha*

What do you think?
a b D Laptop
August 15, 2012 5:18:42 PM

perfection
August 16, 2012 12:52:37 AM

Awesome! I am indebted to Spicy_benie :-)
August 23, 2012 2:58:42 PM

Best answer selected by LeslieinNH.
!