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Specs for gaming

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October 15, 2012 4:42:30 PM

Hello,
I am the parent of a boy who loves gaming and is also able to script/programme to some extent. I fully admit to being a computer dummy but in order to buy him a descent gaming laptop that will last for a few years at least, I am trying very hard to learn the lingo. I have been offered a new Alienware laptop with the specs below for £1150.

Please please could someone tell me if this is a good deal and a good ballance of bits?

3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3630QM (6MB Cache, up to 3.4GHz w/ Turbo Boost 2.0)
English Windows® 7 Home Premium (64 BIT)
2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 675M
6144MB (1x2GB + 1x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3 Dual Channel
500GB 7,200rpm SATA 3Gb/s HDD
17.3" WideFHD (1920 x 1080) WLED LCD
Alienware M17x Stealth Black
DVD+/-RW (Read/Write)
Killer Wireless-N 1103 a/g/n 3x3 MIMO with Bluetooth 4.0
Primary 9 cell Li-Ion Default Base Battery

Internal UK/Irish Qwerty Keyboard 1
UK 2M 250V Power Cord 1
Southern Europe Documentation (EN, SPA, POL, GRE)
N08W7M02
Placemats (Eng, Gre, Pol, Ara, Rus) 1
Alienware M17x Order
Integrated Skype HD Certified FullHD Camera with dual digital microphones
Alienware M17x Resource DVD
240W AC Adaptor
Plasma Purple
Alienware Logo
Alien Cyborg Wallpaper
Steam® Factory Installed and Steam Extra Content
Creative Sound Blaster Recon3Di with THX TruStudio Pro Software


More about : specs gaming

a c 276 4 Gaming
October 15, 2012 4:55:45 PM

Alienware is not well liked around here, you're basically buying a rebranded Dell. There's better laptops you could go with - like the Clevo/Sager brand (used by MSI and a few others). Or you could build your own desktop for that budget and get a better system. The thing you have to keep in mind is that if you want to do serious gaming that laptop GPUs are in no way shape or form the same thing as their desktop equivalents.
October 15, 2012 5:15:00 PM

Thank you so much for your reply. We would go for the desktop but he is at a residential school in the week and so would have to bring it home each weekend, increasing the chance of damage. We will look into the make you have suggested though. Are the GPU's not enough for good quality gaming?
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a b 4 Gaming
October 15, 2012 5:19:40 PM

Alienware is generally overpriced and often has inferior build quality to other brands. Picture quality and such is not the problem, it's price and reliability as well as some other issues such as excessive bloatware IIRC.

Laptop graphics are optimized for low power consumption, not performance, so they tend to be inferior to desktop graphics in performance with similar prices. Laptop components, despite similar names to desktop components, are weaker than the cards with similar names. For example, the mobile Radeon 7970M is a little slower than the desktop Radeon 7870 and the Radeon 7970 is greatly faster. I can't even stand Nvidia's mobile graphics without memory overclocking because they have so little memory bandwidth unless you overclock them that throwing on some MSAA is enough to make them outperformed by even Radeon 7850s.
a b 4 Gaming
October 15, 2012 5:25:45 PM

pooky said:
Thank you so much for your reply. We would go for the desktop but he is at a residential school in the week and so would have to bring it home each weekend, increasing the chance of damage. We will look into the make you have suggested though. Are the GPU's not enough for good quality gaming?


For normal work, any laptop will do.

Might it be a good idea to provide your son with a simple laptop to be used at school.
That would keep him to his studies and not be tempted by gaming.

Then provide a strong gaming desktop to be used at home.
October 15, 2012 6:06:21 PM

I know it would be sensible and you would normally be quite right but our son is at a boarding school because he has autism, he is higly intelligent and not your average boy. Odly enough it was his pyschologist at school who suggested that it may be a good incentive to encourage him to earn tokens toward a gaming laptop (he has a basic one, which he uses for schoolwork). IBM have taken him under their wing a little and he has been offered a place on a course in game design... it is better than him hacking into the school computer during his spare time.

I have looked at Clevo at the pcspecialist website and built what I think is the equivelant in specs and it is more expensive at over £1200, but I really don't know what I am doing... if there is a ready made laptop that does the job I would be happy.


Chassis & Display
Vortex Series: 15.6" AUO Matte 95% Gamut Widescreen (1920x1080) (£79)
Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™i7 Quad Core Mobile Processor i7-3630QM (2.40GHz) 6MB
Memory (RAM)
4GB SAMSUNG 1600MHz SODIMM DDR3 MEMORY (1 x 4GB)
Graphics Card
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 675M - 2.0GB DDR5 Video RAM - DirectX® 11
Memory - Hard Disk
500GB WD SCORPIO BLACK WD5000BPKT, SATA 3 Gb/s, 16MB CACHE (7200 rpm)
DVD/BLU-RAY Drive
8x SATA DVD±R/RW/Dual Layer (+ 24x CD-RW)
Memory Card Reader
Internal 9 in 1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/SD: Mini, XC & HC/MS: Pro & Duo)
Thermal Paste
STANDARD THERMAL PASTE FOR SUFFICIENT COOLING
Sound Card
Creative Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ Surround 5.1 PRO External (£69)
Bluetooth & Wireless
GIGABIT LAN & WIRELESS INTEL® N135 802.11N (150Mbps) + BLUETOOTH
USB Options
3 x USB 3.0 PORTS + 1 x USB 2.0 PORT AS STANDARD
Firewire
1 X 1394a FIREWIRE PORT
Battery
Vortex Series 8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (5,200 mAh/76.96WH)
Power Lead & Adaptor
1 x UK Power Lead & 180W AC Adaptor
Operating System
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit w/SP1 - inc DVD & Licence (£79)
Office Software
FREE Microsoft® Office Starter 2010 (Limited functionality Word & Excel)
Anti-Virus
BULLGUARD INTERNET SECURITY - FREE 90 DAY TRIAL
Keyboard Language
INTEGRATED BACKLIT UK KEYBOARD WITH NUMBER PAD
Mouse
INTEGRATED 2 BUTTON TOUCHPAD MOUSE
Webcam
INTEGRATED 2.0 MEGAPIXEL WEBCAM
Warranty
3 Year Standard Warranty (1 Month Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)

October 15, 2012 6:08:29 PM

I know it would be sensible and you would normally be quite right but our son is at a boarding school because he has autism, he is higly intelligent and not your average boy. Odly enough it was his pyschologist at school who suggested that it may be a good incentive to encourage him to earn tokens toward a gaming laptop (he has a basic one, which he uses for schoolwork). IBM have taken him under their wing a little and he has been offered a place on a course in game design... it is better than him hacking into the school computer during his spare time.

I have looked at Clevo at the pcspecialist website and built what I think is the equivelant in specs and it is more expensive at over £1200, but I really don't know what I am doing... if there is a ready made laptop that does the job I would be happy.


Chassis & Display
Vortex Series: 15.6" AUO Matte 95% Gamut Widescreen (1920x1080) (£79)
Processor (CPU)
Intel® Core™i7 Quad Core Mobile Processor i7-3630QM (2.40GHz) 6MB
Memory (RAM)
4GB SAMSUNG 1600MHz SODIMM DDR3 MEMORY (1 x 4GB)
Graphics Card
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 675M - 2.0GB DDR5 Video RAM - DirectX® 11
Memory - Hard Disk
500GB WD SCORPIO BLACK WD5000BPKT, SATA 3 Gb/s, 16MB CACHE (7200 rpm)
DVD/BLU-RAY Drive
8x SATA DVD±R/RW/Dual Layer (+ 24x CD-RW)
Memory Card Reader
Internal 9 in 1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/SD: Mini, XC & HC/MS: Pro & Duo)
Thermal Paste
STANDARD THERMAL PASTE FOR SUFFICIENT COOLING
Sound Card
Creative Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ Surround 5.1 PRO External (£69)
Bluetooth & Wireless
GIGABIT LAN & WIRELESS INTEL® N135 802.11N (150Mbps) + BLUETOOTH
USB Options
3 x USB 3.0 PORTS + 1 x USB 2.0 PORT AS STANDARD
Firewire
1 X 1394a FIREWIRE PORT
Battery
Vortex Series 8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (5,200 mAh/76.96WH)
Power Lead & Adaptor
1 x UK Power Lead & 180W AC Adaptor
Operating System
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit w/SP1 - inc DVD & Licence (£79)
Office Software
FREE Microsoft® Office Starter 2010 (Limited functionality Word & Excel)
Anti-Virus
BULLGUARD INTERNET SECURITY - FREE 90 DAY TRIAL
Keyboard Language
INTEGRATED BACKLIT UK KEYBOARD WITH NUMBER PAD
Mouse
INTEGRATED 2 BUTTON TOUCHPAD MOUSE
Webcam
INTEGRATED 2.0 MEGAPIXEL WEBCAM
Warranty
3 Year Standard Warranty (1 Month Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)

a b 4 Gaming
October 15, 2012 6:14:57 PM

For gaming, the graphics chip is much more important than the cpu.
I think the GTX 675M is quite good, but I am no expert there.

I would suggest more than 4gb of ram. 8gb would be plenty.

October 15, 2012 6:30:11 PM

Thank you for replying.

I don't think that a desktop would be practical because of all the travelling and the high risk of damage. Is this laptop overpriced? it was reduced by £500. Do you know of other brands or, more specifically any prebuilt laptop that is similarly priced with better build quality and is able to play any game and do it well?

Many thanks for your time
a b 4 Gaming
October 15, 2012 6:31:49 PM

pooky said:
Thank you so much for your reply. We would go for the desktop but he is at a residential school in the week and so would have to bring it home each weekend, increasing the chance of damage. We will look into the make you have suggested though. Are the GPU's not enough for good quality gaming?


If your son is tech-savvy, have him make a mini-atx form factor desktop. It's slightly larger than an xbox, so there's no worry about it taking damage. As for it being a desktop, especialy building one yourself, you get a MUCH better price/performance ratio.

If he's never built a computer before, he shouldn't worry. It's a LOT easier than most people thing, especially if you watch a couple youtube videos.
October 15, 2012 6:34:14 PM

geofelt said:
For gaming, the graphics chip is much more important than the cpu.
I think the GTX 675M is quite good, but I am no expert there.

I would suggest more than 4gb of ram. 8gb would be plenty.



So is this better than the Alienware laptop specs or about the same
a b 4 Gaming
October 15, 2012 7:10:35 PM

Exactly the same for the parts that matter.
A i7-3630QM cpu
and GTX 675M graphics.
October 15, 2012 8:43:59 PM

ASUS and MSI are good gaming laptop brands. If it is used in classrooms and totted around quite a bit, make sure you take note of the physical dimensions, as some gaming laptop's add an additional 2-3 inches to the back for cooling. I really like MSI's G-Series.

For mobile gaming a GTX 680M would be best, and some laptop's offer two of them in SLI, but a 675M would be very good as well. Any thing better than a 670M should suffice for mid-high graphics gaming - depending on the game.

But definitely get an i7, any i7 should do, then place as much budget into the graphics as possible.
a c 276 4 Gaming
October 15, 2012 8:53:11 PM

ittimjones said:
ASUS and MSI are good gaming laptop brands. If it is used in classrooms and totted around quite a bit, make sure you take note of the physical dimensions, as some gaming laptop's add an additional 2-3 inches to the back for cooling. I really like MSI's G-Series.

For mobile gaming a GTX 680M would be best, and some laptop's offer two of them in SLI, but a 675M would be very good as well. Any thing better than a 670M should suffice for mid-high graphics gaming - depending on the game.

But definitely get an i7, any i7 should do, then place as much budget into the graphics as possible.


MSI actually uses Clevo / Sager as their OEM.

i7 won't do much for games although any i7-3XXXM CPU will pretty much perform at about the same equivalency as the i5-3470.

As far as laptop GPUs go the GTX 680M doesn't perform anywhere near the same as the desktop GTX 680.
a b 4 Gaming
October 15, 2012 9:04:44 PM

ittimjones said:
ASUS and MSI are good gaming laptop brands. If it is used in classrooms and totted around quite a bit, make sure you take note of the physical dimensions, as some gaming laptop's add an additional 2-3 inches to the back for cooling. I really like MSI's G-Series.

For mobile gaming a GTX 680M would be best, and some laptop's offer two of them in SLI, but a 675M would be very good as well. Any thing better than a 670M should suffice for mid-high graphics gaming - depending on the game.

But definitely get an i7, any i7 should do, then place as much budget into the graphics as possible.


I wouldn't recommend any mobile Nvidia card except for overclockers who can rectify the horrible memory bandwidth issue that it has by overclocking the memory. I'd rather get a 7970M build (of course, choosing one that can either switch Enduro off or has it always disabled would be ideal). Otherwise, you can say goodbye to proper MSAA performance. Even without MSAA, higher texture settings and such hurt performance far more on the 580M than on the 7970M in Enduro-disabled models. IDK why Nvidia decided to use such horribly memory-bandwidth bottle-necked cards despite the fact that a proper balance between memory bandwidth and GPU performance can easily achieve better energy efficiency (as seen with the 660 and 670 versus the 660 Ti which performs a little better than a 660, but has the power consumption of a 670).

As for mobile i7, only the highly clocked quad-core models can compare to the quad-core desktop CPUs.
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