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Clueless mother needs help choosing laptop :(

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December 5, 2012 4:35:34 PM

Hi. I'm looking for laptop for my daughter to play Sims3 Pets on. We've had problems in the past with our desktop not being able to run the game correctly so I don't want to buy something new and have the same issue. I know ideally I should get a gaming laptop for her but I'm poor :p  and can only afford about $600. Can someone please tell me if this looks like a good laptop for gaming?
Acer Aspire V3-551G-8454 Notebook
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also I prefer to buy something thru Bestbuy or Walmart, etc. that I can return easilly if needed but this is only available online at Newegg, any thoughts?

Thanks so so much for your help, this is out of my league and I don't really know who else to ask.
December 5, 2012 4:54:48 PM

jimbopops said:
Newegg is a great site to purchase such devices but in my opinion i wouldn't get the Acer Aspire but rather this Asus laptop. It will handle Sims 3 no problem and pretty much any other game as a matter of fact, and you SAVE 50 dollars.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...




Okay, Thank you. Does it matter that one has a dedicated graphics card and the other is integrated?
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December 5, 2012 5:04:39 PM

2 years ago my bro a cousin and a friend wanted to get laptop for regular use and gaming, i said to them: hey guys if you are not the kind of person that travels a lot and that needs to use the pc everywhere you should get a desktop instead of a laptop, no1 of them listened to me they all bought HP laptops, my cousin laptop fried 6 months after that (nice he had special warranty), my bros lap battery died some months after he purchased it, now its throwing random mssgs that the memory its failing that being said ill give you the same advise i gave to them: do not buy a laptop for gaming unless it is a true gaming laptop, with 600 you can get a nice gaming desktop wich you can just upgrade the parts when the time comes like just getting a new video card, that beng said heres an example:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

now if you really need a laptop dont get an acer one, get one like the one that jim posted, an yes stay away from integrated graphics, worst this ever for gaming. hope it helps.
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December 5, 2012 5:09:11 PM

While the GPU on the Acer is spectacular and probably would perform better than the Asus GPU, the CPU on the Acer is what will hinder the performance of the laptop (it will get really really hot which could in time damage important parts in the laptop which shortens the life expectancy significantly). That is why for the games your daughter will be playing, the Asus will be able to handle them no problem as well as use the laptop for recreational purposes as well.
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December 5, 2012 5:13:58 PM

Dnx said:
2 years ago my bro a cousin and a friend wanted to get laptop for regular use and gaming, i said to them: hey guys if you are not the kind of person that travels a lot and that needs to use the pc everywhere you should get a desktop instead of a laptop, no1 of them listened to me they all bought HP laptops, my cousin laptop fried 6 months after that (nice he had special warranty), my bros lap battery died some months after he purchased it, now its throwing random mssgs that the memory its failing that being said ill give you the same advise i gave to them: do not buy a laptop for gaming unless it is a true gaming laptop, with 600 you can get a nice gaming desktop wich you can just upgrade the parts when the time comes like just getting a new video card, that beng said heres an example:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

now if you really need a laptop dont get an acer one, get one like the one that jim posted, an yes stay away from integrated graphics, worst this ever for gaming. hope it helps.


That is the concern I have with the laptop Jim posted, it has integrated graphics. The HD 4000 is their best integrated graphics unit, but it is still quite weak. The Acer at least had a graphics card, not that I'm happy with it either.
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December 5, 2012 5:15:21 PM

:o  didnt saw that.... well more to my point, get a desktop :p , cpu, gpu, ram balance.
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December 5, 2012 5:21:42 PM

Is there any particular reason you're looking for a laptop? Laptops have come down in price over the years but you can still find a more powerful system at a better cost in a traditional desktop.
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December 5, 2012 5:23:12 PM

SchizTech said:
Is there any particular reason you're looking for a laptop? Laptops have come down in price over the years but you can still find a more powerful system at a better cost in a traditional desktop.


+1 to that!
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December 5, 2012 5:24:24 PM

Dnx said:
:o  didnt saw that.... well more to my point, get a desktop :p , cpu, gpu, ram balance.

I know, I'm in a tough spot. Our desktop is probably going to need to be replaced in a year anyway at which time I will get one with a better graphics card than the piece of crap I currently have. She doesn't really want anything for Christmas, she loves the Sims though and would like to be able to play it somewhere other than holed up in the den/dungeon so I am trying the laptop route...on a budget. I'll look at the Asus. We've owned 11" mini laptops by Asus, Dell & Acer-the Asus is the only one still kicking so maybe that should tell me something about the brand.
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December 5, 2012 5:28:24 PM

bystander said:
That is the concern I have with the laptop Jim posted, it has integrated graphics. The HD 4000 is their best integrated graphics unit, but it is still quite weak. The Acer at least had a graphics card, not that I'm happy with it either.


Ya its quite a struggle but since her daughter will be playing Sims 3 Pets I feel the Asus is perfect.

Sims 3 pets System Requirements:
https://help.ea.com/article/the-sims-3-pets-minimum-sys...

Except they both come with windows 8(which isn't supported by Sims) I suggest that whatever laptop you choose make sure to revert it back to windows 7.

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December 5, 2012 5:36:29 PM

im a huge sims fan, and when you play the game with expansions on, the requeriments just dont match, its awesome how my pc take more time loading the sims 3 screens that the guild wars 2 (ultra settings + supersampling), but anyway if the laptop its her final choice, the one you posted its a nice choice for her budget, also the one she posted its ok since the gpu its good.
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December 5, 2012 5:44:02 PM

jimbopops said:
Ya its quite a struggle but since her daughter will be playing Sims 3 Pets I feel the Asus is perfect.

Sims 3 pets System Requirements:
https://help.ea.com/article/the-sims-3-pets-minimum-sys...

Except they both come with windows 8(which isn't supported by Sims) I suggest that whatever laptop you choose make sure to revert it back to windows 7.

Windows 8 is backwards compatible with any W7 program, also, check out some of Lenovo's computers, No arguments with Asus, no doubts at all, but I would look around a bit more, instead of jumping on the first thing presented, you never know, a good one might be hiding under the bed, you will never know until you check.

EDIT: Found a superb laptop for your needs, I will admit I am a bit shaky in the portable computing area, But this should be right for you. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 5, 2012 6:45:59 PM

Kiowa789 said:
Found a superb laptop for your needs, I will admit I am a bit shaky in the portable computing area, But this should be right for you. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


The asus posted before is the same price but better specs than that toshiba. The i5 is better than the a6 and the hd 4000 is better than the 7500g. And personally, I'd rank asus better than toshiba.

Acer has been getting better at their quality, enough that I would suggest them in the lower budget range. That 7670 is nearly twice the performance and that is not even taking into account the ability to cf.
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December 5, 2012 7:05:20 PM

The previously mentioned http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Would be the best choice, the HD4000 graphics are a bit less powerful than the APU based laptops, however the APU's processor is A single core,(two modules) and as such it isn't powerful enough to feed it's own GPU in some cases.

The ASUS will perform better for the Sims when your daughter gets creative, because of it's MUCH faster CPU speed.

It is also to mention that the ASUS laptop should have better battery life, not by much but some.
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December 5, 2012 7:28:32 PM

The laptop would definately be way more "cooler" in the eyes of your daughter.
A desktop more practical, less fragile.

That said,as for laptops:
Quality: Last time I looked went something like this:
Asus->Toshibia -> Dell/sony ->....... Hp/Acer. (Acer has improved, How much, not sure. My Choices in laptops are limited to Asus, Samsung and Toshibia. (Not inorder. Currently using 3 - a Samsung, and 2 Toshibas.

For the game GPU.
The 7670M dGPU is listed bottom 3rd of class 2 while the HD4000 is toward the top of Class 3. Ref:
http://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-Radeon-HD-7670M.69483....
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-4000.691...
NOTE: if you scoot down the page on left side you will see FPS for many games.
Sims is not listed - LOL But if you can pick a game that is comparable in requirements it should give you an Idea.

If the Game is Playable with the HD4000 ( iGPU - Asus Ivybridge) then No If&orButs go for it. i5M IB is Much better than many (if not all) AMD M CPUs coupled with the fact that Asus is generally better quality than Acer. Myself I tend to perfer the MB Chipsets on Intel Builds over AMD supporting Chipsets. others may disagree.

Added:
Did a google search for Sim3 pets on HD4000:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGbklpMbusQ
http://www.modthesims.info/showthread.php?t=483828
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December 6, 2012 4:28:18 AM

azathoth said:
The previously mentioned http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Would be the best choice, the HD4000 graphics are a bit less powerful than the APU based laptops, however the APU's processor is A single core,(two modules) and as such it isn't powerful enough to feed it's own GPU in some cases.


The a8 is a quad core. It is 2 modules and each piledriver module has 2 cores. It is plenty for a weak 7670m.

The hd 4000 can handle the sims if you really want to go with the best brand.

RetiredChief said:
Sims is not listed

6th to the last game on the list is sims 3. http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-4000.691... Your link doesn't work because you forgot to put a space after it.
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December 6, 2012 11:26:42 AM

^ Corrected, For some reason when I eddited the post it truncated the two lines.
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December 6, 2012 11:51:55 AM

Well I crossed my fingers this morning and ordered 2 of the ASUS K55A-WH51 (the one first suggested here by jimbopops) from Newegg. Thanks tons and tons for everyones input! I reviewd some Sims forums as well about graphics cards & processors and viewed some youtube videos (running similar games with the HD4000)-given all that and your expertise ;)  I feel like this is a pretty good choice.

Do you think a cooling pad would be a good idea for the one doing the gaming? (thinking grandma might want to get this :) 
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December 6, 2012 12:26:50 PM

Yes, I would heavily recommend a cooling pad. It cannot hurt at all. I had a gaming laptop, t'was an HP. Was told to get a cooling pad fer it, didn't. Burnt out after a month of HEAVY gamin'. Regret it to this day T_T
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December 6, 2012 1:30:03 PM

^ "Regret it to this day T_T " I would not feel this way. There is a High chance that It may have prolong the demise of your laptop, but probably not by much.

Generally laptop coolers are not very effective. Buy design they only try to cool the bottom of the laptop, So If bottom does not get hot it will have almost NO effect.
1) Many laptops have a plastic Bottom which reduces the effectiveness.
2) Cooling is buy done by forced are cooling the bottom, However, inside the laptop you are relying then on convection (radiating) the cooler bottom as primary cooling is Moving air inside the laptop - O did someone say plastic is not a good conducter of heat (or inthis case cool). May be more effective if laptop bottom is metal.
3) Idealy, to cool the inside of the laptop you need to increase the air intake, so unless there are air intakes on the bottom of the laptop - you can only expect a couple of degrees cooler. For Laptops with vent holes on the bottom a Cooler is more effective.
4) Go to newegg and click on the one/two egg ratings.
Link to the most popular coolers.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=34-997-...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=34-997-...
For some they are very effective, ie bring down the Temps by about 10 C - which is great. But for these I suspect they have a fair amount of vent holes in the bottom.

Looking at the picture of the Bottom of the laptop the OP bought, there are limited vent holes. How effective a cooler would be, My quess 2->5 C cooler. %C may be worth it. The vents for Her's is like my i5-2510M Samung 17" w/540M GPU intake on the side.

What I would do before you buy, is to do two things.
1) Run the laptop for about an hour in game mode, check the bottom temp, if only mildly warm, probably not worth it. If Hot would recommend.
2) Run the game and Monitor The CPU core temperatures, if they are under 65 C you are OK. SB/IB CPUs decrease Speed around 95 C. If Hitting above 65C, I would try a cooler. To verify temps, use a program like CPU-z.
http://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html
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December 6, 2012 4:18:35 PM

Back (had to take a brake for work - LOL)
My laptop: Samsung RF711-S01, i5-2500M with the following:
GPUs: HD3000 + Nvidia 540M
HDD: Upgraded to two SSDs. 128 Gig Crucial M4 for OS (Win 7) + programs and a 256 gig Crucial M4 (Note have a third M4 128 gig w/Windows 8 that can be swapped in/out)
Ram: 2 x 4 gig (came with a single 4 gig stick)
DVD Drive: Blu-ray ROM/DVD±RW
Screen: 17.3" 1600x900
List $950, bought on sale for $750

Have No Games loaded, so ran 2 test; Prime95 and furmark (in a window) wile monitoring temps with HWMonitor.
CAUTION: Both of these programs will heat the CPU up MORE than a game so monitor temps.
2nd the good thing is you only need to run either program for about 15 Minutes. The laptop uder test should hit max temps and stablize with in this time frame.

Max temps for CPU:
Runing Prime 95: Core0 = 77C, Core 1 =77 C, Package = 77C
Furmark (Max/ Nominal): Core0 = 80C/76C, Core 1 =80C/76 C, Package = 80C/76C
HWMonitor did not provide a temp for the 540 dGPU - BUT the ASUS K55A-WH51 Does NOT have a dGPU anyways.
Both the i5-2410M and the i5-3210M have the same thermal specs. From intel.
Electrical/Thermal parameters
Maximum operating temperature 100°C
Thermal Design Power 35 Watt
My understanding is that @ about 95C the CPU will throttle back to reduce power to prevent damage.
80 C is OK for IB/SB will not damage the CPU


begeman,
Please DO NOT missunderstand me - cooler operation is ALWAS BETTER and if a laptop cooler will accomplish this BUY ONE.
If you have the Extra 20->30 Bucks, There is NO harm in getting one.
What I would do.
Run the game while monitoring temps. If temps are say 65->70C, try a cooler.

Hate recommending this, But go to Bestbuy and buy a cooler , try it. If it only lowers your temps 1 to2 C then I'd return it and forget it. If it does work, then two options. 1) Keep it or 2) If better one, or it's cheaper @ newegg return and buy from newegg.

An alternative, which would be my choice, that may be more effective, is a side mount that sets on the Exhaust side that would boast airflow inside the laptop.
Have seen, but tried to find and could not locate.


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December 6, 2012 5:13:05 PM

A cooler helps depending on the surface the laptop is on. You definitely don't want to be on carpet. But most desks are wood which of course is an insulator. So with the laptop so close to it with heat emanating, a cooler would help by raising it away from it. I got the cheapest pad I could find just for this reason and it helps even with a plastic bottom with no vents and the pad fan off. It also keep your lap cool when putting it on your lap.
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December 25, 2012 2:18:46 PM

Christmas morning, the Asus laptops have been opened. My older daughter is happily browsing and drawing with her graphic tablet connected, but then I had no doubts that would run smoothly.

My other daughter, well, and after a suspenseful installation of Sims 3 and Sims 3 Pets....the game is actually running beautifully! Graphics are perfect-the animals actually look like animals (as opposed to misformed spiders as they did on our desktop). My daughter litterally screamed "Oh my god! I have a horse!!".

There are sooo many computers that wont run this game correctly and it has frustrated a huge amount of Sims fans. I was still unsure if this one would be compatible due to the lack of info EAGames provides so my fingers were still crossed up until just now.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know how happy my daughter is and thank you again...Soo very much...for your help and for making her Christmas morning perfect :)  Merry Christmas!
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December 25, 2012 4:20:48 PM

ENJOY the Moment and look back for years to come.
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!