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another 'is this a good laptop' thread

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April 28, 2008 1:11:44 AM

Hey all, I am lacking l337 laptop skillz and need a new workhorse for business school. I will use it more for gaming than for research papers, of course. THis is the best I found (COSTCO). I looked at Newegg/pricewatch, etc, but need a little input. Is these something in the same price point better than the below? Anything I am overlooking? I.e. Crappy components, lots of preinstalled junk?

HP dv9843CL
320 GB HD (5400 i think)
Intel Core 2 Duo T8100
Blue Ray/combo burner
64 bit Vista
8600 M GS 512
3GB DDR2 (800 ithink but maybe not)

1399$

Is this good? I also used the costco site to build my own laptop of the same time, and am wondering if it is worth building my own and adding a higher resolution screen for 30 bucks.

Anything better out there?

More about : good laptop thread

April 28, 2008 1:24:25 AM

the 8600 gs is a little to slow if you like eye candy. for that price, you could get a Dell with an 8600m gt, a decent card for game, and a good overclocker. If you want to overclock, don't do it to anything but the GPU, and monitor the temps closely. The 8600m gt however is merely decent with modern games; it will run everything well at medium or above settings. If you want high performance, look for an 8800 series card. the guys over at Notebookreview.com are really knowledgeable if you need any more help.
April 28, 2008 2:06:20 AM

Gateways new P -FX series looks pretty sweet.
There online line up is here:
http://www.gateway.com/systems/series/529598006.php
Stay away from the two cheap ones.
With a slightly different mid end system sold at best buy (and not online) here:
http://www.gateway.com/systems/product/529668070.php

Anandtech did a quick review of the P-6831 FX a month ago and called it the best midrange gaming laptop ever (also sold only at best buy). A link to the article here:
http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=3273&cp=...
In fact just google search the Gateway P-6831 FX and you'll see how crazy people were going for it when it was first released. The P-6831 FX was the first of the current FX series that gateway released.
Related resources
April 28, 2008 3:58:47 AM

perfect, perfect. I am looking at the gateway model now...
also checking out notebook review..
About the p 6831,
Is the gain in video card worth the loss in processer speed from 2.1 to 1.83 and loss of a blue ray player for the same price?
April 28, 2008 4:22:39 AM

Yes, on second thought, screw Dell, that Gateway is too good of a deal. If you're gaming it is totally worth the downgrade in proc. you can upgrade in the future if you need to as well (the processor).
a b D Laptop
April 28, 2008 4:46:42 AM

I would agree with dmac on this. The CPU and media drives are two of the easier things to upgrade on a laptop. It's a good buy.
April 28, 2008 4:11:15 PM

Ok i like it.
Looking at bestbuy there are two others, with different video cards in the same price point. how do these stack up to the 6860?

Toshiba Satellite A305-S6843 (WXGA unfortunately)
2.1 GZ 800 MHZ bus 3 MB Cache 4 GB ram, Radeon 3470 1 GB - $1250

Asus M50Sv-X2
2.5 GHZ 800 MHz, 6 MB cache, 2 GB ram, Geforce 9500M 512 MB - 1350$

I know nothing about video cards. so was wondering your thoughts
a b D Laptop
April 28, 2008 4:20:19 PM

Both of those have stronger CPUs, but their graphics cards aren't nearly as strong. If gaming is a concern, I would go with graphical horsepower over CPU horsepower. Like I said before, the CPU shouldn't be all that difficult to upgrade if you feel you need to.
April 28, 2008 4:20:22 PM

the Gateway with the 8800 will bow those away gaming wise. the 9500 is similar to the 8600m gt performance wise, and I don't know about the 3470.
a b D Laptop
April 28, 2008 4:33:48 PM

Just be aware that gamer laptops have attrocious battery life; as little as half an hour, although they may last longer when not gaming.
a b D Laptop
April 28, 2008 5:07:44 PM

Onus said:
Just be aware that gamer laptops have attrocious battery life; as little as half an hour, although they may last longer when not gaming.


The Gateway in question gets between 1.5 and 2 hours while web surfing. About an hour while gaming. Not too big of an issue I would say.
April 28, 2008 5:24:34 PM

I have a dell with 8800m GT / T7500 and I gotta say im not impressed at all... Compared to my desktop it is horrendous (to be expected as far less power). Battery life is horrible like 1 hour with the biggest battery they have and there is no way I can play LOTRO on high settings…. Med is pushing it even. Older games like C&C Generals are NP but don’t expect to play “new” games with good graphics on any laptop.
April 28, 2008 5:27:00 PM

Also I had to buy a heatpad thing with fans to disperse the heat, you wouldn’t believe the heat coming outa there.
I have to wear undies only or sweat to death :)  j/k I am exaggerating a bit.
April 28, 2008 5:54:54 PM

oh man, woe is me.. i really want a newer desktop, but I am going to have to use this puppy in class, so i need a laptop. are 9 to 12 cell batteries worth the extra amount?
April 28, 2008 6:00:35 PM

I got a 12, if not for gaming i would say yes there are worth it. For games you have to plug in.
Also note that the 12's are larger then the 9's...

waiting in an airport the extra hour of web browsing is awesome.
April 28, 2008 6:50:45 PM

You guys have to realize that gaming on any laptop without it being plugged in is going to lower your battery life to about an hour or less. My 1720 Dell gets about 3-4 hours of life with minimum LCD brightness and battery saver mode. 1 hour while gaming. If your planning on gaming, battery life doesn't matter because you'll need to have it plugged in.
April 28, 2008 7:01:37 PM

echo...
a b D Laptop
April 28, 2008 7:15:03 PM

grieve said:
I have a dell with 8800m GT / T7500 and I gotta say im not impressed at all . . .


I think you have you GPU confused there. The only Dell laptop to offer an 8800 card is the m1730 and that's an SLI setup and it can play Crysis well. Sounds to me like you have an 8600m GT, which was never really meant to be a gaming card. That and there is no mobile GT, only GTS and GTX.


grieve said:
don%u2019t expect to play %u201Cnew%u201D games with good graphics on any laptop.


If you get one of the 8800 cards, you will have no trouble playing any of today's titles (maybe not on max, but still with good quality). Granted they do come with a price. (I am not saying go out and get a new laptop, just stating)

April 28, 2008 7:42:20 PM

you may be right, might be an 8600.. i dont have it here to see.
April 28, 2008 7:44:57 PM

I specifically remember getting the best card i could and was about 8 months ago.
April 28, 2008 7:58:45 PM

Ya you must have the 8600m GT, there isn't any high GT besides that.
April 28, 2008 9:12:09 PM

Yeah, if you are going for mainly gaming, you need to find at least an 8600GT card. It still isn't optimal, but will do the trick. If you can order a machine with XP on it, it will fix alot of issues that you will contend with and will require less RAM. I only recommend this for laptops, because DX10 really isn't going to matter for a long time.

We are kinda in a weird bump with graphics cards, and it might be wise to wait it out. The 8600 series is really weak

I have an ASUS G1s that does well with most games, but I had to load XP on it to work with some of my older Games.

Extra cell battery is very useful, and the size never really bothers me. you are talking huge laptop anyway. It doubles my battery life, which for me is huge because I'm always in class and plugging up can be a pain.

Have you considerd a good desktop and with the extra money an EeePC or cheap laptop for class notes. There are many new cheap options for basic laptops and the trend is growing. MSI is coming out with a very promising option soon. These are small, easy to carry, and don't swallow up your desk. That is unless you want to game in class :)  Unfortunately, this is almost always the best option for gamers.
April 30, 2008 1:19:08 PM

all, you have almost convinced me of getting the 6860, but I have ONE more question. if I were to increase my price point, what is the cheapest I could get something that still has an 8800 card yet actualyl has a 1920x1200 screen?
a b D Laptop
April 30, 2008 1:51:03 PM

There is a version of the Gateway with the WUXGA screen, but the price jumps to about 2K. At that point you can actually get a Sager laptop that has an 8800mGTX in it for about 2300. Besides these two, the Dell XPS M1730 and an Alienware, I haven't seen too much else out there with 8800 cards in them. I do agree though that the screen res of the Gateway is one of its few flaws. I'll keep looking and see if I can find anything else for you.
April 30, 2008 2:43:35 PM

thanks so much. i called gateway and looked at their 172x yesterday. 2.4 GHZ, and still the 8800, but that was also around 2000. And it still has a 1440 X whatever just like the 6860. They were willing to haggle down to 1750 which i though was nice, but i love that high res.

nice cat, too
a b D Laptop
April 30, 2008 4:41:09 PM

swotavator said:
nice cat, too


Hehe, thanks. I love my avatar.
:D 
May 1, 2008 12:22:57 AM

Hey swotavator,

Look at the deal I just got on the P-172X FX.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/50432-35-laptop-colle...
its about $400 off the price of the original quote.
Don't know if you want as much warranty as I got, but in my case its "better safe than sorry".
I talked to quite a few people at gateway before I ordered. If you want I can give you the number of the person I talked to.
Also a tip when you talk to gateway, go to them with a price you want.
Tell them that your budget is, lets say $1650. Then they will be able to haggle with you for a great price. On my order I originally told them that my budget was $2100. So in the end they gave me a $2600 lappy for $2200. Good deal I think.
May 1, 2008 3:26:56 AM

oh man thats sweet. the fx i talked to the guy about retails at 2000, and he said 1750, but had me down for the 160$ and 100$ warranty and accidental damaging. you opted to go without those? if i went back and talked him down to 1700$ and then got rid of those, that might work i wonder. What of the gateway warranties do people find valuable?
a b D Laptop
May 1, 2008 3:58:59 PM

A lot of people don't seem to remember there are two versions of the 8600M GT...a DDR2 and 3. The DDR3 version, as far as I know only offered by ASUS's G line, does much better than the DDR2, which is what everyone else sells.
a b D Laptop
May 1, 2008 5:15:57 PM

frozenlead said:
A lot of people don't seem to remember there are two versions of the 8600M GT...a DDR2 and 3. The DDR3 version, as far as I know only offered by ASUS's G line, does much better than the DDR2, which is what everyone else sells.


Actually from what I've noticed, the VRAM type tends to relate to the amount the card has. The DDR2 ones seem to mostly be the 512mb versions of the card (non shared memory versions), while the DDR3 are the 256mb ones. This isn't necessarily a rule, just something I noticed. IMO, I still wouldn't use an 8600GT for gaming.
a b D Laptop
May 2, 2008 12:57:09 AM

I never noticed that...wow, good call. I still wouldn't use it, either, but if given the choice I'll take the lesser of two evils.
June 10, 2008 1:53:52 AM

Duuude, you're gettin' a Gateway! :D 

If you don't, you must love throwing around tons of cash for the same stuff, because I just picked one of these P-6860 FX buggers from BestBuy for $1250 + tax a couple days ago, and I am quite overwhelmingly impressed!

1) A graphics card that came in 5th in testing of nVidia cards (6th overall), just under the 8800M GTX (single & SLi configs), and SLi configs of the 7950Go and 7900Go video cards source:
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benc...

2) A decent (albeit weaker compared to other speed offerings) Core 2 Duo 1.83GHz CPU

3) 4GB of dual-channeled RAM - MAX RAM BY DEFAULT!!!

4) 320GB hard drive (largest available), even if it is 5400 RPM (and it is DUAL-DRIVE capable for two independent drives or RAID 0 or RAID 1)

5) HDMI and VGA outputs

6) Modem, Realtek Gb ethernet, eSATA port, Wireless a/b/g/n, SD/XD card reader, 3 USB ports, 1 ExpressCard 54 slot

7) Multi-format DVD-RW drive

In addition, it has the ability to be EASILY upgraded to a better CPU (Socket P), allowing the installation of 2.5GHz (so far as I know) C2D's, possibly Quads if they come out for that socket....

So what you have is a VERY capable gaming laptop / desktop replacement machine with the foreseeable upgrade-ability of a desktop (better processor, 2nd hard drive). After all, as long as the drives are SATA and the processor Socket P, you could conceivably upgrade, especially since those items, and more, are EASILY accessible via two bottom panels.

In my case, it DID replace my power-sucking desktop rig:

Pentium-D 3.4GHz 2MB (LGA775)
2GB Dual-channeled DDR2 (2x 1GB)
GeForce 7950GT 512MB (PCI-E)
1.32 TB storage: 1x 320GB SATA2, 2x 500GB SATA2 hard drives
DVD-RW multi-format burner drive
600W Antec Power Supply
19" Widescreen Viewsonic VA1912wb LCD Monitor

Except the actual amount of internal storage and rotational speeds, in terms of actual performance, it is well beyond what my desktop rig contained.

Also, one modification I did after a mere two hours of it being in my possession: wiped the drive clean of Vista 64 Home Premium and upgraded to XP Pro SP2 (SP3 now). I went from having 1.1GB of my RAM in use to run just the OS (Vista) to a small 236MB to run the OS in use at any time (XP Pro). It took some doing, but a nice forum was good enough to show me how to do it, and all I can say is WOW!

A similarly-built rig on any other manufacturer is easily twice the price (or more) than this little wonder.

GET - ONE - NOW!!! :bounce: 
!