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Buying 1st laptop -- Did my research, still have questions (1st post)

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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January 26, 2009 9:33:47 PM

Hey everyone, first post here. Most of my research lead me to this site, so I fugred I would register here to hopefully get my remainig questions answered.

I currently own a desktop. It is almost six years old, but still works relatively good. It is a first gen P4 with hyperthreading, 3.2ghz, 4gb PC3200 SDRAM, and has a 512mb AGP graphics card. This setup was (with an 18 inch flat monitor) about $3,000 when I bought it in early 2003. I tend to spend the big bucks on almost anything I buy, intending to use it for a long period of time.

I would love to get a new desktop, because frankly, for half the cost, you can get something better than any laptop. However, I am going to be moving around a lot soon, so unfortunately, I need to spend the big bucks on a very high quality laptop to act as a replacement desktop. I do pretty much everything: Lots of photoshop, gaming, reports, word processing, e-mail, business, photography, etc. I need a lot of storage, a lot of power, and a lot of screen size. I am looking to spend between 2400-2800 dollars. I'll list the specs of what I am currently looking at, then onto the questions.

Current prospect Laptop:
Sager NP9262 - Gaming Laptop

Display: 17" WSXGA+ (1680 x 1050) Glossy Widescreen

Modular Video Card: nVIDIA GeForce 9800M GTX 1GB

Processor: Intel® Core™2 Quad Processor Q9650 3.0GHz Processor w/12M L2 Cache - 1333MHz FSB

Arctic Silver 5: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound

System Memory: 4GB (2 SODIMMS) DDR2/800 Dual Channel Memory (64bit Vista Required)

Hard Drive: 320GB SATA II 3Gb/s 7,200 RPM Hard Drive (16MB Cache Buffer)

Second Hard Drive: 250GB SATA II 3Gb/s 5,400 RPM Hard Drive

Hard Drives in RAID: RAID Disabled

CD/DVD Read/Writer: Blu-Ray Read - DVD-CD R-RW

Memory Card Reader: 7-in-1 Memory Card Reader (All versions of MS + SD/MMC)

Wireless Networking: Built-in Intel® PRO/Wireless 5300 802.11a/g/n

Bluetooth: Built-in Bluetooth Wireless

Battery: Smart Li-ion Battery (12 Cell)

Operating System: Windows Vista Premium - (64-Bit installed - 64 and 32-bit CD included)

AC Adapter: Full Range Auto Switching AC Adapter

Carrying Case: Standard Carrying Case

Sager Limited Warranties: 3-Year Labor 1-Year Parts Warranty (Year 2 & 3 Paid by PNB)-Lifetime 24/7 DOMESTIC Toll Free Support

Price: $2,773.23

First question: Is now a good time to buy, or should I wait a bit for more quad core processors to be readily available on laptops, and for them to come down in price? Quadcores are just now starting to come out en masse for laptops. The Q9650 looks to be pretty amazing, and easily overclockable, but if I wait a few months (which I am fine with) will another, faster, better Quad Core be available, or will they come down in price much?

Second Question: Processor Upgradability -- With the core I7's due out towards the end of this year, Will I be able to upgrade at all? Never owned a laptop before, so not sure how that works. Is the socket of the I7 the same as the Quad Core?

Third Question: where to buy from / customize. I've googled around, but the powernotebooks.com website seems to have BY FAR the best prices. Any other places where I can customize?

Question four: Why is it only 45 extra dollars to go from 2gb of ram, to 4gb of ram, but 700 dollars to go from 4gb of ram to 8gb of ram? Do laptops only have 2 ram slots? Couldn't I just buy the 2gb sticks for a decent price? Again, have not owned a laptop before, so not sure how they work.

Question 5: Overheating. How are quadcore laptops with heat? I haven't found many sites that let me upgrade the heatsinks/fans. I intend to overclock, but I hear the quads do that pretty well. Will I be able to upgrade the heatsink/fans myself? Or is this a no-no with laptops.

Question 6: Any other recommendations based on my system? Mostly with respect to the processor. I haven't kept up too much on the new sockets/processors that have come out over the past few years. Usually I go with intel, but does AMD have anything to offer aside from being much cheaper? Even so, where can I go to buy AMD based notebooks?

Question 7: I just heard from this site that the multipliers in the BIOS to overclock are locked. Is there any way around this? Any Responses are much appreciated, thanks for your time!
a b D Laptop
January 27, 2009 12:17:42 AM

1: I'm pretty sure that the Q9650 is actually a desktop processor, which isn't at all uncommon for the notebook you're buying. But, the technological waiting game is always a losing one. IMHO, i7 won't bring a whole lot more to the plate unless you really need more CPU power.

2: Core i7 is not socket compatible with any previously made Intel CPU.

3: I just went to sagernotebook.com for my sager, but usually you can call them both up and bargain to get your price lowered.

4: You can buy other modules at a decent price and install them yourself - I recommend you do it, to save a boatload of money.

5: I don't know how quad notebooks are with heat, having never own, seen, or known someone who's owned one. Benchmark data for notebooks is scarce. Quad cores on desktops overclock very well - the same cannot be said for notebooks. Inevitably, a quad in a notebook will run hotter and louder than one on a desktop. That's just the price you have to pay for mobility.

6: AMD's processors do not perform well as of lately, and I don't recommend buying one. No other recommendations, really - just be prepared. Your notebook will have low battery life, high heat, and high weight. Don't buy it and then get disappointed. You should know how it's going to measure up before you do. It's a massive notebook.

7: I'm no expert in notebook OCing, but I think that's true. No away around it, if it is - just FSB clocking from here on out. You won't be able to go that far with a notebook, but it's fun to do anyway.
January 27, 2009 10:38:47 PM

I found the opposite with waiting. The more you wait, the more technology is available, and other stuff tends to go down in price. Looking for some more input, and thanks for yours frozenlead.
Related resources
February 8, 2009 4:52:54 PM

Would like some more feedback please!
a b D Laptop
February 8, 2009 5:36:52 PM

1. That laptop uses only desktop chips, so unless you want to go with the 5797 from Sager, you are stuck with desktop chips.

2. Frozen is right. i7 is not compatible with the LGA775 socket and will not work. No upgrade there.

3. Bought mine from Sagernotebook.com as well. Only had a few issues with the order, but that was because they were waiting on more 7950GTX cards. Didn't have to deal with customer support and since I am out of warranty, I won't be in the future.

4. Yes, most laptops only have 2 DIMM slots. As Frozen said, you can probably find the RAM cheaper on newegg.com.

5. Quads usually run on the warm side. Clevo has 3 good size fans in this system. That being said, this chasis has one of the highest failures rates of any Clevo line. You could always buy a cooler. Generally it's pretty tough to upgrade the cooling systems. Check out killernotebooks.com if you want modded systems (tend to be more expensive FYI).

6. If you plan on using your system as a power system (games, video/photo editing) stay away from AMD at the moment. They are lagging behind in the notebook sector and don't offer anything more than a dual core for laptops.

7. Yes the multiplier is locked, not sure about the FSB settings though. You can also try out several software utilities like RMClock or SetFSB to OC the CPU (not as reliable though).
February 8, 2009 5:39:48 PM

Thanks very much Lost. One more question -- If desktop chips are faster and cheaper, and can be used in a laptop, why would I want to get a chip designed for a laptop?

As for the ram, 4gb stick don't exist, right?
a b D Laptop
February 8, 2009 7:38:26 PM

Desktop chips aren't designed to be as energy efficient, and therefore use more power and create more heat. Both of those are enemies for notebooks.


And 4GB sticks do exist..
February 9, 2009 3:16:40 AM

Have you check Gateway P-7805u? Got pretty good reviews.
March 3, 2009 7:52:42 PM

Have not checked that out, I'll look into it.
March 4, 2009 4:01:49 AM

This may be crazy, but have yo considered getting a MacBook Pro?
Although it may not be STRICTLY designed for gaming, it is highly capable such as the 2.66 ghz, 2gb ddr3, and a discrete 8600GTM with either 257/512 mb of video memory, its very capable of intense applications such as Final Cut 2 and CS4, I can play just about anygame with max settings!!
Perhaps you need to consider a MAC
http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/family/m...

BTW, I have a MBP that I use for school, work, replying to threads and play games
March 4, 2009 1:00:12 PM

bluntside said:
This may be crazy, but have yo considered getting a MacBook Pro?
Although it may not be STRICTLY designed for gaming, it is highly capable such as the 2.66 ghz, 2gb ddr3, and a discrete 8600GTM with either 257/512 mb of video memory, its very capable of intense applications such as Final Cut 2 and CS4, I can play just about anygame with max settings!!
Perhaps you need to consider a MAC
http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/family/m...

BTW, I have a MBP that I use for school, work, replying to threads and play games


I was about to mention this.
I have a last gen MacBook Pro and it really is a great laptop. The new ones look even more amazing in terms of build quality (my Mac has fallen out of a parked Cadillac Escalade from seat height and survived no problem) and should also return bettery battery life with good performance. Though they are not the best gaming laptops out there.

I also have a gateway P7811FX which is my 'gaming' laptop. It definitely tears through most current games at high to very high settings, but I fear some long term quality issues may arise with it.

I generally would stick to a mobile processor in a laptop as well, I mean my gateway gets pretty lousy battery life I cant imagine running a q9650 lol. Not to mention the heat...that just scares me in a laptop even after reading good reviews about that sager series I would be scared to own it.

March 4, 2009 2:22:39 PM

They aren't the best gaming LT, but they will make that up for the usability from Leopard. When I game on my MBP, my battery life is 4 hrs, plus the processor is amazingly fast and efficient. Besides thy arent bulky and are very sleek looking.
I say get a MBp, apple just did a quite update on them from 2.5 to 2.66 ghz DO IT!

:) 
March 4, 2009 8:54:58 PM

I think that laptop's pretty good and for $2777 it's a good deal too. Iwas just wondering about the company, is it reliable, and do they have good quality? I was looking for a quick background check of the company and reviews of their laptops. Any info is welcome.

I was just amazed at the deal they have and they seem to have good tech so I just wanted to know.
April 8, 2009 11:15:18 PM

I heard nothing but good things about sager
!