Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

For all the genii here on Tom's (Laptop Choices)

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
Share
July 3, 2009 3:18:30 AM

Well, don't you all see this kind of topic all the time. Someone wants to buy a laptop but is unsure of which one to get. They want input (basically they want your work for free; they receive the ability to sit back and have a difficult decision made for them by having 10+ people bickering over the best computer (laptop) for them in their price range).

I'm not quite like that; an avid biker, accomplished guitarist and tech savvy I like to do my research. I spent over 175 hours of research before buying my latest bike (I ended up building so if anyone has any questions on that front...). Anyways, enough about that. After putting about 120 hours (yes I keep track) of research into my next computer I made many "final" decisions only to change my mind. At around 60 hours I decided on a desktop build (which I'd do myself) and moved to the laptop front at around 100 hours (after putting together an entire spreadsheet on a budget quad-core advanced desktop for under ($800) I decided that I would like to stay mobile as I am now.) (if anyone is trying to put together a desktop build and wants to look at the one I put together for ideas just ask... it's quite nice :)  )

I'm finally going to ask for help. I decided to stay with a laptop for many reasons. I enjoy the mobility and the ability to not stay confined to a single workspace or desk. I also like that when the power goes out, you don't lose everything or almost everything you've been working on (I don't ctrl+s enough).

I've put my eye on two laptops the first is a MSI and the latter is an Acer. I've been doing all of my shopping on NewEgg & TigerDirect. Here is what I want the laptop for. First off, it must be high enough end to run Pro-Tools (a professional (used by hollywood) recording software & hardware for musicians). Second, I do quite a bit of video editing and a powerful(ish) GPU is a must. Thirdly, I watch HD movies and spend quite a lot of time on airplanes (good battery life is nice but not crucial). Almost done, I do minimal gaming, three or four hours a week on some games; games that I play now/would like to be able to play as they are released Call of Duty 4/(5), Need For Speed Most Wanted to Undercover, When Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is released I would love to be able to play it on Medium High to Super High Settings. (AA is not absolutely required by would be nice). The last thing is it MUST be under $1000 (US) and should last for 2-6 years.

The laptops I currently have my eyes on are:

MSI GT735 & Acer Aspire AS6530-5753

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

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

I'll post my Pro's and Con's to each after I get some input, I don't want your opinions to be swayed by mine until I get your true opinion first.

Sorry for making you read all of this, thank you for your time in advance, if you have any questions about anything feel free to message me or get in touch with me.
Thanks,

-ryanhmusic
July 3, 2009 4:01:20 PM

Well, thank you very much for reading my epic right there... I agree that AMD is a little bit behind in mobile processing (but not in desktop)...

That ASUS looks exceptionally nice it's a tiny bit more expensive but I could deal with that. The higher CPU speed is nice on the ASUS. My concerns are as follows.

The MSI has the same VRAM and I prefer ATI to Nvidia right now though I could get over that. You said that the MSI would outperform the Acer because of the better GPU... In the tech specs, they have the same GPU but the Acer's has 1gb of VRAM and the MSI has 512mb of VRAM. Wouldn't this constitute a large FPS and performance increase in gaming and faster rendering times?

The 2.4GHz with the overclocking utility on the ASUS looks exceptionally nice. The MSI does however have a much better screen resolution than both other notebooks...

Now my question is:

I have three laptops on the table... an MSI, Acer (links in first post), and a ASUS (link above)...

Does the way better screen resolution on the MSI make it equal or better than the ASUS for gaming and other desktop applications... More space on the screen may be nice to work with right?

Does the ASUS' better CPU justify it's higher price and does it still perform well in gaming with an extremely low resolutions?

Does the Acer's really low price and nice GPU VRAM with the same resolution as the ASUS make it worth it?

Finally, are the overclocking utilities on the ASUS and MSI worth spit?

Thanks very much for your input, I'm glad I came here, I had not even seen that ASUS. Thanks :) 

Related resources
a b D Laptop
July 3, 2009 4:18:07 PM

Well, the Acer and the MSI don't have the same GPU. The MSI has an HD 3850 and the Acer has a 3650. The 3850 will outclass the 3650 in games hands down. It will also perform close to the 9800M GS in the Asus I linked.

A higher resolution screen won't be better for gaming if your system doesn't have the muscle for it. Screen resolution doesn't really have much to do with better performance. A lower res screen will actually allow you to achieve higher frame rates and thus better performance in games. The screen on the Asus is 720p which is a lower class HD resolution so it won't be too bad.

The P8600 will run circles around the two AMD CPUs. If you run programs that need CPU muscle, it is highly recommended.

More VRAM generally only helps in gaming when you are running high resolutions (ie 1920x1200) and are running high detail in your games, like AA and AF. Otherwise, it won't make much of a difference especially with a lower class GPU like the 3650. Manufacturers use higher VRAM amounts as gimmicks to attract the uninformed into buying more expensive cards.

The utilities on both of those laptops are kinda nice. They are one touch instant OCs which saves you the hassle of entering the BIOS and messing with settings, most of which you probably can't access on laptops anyway. I don't think it'd be something I would use 24/7, but for gaming and stuff it would be nice.
July 3, 2009 4:32:11 PM

Well, thank you very much for your extended help. So the ASUS is hands down the best performer there (correct?). I surprised myself that I didn't see the different video cards (off by one number) given the amount of research I put into them. I now see what you're talking about. The MSI & ASUS are by far the two top performers, the different CPU's is what set them apart, the ASUS being better.

Thanks!

As far as future upgrades...

I like to keep my computers for 5+ years, I actually have an HP that's 9 years old and still runs crazy (desktop) from upgrades.

Since the GPUs in these two computers are dedicated and not integrated would that make future upgrades possible...?(if i could find a mobile GPU...)

Ram & HDD obviously are possible as with all laptops.

How about CPU? I've never conducted a laptop upgrade as in previous years for good laptop performance you'd have to pay out 2k+.

Eventually (5+ yrs from now) would upgrading the screen on the ASUS be possible for higher resolutions?

Resolution is kind of a concern for me as video editing and professional recording is made much easier when you can fit more on the screen.

How can I find out their max Resolution output (for an external 1080p TV as a monitor?)

I have an old TV that stopped working and was out of warranty 1080p and it's just sitting in the basement but still accepts inputs and still works as a monitor. <-- would it be possible to use this as an external monitor at full resolution?
a b D Laptop
July 3, 2009 5:26:53 PM

Some laptop GPUs can be upgraded and some can't. In most cases it is up to the manufacturer and I honestly don't know about Asus. Unfortunately, in most cases the answer is no.

Yup, RAM and HDD should be easy.

CPU is quite possible as long as you are able to find a CPU that works with the motherboard in the laptop. Unfortunately, notebooks are also heading the way of i7 type processors which will involve a completely different socket and thus won't be compatible.

Screens again will be up to Asus. I'm not sure if they make a version of that laptop with a higher resolution screen that you could replace it with. That'd be something you'd most likely have to talk to them about.

As for external monitors, it depends on two factors: 1) outputs on the laptop and 2) the graphics card.

VGA outputs are sometimes only capable of certain resolutions, but as long as you have a DVI or an HDMI output, it'll be fine. There are both VGA and HDMI connections on the laptop so you are good to go.

The 9800M GS has a max supported resolution of 2560x1600 so you have nothing to worry about there.

Yes it should be possible. I had a 32'' 720p TV hooked up to the family desktop for a few years and it worked fine.
a b D Laptop
July 3, 2009 6:13:24 PM

I agree with lostandwandering about pretty much everything - but I'd like to interject:

OP, they really stop making parts for notebooks less than a year after they're released. The tech world moves fast, as I'm sure you've seen. 5 years down the road, parts for an old notebook (I mean critical parts like LCDs and motherboards/GPUs, heatsinks, sometimes even CPUs... - RAM and HDDs will nearly always be available) are harder to find and often far too expensive for the upgrade compared to the upgrade's worth. It's even harder to find better parts than the stock ones you bought the notebook with. Notebook makers have made themselves a nice little hole here. Upgrading notebooks down the road is nice, and sometimes applicable, but most of the time just not worth the money - a new notebook, then, would serve far better.

This is why I'm getting back into desktops next year. My Sager is nice...but it's just too expensive, and when the hardware gets old...it gets old, and there's really nothing I can do about it feasibly. I upgraded my older Athlon desktop to hell though, and it lasted me a long time - and it's still running nicely.
July 18, 2009 7:56:13 AM

:bounce:  Thank you so much for all your research. I am looking to purchase a laptop with all the requirements you have but I also need a builtin webcam and microphone. I want to purchase by this Sunday as a birthday gift. Could you please let me know in detail what to purchase to do all the things you do along with vocal recording. Is it possible to hookup a keyboard to learn how to play piano?. What operating system should the laptop have. I do not want to spend more than $1500.
ryanhmusic said:
Well, don't you all see this kind of topic all the time. Someone wants to buy a laptop but is unsure of which one to get. They want input (basically they want your work for free; they receive the ability to sit back and have a difficult decision made for them by having 10+ people bickering over the best computer (laptop) for them in their price range).

I'm not quite like that; an avid biker, accomplished guitarist and tech savvy I like to do my research. I spent over 175 hours of research before buying my latest bike (I ended up building so if anyone has any questions on that front...). Anyways, enough about that. After putting about 120 hours (yes I keep track) of research into my next computer I made many "final" decisions only to change my mind. At around 60 hours I decided on a desktop build (which I'd do myself) and moved to the laptop front at around 100 hours (after putting together an entire spreadsheet on a budget quad-core advanced desktop for under ($800) I decided that I would like to stay mobile as I am now.) (if anyone is trying to put together a desktop build and wants to look at the one I put together for ideas just ask... it's quite nice :)  )

I'm finally going to ask for help. I decided to stay with a laptop for many reasons. I enjoy the mobility and the ability to not stay confined to a single workspace or desk. I also like that when the power goes out, you don't lose everything or almost everything you've been working on (I don't ctrl+s enough).

I've put my eye on two laptops the first is a MSI and the latter is an Acer. I've been doing all of my shopping on NewEgg & TigerDirect. Here is what I want the laptop for. First off, it must be high enough end to run Pro-Tools (a professional (used by hollywood) recording software & hardware for musicians). Second, I do quite a bit of video editing and a powerful(ish) GPU is a must. Thirdly, I watch HD movies and spend quite a lot of time on airplanes (good battery life is nice but not crucial). Almost done, I do minimal gaming, three or four hours a week on some games; games that I play now/would like to be able to play as they are released Call of Duty 4/(5), Need For Speed Most Wanted to Undercover, When Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is released I would love to be able to play it on Medium High to Super High Settings. (AA is not absolutely required by would be nice). The last thing is it MUST be under $1000 (US) and should last for 2-6 years.

The laptops I currently have my eyes on are:

MSI GT735 & Acer Aspire AS6530-5753

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

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

I'll post my Pro's and Con's to each after I get some input, I don't want your opinions to be swayed by mine until I get your true opinion first.

Sorry for making you read all of this, thank you for your time in advance, if you have any questions about anything feel free to message me or get in touch with me.
Thanks,

-ryanhmusic

!