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Options for Gaming/Modeling Laptop

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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July 22, 2009 4:49:21 AM

Hello,

I will be going overseas to Japan for 2 months and I will be using the laptop for gaming purposes as well as 3ds max modeling. Will probably be using this in wifi hotspots in Tokyo when I have time on my hands.

1_What is your budget? Under $2,500 not including things like tax and shipping.

2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?16-17"

3_What screen resolution do you want? The highest probably.

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? Either

5_How much battery life do you need? 2+ hours average, but I'm flexible here.

6_Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)? Call of Duty World At War / Modern Warfare, Quake 4, Aion Tower of Eternity, Dragon Age: Origins, Left 4 Dead, Mass Effect, and maybe Crysis. But not sure on that one yet. As for settings, I hear Dragon Age Origins might be heavy, so that and Crysis I'm going to aim for medium settings if possible, everything else high.

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing, surfing the web, playing music, watching movies, Etc.)3ds max modeling, animation and rendering, adobe photoshop for textures, surfing the web, watching movies

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need? Aiming for 500gb at 7200rpm, don't really need to go for a terabyte.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post the links to them.
http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/
http://www.sagernotebook.com/default.php
http://www.alienware.com/

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop? Had my last laptop for about 7 years now, so probably going to aim for more like 4-5 years for this new one.

11_If you would like to mention some other things about purchasing your ideal laptop, post them.

12_Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
Not really steering clear of any. But I am aiming towards companies whose laptops are reliable and won't break within the first month or so

13_What country do you live in? USA

If there are any other questions please ask and I'll be happy to reply back.

Thanks!
a b D Laptop
July 22, 2009 1:18:00 PM

Espada said:
heres a 17inch and woah its a sager!
http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np5797-custom-sager-notebo...
able to put Q9000 processor
up the video card
500gb
4gb and still under 2500


That system would be my personal choice. However, don't upgrade the video card. Quadro cards are not good for gaming so if you plan on doing any of that, stay away from it. I also wouldn't use the Q9000, the low clock speed takes away from the fact that it has four cores. In most app it would probably get beaten out by most higher clocked dual cores. Make sure you choose an OS as well since Xotic doesn't force one on you.
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July 22, 2009 4:32:17 PM

Thanks for the replies! I have a few questions after looking over those options.

I noticed a difference in processor choices. Is the core 2 quad considered to be faster/more powerful than the core i7? Or is core i7 a better choice all-around?

Is the fingerprint reader something valuable to have for security? I think I read somewhere that it was faulty and unreliable?

Would it be good to have a notebook cooler? I'm not sure how big it is or if it's external/internal, so would it add additional bulk to carry?
July 22, 2009 5:46:11 PM

Heres a article i read about i7 vs core 2 quad..
"Should you make a transition to 1366 pins or not? Our opinion is that, in this moment, it’s not worth it. It is not good decision to invest so much money into new platform (CPU, motherboard, memory …). We suggest you to invest smaller amount of your budget into new graphics card rather than in completely new configuration and that way you would get better price/performance ratio. Of course Core i7 platform is there for hardcore gamers as ultimate solution. If you want to achieve maximum FPS in games, you should go for Core i7 platform. For all other gamers you should wait a little bit for AMD Phenom II CPU that should be positioned somewhere between Core2 and Core i7 when it comes to gaming performances, but with price tag closer to Core2 CPUs. Also Intel announced Core i5 CPU series that will have integrated PCI-Express controller and that is something really worth to wait. There are rumors that this CPU will be great when it comes to gaming performances. Until then take a look at results, and your wallet, because sometimes it is wiser not to be enthusiast at all costs." http://www.insidehw.com/Reviews/CPU/Gaming-Performance-...
of course they were talking about desktops and how some laptops hard to upgrade gpu but i7 would prob last you longer with ddr3 ram and can put a maximum of 12... and fingerprint reader i dont really think its good only works when you are trying to log in windows if someone does steal it they can just reformat and poof its gone. Yes notebook cooler we be gould its only usually an inch- to 2inches of the desk and its about either the same size of the laptop or an in or 2 bigger depending on what size. hoped this helped you
July 22, 2009 7:05:30 PM

Sweet, thanks much for the information. Probably won't be buying my laptop for another month and a half but if not much changes by then, I'll probably keep my eyes peeled on the core i7 laptop option you showed above. Upgrading to a core quad at the additional cost of up to $1k sound painful to my wallet lol.

Also I saw on CyberPower PC's page that they have a laptop very similar to the Sager NP9280 in terms of specification options and price. Is there any drawback to purchasing this kind of laptop from one or the other company?
July 22, 2009 7:14:17 PM

Nope they actually do the same exact thing and get sager/clevo msi asus barebone laptops and add the components themselves.. Just read before customizing and it will tell you whats it build on like sager blah blah blah and check xotic if they have it at a different price thats really the only difference is the Price. both companies are good
a b D Laptop
July 22, 2009 7:45:03 PM

Keep in mind that the article Espada linked to is primarily for a choice of whether you should upgrade from your current system to an i7 based one, not for a completely new system.

Also, the i7's in question are desktop chips and in this case you are comparing them to mobile chips in the other Sager laptop. There are going to be pros and cons to having those i7 chips in your laptop; strong performance vs weak battery life and lots of heat.
July 22, 2009 8:06:05 PM

Cool, good to know they're both pretty much the same product no the two sites. I kind of had a feeling that the core i7 would produce more heat and have a shorter battery life. I read somewhere that it between 45-min to an hour or something like that with the 280m. That's why I was also looking at the laptop cooler option to help with the heating problem at least.

Still going to think and plan more. Although I don't plan to fork out $1k for a core quad 2.53ghz, I am also looking at the core 2 duo extreme 3.06 as another option to go for.

Thanks for all the info. If I have any more concerns/questions I'll drop on by.
a b D Laptop
July 22, 2009 9:15:12 PM

trinitysongs said:
Cool, good to know they're both pretty much the same product no the two sites. I kind of had a feeling that the core i7 would produce more heat and have a shorter battery life. I read somewhere that it between 45-min to an hour or something like that with the 280m. That's why I was also looking at the laptop cooler option to help with the heating problem at least.

Still going to think and plan more. Although I don't plan to fork out $1k for a core quad 2.53ghz, I am also looking at the core 2 duo extreme 3.06 as another option to go for.

Thanks for all the info. If I have any more concerns/questions I'll drop on by.


Even the 2.8ghz T9600 would be fine for the vast majority of applications and games, especially since most games are just now fully taking advantage of two cores. Plus, it'll save you a decent amount of money.
July 23, 2009 12:44:03 AM

tottally agree with losandwandering I would stick with a dual core when coming to laptop. and the i7 for battery life is an Hour comparing to most dual cores give you about 2 hours sometimes 2hrs 30 mins if your just surfing the web... got myself a T9600 and just a 9600mGt video card im happy with that.. and i play css, dota and 1.6 competitively no lag i usually just put it in medium for css still looks good and plays awesome.. i can put on high but will cause the fps to go down... Usually the fan will help alot though when going into gaming for my old comp x200 ati card and 2.0 ghz single amd processor the fan helped my comp so much! when back to normal even though just got 40fps on all low! still playable and was able to own in pubs and scrims were awesome!!!
July 23, 2009 2:20:37 AM

Mmm, interesting. Dual core is sounding better in terms of cost and being able to keep up with the games. I'll keep that in mind for sure. Should I still be sure to get the laptop cooling unit even if I get a dual core processor?

Also, I heard that 3ds max modeling and rendering is better with more cores, is that true? I seem to be okay with low-mid polygon modeling with my desktop (core 2 duo 2.13ghz) but rendering out frames with mental ray does take a while. Would having more cores be better in that case? I will probably stay leaning towards the dual core after what you guys just said, the above is just for my information only :) 
July 23, 2009 3:11:30 AM

Okay when choosing between dual vs quad core... If you can afford upgrading to a quad core that can get a higher clocked then go for it. If not dual cores can over clock real good!Video encoding, image editing, gaming, multitasking, and file compression can all make use of two cores. Not to say i know this is going for desktop cpu but in nearly all games, the E8500 will stomp the Q6600. But theres another way you can look long term prob go with quad because there will be games in the future that will use quad core.I always recommend a laptop cooling fan you'll see a difference when playing games. Soon you'll start to get those lagspikes bc your computer starts getting hot turn the fan on you'll prob see a boost in FPS in games.
heres something to keep in mind.http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000942.html
even though its talking about desktops you can see my point.. hope i helped a bit.
July 23, 2009 4:16:49 AM

Oh that site was a big help and I'll be sure to grab that cooling unit. Very interesting comparisons using different software and games. Dual core is winning for me haha. I'm checking out sager again and reconfiguring the specs with the dual core and trying things around. Even checking out Alienware too because their laptop case looks incredible.

One more question, this one may be a bit newbish so sorry about that. But, if the option is available for a laptop to be configured with, say, 8gb of RAM memory, but I choose the 4GB option, does that mean that I will still have free RAM slots available when I receive my laptop to add in more RAM if I choose?

Also, I saw for Sager, the option of the video card was: nVidia GeForce GTX 280M 1,024MB PCI-Express DDR3 DX10 (User Upgradeable)

By User Upgradeable, does that mean I can open up the laptop and remove the 280M and replace it with a new card?

Thanks
a b D Laptop
July 23, 2009 4:30:55 AM

trinitysongs said:
Even checking out Alienware too because their laptop case looks incredible.


lol, I personally don't see the attraction but it is a personal choice. To each their own.

trinitysongs said:
One more question, this one may be a bit newbish so sorry about that. But, if the option is available for a laptop to be configured with, say, 8gb of RAM memory, but I choose the 4GB option, does that mean that I will still have free RAM slots available when I receive my laptop to add in more RAM if I choose?


No, laptops for the most part only have two DIMM slots. That 4gb config is most likely a 2x2gb configuration which will meant that both slots are taken. You would have to use a 2x4gb kit and completely replace what you had. Really stinkin expensive atm: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010170381%201309139890%201309239101&bop=And&ShowDeactivatedMark=False&ActiveSearchResult=True&CompareItemList=N82E16820226021%2CN82E16820233081

trinitysongs said:
Also, I saw for Sager, the option of the video card was: nVidia GeForce GTX 280M 1,024MB PCI-Express DDR3 DX10 (User Upgradeable)

By User Upgradeable, does that mean I can open up the laptop and remove the 280M and replace it with a new card?

Thanks


The card can be upgraded but since laptop GPUs are not sold on sites like newegg you would have to do one of two things: 1) contact either the manufacturer or the people that sold you the laptop, order a new card and do it yourself or 2) send it in so they can do it (they screw up, it's their fault not yours :)  )
July 23, 2009 7:43:18 AM

Agree with the alienware and how they look nice but they are just way too expensive for me!
2dims when max is 8gb, 3dims when max is 12gb!
Yes nowadays laptops are starting to be gpu upgradable even though its hard and you have to check if motherboard is upgradable.. its really expensive 9800gt is going for $400 alone on ebay... but just send it to the people you bought from if anything goes wrong. Good luck in choosing your laptop!
July 23, 2009 4:26:18 PM

Wow those upgrade for RAMs really are pricey! Ah well, I think 4gb will be okay at least until prices change in the future. Thanks so much for the great info on everything. Looking forward to getting my laptop!
!