Best gaming laptop for under $1350.

Hey guys, this is a continuation of the last thread I opened. After talking to people at work, I have found that many of the professors actually will not allow laptops in the classroom. So as a result, I am much less worried about a mobile 15inch laptop, and looking for more of a mobile gaming system. The new price I am looking at is $1350. Keep in mind, it doesn't have to be $1350, and cheaper is definitely better. $1350 is definitely the max I probably want to spend though.

I currently have a few laptops in mind.
You can view Gateways P series from the above link. They seem to have a good, average processor, with a good GPU, and nice sized hard drive all for a reasonable price.
This link show's MSI's GT729. Just like the Gateway, MSI has a nice processor, very nice GPU ( ATI 4850), and once again a good sized hard drive. However, this laptop has a better 1680x1050 resolution, compared to the 1440 x 900 resolution on the Gateway. I'm probably most leaning to MSI's GT729 now.
The above link shows Alienware's M17. When I first started researching a few months ago, Alienware was out of the question. For the price you were paying, you weren't getting near the amount of hardware you could with other brands. However, just recently Alienware has reduced the price of both their M17 and M15x to $1099, a much more attractive price. This $200 off has definitely made it a consideration again. I was thinking of a setup such as taking the base parts, with the Crossfire 3870, making the price $1350. Or sticking with the base ATI 3870, and just getting the 2.4Ghz processor and possibly the 1920x1200 resolution monitor, bumping up the price again to $1350. I'm honestly not sure how much the 1920x1200 would be worth it though. It seems like to me you would be bumping down the resolution most of the time anyway in order to get better performance with most of the games out today. I do realize though, you are still going to be paying a little for the name with Alienware.

I definitely would not mind having one of these Alienware laptops. The main question is though, is the price for the M17 comparable/reasonable, considering what you can get with other laptops? Everyone's opinions about the laptops I have listed, and their own personal recommendations will be greatly appreciated and considered. Any input I can get will be great. Thanks!
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  1. Best answer
    No problem with the link about the gpus for mobile..
    Clarify with resolution on the size of the screen since you are going with a 17inch the resolution 1920x1200 will look better and you will be able to see even more of the terrain im gonna say (see more) on a comp with better resoltion.
    1440x900 < 1680x1050 < 1920x1200
    yes gaming does have certain resolution like cs 1.6 only goes a max of 1280x768 i think since its an old game but css will go up i think of a max of what your monitor is and let me tell you the better resolution the more clear and feel is alot better! is a top notch company they have good customer service, the awesome thing about their laptops you can take their video card out and replace it with a different one or the same depending on the motherboard :o! some msi computer does that too not too sure about gateway!

    with the video cards comparison
    HD 3870 < 9800mgts < ATI HD4850 < 3870 crossfire
    as you can see if your keeping the hd3870 with alienware you will get less performance base than the msi and gateway but with crossfire is better..

    CPU Speed
    p8400 < p8600 <p8700
    p8400 has both gateway and alienware, the msi has the p8600 a good .2ghz difference but the p8700 from gateway is .13.. same fsb and l2 cache wont see much of a difference...

    each come with 4gb ddr3 but alienware again if you dont choose with 4gb(+200 more out of the question) performance boost 4gb>2gb

    In conclusion
    alienware <gateway < msi < alienware
    i put alienware as lowest and can be the highest.. why because depending on your config it can be worst and better than the laptops.. better on the money but with the price range you have.. I would go with the msi better graphics card and also 4gb of ram and p8600 cpu in the middle.. If you have a little more to spend lean towards the alienware but for right now MSI would be the best option in my opinion.
  2. and another thing resolution isnt really a necessity when it comes to gaming i have a friend with a 15inch laptop with 1280x800 while mine is 1680x1050 and hes happy with it and still plays good! When choosing a laptop you look at the gpu and see what can i do with this whats its potential hoped i helped you out!
  3. Very good points. You see if I do go with the alienware laptop, I'm planning on going with the standard processor, ram, and hardrive. However, in the near and quick future I'd buy 4Gb of ram, and an hardive/ external hardrive to replace it. Really what i comes down to then, is the MSI vs. Alienware. If I were to go with Alienware, according to what you said, I would be going with the 3870 in crossfire, but keeping the 1440x900 resolution. Would the 3870x2 be overkill for 1440x900 resolution?

    I would like your opinion on two things. First, I'd like to ask are you saying the Alienware is really not a good buy ( over MSI) unless you get the 3870x2? And second, would you say the Alienware with the 3870x2 at 1440x900 resolution would offer better performance/visual pleasure than MSI's set up?

    I really can't see myself spending $1550 to get the 3870x2 and the 1920x1200 resolution
  4. Just to add as a note to the question in the first paragraph, wouldn't the 3870 be not powerful enough for 1900x1200 resolution?
  5. Hey Espada. I actually have a much easier way, for you to answer all the above questions. What upgrades are need on the alienware in order to achieve equal/better performance than the MSI laptop?
  6. Alienware would need to be better
    CPU-P8600 (at least)
    Video Card-Dual 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 3870 (if you can get the dual 4850 go for it)
    Resolution- 1920x1200
    RAM-2gb from alienware (then just buy 4gb off of newegg save you alot of money!)
    Harddrive- Is up to you on how much space you need! and also it affects battery life a 250gb 7200rpm will give you about the same as a 320gb 5400rpm but 250 will have faster read/write speed..
    Wifi- Intel wifi 5300 (best that i know of so far)
    thats about all and dont forget if you get from alienware to get recovery discs! but again the price for all this will be $1724.00 subtotal. all these specs will be better.
    and the dual cards will power up the resolution nicely. and for silvertounge the 3870 will be able to power up the 1900x1200 but it will not look that good and i would suggest putting the res down. hoped this help ya out!
  7. The above would be the comparison for the better.. but performance base equal to msi i say get dual cards, keep regular resolution, get wifi 5300(always upgradable in the future can buy one off ebay for $20), i say bump up your cpu to p8600 (dont have to, cpu is always upgradable) so really when going with alienware get the dual video cards 3870, if you have the extra money to spend get the better resolution. If not i say even with the dual cards its a good laptop! in gaming performance. always ask if they have some sort of discount before you buy. (student, government, or military) always bargain before you buy :)!
  8. Thanks Espada! I pretty much know which I want to go now. I'm hoping Alienware might have some sort of discounts going on at the Quakecon convention coming up August 13'th...
  9. Also, good idea on asking about the student discount! I'll check on that today
  10. " is a top notch company they have good customer service, the awesome thing about their laptops you can take their video card out and replace it with a different one or the same depending on the motherboard :o! some msi computer does that too not too sure about gateway! "

    Can you give me any website names that I could purchase a laptop graphics card for? That way I can see what type of prices I would be looking at if i decided to upgrade in the future.
  11. ebay is ur best bet. i know dell and alienware might do it if you give them a call a 9800m GTX or GTS was going for $400! so they are expensive.
  12. sells 2 cards
    and those are all i know of.
  13. It's sad. I know the MSI laptop is a way better deal, but I want to get the Alienware so bad XD. Considering possibly going with the base 3870 and higher resolution on the alienware, and then just upagrading later. Really won't know anything until after Quakecon though. Aug 13'th
  14. ^I'm not sure I would consider that as a possibility. As espada has already noted, it is not cheap or easy to upgrade laptop GPUs. Add onto that the 3870 is already an outdated card so the likely hood of finding another down the road probably isn't too good. My advice to people looking at laptops to play games is always to get the best card/s that your budget will allow.

    Espada: Nvidia cards for laptops are and always have been more expensive. ATI's prices are a little more manageable but still pretty up there.
  15. I'll keep that in mind. After rethinking, it's going to be either MSI's laptop, or the Alienware without the higher resolution. Unless of course there having some sort of promotion at Quakecon.
  16. Wow. Hardware wise, that Asus is definitely the best deal I've seen so far.

    It is a $100 cheaper, but it has both better resolution and a better graphics card , I'm assuming, than the MSI laptop, plus a faster processor.

    Not to mention, it's a 15 inch! Like I was originally looking at. Not bad looking either..

    "HD 3870 < 9800mgts < ATI HD4850 < 3870 crossfire"
    Espada, or lostandwandering", would you mind adding the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M that the Asus has, into this comparison?
  17. If you don't mind, add the nVidia GeForce GTS 160M 1024MB into the mix. MSI's offering an identical version of their 17inch, besides the graphics card, for the same price as their 17inc.
  18. Awesome find lostandwandering!!! [...] 6834220576
    but its pretty heavy for a 15.6 weighs about as much as my friends 17inch msi 1722 he got! still good though nice res awesome cpu and gpu great for the price A+!
  19. I couldn't agree more! Weights not to much of an issue for me though. The only thing I am slightly worried about, is that it has a 6 cell battery. When using the power management settings, do you guys think this would get me through a day of taking notes in class? I would google and find some info about it myself, but we are pretty busy at work right now ^.^
  20. Oh and, how does the GTX 260M compare to the 3870 in crossfire, and the 4850?
  21. For video cards heres how it goes..
    3870 Crossfire > GeForce GTX 260M >Mobility Radeon HD 4850 > GeForce GTS 160M > GeForce 9800M GTS > 3870
    for power management settings you should get about 1hr 30min to two hours depends on what video card you go with.
  22. ^Keep in mind the Xfire and SLI configs will probably top out around an 1hr and 15.
  23. Another cool thing with the Asus I've found, is that it has the 8 second boot up. "express gate", or whatever the feature is called. I'm just hoping that it would be able to make it through 2 to 3 hours of simple word processing. MSI's has a 8 cell battery. Very hard decision, haha...
  24. ^The Sager in my sig has an 8-cell and I still only get about 1 hr 45min at the max and that was under Windows XP. My battery life is worse under win 7 topping out around 1hr 30min.
  25. was that 1h 45m gaming/videos, ect.? Or just kinda sitting there not doing much, like word?
  26. ^basic use like web surfing.
  27. the reviews on the p-7807u were saying something like 3hr 45min bat life on a 9cell
  28. Hello, these posts have been very helpful for me as I'm considering getting a budget friendly gaming laptop too. One suggestion I might add is that if you're worried about your gaming laptop not having enough battery life to get you through your note-taking, then you could just buy yourself a cheap netbook to handle all of your schoolwork. They can have decent battery life since they're low powered, they're very light (sub 3lbs) so it's easier for you to take around, and they're very cheap (can be less than $300). This is what I plan to do. If it were up to me, I'd get that Asus laptop. Sexy!!!
  29. That's the one I'm leaning towards now also. And dell is also offering a great deal on there stuidio XPS laptop until the 13'th. 25% off base price, and 25% upgrades. It's a really awesome deal. Oh, and if you talk with a dell rep, they can offer you 5-7% off orders over $1100. Just a little hint ^.^. I'm still waiting until the after the 13'th-17'th to make a decision though. Since Alienware will be at quakecon again, and they might be offering nice discounts.
  30. I was also highly considering getting a net book also.

    I have a quick question though, with the laptop batteries, are there different batteries for each brand/ or model laptop? What I want to know, is can I buy a higher 8 cell or 9 cell battery for the Asus later if I want to?

    My thinking is, why spend $200-300 on a net book when you can just spend $100 on an extra battery, to get those extra hours you want on your main mobile machine.

    Also, good news! The Asus laptop is down to $1300! It's looking more and more like the laptop I will be going with.
  31. yes you can find a 9 to 12cell battery for it depending if they made a 12 cell for it. Reason why people get netbooks because its extremely small and portable and weighs like 2lbs.
  32. That is good news. I'd just like to clarify though, would I need to buy a battery that has the specific Asus brand name. Or could I just buy an HP 12 cell battery for $109 like they are offering on newegg? I am pretty confident is brand specific, but it doesn't hurt to ask :)
  33. Yea they are hp 12cell will only work with the hp (certain laptops) you would have to buy from asus or ebay or anotherplace they go around the same price no more than 150 if im not mistaken. since batteries are different sizes like completely square or rectangle.
  34. Thank you for clarifying. Can't wait until I get back from Quakecon to make my decision!
  35. tell me how quakecon is!
  36. Sure! It's August 13'th-16'th. If Alienware can't give me an offer, then the 17'th I'm ordering the Asus :)
  37. Stay away from the Alienware M15X. Is it junk. I ordered it on the 12th, got it about a week later.
    It is a beautiful machine, the color change is great, it is pretty solid, but who cares about that. I replaced the stock 7200rpm drive immediately with a OCZ Summit 120GB SSD. I installed Steam and DL'ed L4D. It ran like a slideshow, even after I tweaked the bejeezus out of this POS. So I fired up my Dell XPS 1530M and ran a benchmark against the 15X. L4D set on max resolution ran at 40FPS average (it is a Geforce 8600M 256mb) the 15X with an i7 and a 1GB GTX260M ran at 29FPS with exactly the same settings. My little 1530 even runs Red Faction: Guerrilla at 29-30 fps, the 15X wouldn't even load. Jeeze, what a piece of trash! So I called Dell tonight and requested a return. Get this. I said I want to return this 15X, they asked why. I told them that the machine did not perform as advertised, so they said "we will give you a $100.00 discount if you keep the system" I said "no, it is not worth the $$" So they said, "what if we give you a $200.00 discount?" I said no, even at $1700, this was not a good deal" so they said, ok, we will be charging you a 15% restocking fee. (=$249.00) I was shocked. This sounded like "sour grapes" to me. They shifted from offering me free $$ to charging me $249.00. Dell is a joke. Avoid at all costs.
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