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Suggestions for Student Gaming Laptop?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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September 5, 2010 5:19:59 PM

Hello, I am looking to buy a laptop that will be great for college as well as gaming. I am a little picky, but please, if you can help, read on. Your help is very much appreciated.


1_What is your budget?
Less that $1500

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

3_What screen resolution do you want?
No particular preference, but a nice resolution helps.

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Semi-Portable. Preferably a laptop below 7 lbs.

5_How much battery life do you need?
With power saving options, 3 hours would be nice. I understand that this is a gaming laptop, but switchable graphics or power saving options should help achieve this when simply browsing internet and using Word and the like.

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)?
I really wish to a play a fluid game of SC2 on atleast High settings. Ultra is not necessary.
Other potential games: Just Cause 2, Team Fortress 2, etc. I don't need something that can run Crysis on uber settings. That'll just be overkill for me.

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
I may actually do a little big of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator work, but that's secondary. Additionally, I may be watching movies (an internal optical drive is not required). If the system runs SC2 on high, these shouldn't don't worry me. I am not doing any sort of 3D rendering, so, no worries.

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
Above 200 GB. Shouldn't be too hard nowadays.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
2-3 years.

11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
An external optical drive works fine for me. I do not need Blu-ray or a writer.

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.
I am pretty open to brands, but I always stay shy of HP, though their 2nd Generation Envy 15 looked nice.

13_What country do you live in?
United States of America

14_Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I really do not want a laptop that is overly dressed as a gaming machine. A little flare is okay, but too much is an eyesore. A simple exterior will do fine.

I don't need an Intel i7 or a processor of like power. An i5 will do fine (I hope, lol).

I also don't want a machine that heats up too much when not being loaded. When I am playing a game, sure, I expect it to get hot. But it shouldn't get too hot when I am just browsing.




I understand that this may be a hard request. I've done quite a bit of research and have come up with mixed results. Do know though that I am good with computers, so I am not worrying about the laptop coming with preloaded garbage (*cough* Asus, HP *cough*). I can take care of that. I really just want solid hardware.


I've been looking at:

Lenovo IdeaPad Y560
Dell Studio XPS 16
MSI GX640-098US
MSI GE600-002US (weaker, but its $999 and packs a good punch.)
Asus N series



Things I've disliked:

HP Pavilion dv6 series- Massive complaints about how keyboard and touch pad suck.
HP Envy 15- Was nice, but after learning about heat issues, a dismal battery life, and the screen not being able to open more than 90 degrees (*facepalm*), I decided not to get one.
Asus G Series- Most of these look like oversized plastic gameboys. Again, looking for something that isn't so explicitly gamer looking.



Again, let me know if you have any suggestions. This is understandably a very particular request, but help is very much appreciated.

Thank you.
September 5, 2010 5:58:20 PM

Wow, that is actually really nice by specs. But again, I am shying away from its design. It seems I'm paying more for the bells and whistles of the thing. I also just don't want to have such a flashy thing. I'll be taking it to college. I also looked at its weight. 7.71 pounds is quite steep. I know I am being picky, but I want to get the best I can get.

Follow up though:
How much of a difference would these make:

-Intel® Core™ i5-450M, 2.4-2.67GHz, (3MB L3 cache) - Standard
-Intel® Core™ i5-520M, 2.4-2.93GHz, (3MB L3 cache) ( + 259 )
-Intel® Core™ i7-720QM, 1.6-2.8GHz, (45nm, 6MB L3 cache) ( + 283 )
-Intel® Core™ i5-540M, 2.53-3.06GHz, (3MB L3 cache) ( + 299 )
-Intel® Core™ i7-620M, 2.66-3.33GHz, (4MB L3 cache) ( + 379 )

If I do go for it, I want to know if upgrading to any of these will be even remotely worth it for my purposes. Again, once SCII gets running fluidly on high for me, I am set.


Thanks for your suggestion.
Related resources
September 5, 2010 7:43:50 PM

OP posting here. How does this one look to you guys?

Sager NP8690 (Built on Clevo W860CU) Custom Gaming Laptop

- 15.6” FHD 16:9 LED Backlit Wide screen (1920x1080) Super Clear Glare Type Screen
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- Intel® Core™ i5-520M, 2.4-2.93GHz, (3MB L3 cache)
- -Stock OEM Thermal Compound
- ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD5870 1024MB PCI-Express GDDR5 DX11
- ~ 4,096MB DDR3 1333MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS) (Requires 64-Bit to utilize Full 4GB)
- ~Combo 8x8x6x4x Dual Layer DVD +/-R/RW 5x DVD-RAM 24x CD-R/RW Drive w/Softwares
- ~ 500GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache)
- Internal 7-in-1 Card Reader (MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/MS Pro Duo/SD/Mini-SD/MMC/RS)
- Internal Bluetooth + EDR
- Built-in 802.11 Wireless B/G/N - Stock Wireless Card
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Basic Black Business Case - Included
- 11.1V Smart Li-Polymer battery pack 3800mAh, 42.18Wh
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- ~Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit Installed (64&32-Bit CD Included) w/ Drivers & Utilities CD's
- No Office Software
- 3 Year Labor* 1 Year Parts Warranty Lifetime -24/7 DOMESTIC Based- Toll Free Telephone Tech Support (Labor Warranty through Xotic PC)
Includes FREE Shipping Both Ways for Warranty Repairs


The cost is $1429.00, a little high, but its really nice, not flashy (good thing), has great reviews, and doesn't run too hot. Additionally, I've heard Sager laptops are pretty solid in construction (true?).

My only issue is that to get Office, I need to buy Office 2010 Home and Business Edition, a steep $200. I really only need Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, but they don't offer Student 2010 for some reason. Grrrrr. :fou: 
a c 244 D Laptop
a b 4 Gaming
September 5, 2010 8:31:14 PM

Between those CPUs, i would personally go with i7 720QM because some games/apps benefit from quad core CPUs and also you are going to keep it for 2-3 years.
Sager NP8690 is a great laptop with a great build quality, i didn't recommend it first because you mentioned you need 2-3hrs of battery life whereas this laptop will last for about an hour.
September 5, 2010 8:57:53 PM

I've looked at Max Battery Life (not under a load, maybe just web-browsing and using MS Word), and I've seen 2-3 hours for my sort of build. This is coming from other people rather than just SAGER itself. Additionally, I believe an i5 doesn't use as much battery power, which helps.

I really feel I don't need the i7 as I am going for Starcraft 2 now and maybe a few new games in the future. I really don't need Crysis or uber-realistic FPS graphics (ie MW2, MOH).



Thanks for the help!

Best solution

a c 244 D Laptop
a b 4 Gaming
September 5, 2010 9:33:16 PM
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Yes going with i5 will give you more battery life but i don't think it will be like 2-3hrs, i think it would be around 1:30-2hrs.(Which is good considering its specs)
September 5, 2010 10:23:28 PM

Looking at more and more at the battery life on different sites, I am really bummed. Even with the i5 and lowering the brightness fully and other power saver options, it seems 1 hr and 30 mins is the ultimate max. That's assuming I am starting out fully charged battery and a battery that hasn't gone bad at all.

I'll be looking some more, probably at Sager.


Thanks for pointing it out.
September 6, 2010 1:51:08 AM

Best answer selected by xBiocide.
September 6, 2010 2:07:52 AM

Maziar said:
Yes going with i5 will give you more battery life but i don't think it will be like 2-3hrs, i think it would be around 1:30-2hrs.(Which is good considering its specs)



Thank you for all your help. It was really great.

After looking through many other laptops, Acer, SAGER, and more, I'll probably be getting the Sager NP8690, with the aforementioned specs. I have come to terms with its low battery life and won't mind buying an extra battery. It'll be a little inconvenient if I need to switch, but the laptop is such a good deal and looks very sleek such that I can put up with it.




However, before I start to finalize, could you make some suggestions on which way I should go for these particular items? (I know you mentioned Processor before, but out of this bunch in particular, suggestions would help.)

Processor

a. Intel® Core™ i5-450M, 2.4-2.67GHz, (3MB L3)
b. Intel® Core™ i5-520M, 2.4-2.93GHz, (3MB L3 cache) ( + 60 )
c. Intel® Core™ i5-540M, 2.53-3.06GHz, (3MB L3 cache) ( + 115 )
d. Intel® Core™ i7-620M, 2.66-3.33GHz, (4MB L3 cache) ( + 190 )
e. Intel® Core™ i7-740QM, 1.73-2.93GHz, (45nm, 6MB L3 cache) ( + 210 )

RAM

a. ~4,096MB DDR3 1333MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS) (Requires 64-Bit to utilize Full 4GB)
b. ~4,096MB DDR3 1066MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS) (Requires 64-Bit to utilize Full 4GB)


Again, thank you so much.
a c 244 D Laptop
a b 4 Gaming
September 6, 2010 6:53:58 AM

Since you need more than 1hr of battery life,then go with i5 520M,then stick with i5 520M,it has the best price/performance between them.
As for RAM,well 1066 vs 1333 doesn't make a noticeable difference in performance, so unless the price difference isn't much,go with DDR3 1066
!