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"Fastest" laptop for under $2500?

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  • Laptops
Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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November 22, 2010 7:35:43 PM

Ok - after pretending to build laptops all month, I'm ready to buy. First, a little background:

I really don't plan on playing any games - but I absolutely LOVE the specs on some of the gaming machines.

I honestly just want the "fastest" machine that I can get for the price. By that I mean, I want it to start up in seconds, and I want applications to fly. I want a laptop that, in 5 years, I'm not going to absolutely hate (My work laptop has an i5 processor & 4GB RAM, and I'm almost sick of it already).

This is my Christmas present from my wife, and I doubt she's going to let me buy a new laptop any time before 2015, so I'm going (almost) all out. :pt1cable: 

Here's the standard Q&A:

Quote:

General Questions

1) What is your budget? Trying to keep it under $2500.

2) What size notebook would you prefer?
Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen (no bigger)

3) What country are you buying this in? United States

4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like? I’m not sure if I like the look of most ASUS machines. I do like the MSI laptops, but have no need for all of the LEDs.

5) What tasks will you be performing with the notebook? Some video editing for home use, MS Office work with some large DBs. Some photo editing.

6) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places or leaving it on your desk? Won’t be taking it anywhere, but I will be using it as an actual laptop – ie on my lap – most of the time.

7) Will you be playing games on it; if so, which games? Currently do not play games, but I absolutely love the specs of most gaming machines.

8) How many hours of battery life do you need? Not really important – will be plugged in most of the time.

9) Do you mind buying online without seeing the notebook in person? I don’t mind, but being able to see a similar model in person would be really nice.

10) What OS do you prefer? Windows 7 64-Bit

Screen Specifics

11) From the choices below, what screen resolutions would you prefer? 1920x1200 – would prefer Full HD.

12) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non glossy screen? Not truly important – I’ll be looking at it straight on, so glossy is fine.

Build Quality and Design

13) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you? Not really, but I do like the sleek aluminum designs somewhat more than the plastic ones. Not truly important.

14) When are you buying this laptop and how long do you want this laptop to last? Would love to buy ASAP, but could be convinced to wait if the new SSDs are worth waiting for. I want this to last as long as possible, so being able to upgrade RAM, etc is kind of important.

Notebook Components

15) How much hard drive space do you want? I’d like a 120GB SSD for the OS & 1TB of storage if possible. I have about 100GB of photos & videos and that's only going to increase.

16) Do you need an optical drive? No.

17) What speed CPU/Processor would you like? Would really like an i7.


And here's an MSI machine with the specs that I love. Only "problem" is that I really don't need all of the LEDs, but if they can be turned off then I'm really leaning towards getting this from xoticpc:

Quote:
MSI GX660R-060US - Gaming Laptop
- 15.6” FHD 16:9 LED Backlit Wide screen (1920x1080) Super Clear Glare Type Screen
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- - Intel® Core™ i7-740QM, 1.73-2.93GHz, (45nm, 6MB L3 cache) - Standard
- IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU (Cools better than all Compounds)
- ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD5870 1024MB PCI-Express GDDR5 DX11
- No Video Adapter
- 8,192MB (8GB) DDR3 1333MHz Dual Channel Memory (1x4GB 2x2GB)
- - Combo Dual Layer SuperMulti 8X DVDRW Drive w/ Software (pretty sure this gets removed with the extra HDD)
- - 120GB OCZ Vertex 2 Sandforce Solid State Drive (Up to Sequential Read 285MB/s - Write 275MB/s SSD Serial-ATA II) (For the OS & Office 2010)
- - 500GB (w/ 4GB SSD Memory) Seagate XT 7200RPM NCQ Hybrid 32MB Cache (Serial-ATA II 3GB/s) (HDD #1)
- - 500GB (w/ 4GB SSD Memory) Seagate XT 7200RPM NCQ Hybrid 32MB Cache (Serial-ATA II 3GB/s) (HDD #2)
- Internal 4-in-1 Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO)
- Internal Bluetooth + EDR
- -Intel® Advanced-N 6200 - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module
- Integrated Digital Video Camera
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Smart Li-ion Battery (9-Cell)
- No Thanks, Please do not Overclock my system
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit Pre-Installed + Drivers & Utilities Disk
- 2 Year MSI US Parts & Labor 1 Year Global Warranty w/ Lifetime Tech Support
Total Price - $2,268.00


So... what have I done wrong here? Am I crazy - should I just leave these super fast machines to you guys and go get myself a nice Sony VAIO? :hello: 

Thank you in advance!

More about : fastest laptop 2500

Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 22, 2010 8:13:57 PM

My guess is that you're looking for a 3GHz quad-core CPU, 8GB of DDR3 RAM and a high-end DX11 GPU. As for the hard-drive, SSD or a 10,000rpm drive.

Here's a video so you can build a checklist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qE5IQ9tyAE

Vaio F-series is good 'coz you can configure it up to 1080p screen but then the Asus G53 can do the same and with a much better GPU (GTX 460M). So it's really tricky. Alienware is just too gimmicky. That MSI you quote looks decent, HD5870 on GDDR5 will be a good investment.
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November 22, 2010 8:33:32 PM

Quote:
...
Vaio F-series is good 'coz you can configure it up to 1080p screen but then the Asus G53 can do the same and with a much better GPU...


Thanks! Love the video, and the G53 looks like it could be similarly spec'd for about $200 less. I will definitely consider that.

The problem with the Sony is, while they are beautiful to look at, they get so pricey when you start adding features/upgrades. The F series screen is a LITTLE bigger than I wanted but not a deal breaker. I just want the best bang for my buck, and my gut was telling me that a "brand name" laptop wasn't going to be the answer.
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a c 244 D Laptop
November 22, 2010 8:35:15 PM

Sony VAIO laptops don't have a powerful VGA(At least compared to ASUS/MSI "G" series)
Like LemonadeStand mentioned,G53 is a decent choice.
Another good laptop would be Sager NP8690(Its cheaper and has a simpler design)
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Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 22, 2010 9:10:02 PM

stoj said:
Thanks! Love the video, and the G53 looks like it could be similarly spec'd for about $200 less. I will definitely consider that.

The problem with the Sony is, while they are beautiful to look at, they get so pricey when you start adding features/upgrades. The F series screen is a LITTLE bigger than I wanted but not a deal breaker. I just want the best bang for my buck, and my gut was telling me that a "brand name" laptop wasn't going to be the answer.

The problem with Sony (and am too familiar with it) is that they segment their laptops in terms of screen-size and only the costliest models come with better hardware options. So you'll find that their 13.3" and 16.4" are in the high-price bracket and have better CPU/GPU. But if like me and u say, "well all i want is a powerful 15.5" model," then tough. The GPU won't be as good and in year-2 you'll really feel that burden (esp. if u find Starcraft 2 appealing).

Having said that, there seems to be a catch everywhere. I think HP sells you screen that only go up to 1366x768, that's a bummer if you want to use 3D or Adobe software. For me the catch with Asus or MSI (they offer better gpu) is that "could they make their laptop any uglier?" Seems like Lenovo (formerly IBM Laptop) follows that trend too (even though they are reliable).

If you find something in your budget, post the description or link here. We can give u an opinion.
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November 22, 2010 9:31:21 PM

Quote:
The problem with Sony (and am too familiar with it) is that they segment their laptops in terms of screen-size and only the costliest models come with better hardware options. So you'll find that their 13.3" and 16.4" are in the high-price bracket and have better CPU/GPU. But if like me and u say, "well all i want is a powerful 15.5" model," then tough. The GPU won't be as good and in year-2 you'll really feel that burden (esp. if u find Starcraft 2 appealing).

Having said that, there seems to be a catch everywhere. I think HP sells you screen that only go up to 1366x768, that's a bummer if you want to use 3D or Adobe software. For me the catch with Asus or MSI (they offer better gpu) is that "could they make their laptop any uglier?" Seems like Lenovo (formerly IBM Laptop) follows that trend too (even though they are reliable).

If you find something in your budget, post the description or link here. We can give u an opinion.



Thank you very much for your time & advice. I'm going to try and narrow it down after checking out the NP8690 & the G53. I haven't checked out Lenovo yet, but I'll do my due diligence & look at them.

I'm not TOO hung up on the looks. Sure if I had a choice between something that looks like the Sony Vaio Z series and something out of Star Wars, I'd take the Sony, but this thing isn't being entered into any beauty contests. I'll take function over form.

I don't know why, but I'm really attached to that MSI that I listed in the OP. Knowing what I am looking to use it for and how long I want it to last, is there anything you (or anyone) would change about the specs? Should I try and wait for the next gen SSDs? I'm not the most patient person, and I'd really like to be using this by Christmas, so..
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November 23, 2010 1:58:01 AM

OK - between the MSI in my OP and this one:

ASUS G53JW-A3 - Republic of Gamers Gaming Laptop

- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit Pre-Installed + Drivers & Utilities Disk
- No Thanks, Please do not Overclock my system
- No Notebook Cooler
- Asus G Series Gaming Mouse
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Asus G Series Matching Backpack made by Targus
- Smart Li-ion Battery (8-Cell)
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- -Intel® Advanced-N 6200 - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module
- Internal Bluetooth + EDR
- Internal 5-in-1 Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO/ xD-P)
- - 500GB (w/ 4GB SSD Memory) Seagate XT 7200RPM NCQ Hybrid 32MB Cache (Serial-ATA II 3GB/s)
- - 500GB (w/ 4GB SSD Memory) Seagate XT 7200RPM NCQ Hybrid 32MB Cache (Serial-ATA II 3GB/s)
- - 120GB OCZ Vertex 2 Sandforce Solid State Drive (Up to Sequential Read 285MB/s - Write 275MB/s SSD Serial-ATA II)
- - Combo Dual Layer SuperMulti 8X DVDRW Drive w/ Software-
- Standard Matching Color WASD Keys
- Cobalt Blue Backlit Keyboard Modifiation
- No Afterburner Light Package
- Standard Finish
- 8,192MB (8GB) DDR3 1333MHz Dual Channel Memory (2x4GB)
- No Video Adapter
- nVidia GeForce GTX 460M 1,536MB PCI-Express GDDR5 DX11
- IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU-
- - Intel® Core™ i7-740QM, 1.73-2.93GHz, (45nm, 6MB L3 cache) - Standard
- ASUS Zero Bright Dot (ZBD) 30 Day Pixel Guarantee
- 15.6” FHD 16:9 LED Backlit Wide screen (1920x1080) Super Clear Glare Type Screen

$2,282.00
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a c 244 D Laptop
November 23, 2010 9:01:11 AM

G53JW has a slightly slower(most of the times equal)VGA, and better build/display quality so its a better choice overall.
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November 23, 2010 12:21:15 PM

Maziar said:
G53JW has a slightly slower(most of the times equal)VGA, and better build/display quality so its a better choice overall.



Can you explain more about the VGA?

One more question - what is the better SSD? The 120GB OCZ Vertex 2 Sandforce or the 128GB Crucial C300?

Thank you all for your help - this a huge purchase for me (House, Car, Engagement Ring, Laptop :wahoo:  ).
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Anonymous
a b D Laptop
November 23, 2010 2:45:04 PM

Maziar said:
G53JW has a slightly slower(most of the times equal)VGA, and better build/display quality so its a better choice overall.

Dude stop confusing people with VGA. Is your jargon that old? Well I say old b'coz the only time I heard the term VGA was when people used it to differentiate between CGA, EGA and VGA. Just say GPU (for latop) or graphics card (for desktop). It will become clearer in their mind what you're on about.
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November 23, 2010 3:20:00 PM

Maziar said:
Check this link regarding GTX 460M's performance
http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-460M.33...
As for SSD,I think OCZ Vertex2 is faster.



Ah ok - thank you!

I'll stick with the Vertex 2, no matter what I buy.

Right now, between the ASUS and the MSI, the issue is "looks" vs "RAM". The MSI tops out at 12GB, while the ASUS can hold 16GB.

Other differences between the two are the webcam (HD vs 2MP), backlit keyboard, sound quality (supposedly the MSI sounds fantastic), and number of USB 3.0 ports (ASUS has 1, MSI has 2). And the graphics (GPU, VGA - whatever you want to call it :wahoo:  ) mentioned above.

Out of all of those, I suppose the backlit keyboard would be nice, but not a dealbreaker. Having the 2 USB 3.0 ports might come in handy down the line.

Ugh. Decisions decisions.

Thanks guys.
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a c 244 D Laptop
November 23, 2010 4:20:35 PM

to Lemon
I don't know about you,but I use both "VGA" and "GPU" fluently and I haven't seen anyone getting confused about it.Because both have the same meaning. :) 

to Stoj
Don't worry about RAM,both 12GB/16GB is overkill.For today's games and apps even 4GB suffices.If you have lots of image/video editing apps opened at the same time,then go with 8GB.There is no need to go with anything higher than that.
Others aspects depend on you though.Both laptops are really good so you can't go wrong with either.
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March 15, 2011 7:36:18 PM

so, what did you end up getting?
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!