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SC2 Laptop for low settings

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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January 23, 2011 1:58:32 PM

I'm looking for a decent laptop to play sc2 on low settings, but I was a semi-serious sc1 player and am hoping for something that will handle multiplayer 1v1 games without much worry (2v2 would be nice too, not as important).

Settings can be as low as neccessary without interfering with my use of the interface.

the two I'm looking at right now:

Hp g42t
Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-390M Dual Core Processor (2.66 GHz, 3MB L3 Cache)
512MB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 6370 Graphics [HDMI, VGA]
4 gb RAM

(I'm assuming the upgrade to a 1GB radeon 6370 would not help much, it's an option though)

HpG62
AMD Turion™ II (2.5 GHz, 2MB L2 Cache)
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250
4GB ram

Again, the main thing is to have something that handles the vast majority of multiplayer situations well. Do either of these make the cut?

Thanks in advance
a c 572 D Laptop
January 23, 2011 2:42:53 PM

Hello calvinb;

The HD 6370 GPU is the successor to the HD 5470 and is quite a bit more powerful than the HD 4250.
AMD Radeon HD 6370M review

Additionally, the i3-390M has a nice performance advantage over the Turion II M620 or Turion II N530 which will be very important to any type SIM game like SC2.




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January 23, 2011 2:47:27 PM

the i3 cpu + 6370 will do more nicely on sc2. If i remember correctly rts go more towards cpu when coming epic battles etc.. Heck i could be wrong. my vote on the hp g42t.
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January 23, 2011 3:30:27 PM

Thank you

So would that i3 390 be powerful enough to handle 2v2 multiplayer without much trouble?

(Low graphics, High Performance power settings of course.)

And is the 512 mb radeon 6370 a better buy than the 1 gb version ($50 difference)
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a c 572 D Laptop
January 23, 2011 3:57:12 PM

If you're laptop monitor's LCD screen resolution is 1366x768 the 512MB 6370 is fine.

The i3 390 is plenty fast enough to handle your end of a 2v2. If someone is using a slow computer over a slow internet connection that's going to impact the overall game performance.
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January 23, 2011 7:08:17 PM

agreed a 512mb would be able to handle that resoultion. 1gb of ram on a video card are just for better resolution. but the 6370 will outperform the 4250 anyday. If i remember correctly 4200m are just about a good 5% improvement over intel graphics. <-- eww. video ram isnt like regular ram where the more the better. Depends on resoultion and etc... dont feel like getting more detail.
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January 23, 2011 7:08:52 PM

It's hard to say without prices for your options but I think you would be better off with an i3 2.4 and HD5650 such as this for $600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or a Dell Inspiron 15R with 550v for $650.

Also OfficeMax is selling a Sandy Bridge Toshiba i7-2630QM this week for $849 that will blow away anything that currently exists on low.

Finally Blizzard's recommendation is Dual Core 2.4Ghz Processor. There's no reason to doubt that.
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January 23, 2011 9:09:34 PM

Both of those look like nice options.

Considering the HP with the i3 370 (2.4), HD 5650 vs the one with the i3 (2.66) and the HD 6370:

I would definitely prefer a highly dependable multiplayer experience at low settings rather than the option of higher settings (as pretty as sc2 is). I don't really know much about such CPU/GPU pairings. Which option would be better for dependable 2v2 at low settings?

The Toshiba at Office max looks awesome and I would definitely consider it. It looks like it would have Intel mobile HD graphics 3000. I assume Intel integrated Graphics with a Sandy Bridge CPU would be plenty powerful for my purposes?
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January 23, 2011 10:39:14 PM

5650 > 6370
im guessing the second option is i3 390m
id still go for the better video card not much increase over 2.4 vs 2.6 a .26ghz difference maybe 2-4fps difference not big.
I dont really know much about the sandybridge using the intel graphics card. I would assume they will do good in everything low as far as I see in videos. But i would go over with a dual core. It has 4 threads so its like a fake me out quad core.
My pretty penny would go with a dedicated graphics. 5650 playable at medium btw. IMO i could be wrong ill do a little research on sandybridge graphics. get back to u in a bit.

edit: an i7 2820qm (high end retail version of i7 expect a 2630qm with .3ghz less) with intel graphics gets 59.7fps on low according to anandtech
and an i7 370m with nvidia 310m gets 68.1fps on low

mind you that the 310m is about 30% worse than a 5650 give or take.
a i3 370m with a 5650 is still better in gaming than just an i7 2820qm
so in that terms youll be aable to play sc2 on everything low with probably high 80s and 90fps with 5650 on medium see about 40fps it will dip around 30 lowest but not major configure a low-medium youll get some eyecandy and get good fps.
so again my 2 cents go with 5650 and i3 370m
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January 24, 2011 12:41:35 AM

Just for the sake of fully distinguishing between the two CPU-GPU pairings let's say I didn't need much eye candy and always played on low settings. (Still mulling over what tradeoff I want here).

Would the i3 390 with the 6370 have an advantage over the i3 370 with the 5650 in smoothly sustaining a heated 2v2 battle? Or would the latter paring be better matched and deliver more performance?

One more minor Question: How much difference would 3gb vs 4gb of RAM make? I have been assuming 4 is better for SC2 but would 3 be plenty?

Thank you!

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January 24, 2011 12:53:08 AM

the i3 370m with the 5650 will sustain more in a heated 2v2 battle. i3 370m and 5650 will give more performance and run more smoothly.

lets see for 4gb vs 3gb.. 3gb is sufficient for gaming, you shouldnt use more than 3gb of ur just gaming. I havent seen my ram go more than 3gb on my desktop with 64bit. I have a friend who plays on a 64bit with only 2gb of ram he does perfectly fine. 3gb keep 32bit.
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a c 572 D Laptop
January 24, 2011 7:46:30 AM

The 3GB vs 4GB difference should not be a factor in overall performance.
The i3 370 and i3 390 both have superior performance and the small difference should not be noticeable.
You can get excellent performance out of the HD 5650 on low graphics, probably better than the HD 6370 will support.
And you have the option of running on medium graphics where you can test to see if the higher graphics settings are suitable for your gaming requirements. I would think that it would be a good experience overall.

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January 24, 2011 3:25:27 PM

Concerning the lower-end rig in the first post

HP 62t
AMD Turion II n530 (2.5 GHz, 2MB cache)
4 GB RAM
ATI 4250

I realize it's way behind the other options but it is cheap.

Would this setup crumble in a 2v2? Or would low settings still provide reasonable playability?

Would it play 1v1 dependably?

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a c 572 D Laptop
January 24, 2011 3:55:15 PM

I thought the HP 62t was the i3-390M & HD 6370 combo?
What kind of price difference are you talking about?


Turion II n530 & ATI 4250
Core i3-390 & HD 6370

Passmark CPU score:
AMD Turion II N530 Dual-Core = 1540
Intel Core i3 380M @ 2.53GHz = 2274

Passmark GPU score:
Mobility Radeon HD 4250 = 210
Mobility Radeon HD 6370M = 281
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January 24, 2011 7:15:29 PM

what is the prices of the laptops for everything? we might be able to find a cheap/good one to run sc2? give a price range max you wanna spend ill look for laptops for you.
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January 24, 2011 7:40:40 PM

My fault, I'm mixing up model numbers. The options I'm thinking about are:


1. HP g62 (from best buy) n530, ATI 4250, 4GB ram. (around $460, taxes, shipping included)

2. Then the HPdv6 (from newegg) i3 370, ATI 5650, 4 GB. (around $650 after taxes, rebate)

3. The HP 42t (Custom From HP website) i3 390 , ATI 6370, 4 GB (around $650 all said and done)

4. Same as #3, but downgrades to an i3 380, and to 3 gb RAM would save me 30 dollars each. (around $590)

I was liking the 3rd initially because I had heard that a dual core of closer to 3.0 GHz is desirable so I thought to skimp on GPU, have plenty of CPU. It sounds though like the i3's in question aren't that different from each other, they perform well enough anyway, and my bottleneck is more likely in the GPU with the 3rd machine while the second will have less overall bottlenecking in most cases.

Noob question: Does scaling down the Graphics reduce CPU load as well as GPU load, so as to mitigate the need for the high CPU numbers I've seen recommended on gaming sites?

Is newegg reasonable with their mail-in rebates? (I strongly dislike rebate scammers)
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January 24, 2011 8:51:31 PM

calvinb said:
My fault, I'm mixing up model numbers. The options I'm thinking about are:


1. HP g62 (from best buy) n530, ATI 4250, 4GB ram. (around $460, taxes, shipping included)

2. Then the HPdv6 (from newegg) i3 370, ATI 5650, 4 GB. (around $650 after taxes, rebate)

3. The HP 42t (Custom From HP website) i3 390 , ATI 6370, 4 GB (around $650 all said and done)

4. Same as #3, but downgrades to an i3 380, and to 3 gb RAM would save me 30 dollars each. (around $590)

I was liking the 3rd initially because I had heard that a dual core of closer to 3.0 GHz is desirable so I thought to skimp on GPU, have plenty of CPU. It sounds though like the i3's in question aren't that different from each other, they perform well enough anyway, and my bottleneck is more likely in the GPU with the 3rd machine while the second will have less overall bottlenecking in most cases.

Noob question: Does scaling down the Graphics reduce CPU load as well as GPU load, so as to mitigate the need for the high CPU numbers I've seen recommended on gaming sites?

Is newegg reasonable with their mail-in rebates? (I strongly dislike rebate scammers)


okay the 4th option i3 380 is a tad faster than the 370m but comes with 3gb vs 4gb i would defintly cop that before the 2. 5650 will always be better than the 6370 etc.. and according the notebookcheck the ati 4200m hd are yellow on low for gaphics on starcraft ii <--- meaning youll have a little struggle on low with the first option. Yes dual cores using 3ghz more will be better than a quad doing 2.16ghz in terms of that. But in gaming and benchmarks shows that a 2.4ghz quad will match a 2.8ghz in performance. Where games use more quad more effictly which are bfbc2 and sc2 thats where quads shine. Now the i3 390 is dual but has 4 threads kinda like a fake me out quad core. I read somewhere that the virtual core are only 50% as good as the real cores. So in that terms you have 3 cores to do solid. This will in fact give a better boost in performance for sc2 giving the i3380m 2.5ghz give the core 2 duo at 3ghz a run for their money. Yes lowering everything down wouldnt put the computer under so much load per say. but the i3 370m or 380m with a 5650 guarantee will give the performance you need on low and some. Medium should work in terms of everything. Acer 3820tg tried it came with 370m and 5650 friend has it plays sc2 nicely. (dont remember if it was low or medium.)
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January 25, 2011 1:35:19 AM

Intel integrated graphics media accelerator HD tested "green" for SC2 and ATI 4250 is more powerful (it also passed 2 of the three tests on notebookcheck). Is it possible driver updates will bypass the problems which put it in the yellow?

(The larger question: How much potential do driver updates have to improve performance? I realize a low end card will never be anything great, but could updating drivers diminish the bottlenecking of the low end cards in question over time?)

In the 42t direct from HP I could also get the 4GB RAM with the i3 380 putting it at around $620 after everything. (making it it 4gram, 2.53ghz i3, hd6370).

The rebate thing puts me off a little but if they're dependable about it I suppose it's all right. Especially if that one really holds up best overall on low graphics.

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January 25, 2011 2:08:56 AM

looking at the dv6 in newegg
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
"Fast Laptop with Intel Core i3 370M processor. Good for Mid gaming with 1GB (up to 2GB) ATI and Intel switchable graphics card. I play SC2 on mid settings. Borderlands on semi-low settings. Overall a nice laptop. I got the $50 rebate so it was worth it.

Cons: Keyboard feels a little cheap. All lightweight plastic keys. Notice the extra column of buttons along the left side. Not really needed."

according to a reviewer on newegg

talking about intel graphics.I have a friend who has an i7 and intel graphics (not sb) he plays League of Legends on LOW! it runs great 50-60fps but in major battles he feels the lag/stutter or hickup u wanna call. <-- pretty sure sc2 is more intense than league of legends.
notebookcheck
AMD Phenom II X3 N830 2.1GHz
Radeon HD 4250 (500MHz), 320MB (667MHz) , 8.722.1.0
4096MB RAM
gets 14 44 56fps average 38
that triple core is indeed faster than the turion. So the 4250 is a negatory on my book. now that being all said and done 2nd option is good enough for everything you explained. yes bumping up a little ghz here and there will help but not big enough improvement to justify lowering an idea of having a 5650 to a 6370.
i3 370m vs i3 390m see a max of 5% at the top of my head. but lowering from a 6370 to a 5650 will loose over 20% difference in performance.
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a c 572 D Laptop
January 25, 2011 12:04:39 PM

If you read all the details about how those cards are ranked in the chart you'll understand there are some estimations (and guesses) used.
IMO The Turion II n530 / ATI 4250 is cutting things too close (mostly the ATI 4250) to say with any certainty that it will give a good gaming experience.
It will run the game. Will it handle smooth and fluid 2V2/1V1 online activity? No way for us to know for certain.
You'd need to find another SC2 player with a similar rig to know for sure.

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