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Best desktop-replacement gaming laptop for performance/value?

Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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February 21, 2011 1:48:26 PM

Which of the following builds would you rate as giving the best performance? Best value?

Build 1:

Display: 17.3" 1920 x 1080 FHD LED Backlit GlassView Display
Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-2920XM, Extreme 8MB L3 Cache, 2.50GHz
$895.00
Memory: (16GB) 16384MB, PC3-10660/1333MHz DDR3 - 4 SO-DIMM
$270.00
Graphics Card: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 485M 2GB GDDR5
$495.00
Hard Drive: 256GB Crucial® RealSSD™ C300 SATA 6Gb/s SSD Drive
$490.00
Hard Drive 2: 256GB Crucial® RealSSD™ C300 SATA 6Gb/s SSD Drive
$535.00
RAID: 0 High Performance (Two Hard Drive Configuration)
Optical Bay: 6X Blu-ray Burner 8X DVD+/-R DL Super-Multi Drive
$195.00
Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® 7 Ultimate; 64-bit
$200.00
Wireless: Internal 802.11B/G/N LAN and Bluetooth Card
Cooling: IC Diamond 7 Thermal Compound, CPU & GPU
$40.00
Warranty: 3 Year Ltd. Labor and 2 Year Parts Warranty with 24/7 USA-Based Support
$79.00

Product Subtotal: $4,563.00

Build 2:

Customizations:
Display: 17.3" 1920 x 1080 FHD LED Backlit GlassView Display
Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-990X Extreme, 12MB L3 Cache, 3.73GHz (Desktop CPU)
$790.00
Memory: (12GB) 12288MB, PC3-10660/1333MHz DDR3 - 3 SO-DIMM
$175.00
Graphics Card: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 485M 2GB GDDR5
$495.00
Hard Drive: 256GB Crucial® RealSSD™ C300 SATA 6Gb/s SSD Drive
$490.00
Hard Drive 2: 256GB Crucial® RealSSD™ C300 SATA 6Gb/s SSD Drive
$535.00
Hard Drive 3: 500GB 7200rpm 2.5" SATA 300 Hybrid w/ 4GB NAND Flash
$145.00
RAID: 0 High Performance (Two Hard Drive Configuration)
Optical Bay: 6X Blu-ray Burner 8X DVD+/-R DL Super-Multi Drive
$195.00
Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® 7 Ultimate; 64-bit
$200.00
Wireless: Internal 802.11B/G/N LAN and Bluetooth Card
Cooling: IC Diamond 7 Thermal Compound, CPU & GPU
$40.00
Warranty: 3 Year Ltd. Labor and 1 Year Parts Warranty with 24/7 USA-Based Support

Product Subtotal: $5,174.00

Build 3:

Customizations:
Display: 17.3" 1920 x 1080 FHD LED Backlit GlassView Display
Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-990X Extreme, 12MB L3 Cache, 3.73GHz (Desktop CPU)
$790.00
Memory: (12GB) 12288MB, PC3-10660/1333MHz DDR3 - 3 SO-DIMM
$175.00
Graphics Card: Dual NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 485M 2GB GDDR5
$1,200.00
Hard Drive: 256GB Crucial® RealSSD™ C300 SATA 6Gb/s SSD Drive
$490.00
Hard Drive 2: 500GB 7200rpm 2.5" SATA 300 Hybrid w/ 4GB NAND Flash
$145.00
Optical Bay: 6X Blu-ray Burner 8X DVD+/-R DL Super-Multi Drive
$195.00
Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® 7 Ultimate; 64-bit
$200.00
Wireless: Internal 802.11B/G/N LAN and Bluetooth Card
Cooling: IC Diamond 7 Thermal Compound, CPU & GPU
$40.00
Warranty: 3 Year Ltd. Labor and 1 Year Parts Warranty with 24/7 USA-Based Support

Product Subtotal: $5,344.00

Obviously I'm pitting a Sandy Bridge mobile processor against a first gen core i7 Extreme Edition desktop processor - and an SLI build vs a non-SLI build - but build 3 is also ~$780 more than build 1. Is it worth it? Is having SSDs in RAID 0 worth more than a second GPU?
February 21, 2011 4:03:47 PM

Well, the combination of the SB chip, price and SSD's more or less wins out regardless of the other builds. Although, dual SSD to me seems a bit overkill when you can have a much larger secondary 7200rpm drive to lower the costs even further while still retaining the system speed.

What peaks my curiosity more at those prices is why none of the builds have dual GPU cards. I would figure that with that type of budget and the desire for the best gaming laptop you would try to get a Crossfire or SLI type rig.

Another thing to consider is that I've seen performance video showing hybrid drives being considerably comparable in performance to a full SSD. So you could save even more by going fully hybrid. This would retain almost identical performanc to SSD while gaining the benefit of a much larger storage capacity.

In the end, the first build still wins out, since your objective is gaming. Not storage capacity.

P.S. oops just noticed last build has dual GPUs, still the $800 difference makes rig one a better buy. I think if you fiddled around with your drive choices you could pull off a dual card setup in the first rig and still come in cheaper than the other two rigs.
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February 21, 2011 4:39:01 PM

You essentially answered my main question Fadekyn - Hybrid drives are close, and SSDs in raid 0 are NOT comparable to a second GPU in SLI or crossfire.

Thanks for your reply.
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February 21, 2011 4:51:17 PM

I wish I could find it, but there was a solid comparison video running SSD vs Hybrid vs 7200rpm vs 5400RPM. It was probably by the same company selling these hybrid drives.

The test runs from startup to opening 5 programs (some office, crysis, 3drenderer and two other programs) then shutting down all 5 progams as the finish. The hybrid was only about 24 seconds behind the SSD or something like that while the 7200rpm and 5400rpm were way behind.

It was eye opening to say the least.
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