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Buying new gaming/school laptop $1200

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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March 23, 2011 2:34:14 AM

Hey I'm in the market for a new laptop to use for school as well as gaming

In general I want:

- Any quad core sandy bridge processor
- Any graphics card that can run games like WoW and soon The Old Republic on high preferably
- 6 GB of RAM
- Preferably 14'', but moving up a size is not the end of the world

Just a few side questions/comments

What's the difference in speed while playing games between a duo and quad core processor?

Keep in mind that this is also a school computer that will be necessary for writing essays as well as using macro-enabled templates, so I'll need both world of gaming and school
- Can laptops like alienware function fine as school laptops as well for extensive research purposes? If not, I'd rather stray away

I've been looking at different laptops that aren't for specific gaming purposes like the HP envy 14 (which is appealing because of the 14'' aspect), so I was wondering whether or not something like this would also function very well for gaming purposes because that style of laptop is appealing to me

Thanks in advance everyone



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March 23, 2011 3:52:15 AM

Hello huckfool;

Any laptop capable of gaming the way you want can do all the other things you mention, and do them very well.
Dual/Quad performance in games - depends on the game. WoW does very well with faster dual cores vs slower quad cores, for example.

HP Envy is an excellent laptop but it's graphics card option, HD 5650, is going to limit you to gaming at medium graphics settings. And it's still using the older Core i5-560M / Core i7-740QM CPUs.
HP Envy 14 Beats Edition reviews
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March 23, 2011 3:59:24 AM

For gaming in your budget range a good option would be: Sager NP8130 @ $~1200
Core i7-2630QM 2.0 (2.8GHz Turbo) Sandy Bridge, 15.6" 1920x1080 LCD w/ GTX 460M graphics card, 8GB RAM, 500GB HDD.
That $1200 price did not include Windows 7 though.
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March 23, 2011 4:09:21 AM

To move a bit lower in your budget range you could go with the Sager NP5160 ~$769 depending on configuration options chosen
Core i5-2520M 2.5Ghz (3.2GHz Turbo) dual core Sandy Bridge and 15.6" 1366x768 (or 1920x1080) LCD with GT 540M graphics.


Uploaded with ImageShack.us


You haven't mentioned when you'll be buying a new laptop but you should note that not all Sandy Bridge Sagers are available uet but they are taking orders.


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March 23, 2011 6:21:20 PM

Should I go with a dual core or a quad core processor because you mentioned that a quad core processor would slow down a game like WoW? i guess im pretty much a noob when it comes to exact specifications and what they means so do dual core processors function better with games than the quad core? Also what is the exact graphics card that I should go for if i want to play the games at high settings? I like the ones you suggested and just because I want to look at all the options what do you think about the HP dv6 quad edition, because as far as I can see it only has i7 processors and looks pretty nice.

Oh also did you find any that were 14''?
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March 23, 2011 6:31:51 PM

I did not find any Sandy Bridge 14" with a decent gaming graphics cards.
It's still early days for the new stuff though.

WoW and Starcraft II like to have a couple fast cores.
But we also know that future games are going to put 4 cores to good use.

To cover all your bases I'd choose one of the Sandy Bridge quads. They do turbo boost of 1 or 2 cores which helps games like WoW and SC2.
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March 23, 2011 11:32:04 PM

So would the quad core work very well/better in future as games get more complex? also, should i wait a few more months b/c new technology will be coming out soon or more generally will the processor and/or graphics card be completely outdated and not be able to play or function very well in a few years?

And what is the exact graphics card that I should be aiming for? is it the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M as seen in the picture?
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March 24, 2011 12:03:38 AM

If you can swing the price of the i7-2630QM Sandy Bridge & GTX 460M graphics card you'll be in very good shape now and especially the next few years ahead.

It's not easy to say 'wait' when you're ready to have it NOW!
That call would be up to you.
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March 24, 2011 12:08:00 AM

So as long as the computer has those two parts I should be fine with whatever I get? it'll take a little time to look at reviews and stuff.

Are there any other parts that are really essential to having this computer the way that I want it?
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March 24, 2011 2:06:02 AM

Be sure to read the XoticPC FAQs

Especially the one about Student Discounts.
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March 24, 2011 2:56:12 AM

thanks a ton for the help ^^
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March 24, 2011 5:51:53 PM

Hey sorry to prolong the conservation i guess, but one thing I wasn't really thinking about very much was battery life. The saber doesn't give an exact amount of time, but I'm realizing that i probably need about three hours and maybe a bit more for some of the things i'll be doing. would that computer still fit that need or are there any others that have similar specs with longer battery life, or more to the point are there any functions of the laptop that allow it to spend less energy while it's not gaming, for instance if im just working on word documents is there any way for it to last longer?
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March 24, 2011 8:37:29 PM

costco $1,249.99
ASUS G53JW-XA1
Core i7-740QM 1.73GHz Laptop
1.5GB NVIDIA GTX 460M DDR5
1920x1080 !!! best deal 1 year accidental warranty
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March 24, 2011 9:42:21 PM

huckfool said:
are there any others that have similar specs with longer battery life
Not at this time. Extra power = shorter battery life. You do have some options - more powerful battery. Or a 2nd battery.

Otherwise you'd need to go with the Sager NP5160 and it's battery friendly GT 540M graphics and 1366x768 LCD to have a good shot at 3hrs of battery life while using the computer. The GT 540M Optimius will shut down the GT 540M and use the GPU integrated on the CPU to maximize the battery life. You can also choose the battery saving power options like dimming the LCD screen, etc.

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March 24, 2011 10:58:49 PM

Hmmm, so what would the approximate battery life be of the sager without running games on relatively low screen brightness with just word processor do you think? This may make me rethink getting a computer with a little lower specs/just make me re-evaluate my criteria because maybe it is better for me to get something like the HP envy
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March 24, 2011 10:59:52 PM

There is a chance you'll get something like 3 hours, maybe even a bit more.
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March 24, 2011 11:03:26 PM

Asus G53SW review
Sandy Bridge i7-2630QM CPU, Nvidia GTX 460M GPU and 8GB of ram
And that reviewer was able to get 3.5 hours with screen brightness under 50% while surfing the net.
Look for his comments in the section after the review where he's talking to people leaving comments about his review.
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