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Advice/review help on new laptop

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a b D Laptop
April 21, 2011 5:16:23 PM

Hi community, I'm planning to purchase a gaming laptop and I just wanted to run my specs by to make sure that I'm not going over the board with one thing, while bottlenecking with another.

I'm open to good suggestions.

Approximate Purchase Date: May-June, 2011
Country of Origin: USA
Budget Range: ~$2k

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies, some light AutoCAD and LabVIEW work. I don't have any preference in mind for graphics quality, as long as I can run the current + future games in decent resolution at 30 fps I'll be fine. (one thing I'm aiming for is to play COD:Black Ops on this new laptop, because couldn't run it smoothly on my current one)
Portability: I don't expect this to be extremely portable, but occasional travel is expected, so I wish to keep it around 15". (I currently have a 12.4" and it's fine although getting a bit small for my eyes lately)
Resolution: I don't have any particular preference for this, I'm hoping the native specified by OEM would be fine, if not I'll go back to 1280x740.
Battery Life: not an issue, as long as it can handle not shutting down while I have to pick up and switch outlets that will be fine.
Length of service: ~4 years.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: origin pc / maingear.

Parts:
Case: Clevo 150HM (at least I think it's the one the vendor is using)
MB: Intel Mobility HM65 E
CPU: Intel i7-2720QM, 6Mb Cache
GPU: nVidia GTX 460M, 1.5Gb total graphics or ATi HD 6970M, 1Gb total graphics
RAM: Kingston 8Gb DDR3 @ 1600 (2X4Gb)
HDD: 750Gb 7200 Rpm SATA 300

everything else is standard that flies along with the case.
optical drive need to be able to write dvd-dl, that's about it.

Overclocking: Maybe
SLI or Crossfire: No, at least I don't see any reason for it

Additional Comments:
(Unless you can come up with some really good reasons for going with 17" that would sway me) I want to keep this laptop at around 15" so it maintains some portability (I don't want a 50lbs laptop). The current one I got is a 12.4" xps and it has done the job fine for the last 5 years. Time to upgrade though, because the screen size is getting a bit small for me, plus missing out on games that I cannot run. I'm hoping this new laptop will be able to last me about 4 years or so, till I settle down and can switch to a desktop or get a new one.

I think this Mobo shouldn't have the B2 stepping issue as desktop versions of H67 had.
My main concern is that I don't go overboard with graphics card and then end up running at partial capacity because of insufficient CPU/RAM/etc.
Another thing bothering me is I could go with a 460M since it's a nice card, has proven itself well and is pretty cheap, but in about 1-2 months a new GTX 560M is supposed to come out, which supposedly could top the HD6970M... Any thoughts?

If you see any other issues with this set up please let me know.

Thanks in advance

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a c 571 D Laptop
April 21, 2011 9:17:43 PM

Hello AntiZig;

Awesome job analyzing your requirements and laying your thoughts.
Great choice of custom boutique vendors too.
You're definitely in the right area with your CPU/GPU choices.

I noticed that both Maingear and Origin are not offering the i7-2630QM Sandy Bridge CPU -
going with the i7-2720QM as the basic quad core Sandy Bridge CPU for Maingear for the eX-L 15 and Origin Eon 15.
If you could pair the i7-2630QM CPU with the HD 6970M CPU I think that's a great combo.
I'm thinking the extra $150 or so to move up from 2630QM 2.0Ghz to i7-2720QM 2.2Ghz isn't as great a gaming performance boost as
moving from GTX 460 to HD 6970M which runs around an extra $245-$288 depending on vendor.

For comparison XoticPC offers the Sager NP8150 / Clevo P150HM with the 2630QM and a $245 upgrade to the HD 6970M.








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a c 571 D Laptop
April 21, 2011 9:32:21 PM

AntiZig said:
Another thing bothering me is I could go with a 460M since it's a nice card, has proven itself well and is pretty cheap, but in about 1-2 months a new GTX 560M is supposed to come out, which supposedly could top the HD6970M... Any thoughts?
I'm not sure the GTX 560M is going to close in on the HD 6790M in terms of performance.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M review
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M review
AMD Radeon HD 6970M review

If you check the rank order listing of graphics cards on the right of the review articles you see about where the cards fall in terms of performance relative to each other and to other graphics cards - including some desktop models.

So you can see the GTX 460M while a great laptop graphics cards performs below the level of a desktop GTS 450 graphics card.
Based on where they expect the GTX 560M to end up you can see it moves up in performance, but not a huge leap up the chart. Roughly equal with the Radeon Mobility HD 5850 and a desktop GTS 450.
And the Radeon HD 6970M is just a notch of two below the level of the current performance leader the GTX 485M. And roughly equivalent to a desktop HD 5770 or HD 6790.

If the overall price is tempting you to go with the i7-2720QM / GTX 460M combo I'd suggest you take a hard look at the i7-2630QM / HD 6970M as having the better overall gaming performance at only ~$100 or so extra.
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a b D Laptop
April 22, 2011 12:39:10 PM

WR2 said:
I'm not sure the GTX 560M is going to close in on the HD 6790M in terms of performance.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M review
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M review
AMD Radeon HD 6970M review

If you check the rank order listing of graphics cards on the right of the review articles you see about where the cards fall in terms of performance relative to each other and to other graphics cards - including some desktop models.

So you can see the GTX 460M while a great laptop graphics cards performs below the level of a desktop GTS 450 graphics card.
Based on where they expect the GTX 560M to end up you can see it moves up in performance, but not a huge leap up the chart. Roughly equal with the Radeon Mobility HD 5850 and a desktop GTS 450.
And the Radeon HD 6970M is just a notch of two below the level of the current performance leader the GTX 485M. And roughly equivalent to a desktop HD 5770 or HD 6790.

If the overall price is tempting you to go with the i7-2720QM / GTX 460M combo I'd suggest you take a hard look at the i7-2630QM / HD 6970M as having the better overall gaming performance at only ~$100 or so extra.

Thanks for the helpful post. I wanted to ask, a side concern I had after looking at 460M vs 6970M is for example on Origin's website, they list 460M having a total of 1.5Gb vRAM, while 6970M they list as having a total of only 1Gb vRAM (while the chip itself can clearly handle 2Gb). So my question is, will the fact that 6970M has to run on 1Gb vRAM impact the performance significantly?

If that will be an issue I think I will go with Xotic PC that you suggested vs OriginPC. Xotic is BBB accredited and they are about as far as origin is from me (distance wise if I ever have to send pc for service). I can't imagine the quality of service would be much different. On top of that Xotic actually comes out cheaper even with 2720QM + 6970M!
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a c 571 D Laptop
April 22, 2011 2:01:20 PM

I didn't realize the price would be that much different. Perhaps you can talk the Origin staff into price-matching Xotic.
I know Xotic does price matching.
AntiZig said:
So my question is, will the fact that 6970M has to run on 1Gb vRAM impact the performance significantly?
It will not have a significant impact on performance. The 6970M is just a much more powerful GPU.
The 6970M has a 256bit memory bus like the GTX 485M while the GTX 460M has a 192bit bus.

If you look at the performance benchmarks you'll notice the 6970M is more competition for the GTX 485 than for the GTX 460.

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benc...


http://www.notebookcheck.net/Computer-Games-on-Laptop-G...
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a b D Laptop
April 22, 2011 2:43:29 PM

umm, not quite what I was asking let me rephrase:
6970M can handle 2Gb, and that is the configuration listed on notebookcheck.
however, origin is stating that their 6970 only has 1Gb vRam as opposed to 2Gb vRam that xotic supplying. So, since that's a 50% decrease in vRam, I'm assuming that's a significant problem.
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a c 571 D Laptop
April 22, 2011 2:49:18 PM

It's no problem at all.
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a b D Laptop
April 22, 2011 2:50:00 PM

Also, what is your opinion on Origin vs Xotic as just in terms of service quality? I could talk to origin folks and see if they'd match xotic price, but what's the minus in going straight to xotic and buying from them? (originally I listed origin/maingear because those were the 2 suppliers out of a big list that I chose based on location, the downfall is that my original list didn't include xoticpc, so I haven't even looked at them up until now)
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a c 571 D Laptop
April 22, 2011 3:13:03 PM

I don't have a strong opinion one way or another on those two vendors. Xotic has been around quite a bit longer. Origin has it's roots with one of the Alienware founders.
Both have excellent reputations.
I think you're very safe going with which ever one gives you the best deal.
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a b D Laptop
April 22, 2011 6:28:37 PM

Alright then. thanks for all the help WR2.
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a b D Laptop
April 22, 2011 6:29:03 PM

Best answer selected by AntiZig.
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October 29, 2011 1:32:44 PM

I recommend to everyone to read my ordeal of buying a laptop with the Company before buying a laptop from XoticPc.

$1750 laptop I ordered was shipped to me after 2.5 months, yet incomplete: it was missing wireless card, hard drive was formatted for Apple computer. They wanted me to install the missing card myself. For a completely functioning machine, from the time ordered, it took me a total of 4 MONTHS to have it fully working condition. For all my troubles, they gave me a $4 memory card! Oh, by the way, to be able hear sounds from speakers, I have to lift the laptop to my ears or use earphones! When I contacted the company, I was told by Sager Computer that for louder sound, I needed external speakers! Problem isn't loud sounds, it is hearing anything from the existing speakers! By the way, I had procure the costly help of the guys from Best Buy! By the way, the problem with $50 skin was never addressed!


How did it all happen? Ask me and I explain to you in detail with dates and my communication details with the company!
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a c 244 D Laptop
October 29, 2011 5:22:38 PM

This topic has been closed by Maziar
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