Tips on buying decision on gaming laptop

Hello community,

I'll be going to college this fall. My major will be Civil Engineering. If Civil Engineering is not working for me well, I might change my major to video game design. Also, I like to play med-high end PC games like Crysis. So I want a fast gaming laptop.

I have done a plenty of time researching laptops that are for gaming and portable. I don't want any 15 inches or larger laptops. They are simply too big for my taste. I want to be able to buy laptop online with hardware customization option. My budget is not very limited. So I have spent some time finding different laptops like Acer, HP, Lenovo, and Dell. I compared the specifications. So far, seems like Alienware have two best gaming laptops for 14 inches and under. M14x and M11x. I like M14x a lot. Any 13 inches laptop is an ideal laptop for me and M14x is very close to that (13.27"). I like M11x but 540m GPU is little too slow for my needs. But I'm still a newbie to laptops. The reason why I'm posting this because I'm concerned if I bought this laptop without knowing that there is better laptop. So, I want to know if there any better laptop that I may not know about. And is M14x a good laptop? What about M11x?

Question 2#: If I went along with M14x or M11x, do you think I should go with 256 GB SSD option with external USB 3.0 hard drive from newegg? or 750 GB HDD option?

Question 3#: I read that M14x have 4 or 5 hours of battery life on idle. Is that enough for few hours of gaming? How fast does 3D gaming drain M14x battery?

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: I will follow this.

1. $3000 (Perferably 2200 or less)
2. Perferably 14 inches or less
3. At least 720p, I want it to be proportional with the screen size so the picture quality is not all pixely.
4. Portable. I already have gaming desktop.
5. Not sure exactly I want. But obviously longer is better.
6. I want my laptop to be able to run med-high end games.
Crysis - Sandbox 2
Crysis 2
Skyrim (I want a laptop capable of running Skyrim when it is released)
ArmA 2
Black Ops
BF3 (again, I want a laptop capable of running BF3 when it is released)
Any Unreal games including UDK
7. Drafting, Video Editing, Photoshop, and basic word processing
8. 250 GB is a borderline but 500 gb is great. I don't mind having external HD
10. Long enough to last me 4 years in college.
11. Perferably blu ray drive but DVD drive is perfectly fine. I don't think I will use DVD a lot anyways.
12. I like Alienware a lot. I like their build quality, chassis design, and features. I don't mind having Lenovo, acer, asus.
13. USA
14. I will bring 22 inch monitor to my dorm room in college where I will hook my laptop up. And my roommate will bring 42 inch HDTV in the room too. :D I want some warranty available to cover damages like dropping or spill or etc. I can't think what else to add.

I hope I explained everything.
11 answers Last reply
More about tips buying decision gaming laptop
  1. Crysis on m11x will not be fun due to screen size, you will later regret it I guarantee, 14 is borderline.
  2. Stay away from Alienware.

    Gaming on M14x and M11x, seriously? Unless you want to ruin your eyesight, I would strongly recommend against it. Buy 15.6", LED, 1980x1080, Sager NP8130 or Asus G53SW. You get way better specs, for about the same money.

    Yes, as you correctly pointed out, GT 540m is mediocre at best. For 1200$, you can get Sager 8130 with GTX 560m, which is WAY WAY better than GT 540m, and for about the same price. But, you'll also get FULL HD, more ram and great upgrade-ability.

    Sager is your friend.
  3. Read my recommendation on my previous post earlier today:

    Deja vu, everyone going to collage wants a new gaming laptop

  4. I'm a newbie to laptops. I heard that some people hate Alienware because Dell owns it now. I don't understand why. Can anyone explain that to me?

    I visited Sager website. I noticed M14x have faster processor than Sager's only 14 inch, NP3101. (i7 2720 QM 2.2GHz vs i3-330UM 1.20GHz) And Sager have Intel GMA HD compared to M14x's Geforce 555m.

    And now you guys saying that 14 inch is almost too small making me become uncertain about my buying decision. I'll go to nearest computer store and physically compare laptops sizes tomorrow. For now if anyone have good 14 inch laptop to offer, please share it here.
  5. Crysis 2, that's one demanding game, i would go with minimum gtx 460m.
  6. NO, I don't hate alien ware. I think the m14x is ok if you insist on getting smaller laptop because mobility is more important. But it is just that we have to inform you about the possible shortcomming you may experience after you purchase the laptop. Crysis 2 will run in very acceptable quality on the gt540.
  7. Accident and theft insurance for your personal property:
    $100 a year covers you for up to $4000 in your personal property, including you laptop, cell phone, MP3 player, furniture, basically anything you own and register for coverage.
    Coverage against Accidental Damage, Theft, Fire, Flood, Natural Disasters, Vandalism and Lightning Strikes
  8. Your budget could handle a desktop replacement laptop like the Alienware M17X with the Radeon HD 6970M graphics card.

    And a ultra portable 12" notebook or netbook to haul around to classes for note taking carrying your digital work files.
    ASUS Eee PC 1215B-PU17 12" netbook $436
    AMD Dual-Core Processor E-350 (1.60GHz) 2GB RAM 320GB HDD 12.1" 1366x768 LCD
  9. I think the M14x is the good choice for school and gaming. Crysis should run at least medium detail setting. Battery will lasting 3-4 hours when play games.
  10. WR2 said:
    Your budget could handle a desktop replacement laptop like the Alienware M17X with the Radeon HD 6970M graphics card.

    And a ultra portable 12" notebook or netbook to haul around to classes for note taking carrying your digital work files.
    ASUS Eee PC 1215B-PU17 12" netbook $436
    AMD Dual-Core Processor E-350 (1.60GHz) 2GB RAM 320GB HDD 12.1" 1366x768 LCD

    ^+1. "That is why WR2 has the gold laptop badge". I have to say, I didn't even think about two laptop solution.
  11. Gaming laptops are a farce.

    Considering your budget, you should probably build a $1500 desktop and buy a lightweight, reliable, $700-$1000 laptop. This way you can have the mobility of a laptop with decent battery life and a desktop that can actually play games.

    My friend did this with a total $1200 budget, so he bought a netbook and built a decent desktop, and doesn't regret it one bit. The netbook has great battery life and mobility, and is exactly what he needs to take to class, while he can go back to his room and play games on a big screen, with real speakers, and a proper keyboard.

    Usually engineering schools will provide a laptop sufficient for 3D modeling programs, at a discounted price, and with special software that comes through the school. Does yours not offer this option?

    Keep in mind that with the laptop/desktop option, some proper networking can allow you to access files on your desktop through your school's network (or a VPN) so it acts as a backup, or, with remote desktop, you could actually use your desktop in your room for 3D modeling... from your laptop. Comprende?

    In addition! The desktop can act as your media center for you and your friends...

    My two cents, but I think it's worth consideration.
Ask a new question

Read More

Laptops Gaming Product