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Getting new laptop for College

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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July 19, 2011 10:09:46 PM

I will be attending college this fall and need a good laptop. I would like it to be fairly portable, so I can take it to my classes for notes, but I also want to do some light gaming during my free time. I have a few selections in mind, but here the standard questionaire.

1. What is your budget?
2k or under. I might go a little higher but I'd prefer not to

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Smallest machine that can still play games comfortably

3. What screen resolution do you want?
I'm not sure......, resolution would vary by screen size, and HD resolution would be nice, but as long as it's not terrible, it's not a sticking point.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
It' needs to be powerful enough to run some games, and some engineering applications(don't know which, they just told me to get processing power and RAM)

5. How much battery life do you need?
Not as much of a concern, 4 to 5 hours of regular use(typing notes) for games or intense use doesn't matter as much

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
Starcraft II is the major one(ideally on high, but I could stand medium). I'd want to play guild Wars 2 and Mass Effect 3 when they come out, but predictions are more difficult for those(same criteria, high ideally, medium is tolerably for portability)

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
I do a lot of coding and the occasional photo editing, but not too much, so it's not a huge concern

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Between 500GB to 750GB would be adequate.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I have two potential candidates in mind, see bottom for links

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
All four years of undergrad.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD writer at the least

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
I would like to avoid Dell, because I've have bad experience with them in the past. Same with Acer, but I'm open to anything else.

13. What country do you live in?
United States

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
An odd sticking point, I'd order these through my parents but they won't order from any sites that aren't "official" such as powernotebooks or xoptic.

These are two laptops I'm looking at, Sony Vaios, one is more powerful, the other is lighter. I'm really trying to determine the performance hit by going with the weaker Core i7-2620M vs. the i7- 2630QM.

Sony Vaio S Series(Mobile)
http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/SYCTOPr...

Sony Vaoi F Series(Powerful)
http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/SYCTOPr...

Thank you in advance!

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a b D Laptop
July 19, 2011 10:23:22 PM

If you want to play games like Starcraft II on high, and get 4-5 hours of battery life, your going to need a car battery... (okay, maybe not that good, but you get the idea)

Even with Optimus (which is garbage) your not going to stretch far enough.

I can give you a few recommendations from both sides of wall, you can choose which one will ultimately be more important.
July 20, 2011 12:17:00 AM

Oh wow, sorry when I read out the sentence it was clear in my head, but rereading it, I see the misunderstanding. I want it to last 4-5 hours for "regular use". For me, this would consist of going to my classes and using a word processor to take notes, along with Internet browsing sprinkled in. Ideally, if I was gaming I'd be in my dorm room connected to an adapter, so I don't care how long it would last in that case. And I would greatly appreciate any recommendation you have!
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a c 572 D Laptop
July 20, 2011 1:41:31 AM

IMO you wouldn't notice the difference between the CPUs. (except maybe in the overall price).
GT 540M GPU and 1920x1080 resolution is going to lock you pretty much into medium graphics settings. It's a mid-range GPU compared to the higher end GTX GPUs.

I'd suggest the 'power' choice over the 'portable' choice. In another year or two you'll probably be using a pad/tablet or 'netbook for in class note taking, checking the internet & email, etc and leaving the desktop replacement laptop in the dorm.

A couple options:
MSI GT683R-242US 15" notebook $1500
Core i7 2630QM (2.00GHz) CPU 12GB RAM 1TB HDD 7200rpm 15.6" 1920x1080 LCD w/ NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M.
ASUS G74SX-A1 17" Notebook $1800
Core i7 2630QM(2.00GHz) 12GB RAM 1.5TB HDD 7200rpm BluRay Combo 17.3" 1920x1080 LCD w/ NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M
The Asus also has a 2yr warranty and 1yr accidental damage protection.
July 20, 2011 2:24:05 AM

I've seen the ASUS before, but 17 inches is a little too big for me. That MSI model looks really nice however...., I wonder why it never turned up before in any of my searches. Does the company have a god reputation for laptops?
!