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First Time Laptop Buyer - Gaming Laptop

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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July 31, 2011 5:20:32 PM

Good afternoon community! I've been relying on Toms Hardware's articles and charts for my desktop upgrade needs, but have largely ignored laptops until... well... today. I found a little form in this forum's FAQ, so here goes:

1. What is your budget?
I couldn't imagine spending more than $1,500 for a laptop that I'd need to replace in 3 years. I would prefer financing options, but I suppose that's up to where I buy from.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
The larger the better, I'm not concerned with weight.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Same as 2.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Desktop replacement laptop

5. How much battery life do you need?
Shouldn't matter. Only times I'd use it are at home or in a coffee shop, either way I'm next to power.

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)?
Yes, this would be a gaming laptop to replace my current gaming desktop. I'm currently playing Witcher 2 and Civilization 5, and I anticipate playing Battlefield 3. I would, of course, prefer to play on High settings.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
I'm a software engineer, but the laptop would only be used when I'm not able to make it into the office.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
250GB or so. I've not filled my 500GB desktop after 2 1/2 years, I don't rip movies.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Matters not to me, just would prefer to finance it.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
3 years I think is the golden rule for computers.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
I don't burn anything, but bluray would be nice, but not necessary.

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 couldn't say. I stay away from pre-built desktops but laptops are a whole 'nother animal.

13. What country do you live in?
US

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
The primary use of this laptop would be for gaming. I can check email/facebook/google+ from my phone.

Thank you VERY much for your time. As someone who simply knows little to nothing about laptops, I will take any assistance offered. Have a good day!

Best solution

July 31, 2011 8:49:32 PM
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For brands, I'd probably look at AW/Sager/ASUS notebooks first. Something like this with an SSD upgrade would be pretty nice:

http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np8170-clevo-p170hm-p-2971...

Also, I'm not a shill for xoticpc or anything but its one of the few sites I've seen with pretty decent customization options for laptops. If you don't feel a need for this amazon/newegg work pretty well.
a c 572 D Laptop
August 1, 2011 12:12:53 PM

Hello plenoge;

If a financing option is a priority for you one of the major vendors such as Dell or HP are probably your best options there.
There are some limitations there as the top laptops graphics cards they offer are the GT 555M and HD 6850M which are top 'mid-range' cards. Which is a 'bit light' on GPU power when gaming on a 1920x1080 resolution screen. GT 555M / HD 6850M are roughly equivalent to a desktop HD 5670 graphics card.

Examples: Dell XPS 17 2nd gen Core i7 17" $1050
Core i7-2630QM 2.0GHz, 8GB RAM, 750GB 7200rpm HDD, 17.3" 1600x900 LCD & GeForce GT 555M graphics (1920x1080 $100+ option)
HP ENVY 17 w/ Radeon HD 6850M $1249
Core i7-2630QM 2.0GHz, 6GB RAM, 750GB 7200rpm HDD, 17.3" 1600x900 LCD & Radeon HD 6850M graphics (1920x1080 $150+ option)
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a c 572 D Laptop
August 1, 2011 12:31:10 PM

If gaming on high graphics setting is an option you'll want a better GPU than those on offer at Dell or HP.
Asus has long been a favorite of laptop gamers and Kamab gave you good advice to look at http://www.xoticpc.com/ for the Sager-Clevo/MSI and Asus gaming laptop options.
GTX 460M / GTX 560M gets about the same gaming performance as a desktop GTS 450 graphics card.

If you want to step up again there is a Radeon HD 6990M and GTX 485M /GTX 580M laptop graphics cards that's not far off the performance of desktop GTX 460 / GTX 560 Ti. Those options are likely to push your budget over your goal.

a b D Laptop
August 1, 2011 12:34:50 PM

Another option that has potential is the Asus G74, which actually has a very good graphics card, high res screen, and should be around your budget limit.
http://www.amazon.com/G74SX-XA1-Republic-Gamers-17-3-In...
Not entirely sure about financing options from Amazon tho... I think you get one if you apply for their credit card (if you dont already have one from them)
August 11, 2011 1:46:54 PM

Best answer selected by plenoge.
August 11, 2011 1:50:02 PM

Thank you all for the replies, I selected Kamab as the best answer because he first suggested the xoticpc.com site and the sager brand. After looking into it, I think this is probably my best option. I was lucky enough to determine that a stick of memory was causing my computer the problems I was experiencing, so I may just be able to wait and purchase a laptop with out financing.

Either way, by looking at these specs, I feel I have a better handle on determining the right laptop for me AND it's interesting to know that HP/Dell are still not the better manufacturers.

Thanks for the help!
!