The XPS 15z isn't really the XPS line's performance model... more like it's "pretty" model, so it may be unlikely for it to get the better parts that the regular XPS 15 can get. The Nvidia 540M that the XPS 15 has should be ok for most newer games on medium with the 1080 screen (btw, BF3 looks pretty awesome on my laptop, and I have a much worse graphics card, heh ), but I'm not sure if it can do the high setting with the high res screen with anything but the older/Source engine games.
Also, I know that you would like your laptop to last 4-5 years, but to be realistic, no laptop can do that (sure, you can use Word, but don't expect to run games released past 2 years on anything but low/med). Something to think about is to spend maybe 7-800 CAD on a decent laptop, and get another one in 2-3 years after you get a job on campus at the uni.
A strong compeitor to the Dell XPS 15 would be a custom gaming laptop from XoticPC Sager NP5165 ~$939 ~$1039 with Blu-Ray and 500GB 7200rpm HDD.
Core i7-2630QM, 15.6" 1920x1080 LCD w/ Geforce GT 555M graphics.
Is Sager a reliable laptop with good build quality? Sorry but I have personally never heard of them before. And I was hoping in 4-5 years it would still be somewhat powerful, I'm not sure if that's reasonable as I'm fairly new to purchasing laptops.
A laptop should easily last 4 years. The only power issue might be with future games that require more GPU power to to play at high settings.
Sager/Clevo have excellent build quality and reliability. It's a very popular choice of "boutique" custom laptop builders who buy a barebones laptop chassis and configure it to the customer's requirements. You can actually talk to the person who'll build your new laptop.
XoticPC has been around long enough to have an excellent track record.
You can get a great value since there is lower 'corporate overhead', you may not need to pay sales tax, and if you choose to pay with cash (personal check, etc) you can get a further discount.
Alienware was a boutique builder before Dell bought them. Same with VodooPC before HP bought them.
Some other boutique builders: iBuypower / Cyberpower / Maingear / Origin / Digital Storm / Falcon Northwest / Sager Notebook
Sager has been around for a pretty long time, and has a good record as far as reliability is concerned. If you see something you like from them, you can go for it with confidence.
WR2: That's exactly what I said: You can run office apps, but just don't expect to play games on a 4 year old laptop. Sure, the best graphics card of the time can still perform decently today, but go even 1 step below the very best, and gaming performance becomes unacceptable at anything but low... and at the price point we're talking about right now, graphic cards available is _several_ steps below the current best.
Thank you all for you help. I do realize that I won't be able to game future games 3-4 years down the road which is fine as I intend to use this laptop for university purposes for the most part. By the way my budget has been knocked down to below $900 and I didn't think it was neccessary to make a new thread.
I have found 2 laptops I am interested in and I was wondering if you could tell me any opinions you have about them:
Lenovo IdeaPad Y570:
-Intel Core i5-2410M
-GeForce GT 555M 1GB DDR5
-6 GB PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz
The reason I like this one is mainly the GT 555M, it has 6GB of RAM and that it is a big brand.
CyberPower Xplorer X6-7300
-Intel Core i5-2410M
-4GB DDR3-1333 SODIMM
-GeForce GT 540M 1GB
The reason I like this one is for the 1920x1080 and it features a fingerprint scanner (not a necessity, but good to have).
I do not mind the 320GB, I believe that is more than enough and plus it is upgradable.
Anyways if you could share your thoughts that would be great . Thank you so much for all your time!
I would personally recommend the Y570. The high res screen is nice but not entirely necessary... and if you really want 1920x1080, you can always hook it up to an external monitor The better graphics card that comes with it would perform better at that resolution anyways, if you ever decide to use an external monitor. However, if you really dont see yourself using your laptop as a "desktop", I guess the CyberPower is ok as well, but i think the Ideapad is definitely the better value. The fingerprint reader is nice, and somewhat habit-forming , but it shouldn't really be a deciding factor heh.
Actually, if you live near a Microcenter (www.microcenter.com) , you can see the Y570 in person, and see if you like the look and feel of it, and if the screen resolution is acceptable for you at that screen size, and contrast it to the alienware M14x they also have there, to get a feel for a 1080 screen. This way you can get to know exactly what you will be getting.
Well I personally intended to use the 1080 for HD videos and movies and bump it down to a slightly lower resolution for games (if that makes any sense haha). But I have heard that a 768 might not be high enough for school purposes because you can't fit as much on the screen (side-by-side windows, etc..). Just what I heard. But the Lenovo is currently $400 off so I think that may be a deciding factor. Thanks again