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Looking for a reliable laptop to replace my desktop

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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September 6, 2011 9:49:11 PM

My current desktop I'm replacing: e4200 core 2 duo, Nvidia 8800GTS vid card, 4gb ddr2 ram, standard 7200 rpm HDDs. The main thing is I don't want to feel like the laptop is a downgrade from my desktop in any way. If it's on-par, that might be good enough for me.

1. What is your budget? $500-800

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 17.3" (full keyboard + numpad)

3. What screen resolution do you want? Nothing less than ####x800 I think, maybe around it - not sure of all the standard rezs. Just don't want to feel too cramped while using it on the couch - do have external monitors I can hook up to if necessary for gaming. Currently running 1280x1024 on my desktop, so I'd like to keep it close to that if possible.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? Desktop replacement - will mostly be moving it around the house - not too much travel day to day.

5. How much battery life do you need? 6-7 hours should be plenty as I mostly plan to use it while next to a power source.

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)? Oblivion(medium - high settings), Starcraft 2(medium-high settings), Skyrim (medium settings at least), Probably going to want something that can run the new Star wars MMO: The Old Republic.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop
? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) C# or Java Programming, music playing, web surfing, casual gameplay.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? 500gb+ for standard HDD, ~120gb if solid state (for OS and app installs). A laptop with two bays would be ideal, one for SSD and another for a standard drive for storage, rather than using an external for storage. This may be too much for my price range though, so a standard 7200rpm drive would suffice - no 5400 please.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. Newegg and amazon.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? 2-3 years probably, 3-4 if I can stretch it out as this laptop is mainly for programming and surfing, but I do love my gaming a lot and will miss my desktop if the laptop can't at least perform on an equal level (e4200 CPU, 4gb ddr2 ram, Nvidia 8800GTS vid card currently in desktop)

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? I'd be fine with a DVD read/writer, but Bluray if they're cheap and can read/write dvds. If standard DVD read/write, then ability to upgrade to Bluray later would be nice.

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've had bad experiences with friends Toshiba laptops, so I'd like to stay away from those, and probably Dell laptops as well. The main thing is I want customer support to not suck and generally I want the laptop to have less problems over all so I don't have to contact support for anything, or if something does happen, it's fixable by myself as I'm a hardware tech and can follow maintenance guides well.

13. What country do you live in? USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed. Should have decent volume from onboard speakers (I like music).
September 6, 2011 11:27:17 PM

I'm a little concerned with the screen resolution 1366x768. I'm using a laptop right now that is a 12.1" running 1280x800 and it already feels a little shorter than I like, but I'm new-ish to widescreens.

So 1) Are there any equavalent laptops with a better height? Or is it not enough to really be worried about?

2) Is it hard to find a 7200prm HDD for a laptop? I'd like that if possible.

3) Any Gigabit LAN support? I see it has only 10/100Mpbs. If the wireless N gets gigabit speeds then that's fine too, instead of LAN.

P.S. I like that it has JBL speakers! :D  Keep that if possible.

4) Not really a big deal, but I'd prefer to get like 5-6 hours out of a battery so I can get through a night without charging if necessary.

Am I just better off trying to order something this customized directly through a manufacturer or something? Do I just need to give a little and not have it be perfect?
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a c 434 D Laptop
September 6, 2011 11:52:49 PM

1. You need a to spend more money if you want a 1920x1080 resolution screen. This is especially true if you want a video card capable of playing games at the resolution. A lot of money...

2. There are laptops with 7200RPM HDDs, but you need to find one that fits in your budget.

3. Gigabit LAN support means nothing unless you are connecting to a network that supports Gigabit. It will not improve your internet speed.

4. Generally speaking, the larger the laptop, the lower the battery life. I think at best you will only get about 4 hours on a laptop with a 17" screen; and that is being optimistic.
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a c 572 D Laptop
September 6, 2011 11:55:44 PM

Core i5-2410M CPU, 6GB RAM, 500GB 7200rpm HDD, 17.3" 1600x900 LCD w/ Radeon HD 6770M graphics. About $750 with discount.
You can decide if you want the 9-cell battery (larger, heavier) and Bluetooth option.

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a c 572 D Laptop
September 7, 2011 12:06:15 AM

In comparison to your desktop C2D E4200 1.6Ghz CPU and 8800GTS you'll be getting a nice bump up in CPU power and something near the 8800GTS in terms of GPU power.

Intel Core i5 2410M 2.3Ghz (turbo 2.9Ghz) (near a C2D E6850 3.0Ghz performance)
AMD Radeon HD 6770M review (roughly equivalent to a desktop Radeon HD 5670 graphics card)
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September 7, 2011 12:15:28 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=34-215-...
What do you guys think about this laptop? It seems the only "issue" with it is that it gets a little hot when you game on it. I'm seriously considering this one.
Let me know any things I should be looking for that I'm not noticing could be wrong with it. I'm willing to sacrifice a little because it's so cheap, but I'd still like to know if you see any glaring problems with it.
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a c 572 D Laptop
September 7, 2011 12:25:08 AM

You'd give up the 1600x900 resolution of the 17" model for the 15" 1366x768 which will be lighter and a bit easier to carry around.
The GT 540M graphics card is nearer a desktop HD 5570 graphics card so you'd fall below your goal of matching the 8800GTS a bit.
That model does have a 5400rpm HDD, but that's an easy future upgrade.
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September 7, 2011 12:44:19 AM

Well I've been considering just adding a bit more to the price so I can get something with an I7 in it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... looks like it's pretty nice. Doesn't come with the 1080p res though. Laptops are so much more difficult to shop for with all these built in things I'd normally not deal with on Desktops lol.
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a c 434 D Laptop
September 7, 2011 6:36:38 AM

zental said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=34-215-...
What do you guys think about this laptop? It seems the only "issue" with it is that it gets a little hot when you game on it. I'm seriously considering this one.
Let me know any things I should be looking for that I'm not noticing could be wrong with it. I'm willing to sacrifice a little because it's so cheap, but I'd still like to know if you see any glaring problems with it.



A lot of laptops gets "a little hot" when playing games. It is something you just have to deal with for nearly are gaming laptops. Smaller laptops seems to get hotter than larger laptops simply because the heatsink will be smaller especially if you are looking for a gaming laptop that does not weight over 5lbs. It is not unusual for the CPU to hit 90C+ when playing a demanding game.

For example, I tested Crysis 1 on my 14" Lenovo IdeaPad Y470. After playing the game for over an hour, the laptop merely felt warm, I can place the laptop on my lap while wearing short with the game still running. I didn't do it for long 'cause doing so will block the vents at the bottom of the laptop which is not a good thing. While it only felt warm, the inside was pretty hot. Using CoreTemp, the CPU topped out at 93C which is pretty damn hot.
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September 7, 2011 2:56:43 PM

My friend says I need to just get an i7. Is it really that much of a difference? Can anyone point me in the direction of a 2011 laptop review article that would cover all the bases of what I need to know when looking into laptops?

I've been a desktop guy all my life and trying to figure out how to move to a laptop in the correct way is definitely not as straightforward and easy as building a desktop PC.

Does anyone build laptops besides manufacturers? Never really heard of that.
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a c 572 D Laptop
September 7, 2011 3:15:42 PM

zental said:
My friend says I need to just get an i7. Is it really that much of a difference?
For what you mention you intend to do? Not that much. A Core i5-2410M will, generally, outperform one of the old C2Q Q6600 desktop CPUs which is still a decent CPU. Apart from the higher cost, yes, a Core i7-2360M would be nice, but not necessary.

Quote:
Can anyone point me in the direction of a 2011 laptop review article that would cover all the bases of what I need to know when looking into laptops?
5 Questions to Answer Before You Buy a Laptop

I've been a desktop guy all my life and trying to figure out how to move to a laptop in the correct way is definitely not as straightforward and easy as building a desktop PC. said:
I've been a desktop guy all my life and trying to figure out how to move to a laptop in the correct way is definitely not as straightforward and easy as building a desktop PC.
It's really not that different. The part names and performance are somewhat different but the principle remains the same (and somewhat simpler).

Does anyone build laptops besides manufacturers? Never really heard of that. said:
Does anyone build laptops besides manufacturers? Never really heard of that.
Most 'laptop brands' don't build laptops - they assemble them.
The list of who makes the chassis and motherboards, etc, is a lot different from Dell, HP, etc,.
If you want to talk Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) you'll be talking about unfamilar names like Quanta, Inventec or Wistron.
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a c 572 D Laptop
September 7, 2011 3:54:42 PM

Does anyone build laptops besides manufacturers? Never really heard of that. said:
Does anyone build laptops besides manufacturers? Never really heard of that.
It just occurred to me you could be talking about custom laptop 'boutique' builders. Small companies that buy barebones chassis and custom assemble them to order.
Alienware got its start that way, doing custom PCs and laptops.
Some examples are AVADirect, CyberPowerPC, Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, Maingear, OriginPC, Sager, WidowPC, XoticPC and others.


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