Which Gaming/college laptop is best?

Hello, I am a senior in highschool and am looking at different laptops for college. I definitely want to be able to game on it, and i will be going into engineering, so CAD software must also run smoothly. Here are a few of the options i have found (i know there are a lot, but i have no clue how to narrow them down). I would like to know which one/s is best based on both hardware (although all are very similar specs) and brand reliability and customer service. Here they are...
Battalion 101 P151HM1: $1413
- intel i7-2630QM
- 750GB (7200rpm) HD
- DVD combo
- nvidia GTX 560M (1.5GB) (3D)
-15.6" (1920x1080)
- updated wifi card (450mbps)
- swissgear backpack & 3 games
Malibal lotus P150M: $1449
- intel i7-2630QM
- 12GB RAM
- 750GB (7200rpm) HD
- DVD combo
- nvidia GTX 560M (1.5GB)
- 15.6" (1920x1080)
- standard black carrying case

Lotus P151HM1: $1374
- intel i7-2630M
- 12GB RAM
- 750GB 7200rpm HD
- DVD combo
- nvidia GTX 560M (1,5GB)
- 15.6” (1920x1080) (95% NTSC with matte finish)
- standard black carrying case
Sager NP8150: $1474
- intel i7-2630QM
- 12GB RAM
- 750GB 7200rpm HD
- DVD combo
- nvidia GTX 560M (1.5GB)
- 15.6” (1920x1080)

Sager NP8130: $1399
- Intel i7-2630QM
- 12GB RAM
- 750GB 7200rpm HD
- DVD combo
- nvidia GTX 560M (1.5GB)
- 15.6” (1920x1080) (95% NTSC with matte finish)
MSI GT683R-242US: $1469
- intel i7-2630QM
- 12 GB RAM
- 1 TB (2x500GB 7200 rpm in serial ATA) HD
- DVD combo
- nvidia GTX 560M (1.5 GB)
- 15.6" (1920x1080)

Asus G53SX-A1: $1367.98
- intel i7-2630QM
- 12GB RAM
- 750GB 7200rpm HD
- DVD combo
- nvidia GTX 560M (2GB)
- 15.6" (1920x1080)
- backpack and mouse

**note: all ram is 1333 MHz unless otherwise noted, and while other laptop suggestions are welcome, 15.6" and around $1500 is the max i want

29 answers Last reply
More about which gaming college laptop best
  1. dirksey said:
    ... I would like to know which one/s is best...

    You may also want to take a look at the manufacturer's dead pixel policy to help you in your decision. There is nothing more annoying than having a few dead pixels in the display and manufacturer says you need a minimum of x before they will replace it.
  2. Everything is i7-2630 & GTX 560M.
    Only the MSI & Asus don't use a Clevo chassis. All the rest will have nearly identicalreliablity/customer support.
    Make sure all the rest of the specs are similar (like having the OS included, Bluetooth, etc).

    The anti-glare matte screens are nice but look a bit less 'bright'.
    Asus should have a 1 yr accidental damage warranty.

    Go with the lowest price or the one you like the best.
  3. I was thinking the same thing as wr2, the laptops are essentially identical, go with what looks the coolest.

    I know the old Asus chassis had difficulty with heat dissipation, however I cant speak of the newer ones. Heat will be your main enemy when it comes to laptops.
  4. Thanks for the help! I was mainly concerned that one of the brands might have had a terrible customer service reputation or major overheating problems, but if that isn't the case the one year accidental warranty on the Asus sounds awesome (especially since I'll be starting life in a college dorm lol). Any other opinions/advice would be great and thanks to those above!
  5. Perhaps a better option than the Asus accidental damage warranty is to get student personal property insurance coverage from NSSI. For $55/yr (for $2000 in coverage) it will cover your laptop, phone, MP3 player and other personal property for Accidental Damage, Theft, Fire, Flood, Natural Disasters, Vandalism and Lightning Strikes.

    Customer support can be kind of subjective. If they solve YOUR problem, they're doing good!
    Tech Support Showdown 2011
    LaptopMag takes a look at which notebook brands offer the best and worst phone, web, and social-networking support.
  6. Good link to the student insurance, that sounds like a lifesaver!! One more question to throw out there. How do the clevo and asus chassis match up? Currently msi has kinda dropped out of the running unless someone can give me a good reason to reconsider, but which of those two chassis is considered better as far as both heat management and upgradability??
  7. For that price, you can do much better with the processor. I wouldn't settle for less than a 2820QM. But between those, I would pick ASUS.
  8. I would pick the Asus, but the Battalion has attracted me due to the nice fat NIC card. You might enjoy the Campus net at pretty high megabits with it.

    Your next consideration is two.

    1- a Lojack software against theft.

    2- Laptop Cooling. Your Lap should be kept free from burns for the ladies to enjoy.

    Gaming and college are two things that are corrosive. You say you want to be a Engineer.
  9. If your willing to spend ~$1500 , I suggest you build one desktop yourself for $800-1000, then spend the rest of your money on a light, VERY battery efficient laptop or netbook. The cost of semi-high performance laptops are the ridiculously low price/performance ratio, and inconvenience hauling it between classes all day - especially when the battery dies (which they do on performance laptops).

    A desktop for half the price of a laptop will have far better performance, and a light laptop with long battery life will pay off when your taking notes in classes and are at the library all night. It's also nice to learn about things and how they work - most engineering majors you have to take a few electric classes and learn about circuits - this could give you you a head start if you can build your own computer and get an idea of how/why they work the way they do.

    As a senior in mechanical engineering, freshman year I made the mistake of paying almost $2000 on a laptop that I thought would be more powerful than a desktop that I built a few years earlier for only $1000.... the desktop was still faster and now my laptop has enough battery life to take notes in one class before charging, which doesn't cut it.
  10. Alright, so another question brought up by the above post (any answers welcome though, to this and all the previous ones). What kind of battery life can I expect? And estimates as to battery life at normal, overclocked, and underclocked/undervolted (something I just heard of similar to underclocking but also giving the processor less power I think) performance levels. Thanks to all the people who have posted and any more advice as well!
  11. I had a old Dell. The thing was 3000 dollars retail laptop like 12 years ago. I was always hunting for power outlet as Scrat does for a place to put a nut in "Ice age"

    Fast forward to today. Batteries run off Lithium which is nice but still needs power at the end of the day. I've seen people chain off a 120 volt outlet through a series of shared power strips at the Pre-board section of Cattle Air at our airport recently.
  12. I actually recently purchased the MSI you've mentioned, which I'm absolutly in love with. I was lucky enough to catch it NewEgg as an OpenBox deal for only 1,100, so if you've got some time, check that weekly. I've seen it come up once or twice before.

    As for the laptop, I've been playing the new Deus Ex and SC2 simultaneously. With 12 gigs of RAM I just alt-tab between loading screens. No joke.

    As for the guy (or girl) that suggested building a 1,000 dollar desktop and getting a cheaper notebook; that is a good option, except for some people (like myself), I generally don't play games unless I'm playing them in the same room as other people. For people like me, I'd rather pay a good bit more and be mobile vs having a desktop.

    That being said though, battery life is generally an issue on these things. On power-saver, just using the wireless and a somewhat bright screen, I get ~3 hours. One thing I looked into a good deal was battery life, and for a gaming laptop, I believe MSI has one of the better battery lives. Then again though, I've only got the one laptop to test. But still, 3 hours will get you through 2-3 classes easily. Also remember though, gaming laptops are a bit heavier. This isn't unbearable, but I wouldn't want to be carrying it around all day.

    The build quality of the MSI is pretty good too. A lot of people complain about the keyboard being flimsy, but I don't mind it, and I do a lot of typing on it and never have had it not recognize a keystroke.

    Good luck, let us know what you decide!
  13. Thanks so much someguitarist!! That's exactly what I need to know! I totally agree with you on the portability issue, and hearing 3-ish hours on battery saver is about what I was expecting. Alt-tabbing between games like that is pretty ridiculous (our home desktop still runs on a core-2 duo with only 3GB RAM, the mom doesnt really believe in gaming:(. One question specifically for you (or anyone else who owns the msi). I've heard the speakers are awesome on them, are they actually as good as some people make them sound?

    If anyone out there has owned the asus, anything similar to the above response would be great to hear! Right now I'm kinda leaning towards asus just because of some friends experiences with them, but if an msi owner is the only one to tell me this particular model is great then you never know!

    Thanks again to all who have responded so far, you've been really helpful!
  14. Battery life tends to be about 1-3 hours for gamming laptops. this depends on how many battery cells and at the setting your laptop is on.

    I have a gaming laptop and never take it to class even though I would rather take notes on a laptop. It is to clunky, and the lecture hall tables are to small.

    However you are an engineering student, so portability may not be more of an issue for you. You have to ask yourself will I use CAD more on the fly or at my place of residency.

    I personally would opt for desktop, and netbook combo, or small capable laptop combo. However, I am a business student. Therefore needs are different. From my understanding of an engineering students workload, your first year or two will be largely focused on mathematics, physics, and chemistry-a lot of course that require pencil and paper (unless you have already taken care of those). Thus, you have to question will I need this powerful laptop in class.

    If money is of no issue buy the gaming laptop first, if it works don't change anything. If it doesn't buy a used netbook from ebay and use the laptop as a desktop replacement.

    It is also important to secure your laptop when you leave it in your dorm room, or unattended. Theft does and most likely will happen.
  15. I'd get the Asus G53SW-XN1 Laptop: i7 2630QM, GTX 460M, 6GB DDR3, 500GB 7200rpm, 15.6" LED (1920x1080), 8-Cell battery, $793 After $100 Rebate + Free Shipping

    The GTX 460M is a high-end mobile card. It can play the majority of games on high at 1080p. They're discussing it in slickdeals here if you want more info:

    The GTX 460M is close the the GTX 560M and you would save a lot of money. Laptop RAM is REALLY cheap (like $26 for 2x4GB sticks), so you really shouldn't play extra for a bunch of RAM until you find out its shortcomings. I do more CAD work than you're gonna do in college (barely any in college compared to work) and 4GB gets the job done. So you're really just throwing money out the window for 12GB of RAM for utility that will only come up once a year.

    EDIT: I forgot the product link
  16. Thank you all for the great feedback and advice, it has been really helpful! I think i am going to go with the asus mentioned in my original question, mainly because I've heard really good things about their customer service and general reliability. If anyone actually owns that laptop and could give me a quick opinion of it that would be great, since I won't actually gave the cash to buy it until later this fall :( thanks again to all of you!
  17. MSI GT683DXR

    Intel Core i7-2630QM
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570M discrete graphics (DDR5 1.5GB VRAM)
    1TB hard drive
    12GB DDR3 memory
    USB 3.0
    HDMI Port
  18. Yes, the speakers DO sound really good... for laptop speakers. They get pretty decently loud, but for most of my use I use my SkullCandy headphones, but that's not wanting to wake others up, not a sound quality issue. There's even a subwoofer built in!

    If you have any other questions about the MSI, feel free to ask and I'll try and help you out! They're all good laptops!
  19. So two more questions, and thanks again for all the answers,
    1.) which GPU will be faster? The asus has 2GB ram, but only 128-bit bus, while all of the ones with 1.5GB ram, while obviously having .5GB less ram, got a 192-bit bus. So which will be faster, and will I even be able to notice?
    2.) second, and obviously not a major concern at all when compared to hardware, but just how much do the asus and the msi shout "gaming laptop!!" to everyone around? They look like they handle the heat better and some of their features (like the overclock button and cooling button) sem nice, but at the same time I want a laptop that can be taken seriously since I will be at college/hopefully enterig the corporate world with it.
  20. dirksey said:
    just how much do the asus and the msi shout "gaming laptop!!" to everyone around?
    Pretty loud. You wouldn't want to take either to a job interview where it might convey an unwanted impression (like where your priorities lie).

  21. 192-bit bus should be faster.
    I saw one 3DMark Vantage benchmark score than was a bit more than 25% higher.
  22. Yeah, I was kinda worried about that wr2... I was thinking maybe the asus would be less so because of the lack of LED's...hmm, well food for thought I guess :/
    So the 1.5GB will be 25% faster because ofthe larger bus? I wasn't expecting that big of a jump, but thanks for letting me know!
    So if the asus and the msi look like the gaming laptops they are lol, does anyone know how well the clevo chassis on the sager and the malibal handle the heat that comes with overclocking? They don't look to have nearly the same fan system, but does anyone own one or know for sure?
  23. MSI GT683DXR

    Intel Core i7 2630QM

    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570M (DDR5 1.5GB)

    1TB hard drive

    12GB DDR3 memory

    USB 3.0

    HDMI Port

    Click Here
  24. dirksey said:
    Thank you all for the great feedback and advice, it has been really helpful! I think i am going to go with the asus mentioned in my original question, mainly because I've heard really good things about their customer service and general reliability. If anyone actually owns that laptop and could give me a quick opinion of it that would be great, since I won't actually gave the cash to buy it until later this fall :( thanks again to all of you!
    The Asus from your original question costs $400 more than the one I posted while not having better gaming performance.

    Take look at this thread's $1500 gaming laptops:

    FYI:, 12GB of RAM doesn't help in gaming (4GB is just as good) and all the gaming laptops will have USB 3.0 and HDMI. Why not just mention features that change/matter like manufacturer, screen size, CPU, HDD, & graphics?

    As far as that 192-bit bus vs. 128-bit...the 192-bit is faster hands-down if using similar architecture. That's why a GTX 460 1GB beats a GTX 460 768MB.

    Alright, so kinda random, but bestbuy has this asus g73sw as a refurb for $850 (which I could afford to buy now, instead of waiting for Christmas cash lolz)! Intel i7 2630qm, 8gb ram, 750gb 7200rpm hdd, 8 cell battery, and $100 gift card with purchase. I know it's missing blu-ray and has a 900 instead of 1080p screen, but for that price it seems unbeatable to me! Anyone know any reason I should avoid this laptop (and don't say bestbuy or refurb, cuz I'm gonna buy the two year warranty, which includes accidental damage, and my friend works at bestbuy so customer service will be good for me at least), I really just want to know if there are any major design flaws in either the chassis or the GPU I should be aware of?
  26. I don't see where it tells you the resolution. How much does the warranty upgrade cost? But for me--I'd probably buy it. It's not as good as a new one for $800, but it's good enough.
  27. the resolution is 1600*900. I would probably buy it to as you are essentially getting it for 750 dollars. That is a very large laptop (8.3 lbs) , and you will need to purchase backpack to go along with it, assuming this is still for college. Also bringing that size of a laptop to class will be a pain in the ass.

    Here is a forum discussion about your laptop

    Here is a review by PCMag,2817,2383653,00.asp
  28. Thanks for all the advice guys!!! I'm gonna go for it on this g73, just because of the $$$ I'll save, but you guys have been huge help!
  29. I personally wouldn't bring a laptop to class. You can take plenty of notes by hand in a notebook and it's way easier to sketch things, if necessary. Also, there are tons of computer labs all over the place in college, so a flash stick is as useful as a laptop. Then you just take your laptop with you if you're planning on meeting up with people in a study lounge somewhere or at a coffee shop.
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