Buying a Gaming Laptop

Hello. I've been looking around for a bit now, and thought I would consult those more experienced than myself.

1. What is your budget?

Ideally, I'd have it be $1000 or below. I'm willing to go a couple hundred over if necessary, but I'd prefer not to.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

A minimum of a 15.6" screen. My current computer is a 17.1" that I've had for at least 4 years. It's a nice size to have, but I had had some difficulty finding computer bags that accommodate it in the past, for the rare occasion that I actually need to tote it around.

3. What screen resolution do you want?

As high as I might be able to get for the price, though this is of lower importance than other specs. Most of those I've looked at have been 1366x768. This is lower than my current laptop, and I'm not sure how much a difference that would make.

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

Desktop replacement.

5. How much battery life do you need?

This is of minimal consideration.

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. Primarily, I play WoW and would like to do so on as high a quality setting as I can. There are other games I play in more sporadic bursts, but WoW would be the best benchmark consideration.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)

I run Photoshop and Flash for drawing/animating purposes. These seem like the most graphic/CPU intensive things beyond games. I tend to keep multiple things up at once, and have been known to have Photoshop, Flash, SAI, Firefox, and WoW open all at once, which is obviously murder for my computer.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

More than I have right now (160GB) but anything 500+ is perfectly fine, as it's taken me this long to get anywhere near capacity for my current computer. I'm more concerned with speed than quantity.

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

I'll likely either end up direct from the brand, or from Costco.com. (Though I will be browsing the outlets of the brands for deals)

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

Probably at least two years. But I'm going for a more budgeted laptop so that I can replace it sooner than a more expensive, future-proofed laptop, and with what would inevitably be a better computer than what you could get in a future-proofed laptop now.

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

Bluray and such are just fluff: nice to have, but I wouldn't be willing to sacrifice anything else to get them.

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'm hesitant to buy from HP as I've heard bad things about them, and minimal good. I've been looking at Dell and Lenovo, as well as a couple other brands, but don't have any particular attachment.

13. What country do you live in?

USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

I'm definitely going to want an i7 processor, and from what I've been seeing, that would likely ideally be an i7-2630QM.

This is a desktop replacement that will almost always remain in my room. However, the primary reason I don't want a desktop is that I don't want a desk: at the moment, I keep my laptop on my nightstand and use it in my lap on my bed.

Thanks for any help.
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More about buying gaming laptop
  1. Hello, i have found 2 decent gaming laptops than can easily run WoW

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834157873 (Better than 2nd option)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834215123
  2. Thank you for the time, but I'm going to have to say no to an HP, and I've heard Acer are almost as notorious?
  3. My family has 4 HP laptops and 2 of them had their chargers malfunction, we called support and HP replaced our chargers with no problem... up too you though.

    I dont know about acer. =\
  4. I would stay away from Dell, HP or Acer if you want to primarily play games. They often come with underpowered gfx cards. How about these:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/765086-REG/ASUS_G53SW_A1_G53Sw_A1_15_6_Notebook_Computer.html $1030
    couple of $100 more and you get a better gfx card
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834230099&nm_mc=OTC-Froogle&cm_mmc=OTC-Froogle-_-Notebooks-_-ASUS-_-34230099

    also check out malibal.com or xoticpc.com

    Good luck.
  5. In terms of build quality the two worst in my opinion are Dell and Acer. HP is barely acceptable while MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte and Toshiba are the best. (Gateway is a division of Acer)

    I'd suggest looking for a quad core i7 laptop (i7 2630Qm) from ASUS, MSI or GIGABYTE. Don't bother with a Toshiba as these are business class and are not aimed at gaming.
  6. Take a look at this notebook. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834152258. According to the feedback it is more reliable than the HP linked earlier, has a decent GPU (not the best but not a lot is needed for WoW) and it has a very good CPU for your editing and WoW gaming. (I believe its aluminium clad too.

    Now the screen might be a little small but you can just get an external monitor for when you are at a desk.

    For a little more you can get the version with the bit quicker GPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834152280
  7. My favourite picks right now are:

    Dell XPS 15, the next model up from the base model

    Asus K53SV-A1

    Both are amazing values for dollar. The Dell has great specs but lesser quality build. The Asus is missing USB 3.0 and eSATA.

    MSI always has some interesting value though I've never owned one.
  8. You are in a bit of a hard spot, since 1000 is about the limit to jump from budget to enthusiast laptops.

    My consideration for you would be to get something like an asus A52S. The reason is at that resolution, screen size, etc, a nvidia 540 is a good option, if you also think about the heat, you either need a beast with 18 inch screen so that the cooling can keep up, or a less powerfull gpu.

    If you look a bit in this forum, you will see a lot of people reporting problems with overheating laptops.
    Also, note that a i7 is a bit overkill in 90% cases. A i5-2410M performs many times better in games than an i7 since It generetes less heat, so it can turbo boost easier. In case you dont know, most world aplications are 2 core optimized, not multicore.

    Aluminium would generally be better if you can get it (also helps with heat and is more resistant).

    here you have some options:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834214414
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834230077
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834220997
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834230021
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834230105

    There you go.
  9. go with the second option that orionite posted, you will not regret it
  10. Thank you all for the opinions. I'll keep all of these in mind and look at them in more detail momentarily.

    What is the general opinion on the quality of Sager as a brand? I came across it while browsing, and it seems to be decent? Especially in the fact that, by spending a bit more, I can get the 1080p screen so lacking in most lower-cost gaming laptops. (For the Sager, I'd likely go for the 17")

    Asus as a brand is tempting: I've heard nothing but praise for their builds. But the primary drawback I'm seeing is that, from the picture's I've seen, they are, quite frankly, ugly. While the aesthetics of the computer are by no mean the biggest factor to me, I do not want to feel inclined to hide the computer by shielding people's view of it with my bag or something if ever I feel inclined to temporarily move it around.

    As another note, while WoW is my primary game in that it is the one I spend the most time on, from what I've seen Photoshop and Flash would actually be more CPU intensive (and potentially more GPU intensive? I'm not quite sure on this). As I mentioned in the first post, I use both of those programs frequently, often at the same time, and this would ideally be taken into consideration. Nonetheless, any of those show have significantly better specs than my current one, SO...
  11. So at the moment, I've decided to upgrade my budget slightly to roughly 1100 or so in favor of a 17" 1080p screen.

    So far, I've found a couple that seem to be good: with Sager I can build a 5175 for $1139, and I found coupons for Dell that would allow me to build an XPS17 (Which I think I've seen good reviews for, despite Dell's drop in build-quality over the years) for $1600+ and reduce that price by $500. Between the two, which seems like a better idea? The one thing Sager has that Dell does not is the Thermal Compound upgrade. How good is this upgrade, and the cooling system on the two computers? Are there any other things I should know about the two brands/systems? Or are there better deals out there?
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