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Finding a Cheap Sager laptop

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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September 29, 2011 5:00:10 AM

I really am liking everything I've seen of Sager as a brand. However, it simply can't seem to compete with the price and potential for future upgrades of the Dell XPS 17 I've built on the Dell site, discounted to about $1150 after $500 in coupons:

i7-2720QM CPU (I realize this is not normally worth it, however I needed to bring the price to 1600 to use the coupons, and unlike the 2630QM this can handle more than 8GB RAM, right?)
3 GB 555M Graphics Card
6 GB RAM (the upgrade from 4 was free, and it costs significantly more to upgrade to 8 than it would for me to do it myself, so I figured I'd use that elsewhere)
9 Cell battery (necessary to support the CPU and GPU)
500 GB 7200RM HDD (with the intention to add another drive later as the XPS 17 has two Hard Drive bays)
1080p display
Advance-N + Wimax 6150 Wireless card
Backlit Keyboard (Not a big plus for me, just fluff. I can type in the dark without an issue: I'm doing so now.)

I'd be /totally/ fine downgrading to a 2630QM processor, but I dunno. Doesn't the XPS have 4 slots for RAM? Or did I misread this somewhere. Not that I need much more than 6GB /now/, but rather that it serves as an option for futureproofing, especially as it will come down in price over time. Also, I'm pretty sure the lower-cost Sagers only have the one Hard Drive Bay and I've heard comments about Blue tints to the screen of the 5175.

But any help/advice would be appreciated. I'm pretty new to this, and any knowledge I have is just from extensive internet-searching, rather than actual experience.
September 29, 2011 6:17:47 AM

As an addendum to this, under the circumstances that my budget might be upped a bit, I'd almost certainly go with Sager from what I've seen (unless I get suggestions to the contrary).

I currently have a 17" laptop that is a few years old, as well as a 10" netbook for mobility purposes (that was really just intended to be cheap and mobile word processing, so can't do anything). As such, I have no clue on what the size comparison is between the 17" and the 15.6" laptops. I think 17" would be best for me, as from what I've heard they have better cooling systems.

With the upgraded budget, I may go with a Sager 8170. What would opinions on this be? I would still like any suggestions on a cheaper Sager as well, as it's not certain I'll have a higher budget.
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September 29, 2011 8:54:04 PM

Aeir said:
...i7-2720QM CPU (I realize this is not normally worth it, however I needed to bring the price to 1600 to use the coupons, and unlike the 2630QM this can handle more than 8GB RAM, right?)...


Just wanted to make it clear that the 2630QM is also capable of using more than 8GB of RAM (I'm running 16GB in my ASUS laptop with a 2630QM).

Dell's got something goofy going on with their configurator forcing you to select the GT555 3GB video (a $150 option) if you want to order with 12 or 16GB of RAM...
This seems odd, unless they've built two different motherboards (one with the GT550 1GB video and 2 RAM slots, and another with the GT555 3GB video and 4 RAM slots).

My ASUS N54SV-XV1 has the 4 RAM slots, and a GT540 1GB video, so I know there's some flexibility there (chipset/configuration wise) -- Dell must just have these things pre-built the way I mention above, which is unfortunate.

The "good" news, if you call it that, is you can use the cheaper 2630QM CPU, which offsets the cost of the GT555 3GB video, so you can still have the extra RAM slots on the board.

Don't buy Dell's overpriced RAM. You can get 16GB of GSkill (or other) DDR3 1333 from NewEgg for somewhere between $75 - $90, depending on the current day's sales.

Going with a Sager, you'll definitely have better control over your configuration, rather than being locked into Dell's odd choices and dependencies.
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September 29, 2011 10:00:44 PM

On the other hand, after more than 8GB of RAM makes it function as single channel rather than dual channel, correct? And I never had any intention of buying Dells RAM: the 6GB was a free upgrade from 4 or else I would not have gotten it. On the other hand, from what I've found the 2720qm(and 2760qm) can handle up to 16gb of dual channel RAM.

In building a slightly more expensive Sager as a point of optimism, I was wondering if it would make more sense to upgrade the CPU or the GPU. I'll probably get GPU as an answer, it's just that at 2.4-3.5GHz, the 2760qm is a significant boost over the 2630. Meanwhile, I'm worried about whether or not the higher level GPUs would be prone to overheating (especially the ATI 6990).

The fact that the 17" Sager has a 15" keyboard does seem a bit iffy to me: my current laptop uses nearly the entire space available for it. I'm also not a fan of the placement of the fingerprint scanner (something entirely unnecessary that I wish I could remove altogether). I'm probably going to go to a nearby store and check on what the size of a 15" laptop feels like in comparison to a 17", as I might end up instead aspiring toward one of Sagers 15" line.
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September 29, 2011 10:36:15 PM

Aeir said:
As an addendum to this, under the circumstances that my budget might be upped a bit, I'd almost certainly go with Sager from what I've seen (unless I get suggestions to the contrary).

I currently have a 17" laptop that is a few years old, as well as a 10" netbook for mobility purposes (that was really just intended to be cheap and mobile word processing, so can't do anything). As such, I have no clue on what the size comparison is between the 17" and the 15.6" laptops. I think 17" would be best for me, as from what I've heard they have better cooling systems.

With the upgraded budget, I may go with a Sager 8170. What would opinions on this be? I would still like any suggestions on a cheaper Sager as well, as it's not certain I'll have a higher budget.


Hello!

I'm an owner of an NP 8170 with an i7 2630qm, 8GB of RAM, 500GB 7200 RPM drive, and a Radeon 6970m installed. If you have any questions about the system, just let me know (I'll check back regularly for the next few days). For now, though, I'll just give a list of pros and cons that I've experienced since purchasing it.

Pros:
- Very fast cold-boot / wake from sleep loading times (beats my raid-0 Caviar Black desktop with overclocked i7 @ 4.2ghz)
- Excellent price : performance ratio over other gaming laptops
- Good cooling system
- Relatively quiet (not silent, but very good for what it is)
- Extra hard drive slot
- RAID-0,1 capabilities
- Surfaces are more scratch resistant than competitors
- Never had a slowdown in the games I've tried (Dawn of War 2, Civilization 5, and a few others)
- Above average speakers
- Surprisingly decent non-gaming battery life (roughly 1.5 - 2 hours with the correct settings)
- Supports many graphics cards, meaning that it's upgradeable
- Mine came with a carrying case

Cons:
- Keyboard feels very slightly on the cheaper side (I'm not picky, either)
- Screen has excellent bright color production, but only average blacks at best
- Very heavy compared to other 17" laptops ( Sager = roughly 9 pounds, while other average around 7 - 7.5)
- The power brick is literally the size, and nearly the weight, of an actual brick
- Sleep hotkey is right next to mute hotkey (small nitpick, but could annoy some people)
- Surfaces, while scratch resistant, are more difficult to clean than most laptops
- Fingerprint reader barely works
- Webcam is definitely not of high quality

As you can see, the cons, for the most part, are very small issues. The only major ones might have to do with the weight, but if you don't plan to move it much, then it shouldn't be a problem. Besides, we could all use a little exercise. ;) 

As a side note, aside from Sager's website, you can purchase the exact same notebooks, though sometimes under different names, for lower prices off of the Malibal and XoticPC websites. They don't come with Windows pre-installed on those sites (unless you request it), but that option allows you to find Windows cheaper somewhere else. Also, I think the 6970m (a major graphics upgrade over the 555m in the other one you were looking it) is only $100 on Malibal's site right now. I hope this helps!

~Aekold
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September 29, 2011 11:02:59 PM

P.S. - If you decide on going the 15" route, and decide that you don't want / need the extras in NP 8150, you can get the NP 8130 for much cheaper through Malibal be selecting 4 x 2 GB sticks of RAM, which subtracts $50 from the cost. The NP 8130 also has a cheap upgrade to a 95% gamut screen for only $45, while the 17" models tend to be around the $125 price range. Good luck!

~Aekold

(both sites I mentioned in the previous posts price match, by the way)
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