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Ultra for ~$2K

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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January 3, 2012 6:17:14 PM

1. What is your budget? $2,000

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 17"

3. What screen resolution do you want? 1920

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

5. How much battery life do you need? Will be AC 99%

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)? Latest games (ala Skyrim) on Ultra settings with everything cranked up (MSAA, etc.)

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) None

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? More interested in speed than size, so a 120GB SSD is better than 1TB HDD.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Not married to this site, just one I found that has some brands/configs I am considering, and they are very customizable, so I can get exactly what I want.
MSI - http://www.xoticpc.com/msi-gt780dxr446us-p-3434.html?wc...
ASUS - http://www.xoticpc.com/asus-g74sxdh72-p-3363.html?wconf...
Sager - http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np7280-clevo-x7200-p-3115....

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? At least 5 years

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

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. - Doesn't matter

13. What country do you live in? USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I want to be able to play today's games at Ultra and still be able to play future games on at least High for the next 3 years. 5 years of total life would be ideal.
I know you can spend $5K-$10K on a laptop choosing every option available. So I need to know which options are more important for gaming performance, while keeping me in the $2K range. ie, What makes a bigger difference: Processor: i5 vs. i7; Memory: 8GB vs. 16GB; Video Card: 560M vs. 580M; Drives: SSD vs. HDD

More about : ultra

a b D Laptop
January 3, 2012 7:18:54 PM

Well first before you decide let me give you some information.

The Asus and MSI are good laptops - but they are not nearly as powerful as the sager. I have the older version of the Asus (G73) and it plays most games on High. It's already showing it's age though.

So out of laptops: Sager.

As for video cards: If you want it to last a while - you will need to look at least a GTX 580m SLI or a radeon 6990 CF. I Would go for the radeon 6990s if you can find them in a laptop because they are actually a bit cheaper than the sli 580s but give about 99% of performance of the 580s which would give you money for other parts of your laptop.

RAM : A lot of DTR notebooks come with 16GB of ram - I would make that the base point.

SSD or HDD : Both if you can make it fit into budget - say a 120GB SSD for OS and a 1TB for storage.

If you can set a laptop up with those specs your laptop should be "strong" for at least a couple of years. But they all start showing their age eventually. One more thing, for a DTR notebook you might have to spend a little more to get that "ultra" setting and have it last a long time.
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a b D Laptop
January 3, 2012 7:27:30 PM

I agree with Chainzsaw, but would like to add one thing:
Your laptop will not run high end games at high settings 3-5 years from now. It is not a matter of budget, but just a matter of technology and development. It will still be a rocking laptop in 3-5 years, and well above average in performance, just go into this knowing that a high end desktop wont play maxed out games in 5 years, and laptops are always less powerful than desktops. But those first 3 years should be a solid bet.

Also, both nVidia and AMD are releasing new product lines shortly. If you are truly concerned about longevity and don't mind waiting a few months then it may be worth the wait.
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a b D Laptop
January 3, 2012 8:16:27 PM

bkviper said:
1. What is your budget? $2,000


I want to be able to play today's games at Ultra and still be able to play future games on at least High for the next 3 years. 5 years of total life would be ideal.
I know you can spend $5K-$10K on a laptop choosing every option available. So I need to know which options are more important for gaming performance, while keeping me in the $2K range. ie, What makes a bigger difference: Processor: i5 vs. i7; Memory: 8GB vs. 16GB; Video Card: 560M vs. 580M; Drives: SSD vs. HDD

To answer these questions:
4GB of ram is plenty for any of today's games, 8GB is a good safe bet to be future-proof, 16GB is overkill for gaming today, and will be overkill for gaming for the foreseeable future (and by that I mean the next 7-10 years). If you ever want to do video editing or something else RAM intensive with it then 16GB is just a good starting place. Also (and I get a lot of flack for this) 1333 is not noticeably slower than 1600, especially in a laptop (unless you intend to OC the hell out of the poor thing). If getting slower ram meant the difference between being able to afford a slightly faster CPU or GPU, or having to do without then I would get the slower ram in a heartbeat, and pour all the money into the processor and graphics.

For longevity you will want duel 580M or AMD equivilant in SLI/xFire. A single mobile GPU will not touch the longevity you are aspiring towards.

For the processor you want a quad core, which means an i7. The i5 Mobile is duel core with HT (unlike their desktop brothers which are full quad cores), which is a fake quad core that games do not take advantage of. The only true mobile quad core processor (on the intel side) are the i7s; and even then it is only the QE, QM and XM models.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Core#Core_i5_2

For the drives; While I LOVE SSDs, they may break the bank for your build, and will not add a single FPS to your gaming experience. SSDs will load everything very quickly, but once in the game is in RAM there is no difference between a computer with an HDD or an SSD. Also, it makes file management a pain if you have programs spread across 2 drives, and I can guarantee that you will have more than 120GB of programs over a 3-5 year lifespan. That is only a handful of blockbuster games that can fit on there (heck, my computer only has 2 games on it and I am at 125GB already, granted it is along side an Adobe suite and some other software). If you can somehow afford an SSD with a 2nd internal HDD to load games on (or SSD caching with a 60GB SSD OS/core programs partition and a 60GB cache partition dedicated to a HDD) then I would suggest it, but for that budget there is no way to afford a 256GB SSD in addition to the more important CPU and GPU considerations, so if push came to shove then I would stick with the HDD for now, and maybe pick up a nice large SSD in a year or two when they drop in price. Again, an SSD will reduce load times, but will not make the game play any better.

Lastly; audio is 9/10ths of video. Be sure to save a bit of money for some decent ($150+) headphones to really immerse yourself in the game if you do not have a good set already. And dont fall for those silly "surround sound" headphones. You have 2 ears, 2 high quality speakers is more than enough for that proximity.
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a b D Laptop
January 5, 2012 1:10:45 PM

I kinda disagree with the 4GB RAM thing. Ram is quite cheap right now - and well if you really need to save money - 8GB of ram would do.

I have 8GB of RAM in my laptop - and I can use over 5GB of ram when im running a game + background software (even more ram depending on what im doing). You don't want to run out of ram on a laptop.
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