Hello everyone. I'm sure you've heard this a thousand times before, but I am looking to get a laptop as a desktop replacement. I have extensive experience with desktops and have built systems from scratch before but I'm fairly new to the world of notebooks. I was hoping some of you out there might be able to to steer me in the right direction? I'll start with this "FAQ" that was so graciously provided by a member on here.....
1. What is your budget?
Preferably no more than $1,500
2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
3. What screen resolution do you want?
Any, but 1900x1280 if possible
4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
5. How much battery life do you need?
At least 4 hours? (Don't know if this is asking for too much or what the 'norm' is)
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)?
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Left 4 Dead 2
Team Fortress 2
I basically want to be able to play any game released within the next 3+ years that's thrown at me with no problems.
Preferably I would like to be able to play on "High" settings, but as long as it runs smoothly and looks halfway decent I'd be happy. I figure if I can still play some modern games on my 5 year-old system now, then I'd like my new system to last me as well.
7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Possibly video/audio editing, word processing, etc.. Gaming would be the most resource-intensive thing I'd be doing on it for long periods of time, though
8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
As much as possible. looking at 1.75TB (I'll get to this later)
9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Preferably Blu-ray reader/CD/DVD Writer, but just CD/DVD Read/Write would be fine
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.
This one I'm not even really sure about as far as quality is concerned. Not too familiar with the major brands of laptops. Maybe a company that specializes in just making laptops? I've heard Gateway and Dell's customer service isn't so good.
13. What country do you live in?
I'm very much into customization, which is why I prefer PC's/Desktop's so much. I'm currently running a self-built Intel Core 2 Duo 3 Ghz, 3.25G RAM, XP Professional OS w/ an EVGA GeForce 8800GTS 640MB 320-bit GDDR3 video card. Certainly nothing to sneeze at for a system that's almost 5 years old but I'm really starting to notice this things age when I try to play modern games or even if I'm surfing the web, streaming a video and/or listening to music. I get a ton of lag even at medium graphic settings, etc... Even my wireless mouse and keyboard cut off at times. I think it's time for a new computer and I figured I'd give a laptop a try, since that way I can use it as a desktop replacement but also be able to take it into work and get that done there (mostly just word processing) as well as be able to take it with me on trips and things like that.
I'd really prefer to just build the laptop from scratch but the more I look into it, the more of a pain it seems like it will be. Since (as far as I can tell) the base component parts are not widely available and then having to match up parts so that they will be able to fit with one another and getting every single thing exactly as I want and still have it be compatible with everything else. A lot of the barebones that I have seen already include a brand name case/motherboard w/ chipset/graphics card/optical drive/etc... with the option to add the processor/HDD/memory/etc...It seems like would be easier just to have them install everything, you know? Though a lot of the "barebones" systems end up being over the $1,500 price range after I've added all the extra components to it. I can (usually) find the individual components cheaper by themselves than on these sites that build it for you and I hate overpaying for things. But maybe if any of you know a decent barebones site that has each component part at a decent price I could look into that?
Because of the whole situation mentioned above, I've been leaning toward just getting a brand-name system that's fully built/installed, with the exception of purchasing an extra HDD and/or memory. I really would like a laptop that has a two HDD capacity in addition to having the optical bay remain intact. I know that I can always use external enclosures for extra storage and there are other options for storage, but I would really like to get as much storage space internally as I can. I would like to run my OS off of a 750GB 7200 RPM drive or possibly a SSD (though the insane prices and storage limitations are turning me off) and then have another 1TB drive for storage. For instance, my music collection alone is almost 200GB and if I only had one HDD, I wouldn't want to have to use up 200 of the available 750 gigs and since the only affordable 1TB drives are only 5400 RPM. I really don't want to pay out the ass for the 1TB 7200. And only having 550GB for all my games/programs/storage doesn’t seem like it will cut it as right now on my current setup I have a 500GB HDD that I only use for my OS and to install programs/games on, which is nearly full (Granted, it is about 5 years worth of programs/games). Especially nowadays with games being close to 10 gig apiece and the numbers only increasing as newer games/technology is released I think it would be good to get the most storage I can.
With the exception of the Asus G53, it looks like 17" and above laptops accommodate the dual HDD bays. I've been having problems in even verifying that certain laptops support two HDD's because I may read something in a review that says it does but then I go to the official website and check the specs and it doesn't say. There are a few models I know for sure that do such as the HP Dv7 series and again, I've heard people say that the Acer Aspire 17" and Toshiba Satellite/Qosmio 17"s do, but on the official pages I don't see anything that confirms this. I know the Asus G73 and G74's do. Malibal is another site which has dual HDD capacity laptops but that are slightly out of my price range. Does anyone know of any 17" or 15.6" laptops that have dual HDD's and the optical drive or can confirm that the aforementioned computers support it?
At first, I was looking for systems that use the i5 Core processor, though I read that they don't support memory over 4GB, so now I'm going towards i7 Core processors or I suppose the equivalent AMD chipset/processor.
As far as special features and whatnot go: I've seen some really neat things like the backlit keyboard/touchpad, 3D viewing capability, Smart Switch(or something like that) which changes the graphics processor depending on what you're doing and HDD impact senors. These are all very cool but not really necessary for me.
I also had more of a general question regarding memory as I've been confined to 3.25 gigs for the last 5 years- Is there a certain cutoff point where the memory just won't make a difference anymore when it comes to running games/programs more quickly? Of course I know it depends on how many other things you're trying to do at the same time, but let's say the only process I'm running is a game; will there ever be a point where it just can't run any faster/better regardless of how much memory I have? That's another issue I've been considering as the majority of laptops I've looked at have a max memory expansion of 8GB. Other laptops go up to 32GB and I don't really know how much is enough. I don't want to limit my options, but at the same time I'd be happy with 8GB if it will keep up with what I'm throwing at it over the next few years.
The screen size/resolution isn't really an issue either as I will be using an HDTV as my main monitor when using the laptop at home. So if anyone has some advice they can give me, websites/computer models to check out or any help at all it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time the read my post!!!
Check this out, I have an alienware that I traded a custom built desktop for and I'll say that I've had a very good experience with their customer service, anytime I've had an issue they've had a tech at my house within 2days and if the tech couldn't figure it out they would give me a prepaid fedex next day air box to send it in for them to work on. A lot of people bash dell/alienware but in my experience they have had the best warranty service of anything I've owned (who gets a tech out to you in 2 days to replace your hard drive for you for free?)
Thanks for your input. I honestly can't say one way or the other. I'm sure with pretty much any company you'll have people that either praise or condemn them, you know? And certainly for the more popular, big-name companies the more people using their services the more problems there will be from an entirely probability standpoint. But your experience definitely seems like they're top notch. I've never heard of any place acting that quickly.
I did look into Alienware, which I've known about for years but never really paid much interest to. I didn't even know it was Dell until very recently. They do seem like powerful machines but way overpriced, in my opinion. I am a fairly frugal person, but I highly believe in getting your money's worth. And like you said, the Asus G series are pretty close for a fraction of the price. At this point I'm definitely leaning towards them. Thanks again for your input!
Also check out www.xoticpc.com
They have Sager and MSI gaming laptops that are similar to the asus and alienware, but with more configuration options.
I agree with the being frugal, I don't think I would have an alienware if I had to pay for it, but since having one I am more inclined to hold out for a good deal on a newer one. I watch the dell outlet frequently and since christmas the alienwares' have went up in price there were several models for around $1200 now there all 1500+.
When getting a gaming laptop get the best gpu & cpu you can and upgrade ram and hard drive yourself.
Thanks for the site. They have some good machines at decent pries on there. I may have to pursue that further. I definitely should've acted quicker before the holidays. You always get the best deals around then.
You also reminded me of MarketPro. If you've never heard of them, check out www.marketpro.com. They're these (usually) large computer trade shows where you can find the best prices on everything computer-related in the same place. You can literally go to one booth, pick up some RAM, walk 20 feet,buy a cheap processor, go another 20 feet and pick up HDD's. You can also have someone build you a custom system like right there on the spot. I'm not sure where you're at, but they operate in the East coast of the US. I highly recommend going to one of those shows if it's anywhere near where you are, especially if you're looking to get a brand new computer. I think I may just hold out until one comes around my way.