Sizing GPU's vs CPU's (and SSD's) in laptops

I'm searching for a 15" laptop in the 700€ range, and I would like it to be powerful enough for gaming.

I have done some research in what's available, and I'm a bit baffled by the results.

Why? Well, first start with the gaming Desktop I built a few years ago - I knew that for most video games having a powerful graphic card is way more important than the choice of your processor, so I chose the components in consequence.

(In all this topic I will be using the ratings given by :

So, on my desktop I have:
- an AMD Athlon II X3 435 with a rating of 2596
- a Radeon HD 5770 with a rating of 1683

My choices seem to have been well made, because I've had slowdowns only in very rare cases:
- In a huge game of Supreme Commander : Forged Alliance with over 2000 units in game. (Probably CPU overload)
- In Crysis 2 (patch 1.9+) with the highest graphic settings. (it seems that the GPU has finally found its limits)
(- Also in Spring, even in an average game - I suspect that ATI GPU's are just bad at OpenGL...)

Now, the typical laptop of the size and price that I need has:
- an Intel Core i5-2410M @ 2.30GHz with a rating of 3334 (wow, that's impressive for a laptop!)
- but a GeForce GT 540M with a rating of only ... 724 !

So, why the laptop makers would choose to use such a powerful processor (and why would most people need anything more powerful than an Core i3 (rating of 2753) ??? It's not like there's ANY use for such a powerful CPU outside of rare and very specific professional needs!?), but skimp on the graphic card?

My ideal system would consist in a Intel Core i3-2330M @ 2.20GHz - rating of 2753 or a Intel Core i5-2557M @ 1.70GHz - rating 2624 (though if I understood it correctly this one is a model for low-power netbooks) coupled with a GeForce GT 555M (rating of 1012) or one of the GeForce GTX ???M (even better ratings).
But this particular combination doesn't seem to exist in the laptop world! Is it because those graphic cards are so expensive that manufacturers think that people won't mind the extra price of an i5 (or even i7) over an i3?

Now another thing I don't understand: We've all heard about the floods of hard drive factories and the resulting price jump of regular hard drives. So why they don't use this opportunity to push SSD's? I would love to have a (100+ Gb) SSD in my laptop, I've heard how faster than HDD's they can be (and also more robust and less power hungry). But again, almost all the available laptops that have SSD's are the super expensive ones... despite the fact that a ~100 Gb SSD and an average ~500Gb HDD cost about the same (about 150 €).
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More about sizing laptops
  1. What is the screen size of the laptop you are looking for? Are you willing to perform any upgrades yourself? If you could work with a 14" laptop I found two great ones. I am looking in the exact same price range and came across these. As for the SSD all you will need is a 2.5" SSD drive. These will save you enough to upgrade the hdd to a SSD if you wished. On the laptop with the i5 I would recommend upgrading the ram as well. However it is $50 cheaper so that makes room for it.

    Let me know if this helps. Thanks!
  2. As you can see, I'm searching for a 15". Of course I could replace the HDD by a SSD, but that would cost an extra 150€ and probably void the warranty.
    The i7 deal is very impressive (and supposedly you could switch to a SSD or hybrid drive but I didn't find how) - how did you manage to find such a huge discount!? It's almost 50%!
    I would buy it (even if the GT 550M is not that great) but they don't ship overseas and the French Lenovo web site doesn't seem to sell Serie Y IdeaPads despite advertising them... (Looks like it isn't sold in Europe yet)
  3. BlueTemplar said:
    So, why the laptop makers would choose to use such a powerful processor ... but skimp on the graphic card?
    Power and cooling requirements.
  4. But, exactly, wouldn't a more powerful processor draw more power and generate more heat? And aren't graphic cards more EFFECTIVE for games, power- and heat-wise?
  5. CPU = a very small increase going from 2 cores (35W TDP) to 4 cores (45W TDP).
    A gaming GPU = large increase going from IGP (0 TDP) to GT 540M (35W) to GTX 560M (75W TDP)
  6. If you find out how much shipping is you could have someone purchase the laptop here in the US and ship it to you? That would probably up athe cost of the laptop past its value though.
  7. Actually, looks like yes, I can!
    So I think I'm going to buy this laptop, and replace the HDD by a SSD:
    Even with taxes and shipping it's still a wonderful bargain. I do hope I won't need to use the warranty though...
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