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Compromise between gaming and battery life for college?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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February 4, 2012 10:04:12 PM

I'm trying to figure out a compromise between being able to play current games well and yet having an option for longer battery life. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

1. What is your budget?
Soft budget cap of $2000, can go higher if needed.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
I'm thinking a 15 inch would be a good mix of ease of use and portability, but its like everything here, its not set in stone

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Full HD would be great.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Yes.
Wrong answer I know, but my desktop is ancient and I desperately need an upgrade. I'm in college and will be hanging out on campus a lot, so I'm looking at the new laptop as both.

5. How much battery life do you need?
The longer the better. I've been reading a bit about nvidia's optimus and really like the idea of seemlessly switching between graphics cards to save battery while still being able to be powerful.

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)?
I haven't played a current gen game for so long due to my desktop being atrocious. I would love for current gen games to look great (high settings) but I'm willing to settle for less if need be.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Gaming/slacking off between classes, taking notes while in class, but not much in terms of video/photo editing. I really do a bit of everything.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
More is always better. I'm really looking at SSDs for better performance (speed, heat, noise, etc) and more importantly for the fact that they use less power. I'd say 250gb?

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I've been checking out the different clevo/sager sellers (xoticpc for example) but I don't have my heart set on a certain seller.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Preferably 3-4 years so it would take me through whats left of my undergrad and maybe into a bit of my graduate degree. If I'm going to spend some serious cash on it, I'd like it to last.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
I suppose I don't have to have an optical drive onboard, but I'd at least need an external dvd rom/writer for when I'm at home. BR rom would be nice, but I don't foresee myself needing a BR writer

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.

No real preference. I'm a heavy PC user but I like the battery life of a macbook (not sure I like the power, though) and I get a few discounts through work as follows:

Apple: 4-17% off, free shipping. Seems to be a bigger discount on optional upgrades and a smaller discount on the base laptop.

Dell: roughly 7% off most things

HP: "minimum 10% below starting price, exclusions may apply"

Lenovo: "UP TO 33% off on lenovo's entire product line, including thinkpad and ideapad notebooks, exclusions may apply"



13. What country do you live in?
USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I'm trying to hit a sweet spot between performance and battery life. I'm planning for the laptop to become my everyday, all occasion computer since I'm not planning on being at my home too much.

Opinions on warranties? I commute by bicycle, so I'm heavily considering warranty options due to the higher risk of something happening to the laptop.
February 4, 2012 10:34:39 PM

$2000 is quite a budget... With that kind of budget you could consider a Sony Vaio Z series. It's kind of the Lamborghini among ultra-portables. Even the base configuration comes with dual SSDs in Raid 0.

My personal experience is, that you really want portability and battery life in a college/university setting. Unless you need performance hungry applications (CAD software for instance), there is just no need for a heavy and cumbersome laptop.

Have u considered buying a good 13"-14" laptop for $1000 and a good gaming desktop for $1000? Will give u a much better gaming experience and a much more convenient laptop (think: ultrabook or at least very portable. Much nicer when riding a bike)
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February 5, 2012 1:44:56 AM

I'm not so sure that being ultra portable is that big of an issue for me, to be honest. I'm a big guy and I've got great panniers (rack and bags) on my bike and I plan on getting a cycling focused backpack with great laptop padding/support (I've got my eyes on a few osprey models) when I don't want to leave the panniers on the bike.

The problem I main problem I have with the Vaio Z is the docking station has all the power and I am planning on not being at home much. If I were planning on being home more often, I would definitely go with a less powerful laptop and then have a monster of a desktop rig at home.

I don't exactly want to spend an arm and a leg on a laptop, but I know my preferences are on the higher end of the spectrum so I'm willing to spend some of my grant/scholarship/student loan/tuition reimbursement from work/etc money to get something that fits my needs.

Part of why I'm having a hard time making a decision is that I've never owned a laptop and I'm not entirely sure what would be best for my situation. Your input is really appreciated, though.
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February 5, 2012 2:08:26 AM

idc how much you say you dont mind getting a big laptop but honestly dont get a big laptop. your much better off by getting a cheaper laptop and then a great desktop. you really wont even need a laptop for the most part. this is coming from a college student myself. you will understand eventually that computer labs are more convenient then your friends room.

do yourself a favor and atleast consider a desktop+laptop
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February 5, 2012 2:28:42 AM

As far as durability goes, Lenova Thinkpads are business-oriented, so they are considerably more sturdy than consumer laptops. I also think you should consider a pair of machines; a lightweight laptop with long battery life for taking notes and running school/work applications, and a desktop for playing games. With a $2000 budget, each will be very nice, and a lot better than trying to cram it all into a laptop. To get good gaming performance, laptop battery life will suck, hard; it will also be big, heavy, and prone to overheating. With a pair of systems, you can back up the vital data of each on the other.
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