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Gaming Laptop at the $500-600 range

Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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February 5, 2012 5:37:24 PM

I just got a new job, and am finally able to start putting away some money every month for a computer. I tend to play games with a lot of friends (in person), so I thought a laptop would work nicely for that. Unfortunately, I don't know much about laptops! I copied the section below from the FAQ's, hopefully that has enough info to help me out! Thanks for reading this far, and if you post, thanks for helping me out!

1. What is your budget?

My budget is $500 +/-$100

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

At least 11 inches

3. What screen resolution do you want?

Doesn't matter to me

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

Desktop replacement

5. How much battery life do you need?

At least 1 hour, will probably be plugged in most of the time

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 would like to be able to play Starcraft II, SW:ToR, Minecraft, Terraria, Oblivion, Skyrim, and misc. FPS games with no lag, preferably on Medium settings.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)

Possibly game recording/video editing

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

250 GB or more

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

As long as the laptop matches what I want to get, it doesn't matter to me where I get it.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

I would like to keep my laptop for at least 3 years. I would rather go a little over my budget if that meant extending the life of this purchase.

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

DVD ROM, I'd like to be able to burn discs as well.

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.

13. What country do you live in?

USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

The laptop I get will be my primary computer, so if there's something that will add a lot of performance for not much more, I'm flexible with the price. The price range is more of a guideline. If it takes me an extra month of saving, then that's fine if it's worth it! Also, wherever I'm at, I'm likely to be sitting at a table or desk, so the size/weight isn't too much of an issue.

What do you guys think will work for me?
February 5, 2012 5:57:05 PM

In this price range you won't be able to get a very powerful gaming laptop. The AMD A series will fit the price range but still isn't great.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Depending on what type of gaming you want to do the 540m would normally be the lowest I would consider with the 560m being preferable.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=P...
Lastly I will recommend the ASUS brand as a good one to consider.
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a c 249 D Laptop
February 6, 2012 12:02:11 AM

Hi :) 

The honest answer is that for high end gaming NO LAPTOP will even come close to a gaming PC....and for that price you are miles away from a gaming PC...

All the best Brett :) 
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February 6, 2012 11:19:24 PM

How much more bang for my buck would I get with a desktop? Again, I just want to be able to play most games smoothly. Graphical quality isn't a game-breaker for me (punacceptable, I know). I guess if I'm going to LAN it up, it wouldn't be the biggest problem in the world to pack up the ol' desktop.

If this question is considered "off topic" for this forum, I could always ask the same question in a different section, just let me know.
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February 6, 2012 11:27:34 PM

Well it would be preferable to spend $600 on a desktop $500 can be done but I would advise adding in a GPU later then.
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February 6, 2012 11:32:17 PM

Hi, you could build a decent gaming system for $600. I tried to cheap out on a mid-range gaming laptop but the performance is just not there...

If you assemble your system in a smaller mid-sized case on a mATX board you can still haul it around to LAN party's and such.

Check out the forum for other $500 builds, there are many...

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February 6, 2012 11:48:20 PM

Heres a sample

Rosewill Challenger case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49

Antec 620Watt NEO http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $39

ASRock p67PRO http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $89

i5 2500k http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $229

8GB Corsair http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49

hd 6770 1GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $79

comes to $535 most of these are free shipping and are on sale...

There are a number of monitors under $100 to choose from and the HD6770 is a perfect match for 1600x900 resolution.

Just some ideas.
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February 6, 2012 11:50:57 PM

He will be at $600 thanks to hard drive, then there is windows, and the optical drive. You can get G. Skill memory for cheaper too. At this price he will want an i3 or AMD processor.
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February 7, 2012 12:00:15 AM

Yeah forgot about windows and HDD...

The i3 2120 is only $120 which would save $100 for a Hard Drive, then you just need a $20 DVD burner and Windows XP can be had for $30 off Ebay if you are really stuck.

Have Fun
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a b D Laptop
February 7, 2012 2:12:36 AM

You will get quite a big jump in performance in a $500 desktop. You should be able to fit a 6850 or 6870 with an i3. You can see in the gpu hierarchy chart the 6850 is near the top and the 6620g is in the middle. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car... Cpu will also be a big increase as well. The cpu chart only shows desktop but you should get an idea. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...

You may want to start a thread in the system-new build section if you want to go the desktop route.
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February 7, 2012 3:34:48 AM

Thanks for the info guys, it really helps! You probably get asked for "computer help" all the time in real life, so I definitely appreciate the fact that you're assisting me in this way.

I know somebody that works at Best Buy, and apparently they can get operating systems for a large discount ($20-30), so that wouldn't be a big issue for me.

As far as that GPU/CPU chart, I have no idea what's going on. Do the products near the top have higher performance?
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a b D Laptop
February 7, 2012 4:41:17 AM

Yes the higher the better. It's just an easy chart to see all the gpus/cpus and how they stack vs each other. The only downfall is most people ask by how much. Well there's a chart for that too, although with less gpus. http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/HIS/Radeon_HD_6870/2... I used the 6870 review so you can see it more easily highlighted as that is probably near what you are getting (also shows 6850).
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