Help Choosing Laptop/Questions


I've been looking for a new laptop for a while now and am ready to buy a new one. I've had a Dell Inspiron E1705 since 2006 and it's been great to me.

It's been difficult choosing one because every time I read the reviews, it ruins it. I know I need to get over that, there's no such thing as a perfect laptop and everyone's going to have complaints.

I am not really a gamer and I'm not sure that I ever will be but I do want my laptop to be capable of playing games such as BF3. I'm used to playing MMORPGs at around 5-12Fps, so I don't have high expectations at all.

I have my sights set on this Dell XPS 17. i5-2430M, Nvidia GeForce GT 550m, 6gb DDR3, 750gb HDD, 7200rpm, 9 cell battery... $900 ( ).

These judgements probably aren't fair but I've ruled out the HP Pavillion line because they're nortorious for overheating and Toshibas (particularly the Qosmio) because they're apparently so flimsy you can see your fingerprint on the monitor when you press it from behind. Opinions?

I have a few questions...
* Will the i5-2430m processor handle the 550m card without any problems?
* I know gaming laptops are more prone to overheating... Will it run warmer just from web browsing because it's packing so much power?
* Are switchable graphics important as far as battery life goes? I don't think the XPS 17 has that.

That's all! I'd love to have your opinion on this as well as any suggestions you may have. The XPS 17 only has 3 USB ports and lacks a VGA port but I'm willing to overlook that.

13 answers Last reply
More about help choosing laptop questions
  1. AMD Switchable Graphics = Nvidia Optimus = battery savings. Dell XPS does have that.
  2. Check the total price and see if this is a better deal:
    Dell XPS 17 17.3-in 2nd Gen Intel Core i5 2.5GHz Laptop ~$742
  3. Go for it... Buy that laptop since it have a GT550m which is great...
  4. You can usually find a DVI/HDMI to VGA adapter in case you ever need it for some old style tech (like a projector).
    4 USB ports. 2 are 3.0 and 2 are 2.0. For a laptop - 4 USB ports is usually enough for the way most people use them. You can always get a USB hub (powered or un-powered) if you need to attach more devices.
  5. HP has finally fixed much of the overheating issues from the 2010 generation
    But from experience, what you heard was no exaggeration.

    Purely looking at the BF3 potential, the AMD 7690M within HP's notebooks is much faster than the GT 550m or GT 555m because AMD uses GDDR5 memory

    You can also help thermals by going with a dual core instead of quad core.
    But much of those overheating problems were the parts themselves in 2010.
    an i7-720QM and AMD 5850 were very bad notebook choices. HP was at fault for ignoring that
  6. Mine has a quad core, and it is much improved over its predecessor. It even idles with the fan completely off. But by their very nature, they will get hot playing BF3 or other heavyweight games. This is a fault of Intel's Turbo boost; and its a price paid for better FPS
  7. Wave Fusion said:
    the AMD 7690M within HP's notebooks is much faster than the GT 550m or GT 555m because AMD uses GDDR5 memory
    Not so much. HD 6770M also has GDDR5 and it's a bit slower than GT 555M. The best 555Ms also use GDDR5.
    GT 550M/GT 555M or HD 6770M/HD 7690M are pretty much limited to running BF3 on medium settings.
    And you'd need to do some graphics tweaking to get smooth & fluid gameplay.
  8. The NVidia Geforce GT555M and the AMD Radeon 7690 / 6770 are very similar in performance. In real world use you would not notice a difference between the two GPUs.

    I saw a 15 inch HP pavillion DV6 sporting the i7-2630QM and a radeon 6770 and was very unimpressed at the temperatures. It idled at a CPU core temp of 70°C and rose to over 100° while gaming on Call of Duty Black Ops. At those temperatures I couldn't imaging the internal of the computer lasting too long.

    If you are looking for a good gaming laptop .. Give the MSIs a go.

    Either that or this GIGABYTE unit should be reliable:,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=2167432165180379&biw=1920&bih=979
  9. I've seen generally good reviews about ASUS laptops. Might be something to look into. They tend to have a complete 1 year warranty too. Accidents included.

    Every HP Pavilion I've had has ran really hot. My last one (from 2010) was as good of a coffee warmer as it was a computer. Actually, it was a better coffee warmer.
  10. bigj231 said:
    I've seen generally good reviews about ASUS laptops.

    + 1

    I've heard very good things about the ASUS laptops too. I've also got a 2009 ASUS Core 2 Duo laptop that has been quite good. It doesn't get above 66°C even under full load. That's better than most desktops.
  11. To avoid some confusion: The AMD 7690M is the 2012 version of the 6770M, which I use.
    To my knowledge, they are identical except for the 7690M receiving a 100 MHz higher GPU memory clock (900MHZ)

    I favor the 6770M over the GT 555 because ALL 6770Ms have GDDR5. The same die with DDR3 would have a completely different number. (such as the ENVY 14 does)

    Some GT 555Ms have GDDR5, that much is true. however unless they explicitly say they do, better assume they do not.
    Dell in particular has used 3 GB of VRAM of an unspecified type. I would suspect 3 GB of GDDR5 is both expensive and pointless.
    Even desktop cards only use 2 GB of GDDR5

    The GPU cores themselves are comparable. But the type of memory used is either the great equalizer or the finishing blow to the GT 555.
    I've even read some have 96 EUs while some have 144. Its an absurd gamble
  12. Just make sure you know exactly what you're getting, and grill them for answers if necessary.
  13. legendkiller said:
    Go for it... Buy that laptop since it have a GT550m which is great...

    Yeah, it looks great, and you must know the price :bounce:
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