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Recommendations for Gaming Laptop $1-$1.2K

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February 20, 2012 9:02:55 PM

1. What is your budget? $1200. I could go above that if it will yield significant benefit for the money.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 15.6" to 17" screen .

3. What screen resolution do you want? 1920X1080 (I understand lower is bad).

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? Moreso a replacement, will be traveling but the unit will be primarily plugged in and stationary while I am away. Just can't lug my desktop that far :( 

5. How much battery life do you need? 3-4 hours would be nice, but as this is a gaming rig and not expected to be used often unplugged, it probably doesn't much matter.

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)? The primary games I will probably play are those in the Total War series, and I'd ideally like to play them on fairly high settings (doesn't have to be maxed out). Also perhaps Assassin's Creed and a few others, nothing terribly demanding though, I don't think.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) Browse/surf/watch movies, nothing too itensive.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? At least 500 GB, I'd say offhand. Some of these games take up a heck of a lot of space.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. Mostly looking at xoticpc. I am leaving very shortly and would definitely consider a laptop from a retailer if the price is right, but thus far I haven't found much worth even a second look. If anyone knows of anything, I'd be glad to take a look.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? I expect to be gone overseas a minimum of one year, but if this would last me more than that, I'd be quite happy.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? DVD Rom, Blu-ray would be nice but isn't necessary due to the cost.

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. ASUS and Sager seem to be the go-to brands for gaming laptops. I've heard Acer is a pretty cheap build, and recently saw that MSI wasn't thought of very highly either.

13. What country do you live in? USA. Plan to buy and ship here and take it with me abroad.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed. Much obliged for any help.

February 21, 2012 3:36:30 AM

http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np8130-clevo-p151hm1-p-297...

Xotic is hard to beat for the high end niche your interested in. Battery life might not be enough for you though.

I use this

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and it works really good for everything you list along with pretty good battery life.

If you can deal with a lower resolution ...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

is a little better machine than I'm using. You can also get the bigger battery giving you around 8 hours surfing and maybe 3-4 gaming and save a little money.

The resolution you want is quite pricey but if you have the cash, you only live once.
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February 21, 2012 12:48:00 PM

How do the other resolutions stack up? I've heard that 1366 X 768 is pretty terrible generally (depending on screen dimensions).
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February 21, 2012 1:31:23 PM

The lower resolution on a 15" doesn't really bother me when playing games on the actual laptop. With the hdmi out you can hook into a tv and game on there at whatever res you want. Played some bf2 on a 65" tv last night at 1980x1020 on low settings which looks and plays pretty good. My cheap rig gets about 5-6 hours in saving mode.

Another great option might be this

http://www.compsource.com/ttechnote.asp?part_no=LW460UA...

17" and better 1600x900 resolution. Real good video card. This is a refurb... add $100 for new. If HP is acceptable this machine should perform good and get really good battery life with the 100whr battery. Take the change and buy an ssd for it and you have a fast machine.

If you have to have that 1980x1020 though and you have the cash, go for it.
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February 21, 2012 1:43:49 PM

Nah, 1980X1020 isn't a make-or-break, so I'm definitely open to suggestions. I've been a bit leery of HP as I had a family member who worked for them for a number of years and wasn't ever overly impressed with their quality. Still, I'm not beholden to any particular brand, just want to avoid cheap quality and poor reliability.

I likely won't be hooking up to any external displays and won't likely have easy access to send the unit in if there's a problem, so I'd like the unit to be solid and useful, and as such am willing to pay a bit extra to try and help make sure that is what I get.
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February 26, 2012 2:37:04 PM

but where can I buy one? no Best Buy in the state has any more

Both run well over $1200 except at best buy
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February 27, 2012 12:14:03 AM

http://www.amazon.com/Republic-Gamers-G53SX-AH71-15-6-I...

Amazon has some G74 and G53 machines, but they're not as good as the ones at Best Buy: more expensive and you need to check the specs carefully to make sure you're not getting a 900p screen or an old GTX 460m. The one I linked above is good except for the slow hard drive.

I was about to suggest the Toshiba Qosmio, but then I looked at Newegg and half of them were refurbished, with the other half out of stock. Does not inspire confidence...

HP has good specs and prices, but some of the worst cooling jobs I've ever seen. My mom's brand new HP was idling above 90º C right out of the box. Basically, if you touched it, it overheated and shut down. However, if you're comfortable with following the step-by-step instructions in the service guide to take it apart and reapply the thermal compound, you can get a pretty good machine for the price. You can get a 15.6" dv6t with a 1080p screen, a dual-core i5, 6 GB of RAM, 750 GB 7200 rpm hdd, HD7690 graphics card, and an extended battery (the height helps cooling) for less than $1000.

If you want more power while still keeping around the same budget, though, you need to look at the boutique options like xoticpc. Your best bet there seems to be the Sager NP8130 — there are a couple of MSI Force laptops in your price range too, but the cheap processors are backordered so you'd either have to wait (which doesn't seem to be an option for you) or upgrade and pay 1300+.
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February 28, 2012 12:41:51 AM

Yeah I had basically settled on the Sager8130 but I quite like the 17" screen so I'm not sure. I wonder how long those backordered processors would take to get in. It looks like I could order that G74 and have it show up at a Best Buy, but I'm still undecided there. No way I'll be able to do any tinkering with an HP (or anything else) as I will be in hotels for the next long while.
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March 4, 2012 5:31:40 AM

Well, it looks like the Asus machine I was looking at at Best Buy is no longer around or the price changed significantly. Also, the Sager 8130 is no longer listed on xoticpc >.<.

Any thoughts on this? http://www.xoticpc.com/asus-n73smds72-preorder-p-3574.h...
It's on pre-order, so I have no idea how long it might take to receive =\, but the specs look pretty solid for the price.
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March 5, 2012 12:50:49 AM

SouthernSteel said:
Well, it looks like the Asus machine I was looking at at Best Buy is no longer around or the price changed significantly. Also, the Sager 8130 is no longer listed on xoticpc >.<.

Any thoughts on this? http://www.xoticpc.com/asus-n73smds72-preorder-p-3574.h...
It's on pre-order, so I have no idea how long it might take to receive =\, but the specs look pretty solid for the price.


For non-gaming that's okay, but the gt 630m will only get you low or medium if you still want something to play games on.

If you still want a gaming machine, there are still tons of options besides the NP8130.
http://www.xoticpc.com/force-1761-msi-1761-p-3152.html?...
http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us... ($1180 with code 7WR1C2?HTTQQ11)
http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/store_access... ($1050 with code NBH5297)

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March 10, 2012 9:44:39 PM

The force 1761 is the one with the backordered processors.
The NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M seems a bit sketchy to me since the maker released so many different versions with widely varying quality.
And the HP coupon is already gone apparently, boo :( 

Thanks for all the info and help, though, it is much appreciated to help make sense of all the crap out there.

Any thoughts on: http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np8130-built-clevo-p151hm1...
or
http://www.xoticpc.com/asus-g53sxrh71-p-3593.html?wconf...
?

I may just have to settle for the Dell before I run out of time and sanity.
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March 10, 2012 10:50:02 PM

Those are both good but notice a couple of things:

The Sager comes with 1600 MHz RAM for some reason, when only the i7-2760qm and higher processors can use it. You probably want to save $50 going down to the 1333 MHz RAM.

The Asus's default config has two hard drives, so you can ditch one if you want.

Both laptops come with matte screens. The Sager has a glossy option for $95.
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March 10, 2012 11:56:15 PM

What is your opinion of the matte/glossy screens? I've got a friend recommending alienware to me as well, but those seem pretty overpriced for what they are.
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March 11, 2012 3:11:40 AM

Matte/glossy is personal preference. You need to decide for yourself.
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March 11, 2012 9:13:58 PM

Is this a joke? Am I being trolled right now? I really can't tell.

You already asked about the very similar n73 a week ago. The Asus n-series isn't for gaming. On top of that, that laptop is overpriced considering it's refurbished, has a 900p screen, and is using a processor from 2009 (i7-720qm: three digits means nehalem, which came before sandy bridge, which are the processors with 4-digit model numbers, like i7-2630qm). If you want a computer like this, get an ultrabook, and don't confuse the discussion by asking for gaming laptops at the same time.

The refurbished Asus is okay. It's kind of overpriced considering the 900p screen and being refurbished, but whatever. You've gotten better suggestions and if this is what you decide to get, that's your decision.

You've been suggested basically every good laptop sold in the United States at this point. Asus G-series, Sager NP813x, Toshiba Qosmio, HP dv7, HP Envy 17, Dell XPS 17. The Lenovo Y570 is 15 inches, Alienwares are out of your budget. There is no reason for you to be looking at other machines for the usage that you've stated (17" desktop replacement, moderate gaming, ~$1200), so please stop asking. We're not holding out on you. You've got all the information you need if you reread the thread. You just need to pick something.
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