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Help me choose: High-end, long-lasting gaming laptop for $2000 or less

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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April 19, 2012 11:09:56 AM

My best friend has had terrible luck with her current laptop, and has been desperately trying to find a good deal on a new one. I've vowed to help her find something that will serve her needs now as well as last her awhile into the future.

Budget: Up to $2000 USD maximum

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 15" Minimum, 18" Maximum

3. What screen resolution do you want? 1920 x 1080 Minimum.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? Versatile, I guess. Usually in-bed use.

5. How much battery life do you need? 2-4 hours Minimum.

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)? World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and likely Mists of Pandaria in the future, to run at complete, ULTRA, maxxed out settings with decent (40+) framerate in high-population / and heavy-graphics or heavy-processor intensive environments.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) Mild photo editing, and consistent, audio editing (Adobe Audition).

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? 250-300GB minimum, but I'm wondering if it would be possible to do a hybrid SSD and HDD in this budget, to allow for the OS and some of her applications on the SSD for the fast load times.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. No sites in particular are desired, though no-named sites should be avoided.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? maybe 4-5 years? At the very least, 2-3 years or more.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? A basic DVD rom and writer is acceptable, but if Blu-Ray reader can fit into the budget, that's more than welcome.

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. Please no HP. I bought an HP laptop for myself a few years ago (dv8t), and it has so many issues that I returned it within a week. Hardest realization of buyer's remorse ever, too, because I loved that thing until I realized that almost everything I wanted to use had some compatibility issue (and no surprise that the dv8t was sweeped out of their production line, soonafter).

13. What country do you live in? United States

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed. The budget cap is $2000, and I'm requesting some higher-end hardware in some of these categories, just to see what we can do if we push it toward the full budget. HOWEVER, I know that she would ultimately be happy without superfast SSD load times or a bluray player. Her biggest concern is being able to smoothly play WoW on ultra settings with good framerate at all times, and to use her audio editing software smoothly.

I just wanted to see what I could shove in there within her budget to provide her with options.

Thanks!
a b D Laptop
April 19, 2012 1:10:43 PM

Few things to keep in mind:

1 - In bed use: not a good idea since the covers usually block the air vent and laptop will overheat. You might consider using a cooling pad if you want to use on the bed.

2 - you will not be able to upgrade CPU and graphics.

3 - battery: 2-4 hours minimum. Almost impossible if playing games at really high setings and/or using optical drive. Advertised battery life by companies is unrealistic.

4 - if using AC adapter all the time, remove the battery otherwise it will be charged constantly and eventually die.

Good luck with your search.
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a b D Laptop
April 19, 2012 1:19:45 PM

Most high-end gaming laptops come with switchable MXM graphics. A good chunk of them don't have soldered CPUs. You're stuck with that particular generation of CPU, though, so if you build it with the best then you're done. MXM is currently at 3.0b, so if it's a 3.0b card you're good to go.
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April 19, 2012 1:32:57 PM

electrontau said:
Few things to keep in mind:

1 - In bed use: not a good idea since the covers usually block the air vent and laptop will overheat. You might consider using a cooling pad if you want to use on the bed.

2 - you will not be able to upgrade CPU and graphics.

3 - battery: 2-4 hours minimum. Almost impossible if playing games at really high setings and/or using optical drive. Advertised battery life by companies is unrealistic.

4 - if using AC adapter all the time, remove the battery otherwise it will be charged constantly and eventually die.

Good luck with your search.


Already got an air vent for the current laptop. It's one of those cushion coolers that is meant for use in the bed and keeps the notebook raised at an angle, along with a fan. I figured upgrades were out of the question, and I know that heavy use of the laptop unplugged would drain power quickly. Was referring to casual use, such as internet browsing in a setting in which an AC outlet was not available.

Thank you for #4 especially, though, I did not think about that.

The main reason that I'm going for a laptop here for her is that the living space is too cramped for a desk, and there is very little desire to set up a desktop on the floor. Mobility is totally key alongside everything else.
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Best solution

a c 572 D Laptop
April 19, 2012 1:33:43 PM

Hello colorwhite;

A wide range of custom gaming notebooks available @ XoticPC

Something with, I believe, options for everything you want. And a few you didn't mention like backlit keyboard.
Sager NP9170 17" notebook starting @ ~$1369
Core i7-2670QM 2.2Ghz (3.1Ghz Turbo), 8GB RAM, 500GB 7200rpm HDD, 17.3" 1920x1080 LCD w Geforce GTX 670M graphics.

Possible upgrade options:
120GB Intel 520 Series Solid State Drive +$140
Blu-Ray ROM/8X DVDRW Super Multi Combo Drive +$80
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit Installed +$80 (not included in base price)
~$1764 with all the options I think you've mentioned.
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a b D Laptop
April 19, 2012 1:35:51 PM

Ok less talking about what the needs are. Lets get to work and find this young man a laptop....Sounds to me like hes trying to Impress the "best friend"
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a b D Laptop
April 19, 2012 1:40:20 PM

WR2 said:
Hello colorwhite;

A wide range of custom gaming notebooks available @ XoticPC

Something with, I believe, options for everything you want. And a few you didn't mention like backlit keyboard.
Sager NP9170 17" notebook starting @ ~$1369
Core i7-2670QM 2.2Ghz (3.1Ghz Turbo), 8GB RAM, 500GB 7200rpm HDD, 17.3" 1920x1080 LCD w Geforce GTX 670M graphics.

Possible upgrade options:
120GB Intel 520 Series Solid State Drive +$140
Blu-Ray ROM/8X DVDRW Super Multi Combo Drive +$80
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit Installed +$80 (not included in base price)
~$1764 with all the options I think you've mentioned.

That is the best dang deal i have seen! perfect for this! "Approved"!
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April 19, 2012 2:59:54 PM

WR2 said:
Hello colorwhite;

A wide range of custom gaming notebooks available @ XoticPC

Something with, I believe, options for everything you want. And a few you didn't mention like backlit keyboard.
Sager NP9170 17" notebook starting @ ~$1369
Core i7-2670QM 2.2Ghz (3.1Ghz Turbo), 8GB RAM, 500GB 7200rpm HDD, 17.3" 1920x1080 LCD w Geforce GTX 670M graphics.

Possible upgrade options:
120GB Intel 520 Series Solid State Drive +$140
Blu-Ray ROM/8X DVDRW Super Multi Combo Drive +$80
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit Installed +$80 (not included in base price)
~$1764 with all the options I think you've mentioned.

That is incredible. I'm keeping this first in line. Hell, even the stock model would do perfectly. Thanks so much for this.

Rockdpm said:
Ok less talking about what the needs are. Lets get to work and find this young man a laptop....Sounds to me like hes trying to Impress the "best friend"

Haha. She's already an ex, so no go there ;) 
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April 19, 2012 3:00:19 PM

Best answer selected by colorwhite.
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a c 572 D Laptop
April 19, 2012 3:55:37 PM

colorwhite said:
Hell, even the stock model would do perfectly.
I agree. And I think you could save a bit more dropping down one notch on the GPU and still meet your gaming goals.

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