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Help choosing between a few laptop types

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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May 10, 2012 12:22:59 AM

Hello, I am new here and need some assistance choosing the right laptop for myself. For a bit of background, I am going off to university this upcoming fall and so my laptop is basically going to be my constant companion for at least this first year when I don't have my own dorm, as I am both going to spend much time out of the dorm room considering it's not so private. Once I finally obtain my own dorm room one of these subsequent years, I then intend to scrap up some money and build my own nice desktop PC (primarily with gaming in mind), but until that time comes, I don't want to spend too much time in my dorm nor would I be comfortable leaving such a valuable object in the presence of others.

So, for now, my laptop's going to have to be an all-around well-built machine that can do a bit of everything at least somewhat adequately. Primarily, I'll be using this to type notes in class, if allowed (so good, spacious keyboard's important), my typical internet browsing, type papers/lab reports, and, of course, play a few games (I know, it's a laptop and I'm going with a certain budget... not expecting much or to play the newest games at all, just want the best gaming capabilities for the price). To keep a long story short, I'll also be bringing my PS3 along to college, but I'm incredibly sick of console gaming and developers rigidly deciding for me what settings to set my games at, resulting in me forever remembering this console generation as the sluggish, low standard, sub-30 fps one that turned me primarily to PC gaming. I figure getting a decent laptop for about $800 that can at least match what a 6 year old console can put out shouldn't be too difficult, at the very least.

Moving on, as I know I've probably bored you with my rambling (:p ), I've done a lot of research and come down to a couple specific laptops I have my eye on, but I have a few questions. First, the main two I'm considering are:

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml... - Asus R500VM-MS71

and

http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/cdetland.to?poid=20... - Toshiba Satellite P750-BT4G22

Now, the Toshiba is the one I'm more leaning to, if only because the Asus is a bit new and doesn't really have any reviews I can find and because if I'm understanding the concept of the keyboard type correctly, I'm going to hate its "chiclet" keyboard. Honestly, though, I have no idea what to expect of the keyboard... not really sure what it is, but aren't chiclet keyboards the non-traditional types that don't snap down and have keys made of rubber? In any case, aside from that, I realize the Asus, though with a very comparable GPU (GT 630m) and RAM (8 gbs) to the Toshiba (GT 540m and also 8 GBs of RAM, except a lower clock speed of 1333 MHz vs the Asus' 1600 MHz), has a better Ivy Bridge i7 (3610 qm vs. Toshiba's Sandy Bridge i7 2670qm with a slightly lower clock speed) and that's really the only reason I prefer the Asus. As far as battery life goes, I have no idea how the two compare and I'd be going with the stock battery (6 cell, 4400 mAH) for the Toshiba if I got it.

In general, though, I think the Toshiba is a safer bet, I'm just not sure how much of a difference the differing CPUs would make and overall if I may be giving up the superior of the two. Any thoughts on that would be much appreciated. Aside from that, I have one other concern dealing with CPUs. Both laptops I've linked have quad-core i7s. Though I realize that overall, they're better than i5s, generally, I worry that it may not be the case for gaming in particular as both i7s have lower clock speeds than most laptop i5s I've looked at and I know not all PC games (or many really, especially with the 2010 and below ones I'll mostly be playing) really make use of the additional two cores, so I'm not sure what to do there. I could get a Toshiba Satellite with the same specs as the other Toshiba except with a higher clocked, dual-core i5 and save $100:

http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/cdetland.to?poid=20... - Toshiba Satellite P740-BT4G22

But then, there's also Turbo Boost to factor in and I'm not quite sure how that works. Games I intend to at least try to play on whatever laptop I choose include Fallout: New Vegas, Dragon Age: Origins, and The Witcher 1 (if possible... not expecting to run The Witcher 2, certainly; unsure about 1, though... hear it has some ridiculous rendering distances that might bog things down)... in addition to many older/even less demanding games that I shouldn't have any problems with (as I don't even with my mother's relatively pathetic laptop; games such as KotOR, Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, TES I-III, Deus Ex, Mount and Blade, Civilization II/III, The Sims games, etc.). Anyway, for anyone who read that whole thing, I would appreciate any help and thank you.

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a b D Laptop
May 10, 2012 12:55:46 AM

I would take the i5 machine and the $100...
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