First of all, as a warning, I'm not exactly a super tech-savvy person, so forgive me if I'm rather clueless. I've never been a PC gamer (mainly because my current, 4-year old laptop won't play anything) and have always stuck with my PS3, so I really have very little knowledge on how to choose a new laptop for this type of thing.
I'm looking to buy a new laptop that's under 1000 that will be able to play most recent games around medium, or at the very least medium to low, settings. For example, I would be really happy with something that could play, say, Skyrim at medium setting. I don't expect a pure gaming laptop, since I know those are 1. Huge in size and 2. Are pricey.
I've so far seen two that I'm fairly interested in:
the ASUS N56VZ
15.6" HD (1366*768)
Intel Core i7-3610QM (2.3GHz)
4GB DDR3 System Memory
Nvidia GT 650M 2G (DDR3)
500GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
or a customized HP Pavillion Dv6t Quad Edition which would have:
15.6-inch diagonal Full HD Anti-glare LED-backlit Display (1920 x 1080)
3rd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3610QM Processor (2.3 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache)
8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GT 650M Graphics with 1GB GDDR5 memory [HDMI, VGA]
1TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
I guess what confuses me the most is the fact that according to the specs, the customized HP Pavillion seems much better (higher resolution, more RAM, GDDR5 Graphics Card, more hard drive memory), yet both are priced at 999. I know that sometimes brand names bring different prices, but it makes me worry that the HP Pavillion might have some other issues that make it less desirable.
Anyhow, would either of these be decent for gaming? Which one would you choose?
Other choices I've been considering are cheaper, but weaker including:
the ASUS N53SM (15.6" Full HD(1920 x 1080)/Intel Core i7-2670QM(2.2GHz)/6GB DDR3/Nvidia GT 630M 2Gb/750GB 7200RPM) for $899.
ASUS A53SD (15.6" HD (1366*768)/Intel Core i7-2670QM Quad Core (2.2GHz)/6GB DDR3/Nvidia GT 610M 2G/750GB 5400RPM) for only $750.
Any advice on choosing between these? What gives me the most "bang for my buck?" I'm open to any other suggestions of similarly priced laptops as well.
The HP would be the best choice. If you want a 1920x1080 resolution screen, then you need a graphic card powerful enough to play games at medium quality. The GT 650m is that card. The GT 630m is much too weak to play games at that resolution unless you play with low settings and even then I'm not sure if the performance will be good enough.
On a 1366x768 screen, the GT 650M should allow you to play many games with medium to high settings. The GT 610M is a bit weak; better than integrated graphics, but not by much.
If you want to save money you can opt for a dual core i5 CPU. The vast majority of games do not use more than two cores.