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Gaming Laptop, Desktop+Laptop Combo, or what?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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June 5, 2012 9:11:11 PM

Alright. I'll start from the beginning. Currently, I have a Dell Inspiron 1764 laptop that is about 2 years old. It is bulky and heavy. It has an i5 and 4 gigs of RAM, but I dislike it because it has no dedicated video card and so I can't even play a game like World of Tanks at the lowest settings and average above 30 fps (part of that is the game itself, as I can run skyrim a little better, but skyrim lets me scale the graphics down a lot more.) Now, I am graduating this year and so have a decent amount of money and am (hopefully) getting some more. I want to be able to play games on my computer because certain kinds of games I prefer that way (modded skyrim) and because MMOs that I want to play (Firefall, Planetside 2) are only on PC. I do have an Xbox 360 (Bought in January, still to be my main game system), and am not sure that I wouldn't be better off just leaving gaming to that. The last important thing is that I will be a Computer Science Major at NC State in the fall (Go Wolfpack!) and so i have thought about getting a netbook+desktop, or a tablet+desktop, or even a cheap laptop+desktop so that I can have a decent gaming computer and a laptop as well. However, I am worried that if I don't have a good laptop, I won't be able to do all the coding I need to do. Then again, I can always do my coding in my dorm room or the lab...I think, if someone who can help me out with that would that would be really helpful. Going back on my concern of needing a good laptop, I have been looking at the Asus G53SX or the Asus G55VW, which are $1150 and $1300 respectively, but most people I talk to say that I shouldn't get that (computer teacher at my school, is a huge gamer, and tech support with my school, the lady isn't a gamer but is fairly knowledgeable), and it is a huge amount to spend on a laptop that wont last that long.

Okay, now that you know my life story, I am really hoping for some advice on my best course of action. Criticism on anything I have said is fine, but please don't leave hate comments saying I am stupid or something. Also note that I would love to play more games on my computer if possible such as Battlefield 3, but the main reason is for PC exclusive games.

The Numbers:

Budget:
$1000-$1500 if I'm getting a PC that can game, if I am leaving gaming to the Xbox then about $500 for the laptop.

If I missed any info ask and I will respond with it.
June 5, 2012 9:37:19 PM

No reason to pay for 6 year old hardware.

Is it possible to wait for GTX 680m?
June 5, 2012 10:11:57 PM

I can wait for a few months for certain, maybe even into next year. is the 660M really that old? And the main problem with waiting for something new is that I probably won't be able to afford it.
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June 5, 2012 10:44:06 PM

It really depends on your habits. Obviously investing in a desktop will get you more bang for you buck in terms of performance, but a laptop would be portable in exchange.

For comp sci, you'll probably end up doing all coding at home or in a lab (really isn't that much coding for the first year or so). Some schools have excellent computer clubs that let you game on top of the line computers (mine did).

IMO get a desktop and a cheap 14" laptop for portability and battery life.
June 6, 2012 12:14:05 AM

Don't listen to this guy.

Anything AMD 6970M (Nvidia GTX 580m) and up for mobile graphics plays games just fine at high or better resolutions.

Go to notebookcheck.net to see what a particular game's framerate is and at what settings for a particular

I am running D3 with all settings maxed and 70+ FPS @ 1080p right now on my i7 w/ 6970m 2Gb GPU. More than enough to meet the need of vsync and the 60hz refresh rate. Even in 4 person parties. Oh, I also run Skyrim on high or better piped out HDMI to my TV, SWTOR with all setting maxed (+ 4xAA, I believe), etc.

Wait, I am lying... cuz that dude up there... moron1009 says that laptops can't be gaming machines. :sarcastic: 

June 6, 2012 1:02:32 AM

@ram1009 i would agree haha but sometimes we have to compromise and I am just trying to see what I can do to get what I want. I mostly just want to be able to play some MMO type games that are PC exclusive at Medium or so and same for Skyrim (Mods ftw!).

@Moornix you know that most coding can be done at home/lab from experience or what? Not doubting you just confirming reliability :) 

@Zxmpro29 that looks like a good deal, I will keep it in mind. And it is light too. How is the heat on that? Seems like it wouldn't manage it as well as the Asus design. I do have a cooler but it is a pain to lug around.

@po1nted Thanks for the good info :) 
June 6, 2012 1:35:55 AM

Mine is experience. Was an engineering major in college, and dated a CS major for a while (our dept. buildings were right next to each other). Even in group projects, most of the coding is done at home or lab. Plus, most of what you'll do in college will not tax a low end system badly unless you accidentally create an infinite loop or something.

It really boils down to habit. If you're the type to prefer parking yourself in a coffee shop or library and programming all day there, then perhaps a gaming laptop would be more suitable. Just to let you know, coffee shop owners hate it when students do that, especially if they only purchase on cup of coffee :) .
June 6, 2012 2:07:55 AM

My vote is for desktop + laptop.

Gaming laptops are usually heavy and have low battery life. They also get outdated pretty quickly and without many options for upgradability.
June 6, 2012 2:08:41 AM

Well thanks for the advice, I had heard that most projects would be done that way but not from someone with experience. And yay for infinite loops!!! hahaha. I crashed a program i wrote in Visual Basic (dislike that language soo much...) bc i was trying to run like 10 trillion simulations of a stats probability problem lol. thats always fun :) 
as to the coffee shop...i'd rather be in a nice chair in my room with an ergo keyboard and a nice 23-24" monitor that I can really see stuff on. I honestly think that a desktop would be better suited to what I want, I'm just not sure I can afford both...but if that's the case I should probably just wait instead of buying something I won't like. Thanks for the help, I have made my decision. If I cant afford the desktop+laptop (and a tablet, I have decided I want a kindle fire or nook tablet too hahaha), then I will just use xbox...which ashamedly is what my teacher recommended in the first place...oh the wisdom of old people haha he is like 50 but a more hardcore gamer than me...lol. anyways thanks every1 for the help and especially to moornix.
June 6, 2012 2:10:25 AM

Lycros didn't see your reply til right after i posted that, and yes that is my decision. Or I may just wait, but not gonna get the expensive laptop when a $400 lenovo or asus will do the trick for what I need on the go.
!