Looking for 400 - 700 dollar laptop

Hello there!

I am looking for a laptop around the 500 dollar. I know this is a bit low, especially for what I want to use it for, but I would at least like to keep it below the 700 dollar.

I'm in no hurry. I can wait a couple of months. In fact, that is my plan in the first place; I want to wait for Windows 8. But if you say that waiting is useless (which I doubt, because new and better laptops come out every couple of months), I can buy a laptop now and update to Windows 8 for only 15 dollars (or so I've read).

Besides Windows 8, the only thing I really want is to be able to run the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat on max settings (or maybe with AA turned off). Here are the system requirements:

Minimum System Requirements
Intel Pentium 4 2.0 Ghz / AMD XP 2200+
512 MB RAM
128 MB DirectX 8.0 compatible card / nVIDIA GeForce 5700 / ATI Radeon 9600

Recommended System Requirements
Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 / AMD 64 X2 5600+
2 GB RAM
512 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible card / nVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX / ATI Radeon HD 4850

Not only that, I also want to be able to run the mods AtmosFear 3 and Absolute Nature 3. The maker of those mods has the following to say about the performance:

http://atmosfear.crommcruac.com/call-of-pripyat/faq.php
About AtmosFear 3: "On systems with less than 2GB of RAM 'Out of memory' problems could occur. Do not install hi-res textures unless you have at least 3GB of RAM and decent GPU.
The same apply to 32 bit systems where xRay engine can allocate maximum 2GB RAM."

http://absolute.crommcruac.com/call-of-pripyat/faq.php
About Absolute Nature 3: "This mod requires strong GPU and a lot of RAM (at least 3GB). Installing this mod can cause memory problems on 32bit systems or systems with less than 3GB RAM. If you experience heavy framedrop or CTDs try to lower settings as texture quality, draw distance and object quality in advanced graphics settings and/or resolution in basic settings. The overall amount of polygons that the levels are built from doubled due to hi-poly tree replacements and denser vegetation. Because of that the average framerate dropped for about 30%."

I've seen someone on youtube who was able to run the game together with the AtmosFear 3 mod on an Acer Aspire laptop pretty smoothly, but I'm not sure he also used the Absolute Nature 3 mod.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qSoTzPk-H4
"Aspire 7551G

Processor: Athlon II P340 Dual-Core Processor, 2.2 GHz
Memory: 4GB DDR3 1044Mhz
GPU: Radeon HD 5650 1GB

Resolution: 1280x720
All settings: Almost Max, AA: Off"

Both my brothers have an Acer Aspire, and they look pretty good. I've heard people saying that the build quality is bad, but it doesn't look bad at all to me. And fact is that they are cheap.

I know everyone always says that gaming on a laptop isn't possible. I just want to run this specific game, with these specific mods, with a decent framerate. I don't want 60 FPS, but 20-30 would be nice. If that isn't possible on a laptop below 700 dollars (now or in a few months), then please say so.

Do I want other things? Nah, not really. As long as the screen is bigger than the one in my 2007 macbook. Something like 15 inch would be fine. 17 inch is too big for me.

Greetings and thanks in advance!
Androyed
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  1. Androyed said:
    Besides Windows 8, the only thing I really want is to be able to run the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat on max settings (or maybe with AA turned off). Here are the system requirements:

    Minimum System Requirements
    Intel Pentium 4 2.0 Ghz / AMD XP 2200+
    512 MB RAM
    128 MB DirectX 8.0 compatible card / nVIDIA GeForce 5700 / ATI Radeon 9600

    Recommended System Requirements
    Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 / AMD 64 X2 5600+
    2 GB RAM
    512 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible card / nVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX / ATI Radeon HD 4850

    Not only that, I also want to be able to run the mods AtmosFear 3 and Absolute Nature 3. The maker of those mods has the following to say about the performance:

    http://atmosfear.crommcruac.com/call-of-pripyat/faq.php
    About AtmosFear 3: "On systems with less than 2GB of RAM 'Out of memory' problems could occur. Do not install hi-res textures unless you have at least 3GB of RAM and decent GPU.
    This is going to be tough on your budget. Those requirements are for DESKTOP graphics cards.
    Laptop graphics cards are much weaker (and a lot more expensive).
  2. But what about the guy on youtube that could run it smoothly on an Acer Aspire? I don't know the exact price of that model, but I believe it was around 600 dollar.

    And by the way, that youtube clip was from 2010. Surely there are better laptops now for the same price.
  3. Was he using max settings?
  4. WR2 said:
    Was he using max settings?


    See the description in the video. Max but with AA off. The description is in the first post of this thread by the way.
  5. Those guys lie all the time - showing off - so to speak.
  6. WR2 said:
    Those guys lie all the time - showing off - so to speak.


    Well, it looked smooth at least.

    Fact is that he did run it with the AtmosFear 3 mod. I think the Absolute Nature 3 mod is the most stressing for the laptop, but still... And I doubt he would lie about what laptop he is using.
  7. What graphics card was used?
  8. WR2 said:
    What graphics card was used?


    Every information I know is in the first post of this thread.

    Radeon HD 5650 1GB
  9. Mobility Radeon HD 5650 is quite a bit below the performance of the Recommended System Requirements > nVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX / ATI Radeon HD 4850


    Mobility Radeon HD 5650 = 631
    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=Mobility+Radeon+HD+5650

    Radeon HD 4850 = 1332
    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=Radeon+HD+4850
  10. Maybe you see why I'm skeptical. Less than half the recommended graphics card,
    which is probably still not quite up to playing the game with settings maxed out.
  11. WR2 said:
    Mobility Radeon HD 5650 is quite a bit below the performance of the Recommended System Requirements > nVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX / ATI Radeon HD 4850


    Mobility Radeon HD 5650 = 631
    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=Mobility+Radeon+HD+5650

    Radeon HD 4850 = 1332
    http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu.php?gpu=Radeon+HD+4850


    Oh well...

    Let me put it this way: I just want the best possible laptop that comes to closest to running this specific game with these specific mods as possible. I don't know what is more important, CPU, GPU or RAM (I've heard it depends on which game you want to play). I guess RAM (see what the developer of the mods has to say about the performance) in my case. I've seen some Acer Aspire laptops with an AMD quad core CPU, but also some with an intel core i3, i5 and i7 (i7 is a bit too expensive for me). Some laptops had 8 GB of RAM, others 6 GB. And I also saw some with 1-2 GB of VRAM.

    I can wait a few months until Windows 8 comes out, if that changes anything about the price/quality. Whatever happens, my budget stays below 700 dollar/euro.
  12. If you're buying a new laptop now you probably quality for a inexpensive Windows 8 upgrade.

    Euros? Whats the best deal on a gaming laptop you've seen so far for 700 Euros?
  13. Here is the list countries in which the upgrade offer is valid:

    https://windowsupgradeoffer.com/en/Home/ProgramInfo
  14. WR2 said:
    If you're buying a new laptop now you probably quality for a inexpensive Windows 8 upgrade.

    Euros? Whats the best deal on a gaming laptop you've seen so far for 700 Euros?


    I know about the Windows 8 upgrade, but if you say that waiting would greatly decrease the price or increase the quality, then that's fine too. That is often the case, right? A price decrease after a new version of Windows comes out.

    What do you mean? I'm talking about euros because I live in the Netherlands. But 700 euro is more than 700 dollar, so I guess that's a good thing.

    I have to admit I haven't really looked into all the different laptops. To be honest, most of it confuses me. What is better, what is not... I've mainly looked at the Acer Aspire models.
  15. Androyed said:
    But 700 euro is more than 700 dollar, so I guess that's a good thing
    You guys pay higher taxes.
    And I think we have some lower prices to begin with.


    Acer Aspire AS7750G 15" notebook $580 (tax & shipping included)
    Core i5-2450M 2.5GHz CPU and AMD Radeon HD 6650M graphics card.

    Can you locate a price on a similar model where you are?
  16. I found a UK model for £599 and it looks identical, except for 6GB RAM instead of 4GB above.

    Acer Aspire 7750G


    Right now 1GBP = 1.5560 USD. US model should cost $870 if not for the difference in prices and taxes.
  17. WR2 said:
    You guys pay higher taxes.
    And I think we have some lower prices to begin with.


    Acer Aspire AS7750G 15" notebook $580 (tax & shipping included)
    Core i5-2450M 2.5GHz CPU and AMD Radeon HD 6650M graphics card.

    Can you locate a price on a similar model where you are?


    You are right. The Acer Aspire 7750G with 17,3 inch screen and core i5 CPU is always above the 600 euros in the Netherlands. Maybe shipping is an option, but first I want to actually find a good laptop, before looking if it's available for below 700 euro in my country.
  18. WR2 said:
    I found a UK model for £599 and it looks identical, except for 6GB RAM instead of 4GB above.

    Acer Aspire 7750G


    Right now 1GBP = 1.5560 USD. US model should cost $870 if not for the difference in prices and taxes.


    Ah, thanks! I forgot about the UK! I actually shop a lot at amazon.co.uk. Amazon.de is often cheaper too.

    This is what I hate about laptops. There isn't really a system... The exact same model might have 4GB RAM in the US, and 6GB RAM in the UK...
  19. I can tell you what laptop graphics cards are approximately as powerful as a Radeon HD 4850 desktop card. Let me find you the references.
  20. NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M review

    If you look to the right of the review over at the NotebookCheck website you'll notice a long vertical column of graphics card listed. For comparison, there are some desktop cards mixed in about where they lie in terms of performance.

    GeForce GT 640M is near the top of what they call Class 2 cards - fourth down the list in that category. If you move up above Class 2 you'll find the desktop HD 4850 fourth up from the Class 2 heading.
  21. WR2 said:
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M review

    If you look to the right of the review over at the NotebookCheck website you'll notice a long vertical column of graphics card listed. For comparison, there are some desktop cards mixed in about where they lie in terms of performance.

    GeForce GT 640M is near the top of what they call Class 2 cards - fourth down the list in that category. If you move up above Class 2 you'll find the desktop HD 4850 fourth up from the Class 2 heading.


    Thanks a lot for your help!

    With that card, I found this laptop:
    http://www.alternate.nl/html/shop/productDetails.html?artno=pl6czn3w&channel_code=110&product_code=47276971

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Acer-Aspire-TimeLine-Ultra-Ultrabook/dp/B007PPCEO8/ref=sr_1_1?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1339528238&sr=1-1

    I guess those prices aren't too bad. I'm just going to wait for Windows 8, see if the prices will drop. I'm happy to know a decent GPU in a laptop isn't completely out of my budget.

    Again, thanks for your help!
  22. The Core i5 2467M 1.60GHz is a bit weaker than you'd want to go for, it's one of the ULV (ultra low voltage) models more about saving battery power than for high performance.

    But usually you CAN find a i5-2450 2.5Ghz CPU equipped model with the same graphics card for about the same price, maybe even a bit less. The Ultrabook models usually go for a premium price. GT 640M is pretty new and as the old models sell off you'll see more of that card (along with Ivy Bridge replacement CPUs).
  23. WR2 said:
    The Core i5 2467M 1.60GHz is a bit weaker than you'd want to go for, it's one of the ULV (ultra low voltage) models more about saving battery power than for high performance.

    But usually you CAN find a i5-2450 2.5Ghz CPU equipped model with the same graphics card for about the same price, maybe even a bit less. The Ultrabook models usually go for a premium price. GT 640M is pretty new and as the old models sell off you'll see more of that card (along with Ivy Bridge replacement CPUs).


    Aren't Ivy Bridge CPU's good for power saving? I saw that Intel is coming with Ivy Bridge ultrabooks in the near future, even with touchscreen, which sounds interesting with Windows 8.
  24. Also, Aspire TimeLine M5's are coming out in the near future. They have the GeForce GT 640M GPU, Ivy Bridge and are around 800 euro (14 inch)
  25. Ivy Bridge is a full range of CPUs, quad core, dual core and ULV versions.
    On a clock for clock basis they're a bit more powerful.

    In your price range and gaming goals - the dual core i5 2450 2.5Ghz SB or i5-3210M 2.5Ghz IVB.
  26. WR2 said:
    Ivy Bridge is a full range of CPUs, quad core, dual core and ULV versions.
    On a clock for clock basis they're a bit more powerful.

    In your price range and gaming goals - the dual core i5 2450 2.5Ghz SB or i5-3210M 2.5Ghz IVB.


    SB would be Sandy Bridge, and IVB Ivy Bridge? I would rather wait for IVB.

    I want a laptop as a desktop replacement. I don't care about the screen size: I will be using a monitor anyway. I don't care about the battery: it will be plugged in most of the time anyway. I don't care about the thickness. I don't want super slim ultrabooks. And I don't care about the weight. All the other things like screen resolution and hard drive, I'm sure they will be fine. All laptops nowadays come with a decent screen resolution and a pretty big hard drive, and I have an external 1 TB hard drive anyway.
  27. I just don't want to waste money on those things, that's all I want to say. I would rather spend money on the things that actually matter.
  28. What 'things' are you talking about?
  29. WR2 said:
    What 'things' are you talking about?


    See the reply before that one. Basically, it comes down to this. I would rather spend money on things like the CPU, GPU, RAM than on the battery, hard drive, screen size and thickness. I don't care if my laptop is bulky, heavy and ugly. Most laptops today are getting thinner and thinner. And why? I don't want to waste money on that.
  30. That's OK with me. You're the one that linked in an Ultrabook.
  31. WR2 said:
    That's OK with me. You're the one that linked in an Ultrabook.


    Hehe, I'm sorry! I wasn't asking your permission. I was just wondering if my wish is even possible these days. Acer, Intel, they all come with these ultrabooks. Are there any laptops that don't focus on size, looks and battery?
  32. Definitely possible. Most custom gaming notebooks fall into that category.
    http://www.btonotebooks.nl/
  33. http://www.gaminglaptopsjunky.com/

    check this place out for some suggested laptops at price points.
    they give a small summary of what they pick and why, with some pros-cons.
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