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$1800 (CDN) gaming/graphics processing laptop

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June 13, 2012 4:52:24 PM

1. What is your budget? ~$1800 max (CAD) EDIT: CANADIAN DOLLARS

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 17" preferably, willing to go to 15.6" if need be.

3. What screen resolution do you want? 1920x1080

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? Neither really (see explanation below)

5. How much battery life do you need? As much as I can get, but realistically only a few hours (will be plugged in)

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)? Preferably high, but not sure if I can do that on an $1800 budget - Diablo III, future games, etc.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) I will be doing graphics processing with this (direct X) and gaming.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? 500gb to 1tb is fine

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. www.canadacomputers.com || www.tigerdirect.ca || www.newegg.ca

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?~5 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? CD/DVD ROM read/write (blu-ray would be nice)

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. Not a fan of Toshiba, the last few I have seen tend to fail for one reason or another (seen 3 in the last 5 years do this).

Since this is a high end laptop i want brands like Asus, MSI, Alienware (I know they are owned by Dell now, are they still a decent brand?)

13. What country do you live in? Canada

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

I am going to school in September for video game programming, which will include C++ and Direct X. The program specifically states we will need a good laptop (we can buy one from the school for $1800) that has at least 8GB RAM, a quad core processor, and at least a 1GB video card

We will be rendering graphics which is INTENSIVE on the video card. I am also a hardcore gamer so I want a laptop that I can take anywhere and play a game on decent settings (medium or better).

Here is what I have found so far:

http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=7...
-i7-2630QM 2Ghz -GTX 570M 1.5GB -12GB RAM -1TB HD -2x USB 2.0/3.0 -15.6" -HDMI
-$1,449.88

http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=7...
-i7-2670QM 2.2Ghz-GTX 580M 2GB-12GB RAM-1TB HD-USB 3.0-Series Gaming Backlit Keyboard-17"-HDMI
-$1,849.88

http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=7...
-i7-2670QM 2.2Ghz-GTX 560M 3GB-12GB RAM-1.5TB HD-3xUSB 2.0/ 1X USB 3.0-17"-HDMI
-$1,649.88

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...
-i7-3610QM 2.3GHz-GTX 670M 3GB-16GB DDR3-750GB HD-4xUSB 3.0-17"-HDMI
-$1,599.97

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...
-i7-3610QM 2.3GHz-GTX 675M 2GB-12GB-750GB HD-3xUSB 3.0 / 2x USB 2.0-17"-HDMI
-$1,715.99
a b D Laptop
June 13, 2012 5:15:46 PM

If you can get games and CAD to run acceptably on the same GPU you'll be the first I've heard of. I've tried many times. The cards are very similar but the drivers are diametrically opposed. Also, gaming laptop=oxymoron
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June 13, 2012 5:23:32 PM

^ CAD is for "Canadian Dollar"
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a b D Laptop
June 13, 2012 5:27:54 PM

A gaming laptop with a Radeon 7970M would have excellent 1080p performance, so gaming laptop does not equal oxymoron. Some weaker cards (such as the Radeon 6990M, GTX 580M, and GTX 675M) can do 1600x900 or 1680x1050 similarly well. Furthermore, the only problem here would be that no mobile gaming GPUs are very good at compute and mobile compute GPUs probably aren't good at gaming, assuming that there even are any.

Furthermore, if this was a desktop, then the Radeon 7970 (very, very different from 7970M) or Radeon 7950 would be excellent choices for high gaming and compute performance. They also work well with professional programs (the 7970 is almost legendary in Maya).

Like RockNRollz said, CAD is Canadian Dollars, but I thought that I'd point this out anyway.
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June 13, 2012 5:32:23 PM

Have you looked at Sager?

If not, Asus laptops generally have a pretty good build quality (at the higher end).
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June 13, 2012 6:03:05 PM

@ ram1009 - "Gaming Laptop" as in "built for gaming". While I agree that no laptop can perform the same as a desktop (I have a Core-I7 2600K, 560TI, 8GB RAM gaming rig), it doesn't mean they can't perform decently for games.

And yes, lol, "CAD" is Canadian dollars, sorry for the confusion!

@jsrudd - I live in Canada and Sager is an american company, sometimes there is issues shipping across border, and I don't think they even ship to Canada.

@blazorthon - I'm not sure what you mean by "compute", do you just mean computing power? Basically I just need a solid laptop for $1800 (Canadian) dollars.
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a b D Laptop
June 13, 2012 6:10:29 PM

dangerboyjtf2 said:
@ ram1009 - "Gaming Laptop" as in "built for gaming". While I agree that no laptop can perform the same as a desktop (I have a Core-I7 2600K, 560TI, 8GB RAM gaming rig), it doesn't mean they can't perform decently for games.

And yes, lol, "CAD" is Canadian dollars, sorry for the confusion!

@jsrudd - I live in Canada and Sager is an american company, sometimes there is issues shipping across border, and I don't think they even ship to Canada.

@blazorthon - I'm not sure what you mean by "compute", do you just mean computing power? Basically I just need a solid laptop for $1800 (Canadian) dollars.


Ignore the compute remark, I was correcting ram1009 about CAD in the context of professional software and how it works with some consumer graphics cards.

The Radeon 7970M is actually a faster gaming graphics card than the GTX 560 TI and can do even games such as BF3 and Metro 2033 with maxed out texture quality and some AA/AF while still having huge FPS. It also handles tessellation excellently. If it can fit in your budget for your laptop, it will make an excellent card for 1080p gaming with a laptop.
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June 15, 2012 1:18:35 PM

blazorthon said:
Ignore the compute remark, I was correcting ram1009 about CAD in the context of professional software and how it works with some consumer graphics cards.

The Radeon 7970M is actually a faster gaming graphics card than the GTX 560 TI and can do even games such as BF3 and Metro 2033 with maxed out texture quality and some AA/AF while still having huge FPS. It also handles tessellation excellently. If it can fit in your budget for your laptop, it will make an excellent card for 1080p gaming with a laptop.


Thanks for the tip Blazor. I looked up the 7970M on GPU benchmarks and man, that card is sweet!

I have been looking for laptops in Canada with the 7970M but I only found one - on the Alienware website (owned by Dell). The only issue is that after upgrading RAM and putting the video card in, it's over my budget (Dell always charges A LOT for RAM and video card upgrades).

Is the 7970M just so new it's not really out yet in mass quantities in Canada? I'm hoping to find it in a more decently priced laptop.

PS: I noticed that Alienware makes you pay more for the 675M than the 7970M, what's with that? According to the benchmarking site the 7970M is much better than the 675M.

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a b D Laptop
June 15, 2012 2:09:09 PM

dangerboyjtf2 said:
Thanks for the tip Blazor. I looked up the 7970M on GPU benchmarks and man, that card is sweet!

I have been looking for laptops in Canada with the 7970M but I only found one - on the Alienware website (owned by Dell). The only issue is that after upgrading RAM and putting the video card in, it's over my budget (Dell always charges A LOT for RAM and video card upgrades).

Is the 7970M just so new it's not really out yet in mass quantities in Canada? I'm hoping to find it in a more decently priced laptop.

PS: I noticed that Alienware makes you pay more for the 675M than the 7970M, what's with that? According to the benchmarking site the 7970M is much better than the 675M.


Don't buy Dell's crap RAM. You can get the minimum memory specifications and then install your own that you buy from newegg.com for a minimal fraction of Dell's price and you'd be getting higher quality memory too. It's easy to install memory into a laptop.

On that PS, Nvidia is believed (by very ignorant pseudo gamers) to be faster than AMD, so Dell can charge more for the GTX 675M than they do for the much faster Radeon 7970M and get away with tricking their customers into paying more for less performance. The 7970M is also in some MSI laptop, but I don't know if they've released that yet and even if they did, I don't know if it's been released in Canada yet.
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June 15, 2012 3:57:13 PM

blazorthon said:
Don't buy Dell's crap RAM. You can get the minimum memory specifications and then install your own that you buy from newegg.com for a minimal fraction of Dell's price and you'd be getting higher quality memory too. It's easy to install memory into a laptop.

On that PS, Nvidia is believed (by very ignorant pseudo gamers) to be faster than AMD, so Dell can charge more for the GTX 675M than they do for the much faster Radeon 7970M and get away with tricking their customers into paying more for less performance. The 7970M is also in some MSI laptop, but I don't know if they've released that yet and even if they did, I don't know if it's been released in Canada yet.


Yeah, Dell has that shitty Kingston ram doesn't it? I forgot about that, and good point, if I really had to go dell, I could just put my own ram in, can't believe I didn't think of that. That being said, I'm really not interested in getting a dell unless I have. Dell is fine for the every day user who doesn't beat the crap out of their laptop and doesn't expect it to last over 3-5 years, but for gamers/high end Dell doesn't stand up.

Lately Nvidia has been beating AMD in most cards on the market in terms of "benchmarks" but I agree, that doesn't mean every card is better and it isn't as simple as "better/worse" (for example I know most AMD cards are better at multiple monitor setups).

Anyway, I'll keep an eye out for PC's coming out with the 7970M in the next couple of months, I don't have to buy this until September so I have some time.

Thanks for all the help!

Danger Boy
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June 15, 2012 3:57:32 PM

Best answer selected by dangerboyjtf2.
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a b D Laptop
June 15, 2012 4:08:20 PM

You're welcome. I think that shitty would be an over-exaggeration for Kingston RAM, but I'd definitely rather have more reputable memory than it when all else is equal (or in this case, favorable for buying other brands due to the price difference). I think that (although I'm not sure) Dell uses generic RAM and Kingston is far better than generic junk, even though it's not the best.
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