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[SOLVED] Gaming laptop for the college student (UPDATED FAQ)

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July 1, 2012 6:14:09 AM

>I ended up going with the HP dv6t 7000 quad edition with the i7 3610 and GT 650M<

Some info on me before you read: I'm going to be a freshmen (IU Bloomington!) and I'm looking for a laptop that will last me at LEAST 2 years. I will be bringing a desktop to college for gaming so this laptop is mostly for note taking/light gaming (minecraft,indie games, minimum SC2 settings etc)

The keyboard and trackpad quality is going to be important considering all the hours of note taking etc. that I will be doing.


Previously I was considering not bringing my desktop and just getting a beefy laptop, so that's why the first couple of posts are recommending heavy duty gear.


1. What is your budget?
$1200 ish

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
15 inch

3. What screen resolution do you want?
1900x1080

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Portable

5. How much battery life do you need?
4 hour minimum

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)?
Yes; Starcraft 2(on min settings though), older games such as diablo 2, UT2004, minecraft, terraira and other light indie games; Starcraft 2 on minimum settings, and pretty decent settings for the other games (but those games will be like minecraft and very light).

:fou:  This machine must at least run starcraft 2 on minimum settings 40 FPS+ IT IS REQUIRED!!! :fou: 

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
I'm not 100% sure but 99% of the time will be split between gaming, researching/web surfing, and typing for papers/projects/notes. (I will use my current usb keyboard that I like for long things such as papers)

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
256 SSD, any extra is a plus, I will probably get an external HD for projects and other things.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
None really, however I have suspicions on ibuypower and cyberpowerpc as I have heard people not recommend them.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
2 years minimum

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
dvd, anything else is a plus so long as it doesn't hike up the price a ton

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.
I'm a laptop virgin.

13. What country do you live in?
USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I would prefer it to be light and thin, but other than that kinda told a lot up top, just keep in mind I'm going to be carrying this thing around 8 hours a day and then doing some hardcore starcraft 2 seshs.

Please tell me in the thread if any more info/input is required and thanks a ton for reading/replying!
July 1, 2012 9:07:15 PM

wow $2000 on a laptop. thats a good dream of mine.
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July 1, 2012 9:41:52 PM

barebone 7970m laptops hit around 1500$, so a good customized one will cost a bit more. the 7970m is slightly better than the gtx 570(non mobile gpu) which is a gaming contender. If you want to pay the extra 300$ for the GTX 680m, its the current top of the line mobile gpu which price starts around 1900 for barebone gtx 680m.



personally, i don't like the 300$ difference between the 7970m and the GTX 680m, and would rather get a gaming laptop with a good processor, a hybrid drive/ssd than a bareboned 680m build. thats just my opinion though.
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July 2, 2012 12:16:20 AM

After doing some research know I definitely want these components:
CPU-Intel Core i7-3720QM
GPU(Not 100% sure)-GeForce GTX 675M/Radeon 7970M
Storage-256gb Crucial M4 Series Solid State Drive
Display-1920x1080 matte 95% NTSC Color Gamut at NTSC Color Gamut @ ≈15 inches

The actual laptop I'm looking at is the Sager NP9150 / Clevo P150EM.

I'm split between the GTX 675M and the Radeon 7970M


Any thoughts on my choices so far?
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July 2, 2012 1:28:48 AM

tomsonx said:
After doing some research know I definitely want these components:
CPU-Intel Core i7-3720QM
GPU(Not 100% sure)-GeForce GTX 675M/Radeon 7970M
Storage-256gb Crucial M4 Series Solid State Drive
Display-1920x1080 matte 95% NTSC Color Gamut at NTSC Color Gamut @ ≈15 inches

The actual laptop I'm looking at is the Sager NP9150 / Clevo P150EM.

I'm split between the GTX 675M and the Radeon 7970M


Any thoughts on my choices so far?


The 7970M is a considerable amount more powerful than the 675M. If your really concerned about battery life though, the 675M might be a better option, as I believe it has Optimus. I wouldn't upgrade the processor though. It won't actually improve gaming performance by any significant amount.
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July 2, 2012 1:52:31 AM

stinson1013 said:
The 7970M is a considerable amount more powerful than the 675M. If your really concerned about battery life though, the 675M might be a better option, as I believe it has Optimus. I wouldn't upgrade the processor though. It won't actually improve gaming performance by any significant amount.


True the processor upgrade won't help too much in gaming today, but don't you think that the price difference is worth it when you think about future proofing? For games you can play with the same videocard for 4 years, you will just have to turn down graphics settings as you go on, however a CPU bottleneck cannot be worked around; also the GPU I can swap out but the processor I don't think so.

And yes the 7970 will definitely do better with games but I'm not sure on the battery life/weight/heat/noise


Anybody here have personal experience with the 7970? (Battery life not that big of an issue as long as it's better than 2 hours, preferably 3+)

And do you really think the 3720 isn't worth it even when you take into account future proofing?
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July 2, 2012 2:33:03 AM

As far as future-proofing...any laptop you carry around with you daily isn't going to last 4 years in any sort of great shape. Having gone to Big10 schools for a number of years (including grad degrees), no matter how careful you might be, it'll invariably be taken places it shouldn't and have something happen.

Also, you'll have to replace the battery after 18-24 months, probably, if you're draining/recharging daily.
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July 2, 2012 5:40:39 AM

tomsonx said:
True the processor upgrade won't help too much in gaming today, but don't you think that the price difference is worth it when you think about future proofing? For games you can play with the same videocard for 4 years, you will just have to turn down graphics settings as you go on, however a CPU bottleneck cannot be worked around; also the GPU I can swap out but the processor I don't think so.

And yes the 7970 will definitely do better with games but I'm not sure on the battery life/weight/heat/noise


Anybody here have personal experience with the 7970? (Battery life not that big of an issue as long as it's better than 2 hours, preferably 3+)

And do you really think the 3720 isn't worth it even when you take into account future proofing?


I actually own a Sager NP8170 with a 6970m, the 17" version before the last refresh, and 2 hours is pretty much exactly how long the laptop lasted on battery new. I'd suggest you go for the 675M if you want a 2-3 hours on battery. The 6970M does also run quite hot (compared to other cards), so I'd assume the 7970m does as well.

I seriously doubt the base i7 processor would ever bottleneck before the GPU when gaming. It's still a fast CPU that has absolutely no problem keeping up with current GPUs.
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July 2, 2012 7:01:05 AM

inanition02 said:
As far as future-proofing...any laptop you carry around with you daily isn't going to last 4 years in any sort of great shape. Having gone to Big10 schools for a number of years (including grad degrees), no matter how careful you might be, it'll invariably be taken places it shouldn't and have something happen.


I forgot to ask but considering I'm going to college should I get the extended warranty? Considering the amount of use/carrying around I'm looking at the 3 yr $149 warranty (doesn't cover accident's but I'm a careful person)


Also thanks for the input guys, I've decided that I'm going to stick with the i7-3610QM.

Leaning very much towards the 7970 now, but still wondering about noise/heat...
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July 2, 2012 12:33:01 PM

tomsonx said:
I forgot to ask but considering I'm going to college should I get the extended warranty? Considering the amount of use/carrying around I'm looking at the 3 yr $149 warranty (doesn't cover accident's but I'm a careful person)


Also thanks for the input guys, I've decided that I'm going to stick with the i7-3610QM.

Leaning very much towards the 7970 now, but still wondering about noise/heat...


If it covers the battery, absolutely yes. If not, then I probably wouldn't.

And like I said, you're a careful person when you're not living around 40,000 other similar age people without adult supervision - and IU's a great party school. Also, you're careful..but will your roommate/party guest/visitor/etc be? Or the guy that trips as he walks by in the coffee shop or library? Or when you decide to use it as a jukebox for your awesome house party? (I went to UIllinois, and have friends/family - and so visited a lot - that went to IU, Wisconsin, Michigan, OSU and PennState..so I've been there and done that) Not saying you shouldn't get an awesome laptop, just saying you might want to plan on replacing it during school.

Also, nice laptop = liability at a college campus. Things sometimes disappear. So keep your eye on it. I went with cheap dell laptop and gaming desktop for school.
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July 2, 2012 6:11:09 PM

inanition02 said:
I went with cheap dell laptop and gaming desktop for school.


How was that? I was considering bringing my gaming desktop but kinda decided against it because I thought it would be too much of a hassle to bring.

Would you recommend that?

EDIT: Also while talking about cheap laptops does anybody have a good ultrabook recommendation?
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July 3, 2012 12:39:48 AM

tomsonx said:
How was that? I was considering bringing my gaming desktop but kinda decided against it because I thought it would be too much of a hassle to bring.

Would you recommend that?

EDIT: Also while talking about cheap laptops does anybody have a good ultrabook recommendation?


Ultrabooks generally aren't cheap.

And it depends - what are your living arrangements? I did dorm for a while, then fraternity house then apartment and all were fine. Also, if you spent time and money crafting a gaming desktop of your own, won't you miss it?
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July 3, 2012 2:16:36 AM

inanition02 said:
Ultrabooks generally aren't cheap.

And it depends - what are your living arrangements? I did dorm for a while, then fraternity house then apartment and all were fine. Also, if you spent time and money crafting a gaming desktop of your own, won't you miss it?


I'm living in a dorm my first year, other years probably apartment, yes I do reckon I'll miss the gaming desktop but I also reckoned that I would spend a good deal of my time studying. I took a tour of the dorm I will be living in and there definitely seems to be room for a tower PC.

And I don't mean ultrabook ultrabook I mean laptop that is just relatively light and thin, looking at the sony viao now, especially with the free PSV for students.
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July 3, 2012 3:36:55 AM

tomsonx said:
.. I also reckoned that I would spend a good deal of my time studying....


Depends on your major...I thought that and ended up spending more time with my fraternity than studying (mind you, I still finished my degrees all on-time or faster, with good GPAs..and worked).

And IU has a lot to take advantage of..good bars, little 5, etc.

But then you know yourself better than anyone else.
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July 3, 2012 10:20:16 PM

inanition02 said:
Depends on your major...


I'm majoring in Finance so it's not like an engineering degree but it's heavier than some of the other things (marketing, liberal arts etc.) (of course that's just speculation though).

After reading what you and other people going to college have to say on bringing a desktop to school I've decided that I'm going to bring it after all.

So I guess I'll update my OP on what I want so people can get a better idea of what I want.
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