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Soldier in Need: laptop for some gaming/schoolwork

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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July 8, 2012 7:32:01 PM

I know this is going to seem like a lazy question, but bear with me. I'm a 21 year old guy that spends his summers at military training and his winters in college, and I need a laptop that I can take with me to play some games on so I don't get cabin fever locked up in my dorms, but is portable enough to take to class back at school. I'm looking for a laptop that can play The Secret World/Guild Wars 2 without too much difficulty (won't give me too much trouble on medium settings, if at all possible), is less than $900, and isn't some 17 inch behemoth. It has to have Windows 7 pre-installed. I know I'm just asking everyone here to do my work for me, but I don't have my own computer yet to research any of this stuff and I'm stuck in training during all the times the library here at Ft. Sam is open. Thanks for any help in advance guys, I appreciate it.

Edit: Price cap is $900 before shipping/tax

Here's the options I've found so far.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 9, 2012 12:28:51 AM

The two you've picked out from Newegg certainly would meet your criteria. I would recommend going with Dell's XPS. Check out the 14 or 15/15z line. Anything with 8GB RAM and at least 1GB dedicated video memory should work out perfectly for you. If you're primarily going to be gaming I wouldn't spend too much time worry about things like hard drive space or optical media, wireless card, ect. Frankly, I think getting an i7 to be overkill for gaming since most of the heavy lifting is done by the GPU. A 2nd Gen i5 is going to be enough.

I'm super cheap so I lean toward models a year or two older and even refurbished systems if the seller is well established. You could get a decent refurbished XPS for around $600 or get a brand new one for around $800. I'd steer clear of the Sony's though, their warranty system makes it just about impossible to get anything fixed should something go awry.
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July 9, 2012 7:55:28 PM

One suggestion, try ordering direct through Sony/Samsung/Who-ever, they often offer small discounts to students; Sony right now is also giving away PS3s for students through their website, and Microsoft is offering Xbox360s (through participating sources). Even if you don't want the console, I would imagine it would be easy to pawn off at a college/base.

Just ordered a Vaio S for my wife last week, we came in at about 1100 after tax and shipping (Laptop and PS3) for a 15" with a 640M and an i5. Here's the model we started at: https://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/SYCTOP...

A little over your budget for the base price, but fairly close, plus gets you a free console to keep or sell.
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July 10, 2012 6:38:30 PM

I would hesitate to recommend the Samsung Series 7 because of its display's poor contrast. While its resolution is decent for the size (1600x900 in 15.6"), the display quality is pretty bad compared to some other things you could get.

The Vaio E14's display is meh as well. 1366x768 resolution makes it difficult to work with more than one window at a time, and it also has poor contrast.

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Consider some of these options instead (copy-pasted from a post of mine somewhere else)

**Sager NP6165** (i5-3210M, NVIDIA GT 650M, 15.6" 1920x1080 glossy display) - **$949 no tax**
- http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np6165-clevo-w150er-p-4344...
- Select Windows 7 under Operating System if you cannot acquire your own copy for cheaper.

**HP DV6t Quad Edition** (i7-3610QM, NVIDIA GT 650M, 15.6" 1920x1080 matte display) - **$974 + tax** after coupon code **HP4PCMAG**
- Saved Configuration: http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/load_configu...
- Don't downgrade to the 1366x768 display, unless you require its larger text for eyesight-related reasons. 1366x768 resolution in a 15.6" display makes things onscreen large, and 15.6" displays that have this resolution tend to have very poor image quality due to low contrast.
- Don't downgrade the GPU to the GT 630M if you plan on gaming. The GT 650M is faster by a fair margin.
- Don't pay to upgrade to the 2GB version of the GT 650M over the 1GB version of the GT 650M. In this case, the extra memory will not affect framerates.
- The backlit keyboard upgrade is worth considering.
- Upgrading to a 7200RPM HDD is worth considering.

**HP DV6t Select Edition** (i5-3210M, NVIDIA GT 650M, 15.6" 1920x1080 matte display) - **$924 + tax** after coupon code **SAVE20HP**
- Saved Configuration: http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/load_configu...
- Don't downgrade to the 1366x768 display, unless you require its larger text for eyesight-related reasons. 1366x768 resolution in a 15.6" display makes things onscreen large, and 15.6" displays that have this resolution tend to have very poor image quality due to low contrast.
- Don't downgrade the GPU to the GT 630M unless the saved $125 is worth the GPU performance loss. The GT 650M is faster by a fair margin. With the GT 630M, you may select the Core i5-2450M to save an additional $20. Note: downgrading the GPU puts this laptop in a different class.
- The backlit keyboard upgrade is worth considering.
- Upgrading to a 7200RPM HDD is worth considering.
- Compare the price of your configuration with a similar configuration of the basic version of the DV6t below.

**HP DV6t** (i3-3110M, NVIDIA GT 650M, 15.6" 1920x1080 matte display) - **$834 + tax** after coupon code **JULY4SALEHP**
- http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/load_configu...
- Don't downgrade to the 1366x768 display, unless you require its larger text for eyesight-related reasons. 1366x768 resolution in a 15.6" display makes things onscreen large, and 15.6" displays that have this resolution tend to have very poor image quality due to low contrast.
- Don't downgrade the GPU to the GT 630M unless the saved $125 is worth the GPU performance loss. The GT 650M is faster by a fair margin. With the GT 630M, you may select the Core i3-2350M to save an additional $20. Note: downgrading the GPU puts this laptop in a different class.
- The backlit keyboard upgrade is worth considering.
- Compare the price of your configuration with a similar configuration of the DV6t Select Edition above.

**HP DV6z** (A8-4500M, AMD Radeon 7730M, 15.6" 1920x1080 matte display) - **$674** after coupon code **JULY4SALEHP** ($624 if you downgrade to the A6-4400M)
- http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/load_configu...
- Don't downgrade to the 1366x768 display, unless you require its larger text for eyesight-related reasons. 1366x768 resolution in a 15.6" display makes things onscreen large, and 15.6" displays that have this resolution tend to have very poor image quality due to low contrast.
- Don't downgrade the GPU to Integrated graphics, if you plan on gaming. Note: The Radeon 7670M is less powerful than the 7730M, but it supports crossfire with the integrated GPU unlike the 7730M.
- You can downgrade to the AMD A6-4400M CPU (which is approx. equiv. to a Core i3-2350M). Games often are not particularly CPU-intensive and the difference between available CPUs is likely to affect you less than the differences between available GPUs and displays, so downgrading this is more wise of a budget decision than to downgrade the other components. If you plan on selecting the Radeon 7670M GPU option and running crossfire between the 7670M and iGPU, then don't downgrade to the A6 because it has a weaker iGPU.

**Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition** (i5-3210M, AMD Radeon 7730M, 15.6" 1920x1080 matte[?] display) - **$874 + tax** after coupon code **4J4XPNDZ1PKR2B**
- http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=f... (i5-3210M, Radeon 7730M, 15.6" 1920x1080) - $874
- http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=f... (i7-3612QM, Radeon 7730M, 15.6" 1920x1080) - $974
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