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"Gaming" laptop for 600-700~ dollars

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July 27, 2012 8:32:46 PM

My buddy was asking for my opinion on a laptop he wanted to play skyrim etc

1. What is your budget?
600-700 bucks. If this is unreasonable I could present him with a different number.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
15.6" He's on the road a lot so he wants portability, it should help bring down the cost.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Not incredibly important.

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

5. How much battery life do you need?
At least 5 hours would be nice.

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)?
Skyrim, The Witcher 2, Heavy duty stuff. Hopefully on high settings if possible.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
None

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Probably no more than 500Gb.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
None.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
As long as possible lol.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD Writer would be fine.

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.
Would avoid HPs and possibly toshibas. HP because they make cheap garbage IMO and toshibas because I have a history of failed toshiba/hitachi HDDs in them.

13. What country do you live in?
USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I know this is a tall order to think you could get a good gaming laptop for 600-700 bucks, but he's on a cash crunch, and wants a laptop specifically because he's on the move due to his job. (basically lives out of hotel rooms.) If it was a desktop I could crunch out a number lickety split, or get him a basic setup that he could upgrade as he gets more cash, but that's not feasible with a laptop.

Hope you guys can offer assistance. Thanks in advance.
a b D Laptop
July 27, 2012 8:39:31 PM

Avoid HPs, Dells (but Alienware is exempt), and Toshibas.

For 600-700, I wouldn't expect too much... How about a Trinity A10 based laptop ? For 600-700 you MAY be able to get a Trinity A10 with a discrete in addition to the onboard GPU.
Related resources
July 27, 2012 8:43:54 PM

admittedly i've never considered lenovos for gaming, but you can get a pretty effective laptop for a low entry fee.

Thanks for the input so far, i'll leave this thread open and pick a best answer after he's decided.
July 27, 2012 8:50:26 PM

My recommendation is to look out on sites like slickdeals.net and wait for a good deal to come along. Normally, a gaming laptop is almost $1000 at least, but sometimes they will have those on sale for under $700.
a b D Laptop
July 27, 2012 9:06:57 PM

Quote:
Well, HP dv6t-7000 select edition with GT 650M 2GB GDDR5 and I5 for 700$ and with FHD it will be 780$ - and I think that if it's going to be your main laptop, the FHD upgrade would be smart:
http://www.gaminglaptopsjunky.com/super-deal-hp-pavilio...

That's the best you'll get for 700$ and even for 800$ considering the FHD


That's not bad. I am extremely wary of HP's reliability as indicated by their bottom of the bottom in terms of repairs per laptop...
a b D Laptop
July 27, 2012 9:32:30 PM

Quote:
Well, I don't know. I can hear such stories about everyone.
From the reviews, at least the new HP laptops are better in terms of build quality and are not worse than others.
People say it might be a little hot and the single fan would be better if it were twice the fan:
http://forum.notebookreview.com/hp-pavilion-notebooks/6...

Also, changing thermal paste helps. Can you do such a thing?

I can't promise anything about that, really.


http://www.pcworld.com/article/244419/laptop_reliabilit...
http://www.engadget.com/2009/11/17/laptop-reliability-s...

One person with one story is not statistically significant. You are right. BUT combine a lot of people's stories, and you get a nice picture of what is more reliable.

Also, build quality is not the same as reliability. Build quality is the perceived quality of engineering and design and materials. Reliability is the tendency of a machine to not require services.
a b D Laptop
July 27, 2012 11:24:19 PM

Quote:
I know these charts, but
1. They are made on 2006-2007 laptops, right? Not quite 2012.
2. You don't know how the data was collected - models, users etc. I'm pretty sure it's not trustable.
3. It's not like I like HP, I just don't think they are worse than others.
4. Check Lenovo technical help forum. You'll find a lot of problem - how do you measure such things?
5. Compare in-depth reviews:
dv7, 7690M XT + I7 (not too cool, right?) - http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-HP-Pavilion-dv7-6c0....
Very high thermal results - better the the Lenovo Y570. High impact on electrical components life. Build quality is not bad too. At least as good as many other laptops in the class.
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-HP-Pavilion-dv7-6b0... - same conclusion.

Low results: g6 series. OK. And it's not like Asus or Lenovo don't have such things.

6. Reviews of the Envy series, for example, are very good.


1) The first link I gave you was from December of 2011, that's very recent given that reliability must be observed after sometime, and is not available right away.

2) It is true, but these are usually either collected by random survey with a large sample size, or by manufacturer's reported repairs. They are very reliable, certainly a lot more reliable than hearsay.

3) + 4) It is hard to measure frustration, but you CAN measure repairs per unit sold, for example. A good analyst will be able to draw up useful measures. Repairs per unit sold will correlate strongly with # of people complaining on forums due to issues.

5) Of course every brand will have at least some models that gets good reviews, and those that consistently get good reviews (since each reviewer is only reviewing ONE machine, so you need to average out reviews) are typically good machines. BUT you can't tell reliability based on initial reviews. Initial reviews should be supplemented by long term reliability data on a fixed design to get an idea of whether something will last or not, and whether it is out of the gate acceptable.

6) I'm not arguing with you. I'm simply stating that HP hasn't been, overall, favourable reliability wise. If you have a specific case for which the HP machines are reliable, then that is an exception, not the norm. However, if you have your eyes set on a HP, please do not let me sway you. I know that some new Lenovo machines have problems if they are not ThinkPads. Those are statistics, they apply on the average. My personal experience with HP isn't good. My relatives who used to work for HP knows from the inside the same situation, but I can't trust those, because they are not statistically meaningful, it could be that those are coincidences.

If you are curious, my personal favourates on current machines are either Apple or ASUS, or Lenovo ThinkPads. The new Dell XPS machines has gotten a much less than desirable review on Anandtech, and I don't recommend Dell to anyone I care about...
July 28, 2012 12:32:56 AM

Posting from my 15.6" Dv6 with i7 3610, 8gb ddr3 1600mhz, 2gb GT650m, 750gb 7200rpm, blueray, and 1920x1080 screen and I can say for sure that it works perfectly find for me and didnt come with too much fluff installed on it. After 2 weeks of usage I am very impressed.

http://valid.canardpc.com/show_oc.php?id=2453572
http://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/z4wme/

The GPU turbo boosts to 835mhz and OCs fairly well. Have an OC at 900mhz (after turbo) and 2100mhz on mem. Havent tried higher, but those work fine.

Like all laptops it can get a little bit warm, but not anymore than my old ASUS G60JX that I had. I just ordered the below cooler from amazon, but I will probably only use it at LANs.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002MU1ZRS/ref=oh_deta...

I was skeptical at first as well with buying from HP, but I got too good of a deal since I work for HP Enterprise Services that I just couldnt pass it up. All of my recent purchases have been of my higher quality than I expected to be honest. Another friend is buying my same laptop based on seeing mine. Thats the best I can give you as far as experience goes for me. It has been good in its short time.

Edit: This obviously wont be $700, but this response was more so to show an experience with the dv6 line as well as the configuration of the GPU that it comes with. Since different vendors set the cards differently.

Also, I should note that there is one issue with the laptop. The power cord connects on the right side of the laptop. Thus it sticks out a little bit and CAN but doesnt always get in the way of the mouse. When I have the laptop on the laptop cooler it is a non issue because of the sitting height, but when it isnt on the cooler then I have to be weary of it. Not a huge issue, but can be an annoyance at times.
July 28, 2012 4:16:50 AM

I posted this in another thread. I honestly don't know a lot about computers, and I was wondering if someone could maybe shed some light on this stuff, because the y570s have some great deals now, as someone posted above.

Quote:
The performance of the GT 555M is highly dependent on the version of the card (see above). The 3DMark 06 performance, for example, ranges from 8857 points (Lenovo Ideapad Y570) to 13000 points (MSI GX780R). For all intents and purposes, the GT 555M in the Lenovo is therefore essentially a fast GeForce 550M. The average GT 555M (with 144 shaders) is positioned in the lower high end class and enables users to play demanding games in high settings at 1366x768. Only Metro 2033 had to be played in lower settings during our benchmark tests (see below).


http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GT-555M.419...
July 28, 2012 4:41:49 AM

Also, what about this laptop?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WR2 posted, regarding that laptop, that the "HD 6650M dedicated graphics card plus the integrated HD 6520G is known as AMD Radeon HD 6720G2."

The 6720G2 is ranked higher than the GT 555M on the Lenovo y570's posted above (and even the GT 635M).
July 28, 2012 4:42:03 AM

Quote:
I answered you there. It doesn't matter that the GT 555M has more versions - what matters is what you can get for your money

Saw your post after I posted. Thanks.
July 28, 2012 12:44:48 PM

Quote:
Thats a fine laptop - one with the best performance/price. There is also an Acer with 7670M (=6650M), 4GB DDR3 and A6 for 450$.
About the 6720G - I don't know what 'ranked' means. Probably some 3DMark used by notebookcheck - doesn't really say much. You have to compare real life results:
1. such combinations of two GPUs still, after many years, have problems. Sometimes it just doesn't work like two GPUs and there is no performance gain or even there is some performance penalty.
2. When it works, it does add to the performance, but you can't really rely on it.
3. Check the results on notebookcheck - certainly not faster than the GT 555M on the Lenovo Y570. At best, it equals the 555M + I5. Maybe with an I5

Anyway, it's a pretty good laptop if you want to save money.

Thanks. Yeah, I don't really need to save money, I just don't want to waste money. I guess, what I need to know is, is the $649.00 Y570 or the $749.00 Y570 on http://shop.lenovo.com/us/laptops/ideapad/y-series/y570

worth the extra money? (I really only play TF2 and a little bit of Battlefield 3.)
a b D Laptop
July 28, 2012 1:35:36 PM

Quote:
1)

That doesn't mean that the manufacturers on the charts do not suck - I have many complaints and I wish there was some 'Occupy Laptops' movement to fix things up.


Fair enough. In giving my advice, I can only go by what data is out there that can substantiate my claims.
July 28, 2012 4:29:14 PM

i know i'm a little late to the party but +1 for the 14" hp dv4t-5100. i just got one the other day configured with the ib i5 and gt 650m for under $700 before taxes(used a logicbuy coupon). the thing is a beast for the price, bench marked gta4 at all high settings at ~60fps. the only thing i don't like about it is that the screen is average, and the palm rest is a fingerprint magnet. build quality is pretty solid to be mostly plastic construction though. ram and hdd are super easy to get to (cover snaps off with battery latch). bloatware galore but it didn't bother me cause i reload a fresh windows install whenever i buy a pre-configured computer. one oddity i never noticed until now is that there is a slight but tangible image quality drop going from my old amd notebook to this intel based on, but you really don't notice unless they are sitting side by side... definitely worth it if you can get it anywhere in the neighborhood of 700.
July 30, 2012 3:29:42 AM

Iv worked on almost every brand laptop out there, since 2009 HP laptop service requests went down, by winter 2011 took a nosedive, most of the laptop repairs and upgrades I do are now Apple, which remains steady, but have become OK with hardware specs, with almost no upgrade requests, but the heat likes to take them to laptop heaven way to early compared to every other manufacturer.
Dell is a chronic pain with Drivers and proprietary software pretty much taking over the machines within 3-6 months of ownership, people know they have to uninstall bloatware, but all it takes is missing one of them, Simple windows reinstall a set off drivers and a good internal cleaning leaves them running like new, coincidentally about 2011 the Quality control mishaps causing customers of Dell took a nosedive to, It was just wicked back, Metal parts where blocking heat exhausts heatsinks not properly attached Drivers installed incorrectly at the factory, USED and DEFECTIVE parts being sold as new, Dells where a Nightmare for every one, im still seeing the dumb mistakes on these dells but their Far from the outcry of 2011 and earlier.

HP has made exceptional strives since 2008 with reliability and updatability, but they still have a long way to go with ease of home maintenance and Customer aftermarket ease of upgrading, the biggest one is their use of Specially designed Video controllers made in a way to keep customers from easily upgrading this one very important component.

Iv not seen any of the New generation DV6's except my own personal DV6Z, Maxed out AMD laptop, leading me to believe, DV6 and DV7 owners must be somehow drawn away from me, or HP is doing something right with these 2 lines.

Im not saying all of their stuff is good, Im just saying, Some of its bad some of its good, and giving you some information on some of the good things I think they have, not perfect, but good.
August 1, 2012 7:56:57 PM

Never expected this thread to get so many replies! Thanks for all the help guys, but in the end, My freind decided to heed my advice and spend more for a better laptop.

Thank you for all the input, though i'll read it over and make sure to remember this info for the near future.
a c 248 D Laptop
August 2, 2012 12:35:29 AM

Hi :) 

Just to add..I own a laptop repair company....Hps HAVE improved a LOT...

Battery life.... lol....no WAY you are going to get 5 hours whilst gaming...think more like 2 hours MAX...

All the best Brett :) 
a b D Laptop
August 2, 2012 2:26:17 PM

Brett928S2 said:
Hi :) 

Just to add..I own a laptop repair company....Hps HAVE improved a LOT...

Battery life.... lol....no WAY you are going to get 5 hours whilst gaming...think more like 2 hours MAX...

All the best Brett :) 


Which brand is on your current do-not-recommend list based on repairs ?
August 2, 2012 4:49:28 PM

Maxx_Power said:
Which brand is on your current do-not-recommend list based on repairs ?


Most likely Dell. Or Apple.
a c 248 D Laptop
August 2, 2012 11:14:48 PM

Maxx_Power said:
Which brand is on your current do-not-recommend list based on repairs ?



Hi :) 

None really apart from the Old Hp dv6000 series for obvious reason, like we guarantee all our repairs , but CANNOT guarantee those ...

Oh and we dont touch apples with a bargepole lol...

All the best Brett :) 
August 3, 2012 7:34:35 PM

Dells are an odd duck for me, HPs too, mainly because there is no consistency between one model laptop to the next. On dells, for instance, some models will literally have a couple screws to take of the entire bottom access panel, and some the HDD is on the flip side of the motherboard. An entire disassembly to get to the HDD, what a pain.

Anyways, I've seen too many questionable design decisions and random failures from HPs to care to reccomend or deal with them.

Would you agree that toshiba brand laptops seems to have a higher than average rate of HDD failure?
a c 248 D Laptop
August 3, 2012 7:58:04 PM

internetlad said:
Dells are an odd duck for me, HPs too, mainly because there is no consistency between one model laptop to the next. On dells, for instance, some models will literally have a couple screws to take of the entire bottom access panel, and some the HDD is on the flip side of the motherboard. An entire disassembly to get to the HDD, what a pain.

Anyways, I've seen too many questionable design decisions and random failures from HPs to care to reccomend or deal with them.

Would you agree that toshiba brand laptops seems to have a higher than average rate of HDD failure?



Hi :) 

We see a LOT of laptop hard drive failures..probably 70% of our work....no specific brands, I think its more to do with misuse...i.e. customers not realising that you should NOT bang a lappy around...

All the best Brett :) 
August 3, 2012 10:44:00 PM

I have fantastic luck talking people up on 128 Crucial M4 SSDs for W7 and Vista laptops that deserve them.

Most people don't need the excess space and you can easily upsell them on the extended battery life, increased speed and durability. Plus the install and config goes so much smoother, it's a win for you and them.

I mostly see broken screens from "My kid/pet"
!