College/Gaming Laptop under $2500

I don't want a desktop--consoles meet my need for immobile systems that can run most games with adequate graphics and sound. The college I will attend offers to refund $1500 and I have $1000 extra to work with, so I would prefer to spend as close to $2000 as possible.

I've considered the Sager np9150--
Product Subtotal
Bigfoot Networks Killer™ Wireless-N 1103 - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module $60.00
8X DVD±R/RW/4X +DL Super-Multi Drive $0.00
LIFETIME Limited Labor and 1 Year Premium** Parts Warranty $0.00
16GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 4 X 4GB - Free Memory Upgrade Back to School Special! $0.00
No Extra Optical Bay Hard Drive Caddy $0.00
Integrated Fingerprint Reader $0.00
Remove All Branding $0.00
NONE $0.00
Crucial® M4 512GB SATA III SSD $355.00
IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU $35.00
8 cells smart Lithium-Ion battery pack 76.96Wh $0.00
Genuine Microsoft Windows® 7 Home Premium 32/64-Bit Edition ( 64-Bit Preloaded ) $80.00
FREE UPS Ground (CONUS Only) $0.00
No Canada Warranty $0.00
NVIDIA® GeForce™ GTX 680M 4GB GDDR5 Memory $445.00
15.6” Full HD 16:9 LED-Backlit Super Clear MATTE type $30.00
3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3610QM Processor (6M Cache, up to 3.30 GHz) $0.00

Total: $2324 without discounts, about $2280 after discounts are applied and I buy Office 2010 University

and MSI GT60 with GTX 680m. I prefer the Sager's appearance, it weighs less, and it seems to have superior build quality, a brighter display, an mSata slot, more ports, and cheaper screen and SSD upgrade options, but complaints about keyboard ghosting and poor audio have driven me away. Are there any alternatives?
Other laptops I'm weighing:

1. Samsung Series 7 Gamer: Appears overpriced for the GPU; hard drive is difficult to replace and slow.
2. Alienware m17x r4: Cheaper with the 7970m than the Sager is with the 680m, but heavier and lacks an anti-glare screen.
3. MSI GE60: Appears flimsy, not as "future-proof" as I would like.
4. Dell Precision m4700: Excellent build quality, warranty, and input devices, professional appearance, but lacks (gaming) performance for the price.
5. MSI GT60 with GTX 670/675m: Not as much "bang-for-the-buck" as the np9150.
6. Lenovo Ideapad y580: Not the best workmanship; lacks an anti-glare screen.
7. Samsung Series 7 Chronos: Throttling issues; lack of customization options; low-grade GPU.
8. Sager np9130: No backlit keyboard; low-grade GPU.
9. Gigabyte u2442v: Low-grade GPU.
10. Asus N56VZ: Only DDR3 vram; high temperatures while gaming.
14 answers Last reply
More about college gaming laptop 2500
  1. Go with the Sager. You WON'T regret it.
  2. Quote:
    1. Sager is a good option, but not that configuration. The 680M isn't faster than the 7970M and costs much more - but the 7970M has a problem in Sager machines because of AMD's 'Enduro' that switches between the integrated GPU and the 7970M and causes real performance hit and annoyance and I believe that would be corrected in the future

    2. TAKE THE SCREEN UPGRADE - man, that's one of the best parts!

    3. Why 512GB SSD? 128-256GB will suffice for the OS and applications that use files. Don't waste the money on this thing
    if that is indeed the case i would not go with the Sager
  3. In my opinion, that's a huge waste on a laptop. If you're a college student, when are you gonna find the time to even play games on a laptop?

    I suggest just getting an adequate laptop for word processing, video playback, and multi-tasking (you'll want it for listening to music while typing those long research papers, lol). Then put the rest in a pimped out gaming rig. I'm a college student as well. I barely get enough time to stuff mah belly and walk to and from classes. For this reason, I do all my gaming at my home/dorm.
  4. Building a gaming rig is the more sensible option in most cases. I'm still deciding if it would be the better option for me. It seems to me that the price of the chassis, monitor, and other bells and whistles, along with the annoyances of owning two computers, the time it takes to build the rig, the fact that I already have consoles, and the loss of portability would make it unprofitable.

    1. What is your budget?


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


    3. What screen resolution do you want?

    1920 x 1080

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

    I'll use it when traveling and taking notes in class.

    5. How much battery life do you need?

    Three to four hours.

    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, various MMOs (Guild Wars II and WoW?), games on Steam. I'm not sure yet.

    7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)

    College work.

    8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?


    9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

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

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

    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.

    Like: Sager/Clevo
    Dislike: MSI

    13. What country do you live in?

    United States.

    14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

    I don't game often, but my previous laptop was a turkey, and using a desktop was rather painful. I'm looking at high performance laptops because I want to avoid that problem. Computers with mid-range GPUs have little resale value and little use after a few years, and I don't want a low-grade GPU, so I'm looking for the highest grade GPU possible. The Sager np9150 offers excellent performance for the price even though problems with the 7970m (Enduro) and other issues have driven up the price of my configuration unnecessarily. If anyone can suggest another laptop with good enough performance that I won't have to sell it after a year (but decent resale value), I'll listen.
  5. How about the Asus G55vw?
    It's a grand cheaper than what your willing to spend, but it meets all the criteria.

    Just note that you're looking into desktop replacement laptops when you want to spend so much get so much out of it. So, even though this is a 15.6" notebook, it still weights 8lbs, battery life is not much longer than 3 hours.

    Intel Core i7-3610QM 2.3GHz
    12GB Memory 750GB HDD
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M
    15.6" FullHD LED -back lit display
    8-cell battery

    If you want this but pimped out with a few extra features like an SSD, upgrade the CPU etc.., here's the XoticPC edition:
  6. The Asus G55VW, along with the Alienware M17x and MSI GT60/70, are too bulky and heavy.

    The Alienware m14x r2 would be acceptable if not for the glossy screen. Complaints about overheating and HP's customer service make the Envy 17t-3200 unappealing.

    I'm leaning toward the 512gb Crucial SSD on the Sager because my reseller offers it for cheaper than market price, and I don't want to replace my hard drive for as long as possible.
  7. Sounds like a plan, as I said before- If you go with the Sager you won't be disappointed.

    Good luck,
  8. Last bump before I decide what to do. Does anyone feel strongly about the 95% NTSC gamut matte screen? To fit it in my budget, I have to get a smaller SSD.
  9. Anonymous said:
    Last bump before I decide what to do. Does anyone feel strongly about the 95% NTSC gamut matte screen? To fit it in my budget, I have to get a smaller SSD.

    You won't get the effect of a mirror when bright lights (like if you were using it outside with the sun) shine down on the screen.. but the screen won't be as bright. Personally, I prefer glossy screens because they are brighter, I've had no problems with reflections etc.. It depends on how paranoid you are about that sort of thing.
  10. Real last bump before I buy. I'm somewhat worried about the quality of the Sager speakers, but the audio samples I listened to weren't deal-breaking.
  11. I'm still waiting for the money to buy the laptop, so I may as well bump this. Almost 100% set on the MSI GT60 with 680m now.
  12. Still waiting for responses.
  13. I've run into another conundrum: is it better to buy a laptop with a midrange GPU (I prefer Kepler, so the 660m is likely) and try to resell it in a year, or to buy the best laptop I can afford and risk bottlenecks I did not foresee and the inevitable decline in the laptop's shape?
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