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Buying a gaming computer for under 600 pounds ($944)

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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August 21, 2012 10:32:52 AM

Right so, I am planning to buy a laptop this weekend (I know there isn't much time, so that's why I am hoping i get fast replies :)  Sorry on my part though for the short notice)

EDIT: I am not buying it this weekend, so I have plenty of time now :) 

I want it primarily for smooth gaming.
I would prefer 8GB of RAM and a good graphic card. It would probably be easier if I explained what games I'd be playing :-

Basically I want to run StarCraft II on ultra, League of Legends on ultra, BF3 on ultra or just below, Skyrim on ultra or just below.... you get the gist.

If this laptop is available in the UK that would be convenient, but, I am ok with shipping.
If the laptop has room for upgrading (as in a change of graphic card, or even the possibility of the mobo) that would be a MASSIVE bonus. And also, keeping the budget range closer to 400 gbp makes my life so much easier. 600 gbp represents the upper bound of my budget.

Thanks in advance! :) 
August 21, 2012 1:00:26 PM




1. What is your budget?
400to 600 GBP ($630 to $950)

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
15" and bigger

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Let's say it doesn't have to be 1920 x 1080, but, whatever is recommended for gaming (not too small ofc, previously I had 1280 x 720)

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

5. How much battery life do you need?
About 4-5 hours, it would help if it was close to 6 hours when just doing administrative work (MS word etc.)

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)? StarCraft II - Ultra, League of Legends - Ultra, Skyrim - Very High (just below the best is my requirement), Tribes Ascend - Ultra, Civilization V - Ultra, etc.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
A little bit of photo/video editing, but mostly Music and Video entertainment and Word editing software ofc

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
500GB is enough - I'll just use external HDs

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

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
3-4 years, I hope to be able to customize some bits of it so that it can be used longer

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

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.
No preferred brands really, if there are any brands that deviate from the mainstream (such as Dell, HP, etc.), I'll need assurance that the laptop is well known and has no factory faults and the like.

13. What country do you live in?
India, but, I will be buying this from the UK most likely (I am open to shipping)

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
If this laptop can be customised (such as the graphic card and stuff) that would be a large bonus. Any laptop cooler recommendations would also be appreciated as it gets quite hot in India :D 
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August 21, 2012 1:14:27 PM

I think you have unrealistic expectations for your budget.
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August 21, 2012 2:15:45 PM

FinneousPJ said:
I think you have unrealistic expectations for your budget.


What kind of budget would you recommend then? And what can I get for my budget if my expectations are unrealistic...?
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August 21, 2012 3:13:29 PM

Game on ultra and a decent screen, at least $1500.

For a laptop in the $950 range expect a 1366x768 type of screen and medium settings.
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August 21, 2012 4:44:13 PM

FinneousPJ said:
Game on ultra and a decent screen, at least $1500.

For a laptop in the $950 range expect a 1366x768 type of screen and medium settings.



Right, how about we strike it near the $950 dollar mark since that seems reasonable. I don't mind playing on 1366 x 768, if at least StarCraft II and League of Legends can run on their highest settings in this resolution that can be managed. This laptop will last for 2-4 years so keep that in mind. I will also accept suggestions going to $1100, although that is reaching the limits of the bound.
Other games such as Skyrim and BF3 on medium are ok, so long as their frame rates are stable

Some suggestions of laptops near $1400 (but not more than) are also fine, if I'm lucky these higher range laptops may be a possibility too, but, as mentioned earlier, stick closer to the $950 range

Hope this clarifies it a little bit :) 
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August 21, 2012 5:02:58 PM

Have you checked out standard laptops at uk sites such as: overclockers, scan,dabs - in order to get an idea of what's available?

Inaddition, have you checked out custom builders such as pcspecialist?

--> always a good thing to do since they arm you with more confidence in our responses, since........

-->That's alot of money in exchange for our one-liners, as good as they always are - of course :) 
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August 22, 2012 12:39:48 PM

mesab66 said:
Have you checked out standard laptops at uk sites such as: overclockers, scan,dabs - in order to get an idea of what's available?

Inaddition, have you checked out custom builders such as pcspecialist?

--> always a good thing to do since they arm you with more confidence in our responses, since........

-->That's alot of money in exchange for our one-liners, as good as they always are - of course :) 


https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/quotes/484293/

Well here's one build I've made, what do you think? Feel free to suggest builds to me, as I am not much of an expert in these matters :) 
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August 25, 2012 4:08:48 AM

shiftstealth said:
If you are looking at gaming 6 hours of battery life seems unrealistic as most of these laptops suck down batteries fast.
http://www.xoticpc.com/force-16ga-msi-16ga-p-4707.html?...

Configured with a GTX 660m seems to be the lowest you could go, might not quite hit medium settings on BF3 @ 1080P though.


I didn't mean 6 hours with gaming, just if I was using it generally for music and stuff. I don't expect more than an hour or two while gaming... most of the time it will be plugged in anyway :) 
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August 25, 2012 11:12:31 AM

FinneousPJ said:
Game on ultra and a decent screen, at least $1500.

For a laptop in the $950 range expect a 1366x768 type of screen and medium settings.


Well now it seems I will be getting a mid-range laptop that runs games on their medium settings comfortably, so any suggestions in this budget area would be appreciated.
I made a separate thread so that these mid-range options can be voiced there, separate from these. Keep in mind that in the new thread I created I can only buy a laptop available in the UK (not shipped)

Link: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/81890-35-buying-range...

Thanks, sorry for any confusion
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a b D Laptop
August 26, 2012 11:36:18 PM

Do not make it a priority to get 8GB of RAM. You probably don't need this much anyway, but if you do end up needing this much then it should be very cheap and easy for you to upgrade it yourself later on down the line. You need to focus on getting a decent GPU for gaming, and you need to give some merit to getting a decent display.

PCSpecialist Genesis IV (i5-3210M, NVIDIA GT 640M, 15.6" 1920x1080 glossy display) - £638
- http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/notebooks/genesisIV/
- Upgrade the display to 1920x1080. Don't buy this laptop in any configuration that includes the default 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 1366x768 resolution tend to be low-grade LCD panels with very poor image quality due to low contrast. The availability of the 1920x1080 display is part of why I'm recommending this laptop.
- Upgrade to the NVIDIA GT 640M GPU, if gaming. The GT 630M may be on the low side for more recent titles, and Intel HD (integrated graphics) is likely to provide very disappointing game performance.
- You may want to bump the CPU to a Core i3 or i5, because the stock Celeron benchmarks poorly in comparison. The listed price includes the i5-3210M, but that is not a mandatory upgrade.
- Take 4GB of memory, because 2GB is on the low-side for a 64-bit OS. Take 1x4GB instead of 2x2GB if you want cheaper upgradability in the future.
- You may want to go with a larger/faster hard drive. The listed price includes the 500GB 7200RPM, but that is not a mandatory upgrade.
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August 27, 2012 12:56:50 AM

edit1754 said:
Do not make it a priority to get 8GB of RAM. You probably don't need this much anyway, but if you do end up needing this much then it should be very cheap and easy for you to upgrade it yourself later on down the line. You need to focus on getting a decent GPU for gaming, and you need to give some merit to getting a decent display.

PCSpecialist Genesis IV (i5-3210M, NVIDIA GT 640M, 15.6" 1920x1080 glossy display) - £638
- http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/notebooks/genesisIV/
- Upgrade the display to 1920x1080. Don't buy this laptop in any configuration that includes the default 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 1366x768 resolution tend to be low-grade LCD panels with very poor image quality due to low contrast. The availability of the 1920x1080 display is part of why I'm recommending this laptop.
- Upgrade to the NVIDIA GT 640M GPU, if gaming. The GT 630M may be on the low side for more recent titles, and Intel HD (integrated graphics) is likely to provide very disappointing game performance.
- You may want to bump the CPU to a Core i3 or i5, because the stock Celeron benchmarks poorly in comparison. The listed price includes the i5-3210M, but that is not a mandatory upgrade.
- Take 4GB of memory, because 2GB is on the low-side for a 64-bit OS. Take 1x4GB instead of 2x2GB if you want cheaper upgradability in the future.
- You may want to go with a larger/faster hard drive. The listed price includes the 500GB 7200RPM, but that is not a mandatory upgrade.


Is it possible to replace/upgrade the hard drive later? Like, if I took a 5400rpm drive now, can I upgrade this to a 7200rpm one later? And if so, are there any specifics I need to know? In case laptop hard drives are a different size, etc.

Thanks for the suggestion, this looks very promising. Will get back to you on this soon! :) 

Here's what I've created: https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/quotes/485362/
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a b D Laptop
August 27, 2012 3:56:15 AM

You can, but you'll want to evaluate the cost difference between selecting the upgrade on the page, and the full cost of a brand new 500GB 7200RPM hard drive.

Or, you could look at the prices of larger capacity hard drives.

If you know that you are going to upgrade the hard drive yourself soon enough, you should probably select the cheapest hard drive option unless you plan on putting the old hard drive in your optical bay (with an optical bay hard drive adapter) for a dual hard drive setup.

Of course, you'll have to re-install Windows and everything. I believe the laptop will come with the install disc, but if it does not come with one then there are legal ways to download the installation image (and you'll have to use the serial that came with your computer).
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a b D Laptop
August 27, 2012 6:44:49 AM

There are more options out there. I am a little surprised junky hasn't responded but head on over to his site, HTTP://WWW.gaminglaptopsjunky.com and look at what he has listed in your price range. It should be pretty informative.
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August 29, 2012 1:32:57 AM

airanp said:
There are more options out there. I am a little surprised junky hasn't responded but head on over to his site, HTTP://WWW.gaminglaptopsjunky.com and look at what he has listed in your price range. It should be pretty informative.


Alright, so I have 3 options now, taking the ones I found on Junky's site.

These are: 1) Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 (not sure if I can get the Full HD one, though I'd like to)

2) HP dv4t-5100
3) And the laptop I customised on pcspecialist, the link is in one of the above comments

What do you guys think? The Lenovo seems to be the most promising
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August 30, 2012 2:38:14 PM

If your budget is ~900 USD (similar to mine) you might want to consider customizing the dv4t-7000 quad edition from HP. i just made a model for 875 USD after $430 is discounts/coupon codes that has the following specs -

•Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
3rd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3610QM Processor (2.3 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache)
•NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GT 650M Graphics with 2GB GDDR5 memory [HDMI, VGA]
8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
•Microsoft(R) Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word/Excel(R) only, No PowerPoint(R)/Outlook(R)
•640GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
•32GB mSSD Hard Drive Acceleration Cache
•No additional security software
•6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
15.6-inch diagonal HD BrightView LED-backlit Display (1366x768)•SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
•HP TrueVision HD Webcam
•802.11b/g/n WLAN
•Standard Keyboard with numeric keypad

The bolded items are likely improvements over the dv4t-5100 model you created, the primary upgrade is the processor obviously.
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August 30, 2012 3:41:13 PM

Zeke14 said:
If your budget is ~900 USD (similar to mine) you might want to consider customizing the dv4t-7000 quad edition from HP. i just made a model for 875 USD after $430 is discounts/coupon codes that has the following specs -

•Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
3rd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3610QM Processor (2.3 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache)
•NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GT 650M Graphics with 2GB GDDR5 memory [HDMI, VGA]
8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
•Microsoft(R) Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word/Excel(R) only, No PowerPoint(R)/Outlook(R)
•640GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
•32GB mSSD Hard Drive Acceleration Cache
•No additional security software
•6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
15.6-inch diagonal HD BrightView LED-backlit Display (1366x768)•SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
•HP TrueVision HD Webcam
•802.11b/g/n WLAN
•Standard Keyboard with numeric keypad

The bolded items are likely improvements over the dv4t-5100 model you created, the primary upgrade is the processor obviously.


Did you upgrade this from the HP wesbite? If so, do you think I could ring up the UK Division of HP so that the upgrade can be made available in the UK as opposed to shipping it over?
Thanks
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August 30, 2012 4:07:25 PM

I did customize it using HPs website. I don't know what options you would have in the UK, i assumed you had the same capabilities to customize the standard models but upon checking the UK version of the site i don't see the exact model number (although there are similarly equipped base units) or the option to customize any model for that matter. Getting it shipped may be the only option (if that's even an option), you will need to check with HP if you end up choosing this model. I only brought it up because the HP model you had in your list had a lower quality CPU, this was just a better HP alternative IMO as it was still within yer budget.
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September 1, 2012 2:38:13 AM

Ok so, quick opinion, would it be better to go for: (1) The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 w/o FullHD or (2) the HP dv4t-5100 (unupgraded).

And secondly, would it just be better to customise the HP dv4t-5100 rather than buying the Y580? THanks
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a b D Laptop
September 1, 2012 4:16:08 AM

ashim8813 said:
Ok so, quick opinion, would it be better to go for: (1) The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 w/o FullHD or (2) the HP dv4t-5100 (unupgraded).

And secondly, would it just be better to customise the HP dv4t-5100 rather than buying the Y580? THanks


If you are considering the Y580 w/o the 1080p screen then the only real difference between that and the dv4t are size (weight and footprint) and graphics card. The Y580 has the GTX 660m and the dv4t has the GT 650m. Depending on the games you are wanting to play and the settings you want to play them on I really dont see the 650m not being able to deliver, especially at 1366x768.

There is the little piece of price. Depending on how you customize the dv4t you can get a nice, portable, gaming laptop for under $800. (I just ordered one with 3rd gen i5 and the 650m for $754) So it really just depends on if you want a sub 5 pound gaming machine or if you want the little bigger lenovo.
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