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Laptop Dilemma

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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November 4, 2012 12:04:40 AM

Hi,

I own an Asus UL30VT

Great laptop but over 3 years old.

It's intended purpose (mobile gaming) has been rendered useless by new games.


This might sound like a dream but, here's what I'm looking for in a laptop:

Powerful
+ Nothing less than Ivy Bridge i7
+Decent graphics (should be able to play top-caliber games for the next few years. Not really into FPS, so can exclude Crysis and BF3)

Portability
+ approx =< the weight of my current laptop (2 kg, 4.2 lbs)
+ approx =< the thickness (25mm, 1")
+ Not too big 15.6" absolute maximum

Superior build quality (obviously)
+ Don't like anything too plasticky that feels cheap like the Acer M and V series

Decent Battery Life
+ Switchable graphics were incredibly handy on my current laptop
+ 5 hours minimum (> if equipped with switchable graphics)

Long-Lasting
+ I'm willing to fork over the extra $$$ if I can get it to last at least another 3 years

Will also want to probably use it connected to an external monitor at home

I live in Australia which means stuff is like 4/3 the price as compared to the US

but I'll be going on holiday to different countries (including the US at the end of the year)

Here's a few laptops I've found:

Retina Macbook Pro
+ 15.6"
+ Decent graphics (overclocked 1 GB nVidia G650M)
+ Relatively light
+ Awesome build quality
+ Aesthetically pleasing
+ Decent Battery Life

- I'm not a fan of OSX
> I don't think I'll be able to survive simply running OSX but the way people talk about it on the net, it seems running windows on it is no problem and only decreases battery life (more info please).

Could I use the MBP just running windows to its full potential and play the games I want?

- Expensive (like WTH!) for the price i get the MBP for I could get a decent desktop gaming PC and an ultrabook. Is this a better alternative?

Sony Vaio S 15.6"

Pretty much very similar to the MBP but has a lower GPU (nVidia G640M LE 2GB)

This raises the question: Is 2GB of a lower graphics card > 1 GB of a more powerful graphics card?
In this case: is 2 GB G640M LE > 1 GB overclocked G650M

The next two aren't out yet. But based on speculation:

Asus U500VZ (15.6") - 2 GB nVidia G645M
Again, similar to MBP except
- low battery life (on preview model)
- relatively big and heavy


Asus UX42VS (14") - 1 GB nVidia G645M
+ Better battery life (in ultrabook region)
+ More portable
+ Lighter

If there are better stuff coming out (confirmed) I would be willing to wait.

If you could answer the questions it would really help me in my own research in finding a laptop:
+ Is 2GB of a lower graphics card > 1 GB of a more powerful graphics card?
+Could I use the MBP just running windows to its full potential and play the games I want?

I use the gadget on notebook check which ranks the GPUs but I'm not sure how accurate it is in terms of different VRAMs and different CPU speeds.

Thx in advance :) 
Your help is greatly appreciated!

Looking forward to your swift reply

More about : laptop dilemma

November 4, 2012 4:12:45 AM

No reply...

If you don't know any laptops, can you please just answer these questions:

+ What affect does VRAM have compared to the GPU itself
eg. Is a graphics card with 2 GB VRAM > Better graphics card with 1 GB VRAM?

+ Can you use the MBP as a Windows PC without much problems i.e. play games, edit videos as i would on a normal PC.

This will help me search myself.


Thx in advance! :) 
November 4, 2012 12:07:47 PM

I'm in the same boat as you, and looking at some of the same machines. Re the VRAM, the nVidia GT 650M comes with either DDR3 (which Asus is using in some machines) or the much faster and pricier DDR5 (which the MBpro Retina uses). The card reviewers I've read seem to favour the faster VRAM over larger quantities of the slower variety, but I'm not sure where the trade-off tops-out. Also, I think the U500VZ uses the 650 not the 645 (the former uses the new Kepler architecture).

Re windows on a MBP, everything I've read indicates that Apple has made it easy to install Windows...but Bootcamp hasn't been updated for Windows 8 yet (). In theory, the MBpro 15" Retina should make a solid gaming laptop, but a pricey one especially considering that you'll need to buy Windows (and external optical drive?) separately and the current model has reached mid-life already.
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November 5, 2012 3:26:27 AM

It seems people like us are littered across the internet :S

The more and more I read into the MBP, especially the rMBP, the better results i get. Of course there are those on the net who are simply automatically reject anything Apple releases and those who drool at the sight of an apple.

This guy http://forum.notebookreview.com/apple-mac-os-x/671002-m...
seems to give a pretty impartial review on the rMBP and is in the same state as I'm in (as a windows guy)

The Asus U500/U51VZ does seem to be a real rMBP competitor. http://www.ultrabookreview.com/1948-asus-zenbook-u500-r...

> VRAM (2 GB DDR5)
Same graphics card (though supposedly the rMBPs is slightly overclocked)

The only problem was battery life. But knowing Asus they'll probably step up.

Slower CPU speed (only 2.1 Ghz) compared to the rMBP which gets 2.3 Ghz minimum but can be clocked to 3.6Ghz

Overall the Asus does seem like the better option, in that its is almost identical to the rMBP in terms of weight, size etc. Can run Windows natively.

But the impression i get from everyone is that Apple's products have so much more life in them. They last longer and the performance is constantly high.

My friend has a MBP (2010, i think) and they say it still runs fast. Has no problems. You don't realise it's an old laptop unless you're looking at the RAW specs in comparison.

Whereas, my Asus UL30VT which was amazing in it's day is having problems and runs slow and s loud. not to mention it can't play any new games.

So, I guess I'll wait for the official release of the U500...

Any more suggestions will be incredibly helpful though :) 
November 5, 2012 5:37:54 PM

See having used an alienware and now switched to macbook i would say if you are just into gaming you better not venture into OSX coz MBP though pretty stable is resource draining and puts pressure on the harddisk RAM and of course the Battery.I would suggest go for an alienware they are light and have the best in gaming and carry that extra battery cell when you want it to stay alive for 2-3 days overall weight would be pretty much the same as now combining them
And if you are into serious gaming you would be carrying a mouse thus mustr have a backpack so no problem for extra set of batteries
November 16, 2012 3:29:55 AM

Thx Amartaya & hafijur!

@Amartaya: Yep, I think you're right. The rMBP is too much of a gamble (money-wise) if it might experience problems like that. As for Alienwares being light i think our definitions of light are quite different. Carrying an extra battery is a good option. Something I won't have the leisure of doing with the U500VZ as its battery is locked inside.

@ Hafijur: Great options. I've seen them and they didn't make the list.

I don't think you're getting my actual dilemma. The reason I didn't get the m11x was because
1) too thick, heavy etc.
2) Only has an 11.6 " screen, hardly desirable for gaming at least for me

The reason my ul30vt was 'amazing' IMO was because it was 'amazing'ly portable, had 'amazing' battery life and was 'amazing'ly well-specced for a laptop in its class. It was a laptop I never regretted getting. Because, frankly, around that time period i saw nothing that could compare to it. I want to do the same thing with my next laptop. To get something in which i need not make any compromises.

I want something that's light and thin. The Samsung is .5 kg heavier and almost an entire cm thicker. While I understand that it has a larger volume and hence won't feel as bulky, i don't really want to have to make such a decision that I might regret when I have to lug an extra .5 kg around everyday.

I also understand that I'm being incredibly picky and sadly that is my ultimate dilemma: That I am incredibly, annoyingly (to myself included) picky.

I'm not comparing anything hardware-wise to my current laptop. I know it's out of date. The Galaxy Note II has a faster clock speed than I do!

I'm just thinking further into the future. At the rate technology and games, in particular, are developing I want something that will last me for a while and still be optimum. Where i don't have to deal with an underpowered mobile processor.

When you say, "I won't need that much power" is that still true for cpu-intensive games like Civ5 or if i wanted to start 3D modelling?

I considered the Acers but my personal experience with Acer has been dismal and the internet has resonated a similar experience.

Thx, again!
Pls don't take any offense from this. I really appreciate your advice. I just wanted to clarify a few details. Keep 'em coming! :) 
November 18, 2012 9:38:18 AM

Thx hafijur!

Seems like a good option to consider.

Definitely within the form factor I'm looking for

Sony means it'll have good build quality

But I'm thinking the GPU is quite underpowered compared to the 650M.

Regarding the BIOS MOD in the last video:

Would I be able to do that on any Laptop? Common sense dictates that doing so would also greatly decrease battery life, rendering the point of having a laptop like the Sony useless. Is that right?

My constant research has been revealing more and more dilemmas. I just found out Intel will be planning to release new Haswell processors mid-2013. This is making me consider whether buying a laptop now is really worth it considering a lot better technology will be available no more than 7 months from now.

Any thoughts?

I'll be opening a new thread regarding this question as it is pretty off-topic. I'll link it later.
!