I'm trying to decide on which laptop to buy for my new gaming system. I am an airline pilot and travel a lot; currently have a Dell XPS1640 which is about 4 years old now and showing signs of use... I can barely play any games on this thing as it is. Some of the games I like to play are the Total War series, Civilization 5, and Diablo 3.
I was looking for a 15 inch laptop with a 1500$ budget but couldn't make a choice of which laptop. Currently I have been looking between the MSI gx60, MSI gt60, and ASUS G55VW. I have also looked at some Sager laptops but haven't seen many reviews or heard much about them. I have never owned any of these machines, only Dell laptops. I used to build my own desktop computers when I was younger but I haven't been up with the times on current technology for gaming.
Another question of mine is it worth to have a SSD? If I were to purchase one would I be able to raid it with another hardrive for extra storage without the high cost? Also what would you suggest the size of the SSD drive if I were only to put the operating system on it? Are their any benefits for it?
Thank you all for your time and future suggestions.
I'm not the guy to talk to about "gaming laptops". IMHO, that's an oxymoron. However I will tel you that every laptop needs an SSD. 256GB is a good size. I saw a Crucial M4 on sale yesterday for $165. I paid nearly $400 a year ago and love it. Samsung 830 is good too.
Customize the NP9170, bump up the video card to a Geforce GTX675MX , and bump the ram up to 16gb dual channel just for future proofing and once its in your shopping cart they have a instant rebate right now that puts your price at 1349, free shipping. With this video card you will be able to run every game today and all the games of the future.
That thing is performing on par with some mid to high end desktop video cards like the radeon 7870, which is just stellar considering its a laptop.
Now I realize thats a 17 inch if you want to go 15 you can just configure the 9150 and add the 675mx and the 16gb of ram again and you are only at 1299. Right now for gaming this is just an unbeatable deal. I wouldn't add one of their SSD's because they are overpriced but you can always add one later from newegg for ~100.
As far as raid goes you can raid identical ssd's together for even faster performance but it is by no means efficient. I would recommend about 128 GB SSD as your boot drive so you can can hold windows and maybe 5-10 games on it depending on how big they are. SSD's basically eliminate your load times and make everything feel a lot more responsive. So I would go with one of the laptops I recommended and just buy an SSD from newegg and pop it in yourself you can get a very fast 128 for about 80-90 dollars right now so you would still come in under your 1500 dollar budget.
If you need extra storage, get an external USB Harddrive that you attach when needed. The 2.5 external drive form factor is small enough to carry in your laptop bag. Or even just using high capacity USB sticks/sd cards for your media storage (note that these are not sturdy storage mechanisms).
The added benefit is the durability. Laptop harddrives are a common failure point, having this as SSD will reduce the chances you get a laptop disk drive failure.
What you get depends on how much the vendor is charging you. 128gb is enough for just the OS and a few games... If a 256gb upgrade is avail for a fair price, you might want to go for it. But if they are charging you a huge surcharge to get the bigger SSD, I would pass on it.
(I'm speaking above from the perspective that I would be getting a warranty on my laptop, so would not be installing the SSD myself)
Get the one with the strongest videocard you can find followed by the strongest CPU. I learned the hard way that SSDs and Hard Disks can be upgraded, the CPU and GPU cannot be...
Seriously try to find one with a GTX680M/7970M... if you can find a few that fits $1500 then try to find one with an Entry level Quad core processor...
Just upgrade to an SSD later on but right now focus your budget on CPU GPU combination...
This is coming from a former laptop gamer, used to own a G74SX when I could have gotten something like a Sager... end result? I ended up selling the ROG because it did not even play BF3 well...
Seriously I am telling you, Focus the Budget on Video Card then CPU and just upgrade in the future! you will then not have second thoughts like "For a few dollars more, I could have gotten Videocard XXXX or something like that".
Bump this thing up to 7970m, total at 1519... seriously 7970m on par with GTX 680m which is basically an underclocked desktop GTX 670 which is one of the best single cards today...
upgrade to an SSD later if you have to but I am telling you at your budget, this laptop with a 7970M? nothing will even come close... not those rebadged GTX 670/75Ms nothing at this price... bang for the buck, 15.6 Inch Laptop