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To buy a laptop now / wait for Haswell

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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November 18, 2012 10:03:10 AM

Hi!

As you might, or might not, know I have been moving through these Message Board in search of a new laptop to replace my current Asus UL30VT

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/84094-35-laptop-dilem...

Many great options have been suggested to me. I've learned quite a bit on how to properly compare and evaluate laptops.

Then I stumbled upon an article announcing the approach of Intel's new range of CPUs: Haswell, the next 'tock'

It's supposed to provide a massive leap (eg. Pentium to Core 2)

It's to be released in mid-2013 no more than 7 months from now.

My question is:

Should I buy a top-of-the-range laptop now (such as the ASUS UX51VZ/U500) or should i wait for the new Haswell range to be released?

I understand that while the new Haswell range is supposed to quadruple the integrated graphics performance I think I'm safe in saying that it still won't rival an nVidia 650M GPU with 2GB dedicated VRAM. Right?

It's not so much the CPU I'm waiting for but moreso what it's introduction will entail. My prediction that it won't send nVidia or GPU manufacturers out of business rather it will greatly increase competition. Meaning that said manufacturers will be forced to create cheap, powerful and incredibly competitive GPUs which will leave the integrated graphics in the dust.

Another question:

Do you think this will happen? If so, how long will it take and is it worth waiting?

The main dilemma is that I think I'll get stuck in that loop. Where as soon as Haswell is released something else will be predicted in another 6 months, making me want to wait for that. It's really a problem of the human condition :S a 'grass is always greener on the other side' predicament

The benefits of waiting for Haswell, as I see it, are:
> Better battery life
> Increased portability
> Cheaper laptops (???)
> Better technology (sort of a given for any tech in the future)

Whereas the benefits of getting a laptop now, is just that I'll be able to have it now.

What's your opinion?

Looking forward to your swift reply

Thanks in advance :) 
a b D Laptop
November 18, 2012 11:50:46 AM

What is the main purpose of the laptop? Are you going to game on it a lot? Or is it for basic photo/video editing? Or just presentations, emails etc.
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November 18, 2012 12:01:13 PM

portable gaming

If you read the link you'll see that I don't want to compromise size or battery life to accomplish this

Of course I'll probably delve into video editing and plan on rediscovering 3d editing in the future. So I want something powerful that will stay relevant for as long as possible.

Thx for the quick reply :) 
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a b D Laptop
November 18, 2012 2:35:30 PM

I don't have time to go through that link and read everything. Sorry.

Anyway, firstly, if you're going to game a lot you CANNOT expect a long battery life. Most good processors and GPUs use up the battery anywhere between 1-3 hours (on average). Secondly, I took a look at the Asus laptops you've listed... They're not really that good. If your price range is that of the ASUS UX51VZ, then you can easily get a much better deal for a much lower price with the Asus G55VW.

Here's the link.

http://www.amazon.com/G55VW-ES71-15-6-Inch-Gaming-Noteb...

The processor is a quad core i7 3610QM, which is the entry level 3rd gen processor and is quite good. It has 8GB RAM and 500GB hard disk space, which is never going to a problem, simply because the future involves stocking up on lots of external hard disks :) 
The graphics card a NVIDIA GTX 660M, a mid-level class 1 graphics card, which means it will run most games on high settings without a problem. It's a 15.6 inch screen, making it lighter and more portable than a 17.3 inch laptop, and it's resolution is also 1920x1080. It has a backlit keyboard too, which isn't mentioned in the specs.

The haswell is going to take a lot longer than they say to come out properly, without problems and glitches. It's purpose is to create an entire new generation of laptops, since they're aiming to make the processors 200% faster than the 3rd gen core i7s. It's going to take a long time for them to get it right. In the mean time, right now, i7 processors is what will last us the next few years, until they've perfected haswell technology.
I suggest get a good laptop now, like the G55. :D 
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November 19, 2012 1:51:43 AM

Thx Labrynthian!

This is really interesting because when i told my friends i wanted to purchase a new laptop for gaming that was his first suggestion: The G55

But then I decided if I'm going to go for a laptop of that size and power I might as well build a custom laptop eg. from Origin. I made a laptop which had pretty much all the same specs as the Asus except 1 TB HDD / 128 GB SSD and an nVidia GTX 675M (2GB VRAM) which equated to around 2.7 grand because I live in Australia and buying technology in AUS sucks because of GST

It is also thinner and lighter than the G55 but, obviously, more expensive with a much better GPU

In terms of comparing the u500 and the G55, the only relevant difference I see is the GPU.

I'll be refering to the Asus UX51VZ as the U500 because that's how it's listed on the website

When I compared them with this tool: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Computer-Games-on-Laptop-G...

There isn't much difference between the 650M (60th position) and the 660M (54th) . I know one is GT and the other is GTX but what real difference does that make? Comparing raw specs the two are almost identical (= amount of cores, the 650M has higher overclocking capabilities) The biggest difference I saw was the 650M had a Memory speed of 900 MHz while the 660M has 2000! I'm guessing that's where the main difference kicks in. Am I right?

The reason i wanted something with decent battery life is so, when I'm not gaming, i can get decent times.

Also the U500 has an i7 3612QM processor. What difference is that to the 3610QM?

I'm willing to spend more if the laptop will last longer (without becoming redundant). I got 3 solid years out of my UL30VT and I'd like the same with my next laptop.

If I do get the U500 i'll be getting the 128 + 128 GB SSD in RAID 0. That should be enough, right? Like you said:

Quote:
the future involves stocking up on lots of external hard disks :) 


I really appreciate your time.

Also, if you could explain what difference there is between a Republic of Gamers laptop and a normal one?

Keep 'em coming :) 
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a c 249 D Laptop
November 19, 2012 3:00:00 AM

Hi :) 

GAMING + Laptop = Oxymoron

And ANY new Intel laptop will NOT be cheap...

Buy now...

All the best Brett :) 
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a b D Laptop
November 19, 2012 4:06:14 AM

Hey. All right, so I'll start by answering your questions chronologically. Your first question was regarding the GPUs. Yes there is little difference between the 650M and 660M, however if you compare the same game, and play it on the same high level settings, you'll find you do get a better FPS with the 660M. That said, it will manage high-demanding games a bit better than the 650M. That was the whole purpose of bringing out a higher version of the card. Anyway like you said it isn't such a big deal, you'll be able to play a lot nonetheless.
Then you mentioned battery life. Look, battery life essentially comes down to how much you're using the comp and in what way. If you game, the battery will drain faster, as you're using the processor, RAM, GPU, everything... If you sit on it and check mail and do like word document type stuff, it'll last a lot longer... If you REALLY want to save on battery life, then when you game, swap your power settings from balanced to best performance and swap it back when you're NOT gaming. Although as you can imagine, this may get a bit annoying, in which case you will be fine with a balanced setting throughout.
Then your next question is what is the processor difference? Well, basically, the various 2rd gen i7s that have come out all have a few minor changes here and there in terms of performance, nothing else. Their clock speeds are pretty much the same, and they're all pretty powerful. It comes down to what they can actually do in a machine. If you really want a look, here's a link that compares the different i7s.

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processor-compar...

But keep in mind, just because the serial number (e.g. 3610... 3612...3632 etc) of the processor is higher, doesn't NECESSARILY mean it's the more powerful one. But of course, processors with very different numbers, like the 3610 and the 3940, would clearly mean the 3940 is much higher.
Ok so the link above may not load, but this is a much better one anyway. Take a look.

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

Lastly, Republic of Gamers is merely a brand introduced by Asus whose primary focus is to produce high end gaming hardware. That's all. There are a lot of laptops just as good and even better than some ROG laptops as well, like the MSI GT70. Don't worry about things like ROG brands and stuff. That's hardly anything to go by.
Oh yea, and yes a custom-made laptop would be ideal for everyone. We can all pimp up our desktops with custom parts, and it's amazing, but with laptops, as you said, it's extremely expensive to build one. You'd be better off buying a good one instead. Your U500 seems to be a decent laptop, but if you're interested in buying for the future and having something that lasts you a few years, you wouldn't get it, only because the G55 is a better laptop and in the same price range. With a better GPU and RAM... :p 

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November 19, 2012 4:50:22 AM

Best answer selected by ImaginarySoldier.
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November 19, 2012 5:22:44 AM

Great response, Labrynthian! Thx for answering all my questions concisely and accurately. You're help is really appreciated. You've helped to clear up many nagging question which I've encountered in my search.

Kudos! :) 

Just found out here:

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Asus-G55VW-S1020V-N...

Quote:
For some reason, Asus has chosen not to include Nvidia's Optimus feature (switchable graphics) in the G55VW, meaning that the GTX 660M is active all the time and does not switch to the integrated Intel GPU to save power, even when running on battery power.


and...

Quote:
In Battery Eater's 'Reader' test, with virtually no activity, no WLAN, minimum display brightness and all power-saving measures active, the G55VW stayed alive for 3 hours and 44 minutes. In a more realistic scenario--web surfing with medium display brightness--the laptop ran for 2 hours and 38 minutes.


So I've concluded that the Asus U500 is the better option for someone who will, at times, use the device as a basic portable laptop.

Conclusion of this thread:

> I will not be waiting for the new Haswell processors as:

Quote:
The haswell is going to take a lot longer than they say to come out properly, without problems and glitches. It's purpose is to create an entire new generation of laptops, since they're aiming to make the processors 200% faster than the 3rd gen core i7s. It's going to take a long time for them to get it right.


> I will be purchasing the Asus U500/UX51VZ as soon as funds become available and it is released in Australia (for a reasonable price)

> Labrynthian is a great asset to this community and deserves a medal :D 
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a b D Laptop
November 19, 2012 6:08:32 AM

Lol. Glad I could help. Enjoy your new laptop :) 
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a b D Laptop
November 19, 2012 8:05:02 AM

The 900 vs 2000MHz in memory between GT 650m and GTX 660m is because you are looking at a DDR3 version of GT 650m. The GDDR5 version of GT 650m has the same memory freq as GTX 660m. The core freq is different, 745/900 for GT 650m GDDR5 and 835/950 for GTX 660m.

You can go for a Clevo W110ER (GT 650m DDR3), W150ER (GT 650m GDDR5, bios mod for overclock GPU core over imposed 135MHz limit is available) or W350ET (GTX 660mm) now.

It's not a good idea to use an ultrabook for games in Australian during the summer. Well, unless you specifically need an ultrabook.

If I have $2700, I will get Clevo P150M:

http://www.affordablelaptops.com.au/contents/en-us/d387...

750GB HDD, OD bay HDD caddy, W8 HP, 7970m, matte screen, 8GB RAM, 1st year pick up, 2nd, 3rd year RTB warranty for $1803. Then get a 128GB SSD for around $100 (e.g. Samsung 830 $94 @MSY) to put in the 1st HDD bay. Total = $1897. You still have $800 for a tablet to fulfil the portability and battery requirement.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=acer+iconia+w7...

$799.95 + 53.86 shipping in USD. Total $823.43 in AUD. No GST since total price is <$1000.
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