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zakman
20-09-2011, 08:25 PM
Hi all,

I'm in the market for a new laptop to replace my six-year old Inspiron 9300, and wondering if anyone has any recommendations. I'm not looking for the latest $3,500 Alienware whizbang machine that will be obsolete by this time next year - but for something mid-range that can play modern games well. Here's what I'd like to have, at a minimum:

I5 or i7 cpu
17" non-reflective screen
Dedicated video card
6-8 GB RAM

I've checked out the current generation of Dells and they look pretty good - just wondering if there are better options out there. Thanks!

Kadayi
20-09-2011, 08:30 PM
What kind of budget have you got Zakman?

zakman
20-09-2011, 08:43 PM
About $1500 or so, maybe a little more if need be.

pakoito
20-09-2011, 08:49 PM
Ignoring the fact of "gaming laptop, ugh!" Dell owns Alienware now so pick whatever is on price range and roll with it. i7, Nvidia graphic card, 8GB DDR3 and the usual stuff.

Spider Jerusalem
20-09-2011, 09:00 PM
The Asus G73/74 series would be a good choice.

zakman
21-09-2011, 03:03 AM
Ignoring the fact of "gaming laptop, ugh!" Dell owns Alienware now so pick whatever is on price range and roll with it. i7, Nvidia graphic card, 8GB DDR3 and the usual stuff.

I probably should have clarified - looking for less of a "ZOMG UBER GAMING LAPTOP OF POWAH!" and more of a solid machine that can do other stuff besides gaming, but has the video and processing oomph to handle games when I need it to.

soldant
21-09-2011, 03:41 AM
Define "handle gaming". Remember that the dedicated GPUs found in laptops, despite their numbering/naming scheme, are still inferior to their desktop counterparts. If you're looking for top-end performance you'll probably be disappointed.

zakman
21-09-2011, 04:57 AM
Define "handle gaming". Remember that the dedicated GPUs found in laptops, despite their numbering/naming scheme, are still inferior to their desktop counterparts. If you're looking for top-end performance you'll probably be disappointed.

Oh yeah, I'm aware of the differences. I'm not looking for something to equal my beast of a desktop, but I'd like to be able to take the laptop over to a friends/home for the holidays and still be able to play recent games with decent quality (even if that quality is slightly less than my desktop.)

Megagun
22-09-2011, 06:28 PM
17 inch non-reflective screen? Have fun trying to find something like that that doesn't cost you an arm and both legs...

That said, I recently bought a Medion Erazer X6813 (http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Medion-Erazer-X6813-Notebook.52429.0.html) to replace my aging Thinkpad t60p, and I'm quite happy with it. It was super-cheap (compared with MSI's counterpart and other gaming laptops) and performs very well. Not too fond of the keyboard (no home/page-up/page-down/insert/delete block, which sucks when programming) and the screen (it can get very bright, but the lower greys are quite ugly), but overall I'm very satisfied.

As far as 17 inch laptops go: I see them break down way more often than 15.x-inch laptops, especially at the hinges. If you're not planning on moving your laptop too much, that shouldn't be a problem, though.

Asus make some good, cheap laptops with quite good graphics powers, these days. Not entirely sure how durable they are, though.

Duckpoop
22-09-2011, 08:37 PM
Are you in the US?

This laptop is great (2nd Gen i7, GTX 570M) and fits in your <$1500 budget

http://www.xoticpc.com/msi-gt683dxx1-preorder-p-3140.html?wconfigure=yes

:)

President Weasel
22-09-2011, 09:28 PM
hmmm, I like the look of that Medion thing, I might buy an 800 or so version as the "600 laptop for the train" I was planning to get :)

Duckpoop
23-09-2011, 05:27 AM
If you decide you would rather have a 17 inch over a 15, this is your next best bet if you are in the US

http://www.xoticpc.com/msi-gt780dxx1-p-3255.html?wconfigure=yes

Again, customizable, 2nd gen i7 and GTX570M base, less than $1500

Draakon
23-09-2011, 07:03 PM
I'm in the market for a new laptop to replace my six-year old Inspiron 9300, and wondering if anyone has any recommendations. I'm not looking for the latest $3,500 Alienware whizbang machine that will be obsolete by this time next year - but for something mid-range that can play modern games well. Here's what I'd like to have, at a minimum:

Then stop looking. A laptop, no matter for how much you buy it, is a very, very, very, very bad choice for a gaming platform (especially primary one). Instead, use that same money you have to buy a desktop PC instead, 2x faster, stronger, better. A desktop can last many, many years, while todays laptops tend to die after warranty has expired.

President Weasel
23-09-2011, 07:37 PM
grrr. I want do some gaming on a long train journey so I cannot use a desktop machine.
Also that medion one is too heavy.
Sadness fills my soul at the inability of the entire internet to meet my needs.

Draakon
23-09-2011, 07:46 PM
Trust me, I once bought a laptop for my gaming needs as well. Unless they were very old or not resource heavy games, your laptop will have problems.

zakman
24-09-2011, 04:01 AM
Then stop looking. A laptop, no matter for how much you buy it, is a very, very, very, very bad choice for a gaming platform (especially primary one). Instead, use that same money you have to buy a desktop PC instead, 2x faster, stronger, better. A desktop can last many, many years, while todays laptops tend to die after warranty has expired.

Understood - and again, I'm not looking for a primary machine (that's what the desktop is for). In fact, the Inspiron that I'm looking to replace could never be considered a true gaming machine, even in its heyday - but with some smart decisions when I bought it (discrete video card, max RAM, etc) it's performed quite well for over six years. That's what I'm looking for with this new one - I know it'll never be as powerful as my desktop, but if it's good enough to let me play while I'm away from the desktop, that works for me.

soldant
24-09-2011, 07:32 AM
grrr. I want do some gaming on a long train journey so I cannot use a desktop machine.
Also that medion one is too heavy.
Sadness fills my soul at the inability of the entire internet to meet my needs.
It's just the way things work. If you want portability, you're going to have to sacrifice power. There's no hardware out there which is powerful enough for decent gaming and also fits into a tiny system without cooking itself to death.

President Weasel
24-09-2011, 09:10 AM
I am fully aware of this but the choice is no gaming or a tradeoff of some graphics and processing power. A decent small form factor laptop should be able to play dwarf fortress and Football Spreadhseet Manager; I wouldn't try to play battlefield 3 on it and I wouldn't want it to replace my desktop.

Draakon
24-09-2011, 09:50 AM
Eh, in theory, Dwarf Fortress and other similar games in terms of how much resources they use should be okay, even on a cheap chinese laptop. But then again, mine started to heat as soon as I turned it on :P

Bindibadgi
30-09-2011, 09:11 AM
It's just the way things work. If you want portability, you're going to have to sacrifice power. There's no hardware out there which is powerful enough for decent gaming and also fits into a tiny system without cooking itself to death.

Pretty much this. Tech bits require power, power requires batteries and cooling - both add weight and size.

I would wait until someone actually gives a breakdown of what hardware can handle BF3. I would suspect a GT540M would be OK, but GT555/560M and above would be ideal. Most thin and lights that do have discrete graphics come with a GT520M which is a bit short changing, although better than Intel HD3000.

Our U series is reasonably thin and has the 520s and 540s, or the N55SF that has the GT555M, but that's a bit thick as it's an all-bells-and-whistles jobbie. Then there's the ASUS ROG G-series that uses a 560M and dual/quad core CPUs, which is ground up designed for gamers/LANs.

EDIT: We just launched this a few weeks ago:

http://www.asus.com/Notebooks/Superior_Mobility/U46SV/#specifications

U46SV - 1 inch thick, GT540M, 14 inch, Intel SB CPUs.

aldo_14
30-09-2011, 03:56 PM
grrr. I want do some gaming on a long train journey so I cannot use a desktop machine.
Also that medion one is too heavy.
Sadness fills my soul at the inability of the entire internet to meet my needs.

You might have a problem with regards to battery power, though.

I bought an MSI GX640 last year, with the CPU upgraded to an i7. It's not a bad gaming machine (I bought it mostly because I can travel abroad with it as well as for some fairly heavy duty programming work; it runs everything I've bought in the last few years fairly well, bar GTA4), but it does have a few issues with weight (5kg), battery life (around 2 hours) and - more than anything else - running hot enough to melt a desk.

That said, it was fairly good value considering that it's a gaming laptop. Have you considered, though, just buying a netbook and sticking to classics that run on it?

EDIT; I would advise against a 17" screen, though. Far too bulky to be portable, and it might be a struggle to fit on a train table.