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Ringwraith
10-07-2012, 09:40 PM
Right, seeing as this place seems to attract a lot of sensible people who know about these things, I'd like to ask for recommendations for some form of decent gaming laptop, with notes on reliability of brands also being helpful.

Spec-wise, I'm going to be fairly vague here as I don't quite know what I want, but having around a 1GB graphics card would be preferable, although really what I want is it to be as efficient as possible, so there's no major bottlenecks holding it back, so everything has to be fairly balanced. Hard drive size definitely doesn't matter, as it just varies how vigilant I have to be managing the space.

As for the price range, not looking to make myself broke but depending on a decent machine I could have some leeway (not to mention if any deals are found on some things), but somewhere around 500-600 seems to have enough stuff I want, but as with the specs, that's fairly flexible if need be.

djbriandamage
11-07-2012, 04:49 PM
Low price, powerful components, stable. Pick two.

byteCrunch
11-07-2012, 05:04 PM
My advice would be to wait until we start seeing AMD Trinity based laptops, at least if you have any hope of staying within your budget discrete graphics are simply not an option, and Trinity is far superior to anything Intel currently offers for integrated graphics. Should expect to see Trinity-based laptops towards the end of the year.

Finicky
11-07-2012, 05:25 PM
500 pounds isn't going to get you much of a gaming laptop.

As always, performance/pound is 3-4x higher in desktop land and it's always a better idea to buy a cheap light netbook with good battery for portability AND a mid range desktop pc (or upgrades for your current desktop) than spend over a thousand pounds on a gaming laptop with subpar performance, poor battery life and overheating problems.

You'll spend less and get the best of both worlds. (an actual portable laptop with battery life that allows you to actually leave the house with it, and an actually capable gaming machine)

There are (finally) 2 capable laptop gpus (7970M and gtx 680M) that are comparable to mid range desktop gpus (hd7850 and gtx 560ti), but they also come with midrange desktop gpu heat and noise (but in a laptop shell, not a good match)and are priced extremely high. (1500-2000++ euros)

Please be aware that laptop GPU naming has nothing to do with the desktop counterparts, a gtx 460M is about half as slow as a hd4870 (4 year old gpu) ,a gtx 560M is a gtx 460M with a new sticker on it etc etc etc.

Laptops can't magically break the laws of physics, the limited amount of space and airflow for heat dispersion inside a laptop shell means that the mobile gpus have to be significantly much smaller and lower clocked chips , so set your expectations accordingly.

e.g a gtx460M will offer you 15-20 fps in bulletstorm maxed out @1080p with no AA.

Again, it will cost you 1500-2000 euros to get a capable gaming laptop and it will still be burdened by poor (2-3 hours) of battery life and bulky size/heavy weight (for what is supposed to be a portable laptop).

Heed my advice, get a 300 euro 13" netbook for work and browsing and spend 600-700 euros on a new desktop (250-350 if you already have q2quad, phenom II, amd FX , old i7-i5 or sandy bridge cpu) or you WILL have buyer's remorse.
I've seen too many people waste a grand on an alienware laptop before deciding it was a terrible idea, mostly because they fall for the laptop GPU naming schemes and marketing.

@poster above, trinity being superior to intel integrated graphics means nothing, it could be 4x faster and still be worthless for modern games, it is THAT slow.

byteCrunch
11-07-2012, 05:43 PM
@poster above, trinity being superior to intel integrated graphics means nothing, it could be 4x faster and still be worthless for modern games.

Good to see you didn't even do a modicum of research before your retort. Current Trinity benchmarks place them as more than capable for playing modern games, at a decent frame rate with relatively decent graphics settings, even better if your crossfire them with a very-cheap discrete GPU.

Ringwraith
11-07-2012, 07:07 PM
As always, performance/pound is 3-4x higher in desktop land and it's always a better idea to buy a cheap light netbook with good battery for portability AND a mid range desktop pc (or upgrades for your current desktop) than spend over a thousand pounds on a gaming laptop with subpar performance, poor battery life and overheating problems.
I already have a fairly decent desktop PC, or at least for my needs, but that's not an option, I need a laptop that can run games reasonably well.
Portability probably isn't the biggest issue in the world either, I'm basically looking for something that will semi-substitute for a desktop, I'm not aiming to run the latest stuff on it, nor do I expect to run stuff at full bore. I just need something that works and can play a decent range of stuff. I can relegate some higher-end stuff to the desktop if needed.

Also, it's surprising what you can get cheap, although of course I know that if you're not careful you just end up with a brand which will start to fall apart after a while.

Low price, powerful components, stable. Pick two.
Thanks for this wonderously helpful reply. As stated above I'm flexible, so really I'm looking for as good a middle-ground I can get, preferably with good value for money (which does not necessarily mean cheap).

djbriandamage
11-07-2012, 07:30 PM
Thanks for this wonderously helpful reply. As stated above I'm flexible, so really I'm looking for as good a middle-ground I can get, preferably with good value for money (which does not necessarily mean cheap).

What I could have said more clearly was that the budget you stated will restrict your choices, forcing you to compromise something. The challenge is to identify the least harmful compromise. I apologize if I was overly terse.

Ringwraith
11-07-2012, 07:50 PM
What I could have said more clearly was that the budget you stated will restrict your choices, forcing you to compromise something. The challenge is to identify the least harmful compromise. I apologize if I was overly terse.
Apologies, it's just that it came across to me as someone who didn't read it at all. I'm fairly flexible with what I can settle for, and some things can be gotten for significantly cheaper than what their prices are 'supposed' to be, so basically my price range was some figure I threw out there.

Splynter
11-07-2012, 08:41 PM
My current gaming rig is a laptop I got a couple of years ago as I was in school and primarily needed a laptop. It's a Dell Studio XPS, and I've been very happy with it. It cost me a bit over $1000 Canadian, which is a decent price, certainly vastly cheaper than a Macbook of any sort. It wasn't the top of the line model at the time, so that's also to be taken into account. I have had no problems running most modern games at medium-ish settings, with the exception of the Witcher 2 chugging along at times. Prior to that I had an Asus, which was another perfectly competent machine, though its build was a bit chunky, to say the least.

Finicky
11-07-2012, 09:50 PM
Good to see you didn't even do a modicum of research before your retort. Current Trinity benchmarks place them as more than capable for playing modern games, at a decent frame rate with relatively decent graphics settings, even better if your crossfire them with a very-cheap discrete GPU.

1 : I replied to his wording being dubious, being 'far superior' to Intel hd graphics integrated gpus is meaningless as those things are rubbish.
S' like a baker claiming his bread tastes better than shit...
You make it sound like there is merit in a gpu being better than the SB integrated gpus, I pointed out that there is not.

2 : Benchmarks put it at about a quarter of the performance of a simple hd6870 desktop gpu, The reviews compare it to a hd6550M (OUCH) for gaming, and 30 average (not minimum) fps in battlefield 3 on the lowest settings , 20 on the lowest settings in witcher 2 , 30 fps on lowest settings in mass effect, 24 on the lowest settings in max payne 3 at laptop resolutions to boot does not scream gaming gpu.. or value as a gamer.

As I said, no matter ifit's a lot better (a lot less terrible) than intel integrated gpus, it's still not fit for much more than the sims and a limited number of console ports that run at 150-300 fps anyhow on a decent desktop gpu (like dead space and left4dead).

And most importantly, if you are content with just that then there is absolutely no point waiting for trinity, as you could have this same performance for 2 years in midrange laptops.

Don't laud trinity as something special from a gamer pov, it's just yet another alternative to midrange notebook gpus that can do a bit of light gaming on the side.
And as long as apus don't have dedicated vram but have to make due with the slow system ram being fed through the fsb then these things will be hopelessly starved for memory bandwidth (I.E performance nosedives faster than a comet when you want to play at 1080p or use some AA or have a game with decent textures)

If you knew how to read a benchmark then you'd realise that they keep showing these apus being tested at low resolutions without AA, it's called marketing or polishing a turd.

Headline goes 30 fps in crysis 2 on medium! small print goes @1366x768 and doesn't mention the fps dips in single digits every time the gpu chokes on the lack of memory bandwidth ; while the sheepish consumer is tricked into comparing the benchmark bars with those of a proper benchmark at proper settings.

Ringwraith
11-07-2012, 10:09 PM
As much as these arguments over game tech are, it doesn't help me in finding something to agonise over!

Finicky
12-07-2012, 02:30 AM
Well as I said, you won't find a gaming laptop for 500-600 pounds, and make sure you understand that the gaming laptops that do exist have poor battery life, get hot and are heavy. (and a hot laptop means stability issues and most importantly serious reliability issues over its lifespan)

http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/laptops/1291360/acer-aspire-5560g

This is probably the best you'll find in your price range.
It can play games (30-40 fps at low-medium detail in modern games at the 768p res) if you are content with low settings, and is affordable.

It has the usual downsides though, crap battery life and the usual terribad TN panels with (for a 15" laptop) a pretty shitty resolution.

Doubt you'll find better than that for the price if you want something that can still run games.

Vague-rant
12-07-2012, 07:06 AM
I wanted to get a new laptop a short while ago and the thing that fit the bill was a Eurocom 1.0 Monster http://web.eurocom.com/EC/ec_model_config1(1,228,0)

Its another one of those Clevo rebranded type laptops (w110 I think). An 11 inch laptop with an Nvidia 650GT 2GB. Seems pretty good for 562. I'd be tempted by the upgrades though, in particular the Matt screen for about 60. In terms of quality, Clevo laptops have an average record, but I personally haven't had any issues with them.

I think its a good option considering you have a normal desktop so portability is probably something to look out for. Battery life isn't as high as those ultrabooks you'll find but it puts in something like a solid 4-5 hours. Temperature, the normal concern for this kind of laptop seems ok- for its size and power it runs surprisingly cool under load and off load but that still means it'll get hot. Obviously read more reviews for more information.

One final thing- I likes the fact it doesn't look like your average gaming laptop. Little bit thick, yes, but it doesn't have huge flashing lights.

soldant
12-07-2012, 08:44 AM
As much as these arguments over game tech are, it doesn't help me in finding something to agonise over!
You need to be realistic, because what they're telling you is true. Even the high-end gaming laptops with some degree of portability (i.e. not an Alienware "laptop" which barely qualifies as portable) will be incredibly expensive for relatively mid-range hardware. Gaming hardware is not efficient, it's power hungry and puts out a lot of heat. All mobile tech (well most of it) is deliberately downclocked to combat this, or they'll use ultra-low voltage CPUs etc.

For the amount you're asking you won't find a decent gaming laptop, by which I mean it might run some games but it won't be enjoyable and it won't even be playable on anything above ultra low with a low resolution.

I've been down this path too, looking for a good gaming laptop which could actually be carried and offered decent mid-range hardware. They don't exist at that price range unless you're willing to sacrifice significantly on frame rate and graphical fidelity... to the point where it's honestly not worth it.

Ringwraith
12-07-2012, 01:38 PM
I wanted to get a new laptop a short while ago and the thing that fit the bill was a Eurocom 1.0 Monster http://web.eurocom.com/EC/ec_model_config1(1,228,0)

Its another one of those Clevo rebranded type laptops (w110 I think). An 11 inch laptop with an Nvidia 650GT 2GB. Seems pretty good for 562. I'd be tempted by the upgrades though, in particular the Matt screen for about 60. In terms of quality, Clevo laptops have an average record, but I personally haven't had any issues with them.

I think its a good option considering you have a normal desktop so portability is probably something to look out for. Battery life isn't as high as those ultrabooks you'll find but it puts in something like a solid 4-5 hours. Temperature, the normal concern for this kind of laptop seems ok- for its size and power it runs surprisingly cool under load and off load but that still means it'll get hot. Obviously read more reviews for more information.

One final thing- I likes the fact it doesn't look like your average gaming laptop. Little bit thick, yes, but it doesn't have huge flashing lights.
That's actually the range of model I was looking for, and I don't see why that doesn't class as a "gaming laptop", although the clock speed on the graphics card seems a bit low for the amount of memory it has, so I suspect it's not greatly efficient, possibly wrong though.
However, once again, sure I have a desktop, but It's not going to be usable most of the time, and portability isn't really that high on priority list because of this (as it will be sitting in one place most of the time with all likelihood). Portability is really just going to be icing on the cake rather than a requirement.


You need to be realistic, because what they're telling you is true. Even the high-end gaming laptops with some degree of portability (i.e. not an Alienware "laptop" which barely qualifies as portable) will be incredibly expensive for relatively mid-range hardware. Gaming hardware is not efficient, it's power hungry and puts out a lot of heat. All mobile tech (well most of it) is deliberately downclocked to combat this, or they'll use ultra-low voltage CPUs etc.

For the amount you're asking you won't find a decent gaming laptop, by which I mean it might run some games but it won't be enjoyable and it won't even be playable on anything above ultra low with a low resolution.

I've been down this path too, looking for a good gaming laptop which could actually be carried and offered decent mid-range hardware. They don't exist at that price range unless you're willing to sacrifice significantly on frame rate and graphical fidelity... to the point where it's honestly not worth it.
Well, people just seem to be arguing over what high-end stuff is 'best' at the moment, which isn't helpful as that's not what I was looking for anyway.

I'm not picky, I've sat through Mass Effect 2 at 800x600, and even then it was just about 30 frames per second on average, (and it dipped much lower in some places inexplicably, thankfully those were certain camera angles in conversation).
I don't think I'm asking for much, (I'm already looking for a lower spec machine than my desktop that costs more and have accepted this fact), but apparently I am, despite evidence to the contrary.

JoneChen
21-07-2012, 08:09 AM
I recommend MSI G Series GT60-0NC, Intel Core i7-3610QM, 12GB ram and NVIDIA GTX 670M, it's best gaming laptop at this price.

JoneChen
21-07-2012, 08:13 AM
See this http://gaminglaptopsunder1000.net/best-gaming-laptop/ , if you can add little budget, you may be attracted by MSI G Series GT70 Laptop, it features a NVIDIA GTX 675M graphic card, it has a high graphic performance.

Sakkura
21-07-2012, 05:02 PM
12 GB RAM is such a waste. Anyway, the laptops you recommend go well past the budget limit specified.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 20994CU that the site recommends is a lot closer to the limit, and seems like a nice option. 1k dollars is about 650 pounds.

Asokn
05-08-2012, 04:56 PM
Sorry for hijacking the thread but I have a similar query and I can not work out how to start my own thread. I think I've checked the forum rules fully but I can find no reference to when I'll be permitted to do that. Does anyone know?

The Tupper
08-08-2012, 09:46 AM
Sorry for hijacking the thread but I have a similar query and I can not work out how to start my own thread. I think I've checked the forum rules fully but I can find no reference to when I'll be permitted to do that. Does anyone know?


Me too: I've been asked to source a best-of-a-bad-deal laptop for my niece who absolutely insists on a portable option despite only having about 350 to spend on it. Reading the above, I don't hold out a lot of hope.

If anyone's interested, this (http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/hp-pavilion-g6-1325ea-15-6-laptop-red-11884755-pdt.html)is the one she's spotted. There MUST be a better option out there.

mrki
08-08-2012, 10:30 AM
I'm late to the thread, but perhaps this helps. For the last year I've been playing on my Acer Aspire Timeline X with a 1 GB NVidia GT 540M card. I rarely run everything on full graphics, the resolution of the screen is only 1366x700-something but the games look and play fine for me. So if you can find a laptop with this graphics card and you're not too demanding I'd say you'll be fine.

Ringwraith
14-08-2012, 11:41 AM
I'm late to the thread, but perhaps this helps. For the last year I've been playing on my Acer Aspire Timeline X with a 1 GB NVidia GT 540M card. I rarely run everything on full graphics, the resolution of the screen is only 1366x700-something but the games look and play fine for me. So if you can find a laptop with this graphics card and you're not too demanding I'd say you'll be fine.
Funnily enough, I've found something that might be a reasonable, and it's also an Acer Aspire, but a V3-5710G, which has a GeForce 630M in it. The resolution is the same at 1366x768 but currently I've only got a 17" monitor which goes up to 1280x1024 anyway, so not overly fussed. It has an i5 2.5Ghz processor and 8GB of RAM too, and the 500GB hard drive isn't too shabby.
Seeing as I get this for 500, anyone think that's fairly good value?

Sakkura
14-08-2012, 12:04 PM
It's not a bad deal at all, but if you could throw down a little more money and get a laptop with eg. a Geforce GT 640M instead, that would make gaming on it a lot more viable. The GT 630M is a rebadged old Fermi GPU (GT 540M).

Kellhus
14-08-2012, 12:46 PM
The Asus N56VZ is a great laptop if you want to play games. It has a GT650 on board, with a new Ivy Bridge i7 proc, and best of all: it has a great cooling system. You really don't want one of those cheap cases where the fan sounds like a plane lifting off...

Ringwraith
14-08-2012, 03:11 PM
It's not a bad deal at all, but if you could throw down a little more money and get a laptop with eg. a Geforce GT 640M instead, that would make gaming on it a lot more viable. The GT 630M is a rebadged old Fermi GPU (GT 540M).
The thing is, how much would that cost me extra for that extra 10? It's nice and all, but if it's going to be cost another couple of hundred quid it's probably not going to be worth it. If you can find any decent laptops with one in let me know, but I'm just turning up stuff that is probably overkill.


The Asus N56VZ is a great laptop if you want to play games. It has a GT650 on board, with a new Ivy Bridge i7 proc, and best of all: it has a great cooling system. You really don't want one of those cheap cases where the fan sounds like a plane lifting off...
Attempting to find a price on is not only incredibly difficult, as seemingly no-where sells it, but any prices I could find were very expensive, as my ceiling is probably about 600-700 at a stretch, although most of all I want good value out of it.

Sakkura
14-08-2012, 05:56 PM
It wouldn't necessarily cost much more to get a GT 640M. But I must admit I'm struggling to find stuff in the UK market. Sites like pricerunner are just retarded when it comes to sorting by hardware requirements. Like "dedicated graphics" apparently includes Intel GMA...

Ringwraith
14-08-2012, 06:10 PM
Yeah, attempting to find one is proving difficult.
At least, attempting to find one that's not hideously-expensive and like near the grand mark.

Sakkura
14-08-2012, 06:44 PM
Alright, it took some eyebleeding effort at pricerunner, but I did find some shiny ones:

ASUS N55SL (http://www.pricerunner.co.uk/pl/27-2810478/Laptop-Computers/ASUS-N55SL-S2167V-Compare-Prices) - 600, Core i5-2430M, Geforce GT 635M, 1600x900 screen.
Decent Sandy Bridge dual-core CPU, and the graphics card slots in between the GT 630M and 640M oddly enough.

Dell Inspiron 15R SE (http://www.pricerunner.co.uk/pl/27-2828468/Laptop-Computers/Dell-Inspiron-15R-SE-%28N0515S30%29-Compare-Prices) - 630, Core i5-3210M, Radeon HD 7730M, 1366x768 screen.
Good Ivy Bridge dual-core CPU (ie. newest generation, meaning a little more performance and lower power requirements), and a pretty good graphics card for a laptop - equal to or slightly better than a GT 640M.

Medion Erazer X6815 (http://www.pricerunner.co.uk/pl/27-2791710/Laptop-Computers/Medion-Erazer-X6815-%28MD-97971%29-Compare-Prices) - 655, Core i7-2670QM, GeForce GT 555M, 1920x1080 screen.
Good Sandy Bridge quad-core CPU, decent graphics card (the GT 635M is basically a rebranded GT 555M).

They're all 15-inch laptops with USB3.0 and all that. The middle one might be the best value for gaming. It's got a lower-res screen but then again 1920x1080 is a bit much on a little 15-inch screen and the higher resolution puts more stress on the graphics card.

Ringwraith
14-08-2012, 07:04 PM
Yeah, 1920x1080 is a lot of overkill, seeing as currently I only play at 1280x1024 and that's more than enough on a 17", so it's really a non-issue for me.
I'll have to look at those and shop around later (and decide which one is the most efficient and best value), but thanks a lot for taking the time to find them.

Ringwraith
17-08-2012, 06:27 PM
Right, so after looking at their specs a bit, and failing to find those laptops cheaper, I'm wondering if the jump up in graphics card is worth the 100+ it'll cost me.
Out of the three 600+ lappies, I see problems with the Medion having a 3.1GHz quad core and only 4GB of RAM, thus it's likely to go to waste without the RAM to scale with the processing power. The ASUS is good, but for 30 more it gets me a slightly better processor, likely better graphics card, and double the hard drive space with the Dell, so it's probably not as good value as it, although there's a downgrade in resolution, but that was never that important to me and they're only 15" screens anyway.

The original Acer was looking at has more RAM than it will likely ever to use I think, as 8GB seems like overcooking it a bit, so it's a question of if the jump from a Nvidia GeForce 630M to a Radeon HD 7730M is worth 130, and I don't know enough about the two cards to say if it is. As they have exactly the same processor model and the hard drive space doesn't bother me too much, as 500GB is probably plenty for me.

Finicky
17-08-2012, 07:19 PM
People keep offering you advice and you keep ignoring it and throwing gems back at us like 'how much would that cost me for that extra 10' when referencing a gt640M vs 630M.

Let me explain why I cringed : that 'extra 10' means it is 70 percent faster...

Also:
-4GB vs 8 GB ram doesn't make a lick of difference for gaming, if you don't multitask then most games work perfectly fine with 2GB ram...
-radeon 7730m is 20 percent slower than a gt640m
-you want a 640M or better because they use the 28nm kepler architecture, which is much more power efficient (good for battery life, noise and heat) then femri (5xx M series)
-the 640M with gddr5 is a lot faster than the DDR3 version, Nvidia likes to confuse people like you so you'd waste your money on a crap gpu that won't last you a year. Odds are high that you'll end up with the DDR3 version, enjoy.

If that still confuses you : for bang for buck in the low end laptops that can play some games at low settings you want a gt640M, anything lower in the 6xx series will be MUCH slower and unfit for gaming

Or waste your money and our time and buy whatever you want, you don't want advice it seems, you just want to be told that whatever shit you waste your money on is great
No matter what you buy, a gaming laptop for use at home instead of on the move is a waste of money.

Ringwraith
17-08-2012, 08:28 PM
People keep offering you advice and you keep ignoring it and throwing gems back at us like 'how much would that cost me for that extra 10' when referencing a gt640M vs 630M.

Let me explain why I cringed : that 'extra 10' means it is 70 percent faster...
Right, thank you for an answer to something which I hadn't got before. I don't know much about graphics card specifics.
Seeing as I'm standing from almost a complete novice standpoint when it comes to graphics card specs, model numbers are arcane things which don't tell me anything specific about the speed gap between cards.

-4GB vs 8 GB ram doesn't make a lick of difference for gaming, if you don't multitask then most games work perfectly fine with 2GB ram...
Which is something I may have mentioned, that lots of extra RAM is overkill, but considering how much junk I stick on computers having some extra for free probably wouldn't go amiss anyway. Additionally, many games run quite a bit better with more than 2GB of RAM, like Skyrim for example.

-radeon 7730m is 20 percent slower than a gt640m
Knowing the difference between two different makes of graphics card is even harder to the outsider due to the numbers no longer having any relation to one another, and seeing as someone before went and said they were roughly equivalent, I would have no reason to not believe that.

-you want a 640M or better because they use the 28nm kepler architecture, which is much more power efficient (good for battery life, noise and heat) then femri (5xx M series)
This is also something that has not been explained prior to this, so thanks for the extra information.

-the 640M with gddr5 is a lot faster than the DDR3 version, Nvidia likes to confuse people like you so you'd waste your money on a crap gpu that won't last you a year. Odds are high that you'll end up with the DDR3 version, enjoy.
Right, so I'm at fault for not recognising something which their own manufacturer tries to withhold and no-one else has informed me about? Thanks for the heads-up at least, even if it comes across rather accusatory.

If that still confuses you : for bang for buck in the low end laptops that can play some games at low settings you want a gt640M, anything lower in the 6xx series will be MUCH slower and unfit for gaming
So, if it was that simple, why didn't anyone just come straight out and tell me this earlier?

Or waste your money and our time and buy whatever you want, you don't want advice it seems, you just want to be told that whatever shit you waste your money on is great
Actually, I don't want to be told that at all, if I didn't want advice I wouldn't be asking for it, as I'd be wasting my time before the more valuable consideration of wasting other people's time is taken into account.
I don't want to be told what I buy is great, I want to be told what's the best deal I can get.

No matter what you buy, a gaming laptop for use at home instead of on the move is a waste of money.
Circumstances dictate that getting a desktop is not an option, which I have stated multiple times, knowing full-well that a desktop of a similar price would get me more power. Unless you can shrink them to the size of a laptop of course, but until then no amount of saying that I should get a desktop instead will solve my original problem.

I apologise if any of my previous posts have come across with the impression that I'm ignoring people's advice, but I've been taking it all on board, and at the end of the day, I have to make the decision on what to do.

Sakkura
17-08-2012, 09:44 PM
-radeon 7730m is 20 percent slower than a gt640m
The Radeon HD 7730M is a 7750M with DDR3 memory instead of GDDR5. The 7750M is better than the GT 640M with GDDR5, while the 7730M is better than the GT 640M with DDR3, but probably a bit worse than the GT 640M with GDDR5.

Thing is, the most common version of the GT 640M is the DDR3 one.


Right, so after looking at their specs a bit, and failing to find those laptops cheaper, I'm wondering if the jump up in graphics card is worth the 100+ it'll cost me.
Out of the three 600+ lappies, I see problems with the Medion having a 3.1GHz quad core and only 4GB of RAM, thus it's likely to go to waste without the RAM to scale with the processing power. The ASUS is good, but for 30 more it gets me a slightly better processor, likely better graphics card, and double the hard drive space with the Dell, so it's probably not as good value as it, although there's a downgrade in resolution, but that was never that important to me and they're only 15" screens anyway.
It doesn't work that way. The only thing that matters is how much room your OS and running application use; this doesn't change appreciably with different CPUs. If you end up in a situation where you're using more memory than you have physical RAM, it will start writing some of it to the hard disk, and that will cripple performance no matter what CPU you're using.

Anyway, the bottom line is: With an insufficient graphics card, games will run really poorly. You need to get at least into the midrange laptop graphics cards before things start running decently. If you could move up to a card with GDDR5 it would help a lot, but it looks like it's just a little bit out of reach for your budget. You can still make up for the slow memory a bit by staying away from higher resolutions and antialiasing levels, since those are the things that put the most strain on your VRAM.

Ringwraith
17-08-2012, 11:22 PM
Yeah, antialiasing is something I'm never fussed about too much, and seeing as the screen is so small having a resolution much higher than the standard 1366x768 is probably overdoing it.
I'm guessing a GDDR5 card would break the 700 limit I'm sort of loosely keeping, I could may stretch it more, but considering I was having 700 as my upper limit previously, I may end up with the problem of never managing to draw a line.

I was apprehensive about the huge CPU mostly as I rarely use my 2.5GHz quad core fully as it is, and I'm running 4GB of RAM too. So I was just unsure as to how helpful it would be for me.

Finicky
18-08-2012, 01:21 AM
Right, thank you for an answer to something which I hadn't got before. I don't know much about graphics card specifics.
Seeing as I'm standing from almost a complete novice standpoint when it comes to graphics card specs, model numbers are arcane things which don't tell me anything specific about the speed gap between cards.

Right, so I'm at fault for not recognising something which their own manufacturer tries to withhold and no-one else has informed me about? Thanks for the heads-up at least, even if it comes across rather accusatory.

So, if it was that simple, why didn't anyone just come straight out and tell me this earlier?


It wasn't a stab at you, AMD and Nvidia try extremely hard to deceive novices (and even people who have been building pcs for years) with their naming schemes.
Sorry if I worded it rudely.
The amount of pc veterans who thanks to AMD naming schemes think a hd7750 is a large upgrade from a 4890 (it's slower) is both hilarious and depressing. Same goes for those who think a recent gtx560M (mobile gpu) is even half as capable as the now ancient 8800GTX. (desktop gpu).


People have recommended you a laptop with a gt650M (which is the minimum really for acceptable gaming performance in a cheap laptop), and someone else recommended you can go cheaper by getting a gt 640 M

If the 630 was of any use for gaming they would have mentioned it.

I don't know all the performance numbers by heart either, amd and nvidia constantly fuck with their naming and constantly rebrand old gpus as 'new' models with higher model numbers, especially in the mobile space their naming is just silly.

GPU naming for dummies:
-A crude rule is if it has M (M is for mobile, as in laptop) behind it it will be half as fast as the desktop version of the same name.
-Any model number x40/x5xx are the lowest end gaming grade cards, anything below that is only for watching videos.
-Also the first number is the "year or process design number" (560 is from 2010-2011, 660 from 2012) while it's the second digit that denotes the performance class (gtx 280 is MUCH faster than a gtx 640)
-Performance differences in the low end between each model are large, the difference between the higher end models isn't as large. Performance/euro is a bell curve that peaks at the 150 euro midrange cards.

You can use these as very crude guides to give you a general idea of what performance bracket each gpu holds, and then based on that info google the ones that you are interested in for proper performance information with actual games benchmarked and not just 3d mark.
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benchmark-List.844.0.html
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html (this one is inaccurate for dual gpu cards like the gtx 690 but those are irrelevant anyhow)
http://www.guru3d.com/article/vga-charts-summer-2012/2

Ringwraith
18-08-2012, 02:51 AM
I was pretty sorted on Nvidia's numbering scheme until they ran out of thousands and redid half of the number range starting with the 2xx's. I still know the higher second digit is better, but no longer quite they exactly mean anymore.
Like I understand what kind of thing my current 9600 is, but not a lot about a 220 I got was, (except that it was awful).

I've never known what AMD/Radeon were doing with theirs.

bonkers
18-08-2012, 11:27 AM
-4GB vs 8 GB ram doesn't make a lick of difference for gaming, if you don't multitask then most games work perfectly fine with 2GB ram...
Depends on which games. Skyrim and BF3 for example have been reported to crash every now and then when run with 2GB. This issue is only resolved with going 4GB+. Also in those games fram rates can go up by 10 to 20 when going from 4GB to 8GB on a high end systems.
With older games you are of ocurse fine with 2GB but if you want to go near anything near Skyrim 2GB will not do it, at least 4GB are required.

Sakkura
18-08-2012, 11:44 AM
Depends on which games. Skyrim and BF3 for example have been reported to crash every now and then when run with 2GB. This issue is only resolved with going 4GB+. Also in those games fram rates can go up by 10 to 20 when going from 4GB to 8GB on a high end systems.
With older games you are of ocurse fine with 2GB but if you want to go near anything near Skyrim 2GB will not do it, at least 4GB are required.
Eh? Skyrim wasn't even aware of any memory beyond the first 2 GB for a good long while after release.

bonkers
18-08-2012, 11:53 AM
Eh? Skyrim wasn't even aware of any memory beyond the first 2 GB for a good long while after release.
No, not really. The problem was that Skyrim could only address up to 2GB max for itself which lead to problems with HD textures, mods and the like as more RAM was required. The patch changed that to up to 4GB.
Having only 2GB in total is a completely different thing as your OS already takes up a large chunk and running Skyrim with only 2GB will cause Windows (7) to force a shutdown on Skyrim after a while. In BF3 2GB lead to a texture related DirectX error sometime ingame.

Finicky
18-08-2012, 01:39 PM
Yes, hence most vs all.
4GB is fine, (to drive the point home even 2GB is mostly acceptable)

Point being: it's a laptop (prebuilt fixed spec hardware), 4GB vs 8GB ram should be extremely low on the decision making list for what laptop to choose.

OP: I forgot to mention:
Avoid medion, they use really low build quality parts (even worse than say dell desktop prebuilts)
You are pretty much guaranteed for it to fail within 3 years, everyone I know with a medion pc had their psu fail within the first 2 years for example.

Sakkura
18-08-2012, 02:31 PM
No, not really. The problem was that Skyrim could only address up to 2GB max for itself which lead to problems with HD textures, mods and the like as more RAM was required. The patch changed that to up to 4GB.
Having only 2GB in total is a completely different thing as your OS already takes up a large chunk and running Skyrim with only 2GB will cause Windows (7) to force a shutdown on Skyrim after a while. In BF3 2GB lead to a texture related DirectX error sometime ingame.
That's only an issue with extensive modding. Basic Skyrim doesn't crap out on 2 GB RAM. I have no idea about how Beefy Manshooter 347 works in this regard.

bonkers
18-08-2012, 05:30 PM
Right, I re-checked that. For Skyrim it's only a issue if you fiddle around with ini settings (grids) or texture mods. With both you can even kill a 4GB setup. In BF3 it seems to be a general problem.

Sakkura
18-08-2012, 06:44 PM
I've never known what AMD/Radeon were doing with theirs.
Might as well have a go at explaining that.

Their naming is usually pretty straightforward in the desktop space. Each generation (denoted by the first digit), they design a few GPUs of varying size and ability. The best GPU gets the x9xx model numbers, the second-best the x8xx numbers and so on.
Each of these GPUs are usually released in two versions, one fully functional and the other toned down in one way or another. They get the xx70 and xx50 numbers, respectively. Sometimes, they add more versions and they get either xx30 or xx90 numbers - xx90's can sometimes be nerfed versions of the GPU above (for example, a 6790 is a crippled 6870). For top-end graphics cards, the xx90 number is used for dual-GPU graphics cards, so eg. a 6990 contains two 6970 GPUs on one card.

In laptops, it's my impression that this fairly straightforward system falls apart with much of the same confusion Nvidia employs (they just do it on desktops too from time to time). Laptops really are a pain to shop for if you actually want to have a good idea what you're getting. Probably because most laptop buyers don't have a clue anyway, so the retailers just give them some fancy but rather useless numbers and buzzwords.

Ringwraith
18-08-2012, 07:29 PM
That's only an issue with extensive modding. Basic Skyrim doesn't crap out on 2 GB RAM. I have no idea about how Beefy Manshooter 347 works in this regard.
Skyrim ran much more smoothly for me when it was using 4GB of RAM even though I wasn't using any mods or anything.

Avoid medion, they use really low build quality parts (even worse than say dell desktop prebuilts)
You are pretty much guaranteed for it to fail within 3 years, everyone I know with a medion pc had their psu fail within the first 2 years for example.
Eh, from the desktop perspective I can't say I've had a bad experience with them, seeing as mine is still doing well after three and a half years. Of course laptops are another matter entirely.

harhis23
28-08-2012, 01:20 AM
I'm not sure if you are into spending considerably huge amount of money for entertainment but I think Asus G74SX would be a good option. Its price may reach up to $1,700 but I think it's worth it.