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View Full Version : Portable Laptop Advice (with some gamesplaying ability)



Dentharial
23-10-2012, 10:01 PM
Hey, I need some help, and the closest thread I could find to this subject is 2 months old and not exactly what I'm looking for.

A friend of mine needs a laptop for university, and he'd also like it to have a decent amount of gamesplaying ability. He was originally looking at the Dell XPS14, but everything I've read about that says that the NVIDIA GT630M in that isn't worth it.

I found the Lenovo Ideapad Y580, but frankly I just don't know enough about the details to be sure it's as good as it seems to be.

The points that it needs to hit are:

Portable (including stuff like not heating up excessively, when not playing games)
Good battery life (for working, again not when playing games)
Decent gamesplaying ability when plugged in


It doesn't need to handle the Crysises of the world at the highest settings, but it should hopefully be able to run the mainstream stuff for a couple of years.

Available budget is around the 1000 mark.

Alex Bakke
23-10-2012, 10:09 PM
What does he need the laptop for, Uni-wise? If it's literally just taking notes, web-browsing and watching videos, then you can get very good netbooks nowadays for around 200-250, he could then spend the rest on a desktop that stays in his room.

(I understand that might be a bit difficult with travel, but I'm not too sure of what laptops are good nowadays.)

mashakos
23-10-2012, 10:52 PM
The Asus G75VW (http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=6483&review=asus+g75vw+gaming+notebook) is probably what fits best considering the budget. A 3 hour battery life is quite uncommon for a gaming laptop, and the gtx670m will do for high end gaming. Not as sleek as the Razer Blade, but the sleekness comes with a $1000 premium...

I would go with a combination low end laptop + mid-range desktop myself. A mid-range desktop is generally more powerful than a high end gaming laptop (unless you get one of those ridiculous $6000 Sagers), and the novelty of playing a game for 20 minutes outdoors before the battery runs out gets old fast.

Dentharial
24-10-2012, 09:18 AM
As said, the point of the laptop is not to be able to play games outside, but to be able to move the computer around, plug it in, and play games. I'll suggest the idea of the desktop, but I suspect that won't fly. He's mentioned some stuff about meeting up with friends for LANs and suchlike.

On the other hand, I'll see if I can pin him down on the sort of work he wants it for. It could be that a super-portal netbook could be very attractive. Thanks for the initial ideas.

Strazz
25-10-2012, 11:17 AM
Has your friend looked into external PCI Express enclosures hooked up via Thunderbolt? If he's going to hook up an external monitor anyway when he's plugged in, he could probably grab a ViDock 4 Plus or Echo Express and install a desktop GPU. You'd be limited to PCI Express 2.0 4x (or maybe 2x?), but it'll probably be better than most mobile GPUs on smaller notebooks. Here's a list of notebooks under 1,000 weighing less than 2.4kg that have Thunderbolt ports (http://pricespy.co.uk/category.php?l=s99254211&cols=1584,17,4461&o=produkt_pris_inkmoms#prodlista).

Zergra
25-10-2012, 01:22 PM
I would suggest something from asus g-series

Strazz
25-10-2012, 02:59 PM
Although the G55s and G75s are nice notebooks, they're heavier than other 15" and 17" notebooks and battery life, even when not gaming, is at most 3 hours.

mashakos
25-10-2012, 11:22 PM
As said, the point of the laptop is not to be able to play games outside, but to be able to move the computer around, plug it in, and play games. I'll suggest the idea of the desktop, but I suspect that won't fly. He's mentioned some stuff about meeting up with friends for LANs and suchlike.

The asus it is then unless he's willing to shell out $2500 for a Razer Blade. Mentioning the Razer Blade because it's light and thin with the caveat that the battery life is not better than the Asus G75VW. Gaming performance is much lower than the asus laptop though.

A shuttle is a nice compact desktop PC, but it is not what I would consider cheap (certainly a good deal for what you get) and you still have to worry about finding or carrying a screen to LAN parties. So a laptop is the only option for complete portability.

mashakos
25-10-2012, 11:26 PM
Although the G55s and G75s are nice notebooks, they're heavier than other 15" and 17" notebooks and battery life, even when not gaming, is at most 3 hours.

Is that bad? When I got my 17" macbook pro in 2009 the thing that impressed me the most about it was it's 3 hour battery life - and that's while doing everything except gaming (things like watching DVDs/movie rips, browsing the web, editing and compiling as3 code). I know that things have improved drastically in the past two years (I think it's up to 5 hours with current MBPs) but 3 hours is enough for quite a few activities.

mashakos
25-10-2012, 11:31 PM
Has your friend looked into external PCI Express enclosures hooked up via Thunderbolt? If he's going to hook up an external monitor anyway when he's plugged in, he could probably grab a ViDock 4 Plus or Echo Express and install a desktop GPU.

those things cost as much as a laptop on their own. The Echo Express Pro - the model that supports dual slot cards - costs $800.

Strazz
30-10-2012, 08:41 PM
Is that bad? When I got my 17" macbook pro in 2009 the thing that impressed me the most about it was it's 3 hour battery life - and that's while doing everything except gaming (things like watching DVDs/movie rips, browsing the web, editing and compiling as3 code). I know that things have improved drastically in the past two years (I think it's up to 5 hours with current MBPs) but 3 hours is enough for quite a few activities.

Yeah, three hours where you can actually surf and watch videos is great. The battery tests I've seen for the G75VW though, peg it at around 3 hours, and most of the tests consist of random surfing (http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptop/asus-g75vw-ds71.aspx) and refreshing a page repeatedly (http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=6483&review=asus+g75vw+gaming+notebook&p=3). It weighs 4.5kg and is 5.2cm thick, whereas the 2009 MacBook Pro 17" (unibody) weighed a little less than 3kg and was 2.4cm thick. Power brick on the G75VW's much larger as well. If the OP's friend is fine with that, even if he has to lug it around from one class to another, then that's great, but if he wanted something portable and with good battery life, maybe a MacBook Pro 15" or an ASUS U500VZ would be better options. Both of them have GT 650Ms and the one on the MBP is actually clocked to perform like a GTX 660M. Unfortunately, they're both well beyond the 1,000 budget mentioned in the first post.


those things cost as much as a laptop on their own. The Echo Express Pro - the model that supports dual slot cards - costs $800.

The ViDock 4 Plus costs USD 279 (http://www.villageinstruments.com/tiki-index.php?page=Store). MSI's GUS II is supposed to land in the USD 150 (http://pcper.com/news/Graphics-Cards/CES-2012-MSI-GUS-II-External-Thunderbolt-Graphics-Upgrade-System) range. It isn't in production yet, which is why I said that if he's willing to wait he could grab a Thunderbolt-equipped notebook for now. Notebooks with Thunderbolt and Sandy Bridge Core i5s can be had for around 700.

Strazz
31-10-2012, 01:27 PM
Been trying to post this, but it seems to be stuck in limbo for approval


Is that bad? When I got my 17" macbook pro in 2009 the thing that impressed me the most about it was it's 3 hour battery life - and that's while doing everything except gaming (things like watching DVDs/movie rips, browsing the web, editing and compiling as3 code). I know that things have improved drastically in the past two years (I think it's up to 5 hours with current MBPs) but 3 hours is enough for quite a few activities.

Yeah, three hours where you can actually surf and watch videos is great. The battery tests I've seen for the G75VW though, peg it at around 3 hours, and most of the tests consist of random surfing (http://goo.gl/FzTbV) and refreshing a page repeatedly (http://goo.gl/FZFA3). It weighs 4.5kg and is 5.2cm thick, whereas the 2009 MacBook Pro 17" (unibody) weighed a little less than 3kg and was 2.4cm thick. Power brick on the G75VW's much larger as well. If the OP's friend is fine with that, even if he has to lug it around from one class to another, then that's great, but if he wanted something portable and with good battery life, maybe a MacBook Pro 15" or an ASUS U500VZ would be better options. Both of them have GT 650Ms and the one on the MBP is actually clocked to perform like a GTX 660M. Unfortunately, they're both well beyond the 1,000 budget mentioned in the first post.


those things cost as much as a laptop on their own. The Echo Express Pro - the model that supports dual slot cards - costs $800.

The ViDock 4 Plus costs USD 279 (http://goo.gl/I5JrU) and also supports dual-slot cards. MSI's GUS II is supposed to land in the USD 150 (http://goo.gl/QnNYY) range. It isn't in production yet, which is why I said that if he's willing to wait he could grab a Thunderbolt-equipped notebook for now. Notebooks with Thunderbolt and Sandy Bridge Core i5s can be had for around 700.

mashakos
01-11-2012, 01:02 AM
The ViDock 4 Plus costs USD 279 (http://goo.gl/I5JrU) and also supports dual-slot cards.
An ExpressCard connection? That's PCi-e x1 btw. Completely useless for 3d gaming. That thing is a colossal waste of money!

Strazz
01-11-2012, 06:21 AM
Sorry about that, was pretty sure VillageTronic had a Thunderbolt solution. Turns out it's still under development.

Despite being PCI Express x1, and performing more slowly than a desktop GPU, I wouldn't call it useless. It'll still perform better than the built-in graphics of most notebooks (http://goo.gl/1ijgh). Thunderbolt will limit you to PCI Express x4, that should be even better (http://goo.gl/tYNol) than this.

mashakos
01-11-2012, 06:24 PM
Sorry about that, was pretty sure VillageTronic had a Thunderbolt solution. Turns out it's still under development.

Despite being PCI Express x1, and performing more slowly than a desktop GPU, I wouldn't call it useless. It'll still perform better than the built-in graphics of most notebooks (http://goo.gl/1ijgh). Thunderbolt will limit you to PCI Express x4, that should be even better (http://goo.gl/tYNol) than this.

Sure, it's not completely useless, but it would be quite disappointing to end up with an irregular 10fps-40fps framerate on a 560ti after shelling out $279 for one of these!

EDIT: The thunderbolt isn't too encouraging either, 50fps average on a 6970 ?? Better to just settle for the performance of a laptop gpu rather than waste a combined $1,200 for a thunderbolt Echo Express Pro and an ATI 6970

Strazz
01-11-2012, 06:57 PM
Sure, it's not completely useless, but it would be quite disappointing to end up with an irregular 10fps-40fps framerate on a 560ti after shelling out $279 for one of these!

EDIT: The thunderbolt isn't too encouraging either, 50fps average on a 6970 ?? Better to just settle for the performance of a laptop gpu rather than waste a combined $1,200 for a thunderbolt Echo Express Pro and an ATI 6970

Look at the chart again. That's 50FPS on a normal desktop computer running at ultra on 1920*1080. Using the GPU dock over Thunderbolt, you get 39FPS with BF3 at Ultra at 1920*1080. Surely that's nothing to scoff at? Tone it down a bit and you can easily get over 60FPS. Even the video with the 560Ti is being played on Ultra.

The GTX 660M (in the G75VW, Razer Blade and many other gaming notebooks), will give you between 17.2 (http://goo.gl/gPtkS) to 26.5 (http://goo.gl/79am2) FPS in Battlefield 3 on Ultra at 1920*1080.

mashakos
01-11-2012, 06:58 PM
Look at the chart again. That's 50FPS on a normal desktop computer running at ultra on 1920*1080. Using the GPU dock over Thunderbolt, you get 39FPS with BF3 at Ultra at 1920*1080. Surely that's nothing to scoff at? Tone it down a bit and you can easily get over 60FPS. Even the video with the 560Ti is being played on Ultra.

The GTX 660M (in the G75VW, Razer Blade and many other gaming notebooks), will give you between 17.2 (http://goo.gl/gPtkS) to 26.5 (http://goo.gl/79am2) FPS in Battlefield 3 on Ultra at 1920*1080.

yeah, but look at the numbers. The numbers on the price tags. You can buy a whole new PC for these kind of costs.

EDIT: The Asus G75VW uses a gtx670m, which seems to be giving out 35fps-60fps at 1366x768 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUlriS9CF7U). Not bad for a laptop gpu.

Strazz
01-11-2012, 07:31 PM
yeah, but look at the numbers. The numbers on the price tags. You can buy a whole new PC for these kind of costs.

The OP stated a budget of 1,000:
708.11 Lenovo ThinkPad Edge S430 (w/ Thunderbolt port) 1.8kg 238*24.2*351mm
175 ViDock 4 Plus (USD 279)
124 GTX 650 Ti 2GB (will perform better than the GTX 460 in the chart)
==========
1007.11

If he's willing to wait he could probably get better performance on an MSI GUS II (Thunderbolt) for USD 150.

ASUS G75VW 4.5kg 415*52*320mm
Lowest price I could find in the UK was a little over 1,500 (http://goo.gl/hXPOS)

Strazz
01-11-2012, 07:37 PM
EDIT: The Asus G75VW uses a gtx670m, which seems to be giving out 35fps-60fps at 1366x768 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUlriS9CF7U). Not bad for a laptop gpu.

The GTX 670M will give you 19.3 to 20.1 FPS in Battlefield 3 on Ultra at 1920*1080 (http://goo.gl/GvXB1).

mashakos
01-11-2012, 07:40 PM
The GTX 670M will give you 19.3 to 20.1 FPS in Battlefield 3 on Ultra at 1920*1080 (http://goo.gl/GvXB1).

seems a bit too low from general impressions of the laptop:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6qaLF-n8ws

mashakos
01-11-2012, 07:41 PM
The OP stated a budget of 1,000:
708.11 Lenovo ThinkPad Edge S430 (w/ Thunderbolt port) 1.8kg 238*24.2*351mm
175 ViDock 4 Plus (USD 279)
124 GTX 650 Ti 2GB (will perform better than the GTX 460 in the chart)
==========
1007.11

If he's willing to wait he could probably get better performance on an MSI GUS II (Thunderbolt) for USD 150.

ASUS G75VW 4.5kg 415*52*320mm
Lowest price I could find in the UK was a little over 1,500 (http://goo.gl/hXPOS)
1500?? wow, that is way too much for this. If it's that overpriced in the UK then it's not a good option for sure.

Strazz
01-11-2012, 07:44 PM
Says right there he averaged 24FPS at that resolution. Notebookcheck pegs the GTX 670M at 10% faster than GTX 660M. Anandtech pegged the GTX 660M at 26.5FPS, so using a 10% gain, you might hit 29.15FPS on the GTX 670M.

mashakos
01-11-2012, 07:46 PM
Says right there he averaged 24FPS at that resolution. Notebookcheck pegs the GTX 670M at 10% faster than GTX 660M. Anandtech pegged the GTX 660M at 26.5FPS, so using a 10% gain, you might hit 29.15FPS on the GTX 670M.

but then again, from personal experience, most laptop users can live with gaming below native resolution.