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  1. #1
    Activated Node Ringwraith's Avatar
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    Gaming Laptop Recommendations?

    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.

  2. #2
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    Low price, powerful components, stable. Pick two.

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    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.

  4. #4
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    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.
    Last edited by Finicky; 11-07-2012 at 05:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finicky View Post
    @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.

  6. #6
    Activated Node Ringwraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finicky View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by djbriandamage View Post
    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).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ringwraith View Post
    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.

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    Activated Node Ringwraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djbriandamage View Post
    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.

  9. #9
    Network Hub Splynter's Avatar
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    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.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by byteCrunch View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Finicky; 11-07-2012 at 10:05 PM.

  11. #11
    Activated Node Ringwraith's Avatar
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    As much as these arguments over game tech are, it doesn't help me in finding something to agonise over!

  12. #12
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    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/lapto...r-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.

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    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.
    Last edited by Vague-rant; 12-07-2012 at 07:09 AM.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ringwraith View Post
    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.

  15. #15
    Activated Node Ringwraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vague-rant View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Ringwraith; 12-07-2012 at 01:40 PM.

  16. #16
    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.

  17. #17
    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.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sakkura's Avatar
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    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.

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    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?

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    Network Hub The Tupper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Asokn View Post
    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 is the one she's spotted. There MUST be a better option out there.

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