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So I need to get a new laptop

By on May 31, 2010 9:46:45 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

GoaFan77

Join Date 10/2008
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I'll be graduating high school this Saturday, and while it seems like I need to get a billion things still before the fall, one thing I want to start shopping for right away is a laptop. Yes, it will have an educational use for taking notes and research on the internet, but honestly it will probably be used the most for games. This is especially important because my brother owns the Xbox 360, so I will be going from a mostly PC gamer to an entirely PC gamer. So in other words, I would like recommendations on what I should look for (especially with graphics cards, as that's what I know the least about) in a laptop that can hopefully run these for the least amount of money.

  • Sins of a Solar Empire Trinity
  • Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Gold Edition(I suspect this will be the hardest one)
  • Demigod
  • Elemental
  • Empire: Total War (I bought it but it didn't work on my current PC, so I might not mind this one)
  • Star Wars: Battlefront II (Shouldn't be an issue compared to the rest but it's the only FPS I own)

Anything that can run those should be able to run anything else in my arsenal, so I'll just leave it at that.

For those that don't want to read: suggest laptops or what to look for in a laptop that will run the bulleted games decently well for a decent price.

 

Thanks for any advice in advanced.

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June 1, 2010 10:17:28 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

it will probably be used the most for games

Honestly gaming laptops are a bad idea if you're going to be lugging it around to lectures for note-taking--They're generally going to run at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum in size, weight, and battery life as compared to the sort of machine you'd want in classes, which means you'll either have to compromise on gaming capability or suitability for school. They also cost a lot more, and you'll never be able to make significant upgrades as you would a gaming desktop.

If you can still play games on a desktop, it might be better to just get a netbook for school. I got a 10" Samsung myself just for the final semester of my degree and it was much better to carry (not to mention only needing to charge it once or twice a week due to the 9-hour battery) than the older 15" laptop I had (which I'll probably be re-purposing to sit on the shelf as a DVR with an HDHomeRun soon).

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June 1, 2010 11:31:57 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

^While that is certainly true, I'm partly worried that a dedicated desktop may not fit well in an overcrowded dorm room. Also the flexibility to simply carry my games with me to some of the nicer areas on campus if need be might be an asset worth the wieght of having to carry it around. I guess it depends on what kind of deals I can find on netbooks.

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June 1, 2010 11:45:18 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

A dedicated desktop fits fine in an overcrowded dorm room.  I lived in a 16 by 11 dorm room for 2 people (aka ridiculously small lol).  It still comes with a desk that fits a computer just fine.  I might have had to make the choice to be able to sit @ my desk or get into one side of my closet, but the desktop computer still fit on the desk that had to stay in there anyway

 

Edit:  Rofl, I just measured the kitchen in my 1 bedroom apt.. it's 10.5 by 15.  And this 1 bedroom apt is cheaper than the ridiculously small dorm room (very nice apt as well, not run down or w/e).  What I'm saying here is... I would suggest getting an apartment instead of living in the dorms lol.

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June 1, 2010 11:48:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Get an iPad and that app that lets you stream netflix movies then meet girls.

Way more entertaining.

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June 1, 2010 1:15:11 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Also the flexibility to simply carry my games with me to some of the nicer areas on campus if need be might be an asset worth the wieght of having to carry it around

This is what I like about my laptop, too. I just graduated high school as well, but I've had my laptop for almost 2 years. It's a big 17" one, but it's really nice to be able to take it in front of the TV, or to a friend's for LAN parties or whatever. So far I haven't had any major problems carrying it around, but then, I haven't had to take it to class every day yet.

When I was doing research into what kind of laptop to get, I definetly found that Kyro was right. Dedicated gaming laptops are not the way to go. For a little while I considered an Alienware, but they were bulky, low battery life (like an hour, that's just bad), and most importantly, really, really expensive.

What I ultimately went with was a mid-higher range multimedia laptop. It can't play Crysis on the highest settings, but it can play all of the games I want; a list very similar to yours, Sins, Elemental, Demigod, GalCivII, Dragon Age Orgins (again, not on highest settings, but good enough), and stuff like that. It is also great for movies and pretty much whatever else I want to do. I can use it just fine for 3d modelling (not proffessional modelling, just for mods and such).

If you decide you still want a laptop, I'd say the biggest factor in deciding what kind to get and what technical specs it has is how much you (or your parents ) are willing to pay. Because no matter what kind you get (with maybe the exception of a netbook), you will be able to find a comparable or better desktop for significantly less. My laptop was ~$1600, but I found a $500 off coupon online. Which is another thing you should look for, because there are lots of deals out there if you look for them.

So anyway, the actual specs of my computer:

  • HP dv9700t
  • 17" screen (1680 x 1050 resolution)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (it came with Vista x64, but I upgraded, students get a discount )
  • 4GB RAM
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 2.5GHz
  • 512MB Nvidia GeForce 8600M (a piece of sh!t, because Nvidia didn't make it very well. It's good enough for most of my games, but when it gets too hot it is suseptible to melting. It doesn't help that HP didn't design the cooling system very well. All this I learned, of course, after I got the computer. Make sure you do a lot of research to see if your potential system has any widespread problems)
  • 320GB Hard drive

I also got an extra battery with it, each battery last 3-3 1/2 hours on a charge.

Aside from the graphics-card-melting-and-frying-the-motherboard problem that both companies knew about but refused to acknowledge, I'm pretty happy with my laptop. Like I said, it can play all of my games (it can run Sins on Highest, btw), along with pretty much everything else I want it to.

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June 1, 2010 1:30:38 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

My laptop was ~$1600

For the same price you can build a quite good desktop, grab a netbook for classes, and still have cash to spare

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June 1, 2010 1:37:56 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting kryo,

My laptop was ~$1600

For the same price you can build a quite good desktop, grab a netbook for classes, and still have cash to spare

^^^^^^^^^^^^

I got my desktop roughly the same time.. 7gb ram, 600gb hd, 9800 gt gcard, and a phenom quadcore for $800, and no issues with overheating or battery life  26 inch hd screen for $400.  That's $1200 so far.. then ~$300 for a netbook, leaves you with $100 left over.

Srsly tho.. kryo speaks the truth!

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June 1, 2010 1:43:01 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting kryo,

My laptop was ~$1600


For the same price you can build a quite good desktop, grab a netbook for classes, and still have cash to spare

Yeah, but I can't move a desktop between my room, the TV, and my friends' houses But yes, at the time I considered getting a desktop instead, but I wanted mobility, and netbooks couldn't play the games I wanted. And you're forgetting the coupon, the final cost was closer to $1100. If it weren't for that coupon, I certainly would have gone for something cheaper.

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June 1, 2010 2:47:57 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Price, Portability and Power. Choose two.

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June 1, 2010 10:55:46 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting XX,
Price, Portability and Power. Choose two.

It does indeed seem to be that way. Unfortunately I'll probably will be unable to decide how important portability is until I know exactly which dorm I will be getting, so lets work with one variable at a time.

So, regardless of whether I get a laptop or desktop, what am I going to need as far as power is concerned? My Nvidia 8400 on my current laptop can only really run Battlefront and Sins (that 8600 sure sounds like a big improvement if it can run Crysis at all kyogre) on my list, so that is going to need a serious improvement. 4Gb of Ram seemed alright but that was on Vista, so hopefully windows 7 will make it seem faster. Anything else I should look for?

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June 1, 2010 11:26:19 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting XX,
Price, Portability and Power. Choose two.

Unless you choose power, in which case you only get one You can, in fact, get a laptop with 8GB of RAM, i7 processor and 1TB of harddrive (I know, I looked it up) but portability and price go out the window. Price in particular, doesn't just go out the window, it gets launched into low-earth orbit.

So, regardless of whether I get a laptop or desktop, what am I going to need as far as power is concerned? My Nvidia 8400 on my current laptop can only really run Battlefront and Sins (that 8600 sure sounds like a big improvement if it can run Crysis at all kyro) on my list, so that is going to need a serious improvement. 4Gb of Ram seemed alright but that was on Vista, so hopefully windows 7 will make it seem faster. Anything else I should look for?

Skip the 8600 and go with whatever the next one up is (8800? I haven't looked in a while). I wasn't joking when I said it was a piece of shit with overheating problems. Cost me $400 to fix. Based purely on that experience, I'd say get an ATI card and avoid HP. But to be completely honest, I don't know if ATI is any better, and I like some of the extra features HP has on their computers (built in fingerprint reader, lightscribe, etc. Plus they seem to have better deals pricewise).

In pretty much everything, more is better. If you can get 6GB of RAM, do it (as long as you get Windows 7 x64). If there is one thing you can probably give up, I'd say it is hard drive space. Unless you have a lot of photos, or do a lot of editing of them, etc, you probably don't need 1TB And if it gets to the point where you're running out of room, you can always buy external drives later (or if you get a desktop, you can just upgrade).

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June 3, 2010 11:04:09 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Othello,
Get an iPad and that app that lets you stream netflix movies then meet girls.

Way more entertaining.

 

BLAH!!!

Not the iPad...

Get a Lenovo Ultra-Portable. I have one and it only has 1 GB of RAM and I can run plenty of games smoothly.

 

I have an old X60s, not bad for its age.

oops, a list of games might be more helpful...

SoaSE

SW Battlefront 2

WolfTeam

SupCom FA and 2

Counterstrike

Dawn of War Soulstorm

 

These games run on medium settings, and I still have to upgrade my comp's RAM. On top of that, my comp has had a 7 hour gaming streak on battery. It runs XP though... Try a more recent model.

Intel 256mB VRAM; some people hate this video card. It is nice for its cheapness, but CANNOT SUPPORT IN-GAME ANITALIASING. Who cares really though?

I dont know, that is my pref with what little cash I have.

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June 11, 2010 6:03:42 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Alright, quick question, what kind of processor is usually better for games? While having more cores is probably better for most things, it seems some games (like Sins) cannot handle multiple cores. So is it better to get one really good processor or can multicores do the job?

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June 11, 2010 6:35:57 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting GoaFan77,
Alright, quick question, what kind of processor is usually better for games? While having more cores is probably better for most things, it seems some games (like Sins) cannot handle multiple cores. So is it better to get one really good processor or can multicores do the job?

Depends on the game. Like you mentioned, Sins only uses on core. I don't even think you can buy a new computer with a single core processor anymore. I have a dual core @ 2.5 GHz, and it runs Sins great.

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June 11, 2010 6:43:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Like kyrogre said, it'd probably be hard to find a processor that is single core, but I would suggest a higher speed duel core over lower speed quad core.

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June 12, 2010 1:12:46 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

^Thanks guys, that is what I wanted to know. Also about graphics cards, is there any particular stat besides dedicated video memory that can make a big difference in how the card performs (there seems to be a lot of price fluctuation among 1GB cards for instance)?

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June 12, 2010 1:57:12 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834115792  this seems like a good deal. 

the other specs for the video cards are processors speed, mem clock speed and shader core speed.

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834115763 this is a similar priced dual core.

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June 17, 2010 9:53:28 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

You know... Asus makes some really nice laptops. I've had the Asus G50 VT for almost exactly one year now (got it last June) and it's never failed for me. It isn't all that heavy (I carry it around often), it has a 15.6 inch glare-less screen, 4GB RAM, a 512MB nVidia GeForce GPU, and an Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.13 GHz.

I know Best Buy was selling a new version of the same line of laptops that was more powerful for the same price already. I payed around $1000.

I use it for everything. I make skins on it, store and play music, watch movies, and it can even play StarCraft 2 at High settings without a hiccup. Hell, even Fallout 3 gets a pretty darn good framerate out of it. So I'm sure it could handle that list of games you have posted there no problem.

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June 17, 2010 10:06:35 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

If it's for gaming it's not a laptop.

EOS

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June 17, 2010 2:22:26 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Jafo,
If it's for gaming it's not a laptop.

EOS

If I had my own place I would agree with you here, but as a soon to be poor college student I'll probably need to get used to being a hobo in internet cafes and things. Once I start getting a decent enough paycheck to support myself rest assured it is desktop all the way. But that won't be until at least another 4 years yet.

And yes I saw some Asus laptops at best buy too, and they were quite impressive for the price. Dell has some pretty good online coupons though (I have to wonder if they aren't some marketing ploy though), so I have a feeling I'll be comparing them for a little while yet.

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June 21, 2010 6:38:55 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Skillet98,
You know... Asus makes some really nice laptops.

Indeed, after quite a bit of searching I'm thinking of going with this one.

Quick specs for those who don't want to click the link.

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Intel® Core™ i5
4GB DDR3
NVIDIA GeForce GTS 360M
Less than $900
The reviews seemed to say bad speakers and an audio driver issue, but I can live with the former and deal with the latter. Am I missing something or does anyone know of a better deal? Good responses will be much appreciated (hint  ).
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June 22, 2010 3:50:34 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I currently prefer Toshiba laptops from a service perspective.  They had some bad product run a few years back which IMHO resulted in better quality control for their current offerings.  Dell is just awful unless you purchase their business class, and Acer is kind of dicey about support.  Lenovo is good, but they don't have a tech certification standard in place last I checked.  HP is a mixed bag, some good, some bad.  I like the following as screens in the 13-14" range are very portable, though if you intend to game you might want something a bit larger.

Next year will be very exciting for laptops as AMD will be coming out with their Fusion processors that have real graphics chips built into the CPU rather than on a seperate chip. 

Toshiba Satellite T235D-S1340

13.3" Widescreen : $549.99 MSRP

http://laptops.toshiba.com/laptops/satellite/T230/T235D-S1340

Toshiba Satellite C645D-S4024

14.0" Widescreen : $529.99 MSRP

http://laptops.toshiba.com/laptops/satellite/C640/C645D-S4024

Best Buy has this 16" Widescreen for $474.99

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Toshiba+-+Satellite+Laptop+with+AMD+Turion%26%23153%3B+II+Dual-Core+Mobile+Processor+-+Midnight+Breeze/9705346.p?id=1218154375878&skuId=9705346

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June 22, 2010 4:02:01 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

There is a GREAT gaming laptop out there. It's the Samsung R580. Look it up. It's incredibly light with a good processor, graphics, and RAM. It's hella cheap, too (I paid about $1000 after buying extra insurance)! I own Oblivion and Demigod, and they both run TERRIFICALLY on it.  It has received great reviews everywhere.

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June 22, 2010 12:59:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GoaFan77,
^While that is certainly true, I'm partly worried that a dedicated desktop may not fit well in an overcrowded dorm room. Also the flexibility to simply carry my games with me to some of the nicer areas on campus if need be might be an asset worth the wieght of having to carry it around. I guess it depends on what kind of deals I can find on netbooks.

Heh. There's plenty of room for a desktop in a dorm room. Buy a desktop and a netbook.

You keep saying you want to move your gaming laptop around, but if you're going to a friend's place, or hanging around on campus, or watching TV... you're not playing games on your laptop. Bring a netbook.

No matter how great of a gaming laptop you find, you'll find that you can get a netbook and a better desktop for the same price as that laptop.

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June 23, 2010 9:45:55 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting GoaFan77,

Quoting Skillet98, reply 18You know... Asus makes some really nice laptops.
Indeed, after quite a bit of searching I'm thinking of going with this one.

Quick specs for those who don't want to click the link.

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Intel® Core™ i5

4GB DDR3

NVIDIA GeForce GTS 360M

Less than $900


The reviews seemed to say bad speakers and an audio driver issue, but I can live with the former and deal with the latter. Am I missing something or does anyone know of a better deal? Good responses will be much appreciated (hint  ).

That laptop has better specs than the one I currently use. It should play all of your current games on pretty high settings without a hitch. It's also cheaper than mine. If I knew I'd get a great price, I'd sell my laptop and buy that one instead.

As for the speakers... it's a laptop, what do you expect? I use external speakers or headphones with mine anyway. The speakers are tiny and tinny. The sound card is pretty good though (at least on my laptop), so hooking up some speakers allows me to use it as a radio or stereo.

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