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Default Gaming laptops - What do you suggest?

February 10th, 2013, 21:36
Yeah, I'm on the forums now. Very helpful indeed. They are giving me lots of good information that I'm using to decide.

I'm a little torn right now, but I'm leaning towards a Sager NP9370. Simply because you can run dual graphics cards for increased performance. That means later on in a few years I can upgrade and add a new card to help keep up with modern gaming. So I think that's the laptop I'm gonna roll with.

Thanks again for the helpful replies. Made life a lot easier.
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February 10th, 2013, 23:30
Personally I'd steer clear of dual cards. The drivers can be messy. Plus Sagars are upgradable unlike most laptops. That's just my opinion anyway. And weren't you on a budget? Lol

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February 10th, 2013, 23:46
My budget is $2000. I'd like to spend that much and get the most bang for my buck that I possibly can.

Here's what I'm thinking of going with at the moment:

17.3" Full HD LED-Backlit Display Matte type (1920 x 1080)
30 day Guaranteed no dead or partially-lit pixels**
NVIDIA® GeForce™ GTX 680M 4GB GDDR5 Memory
3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3630QM Processor (6M Cache, up to 3.40 GHz)
IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU
Genuine Microsoft Windows® 8 64-Bit Edition
16GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 4 X 4GB
750GB 7200rpm SATA 300 Hard Drive
8X DVD±R/RW/4X +DL Super-Multi Drive & Software
Bigfoot Networks Killer™ Wireless-N 1103 - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module

Comes to a total of $1982.

The only thing I'm thinking of possibly changing is making the RAM 2 x 8GB instead of 4 x 4GB. Then to stay under budget I would downgrade the graphics card to dual GTX670MXs, or one AMD Radeon 7970M.

If I downgrade to the Radeon, I will save $200, which I can then use to upgrade the processor to 3.7ghz with the additional money I will save.

As you can tell, I'm putting a lot of thought into this, lol. All these numbers are making my head hurt though, but I've learned a lot in the past few days that I never knew in the past.
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February 10th, 2013, 23:54
Don't downgrade the card! That's a nice build. The only difference on my build really is that I have a SSD drive (pretty pricey) and the 95% color gamut screen which someone would have to pry out of my cold dead hands. I went with the 15 because my last laptop was a 17" and it was unwieldy to have on my lap (I like to sit on the couch and game). I weighed about 2.5lbs more than my 9150.

Anyway… just don't downgrade that card. The 680m is fast as hell and rock stable. The Radeon is a huge mess… just read about all the driver issues. The 670 is a big downgrade, 40% slower at least.

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February 11th, 2013, 00:39
4*4 or 2*8 GB doesn't matter. 16 GB will probably be enough forever. The speed difference is only ca. 1-2%. As a rule performance gain up to 20% can hardly be felt.

CPU performance is not that important. The vast majority of the games are graphics card limited.

SLI graphics cards are a risk. I wouldn't buy one. Single chip cards are fast enough, especially for a middle resolution like 1080p.

If you want to connect the notebook to your TV make sure it has HDMI and find out how to get the sound out. It's not a given that sound is automatically passed on to the HDMI jack. Maybe it is, maybe it's not.
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February 11th, 2013, 01:59
It's only $30 more to make the RAM 2x8 instead of 4x4, so why not? If the time ever comes where I need to upgrade the RAM and the operating system, I will have 2 open slots to do so.

Here's what I'm probably going with.

17.3" Full HD LED-Backlit Display Matte type (1920 x 1080)
30 day Guaranteed no dead or partially-lit pixels**
AMD® Radeon™ HD 7970M 2GB GDDR5
3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3630QM Processor (6M Cache, up to 3.40 GHz)
IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU
Genuine Microsoft Windows® 8 64-Bit Edition
16GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 8GB
750GB 7200rpm SATA 300 Hard Drive
Crucial® 128GB CM4 Series mSATA SSD - Preconfigured as an OS Drive (Primary Drive C)
8X DVD±R/RW/4X +DL Super-Multi Drive & Software
Bigfoot Networks Killer™ Wireless-N 1103 - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module

I get the money in a month so there's still time to change things, but I'm pretty satisfied with this setup.
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February 11th, 2013, 03:55
You will regret going down with the videocard. Stay with the 680m 4GB. You'll definitely want the extra video ram for modding skyrim or other games and future proofing a little more.

I wouldn't count on upgrading later. I purchased an " upgradable laptop" a while back. it had nice removable panals over each component. 1 yr later when I wanted to upgrade. It was extremely difficult to find what I needed. Then when I found it it was vastly overpriced and under powered. Everything that was a real upgrade required more psu than my laptop had so basically it wasn't really upgradable in the sense that a desktop pc is.

In other words don't skimp on video or CPU. A slow CPU will bottleneck your GPU and not allow it to scale well. Also many games now are 15GB or more so storage could become an issue.

Next gen consoles are just around the corner so min and recommend pc spec should see a nice increase if you want to run at full setting a year from now.

Buy the fastest GPU and CPU you can afford ( in that order) then a min of 8 GB memory, 16 if you can because its cheap then as much storage as they offer. As I said earlier memory and hardrive should be upgradable but GPU and CPU could be much harder do to psu requirements. Assuming the are upgradable at all.
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February 11th, 2013, 12:42
I'm trying not to skimp on anything, but I can't go over $2000 so I have to deal with that budget. That said, the 7970M saves me $250 to go towards upgrading something else and from the data I've reviewed online, the 7970M and the 680M are neck and neck in terms of performance. So it's really not much of a downgrade but it still saves me quite a bit of money which lets me add something nice like an upgraded processor or an SSD and still stay under budget.

Never heard of psu requirements, what does that mean? From what I understand, the laptop I chose is considered a "desktop replacement" and very upgradeable as far as laptops go. I don't know much other than that though. I know you can slot a second graphics card into the laptop for increased performance and that is something I will definitely do in a few years. The other bits should be upgradeable as far as I know but you seem to be saying otherwise.

How do I find out how much psu my laptop has and how far I'll be able to upgrade it?
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February 11th, 2013, 13:30
The PSU under load for a laptop doesn't leave alot of headroom. I believe the 17 Sagar has a ~240w and mine is a 180w. That's fine for the 680m or the 7970M, and if a better card is released hopefully the architecture will shrink accordingly, and not demand more power. That said, the latest gen Sagars have these bigger power supplies, so the older gen would not be able to handle these cards due to PSU requirements.

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February 11th, 2013, 13:33
Also… I tried to ask in that thread: why mSata vs. a regular drive for SSD? If you are going to go that route you can leave the mSata alone for now (those things are pricy for what you get) and get a normal drive SSD such as the Intel 520 180GB, and still have a second bay for a traditional drive. Later when mSata comes down you could grab one. Also, the Intel has better reliability than Crucial for SSD. I'd look into that before finalizing. Look at the NewEgg ratings on the individual units…

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February 11th, 2013, 13:52
I didn't want an mSata drive, I just selected it by accident. My main hard drive will be either one of these two:

Crucial® M4 128GB SATA III SSD
or
120GB Intel® 520 Series SATA 6.0GB/s SSD

with a 750GB secondary drive.

The only thing that worries me now is what someone posted in the thread, saying that Sager doesn't update the bios/firmware, so upgrading in the future could be impossible unless I get someone from the forums to mod it for me.

Oh, and I'm gonna probably upgrade the SSD by 60 more GB instead of purchasing a better wireless card. Stock wireless card should work fine, right?
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February 11th, 2013, 14:16
Got it. The Intel units have a reputation for being pretty bullet proof. Take a look at the consumer ratings on NewEgg.com before making a final decision. There is alot of data there. All I can say about the onboard Wifi is that it works fine for me - Torrents and Lord of the Rings Online are my main experience with it.

I do think you'll find there is no real manufacturer attention on older laptops. Maybe Alienware? But besides price there are lots of issues with Alienware. Support is woeful. The 17 inch R4's still have some sporadic issues. There is a good Alienware section on that site too. I was pretty close to getting one of those before going Sagar. The support horror stories and the price put me off.

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February 11th, 2013, 15:13
I would definitely go with Nvidia rather than AMD for the video card. Less compatibility issues, and they just seem to run a little better overall imo.
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February 11th, 2013, 15:21
In my view, the top of the line flagship cards like the 680m and the 7970m are overkill for 1080p. They would be great for a 2880x1800 rMBP display, but at this time there aren't any games out there that won't run just fine maxed out at 1080p with a slightly weaker card that is hundreds of dollars cheaper, and I really doubt the "next gen" games are going to be that much more demanding.

Otherwise, if some really demanding game comes out in 3 years, you can always dial down anti-aliasing from 16xMSAA to 8xMSAA or 4xMSAA (which does not look that much different on a laptop screen IMO), or, since it's a Sager you can actually upgrade the GPU.
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February 11th, 2013, 21:14
How do you figure it would be overkill? I think games are going to continue to become more demanding. Especially PC games, the ones tailored to people with powerful setups. I would think that by getting a beastly card now, I will be good for a few years at least (maybe less? I have no idea) and when the time comes to upgrade I can just pop another card in the Sager and run a dual GPU setup for increased performance, or swap out cards for the latest greatest card.

I figure it's better to be overpowered than underpowered. At least I know I can run all games on max settings. And I'm really set on spending $2000 at this point. I want something that's really going to last. The NP9370 is basically a desktop replacement.
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February 11th, 2013, 21:52
I don't play games on Max usually, but I prefer spending $1000 every three years and playing games on high settings in the first year to low at the end of the three years and then enjoy the new laptop again three years later.

I was going to buy a laptop in January, but since I'm moving in March, I needed to keep the money for the deposit. So it will be a while before I can buy a new one.

Oh well, different opinions

Nothing wrong with that.
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February 11th, 2013, 22:31
A Radeon 7970M should deliver a performance somewhere between a desktop Radeon 7850 and 7870, according to NotebookCheck.
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February 12th, 2013, 00:53
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
I don't play games on Max usually, but I prefer spending $1000 every three years and playing games on high settings in the first year to low at the end of the three years and then enjoy the new laptop again three years later.

I was going to buy a laptop in January, but since I'm moving in March, I needed to keep the money for the deposit. So it will be a while before I can buy a new one.

Oh well, different opinions

Nothing wrong with that.
Good luck with your move. Buying a new laptop every 3 years is one way to do it. Do you trade the old one in?

A Radeon 7970M should deliver a performance somewhere between a desktop Radeon 7850 and 7870, according to NotebookCheck.
Thanks Gorath. That's a pretty nice site there. What do you desktop guys think about the Radeon 7870? I've read that the 7970M is pretty close in design to that model.
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February 12th, 2013, 01:04
Thanks Fluent

I gave the last one to my girlfriend's little brother. I might do the same with this one.
He's not a gamer anyway, so just getting a new laptop is fun for him.
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February 12th, 2013, 01:25
Nice. I'll probably give my mom mine. She's not a gamer (far from it) but she's a Facebook person. So now she'll have Facebook on the go
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