I'm currently saving up to buy moiself a gaming notebook. My budget will be about $1600ish and I should be at that goal in May. I'm really excited as this will be the first notebook I've ever bought. One of my jobs I work third shift 3 nights a week as a hotel desk clerk. This can be a very quiet shift and being able to play games, watch media, and surf the interwebs will definitely make the nights pass faster.I've been bouncing around the net doing research and this price point should get me a pretty decent system: 17" screen, 8-12 gb ram, SSD hd, 500-750gb SATA hd, Core i5-i7, vid card w/2 gb ram, DVD drive, wifi, Win OS. One thing I don't care about is battery life as I will only use this at the hotel where I can plug it in while in use.I'm not an experienced gamer and haven't had a notebook in years, so I have a few questions: Will this system handle most of the current games out there and should it be good for the next few years at least? I don't need it to necessarily play the latest and greatest at the highest resolution but I do want to be able to have a good choice of material to play for the next few years before I have to start considering upgrading. I'm mainly interested in FPS games.Anyone have experience with Powernotebooks.com? They let you customize the system and the prices seem decent, with free shipping. Any other sites I should check that have good reputations, good prices, and that let you customize?I've read a couple of reviews that say Optimus is not really good for gaming and thus gaming notebooks without it are better. Yes, no?I plan to have a 128gb SSD installed. In addition to the OS (Win 7 64-bit preferably), will this be large enough to hold at least one game at at time?Do new models come out at a specific time of the year? Spring? Summer? I'm just wondering if they are coming out in the spring then the 2012 models I'm looking at now may be discounted by the time I'm ready to buy in May.Thanks for any input!
All of my recent computer purchases have been through Newegg. http://www.newegg.com/They have a lot of variety and I can easily screen the list down to a manageable level. If you are looking for a certain build, often times you can get it down to a few items to choose from. The customer reviews are pretty helpful as they will often disclose information that is not on the tech sheets (heats up, runs loud, etc). Even if you don't plan on buying there, I would price them out for comparative purposes.Tigerdirect is very similar to Newegg. http://www.tigerdirect.com/I purchased my desktop at iBuyPower through Costco about four years ago. http://www.ibuypower.com/lobby.aspxI have had no issues with it. Modestly well built machine with my new GPU plays any of the new games on the market today. It was the least amount of money that I have spent on a desktop and I think it will be my longest lasting machine also. I can't complain.C2H5SH
Hi halco,I've also been looking at gaming laptops recently, so hopefully can offer a little bit of insight at least.The specs you listed should be very adequate for any current games, and most future games if you're willing to dial back the graphics a little bit. That being said, the most important thing will be the graphics card - that's what will make or break your laptop gaming experience. As a result when you're speccing the machine try to make the compromises you need in other areas, like RAM or HDD size/speed and get the best graphics card you can.A 128gb SSD is fine for a primary drive and you should be able to get several games installed on that without any real trouble win Win 7.If you're customizing the machine as much as I expect I wouldn't worry about models and when they come out. The price of components is constantly decreasing, and that should be reflected in most manufacturers prices. Not something you should worry about unduly.In terms of what manufacturers I like, I was planning to go for Alienware, or possibly the new Razer Blade. You might also want to look into Digital Storm and Acer. Good luck, and please let us know what you decide and how it turns out!JB
Performance will absolutely hinge on your choice of graphics card. I've heard (first-hand, from a buddy of mine) some very good things about the integrated Intel HD 4000 (NOT 3000 or anything else, only 4000; big change for them), but if you do your research you should be able to find something with a dedicated card for not much more $.Don't take the fps numbers at this site as gospel, but it should give you an idea of the relative hierarchy between all the various models of dedicated notebook graphics cards (and there are an incredible amount out there, very hard to keep straight with slight changes in model number but drastic changes in performance).http://www.notebookcheck.net/Computer-Games-on-Laptop-Graphi...This site looks like a pretty good one for comparison shopping:http://www.laptopmag.com/review/advsearch.aspx?pcid=1624&...And here's an article from October, PC Mag is usually pretty reliable:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2020688,00.aspLet us know what you end up going with.JT
How loud are gaming laptops? Every laptop I've had has a tendency to set it's fans to "jet engine" at the slightest hint of heat so I've often wondered if gaming machines are designed to be cooled more efficiently and quietly.
I have an Asus gaming laptop, about a year old and not the highest end Asus. It is huge, almost silent, and always absolutely cool to the touch. I don't know where the heat goes, because the slight air flow coming out of the back of the laptop is cool.When I said almost silent, I was not kidding. If there is any ambient noise at all, I cannot hear the computer (and I'm not hard of hearing). If there is no ambient noise, there is a slight "whooshing" sound.I don't play FPS games, so if you need a higher specced Asus laptop, it is possible that it would not be quite so silent and cool.I previously had an HP gaming laptop, and it was also pretty quiet, but OMG the heat on the front part of the computer below the keyboard -- almost enough to burn your hands, so I seldom used it. Wessex
Thanks for the input. I'll post when I'm ready to buy something.
Oh, man, I'm checking out half.com. Thousands of games, over 1200 just in the shooter category alone, and dirt cheap.Cripes, it's gonna be a long 3 months...
I have an Asus gaming laptop, about a year old and not the highest end Asus. It is huge, almost silent, and always absolutely cool to the touch. I don't know where the heat goes, because the slight air flow coming out of the back of the laptop is cool.I've used Asus mb's for years in my desktops and never had an issue. I've read a lot of raves about their gaming notebooks and have pretty much settled on some version of this one:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834230...At that price I should be able to get it in a couple of months. I'll add an SSD drive and ghost the OS from the installed sata hd over to the SSD, use the original as a secondary hd. Should be a kick-ass system.I just hope they're still offering Win 7 as an option when I get it. Not at all interested in Win 8.
One thing I forgot to mention earlier, the on-board sound on the Asus is awful. If possible, get a sound card. Even the lowest level card would be better than the on-board sound.The linked system looks good, and it costs less than my lower specced model did a year ago. :)Good luck.Wessex
I'f you don't object to a refurb check this out:http://www.woot.com/plus/asus-eventLeana
Thanks, those are tempting but for gaming the graphics capability doesn't seem sufficient on any of the offered models.
Hoo-boy! I'm seeing double from bouncing around the interwebs researching notebooks. I've had to drop my price range down a bit due to some (as usual) unexpected expenses that have come up, so I'll have to settle for a lesser system unless I want to wait until summer, which I most certainly do not.JT, the notebook-check site is great. I cannot afford a 680 card, and judging by the comparison on that site, there doesn't seem to be a whole helluva lot of difference between the 660 and 670.With that in mind, I'm now looking at the Lenovo IdeaPad Y580. It has a 15.6" screen, 6 mg Ram (upgradable to 8, which I can always do later), 750gb SATA HD (SDD to be added later), core i7, 660 w/2gb. Around $900, delivered. It's been pretty well-reviewed.Looking at that GPU comparison, I just can't see paying $300-$500 more for the 670 vs the 660, a 17.3 vs 15.6 screen, and other minor stuff. The only thing is the Lenovo screen is only max res of 1366x768 vs 1920x1080, not sure how much that will affect the gaming experience.So, unless ya'll think this is not a good choice for some reason, I'm seriously considering this model.
Ah, hell's bells. Now I just found several reviews that say the 1366x768 res screen sucks for gaming.
The only thing is the Lenovo screen is only max res of 1366x768 vs 1920x1080, not sure how much that will affect the gaming experience....Now I just found several reviews that say the 1366x768 res screen sucks for gaming. With notebooks especially, it's always a balancing act. The larger the resolution, the more pixels, the harder it will be on the video card, and you have to balance resolution with screen-size. 1366x768 will look better on a 15.6" screen than on a 17" screen, with identical performance (fps-wise) because the GPU is pushing the same number of pixels. That said, 1920x1080 would also look better on a 15.6" screen than on a 17" screen, and to be honest I'm surprised at finding 15.6" models that do 1920x1080.That said, yeah, if you can swing the dinero, go for the 1080.How about these? I haven't done any reading on MSI laptops specifically, but the specs are there (identical other than screen size), and only a couple hundred bucks over the one you mentioned (and they're already 8GB RAM):http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834152... - 15.6" for $1150http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834152... - 17.3" for $1100JT,kinda wanting a new one myself after all this talk - my 2-year-old ($750 back then) 17" Acer w/Radeon 5650 has been aging since... shoot, since later that year
The MSI's look good, but I found this Sager NP6370 at XOTICPC. By going to the i5 processor I can get the following build for $980, shipped:- 17.3" FHD 16:9 "Matte Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright LED Anti-Glare Screen (1920x1080) - 3rd Generation Intel® Ivy Bridge Core™ i5-3210M- nVidia GeForce GTX 660M 2,048MB PCI-Express GDDR5 DX11 w/ Optimus Technology - 8GB - DDR3 1600MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS) (SKU - S4S423P)- 750GB 7200RPM [Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache] - Default (SKU - S5T306)- Combo Dual Layer SuperMulti DVDRW/CDRW Drive w/ Software - Internal 9-in-1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/SD/Mini SD/SDHC/SDXC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo)- Built-in 802.11 Wireless B/G/N - Stock Wireless Card + Bluetooth™ v3.0 (SKU - S8R110)- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included- Smart Li-ion Battery (8-Cell)Whaddya think? Looks pretty good.
That one looks pretty good. They've got an MSI model with a GTX 670M with 8GB RAM and a 2.something GHz Core i3 for $913 (didn't create an account to see what shipping would be).JT
And if you wanna save a couple hundred bucks Newegg has an Acer with a 2.2GHz Core i7, 6GB RAM, and a GT 640M (not the bleeding edge, certainly, but still capable) for $750 shipped.http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834215...JT
Hold everything!http://us.toshiba.com/computers/laptops/qosmio/X870/X875-Q73...Can presently be found for $1200ish. Core i7, 12GB ram, 670M w/3GB video, 1TB HD, 17.3" screen.This may be worth waiting the few extra wks it would take me to save up for it. That's about the best configuration I've seen at that price. I'm impressed.
Ha. I keep getting excited about these notebooks, then I do more research and find negatives. Read some pretty bad reviews about the performance of the Toshiba, it also gets hot (and has the fan on the right side where the mouse would be - weird), not full 1920x1080 screen.Man, this is a lot more complex than building my desktops ever was.If I go w/the $1200ish price point, I'm liking the ASUS G75 or that MSI GE70 from Newegg. Did some reading on MSI, they have a pretty good rep.
it also gets hotDo some reading on the processors, not sure if this holds true with mobile CPUs, but I recall reading that the desktop Core i7 tended to run hotter than the desktop Core i5/i3 (or was the difference a Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge thing? Or are those synonymous? Can't remember). So if heat might affect your decision, that may be more of a factor than manufacturer.(and has the fan on the right side where the mouse would be - weird)But yeah, that's a Toshiba thing, for sure - that's weird. My Acer runs fairly hot when it's doing anything 3D, but the fan blows sideways on the left, near the back corner, not too bad. The Dell I use for work though blows down out the bottom, which means I can only keep it on my lap for so long - I don't have that problem with my Acer.JT
Yeah, during my research I've come across reviews mentioning this or that notebook having the fan on the bottom so it can't really be kept on the lap for very long. Some of the reviews for the Toshiba actually talked about the fan blowing so hot on their mouse hands that it hurt. Amazingly poor design.I keep coming back to the ASUS G75. What kills me is that Best Buy had the BBK5 version on sale for $900 but, not suprisingly, they sold out. Tiger Direct has them right now for $1150, but I won't be able to swing that for one or two months. But I think I'm probably going to settle on that model. I think it looks great, has lots of mostly positive reviews (except for the sound), and has darn good specs for the price.
One place to keep an eye on for limited-time deals is Kotaku's Moneysaver posts. Here's one from a couple days ago that has three gaming laptops listed for under $800, 2 of which have the GT650M (speaking of model numbers, watch out for differences between GT and GTX - hopefully there's no GT650M and a GTX650M 'cause that'd be confusing).http://kotaku.com/5980354/midweek-moneysaver-bundle-upJT
I will keep an eye out, definitely some good deals there. Thanks.
One thing I forgot to mention earlier, the on-board sound on the Asus is awful. If possible, get a sound card. Even the lowest level card would be better than the on-board sound.How does one add a sound card to a notebook? With an SD card?
Definitely not an SD card. As far as I know, there has to be a slot in the laptop to add a sound card. I've never added components to a laptop, so I don't know any more than that, and I don't know if some or any of the Asus laptops have an available slot. Of course, the on-board sound available now may be better.I've always had premium sound cards in my desktops, so my expectations may be high. In a game, the Asus sound is fine as I always have any music turned off. I would not listen to music on the laptop, except for brief moments. Tinny, tinny, tinny.Writing this makes me think I need to get on the stick and fix my desktops. :)Wessex
I always turn the music way down in games, but I will probably use this to watch some videos - tv shows and movies.Found this on Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Soundblaster-Surround-System-...
There are a number of fairly negative reviews for that external sound card on Amazon, so I would suggest doing some further research on it at other sites before buying.Good luck and happy gaming.Wessex
There are a number of fairly negative reviews for that external sound card on Amazon, so I would suggest doing some further research on it at other sites before buying.Will do!Currently shooting for a buy date of 3/15. I think I've come down to two choices, either the ASUS G75, if I can still get it for $1100ish in five weeks, or a customized "Clevo" model from AVADirect. Of the many sites I've researched that do customization, this one seems to have the best combination of excellent reputation, rave reviews, and very reasonable prices. There's page after page of positive customer testimonials on resellerratings.com, and it seems almost every professional review I've read of their notebooks and desktops praise build quality as well as performance for price. I can get exactly what I want - 17.3" 1920x1080 matte screen, Core i7 CPU, 660 2gb nVidia GPU, 12gb ram, 128gb SSD - for $1125, shipped. The ASUS at that price would only have a 5400 SATA HD, so I'm really leaning toward the Clevo at this point.
The Clevo sounds like a good choice. Let us know what you eventually get.Wessex
Kotaku Moneysaver post has 3 models with GT650Ms for under $900:http://kotaku.com/5983002/the-moneysaver-colonial-power
Thanks, those are some good deals but I'm pretty much set on at least the 660.
It's hammer-time, baby! Ordering my notebook today. As I wrote earlier, it came down to a choice between the AVADirect Clevo model and the ASUS G75. After much research I've decided on the G75. I've read some negative things about the Clevo, such as having a lousy keyboard, being flimsy and cheap-feeling, very loud fans, and that it gets hot. After reading and watching every review I could find on the G75 pretty much the only negative thing I've found is that the sound isn't very good. For my purposes, this is not a deal-killer. (I've also read that turning the subwoofer down to about 50-60% will help this issue.) I also like the look of the G75 vs the Clevo; the Clevo is about as plain as they come while the G75 is really slick-looking, including the back-lit keyboard. The G75 config I'm ordering doesn't have an SSD but I can always add one later (it has two hd bays). TigerDirect has the model I want for $1129, w/shipping about $10. (Thanks for the TigerDirect tip, EthylMercaptan, they definitely have the best price out there!)Here's the config I'm ordering:17.3" 1920x1080 Matte ScreenCore i7 2.4GHz12GB 1600MHz RamNVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M w/2GB500 GB HDBD/DVDRW Optical DriveWindows 8And of course the usual ports, including 3 USB 3.0 and an HDMI out. I wasn't much interested in Win 8 until I found out you can bring back the Win7 desktop/start button/taskbar with a couple of different free programs. So I'm kind of looking forward to trying it out and checking out the App Store.Should have it next week. Cain't hardly wait! Already ordered Far Cry 3. I'll post some thoughts on my new toy after I've played around with it a while.Thanks for all the input.
Just ordered it. Found an even better deal with TigerDirect thru Ebay - free shipping. So it was $1130 total. Estimated delivery is Thurs next wk.I have not gamed in at least 4 or 5 yrs and I was never an expert. Couple questions:Will Win8 64 bit come with DirectX already installed?Can I set the game at any resolution despite whatever res I'm using in Windows or do they have to be the same?What are some of the main settings besides resolution that I would want to adjust for best play? I've read about settings such as Ultra, High, etc, which is obvious, but there are others as well, such as "anti-aliasing", whatever the heck that is. Any others?Can I play older games such as Half-life (one of my fav's) on this system? I may be mistaken but I seem to recall reading that sometimes a high-end system is too powerful for older games and they won't run properly.My next purchase will be a gaming mouse. Suggestions? I don't need anything too fancy as most of my gaming will be FPS stuff - just move around and shoot.Thanks!
Will Win8 64 bit come with DirectX already installed?Almost assuredly - and if there are any updates to it, they'll usually come packaged with either a game that needs them or updated video card drivers (which you'll want to get from Asus rather than nVidia, since it's a laptop card).Can I set the game at any resolution despite whatever res I'm using in Windows or do they have to be the same?You can change it, but with LCD screens, the native resolution will always look better than another resolution (same is true on desktop LCDs).What are some of the main settings besides resolution that I would want to adjust for best play? I've read about settings such as Ultra, High, etc, which is obvious, but there are others as well, such as "anti-aliasing", whatever the heck that is. Any others?Here you go: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/important-pc-gaming-terms-expla...That stuff isn't available for switching around in every game, but when they're available they're controlled from within the games themselves.Can I play older games such as Half-life (one of my fav's) on this system? I may be mistaken but I seem to recall reading that sometimes a high-end system is too powerful for older games and they won't run properly.Win7/8 has a different "architecture" (not sure if that's really the right word) that can, in some cases, cause problems in installing games that ran on Win98/2k/XP just fine. If you can get that stuff to install and start, chances are it'll run just fine. Here's an article at PC World that gives quite a few tips/tricks about some specific titles, but some of the non-specific tricks will work with other games.http://www.pcworld.com/article/239349/how_to_play_classic_pc...One thing I've started doing if a "normal" plug-and-play install fails for some reason is installing it in a folder OTHER than Program Files. Windows does stuff with that folder that, from what I've read, can be one of the problems with games that weren't designed when Win7 was around yet.The cases where it's the actual horsepower of the PC that's too strong are cases where the games are very very old, like 80s and early 90s - they'll run way too fast and you can't control them. You won't have issues like that with anything after probably 1997ish.JT
Thanks for the info and links, JT, very helpful.I'm typing this on my notebook. Ordered it Fri a.m., got it Tues afternoon - very fast shipping from TigerDirect. I couldn't be more pleased with my new ASUS G75! First of all, it has a great design. Some of the reviews called it "plain" compared to Alienware and some other gaming brands, but I actually find some of those to be a bit much for my taste. The G75 is sharp and sleek-looking without being ostentatious. The way the lid hinges it isn't flush with the back as with most notebooks, instead it sits a bit forward in front of a raised section that's there to accommodate the fans, which blow out the back. It looks very, very cool. There's a chiclet-style keyboard that is great to type on and it has a separate number pad. The backlight is a nice touch and looks fantastic. I use a mouse almost exclusively but the touchpad and buttons are plenty large enough if needed. I've used it for many hours and haven't heard the fans or felt it get hot yet. As I noted earlier I use AC power so the short battery-life is a non-issue.With a Core i7 cpu, 12gb ram, and a 2gb 660 nVidia gpu running Windows 8 64-bit, this thing is plenty fast, even with only a standard hard drive, especially compared to my Athlon dual-core desktop (which now feels so obsolete to me I think my next purchase will have to be a new desktop). Watching videos in iTunes and on YouTube, they load up instantaneously and play without a hitch.With all my research it turns out I did miss something rather significant about this particular configuration of the G75 - it does not have a 1920x1080 screen. Turns out it's only 1600x900. At first I was a bit put off and considered returning it, but really, after working with it for several days, the darn screen looks great to me. (Not to mention the next model up cost $300 more than this one.) While true HD resolution might be nice for some things, it's not a deal-breaker for moi. And as far as just normal use it turns out that would have been much too high a res for my eyes anyway. In fact 1600x900 is a bit much, but when I tried going to another resolution, as JT noted, it didn't look so good, with the windows not fitting properly and a lot of stuff looking "off". So I went back to the native res and increased the DPI size just enough to make everything nice and clear without screwing up Windows visual scheme. Also, most of the programs I use allow you to adjust the fonts so I can increase those sizes when needed.This being the first new notebook I've ever bought (as well as my first branded computer ever) I was wondering about bloatware. But there really wasn't much, an MS Office Demo and Norton AV trial, both immediately deleted. The only other stuff was about 7 or 8 ASUS utilities, most also deleted. Certainly not a disc full of crapware as I've read about with some brands.The wifi, which some reviews complained about, works fine, recognizing both my provider at work and my wireless router at home. No drops or glitches that I've experienced so far.Sound, well, it ain't my Onkyo SR-605 fer shure, but for my purposes I really have no issues with it. I find music in games annoying as hell and always mute it, and the vids and games I've played so far seem fine.I've been having so much fun installing all my programs and learning about and tweaking my new toy that I haven't even gotten around to much gaming yet. But the little I've played of Rayman Origins and Far Cry 3 (at 1366x768 and the other recommended settings from NotebookCheck) both played very smoothly and look frigging gorgeous.I need to get a carrying bag, this thing is a monster and supposedly won't even fit in a normal 17" notebook bag because of the fan grills in the back. Also need a gaming mouse. The G75 has built-in bluetooth so I think I'll get a bluetooth one, it'll be nice not to have to deal with cords or usb wireless dongles.I've used ASUS mb's in my desktop builds for years and haven't had a lick of trouble with any of them, so I'm confident in the brand and very glad I chose the G75 over the generic AVADirect Clevo, even if it did have the full HD screen and an SSD drive for about the same price.I've bought two notebooks in the past, both used and both several yrs old. This is my first really nice one and it's da bomb, baby! Happy, happy, joy, joy!
Great news on loving the laptop but...I find music in games annoying as hell and always mute itWTF?!! That's half the ambience! Maybe for shooters but still, it provides so much of the tension I couldn't imagine playing without music.Does anyone else do this?Simon
Does anyone else do this?I turn it down at the start, but I make a quick decision whether or not it's good. I'd say about 95% of the time I turn it off.- C -
I almost always turn off the music in games.Leana
I rarely ever turn it off completely. May turn down the music and sound effects so that I can still hear the voice acting, but not have the music and sound effects blowing me out the chair. There are a few games, like GTA, Saints Row, and even Fallout 3 with the "more where this came from" mod that seldom get turned down. I just love jumping into a car in GTA or Saints Row and having whatever radio station blaring away. It just adds so much to the game. If anything, I wish that they had 10X the music in these games. If they had DlC for extra music, I would happily pay full price for it and that might be saying a lot.C2H5SH
Since we are talking about music in games, let me throw this in. Andreas Waldetoft has composed music a bunch of Paradox Interactive games like Hearts of Iron 2 & 3, Victoria 2, EU3, etc. I might consider buying the game, putting the music into my library, and never play the game. The music is that good and the games are a sort of acquired taste. Yeah I'll still play the games, but I will listen to the music when I am not playing also.Link to two of my favorite compositions from HOI2&3http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH_oNVzSdusAndreas website:http://www.andreaswaldetoft.com/Crusader Kings 2 is on my wishlist. :-D I haven't played much for strategy games lately.C2H5SH
Music can be pretty key to the experience, depending on the game, alerting you to tempo changes or something that's about to happen, etc. That said, I'll often turn it down (as others have said) so it doesn't drown out the speech (#1 important IMO) and the effects (#2). But I very very rarely, if ever, turn it all the way off.JT
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