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Help picking a laptop for my 12 year old son (student/gaming)

post #1 of 8
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We are going to purchase a laptop for our 12 year old son. He needs one for school and the games he likes to play are crashing our current "family" computer. He plays Minecraft on the pc right, but I'm sure he'll be getting into new games once he has the laptop. He's asked to get World of Warcraft and the other games he mentioned I can't remember the names of (my husband probably knows). I'm overwhelmed by the choices.

Can you recommend a laptop for around $1200 or less? Really, we weren't planning on spending that much, but from what I've been reading, he'll need a computer with a good video card and that drives the price up. If it's worth it spend a little more than that, we can do that too. Maybe up to $1500? He'll use the computer for school (MS Office and internet research), gaming and he's also played around editing film/photos and making stop action videos. Are there any brands I should stay away from? Thank you!
post #2 of 8
I'd suggest this one
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834230112

This video shows that the graphics card in the laptop linked to above can play minecraft, max settings at 150fps
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post #3 of 8
World of Warcraft is a very CPU dependent game. You're going to want a good processor, and average GPU. The GPU while playing WoW will never be fully utilized, its just how the game works. And as far as minecraft goes, pretty much anything with decent specs can max that. If he ventures into FPS (first person shooters) at all, that's when hes going to want a beefy graphics card and all that.

By the way, is it necessary that it be a laptop? Just wondering if there was a requirement for it or what. You can get a desktop that will be two times as powerful as the laptop you will buy at that price.
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post #4 of 8
If it really is for school and not a gaming laptop that's occasionally for schoolwork, look for a laptop with Nvidia Optimus graphics. Without Optimus, you'd get around 2-3 hours battery life. Optimus leads to a lot better battery life - any laptop with a 500-series GPU numbered BELOW 560M will have Optimus. http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np5165-clevo-w150hr-p-3063.html?wconfigure=yes I'd go with something like that. It's probably about $1000 with Windows 7 and an i7-2670QM upgrade.

This Lenovo Ideapad Y570 is $800 with similar specs, main difference is it doesn't "look" like a gaming laptop, and the screen resolution is lower at 1366x768 (will lead to better gaming performance though). http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:category.details?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=F41BC8E1656C5F85171FBDB172571912&action=init

In general, things to look for: Nvidia 555M or 540M, 15" screen (17" is huge, nobody wants to lug one of those to school). But I would wait to see if 600-series GPUs will come out before he needs a laptop. They'll offer a lot more battery life at a given performance level, and cost less.
 
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post #5 of 8
If it's not necessary to get a laptop , I'd have to agree with Purplz. For around $1000 you can build a desktop that can play graphic intensive games that he might potentially want to get.
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post #6 of 8
The Lenovo Y470/570 are my favorites at the moment. The screen is rather low resolution but aside from that it's like an Alienware M14x that can be had much, much cheaper.
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post #7 of 8
@op

There are generally 2 kinds of laptops - netbooks and desktop replacements. A desktop replacement (or "gaming" laptop) might seem like the more attractive choice at first since you get more screen, more processing power but at what cost? Well in most cases you'll be lucky to get a single hour of 3d on the battery after which your carrying around dead weight.. lots of weight since these types of laptops are heavy. Netbooks are smaller, cheaper and less powerful.. yet they are well enough for internet activities, office documents and light weight games, oh and they also have a much superior battery life.

Before i started college i had no need for a laptop so i was a desktop guy, first semester though i got myself 18 badass diagonal inches of shiny plastic. I soon found out that if i wanted my battery to last long enough to actually get something done i could only do things on it that you'd do on a netbook anyway.. so basically i was carrying around all that weight all day for nothing. After that i got myself a 10" thingy that weights about as much as a couple magazines and has a battery life of 8 hours, much superior choice for my daily activities. This was a couple years ago, now i actually use my desktop replacement quite often since lately i've spent almost half my time sleeping away from home and desktop replacements really shine when you have a power outlet within 10 feet at all times and you dont move all day.. for all my other "mobile" doings though i still prefer my netbook.

Unless your 12yearold plans on staying in a different hotel every few nights i'd say you'll be better off buying a cheap notebook(spend like 200-400 here)+regular desktop(spend rest here). This way you get all the mobility and functionality of what you need from a computer on the go and quality gaming/other more resource intensive tasks experience from the desktop.
post #8 of 8
You need to head over to NotebookReview and post in the "What notebook should i buy" thread. Make sure you fill out the form with all pertinent info. Your going to get a lot of "build a desktop" suggestions here. Oh, that G73sw is a nice lappy but overpriced by at least $500.
Edited by wsoul1 - 12/8/11 at 8:02am
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