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Good laptop suggestions for a light gamer/ student

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I was thinking of building my own desktop setup, but considering I'm in year 12, and I am most likely going to university, or at least some other tertiary studies, I thought, well a good laptop would suit me and be better for me (from a practical point of view). Whilst I'd still like a desktop, that can wait for a few years. Now, onto the laptop.

I'm currently using a HP pavilion DV6 entertainment laptop, I don't know the exact model but I know it has a GT230M, i5 @ 2.53GHz, 4GB RAM and a 640GB HDD. No SSD, or anything fancy, and it was really expensive (around $2.8k after we got Microsoft office home and student). Now, to be fair, it was around 2 years ago when I bought it, but it just seems so slow and struggles to play any games. So, time for an upgrade.

I have been looking around, and whilst it would be more practical to have a laptop with alot of processing power, I would like one with a good graphics card too. Found an MSI GT683 (http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=17819) and it seems absolutely perfect (although the lights are a bit gimmicky and I would prefer an all backlit keyboard). 12GB RAM, 120GB SSD, 750GB HDD and a GTX560M, all so much better than my current laptop, and an i7. Not sure how a GTX560M compares with it's desktop brother, or if it's any good. if you can just tell me what settings and frame rates I could play BF3 at with that card, I can then tell if it meets my needs (not just for gaming but I want good gaming performance). I also found some good Dell laptops, but you can customise them so I won't put the specs up here. ASUS also seem to have some good ones, but I'll see what the people on this forum have to say first.

Unfortunately I can't find the GT780 anywhere, but I really think that would be awesome if I could find it in Australia. But, as for any other suggestions you guys have, here is what I want and what it's for:

What it's for:
-Student usage (word, excel, powerpoint, internet etc)
-Web browsing (youtube, facebook, forums etc, oh and study of course)
-Gaming (mainly Counter strike and BF3, possibly some others, I'm new to PC gaming)
-Listening to Music (got headphones but good speakers are a bonus)
-CAD (this is for TAFE, so it has to be able to run AutoCAD).

What i want:
-Alot of RAM. Anything with at least 8GB (that's alot to me)
-A beast graphics card. I know a laptop can't hold SLI GTX580's, but a card that can run most new games on high frame rates at anything above 30fps is good enough, but obviously the better the card, the happier I am.
-An SSD. I am yet to experience the whopping speeds of a SSD, so I want to see how good they are. Plus, I guess it'll be good for holding a few games and programs.
-Backlit keys. This isn't a must but I'm a hopeless typist, and whilst I am getting a mechanical keyboard soon that is backlit, I do still like the idea.

Also, NO ALIENWARE, nothing ridiculously gimmicky (lights coming out of the battery, jet turbines to cool it etc), and something that is at a reasonable price. $2.5k AUS is probably the maximum I can spend, but I can spend some more IF it is justifiable by the beast specs of the laptop.
post #2 of 17
Sager NP8170
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post #3 of 17
First, check out Logical Blue One - some guys on notebookreview.com recommended it, and I can see why! This Sager/Clevo 15" with a Nvidia 560M is only $1300! http://www.logicalblueone.com.au/store/415-clevo-horize-p151hm1b-gaming-notebook.html
I'm sure there are better laptops there, browse through them. Well, there's also a AMD 6990M 15" laptop for $1900. That's the same speed as Nvidia 580M. Both are just as good for CAD programs, roughly (well, CAD uses OpenGL, so Nvidia's CUDA cores don't offer any benefit like they do for Adobe CS5 for example). Quadro and FirePro graphics are almost an order of magnitude faster for CAD (see the SpecViewPerf benches here: http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-570M.56635.0.html)

If you can, I'd definitely wait for the next-gen laptops to come out, with Ivy Bridge CPU and Nvidia 600M-series graphics. The 560M is fast, but only certain Toshiba Qosimo and Alienware laptops have Optimus with that graphics card. Without Optimus, 3-4 hours battery life, if you're lucky. With Optimus, over 5 hours on a ~60W (6-cell) battery.

Also, 17" for a laptop is really big, especially if you'll have to walk around campus. At least in the U.S., pretty much any campus is at least half a mile across, and most are 1 mile - and walking from class to class with 20 pounds of books plus an 8 pound laptop all day is no fun. Cutting down on 2 pounds, to a 6-pound 15" laptop is a good compromise between performance and weight - so I'd go with something like the GT683, or the laptop I linked above.
 
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post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Any other suggestions? Really liking the GT683, but I want something a bit better than a GTX560M (although if it can run bf3 at medium at around 60fps I'm good with it). Unfortunately The GT685 (basically the GT683 with a GTX580M) is around $700 more.
post #5 of 17
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post #6 of 17
Like $2200 with a 580M and an i7 quad. http://www.logicalblueone.com.au/store/474-clevo-horize-p150hm-580-gtx580-notebook-pc.html

6990M version for ~$150 less. http://www.logicalblueone.com.au/store/449-clevo-horize-p150hma-ati-gaming-notebook-.html

Note- the 6990M is maybe 3% slower than the 580M on average. These are Sager/Clevo laptops, they have a much longer history of building gaming laptops than MSi does so don't let the brand deter you.

Now, you could probably get Crossfire 6970M's or 6990Ms for about $2300-2550 respectively in an 18"... http://www.logicalblueone.com.au/store/493-horize-p180hm-notebook-pc.html

Not saying they're the best value, but I haven't seen any cheaper with more performance, especially not in this thread.
 
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post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Rejoice! PCCG has started to sell the gt685/ gt780/ gt783 laptops from MSI. I know it was mentioned earlier that MSI are kind of new to the "gaming laptop" scene, but I'd still assume that their quality is pretty good (not crap right)? I think if I don't go for a desktop, I may end up going for the gt783 even though it is 17.3in. Just looks a little better and the bigger screen may be nice, I've never sat down and used a screen that big on a laptop.

So, MSI laptops; if I buy one is it gonna fall apart in 6 months? How's the build quality/ reliability compared to say, a HP (thats what I'm using at this moment).

Also, I just remembered this isn't an Australian based forum, so I'll just mention that PCCG is probably the best and most reliable place for me to buy a laptop (sager may be good but $2.8k for a laptop + $350 shipping plus a ridiculously long waiting period are not what I want). Any Aussies on here probably know about PCCG, but I'm just letting anyone else know that I am in Australia and PCCG is one of the bigger online retailers.
Edited by Penguana - 2/15/12 at 11:50pm
post #8 of 17
GT685 is $2800 AUS, really? Did you check the links I posted, $2200 for a Sager specc'd the same. The 17" MSI for $2100 is reasonable, but you can get a 17" Sager with a 580M for maybe $200 more. If you think I'm just pulling random laptop sellers out of nowhere, just Google "Logical Blue One", and check around the Notebookreview.com forums. As an example. http://forum.notebookreview.com/sager-clevo/580634-clevo-reseller-australia-logical-blue-one.html

I'm not one to stop people from spending more than they have to (quite the touchy subject around here), so there's nothing wrong with going with an MSI for $600 more than the Sager equivalent. They should both be as durable. And they both come with warranties.

Build of any gaming laptop is going to be higher than a typical consumer laptop- they're thicker/heavier to accomodate bigger heatsinks, so the chassis is more durable. Most any gaming laptop is better than an HP.
 
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post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrbroad77 View Post

GT685 is $2800 AUS, really? Did you check the links I posted, $2200 for a Sager specc'd the same. The 17" MSI for $2100 is reasonable, but you can get a 17" Sager with a 580M for maybe $200 more. If you think I'm just pulling random laptop sellers out of nowhere, just Google "Logical Blue One", and check around the Notebookreview.com forums. As an example. http://forum.notebookreview.com/sager-clevo/580634-clevo-reseller-australia-logical-blue-one.html
I'm not one to stop people from spending more than they have to (quite the touchy subject around here), so there's nothing wrong with going with an MSI for $600 more than the Sager equivalent. They should both be as durable. And they both come with warranties.
Build of any gaming laptop is going to be higher than a typical consumer laptop- they're thicker/heavier to accomodate bigger heatsinks, so the chassis is more durable. Most any gaming laptop is better than an HP.

Yeah I'm still considering sager, don't worry, but the $350 shipping and huge wait (I haven't checked but it seems like it'll take a while) and the fact that for warranty I'll have to send it back over to the USA, it just seems all too much for a laptop. I do believe it's a great laptop, but there are just too many other problems with getting it here etc for me to say I'll get one and that's final. I did find logical blue one, and I am still looking around/ considering others, but I'm just liking the MSI gt783 a lot. Got everything I need and want, and it's easy to get (not a fanboy or anything, but it's already built and easy to order etc and they did just come in stock at PCCG). Anyway, all I'm worried about is the reliability and build quality. Kind of like how you can go out and buy a "gaming" mouse and it's quite cheap, but has a lot of features (macros, weights, lighting, profiles etc) and it just ends up breaking and working worse than a basic OEM mouse because it has had so much stuff thrown into it and it's just a gimmick, not just a plain and simple mouse. That's my main concern.

Just out of curiosity, what did you mean when you said spending more than you had to was a touchy subject on these forums? I'm new to overclock.net, and forums in general, so sorry if it's an obvious reason (apart from the fact that you can get good value for money by spending less but getting what you NEED etc).
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penguana View Post

Yeah I'm still considering sager, don't worry, but the $350 shipping and huge wait (I haven't checked but it seems like it'll take a while) and the fact that for warranty I'll have to send it back over to the USA, it just seems all too much for a laptop. I do believe it's a great laptop, but there are just too many other problems with getting it here etc for me to say I'll get one and that's final. I did find logical blue one, and I am still looking around/ considering others, but I'm just liking the MSI gt783 a lot. Got everything I need and want, and it's easy to get (not a fanboy or anything, but it's already built and easy to order etc and they did just come in stock at PCCG). Anyway, all I'm worried about is the reliability and build quality. Kind of like how you can go out and buy a "gaming" mouse and it's quite cheap, but has a lot of features (macros, weights, lighting, profiles etc) and it just ends up breaking and working worse than a basic OEM mouse because it has had so much stuff thrown into it and it's just a gimmick, not just a plain and simple mouse. That's my main concern.
Just out of curiosity, what did you mean when you said spending more than you had to was a touchy subject on these forums? I'm new to overclock.net, and forums in general, so sorry if it's an obvious reason (apart from the fact that you can get good value for money by spending less but getting what you NEED etc).

As for Logical Blue one, they're an authorized Sager reseller, and warranty repairs are done in Australia. The shipping cost is $49.95 precisely.

Personally I don't care which laptop you get, I'm just offering advice. *I* wouldn't spend an extra $300 or so on an MSI with Nvidia 570M over a Sager with 580M. The MSi has some nice features, the 17" has backlit keyboard, but the 15" just has some miscellaneous LEDs on the palmrest. Again, either should have similar reliability levels. It's not like MSi makes MSi laptops - a company like Sager or Foxconn would, although they probably(I'm not sure) have MSi motherboards, which is a good/bad thing depending on who you ask. If it's really important it's reliable, I'd only keep it under warranty. I have no clue about Australian warranties- but if it's a 1-year I'd go to 2 or 3 years.

As for the issue on spending more money - some people feel like if you have budget $X (say $5000, just a random number), everyone should give them expensive-A** suggestions that are completely overkill. And I suppose there are buyers who have budget $X and are determined on spending it all. I didn't mean anything by it, probably should've just left it at the fact you can save several hundred going with a Sager.

Edit: This Sager 17" model specifically states it has a 3-year warranty, and you can see their FAQ about having warranty service done in Australia. The MSi might have a similar warranty but I'd verify. http://www.logicalblueone.com.au/store/476-clevo-hor.html
Edited by jrbroad77 - 2/16/12 at 1:41am
 
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Phenom II X4 955 BE Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM-UD2H MSI Hawk R5770 3x2GB G.Skill DDR2 800 4-4-4-12 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 250 GB WD Caviar Black Samsung 20X DVD-R/RW Thermaltake MaxOrb 
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