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M14x R2 good enough? Or Spring for the M17x?

post #1 of 12
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Basically I want a laptop for watching videos, surfing the web and playing games on when im downstairs and cannot be on my desktop...Also might use it to edit photos from my EOS 7D but im less concerned with that than i am with gaming performance... I am limited to Dell or Alienware at the moment and so I'm primarily considering something from them... I have a very good desktop gaming rig at the moment, This is not replacing that, merely being a supplement

At the moment I'm currently borrowing someone elses XPS 17, its an i7-2xxxx and GT555-powered machine with a 1080p display, Works great for watching videos surfing the web and et cetera but for gaming it unfortunately leaves a lot to be desired, World of Tanks for instance only gets 10-25 fps on it at native resolution, Which is not good enough for me... Besides that i dont really mind the size (Its not likely to be leaving the house)

What do I consider "acceptable" gaming performance? I want to run most games with most of the settings turned on at native resolution and hopefully have good enough performance to last me a few years, My primary gaming machine will still be my desktop of course.. but I intend to sit and play say.. Skyrim, World of Tanks and War Thunder on it.. I'd like to average 30-ish FPS in all of these without slowdowns and frame dropping...

The M14x is $1444 with a i7-3630QM, 8gb RAM, 900p Screen, GT650M 2gb and a 256gb SSD

The M17x is $2094 with a i7-3630QM, 8gb RAM, 1080p 60hz Screen, Radeon 7970M and a 256gb SSD... add $50 for a GTX 675M

I've spent days staring at the benchmarks over at notebookcheck.net and I know the M17x is obviously faster, but its also at the higher end of my budget and if i can save money, why not? That said, when I look at the benchmarks I'm also filled with massive amounts of uncertainty over whether either computer is actually fast enough to satisfy me or not.. I'm VERY used to my desktops.. I've only tried having a laptop twice in the past and both time ended with me returning them.. Which I dont really want to do here...

Also yes I'm considering the 675M as well on the M17x just because I havnt had the best of luck with AMD in the past.. I'm open to giving them another shot however...

Or I might do nothing, Who knows, I'm here because I need to pick at someone elses brain a bit
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post #2 of 12
I would NEVER go for an M14x. It's a GDDR3 650M in that laptop, so your performance is hugely hindered for games in the future.

My laptop would run circles around the current M14x model if it matters.


If you want an Alienware, customize the M17x R4 as you wish and then order over the phone and haggle it down a bit. Use a Sager from XoticPC as your bargaining tool. Say something like, "I'd like to get the Alienware, but the Sager can be had for $$$ less over at this site." and see what they'll do.

Usually you can knock off around $400 and get a killer deal.

Also, don't get the 675M over the 7970M. That's retarded of THEM to even attempt playing that one off. Makes me furious of companies and THEN it works! People will buy a lesser GPU thinking it's equal/superior! The 7970M uses something called Enduro and this can impact the performance a lot. However the latest driver suite, CCC 13.1, fixed just about every known problem regarding this in games... and you can manually shut it off via a button combo. tongue.gif So really... if you didn't want to deal with it at all, you could just shut off the Enduro part and be good. tongue.gif That's what made the M17x line so appealing recently. (Sager/Clevo laptops had a LOT of problems with the 7970M, which are also fixed now.)



There IS one other option to consider before buying this machine... The Sager NP9170. If you want a GPU that can play a game like WoT at it's native resolution and do it fluently, look no further than the GTX 670MX. The GTX 675MX is another option if you wanted a bit more firepower to boot. The Sager comes stock with a 1080p screen, is lighter, considerably cheaper in price, and has the second best cooling on the market... being only just behind Alienware in that regard. (Not that it matters by this point.)

My personal vote goes to the Sager, just because of the few problems I've had with this Alienware of mine, despite being older and prone to these problems. Can't really recommend one at the moment because I haven't tried one of the newer ones. Last little note on that, if you wanted a 7970M with the Sager, you'd save a TON of money in doing so. No haggling required. tongue.gif So ja, hope that helps. biggrin.gif
     
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post #3 of 12
If you have a desktop already, I'd get the M14x. Presumably you aren't planning on doing a lot of gaming, and also not planning on any serious multi-hour sessions of gaming. Now, even if you are, you should be able to hit 30fps, but not at max settings (although probably at native resolution). The reason for this is that it is better to treat it as a supplement to your desktop rather than as an alternative. That is, you can do some things (gaming wise) at the laptop, but everything at the desktop. The primary advantage of the laptop is portability, and as you go from the m14x to the m17x you just add weight and decrease the portability. The m17x is probably a lot hotter, so it won't be comfortable on a bare lap (like the m15x wasn't).

The important thing to remember is that you are not going to ever replicate desktop performance with these. I've used an Alienware m15x laptop for years. The only reason I'm not using one now is because the hinge broke. I also have a nice desktop. I used the Alienware as a desktop replacement for about 2 years, but I always noticed that my girlfriend's desktop had less stuttering, lower load times (which will be mitigated with the SSD), and higher fps. They gaming laptops are nice in that they can run games at low settings whereas other laptops can't (at least not in a playable way). If you expect desktop performance you'll be horribly disappointed. On the other hand, if you are doing light gaming (e.g., not going on extended dragon hunts in Skyrim, or doing anything that you take seriously in the other games) then the laptop will be able to suit your needs.

The M17x would be a "better" choice if you take the 7970M and can actually play the games that you want at the performance levels that you want. Without that (or the 680M) you're just paying money to decrease performance.

On a side note, buy the 3-year warranty, these laptops are going to break and I've gotten tons of replacement parts out of that. The hinge didn't break until year 5 by the way and that is going to cost 280$ to repair.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imglidinhere View Post

There IS one other option to consider before buying this machine... The Sager NP9170. If you want a GPU that can play a game like WoT at it's native resolution and do it fluently, look no further than the GTX 670MX. The GTX 675MX is another option if you wanted a bit more firepower to boot. The Sager comes stock with a 1080p screen, is lighter, considerably cheaper in price, and has the second best cooling on the market... being only just behind Alienware in that regard. (Not that it matters by this point.)

My personal vote goes to the Sager, just because of the few problems I've had with this Alienware of mine, despite being older and prone to these problems. Can't really recommend one at the moment because I haven't tried one of the newer ones. Last little note on that, if you wanted a 7970M with the Sager, you'd save a TON of money in doing so. No haggling required. tongue.gif So ja, hope that helps. biggrin.gif

Yeah the nVidia 675M was more personal preference for nVidia, I know its less capable I've just been an nVidia user for.. well ever... I wish Alienware offered the 670MX (Or the 675MX or the 680MX...) Which makes me ponder if a M17x R5 isnt around the corner (As one, the sales seem to be clearing them out, and two the parts are slightly "outdated") but your comment that the latest drivers fixed most of the issues puts me a bit at ease

As for the Sager, the price difference isnt -massive- for my instance, I configured a system equal to the Alienware, its at $1958 vs the $2094, I'd want the top screen on the Sager, Which added $150, the SSD added another $175..and the Radeon added a good $200 to the price tag... Now I admit I'm trying to just be fair here, If I got the Sager I'd be very likely to take the 670MX over the 7970 because for one Notebookcheck actually got the best performance out of that in WoT (Which made me wonder if there wasnt a driver issue or something, Both the 680 and the 7970 are listed as having problems...)
Quote:
If you have a desktop already, I'd get the M14x. Presumably you aren't planning on doing a lot of gaming, and also not planning on any serious multi-hour sessions of gaming. Now, even if you are, you should be able to hit 30fps, but not at max settings (although probably at native resolution). The reason for this is that it is better to treat it as a supplement to your desktop rather than as an alternative. That is, you can do some things (gaming wise) at the laptop, but everything at the desktop. The primary advantage of the laptop is portability, and as you go from the m14x to the m17x you just add weight and decrease the portability. The m17x is probably a lot hotter, so it won't be comfortable on a bare lap (like the m15x wasn't).

Tis not really going to leave the house, Weight is really the last thing i care about so long as its not lugging my 45lb desktop + 24" monitor up and down stairs, As for heat I will likely use a lapdesk like I am with the XPS17, I have my TF101 for when i really need something to be portable... What I'm trying to do is offload some of the crap I'm doing on the tablet to something more suited for the situation, Watching videos on my Tablet is great if im laying in bed 3 inches away from it, but is pretty awful if im doing something and have it sitting on a table in the room (Cant hear it, Nor can i really see it) The screen is OK but not the best out there, and the processor is getting a little weak at this point too... but for pulling up websites and most "low intensity" tasks the tablet or my smartphone works pretty darn well... So while yes I might use the laptop for SOME of that kinda thing, its not its primary purpose, Primarily I want a multimedia powerhouse, I want to play games on it, I want to watch recorded TV on it.. 40% video watching, 50% gaming, 10% photography/everything else basically.. so yeah actually it does include quite a bit more than occasional gaming on the thing

And I DID somewhat play with the idea of dragging my old desktop downstairs, But I assumed that these laptops -should- run circles around a 5 year old Core2Quad Q9300 and GTX460-based gaming rig at 1920x1200...(and im pretty sure upgrading the graphics card is a silly idea, the 460 was already processor bound, especially in WoT which isnt multithreaded) But i dont reallly wanna do that...

And sorry if im coming across as difficult, I'm not trying to be, I'm just trying to make sure i dont plop down a lot of money on something Im going to hate...
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post #5 of 12
The Sager would easily be a better buy than the Alienware if you matched it as far as pricing goes. Also, the GTX 670MX is equal to a desktop GTX 460, or within 5% of one at that. tongue.gif If that matters... >.>
     
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post #6 of 12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imglidinhere View Post

The Sager would easily be a better buy than the Alienware if you matched it as far as pricing goes. Also, the GTX 670MX is equal to a desktop GTX 460, or within 5% of one at that. tongue.gif If that matters... >.>

Not really from what i saw.... I built a Sager exactly like the Alienware M17x I had configured and it came out at $1958, vs the $2094 on the Alienware, its not a really huge savings in my book, they have specials going on at Alienware which is why its a bit less than it would be normally, Its a difference sure..but not a massive difference Besides its a moot point, Sager doesnt have a Dell account option wink.gif thats why i said "I'm limited to Dell or Alienware right now"

The advantage i see on the Sager is the fact i get a lot more options, The Sager I'd actually -buy- would probubly be configured differently (I'd probubly grab the GTX 670MX instead)

And wow.. thats..not really what I expected.. I expected a GTX670MX would be a bit more gutsy than a midrange card i bought 2 years ago-ish....Thats definitely making me hesitate a bit when we're talking dropping $2k or so on a laptop... I take it a 7970M would be...what... I dont get AMD's naming schemes but im guessing its something like a GTX660-ish?

I mean the best thing I can sort of use to compare is 3DMark scores, and that places the 7970M actually quite close to my desktop (P20913 vs P23696 in Vantage) I didnt do 3DMark11 on my rig, but by doing a quick search a GTX570 is around 4765 whereas a 7970M is around 5884... Now of course 3DMark isnt as good as actual numbers from games, but it gives me a rough ballpark... i dont have anything to grab -average- FPS with... For all i know my "average" FPS is far worse than i think it is(Tho I doubt it..I only look at it if the computer is stuttering or something)....and of course im pretty sure my 2600k is more gutsy than a mobile processor (Especially running at 4.5ghz) Heck Notebookcheck has the desktop GTX570 in their list for comparison and both the 7970M and the GTX680M are supposedly 15-16% FASTER in 3DMark... Again, Not real gaming performance, but that still says to me "This should be ALMOST on the same level..."

Now this is confusing me, but i think i MIGHT have figured it out a little.. I'm thinking a bunch of games are slightly CPU-bound in their testing, because i note several of the machines testing the 7970 and GTX680m are running i7-3610s as opposed to 3630s, When i look at say..the GTX675MX benchmarks, they were done on a 3630, which seems to be the reason it gets such high scores in a couple games (IE World of Tanks which can only use 1 CPU core, So clockspeed > anything else in WoT)
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post #7 of 12
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I think I decided on waiting, the M17x is what i really want but i have a very nagging feeling its about to be refreshed with new GFX chips and options...(They keep putting them on sale and seem to be trying to clear them out..also they got updated in April/May last year) Meaning i might be able to get one for less (Technology marches on) or get more for my money...
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post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by KenjiS View Post

Not really from what i saw.... I built a Sager exactly like the Alienware M17x I had configured and it came out at $1958, vs the $2094 on the Alienware, its not a really huge savings in my book, they have specials going on at Alienware which is why its a bit less than it would be normally, Its a difference sure..but not a massive difference Besides its a moot point, Sager doesnt have a Dell account option wink.gif thats why i said "I'm limited to Dell or Alienware right now"

The advantage i see on the Sager is the fact i get a lot more options, The Sager I'd actually -buy- would probubly be configured differently (I'd probubly grab the GTX 670MX instead)

And wow.. thats..not really what I expected.. I expected a GTX670MX would be a bit more gutsy than a midrange card i bought 2 years ago-ish....Thats definitely making me hesitate a bit when we're talking dropping $2k or so on a laptop... I take it a 7970M would be...what... I dont get AMD's naming schemes but im guessing its something like a GTX660-ish?

I mean the best thing I can sort of use to compare is 3DMark scores, and that places the 7970M actually quite close to my desktop (P20913 vs P23696 in Vantage) I didnt do 3DMark11 on my rig, but by doing a quick search a GTX570 is around 4765 whereas a 7970M is around 5884... Now of course 3DMark isnt as good as actual numbers from games, but it gives me a rough ballpark... i dont have anything to grab -average- FPS with... For all i know my "average" FPS is far worse than i think it is(Tho I doubt it..I only look at it if the computer is stuttering or something)....and of course im pretty sure my 2600k is more gutsy than a mobile processor (Especially running at 4.5ghz) Heck Notebookcheck has the desktop GTX570 in their list for comparison and both the 7970M and the GTX680M are supposedly 15-16% FASTER in 3DMark... Again, Not real gaming performance, but that still says to me "This should be ALMOST on the same level..."

Now this is confusing me, but i think i MIGHT have figured it out a little.. I'm thinking a bunch of games are slightly CPU-bound in their testing, because i note several of the machines testing the 7970 and GTX680m are running i7-3610s as opposed to 3630s, When i look at say..the GTX675MX benchmarks, they were done on a 3630, which seems to be the reason it gets such high scores in a couple games (IE World of Tanks which can only use 1 CPU core, So clockspeed > anything else in WoT)

The 7970M is faster in DX11 at stock but the 680M picks up faster during overclocking. If you push the 7970M to 1000/1200 and push the 680M to 1000/1200, you'll see that the 680M is considerably faster than the 7970M could ever hope to be. The reason for this is that the 7970M is an underclocked 7870 and the 680M is an underclocked GTX 670. tongue.gif

Also the difference between 100mhz with the same CPU offers maybe 1-3% depending on the game. Notebookcheck.net uses the driver set that is initially released with the GPUs and never updates it. So you're seeing incorrect values in the end. tongue.gif
     
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post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imglidinhere View Post

The 7970M is faster in DX11 at stock but the 680M picks up faster during overclocking. If you push the 7970M to 1000/1200 and push the 680M to 1000/1200, you'll see that the 680M is considerably faster than the 7970M could ever hope to be. The reason for this is that the 7970M is an underclocked 7870 and the 680M is an underclocked GTX 670. tongue.gif

Also the difference between 100mhz with the same CPU offers maybe 1-3% depending on the game. Notebookcheck.net uses the driver set that is initially released with the GPUs and never updates it. So you're seeing incorrect values in the end. tongue.gif

They did update a bit on the 7970 because newer drivers supposedly fixed a bunch of performance issues it had relating to Enduro.. Which is another thing the GTX680 does, Optimus works, Enduro..less so from everything im reading... Alienware is an exception because of the manual OFF switch it gives you

Hmn, not a bad point on the OCing, I did actually pull up some numbers at some other places (I dont routinely benchmark my system with games, I set the game up, play it, if i have problems THEN i start seeing if its an FPS issue or something) and found out my 570 is within roughly 5% of the 7970M or 680M chips.. The truth is if the laptop im looking at wont handle something fluidly at those settings, its doubtful my desktop will fare that much better.. IE, if i look at a Desktop 7870 (Which is a faster clocked 7970) we're looking at roughly 30fps in Crysis 3 at 1920x1200 vs 27-ish for my 570... a 670 is at 42fps

The pricing sadly changed a bit.. might wait for another sale to come around... Was at $2090 for a 1TB Raid 0 with the 7970 or almost $2400 for the GTX680M... Stupid screwy way Dell's site works however means I can get the same GTX680M config for $2200.. if i leave out the Killer Network card and stick with the Centrino 2230...

That makes me a bit nervous however, For one, it does not support 5ghz at all from what I read.. for two when i did a bit of research the Killer actually DOES make a bit of a difference especially in a less than ideal connection spot, I know in my room i can hardly pick up the 5ghz signal which id prefer to be on and even the 2.4ghz one gives me a few problems too :/ Everything in my room is hard wired except my tablet for that reason, but im not planning to plug my laptop into the Ethernet.. so yeah... Now a lot of the time the thing is going to be a LOT closer to the router than that but id still like to ensure i have a solid wireless connection in my room as well... Since ill be doing a lot of video streaming and such over the wireless id like a solid sure wireless connection....

Sadly the XPS17 im using has a Centrino 6200 which is better than the 2230 as well :/ So i cant just take it upstairs to find out how bad the signal is.. I suppose i COULD just install a signal repeater if its a problem

Can you tell i have very limited experience with things outside my desktop? lol
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Kagutsuchi Mk 2
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-6700k @ 4.635ghz Asus Maximus VIII Formula Asus Strix 1080 Ti 11gb, 2ghz Core 11ghz Memory G Skill Trident Z 32gb DDR4-3200 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung 850 EVO 500gb Samsung 840 EVO 500gb 600gb Western Digital Velociraptor  5tb Western Digital Black 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
4tb Western Digital Red 6tb Western Digital USB 3.0 External Corsair H110i Windows 10 Pro 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Asus RoG PG279Q Logitech G910 Orion Spark Corsair HX1000i NZXT H440 
MouseAudioAudioAudio
Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum Sennheiser Game One Phillips Fidelio X2 Klipsch RB20 Soundbar 
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Core i7-3740QM GTX 680M 2gb 16gb DDR3-1600 2x 256gb SSD  
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post #10 of 12
when I was shopping for my gaming laptop , I needed to choose from 14 - 17 ". I went to the local computer super store(Best Buy ) here in the USA
I spent lots of time on different laptops , 14, 15.6, 16, 17 after a short while , I noticed that the 14" form factor was just too small and low resolution for my photoshop and video editing need.
and my past laptop was a 17" HP, that was too large for me because I am frequent flyer. I ended up getting a Sager 15.6" with a 1080p screen.
At first , it seemed too small of a screen, but after I put it on an ergo stand (Cricket brand), which raised the back up 6" now the viewing angle is almost perfect and I can read all of the text. I cannot recommend that stand for use with larger than a 14" laptop as it is a tripod type, I will buy a cooler master ergo stand soon
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