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OK.

I've only been looking around this section of the forum for about a week and after just a short time I'm rather disappointed with how little information there seems to be available to people on both specific laptops and the two most talked about components, the CPU and GPU. Others have linked to it in specific responses expecting that to help someone who likely will not read it. That said I think it deserves to be give as a general source of background that people should read from and then ask questions. So without further ado the source of good information on the world of laptops,

http://www.notebookcheck.net/

I really hope that more people read the information off of that website because in the notebook venue it seems like the industry knows just how uniformed the customer is and therefore refuses to give use viable price/performance buying choices. I hope this will answer more general questions without repetitive "which is the better CPU for performance" and "a GTX460m is like the desktop GTX460 right?" or similar questions.

Further I'd like to offer this thread as a base to tell people that YES you can game on a laptop given you are willing to ask questions, have the right hardware, and are willing to compromise the graphics settings if needed.

Also, links to good gaming laptop sellers such as xoticpc or recommendations of good gaming laptop models are also welcome here.

EDIT/DISCLAIMER!!!!! (12/04/2010):
For the sake of trying to tie everything together I'm going to throw this in: in the most simple of terms it should be known that for "mobility" and the reduction in power requirements/need to provide battery life the parts in laptop are not going to compete with the parts of a desktop at the same price in terms of performance.

GPUs:
In the world of mobile computers laptops/notebooks/netbooks it should be made very clear that the naming system for mobile parts is to create a false sense of getting equal performance to desktop parts. A perfect example is the GPU world in which AMD/ATI and Nvidia both engage in calling their mobile parts by desktop parts names. So the uniformed would see a laptop with a HD5870m and think that they're getting a HD5870. WRONG! What you're really getting is the best they could fit in a laptop sized card which sadly is at best close to a desktop HD5770 in performance. So if you're looking at a laptop with a GTX460m thinking that you're going to get GTX460 performance you are sadly mistaken. What you're really getting is something similar to the GTS450 but likely with still worse performance. Also, just because a card has a larger framebuffer/VRAM amount does not mean that it is a great card! The bus-width must also be taken into account since that is what will bottle neck performance. You may have a 4GB GPU but if the bus-width is 128bits or less then you're not going to have great performance.
ALSO: While this is mostly an Nvidia tactic, ATI/AMD is not immune to doing the re-branding and renaming game. What this means is they will do nothing more that change the name on a part and claim it's new tech that you now have to pay extra for. I witnessed someone being convienced that the 9800mGTX was much worse than a GTX260m. The truth is that outside of a die shrink and a slightly higher clock speed the two were identical. They ended up buying the extra $200 for essentially the same performance since that was the only difference between the to laptops they looked at. As strange as it sounds look at the Nvidia or ATI/AMD website and read up on your parts.

CPUs:
For CPUs Intel and AMD have the decency not to use the same names so that fortunately prevents the great scam of making people thinking they're getting something they're not. That said, even if you read up on the basic specs given to you by retailers for things like clock speed, cache sizes, FSB, and core count what they don't tell you is that they assume you're either smart enough to know that performance will suffer by default when you use the laptop on battery power or dumb enough to assume that's truly what you're getting all the time. WHY? Because they don't want you complaining about how terrible the battery life of your machine is or that it is overheating...ext. Why do these parts not perform as well for similar specs? It has to do with architecture design which is more than I can cover and power/heat limitations. Essentially, unless you are using tools like SetFSB, ThrottleStop, and at the very least setting power profiles through the OS then you are letting the CPU/mobo decide and most of the time it makes poor choices.

Throttling and other things:
To prevent overheating, low battery life, these CPUs/GPUs are designed to run as much as they can at a much lower speed then what they advertise. This is known as throttling and it also affects performance badly because the CPU will spend time switching between clock speeds giving inconsistent performance because the CPU will try to stay at the lowest clocks possible and this also happens with GPUs when they too fail to recognize a GPU load increase because the program/game you're using isn't part of the default recognize list. This isn't as great of a problem as it used to be but it is still there and can still cause problems.

Further, the CPU will often be given far more voltage than needed to run at it's stated clock speed. The irony of this is that it defeats any powersaving designs made by the manufacturer and increases the heat problem. HOW TO COMBAT THESE THINGS? Throttlestop has been rather good for me as it can allow you to lock the processor at its highest clock speed while giving you voltage control, essentially allowing you to run at full power without so much heat. It can also allow you to go the other direction in going down to SLF(Super Low Frequencies) with very low voltages when you need less power and less heat.

LINK FOR THROTTLESTOP: http://www.softpedia.com/progDownloa...ad-163602.html

LINK TO THE GUIDE ON HOW TO USE IT: http://forum.notebookreview.com/hard...top-guide.html

Another big thing for gaming is the HDD. Most laptops are usually 5400RPM or they don't list speed. Now it's not a absolute rule; but if you want to game a 7200RPM speed is recommended.

Also just some further info from Unacceptable to remind you to READ WHAT THE SETTINGS ARE USED WHEN SOMEONE POST FPS RESULTS; EVEN FROM notebookcheck: Oh and give the guy some REP if you agree.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unacceptable View Post
Well notebook check is pretty good, there are a few reasons why they are inaccurate.

1. The variations between cards, anyone remember the 9600m. You had the 9600m GT, GTS, GTX. 512mb, and 1 gb modles. then there was the 9650m.

Also the MXM (kinda like PCI ports) used in the devices can have an effect on performance. Different stock clocks from different manufacturers.

Different cooling capabilities from different manufacturers can skew the numbers aswell.

2. They use a variety of laptops to bench, and as such you have a variety of hardware contributing to the overall number. So the number you see may be more indicative of a higher end CPU than yours, meaning your fps will be lower. Different driver versions on each one. Just so many over all variables between tested models.

3. As you stated earlier balancing performance and power in lappys is a key issue, and some manufacturers don't take that into account. I remember recently reading a review on Hot Hardware about a Malibal (built on a clevo D700f) w/ a core i7 -840QM, and sli 480m this combination caused the 480s to not perform at peak, along with cooling issues that cause the i7 to throttle, when running cpu intensive tasks.

4. This is the one that makes them the most unreliable, they do not use a standard benchmark, resolution and settings change between games. Some games are run in 720p others 1080, some w/ AA on some not. It all really depends on the game.

I hope this helps out people and I will be more than willing to add in more information as requested on other topics here and if I can't come up with the answer myself I will insert the information/guide in quotes from the person who can. Again the goal is to get the most basic and most important aspects of laptop parts, gaming help, and some guides on general tricks in one area.

EDIT/UPDATE (12/30/2010):
More detailed information on GPUs and things to consider when looking at them.

EDIT/UPDATE (3/26/2011): At the suggestion of a new member (mutantmagnet) I'm including this website
http://www.laptopmag.com/
as a secondary source to gather more information from. They're a bit more general and "mainstream" so I don't like viewing them as a primary but using them as secondary perspective is just another way to be more informed.

EDIT/UPDATE (3/30/2011): IMPORTANT BATTERY INFORMATION
Source
REP and thanks go to LOL_Wut_Axel on this one. IF YOU THINK IT'S USEFULL REP OR THANK THE GUY.

EDIT/UPDATE (5/25/2011): An explanation on ODM and OEM along with some "true" pros for Macs provided by reflex99.

Sections to come; any topics of importance in the laptop world that you guys find.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's what I think and I'm hoping to spread it because it truly covers everything in a pretty straightforward and in depth approach.
 

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This should really be stickied, along with a disclaimer. I would really like to see an in depth sticky here on this topic and other miss conceptions about laptops.

Having said that IMO OCN users, who are interested in laptop gaming modding and other such things generally end up on notebookreview. I love OCN, lurk way more than I post but I would love even more to see a laptop community similar to that of notebook review @ OCN.

I would love to start a discussion in OCN's laptop section about Overclocking my i7m or my lappy gpu, w/o getting flamed.

I would love to see a sticky at the top explaining that laptop parts are not desktop parts and don't perform as such.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Unacceptable View Post
I would love to start a discussion in OCN's laptop section about Overclocking my i7m or my lappy gpu, w/o getting flamed.

I would love to see a sticky at the top explaining that laptop parts are not desktop parts and don't perform as such.
Laptops cant cool an overclock effectively. If you want to OC the CPU by 200Mhz thats possible. Anything more REALLY pushes it. GPU is pretty much out of the question for anything beyond a tiny bump in numbers and almost NO bump in performance.
I don't know whats so hard to understand about that...

Back on topic.
I agree, laptops aren't really understood by most people. But for the average OCN user they are. Or at the very least they are not misunderstood.
Although a Laptop Information section would be pretty cool.
 

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I love the CPU and Gcard benchmarks on that site. I find myself looking at it a lot!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Quote:

Originally Posted by PhilWrir View Post
Laptops cant cool an overclock effectively. If you want to OC the CPU by 200Mhz thats possible. Anything more REALLY pushes it. GPU is pretty much out of the question for anything beyond a tiny bump in numbers and almost NO bump in performance.
I don't know whats so hard to understand about that...

Back on topic.
I agree, laptops aren't really understood by most people. But for the average OCN user they are. Or at the very least they are not misunderstood.
Although a Laptop Information section would be pretty cool.
Um...look at my sig and then look at your post. Not to be mean but seriously you can't make a blanket statement like that. For the office machines that most people end up with that statement fits but for truly gaming based machine it should not. For the CPU I see mostly minimum gains from the OCing I've done with it but the GPU has turned out better.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by PhilWrir View Post
Laptops cant cool an overclock effectively. If you want to OC the CPU by 200Mhz thats possible. Anything more REALLY pushes it. GPU is pretty much out of the question for anything beyond a tiny bump in numbers and almost NO bump in performance.
I don't know whats so hard to understand about that...
Ive Oc'd my gpu 200mhz on the core and i see a massive difference? Tonnes of people that have succesfully done 300 core as well, mainly on those sager or alienware models with a bit of voltage tweaking.

Also notebookcheck is extremely inaccurate and should only be used as a rough guideline, the only real way to find out something is to ask somebody or find out what chip the laptop counterpart is based off and assume performance from its lower clocks etc.

Also notebookreview has a crap community, the guys there are fanboys, trolls, make stupid assumptions all the time and really have no idea what their talking about. I would rather not have anything to do with that community there, however there are only a few people that are truely knowlegeable and are worth spending ur time to discuss some issues etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Quote:


Originally Posted by Uncivilised
View Post

Snipped/
Also notebookcheck is extremely inaccurate and should only be used as a rough guideline, the only real way to find out something is to ask somebody or find out what chip the laptop counterpart is based off and assume performance from its lower clocks etc.

What makes them inaccurate? I'd like to know since I'm recommending them as a useful source and don't need to make myself an a$$ while leading people astray.
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by PhilWrir
View Post

Laptops cant cool an overclock effectively. If you want to OC the CPU by 200Mhz thats possible. Anything more REALLY pushes it. GPU is pretty much out of the question for anything beyond a tiny bump in numbers and almost NO bump in performance.
I don't know whats so hard to understand about that....

Um...

My GTX 460m Stock

Core Speed - 675 MHz
Shader Speed - 1350 MHz
Memory Speed - 1250 MHz

My GTX 460m OC

Core Speed - 800 MHz + 125MHz
Shader Speed - 1475 MHz + 125 MHz
Memory Speed -1400 MHz + 150 MHz

= approx additional 10fps in games.

w/o voltage adjustments, my 460m OC's better than my REF 5870.

These clocks are achieved on a Sager np8760 (clevo w870cu) Minimal tweaking (spent about 15 min to get this OC), If I spent some more time with it I could definitely go a lot further. Temps haven't passed 72'C I have another 10'C of head room.

Quote:


Originally Posted by Rookie1337
View Post

What makes them inaccurate? I'd like to know since I'm recommending them as a useful source and don't need to make myself an a$$ while leading people astray.

Well notebook check is pretty good, there are a few reasons why they are inaccurate.

1. The variations between cards, anyone remember the 9600m. You had the 9600m GT, GTS, GTX. 512mb, and 1 gb modles. then there was the 9650m.

Also the MXM (kinda like PCI ports) used in the devices can have an effect on performance. Different stock clocks from different manufacturers.

Different cooling capabilities from different manufacturers can skew the numbers aswell.

2. They use a variety of laptops to bench, and as such you have a variety of hardware contributing to the overall number. So the number you see may be more indicative of a higher end CPU than yours, meaning your fps will be lower. Different driver versions on each one. Just so many over all variables between tested models.

3. As you stated earlier balancing performance and power in lappys is a key issue, and some manufacturers don't take that into account. I remember recently reading a review on Hot Hardware about a Malibal (built on a clevo D700f) w/ a core i7 -840QM, and sli 480m this combination caused the 480s to not perform at peak, along with cooling issues that cause the i7 to throttle, when running cpu intensive tasks.

4. This is the one that makes them the most unreliable, they do not use a standard benchmark, resolution and settings change between games. Some games are run in 720p others 1080, some w/ AA on some not. It all really depends on the game.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
@Unacceptable: I think I may include some of those things you mentioned in the OP just in case people when they go to a website fail to read what the settings are for each game that they see the FPS results for. If it wasn't for the fact that notebook check tells you the settings they use for each game with each card then I would not be comfortable with recommending them but they do tell you. If you don't mind I'd like to add your comments by quoting you in the OP is that OK with you?

@Kirus2012: Hopefully one day it will. Otherwise I might get an infraction for bumping it daily. I just got tired of answering the same questions for the "gaming laptop" and similar style threads and felt this might be more useful since people sometimes don't trust others on this forum. If they read this they hopefully will get the basics down and be able to make more informed choices when they go shopping around.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
BUMP: I just added in some formatting that I hope will make it easier to read and some links to get ThrottleStop along it's guide. Hope this helps.
 

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Quote:


Originally Posted by Rookie1337
View Post

@Unacceptable: If you don't mind I'd like to add your comments by quoting you in the OP is that OK with you?

By all mean's feel free, if you would like someone to work on something to be submitted as a sticky for this section let me know I would be happy to help write something up.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If you have ideas on ways to make the OP more readable and better to follow hit me up. I'm going to add your 4 points in a quote box at the end in a moment so just give me a few.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Bumpy Bump: Would Like some more opinions on this. Tell me if the guide is easy to understand and yet covers everything well. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Anyone know what I should do to get this stickied? Really could save some redundant questions I think.
 
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