Contest: Help me find a good gaming laptop! (in Off-topic)


Ariac December 1 2008 2:00 PM EST

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834220414 is the one I'm looking at currently.

If you can find the one I buy I will give you 100k. Spending limit is 2500 (however less is definitely a bonus) also MUST have 4 gigs of RAM and preferably 2.53 processor.

Good luck and thanks for the help.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] December 1 2008 2:13 PM EST

http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/xpsnb_m1730?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

the one for $2,399 would be my dream gaming laptop.

Unappreciated Misnomer December 1 2008 2:21 PM EST

the one you are looking at seems the cheaper deal than dudemus' choice. i wish i could get one of those and stay playing wow again.

Brakke Bres [Ow man] December 1 2008 2:24 PM EST

http://www.alienware.com/products/notebook-computers.aspx

Any of these will do, its alienware and alienware is gaming

You can customize any of the laptops there, they also offer crossfireX which is good.
You can customize as much as you want up to your own spending limit.

And that the spell checker flags only 3 words in this little bit of text is just rubbish

Brakke Bres [Ow man] December 1 2008 2:32 PM EST

and you want the m17 over customizing it sells for 2501 USD
but you get discount of 400 USD in the next 3 hours here are
the specs for the 2501 USD version I picked:

[1] M17

Video/Graphics Card: Dual 512MB ATI Mobility Radeonル HD 3870 - CrossFireXル Enabled!
Processor: Intelᆴ Coreル2 P8600 2.4GHz (3MB Cache, 1066MHz FSB)
Chassis: 17-Inch WideUXGA 1920 x 1200 LCD (1200p) with Clearview Technology
Keyboard Options: Illuminated Keyboard ヨ Alienware Exclusive Design - Astral Blue
Operating System (Office software not included): Genuine Windows Vistaᆴ Home Premium (64-bit Edition) with Service Pack 1
Memory: 4GBᆱ Dual Channel DDR3 SO-DIMM at 1066MHz ヨ 2 x 2048MB

System Drive: Single Drive Configuration - 500GB 5,400RPM (8MB Cache)
Optical Drives : 8x Dual Layer Burner (DVDᄆRW, CD-RW)
Wireless Network Card: Internal Wireless b/g (Full Mini-Card)
Sound Card : Internal High-Definition Audio with Surround Sound
Make Your Own Bundle: Gaming Mouse - SteelSeries Ikari Laser Mouse
Warranty: 1-Year AlienCare Onsite Service and 24/7 Toll-Free Phone Support
Alienware Extras: Alienwareᆴ Mesh Cap
Alienware Extras: Alienwareᆴ Mobile Binder
Alienware Extras: Owner Identification Card
Alienware Extras: M17 Protective Cloth Sleeve
Alienware Extras: M17 Keyboard Diagram Overlay
Avatar: Alienhead 3D
Window Style: Default Window Style
Mouse Pointers: Standard Mouse Pointers
Power Plan: Standard Power Plan
Automatic Updates: Automatic Updates On

Ariac December 1 2008 2:35 PM EST

I actually found the one I originally suggested by looking at the one dudemus suggested, and decided the extra HDD and upgrading from premium to ultimate wasn't worth the 500$ difference, I'd rather just buy a terrabyte external and keep premium. Also, I was looking at alienware and asking around but decided against it because they're owned by dell and I hate dell. Also, it's just dell parts with crappy customer service.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] December 1 2008 2:37 PM EST

"upgrading from premium to ultimate wasn't worth the 500$ difference"

dual gpu and upgrade from 5400 rpm hard drive to 7200 rpm is what i really liked in the dell as opposed to your choice. i do think all of that is worth the difference, imho of course.

Ariac December 1 2008 2:41 PM EST

My bad dudemus, I definitely thought you were linking to the better version of the one I'm wanting (c2 instead of c1) but I'll definitely consider either of them.

Yukk December 1 2008 3:02 PM EST

If you're going to buy a Dell, consumer Dells get horrible customer service, but business Dells are treated very well. We bought IBMs, HPs and Dells at the place I was working depending on the need. For gaming type laptops we always went Dell and they were pretty good. Just to reiterate, if you buy a Dell and want service, make sure it's from their business line.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] December 1 2008 3:06 PM EST

the dell xps line also has premium support rather than standard support and has been excellent in my opinion.

Sickone December 1 2008 3:08 PM EST


1. Vista - complete waste of resources. If it can handle XP Pro, just request a "downgrade". There is absolutely NO reason whatsoever to keep Vista on it if it would run XP. Absolutely none.

2. 4 GB RAM - overkill, especially assuming you DID get rid of Vista.
Even 3 GB is overkill, 2 GB will do just fine. If it comes with 4 GB and it's cheap, why the heck not. Otherwise, 2 GB will do just fine.

3. Huge HDD space, fancy optical drive - all a waste on a gaming laptop, unless you really have no desktop whatsoever ; even a paltry 160 GB HDD and a DVD reader should be more than enough, but I guess 300 GB HDD and a DVD burner counldn't hurt.

4. While "more CPU power = good" goes without saying, remember, you're talking *GAMING* laptop. The Achiles heel of all laptops when it comes to gaming ? The video card performance and screen real-estate.
Not so much actual resolution, but rather inches of screen. Nothing below 17" wide, preferably wider if possible (even if mildly inconveniencing on the road, it's worth it for gaming).

Sickone December 1 2008 3:15 PM EST



Random sample of mobile video card performance : red = crap, yellow = acceptable for office and mild gaming , green = acceptable for serious gaming.

Sickone December 1 2008 3:32 PM EST

So, the following laptops from newegg MIGHT be acceptable, but each has a problem.

1. THIS (at 1350$) is the only one with a GOOD graphics card (9700M GTS), but only has a lousy 15.4" screen and a puny dual 2.0GHz CPU.

2. THIS (at 1500$) has a pretty "meh" graphics card (9650M GT), a decent 17" screen and dual 2.53GHz CPU.

3. THIS (at 1600$) has an awesome 18.4" screen and a half-decent 9700M GT card with same dual 2.53GHz CPU, but the screen aspect ratio is a bit too wide and might be awkward to carry.

Ariac December 1 2008 3:33 PM EST

For the record sickone, Vista doesn't suck as bad as people say it does, it had some kinks in it like all other windows Operating Systems. Also, another reason to get vista is that eventually games won't be made for XP anymore. Also, I don't have a desktop so this also provides as an entertainment laptop.

MissingNo [Battle Royale] December 1 2008 3:37 PM EST

Actually, no. As I am typing this on my laptop running Windows Vista, I can tell you that it does suck exactly as much as people say it does. Logically, if so many people think a product sucks and they each came to that conclusion of their own... it probably sucks.

Ariac December 1 2008 3:39 PM EST

Considering I've used it and had no problems with it and heard a lot of people, including one who works for dell and suggested the Asus, say it's fine I'm taking their word for it.

MissingNo [Battle Royale] December 1 2008 3:43 PM EST

Well I'm using it right now. I've been using it for over a year. And I can name even more people who hate it than you can people who like it.

smallpau1 - Go Blues [Lower My Fees] December 1 2008 3:46 PM EST

Derp(Ariac)Inverter 3:33 PM EST
"For the record sickone, Vista doesn't suck as bad as people say it does, it had some kinks in it like all other windows Operating Systems. Also, another reason to get vista is that eventually games won't be made for XP anymore. Also, I don't have a desktop so this also provides as an entertainment laptop."

Did you really just say that? You really aren't looking for a computer, laptop or not. MS stopped making Vista, eventually there will be NO updates for Vista, MS just said screw everyone who bought Vista, we're going with Windows 7. That is the reason you should buy one with XP on it. Vista will (soon) no longer be supported on ANYTHING.

Ariac December 1 2008 3:50 PM EST

Really? I didn't know that. Can you post a link or something? Considering the mojave experiment would have made me think they would keep making and supporting it.

Sickone December 1 2008 3:56 PM EST


I've (re)installed various Windows versions on 30-ish machines just this past year (don't ask, I don't really want to talk much about it), and at least 5 I can certainly remember were laptops with Vista pre-installed.
I can say without a shadow of remorse that Vista has absolutely NOTHING better than XP other than useless eyecandy, and is considerably more sluggish on just about anything you're likely to use it on.
If anything, XP will be replaced by the NEXT version of Windows, but certainly not by Vista. Vista is to XP what WindowsME was to 98SE.
It's not BAD... but it's certainly NOT BETTER either. And it runs slower for no good reason (i.e. justified by some actual improvements somewhere else).

The only two machines where I was forced to admit it's better to keep Vista on were a laptop that simply refused to load any kind of XP drivers for the touchpad (and just gave up, put Vista back on, too much trouble to replace the pad), and a render-slave that ran almost exclusively 64-bit code (and that only because I didn't feel like trying to reinstall and reconfigure the app on XP since the hardware specs were overkill on the machine anyway for the needed job, and it was all done remotely so I couldn't care less).


Yes, you don't get "native DX10 mode" on DX10-capable games on XP, but let me tell you something - you WOULDN'T be able to run those in DX10 "native" mode on any of the above gaming laptops at any acceptable framerates anyway, so who cares ?
I don't suppose you are willing to splurge the cash on a SLI solution for your gaming laptop on top of Vista just so you can play (for maybe half an hour on battery, because that's all you're going to get at that power consumption level) a DX10 game in DX10 mode with moderate detail at a moderate framerate, or are you ?

Whatever gaming machine you buy right now, next year it will run almost twice as fast at the same price, or cost barely half of what it costs now.
And the best gaming laptop money can buy now won't run any of today's games properly anyway (and next year's games even worse).
But hey, if you want to throw a lot of money out the window for something you'll look at best as "working" one year from now, be my guest.

Sickone December 1 2008 3:59 PM EST

Beaten by a lot of other Vista-haters out there, I see :)
Wow, now that was a quick bash-a-Vista if I ever saw one :P

Godpanda December 1 2008 4:16 PM EST

If you want to game, get a desktop.

Sickone December 1 2008 4:26 PM EST

Get a decent desktop AND a cheapo-laptop "just in case" / "for the road" :)

THIS (at 699$) looks surprisingly decent (for older games at least)... I wonder if the pricetag is a typo ?

Ariac December 1 2008 5:32 PM EST

desktop isn't an option, not home enough. So far it's looking like I'm going with dudemus's Dell.

Sickone December 1 2008 10:11 PM EST

The setup Henk Bres posted should theoretically be far better for gaming though (insane video card lineup), even if slightly more expensive and having a slightly worse CPU clock.

If you insist on using Vista *sigh* well that can't be helped... and since most laptops seem to come with 4 GB of RAM anyway (not much difference to 2 GB RAM to worth saving any cash there)... and since you already decided HDD space isn't that much of a problem since you want an external big drive... AT LEAST listen to the "VIDEO CARD warning" part.

Remember, just because it says "dual 8700M SLI" doesn't mean you would get in a game *nearly* as much FPS as you would expect... you probably would get a better performance from a single desktop 8700 card if trying to run the game at the same resolution and detail settings, even if in theory they sound as if they'd completely wipe the floor with the single desktop card FPS-wise.

{cb2}ShadeSlayer December 1 2008 10:47 PM EST

{cb2}ShadeSlayer December 1 2008 10:50 PM EST

Lol, here is one for you, I custom built it through HP.com
http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/cto.do#

it has a 2.53 Quad Core, 4GB RAM, 512MB NVIDIA Ge Force 9600M GT,
250GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive with HP Protect Smart Hard Drive Protection, Blu-Ray ROM with Super Multi DVD+/-R/Re Writable Double Layer... And More :)

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] December 1 2008 11:41 PM EST

"Remember, just because it says "dual 8700M SLI" doesn't mean you would get in a game *nearly* as much FPS as you would expect... you probably would get a better performance from a single desktop 8700 card if trying to run the game at the same resolution and detail settings, even if in theory they sound as if they'd completely wipe the floor with the single desktop card FPS-wise."

what exactly is this based upon, conjecture or performance tests?

smallpau1 - Go Blues [Lower My Fees] December 1 2008 11:44 PM EST

Just because you have 2 video cards, doesn't mean double the performance.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] December 1 2008 11:52 PM EST

i don't believe anyone said you could double the performance or expected that.

there is however a vast range between "doubling the performance" and "you probably would get a better performance from a single desktop 8700 card if trying to run the game at the same resolution and detail settings."

the main point though is that he is buying a laptop, not a desktop. would a laptop with dual gpu outperform one with a single gpu is the more appropriate question. benchmarks answering that question would be much more useful than conjecture was my main point.

Sickone December 2 2008 2:57 AM EST


More like inference than conjecture.

Have seen SLI setups on desktops at work and could easily compare game performance with the very same setup but just one of the two cards in, and it's nowhere near double the performance, not even if you run in some insanely high resolution with insanely detailed textures to begin with... more like, closer to +50% performance at best, if even that much under anything you could call "normal circumstances".

Have also seen relatively "newish" machines with similar specs including the "number" on the vidcard... other than the fact one is a PC and the other a laptop. Granted, not quite identical, but close enough and the differences were actually in the laptop's favor (except HDD access times, those obviously sucked on the laptop)... yes, both with bottom-of-the line 8400 GS, but point is, you wanted a straigth comparison, right ?
Bottom line, even when the HDD wasn't really working visibly so you could blame it on that, the laptop still had noticeably worse framerates on most games tried (anywhere from almost on par in some game areas, to under half the framerate in other games/areas, which was quite weird how inconsistent it performed), and on average it was obviously much worse whenever you had to load anything new from the HDD, obviously.
Oh, and before you ask... no... that was with XP Pro on both. We did have Vista on the laptop first, and games ran even slower (and a LOT worse whenever the HDD was used) compared to how they ran after I put XP on it, even when plugged into the wallsocket and at "best performance" power setting.

So all in all, if you get about two thirds of the performance on average with the same specs on a laptop (probably less if you insist on keeping Vista), and going SLI barely improves the performance by half or so, math dictates the SLI laptop version will be about on par with the desktop at best, no ?
Ok, probably slightly exagerated, but you get the idea .


But of course, if you can afford to actually buy both a SLI laptop and an almost identical desktop (other than the fact one has the expensive "mobile" versions while the other gets the cheap "desktop" versions) and run more thorough tests with the newer graphics cards and processors, be my guest, go ahead... and let me know of the results, I'm actually quite curious myself ;)

Sickone December 2 2008 3:13 AM EST

P.S. The older (or should I say simpler/smaller?) the game engine, the closer the results were... thinks like Quake 3 Arena ran almost as good on both machines most of the time. Worst differences were with Crysis - it was unplayably slow even on lowest detail settings on the laptop, and barely manageable on medium on the desktop.
Yeah, not exactly gaming machines the "test" was made on, so take it with a (big) grain of salt.

Brakke Bres [Ow man] December 2 2008 4:13 AM EST

the performance is clearly shown on 3dmark compared between 1 single
GPU and 2 GPU's in SLI or crossfire.

Or even the comparison between 1 GPU on 1 card and 2 GPU on 1 card.

like the ati 4870X2 (hefty price card though, タ440 in The Netherlands)
If you want graphics, you want the best video card for you price
range, couple that with a good dual (quad) core CPU and plenty of
RAM and you can play probably all the game in directx 10.1 on
medium to high specs at 1650x1050

Xiaz on Hiatus December 2 2008 4:33 AM EST

I've got no suggestions, but a few things you may want to consider,

- Cooling, laptop GPU's can get very hot, very fast, you don't want to fry your GPU after an extended gaming session - replacing it is a terrible hassle.
- Battery, unless your gaming from a main power supply, see what the real world battery life is and if spare batteries are readily available.
- HDD, I suggest getting a 7200 RPM - there's a noticable performance difference between this and a 5400 RPM.
- Keyboard layout, some layouts are awkward to use - unless your going for an external keyboard/mouse - try out the keyboard beforehand if possible.

Besides that, laptops are really coming up to speed with desktops, so there's no reason why gaming laptop wouldn't work. The only downside, you won't have the leisure of playing on a 24" monitor :)

Brakke Bres [Ow man] December 2 2008 4:50 AM EST

most GPU's can run at 100 degrees Celsius, the 3870 and 4870 can easily take 140 degrees Celsius. But I don't know how much the other components like those temperatures.

The spell checker is stupid it doesn't recognize celsius but it can understand Celsius. No capital letters exemption?

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] December 2 2008 6:22 AM EST

sickone, it seems you are arguing that a laptop is subpar to a desktop in gaming performance. none are arguing with that. he has stated that it has to be a laptop though, so that argument is moot.

"the main point though is that he is buying a laptop, not a desktop. would a laptop with dual gpu outperform one with a single gpu is the more appropriate question. benchmarks answering that question would be much more useful than conjecture was my main point."

with that understood, even a fifty percent increase would be welcome and from my understanding, that all depends on if the game supports sli. the 7200 rpm hard drive would also be crucial in addressing some of the issues you mentioned above with laptop performance.

Sickone December 2 2008 7:22 AM EST

"sickone, it seems you are arguing that a laptop is subpar to a desktop in gaming performance."

Merely arguing that supposedly the same component types (cores, whatever) in their "mobile" version are performing noticeably worse than their supposed equal "desktop" counterparts.
In my example, that on two otherwise (more or less / supposedly) equivalent machines, the (laptop with a) 8400M GS was noticeably worse than a (desktop with a) 8400 GS.

Sickone December 2 2008 7:31 AM EST

P.S. More clearly, that the dual 8700M GT in SLI mode from your "stock" version of your listed Dell would perform far worse than the dual HD3870 in Cross-Fire mode from Henk's custom Alienware... to the point where maybe the dual 8700M GT would simply not "cut it" for half-serious gaming at all.

Now, obviously, it would depend on what he wants to play on it.
If it's single account WOW on XP, then either of those is way overkill.
If it's Vista DX10 max detail mode Crysis, I doubt even the machine Henk listed would manage to make it playable.
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