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Thread: New laptop buying advice

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    Rift Disciple Butr0sButr0s's Avatar
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    Default New laptop buying advice

    Hey guys/gals,
    I'm in the lucky situation of being able to buy a new laptop. Its going to be my primary machine for playing rift and there are currently two options - buy now or wait and buy closer to release. Travel and work limits me to a 14 or 15'', so if I buy now I'll configure an Envy 14 (ATI 5650 video card), and if I wait I'm not sure I'll end up getting. Budget is $1500 200.

    It's rare for me to have problems making up my mind on electronics purchases but this one is tough. If I buy now I'll be playing starcraft 2 next month, be able to run LoTRO at a respectable framerate, and have a toy to play with until beta. The downside is I'm not sure how well the 5650 will handle Rift (any opinions would be helpful) and like always, there will probably be something better down the road for cheaper.

    Thoughts would be appreciated!
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  2. #2
    Ascendant Elladar's Avatar
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    My little advice: check out this site. No need to buy the product, however you can check out deals and other thingies. Last time when I bought my pc, there was 500 off during week-end... And I believe ATI 5650 video card should be more than enough to play Rift, however on the other hand, I am not a specialist with ATI cards. Have fun with starcraft 2. I am still not sure if I should buy this one, or wait untill they release "Zerg" part.
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  3. #3
    Ascendant Anasazi's Avatar
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    Well I would do a tower but that seems not to be an option for you. But if your forced to do a laptop I would wait since the game is a year away and the technology a year from now or even 6 months from now will be much cheaper. So you could plan to buy what your thinking now and save cash or get the latest and greatest stuff nearer to game time. I would wait unless the system you have now is really effecting your game play.

  4. #4
    Prophet of Telara Fozzik's Avatar
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    If Rift is something you're going to play for a long time, waiting is definitely the best idea. The problem with that though is that it might not turn out to be a game you like. It's just hard to say until you have a chance to play it.

    If you've made up your mind that Rift is a game you'll definitely play, then waiting is absolutely the best advice. Laptops for gaming are tough, especially when you're also looking for portability at the same time, and the tech in laptops (especially GPUs) lags quite a bit behind desktops (meaning the issues from buying too soon are just intensified). I'm probably not telling you anything you don't know.

    I think that GPU will probably handle the game, but there are a lot of other factors that will affect how well the game plays on your new laptop, and really no good way to predict some of them ahead of time.

    Some examples that you can control -
    Hard drive - definitely get a 7200 RPM if possible, SSD is even better (although it will be tough to get a decent sized one in your price range, I would think). A lot of really high-end laptops are brought to their knees by slow mass storage...hard drives lag badly behind other components in general, and manufacturers will try to slip slower drives in to save a little money.

    CPU - I'd probably say that more clock speed is still preferable over more cores. Even though this game is "new", it's been in development for quite a while and uses a graphics engine that's been around a while. 2 cores will probably get utilized pretty well, 4 cores maybe... any more and you're probably just wasting money if Rift is the primary thing you're going to do. If you're going to heavily multitask or use the laptop for things like encoding or heavily threaded apps...it's a different story.

    Get the 64-bit OS and as much RAM as they offer. the more the better. This ties into the hard drive thing... hopefully the game is programmed to effectively use RAM, so the more you have, the less your hard drive will be a bottleneck.

    Some things you can't control -
    The game may be programmed in a way that works much better on Nvidia cards, which will be a real shame if you buy a laptop now with an ATI GPU and only find out later that it sucks for Rift. Waiting until more information is available on that type of subject will make you a lot happier in the long run.

    Network code / ping - sadly, some things just depend on how Rift is and where the servers are located. until you've had a chance to play, you can't know whether network lag is going to be an issue. Solid gaming computers can seem to perform lousy in games that they would otherwise have no problem handling simply because of network lag.

    Overall programming / optimization of the game - there's really no way we can predict at this point how well the game is going to run. It's only alpha right now, and a lot will change... the devs have given us general opinions and comments on how the game runs, but your mileage will most likely vary.

    The other really big thing with new laptops for gaming is bloatware and adware that's installed when it arrives. Make sure to uninstall EVERYTHING you possibly can... it can rob about 20% or more of the machine's performance right out of the box. Again, probably not anything you didn't already know.
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  5. #5
    Rift Disciple Butr0sButr0s's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice - If I buy the envy when its released tomorrow I'll be getting the I5 540, 6g of ram, 7200 rpm hard drive (or 120g solid state depending on price), and 1600x1200 screen. I still game on my old laptop with a geforce 9500m and while its old I still get 40-60fps in LoTRO on high settings and the 5650 crushes that card.

    The main problem is I really need something portable - If I could get a desktop or even a 17'' laptop that functions as a desktop replacement I'd be in much better shape.

    I actually bought a MSI 640 that has an ATI5850 video card in a 15'' body, but that thing sounded like a jet approaching takeoff speed whenever I gamed on it, and temps regularly went over 90 degrees.
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    Ascendant Anasazi's Avatar
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    I read over the specs of the one you want to buy. I would save for the I7 version with Windows 7 64 bit. It will not become obsolete as quickly.

  7. #7
    Plane Walker Evereghalo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butr0sButr0s View Post
    Hey guys/gals,
    I'm in the lucky situation of being able to buy a new laptop. Its going to be my primary machine for playing rift and there are currently two options - buy now or wait and buy closer to release. Travel and work limits me to a 14 or 15'', so if I buy now I'll configure an Envy 14 (ATI 5650 video card), and if I wait I'm not sure I'll end up getting. Budget is $1500 200.

    It's rare for me to have problems making up my mind on electronics purchases but this one is tough. If I buy now I'll be playing starcraft 2 next month, be able to run LoTRO at a respectable framerate, and have a toy to play with until beta. The downside is I'm not sure how well the 5650 will handle Rift (any opinions would be helpful) and like always, there will probably be something better down the road for cheaper.

    Thoughts would be appreciated!
    Dell's XPS line has served me fine.

  8. #8
    Ascendant rabb1t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butr0sButr0s View Post
    and 1600x1200 screen
    Is that right? Unless they aren't doing 16:9 aspect in your country I'd highly recommend against an older aspect ratio.

    As already mentioned, the second you buy a laptop it's features are ticking away. The ATi card in question is lower-end / mid-range, but should be ok for a few years. But yes, if you wait longer you'll be getting more power. As has been stated, if Rift is all you really care about, absolutely wait until it's gone gold at the very least, and I'd even recommend waiting until you've gotten at least 2 /played days at something like a lan center to be sure you think you will really stick with it before dumping money into a system specifically for it.

    On the topic of work though, is this something you are buying for work through work? I've heard horror stories about people who were gaming on work systems and had them taken away.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anasazi View Post
    I read over the specs of the one you want to buy. I would save for the I7 version with Windows 7 64 bit. It will not become obsolete as quickly.
    While I'd agree to look for Win 7 I'd recommend upping graphics before worrying about a Core i7 over something like a Core i3 or i5. Any should have plenty of power for the GPU.
    Last edited by rabb1t; 07-03-2010 at 06:33 PM.
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  9. #9
    Rift Disciple Butr0sButr0s's Avatar
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    Looks like I'm going to necro my own thread.

    I ended up holding out and I'm glad I did. The new Asus ROG laptops should be up this week for pre-order and they come with some really nice specs, the best of which is the currently unreleased Nvidia 460M video card with 1.5g of memory on it.

    Part of me would like to wait even longer to get a system with one of the upcoming ATI cards, but work is breathing down my neck to pick something out so I can get all my licensed software installed on it.
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  10. #10
    Ascendant rabb1t's Avatar
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    If you want cheap/solid/portable nothing really beats the M11x. (Go with the base 1k model and upgrade from there.) It's not the most powerful thing on the planet, but the advantage is that you can disable the Nvidia chip and it will run like a netbook, lasting around 5ish hours before needing a charge. As a 'desktop replacement' though it's likely not so good what with the smaller size, smaller screen, and lack of a built in optical drive. However, for something on the road where you may or may not always have easy access to power it might be worth considering, as you could leave a 1920x1080 monitor and drive sitting on your desk at home or borrow one if you are traveling to other offices. (Plus, it's around $1200 total with tax and shipping and all. I think a larger 15-16" may hit closer to over your $1500 range after tax and shipping and all.)
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  11. #11
    Telaran
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    Have an Alienware m11x R2 i use occasionally. Works pretty well for gaming tho its an 11" screen. Runs most games at Medium settings, very small and lightweight so would be good for traveling. There is an issue with the Nvidia Optimus in the R2 versions. It comes with an integrated and a separate GPU for gaming and you may need to find a work around through the Nvidia control panel to make sure your games boot up with the correct card. Trying to get up to date drivers from dell for laptops is the worst **** ive ever tryed, they are always behind by months and what sucks is when Nvidia releases an update for it, it doesnt work most of the time.

  12. #12
    Rift Disciple Locklain's Avatar
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    I would wait as well but if you need something right now I can give you a suggestion. I am using an ASUS G73 (~$1,700) and it is a brute of a computer. It is more of a desktop replacement than a laptop though since the ATI card is hot enough to cook eggs on and sucks battery power faster than a fat kid with a slurpy.
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  13. #13
    Rift Disciple Butr0sButr0s's Avatar
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    I'm getting the G53, the 15'' version that comes out next month - and the specs should be slightly better then the G73 (the g73 is also getting a refresh with the new nvidia cards). Should be good to go for a while.
    Last edited by Butr0sButr0s; 08-31-2010 at 06:35 PM.
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  14. #14
    Ascendant rabb1t's Avatar
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    Be careful to balance what you need. As example, that Asus linked above is 8 pounds! Add on other travel items, even if you are just talking about the plug, mouse, maybe another item or two, a soda and snack, and you quickly have a very very heavy bag. Also, regular desktops drain power fairly quickly, so sustained play for hours and hours isn't often possible. I haven't read a lot of reviews lately, but I think it's in the 3-4 hour range of heavy gaming. It likely won't be an issue, because if you can get a WiFi signal you more than likely are somewhere with power, but they are things to remember when considering what kind of day you are going to have.

    I may have to keep an eye on the Asus line. Looking around at NewEgg they have very similar features as the M11x, but are a touch cheaper and have a 14" vs. 12" screen. Though they do lose the Optimus and are about 50% heavier, they do have built in DVD.
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