Which Laptop to buy???

Laptops, PDAs, Cell Phones, and all other tech that you carry with you.

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Which Laptop to buy???

Postposted on Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:11 am

I have around $750 to spend on a laptop. I have the following two in mind:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834220733&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&AID=10446076&PID=4011352&SID=skim3031X597717X4bc8acbb1d18c6780cfa0f28bde464ed

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834215005&nm_mc=AFC-C8Junction&cm_mmc=AFC-C8Junction-_-na-_-na-_-na&AID=10446076&PID=4011352&SID=skim3031X597717X51a85f87704f1dc88416bd4309c59b46

I do play Dragon Age, The Witcher, Batman AA and the occasional BFBC2 friday night fragfest. I want a 17" display and can't decide to go with the new technology or the old. What are your thoughts?

Thanks
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Re: Which Laptop to buy???

Postposted on Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:01 pm

Even with the extra core, I think you'll find the AMD chip to be slower. Mobile Phenoms do not have any L3 cache and performance-per-clock, AMD's current offerings are slightly behind the Core 2 CPUs, so a faster Core 2 is most likely going to be faster MOST of the time, unless you have something that uses that 3rd core really heavily.

Graphics-wise, I think the DX10 part will be faster.

The Radeon 6650 has 480 shaders and a 128-bit DDR3 memory bus. You're most likely (though I'm not sure) looking at 8 ROPs, which does have a pretty big impact on framerate. You're looking at something marginally faster than a Radeon 4650 or 4670 (desktop) with DX11 features, which won't be useful when you're talking about something that slow.

The Geforce appears to be an 8800GT in terms of shader count, memory bandwidth, clock speed...everything. I think this is probably the faster choice for the near term. Well, probably always the faster choice until DX10 rendering paths go away entirely.

So faster CPU, faster GPU, more memory...I'd probably go with the G72 if I had to buy one of those two machines. Neither are going to be gaming monsters, even at 1600x900, but the G72 should be a better experience despite being older.
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Re: Which Laptop to buy???

Postposted on Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:26 pm

Both have glossy screens. If that matters to you, continue looking.

Also keep in mind that 17" DTRs are bulky and heavy. If this needs to do double duty as a school or portable office machine, consider downgrading to a 15" DTR, and then spending the difference on an external monitor for use at your main desk.
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Re: Which Laptop to buy???

Postposted on Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:12 pm

Can you go check them out in person somewhere? Would probably be a good idea to make sure there isn't anything about either one of them that you couldn't stand during real-world use (lousy trackpad/screen/build quality, for instance). If not, I haven't had any experience with Acer laptops, but all the Asus ones I've used had good screens and were solidly built.
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Re: Which Laptop to buy???

Postposted on Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:03 pm

If you can be patient and save a bit more, I'll bet you could get a nice Sandy Bridge laptop that would do what you want for $900 in a month or two.
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Re: Which Laptop to buy???

Postposted on Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:34 pm

Imho Acer laptops lack in quality quite a bit. I'm not a huge fan of Asus laptops either but I'd choose that over an Acer any day.
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Re: Which Laptop to buy???

Postposted on Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:06 am

my acer timelineX 3820TG (core i5 480m, HD6550M) costed me $720 CDN, and can easily handle mass effect 2 and BC2. played the DA2 demo with the DX9 shader path easily as well.

the big thing here is the display resolution. at $750, it's actually better to go with the rather common 1366x768 than anything higher, since it allows for weaker GPUs to play games fluently.
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Re: Which Laptop to buy???

Postposted on Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:30 pm

moriz wrote:my acer timelineX 3820TG (core i5 480m, HD6550M) costed me $720 CDN, and can easily handle mass effect 2 and BC2. played the DA2 demo with the DX9 shader path easily as well.

the big thing here is the display resolution. at $750, it's actually better to go with the rather common 1366x768 than anything higher, since it allows for weaker GPUs to play games fluently.


Moriz,

Have you been pretty happy with your laptop as far as playing games? Are you able to play BC2 and Mass Effect 2 on high at 1366x768? I have been trying to find a laptop at around $750 that has a good combination of mobility and gaming prowess. I have been looking at http://www.amazon.com/Acer-TimelineX-AS ... 491&sr=8-1

It is the 14-inch acer timelinex with Core i5 and HD6550M, Almost identical to yours.
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Re: Which Laptop to buy???

Postposted on Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:16 pm

ME2 at high runs perfectly fine. BC2 runs with a mixture of high and medium shadows. in both cases, framerates are between 30 to 60. easily playable.
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Re: Which Laptop to buy???

Postposted on Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:34 pm

Ok sounds good I think I will have to go ahead and get one!! I typically play games like SC2, BC2, and Bioshock 2 at the moment. It sounds like it will play all of those just fine. Thanks
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Re: Which Laptop to buy???

Postposted on Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:41 pm

moriz wrote:the big thing here is the display resolution. at $750, it's actually better to go with the rather common 1366x768 than anything higher, since it allows for weaker GPUs to play games fluently.

Strongly disagree. Most games look fine with the panel doing the scalling (ie the game renders 1366x768 and the drivers scale that up to 1440x900 or whatever the panel native res is). You'll kick yourself for not having the higher resolution for all other tasks, or for games like an RTS where the extra resolution is very helpful without a huge performance penalty.
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Re: Which Laptop to buy???

Postposted on Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:55 pm

The first link has a few things going for it:
1. Intel CPU
2. Nvidia GPU
3. It's made by ASUS

Yeah that's generalized but the hardware itself IS better in every way between the two if gaming is the primary focus. The only negative is that it's a refurb, and I'm not familiar with neweggs refurbs.
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Re: Which Laptop to buy???

Postposted on Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:09 pm

Nation wrote:Have you been pretty happy with your laptop as far as playing games? Are you able to play BC2 and Mass Effect 2 on high at 1366x768? I have been trying to find a laptop at around $750 that has a good combination of mobility and gaming prowess. I have been looking at http://www.amazon.com/Acer-TimelineX-AS ... 491&sr=8-1

It is the 14-inch acer timelinex with Core i5 and HD6550M, Almost identical to yours.


I have the same laptop and I have to say, I've not found too many games that I could not get to run well at the 1366 X 768 native res. What is even better about the newer 3820TG models is that the cooling system for a 13.3" is pretty fantastic (not sure about the cooling system for the 14" version). I can overclock the GPU to 700mhz (100mhz increase) and the mem to 1000mzh (200mhz increase) and things seem to be perfectly stable. (Maybe I could even go higher, haven't tried). This gets me 9000+ in 3Dmark06 (7700-7800 score on stock clocks). Core temps with the 100mhz overclock only seem to increase a couple of degrees over stock (maxing out at about 78 deg C in 3Dmark06 benchmark).

If you want a portable gaming laptop (weighs only 4 Ibs - a couple of oz lighter than an Asus U335j), then for the money - and maybe overall, the 3820tg with the core i5-480 and HD 6550 is hard to beat.

The largest negatives are:

1. Display. the LG philips panel does the job. It is evenly backlit and fairly bright, but the contrast is mediocre at best. A high contrast panel would really be a great upgrade for gaming, media.

2. Expansion ports. There are few. You get 3 USB 2.0 and an SD card slot. No eSATA, no expresscard port. You do get VGA and HDMI, however. I can see why they couldn't put in an expresscard port as they require a fair amount of space and the cooling system for the CPU/GPU takes up half of the laptop (price you pay for gaming ability in such a small form factor). But they could have easily added an eSATA or even one of those USB/eSATA combo ports instead of one of the USB 2.0 ports... Oh well.
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