Good time to buy a gaming laptop?

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

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Good time to buy a gaming laptop?

Postposted on Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:39 pm

My good ol' 9600GT recently kicked the bucket and I figured it's time I replace my PC, especially with the prospect of holiday specials coming up. I'm hoping to replace it with a 'gaming' laptop. I don't have a rock solid budget yet, but I'm hoping to keep it somewhere in the $1000-$1500 range (maybe a bit higher to hit a sweet spot). So my main question is, is this a good time to splurge on one? Is there anything worth waiting for (CPU/GPU refresh, etc)?

The main use of the laptop is obviously for gaming. It'll most probably be plugged in when I'm using it so battery life isn't a huge concern, although I'd like to be able to squeeze a few hours of normal usage without being tethered down. I also want something with decent build quality.

What I'm less interested in is portability. I've been lugging around several sports bags everywhere I go for the last few years, so I don't think even the bulkiest of laptops will be a problem. That said, I'm not completely sure what size I should be looking for. I'm thinking of 15"-17"?

The other big question is about which brands I should be eyeing. If I do buy a laptop, I'll be buying it from the US and getting a relative to bring it to me (in Sri Lanka), so I REALLY don't want to have it fail on me and be forced to ship it back or anything like that. And no, buying one here really isn't an option because the prices of everything computer related are insanely jacked up :(
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Re: Good time to buy a gaming laptop?

Postposted on Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:51 pm

When your other machine is dead, it's a good time!

Several companies, including Dell and HP, have 16-17" laptops with switchable graphics cards in your price range. They use second generation Sandy Bridge processors and have decent hard drives. I have an HP I bought at Costco over the Summer for just under $1K, but the Dell was very comparable.
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Re: Good time to buy a gaming laptop?

Postposted on Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:58 pm

Midrange
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Sager 5160/Asus N53/Acer AS5750
Sager 5165/5175/Dell XPS 17/MSI 16F2

Desktop replacements
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Re: Good time to buy a gaming laptop?

Postposted on Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:01 pm

Be sure to check out the Asus G53SX http://www.asus.com/Notebooks/Gaming_Powerhouse/G53SX/. It's big and it's heavy but it's build quality and cooling are second to none that I have seen. It's priced nicely below your $1500 limit. I have the G53SW, which is the previous model in the line and it's a great laptop. It has room for two internal drives +ODD, which is somewhat rare in the 15" size. I wanted to have an SSD for booting and games and a mechanical HD for storage. Highly recommended.
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Re: Good time to buy a gaming laptop?

Postposted on Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:37 pm

I feel that it's my duty to mention this when people talk about buying a "gaming laptop." You can get a very nice gaming desktop plus a non-gaming laptop for the same price as a gaming laptop. Your gaming on the desktop will be better with a nicer brighter screen and better performance. Your portable use on the laptop will be better because it will be lighter and cooler and the battery will last longer. The only time when a gaming laptop makes sense is if you go to very short LAN parties where the 20 minutes of packing/unpacking of desktops is a large burden.

Gaming laptops look cool, but they're priced too high to make any sense at all economically.
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Re: Good time to buy a gaming laptop?

Postposted on Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:15 pm

adampk17 wrote:Be sure to check out the Asus G53SX http://www.asus.com/Notebooks/Gaming_Powerhouse/G53SX/. It's big and it's heavy but it's build quality and cooling are second to none that I have seen. It's priced nicely below your $1500 limit. I have the G53SW, which is the previous model in the line and it's a great laptop. It has room for two internal drives +ODD, which is somewhat rare in the 15" size. I wanted to have an SSD for booting and games and a mechanical HD for storage. Highly recommended.

The G53SW is still up for sale and is actually better than the G53SX. The GTX 560M they use only has 128MB of bandwidth, the GTX 460M has 192, which is important for the 1080p display resolution. Also you don't really need more than 6MB RAM.
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Re: Good time to buy a gaming laptop?

Postposted on Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:22 pm

TurtlePerson2 wrote:I feel that it's my duty to mention this when people talk about buying a "gaming laptop." You can get a very nice gaming desktop plus a non-gaming laptop for the same price as a gaming laptop. Your gaming on the desktop will be better with a nicer brighter screen and better performance. Your portable use on the laptop will be better because it will be lighter and cooler and the battery will last longer. The only time when a gaming laptop makes sense is if you go to very short LAN parties where the 20 minutes of packing/unpacking of desktops is a large burden.

Gaming laptops look cool, but they're priced too high to make any sense at all economically.

+1

Although gaming laptops are nice to have if you're a gamer, what he says is definitely true for the cost.

Really you should only want a gaming laptop if you already have a gaming desktop and need mobility.

Another alternative is to build a mini tower system, they have some not much bigger than a shoebox. It would only be as complicated as setting up a console wherever you want to go with it, but expect funny looks if you take it to Starbucks.
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Re: Good time to buy a gaming laptop?

Postposted on Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:18 pm

Thanks for the quick replies :)

@TurtlePerson2:
I realize buying a laptop means I'll have to pay a lot more for a lot less power (hence I went for a desktop last time around), but I'm not at home nearly enough now to justify spending a lot on a desktop. Right now my PC spends the whole day collecting dust until I use it for an hour or so at night. Sorry if I wasn't clear about that in the OP. I will have access to a wall socket most of the time, but not at home.

Moving on to the suggestions, I haven't had time to look at all of them yet, but what's up with the 128-bit GTX 560M on the G53SX? It's kind of annoying that they didn't mention it anywhere else. Do any other laptops use this stripped down version? And are there any reviews that show how it performs vs the 460M?
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Re: Good time to buy a gaming laptop?

Postposted on Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:59 pm

The most discouraging thing about a gaming laptop is that once it's obsolete, the whole thing is obsolete. It's not easy to replace the graphics card in most of them.
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Re: Good time to buy a gaming laptop?

Postposted on Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:06 pm

I am going to start off by saying I am a huge Lenovo fan. That said the lack of a 17 inch model is a bit disappointing. If I had to buy a new laptop today I would buy a Toshiba Qosmio. They are great laptops with decent specs. Stay away from Dell and HP as their quality has gone way downhill in the last 3 years.
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Re: Good time to buy a gaming laptop?

Postposted on Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:26 am

Anyone have any experience with MSI laptops? I noticed the Asus G7x series appears to have the full 192-bit version of the GTX560m, but MSI seems to have some better laptops at that price range (~$1500). For example the GT683DXR-423US is the only one I can find with a GTX570M below $1500...

@Chrissodey: There was a massive discount on a Qosmio at Newegg, but it predictably sold out in no time. The Qosmios also seem to be behind MSI's offerings in terms of value.
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Re: Good time to buy a gaming laptop?

Postposted on Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:23 pm

I've had great luck with my Acer Aspire 18.4" monster. It has a super-glossy screen but it makes up for it with size and resolution IMO. The Radeon 5850M has performed well for me as well, but the only heavy graphical load I tend to put on it is multiple eve-online clients, which tend to demand more GPU memory bandwidth than compute power.
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Re: Good time to buy a gaming laptop?

Postposted on Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:39 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:The most discouraging thing about a gaming laptop is that once it's obsolete, the whole thing is obsolete. It's not easy to replace the graphics card in most of them.


I am having a change of heart on the whole laptop/desktop thing. I feel like we are reaching the end of the road on PC evolution. In the past Where you could buy a 700 dollar laptop and a 700 dollar PC and have the best of both worlds, now a 1200 dollar laptop plus external keyboard and monitor gets you about the same performace as the desktop, you have a better laptop, and you will break it before it is obsolete.

HOWEVER, when your 1200 plus dollar laptop gets stollen and/or crushed beyond repair then the duel computer option looks like the smarter way to go.
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