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Need advice for gaming notebook

  1. I am currently looking for a cheap gaming laptop. It would be mainly used to play WOW and Starcraft II. I don't necessary need something super compact, as long as it's easier to transport than a full desktop tower + screen, because I often go to LAN parties.

    From what I have seen, new gaming laptop aren't cheap. I recently found a used one on Ebay, so I am wondering if it's worth it or if you have any other suggestions.

    Here is the link so you can check out the specs:
    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Dell-XPS-M17...00325787?pt=Laptops_Nov05&hash=item27d069e69b.

    It seems all I would need to do is to replace the video card. There is a 8800 GTX SLI on Ebay for less than $200, so I am thinking that for less than $500 I could get a decent gaming notebook, do you think it's a good idea ? I have never installed a video card in a notebook before but I know how to install one in a desktop so I'm guessing it should not be that difficult. Any advices? Thank you!
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 3,566

    I don't think I could do that. Too much of a gamble.

    You'd also need a new battery, the screen has issues that can't be fixed, and a couple of 'should be ok' comments in there too.

    That's my two yen.
  3. cloudstrifevii

    cloudstrifevii TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yea I would probably need a new battery but is it that expensive ? I've looked on Youtube for instructions on how to install the video card and I think I could do it.

    Here is the link to the tutorial:
    .
  4. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 3,566

    I'm not so worried about installing the gpu or finding a battery. More concerned about other parts in the system and how much life they have left on them.

    Then again, it is only a $500 (plus battery) gamble. See what some others say, but I'd avoid that one personally.
  5. cloudstrifevii

    cloudstrifevii TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Alright thanks. Yea it's more of a gamble than a new laptop that's for sure, but if the other parts are in good condition it may last for a while. Do you think the processor could die soon ? What other parts could easily fail, because from the pictures it seems to be in good condition from the outside, which makes me think it has not been abused, but you never know... ? Do you have any other recommendations ? Any equivalent models for a similar price (less than $700) ?
  6. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,658   +82

    Match the laptop for this game requirements. If the game calls for 2GHz, get 2.4GHz. If it needs 8GB then get 12 or 16GB. Don't match it right on the time. Video Memory and GPU has to be able to handle game play and speed. Otherwise FPS (frames per second) will be lousy.
  7. cloudstrifevii

    cloudstrifevii TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I thought I've read somewhere that games don't really perform much better when using more than 8GB of memory, and it would be only useful for video editing, is that true ? The recommended specs for SCII : HOTS are Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4GHz, GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB and 2 GB RAM. I've seen videos of guys playing the original SC2 at Ultra on the M1730 with the GTX 8800m SLI. Do you think it's possible ?
  8. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 3,566

    Short answer: yes.
  9. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,658   +82

    8GB means less swapping to the HDD. Lower RAM means more swapping to HDD. Windows OS use the HDD as part of the Swap RAM.
  10. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,946   +900

    I wouldnt gamble on this like Don said. Is your price range just <$250?
  11. cloudstrifevii

    cloudstrifevii TS Rookie Topic Starter

     
  12. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,946   +900

    I cant seem to find any custom gaming laptops (Sager, iBuypower, etc) that offer laptops <700 that have a graphics card. They offer "gaming" machines for 700 bucks that have intel HD graphics lol.
    I recommend Lenovo: It doesnt have a 1080P screen since it is at the low end of the spectrum, but 1366x768 is fine for your price range. (I have an old Y560 with a 1366x768 screen and I am fine). For 750 bucks, you get a 650M (very high end for that price range). https://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary...-category-id=6716C35E262487E9B548B6298FE58D3B
    The only complaint I have is that the HDD is 5400RPM. If you reinstall windows on a new SSD if you chose to insert one, some hotkeys created by lenovo may stop functioning (like my PC has some weird unnecessary thing that didnt work after I reinstalled windows cleanly). The fn keys still function though, so it isnt a big deal. I say put the money into this, and then save some money for buying a caviar Black HDD (7200 rpm) for like 70 bucks, or even an SSD.
  13. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,658   +82

    Yes SAGER is good but don't have to pay out so much just do your homework on buying a good laptop. I only use ACER or ACER/GATEWAY laptops. These are easy to fix or repair if they need too be. Cost factor is low. Upgrade yes, tweaking yes. Intel or AMD yes. i3 $249 plus $20 to add additional 4GB for a total of 8GB and HDD upgrade to 1TB or SSD with notebook kit. Options are good. Deal like these don't come around too much again. I can play all online games like War Commander and Battle Pirates no issues over 50d / 10u connection.
  14. johnnydoe

    johnnydoe TS Member Posts: 30

    You can get a Precision M6400. It costs as low as about $400 used and is built like a panzer and comes with a 8800 GTX and mostly a P8400.

    You can then get a QX9300 for $300 and overclock the crap out of it using the core adjuster and using I4kfanGUI to boost up it's fan speeds. It's not loud even when the fans are going at full blast since it's such a well built workstation.
  15. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,946   +900

    ............... No. The Core 2 era is over, he needs something more modern if he has a $700 budget. Why spend 400 dollars on a 3 inch notebook form 2010 that is meant to be a workstation, it isnt made for gaming and it is just bulky.
  16. johnnydoe

    johnnydoe TS Member Posts: 30

    WTF are you talking about? 3 inch? That machine has a 17 inch screen of 1920x1200 res... that's MORE than pretty much ANYTHING gets you today.

    And it's built like an absolute tank. It's extremely cool running, overclockable, and solid to the bone.

    And, I was suggesting to get a QX9300 to it to swap it's dual core. Once you get a QX9300 for it and clock it to 4 Ghz, it's going to spank ANYTHING stock you can buy CPU speed-wise, which is EVERYTHING Starcraft needs. Starcraft doesn't need a fast GPU, it needs a fast CPU and that is EVERYTHING you can have in an OC'ed QX9300 on a Precision M6400.

    Regardless, yes, it IS an old machine.

    If he wants something new, then he may think about this though it's bit of a crapshoot...

    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1733097

    IMHO though, he should just save up and get something real like this:

    http://outlet.us.dell.com/ARBOnline...arch.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=dfh&cs=22&puid=65b8e0a2
  17. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,946   +900

    I dont think he wants a workstation that is built like a tank for gaming. And an i3 will kill an OCed Core 2
  18. cloudstrifevii

    cloudstrifevii TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Johnnydoe: What would be the advantage of getting a used Precision M6400 ? Aren't they portable workstations ? I am looking for a gaming laptop. Not sure it would be better than the 8800m GTX SLI with the 128GB SSD for gaming ?
    UNKNOWN9122 : Indeed I don't want a workstation.
  19. johnnydoe

    johnnydoe TS Member Posts: 30

    There's no way EVEN an i7 to keep up with a heavily OC'ed QX9300. QX9300 is a QUAD, not a dual.

    A Q9650 at 4 Ghz would blow a 2.5 Ghz Ivy chip out of the water.

    Yes, you don't need a workstation panzer for gaming. But that's what I use mine for. :)

    Yes. It's extremely well built. You WON'T find it's quality on ANY gaming notebook pretty much...

    http://dmach.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/IMG_3372.jpg

    Temps will be unmatched. Build quality will be unmatched neither it's capability will be unmatched. You can overclock it back to hell and forth and it still won't skip a single beat. The Quadro on it is slightly faster than the desktop equivalent of 8800 GTX... and when you overclock it to the max, it'll perform as good as a 260M.

    SSD doesn't make difference for gaming. Running programs won't be affected by drive speed. 7200 RPM drive will do just fine.

    It's a portable workstation, but the capabilities it has are amazing. With a QX9300 and that notebook NOTHING can stop you when it comes to the CPU speed. Even with single FX2700, you can EASILY reach SLi/CF speeds of those wimpy 2 Ghz 2 meg cached old *** C2D Merom chips once you start overclocking.
  20. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,946   +900

    Are you seriously saying an i7 will lose to a Core 2 Quad? An i7 will demolish, annihilate, decimate, and eat the Core 2 Quad for dinner. The i7 has an integrated memory controller, has quad channel memory support, etc. You cant judge a book by its cover! (3 GHz Core 2 Quad, OCed to 4 GHz means nothing!). Even if you did look at that, the i7 OCed to 4 GHz would further decimate it. I cant find a benchmark for you because the CPU is so outdated. Heck, it has 12MB, but who cares! That means nothing when it comes to gaming.
    I am not trying to be harsh here, I am just stating the plain old facts!
  21. cloudstrifevii

    cloudstrifevii TS Rookie Topic Starter

    On Ebay the used Precision M6400 are $449.99 and they have a Core 2 Duo 2.53GHz and a Quadro FX 2700M. That means I'd have to buy a QX9300 for $235, and I would still have the FX 2700M GPU which, if I understand correctly from reading the forums, is equivalent to the 9700M GTS which can run SC2 at low / medium only. It seems to me that for $700 I can have something that would perform more in games, no ?
  22. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 4,367   +125

    A QX9300 stock is a fair comparison to something like an i3-3220, though I believe SC2 is still only optimized for two cores. Anyway I actually think that the QX9300 overclocked would do better than the Merom processor at SC2.
    Best suggestion is to just use a desktop though.
  23. johnnydoe

    johnnydoe TS Member Posts: 30

    Yes, but nothing $700 will get you the quality and the capabilities of the Precision M6400.

    Also, keep in mind that the FX2700 is slightly FASTER than a 9700M in reality. It performs a little above it from the better optimized drivers.

    And it overclocks like a ***** on crack. You can easily take it to 9800M speeds and so on.

    None of that **** matters as long as the game scales very well over 4 cores. It's all about the core speed. It's ALWAYS been. A 4 Ghz C2Q WILL TRUMP a 2.5 Ghz i7 Ivy.

    And you can NOT overclock an i7 unless you shell out thousands of bucks on an extreme notebook...

    http://anandtech.com/bench/Product/48?vs=289
  24. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,946   +900

    Who cares, and no it is not all about core speed! An i7 Stock will easily kill a Core 2 Quad which is ancient. I aint gonna tell you much more. Do your research and then talk. I aint trying to start a flame war here, I am just stating the cold hard facts.

    Edit, here's your proof: http://lifehacker.com/5796846/why-c...r-much-when-comparing-two-computer-processors
  25. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,946   +900

    Actually I saw a benchmark, the Core 2 Quads and Duos are a bottleneck in games like BF3 and such, they didnt mention starcraft, but it shows that new processors will kill the bottleneck. Plus If he is putting up to $700 (tight budget), he might as well future proof it as much as possible.


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