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Need help picking a basic gaming laptop

By r3claimer
Dec 21, 2009
  1. I've been needing a new computer for years, and I finally have a little extra cash now to buy one. I'm looking to buy a decent laptop that will let me play recent games with okay graphics. The most I can really pay is about $1,300, and that's pushing it a little bit. I've found one laptop that seems to be pretty good, and I think it is a good reference point for what I am looking for. Tell me what you think, or suggest alternatives please.

    Gateway P-7805u FX Edition

    Also, if you have other laptops to suggest, I'd prefer a 17 inch screen, but that's not a necessity if it means I can get more performance at a lower price on a smaller laptop. Thanks in Advance.
     
  2. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,393   +107

    That model limits you to the RAM base of 4GB, if you want to add more you'll be stuck. So either check out below? Second one is over $99 bucks then you wanted to spend but it's on sale now because of the holidays:

    1. Sager Notebook for gaming more expensive but these are more soild laptops they can go beyond the limit of 4GB or RAM in some models and sport 3 SATA HDDs for 1.5TB.. http://www.sagernotebook.com/default.php

    2. Alienware Notebook for gaming around $1,399 .. http://www.alienware.com/microsite/holiday/holiday.aspx?tab=laptops
     
  3. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526

    I really like my HP laptop - the screen on these is really really nice. I have the prior gen one (HDX16t), but the new one looks even better

    HP Pavilion dv8t Quad Edition series:
    http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/s.../psg/notebooks/High_performance/dv8tqe_series

    This comes with the new Core i7 processor, blue ray, 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 230M (not super top of the line, but should work great for what you need), ect. . currently listed at $1299, but if you keep your eye out and do google searches for "hp coupon code" they come out with a ~$200 off coupon every couple weeks, so you should be able to get this for close to $1100. Just FYI, the only thing to be aware of is that on this laptop and most other gaming quality laptops you are going to not get super great battery life - i would estimate a little over 2 hours for this one on high performance settings, less if you are actively gaming, if you decrease the settings you can probably eek out close to 4. But for gaming you are going to be plugged in most of the time anyway.

    If you want a slightly smaller machine with less cost you can check out the dv7t series as well - starting around $1050 for very similar performance.

    http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/s.../psg/notebooks/High_performance/dv7tqe_series
     
  4. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,393   +107

    HP are okay too.. If you want more battery life you need to get 12-cell battery which is very heavy I use that on my HP laptop. I get 4 hours on high power mode, meaning I run the CPU at max power.
     
  5. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526

    The new hp dv8t + dv7t come with an 8 cell battery (standard on prior versions was 6 cell, with 12 cell option). Currently it doesn't look like there is a 12 cell option (you can get an extra 8 cell though if you want). So it should be somewhere in between battery life - but it also doesn't add extra weight or stick out.
     
  6. r3claimer

    r3claimer TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 74

    Thanks for the advice. However, all of your options require me to go beyond the previously stated price limit. Also, according to www.notebookcheck.net , the graphics cards that come standard in these models are sub par, and upgrading them to the better models would require an additional couple hundred dollars. I know people aren't fans of Gatway, however, on Newegg, I recently found a newer version of the model I posted. Check it out here.. I honestly don't want the core i7, or other higher end processors because those are going to vastly drain the battery. I realize i'm not going to get much battery anyway, but this laptops pretty well rated in all areas. Great Graphics card, more than sufficient CPU, the RAM is still limited to 4GB, but on WIndows 7, I don't see any reason why I'd need anymore than that, and a more than needed 500GB hard drive.

    In order to get the Alienware laptop anywhere near that, I'll need to dish out around $1600, maybe subtract $100 if you take into account its nicer processor, but overall, I can't justify that major price jump.

    Is this a bad deal or something, because honestly, this seems like a pretty good deal to me. But you guys do know more than me, but I really need you to list stuff that can compete with this things hardware specs that is within my price range.(If I buy this thing on amazon[I'll have to go find $50 more dollars] I can get a 3 year warranty with the laptop for about $1350.)

    Sorry I seem opposed to your ideas, but this is a ton of money for me, and I just want to make sure I don't end up with a lesser computer than I could have had.
     
  7. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,393   +107

    I have both 6 cell and 12 cell for my HP. Each model is going to have different cell limits for it. 12 cell is huge and heavy but gives you a tilt up off the rear.
     
  8. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,393   +107

    32-bit - 2GB
    64-bit - 4GB
    128-bit - 8GB Windows 9 (not here yet)

    Gateway Gamer laptop is Acer brand still if you want it then get it. Nothing wrong with Acer. Those I had mention are more featured and well faster. You don't here about them too much as they're custom build systems.
     
  9. r3claimer

    r3claimer TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 74

    Okay, well thanks for you help. I very much appreciate it. I'll probably go with the Gateway, mostly just because it fits right into my price range. I realize that a laptop bought for gaming doesn't have the lifespan a desktop has, so I don't want to chuck too much money into this one.
     
  10. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526

    Depends on what you deam "sub par". If you want to max out game settings a laptop is not the way to go anyway - for example the Geforce 260m in the laptop you are looking at is actuall a rebranded Geforce 9800 series chip which is really a rebranded 8800 series chip and isn't at all related to the desktop 260gtx. So by that vain you are getting a "sub par" chipset as well (if you are lucky you would get 1/2 the performance of the 260gtx). I am not disagreeing that it is one of the better chips you can get in a laptop, just that none compare to desktop GPUs.

    Also the video card in this case is going to drain your battery faster then the processor when playing games anyway. The 260m is very power hungry and will hurt your battery life far more then a core i7.
     
  11. r3claimer

    r3claimer TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 74

    That's something interesting to keep in mind. I'm obviously going to have to make some concessions. However, I find that most people like ASUS computers, and I've found an ASUS computer that is nearly identical to the P-7908u, the Asus G72GX-RBBX05. Would I be better off going with the Asus computer?
     
  12. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526

    That is a fine computer as well and pretty popular - you are going to be lucky to get more then ~1hour battery life on that though (listed at 1 hour 23 min on best buys website - which is probably generous). The screen res isn't as good as the HPs though so you are not getting 1080p resolution, and the processor is only dual core, and only a 5400 rpm hard drive. If you can get a 7200 rpm drive i have definitly noticed a big difference there with responsiveness loading programs and boot times. You do get a better video card though.
     
  13. r3claimer

    r3claimer TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 74

    The nice resolution isn't my main concern, I want performance in my games, that's the most important thing to me. I do like both of the HP systems, I just wish they had better Graphics cards. I guess what I'd like to find out is how much better is the GTX 260M than the GT 230M? If the performance boost is minute at best, then I'd rather go with the HP, because, well, there are enough advantages to support the reduced Graphics. (In theory anyway).

    Edit: So I checked the performance differences of the cards and honestly, the 230M is fine for gaming if you push settings to low end, and a few recent games are playable at medium settings. But honestly, any games released after now are probably going to have problems playing the games. And that's my main concern, I want to be able to tone down settings for future games and still get great performance. So for this, I believe I shall need the GTX 260M (or the 9800M GTS, something in the range of those cards). Maybe I should just hold out and see if a computer matching my needs comes out?
     
  14. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526

    Up to you. Obviously the longer you can wait the better. All of these mobile GPUs we have been discussing are getting along in age, and with Nvidia about to release their next gen graphics cards soon so someone is going to have to update their mobile selection soon. My guess is that you will see a DirectX 11 supported higher end video card (from ATI first) in a laptop by mid next year (don't take my word on it though).

    But if you can't wait and FPS is your main benchmark criteria then i would go with one of the machines with the GTX 260M.
     
  15. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526

  16. r3claimer

    r3claimer TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 74

    Sounds like a good plan. I'll keep my eye out for new hardware as it comes out. Again, thank you for all your help.
     
  17. coldfire1984

    coldfire1984 TS Rookie

    Hi,
    you should make a list of games and minimal level of details you are ready to play those games. In gaming laptop,when playing games, batteries are going too fast. You should check if you going to watch bluray discs or not (you can save about 150$ with not including Bluray drive). Something to really think about is warranty. 1 year or more.I think its very important,especially if longer warranties are included with some laptops or cheap options.
    I always bought Dell laptops, but I think that ,nowadays, there are no "bad" quality laptops. Asus, Acer and similar companies are the companies who built for Dell ,HP and company,so they have experiance,quality and good service.Probably price too.
    Nice dual-core CPU will do for most of the things,so no, you don't need i7.
    4Gb is more than enough,actually I rarely go more than 2Gb on my XPS.
    500Gb of HD is also more than enough for laptop.Even 250gb will do.remember,you can always buy external one!
    after,there is screen resolution (I like as higher as possible), LCD or LED, webcam integrated or not?
    So,the only important thing will be graphic card.get the best you can,and it you will be happy.
     
  18. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    no such thing as a BASIC gaming laptop. You either have a gaming laptop, or you don't.
    Most laptops are designed for productivity. If you plan on playing games, you're better off with a desktop - and it's a lot less expensive.
     
  19. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526

    In a sense i agree, but i also disagree in that just as with desktops there are a range of video card options, the same holds true with Laptops. I would consider a basic gaming laptop to be something that has a discrete video card that can play most games at mid-high graphics settings at a decent resolution. I would say that I have a basic gaming capable laptop. A high end gaming laptop would play most games at very high graphics settings at a higher resolution. You can get these, but of course they still won't be as powerful as a desktop and are much more expensive.
     
  20. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    even so, those laptops with removable cards are expensive. It would be cheaper to go with a desktop.
     
  21. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526

    If gaming performance is the only factor then of course. I however have to take my computer with me to photoshoots/weddings. I also want to be able to play games :) I am not going to be lugging my desktop system around with me to do so. Maybe r3claimer has similar needs :)
     
  22. zeppisan

    zeppisan TS Rookie

    I've just bought an Acer Aspire 5738ZG, with Core 2 Duo 2Ghz, 4Gb Ram 15.6" LCD screen and ATI Radeon HD 4570. I can play any game on it, even World of Warcraft even WotLK.
     
  23. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526

    zeppisan - WoW is not the most hardware challenging game out there right now. What settings are you running on? And have you tried something like Crysis on very high graphics settings? Just curious what the boundaries are for your card.
     
  24. coldfire1984

    coldfire1984 TS Rookie

    Choose the screen size first. Then your budget,then what graphic card you want or better what games you play, and what else will this notebook will be for.
    WoW is not demanding video game.Crysis is way too demanding for what it offers.
    Anyway, pick your games and then think about the resolutions you are ready too play this games at some acceptable framerate (not same need for FPS and strategies).
    If you are on tight budget, check for refurbished or second hand. Some people simply don't know what to do with their money,so always buy the latest and sell for small money their "old" machine(6-12 months).
     
  25. zeppisan

    zeppisan TS Rookie

    I think you have misunderstood. I was mentioning a laptop which i found good for gaming in reply to the original question. My problems is with my PC for which i made another separate thread
     
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