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Suggestions for a "gaming" laptop under $999

By Kunming
Mar 24, 2013
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  1. Hiya.

    My friend is going abroad to study and will likely be away from home for​
    a period of 3-5 years. During this time, my friend of course won't have a whole​
    lot of cash to work with, but will attempt to also find work while abroad.I don't​
    know my friends budget I'm afraid, but I'm wanting to aim for something below​
    the average cost of a 13" and/or 15" Macbook Pro. I think that's like 999$. Both $​
    and £ will work for suggestions.​
    My friend does a lot of the standard office kind of work: powerpoints, document-pushing​
    and just maybe, the occasional spreadsheet. Other than that, my friend is a bit of a​
    gamer, liking to play Free To Play games like League of Legends. However, the possibility​
    exists that my friend might take up StarCraft 2 as well. On top of this, there's the usual​
    browsing of video-sharing and blog-posting websites. To top it all off, my friend also engages​
    and will engage more in image and video-editing.​
    Thus it has to be a laptop and it has to be a decent one which can do a bit of everything.​
    Since this is to attempt to beat the steep pricing of a mac, I'd like for any suggestions to stay below 999$. However if it's a very good deal, suggestions of above that are also welcome.​
    P.S. I'm just doing this to help my friend, but I'm also helping my friend with many other things related to this. . But it's a bit much, so I thought I'd perhaps be able to crowd-source some help =). My friend however hasn't requested help at all, so it's also a bit of a "surprise"​
    Thank you.​
  2. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,955   +902

    MacBooks are not for gaming generally. The cheapest MBP only has Intel graphics, which are slow, heck it will play LoL and SC2 but at low settings. I would go with the Lenovo Y580: https://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary...-category-id=AC523278A4F13F27A84F5F5622D1AC7A
    It has a GTX 660M which will play SC2 just fine. But unfortunately, most models have been sold out on Lenovos site, so there is only 1 left, and it doesnt have a 1080P screen like the others do. Plus no deals are going on now. I looked at other notebooks <$999 and they all had 1GB 650Ms, which are fine, but 1GB is pushing it nowadays.
  3. Kunming

    Kunming TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

    Hello, thank you for your reply !

    Indeed Macs aren't. The reason I mention Macs at all, is because my
    friend currently uses a Mac. And I'd like to see if I can't get my friend to stop
    that :D hahahaha, by offering something superior. I was actually looking
    at Lenovos laptops and I was pleased with what I found.

    However I thought that a Mac with that graphics card installed could play SC2
    on at least medium settings. Hm. Which other notebooks did you look at?
    Because I do have major doubts my friend will play SC2. It was just to add in
    that detail, as SC2 is sure to be more demanding than a game like LoL.
    Thus it should be something that is mainly for the aforementioned video and
    image editing etc.
  4. Kunming

    Kunming TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

  5. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,955   +902

    You might as well take the MAC haha. The 610M is very weak. It isnt much more superior to the Intel GPU, but it does have its own dedicated memory. If he can wait till the summer, Apple will update their MACs with Haswell CPUs (Intels new, more efficient and powerful CPU). Haswells focus is on the GPU, and it is rumored to be equal to a GT 650M in terms of graphical power. Also, Haswell promises much longer battery life. Finally, Apple is rumored to be making their MBP lineup all retina. So if he can wait and see and save an extra 200 for a MBP in the summer, then do it. I would really only recommend the Y580. There are others offered by Sager for example, but they dont match the power of the Y580.
  6. Kunming

    Kunming TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

    I see. I didn't really think of Haswell being around the corner.
    My friend will be leaving to study abroad around the beginning of 2014.
    Should be plenty time eh ^^. It could be it'll end up being the Mac anyway...
    I just have a thing against Macs myself ^^ haha. I agree that the Y580 is
    powerful, yet I'd be a bit concerned about the weight.
  7. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 3,469   +622

    Gaming laptops start at $2500. Anything else they tell you is a lie.

    With a 1080p screen, you're gonna need at minimum GTX 660M. To cut to the chase: good luck. :(
  8. Kunming

    Kunming TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

    2500!? Well I suppose that might work for my friend, if said
    friend can forfeit food, water and the plane ticket, plus living expenses :D
  9. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 3,469   +622

    Well, that's just how it is. :( For games, the GPU matters the most. Therefore a GTX 680M running at 1080p isn't even the best as it doesn't compare to a full desktop GTX 680. It's pretty damn hard to actually find laptops with higher than 670's - the Alienware ones come with these.

    I've seen proper gaming laptops with SLI/X'fired cards too.
  10. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,955   +902

    2500? There are plenty of great gaming pcs for 1k
  11. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 3,469   +622

    PC's, sure. But not laptops! :D
     
  12. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,955   +902

    Well yeah, they think people will use battery when gaming so they lower the core count... but as for the low clock speeds, that is pretty vital to reduce heat.
  13. junky77

    junky77 TS Rookie Posts: 19

    For the games you've mentioned, 800$-1000$ gaming laptop will be good and will run SC2 on highest settings (maybe with a low AA) and LoL on some very high settings.

    1 . You have several options, but
    2. Specifically, for/under 1000$, I'd suggest the Lenovo Y500 with dual GT 650Ms, I5 (or I7) and 1080p screen. It has good sound too.
    Kunming likes this.
  14. Razer

    Razer TS Enthusiast Posts: 131   +11

    With 800-1000$ you can have brand new 14 inch laptop with intel i5 and nvidia GT 650M, while at the range of 1000-1200$ you can get 15 inch, intel i7, GT 650M..
    unfortunately, it's not in category of 'gaming laptop' .. it's still called 'multimedia series' ..But you can still gaming with this :)
  15. junky77

    junky77 TS Rookie Posts: 19

    Why 14.0"? The Alienware m14x is really not that good as you don't really get a good screen and for 1200$ you can get much more than GT 650M. Even for 1000$ you can get a dual GT 650M SLI with the Lenovo Y500 which means in most cases a GTX 670MX+ performance.
  16. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,955   +902

    It doesnt need to be under a gaming series, it just needs a good GPU and CPU. The 650Ms in SLI will produce too much heat, and they are much better than a single 660M according to some benchmarks. Specs on paper deceive I would get the 2nd fan instead with the Y500. There is also barely any difference between 13-15 inch screens, it is basically user preference.
  17. junky77

    junky77 TS Rookie Posts: 19

    Why do you say that? People are using the GT 650M SLI and it works fine in the thermal aspect.. Benchmarks from notebookcheck show that although not cool, it is not too hot either. And I've heard they made the cooling system better
  18. Kunming

    Kunming TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

    Ah that's marvelous, that first link. Thank you. Precisely what I also wanted :).
    Now I have to ask though, IS there any point in getting an i7, knowing that many games probably
    won't take full advantage of all the cores? Is there a big bonus, such as in video-editing, for
    choosing an i7.

    The Lenovos I've seen all look pretty appealing honestly. I'm glad you guys are helping me out here =).
    Also I think Alienware laptops are out of the question, seeing as they're insanely expensive, big and perhaps
    too overkill for my friend.

    Also, is there any real difference between glossy and matte screens when it comes to office work? On your first link it's stated as a drawback, if a laptop has a glossy screen, but is it such a big deal?
  19. Kunming

    Kunming TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

    By the way, that reply is meant for "junky77" but it wouldn't post, due to
    my comment being marked as spam by Akismet. I don't know what that was
    all about...
  20. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,955   +902

    Matte vs glossy is all up to you and your work environment. Matte screens are a safer buy since they can be used anywhere, sunny or dark (the point is to prevent glare). But glossy screens offer better colors.
    As for the i7, yes it helps in video editing, and games like BF3 take advantage of 4 cores. Most new engines are beginning to adopt multi core usage. An i7 for $999 is a bargain.
  21. junky77

    junky77 TS Rookie Posts: 19

    Thanks (-:

    1. I5 will as effective as I7 for every current game in almost every graphics settings. Crysis 3 can make use of the I7 cores, but benchmarks have shown that it only really happens in very low settings where the GPU part is, probably, very small.
    I7 has benefit when rendering, but how much rendering do you do? I5 will be less hot.

    2. matte vs glossy: matte has much lower reflections. Glossy sometimes have more vivid colors and matte results in less reflections and it's easier on the eye and in the sun/sub-optimal lighting. But you should alsp know that this is not the only parameter for screen quality. The Lenovo Y500 screen is nice, but there are better 1080p screens. Anyway, it is a good one.
    Most 768p screen you find in lower end laptops or older laptops are glossy. You can just go to a store and check it yourself.

    I'd pick a matte one, but you have to think for yourself if you are going to use the laptop in bad lighting conditions, like in the sun or with several light sources and so on.
  22. Kunming

    Kunming TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

    Indeed I've read that BF3 utilizes all the cores and that's great. My friend will not be playing any
    FPS games though, I'm pretty sure of that. Do programs like PhotoShop and/or Final Cut Pro also
    use all cores? Because to me it often feels like i5 is the sweet spot for most things and that getting
    an i7 is really only for if you're really "desperate" for performance. And from the benchmarks
    I've read, i7's don't even seem to perform that much better than i5's in terms of cost/benefit.
    Or am I wrong?

    Right. Well my friend is one of those types that "likes pretty things" so I imagine
    my friend being inclined to wanting the glossy screen. However as it's a computer
    destined for studying purposes, I'm all too sure there will be plenty bad lighting situations
    abound; not least sitting outside on a sunny day. But if glossy means "more colours"
    won't that have an effect on:

    1 - How good games look?

    2 - How precisely colors are displayed during image-editing?

    And "junky77" did you have any particular screens in mind, when you said there
    are better 1080p screens? I'm just wanting all options to be clear :). You don't have to
    answer this specific question if it's too much hassle finding stuff or whatnot ^--^
  23. JC713

    JC713 TS Evangelist Posts: 6,955   +902

    If you have good eye sight, then you will notice a difference in some applications like video editing.
  24. Kunming

    Kunming TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 43

    Hmm. Well I think my friend does X_X.
    By the way, I'm really glad for all the help I've been given =).
    Just saying.
    junky77 likes this.
  25. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 3,469   +622

    Just have to be careful that the i5 laptop CPU is a quad-core. Generally, they aren't.


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