In search for Laptop for audio/gaming

By mke · 28 replies
Jul 20, 2007
  1. hi there. i wanted to ask u guys for any advice on a laptop. i've been searching for a decent one for over a month as i need a relative powerfull one for audio/video editing, gaming and ideally dual booting with 2hds. currently mmy preferences are:
    1) atleast Core 2 Duo - T5500
    2) atleast 1GB mem (prefer 2gb at 667)
    3) 100GB (preferably 2xhds and at 7200rpm)
    4) 7600 256Mb Nvidia (prefer the new dx10 - 8600M 256/512Mb)
    5) 17" (atleast 1440x900, prefer the 1680x1050 or 1920..)

    currently the only model i've found for this is the "HP Pavilion DV9500t", but they dont sale this in the UK, seems that only in US from HP direct. Other model is a Dell Inspiron 1720/1715/1702.. and a Toshiba 205 series.

    anyone else found any other model that has these features?
    i can stretch my price range from 600 to 1000£, however i would prefer as cheap as possible.
    anyhow, hope u guys have any advice as i need to get this as soon as possible and cant seem to make up my mind on which model

  2. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Posts: 493

    good gaming laptops don't come cheap mate. HP's are about the best you'll get though.
    Do a search, there was another thread about this that ran for quite a while i believe.
  3. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    This is perfect for you IMO.
  4. munch2477

    munch2477 TS Enthusiast Posts: 104

    Yeah that looks like a good set up except for one piece. In the article on the homepage it says
    "While it is true a DX10 rig will not set you back $3,000 if you don't want it to, gamers are definitely averse to Windows Vista, currently the only operating system functional with DX10."
    You have that one set up with win xp so i dont know if you will have the dx10 option
  5. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    DX10 games are not optimized for DX10 hardware at all. Look at the performance of the DX10-patched version of CoH. All the DX10 cards perform abysmally, with the exception of the 8800GTX and Ultra. Also, Vista is too buggy for now. XP SP2 is the best choice right now IMO. I'd say get Vista after the first proper service pack releases and since you already have a DX10 card in the laptop, you wouldn't have an obsolete piece of hardware on your hands.
  6. munch2477

    munch2477 TS Enthusiast Posts: 104

    true. i was just pointing out the fact that he wanted to go along the dx10 route and i was just saying you need vista to use dx10
  7. mke

    mke TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    hello there and thanks all for your replies. am still in the lookout for the laptop. the "wakizachi" aint something i would spend money on, as first and most importantly its 15.4" and definetly i need 17" with atleast 1440x..., prefer though the 1680x1050, not 1920x...
    then again that laptop is tooooo expensive for my pocket, though looks a bit fast :)
    anyhow. in regards the DX10 i will be using xp sp2 for the next atleast 1year, as all audio applications am using are only supported on that bloody xp. and yes vista will be used on the system once all drivers and software updates are available. i just prefer the new 8 series of nvidia as they are new and obviously all new apps/games/blips/whisles , will be available on that platform in the next months/years.

    dunno if i make any sense, just am looking for that 17" laptop with 2cores and possibly 2hds/8 nvidia. price range cant go above £600/700 max at the moment as buying other stuff too.

    anyhow, thanks for ur help all, and if u have any laptop model in mind do let me know.


    btw, dx can work with xp, though not in the traditional way micro**** wanted us to work with, but good enough :)
    DX on XP :)
  8. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    We specialize in laptop repair and have been in business doing that since 1992 with shops in three states.

    We am quite convinced that there is no laptop that will be a good gaming system without failing early. If you get one for that purpose, get one with the four year warranty.

    One thing about which we ar certain: Laptops to avoid if reliability is to be a factor: Sony VAIO, ASUS, ACER, Alienware, Compaq, Toshiba, Sotec... well the list goes on.

    Among the best are the higher priced HP units with multiple fans for moving air in and out, followed by top of the line Dell and Gateway.

    If you find one that you like and you haven't spent $1800 or more, it is not good enough.
  9. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    There is no gaming laptop I know of that will meet your criteria. That is, unless you want a Dell with an 8400 series card that is DX10 compatible but crappy. Be more realistic. A good-quality gaming laptop will set you back at least 1000-1500 pounds.
  10. munch2477

    munch2477 TS Enthusiast Posts: 104

    i dont think he is looking for a top of the line laptop. I can get away with gaming on my dell inspiron 6000 from 2 years ago if i turn down settings and stuff and i bought it for 1200 new (USD). He is just looking for a decent laptop in that price range that ships to the uk. Unfortunately i havent really looked for one for you yet. But i have a long day at work so ill do a little digging.
  11. munch2477

    munch2477 TS Enthusiast Posts: 104

    I looked on this site briefly. there isnt too much in your price range (1 laptop on this page)

    But it is decent if you dont mind taking it down to a 15.4" screen. I dunno. Its hard for me to find latops that ship to the uk seeing as how i live in the us and never bother to see if a site ships to the uk. This is just the first site i googled so im sure you can find better deals
  12. Jacal

    Jacal TS Rookie Posts: 83

    Check my post about the laptop i was thinking of getting. It does meet those needs to a point. However it is an AMD based processor not Intel.
  13. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    I don't think you've read all the posts properly. Re-read posts #1 and #7. Those parts will definitely not be available in a laptop costing 700 pounds.
  14. k.jacko

    k.jacko TS Rookie Posts: 493

    why do you want a laptop???? With a 17" screen and all the good stuff to run games, its not exactly going to be portable is it? It'll weigh almost as much as a dang desktop anyway!
  15. Jacal

    Jacal TS Rookie Posts: 83

    lol yea thing weighs 8.45pounds b4 putting an extra hard drive into it XD so it not really portable lol but the guy looking for the impossible so best to get something close :p

    I think i will just sacrifice to get the Hp custom one i designed instead of getting the one in my post, much lighter but he the guy wants something to the specs he wants its gonna be as close as he gonna get.
  16. mke

    mke TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    hello all, thanks for your replies. i almost bought a laptop from ebay (but furtunately) i double checked with their forum and found out that the seller was a scam artist, and would have lost £800 for a dell xps 1710. anyhow.
    the reason i want a laptop is a wanna start giging again and hence need the best screen i can find on a laptop (hence my preference to 1680x1050 17"screens and dual hard drives as am using ableton/cubase/traktor.
    thats why the specs i want are basically that high. gaming on the go, hasnt to be tooo good, but atleast able to play e.g. gothic3/gta/ with medium to good specs, not superdupper oua. yeah would be nice to have all fx and details on but the system is mainly for music on the go, then linux/programming on the go and offcourse gaming.

    The HP DV9500t, would be my ideal laptop i think (for my price range atleast), however HP dont seem to sell that in the UK. acer also has a aspire model i think 7520, which is ok, but then again its amd, and i believe they are at the moment a tiny bit slower.

    also wanted to ask something about the dispute that currently nvidia cards series 8, need DX10 drives only. is that correct???? i though i can use them on e.g. xp with dx9. if not then acer model is out of the picture as i need the machine primarly for audio editing/performing.

    anyhow, thanks all for ur replies. still though need a freakin laptop :) i want it i want it i want it (screaming histerical :)

  17. mke

    mke TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    ps: i read an article (though for a rock laptop) where the reviewer said that the nvidia 7600 was not any good for gaming??? i have on my main desktop still a radeon 9000 and e.g. i still can play nfs carbon (at medium settings). how can it be that a 2 generations better card is said to not provide playble framerates for nfs carbon, when it should normally in comparison to my 9000radeon, blow minds and eyes away???

  18. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    You should look at other HP laptops with similar specs. Your ideal HP DV9500t is sold in Great Britain under a slightly different model number due to some warranty and parts availability issues.
    I do think that the better line of HP laptops will provide the best choice for you, but watch out for poor reliability and early screen failures of the lower priced ones.
    The main reason I like them for gamers is their extra fans for moving air in and out, and their extra cooling channels. Avoid the super thin models. Examine anything you intend to buy. Do not buy anything online that you have not thoroughly checked for cooling channels and fans.
  19. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,473   +126

    Look and learn

    Well I got to disagree, I too repair and support laptops, with Toshiba, Compaq and some ACER models. It depends on what you get today. Most of the HP/compaq are showing that they're as good as spending over $1,000 bucks but from $499 to $799 laptops are lasting as long as they are. IBM thinkpads from model 43 and now with the current owner have shown to be crap! Not all Toshiba laptop are crap, you have to do some research but so far most model are holding up. ACER has some problems with connectors breaking sooner on the MoBO but you can get those repaird.

    Right now if you got the money HP/Compaq are better than buying a DELL a lot of the newer DELL D620, D820 are just to new to tell if they're going to hold up. Prior models C series and D600/D800, D610/D810 were bad a lot of problems.

    AMD Sempron Mobile, AMD Turion and AMD X2 are much better when tied together with ATI Mxxx PCI-Express for video. Just make sure when you get these newer laptops you'll need to get 12 cell battery instead of the 6 cell. I recommend 1GB of RAM and 160GB HDD. You can get by with 80GB or 120GB. Get wireless and wired network features. DL 8.5GB DVD+-RW drive. Newer models have Solid-state flash drives bays for SD/STick/Compact/etc.. Look for VGA/DVI or even HDMI.. Need PVR features look for models that have that. Digital Coax out or Optical Dolby Digital Sound out.

    Don't buy Celeron models, why would you want something that was defective by IBM and now sold as cheaper off-shoot..
  20. mke

    mke TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    hi there dude, thanks for your quick reply. i cant stop but wonder though what u mean by a slighltly different model number??? i have checked the model on hp uk site and its not available, or any other that is similar to that model. i say i prefer that as i uses the nvidia 8 cards (8400 and 8600), hence my preference. all other details are found also on the other "ligher" hp models. if the cards were not dx9 compatible i would probably not consider it, but then again if someone tells me that i can play gothic 3 on that then ouiiiiiii. (as you can understand i love that game :)
    anyhow, its just that i dont know where to turn nvidia 7 or 8, or intel amd.
  21. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Tipstir, you have just shown us the extent of your experience with laptops. Thank you
  22. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    MKE, you can go to the site and look at the specs and configuration, as well as the date of manufacturer... particularly the BIOS and Chipset. Then you find a similar HP model in Great Britain and do the same thing at the same web site.
    Many of the HP laptops are built by country, with a great number built in the Balkans, Poland, and East Germany. Where nearly identical items might be built in Panama, or Singapore, or other sites. They are kept separate for reasons of support and compliance.
    One thing to always remember. There are only SEVEN 7 laptop manufacturers in the world. They build them under 87 different brand names. There are separate assemblers of components on top of those 7, but not many.
    You can tell a lot by the motherboard and the screen, but it is difficult to get the manufacturer to tell you which computer has which components. So try to get your hands on anything you buy.
    Some Alienware, Dell, Compaq, and Acers are made in the same facility. Dell never builds its own, as far as I know. Acer makes low end computers for Dell, Compaq, HP, and Toshiba. HP builds its own high end laptops. Lenovo builds most of its own. But the reality is that most computers are built by assemblers from stock parts.
    Get one that has a very good screen and inverter (will cost a lot more) with multiple cooling fans that move the air out efficiently. You will have one that lasts a life time. A lifetime is 7 years. Otherwise, it will last two.
    The less money you spend, the earlier you will replace the inverter or the cpu fan. The other aspect that really matters is parts availability. Laptops need more maintenance than desktops. You need to know you can get parts... sometimes strange things you have never before heard about. Thus the pretty good Toshiba is a terrible choice. Their parts supply chain is horrible, and repairs take a month. Lenovo's high quality laptops are always repaired and back on your desk within seven days. Their parts bins last 7 to 10 years, as does HP parts and repairs. But you pay more.
    But you can spend a great deal of money and still get a disappointing laptop... Sony VAIO for example.
    The enemy of "good" is "better.
  23. mke

    mke TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    hi all, almost bought an XPS laptop from ebay, but at the last minute i noticed that the seller had hijacked the account and informed by ebay not to pay the seller.
    anyhow. now am in a pickle dillema, there is one question created on my mind and that is, will a NVidia G8 series card, like the 8400 and 8600 work on windows XP? or will i be limited only to Vista and DX10. there is a project around for porting dx10 on xp, but i basically need the system to work with xp and maybe dx9? is that possible for that GPUs???
    i cant seem to find any info on that over the net. the laptop that have got my attention now are:
    a) HP Pavilion DV9500t, (T7200, 2gb, 240gb, 8600 256mb, 17-1608x1050)
    b) Acer Aspire 7520 (TL-60, 2gb, 160gb, 8600 256 mb, 17 1440x900)
    c) Dell Vostro (T7300, 2gb, 240gb, 8600 256, 17 1440x900)
    d) XPS (T7200, 2gb, 160gb, 7950gtx 512, 1920x1200)

    any recommendations or ideas much welcome, thnx
  24. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    DX10 GPUs will also work with XP, no problem. Out of all those laptops, the XPS one gives the best performance of them all. Those 7950GTXs combined with the Core 2 Duo will blow away the others, even in DX10 I reckon.
  25. mke

    mke TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    the HP and the XPS ones are the most ££££££££££ :) hehe. i know i believe the XPS rules them all aswell. however due to mostly price i hardly can afford it, even used. anyhow.
    another question is if anyone knows which one would be faster, a 256mb 7600 or the 128mb 8400??? the 8600 256mb is obviously better, but still most laptops on ebay come with the 8400 and 128mb

    also forgot, is the quadro fx1500 (looking also at the dell m90) any good on games? eg good like a 7600 or 8400/8600? or much worse?

    anyhow, thanx again
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