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Suggestions for a "gaming" laptop under $999

By Kunming · 44 replies
Mar 24, 2013
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  1. junky77

    junky77 TS Rookie

    So what games will she be playing?

    About the Photoshop and Final Cut pro:
    a. Isn't Final Cut is for Apple OSs? Is that what she works with?
    b. Video editing software can benefit a lot from a good GPU, but it depends on the software. Premiere Pro, for example, can make a good use when applying effects/filters.
    c. I5 vs I7 - only when rendering it can be beneficial to have an I7, but really, unless you are some kind of rendering baron that spending time rendering significant time of your day, I don't see a reason to spend more money on it. Better invest in things like SSD, or flowers.

    About the screen - First, it doesn't really matter for games as long as the screen is good enough like the Y500 one. Secondly, if she needs a really good screen in terms of colors or things like that, there are some laptops that can be configured with a more high quality screen, like the Sager NP6165 (GT 650M) or the Eurocom Shark (GTX 660M) - a 95% adobeRGB gamut screen is available for them. You can also install it yourself on an HP dv6t-7000 if you want to get dirty. The Y500 screen, for example, has a 90% sRGB coverage, which is way lower.

    But I think that if she needs to be that professional, you should consider getting some good desktop screen which will be better.

  2. Kunming

    Kunming TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 308   +184

    The only games will be League of Legends, primarily.
    As I've said, SC2 is only a "maybe". It's just nice to use SC2
    as an example for games that aren't free to play, but require
    a little bit better hardware perhaps. I'd just like my friend to have the
    opportunity to play other games, should my friend want this :). SC2
    was on the map due to the low prices I've found (thus I was considering
    gifting it to my friend) and how the expansion "Heart Of The Swarm" has
    just recently been released too.

    Yes Final Cut is for Mac. I just couldn't stick around long enough to remember
    Premiere Pro haha. My friend uses a Mac for most of all the work that needs to
    be done. Thus my friend is quite the supporter of Apple software. Actually, this has
    also been a point of concern, since I don't yet know my friends stance on the likes
    of Windows 8 and it's infamous overhaul of the UI and so many laptops now come
    with Windows 8; when I'd rather avoid it, just to be sure.

    Alright. Well I rarely use Premiere Pro myself, so it's nice to know it can make
    good use of the hardware. My friend will be studying on some course that'll virtually
    require constant usage of such video-editing software. Thus it's no fun if things
    lag or can't run right ^^. I just wonder, because an acquaintance of mine runs with
    an i7 laptop (though I don't know about the GPU) and he reported some lag in at
    least PhotoShop (though I don't know if you can rightfully compared PhotoShop with
    Premiere Pro).

    lol SSD OR flowers. Good one. I was certainly considering an SSD too, however
    since my friend is pretty much moving to a different country and will be staying there for many
    years, I thought that a regular HDD would be better. I mean, unless my friend is able to
    buy an external harddrive, going for an HDD seems tempting as there's usually more
    storage. I know you can get SSDs with like 500GB or so? But they seem awfully expensive.
    Now comes the time for one of those questions that begs for a slap in the face: Is it
    anywhere "realistic" to worry about a laptop with an HDD having the HDD break (in one
    way or another), due to the constant movement the laptop has to endure; seeing as HDDs
    have "moving parts" compared to SSDs?

    Desktops are out of the question I think... Even though hey, a desktop would of course be
    much preferred to a laptop. Yet I don't know how or where my friend will be living so both
    the cost, transport and placement of a desktop or just a desktop screen, isn't really practical.
  3. junky77

    junky77 TS Rookie

    1. SSD and HDD - as most laptops come from HDD anyway, you can buy some nice 128GB SSD for 80$-90$ and make the HDD into an external one.
    If you are interested in a 17.3" laptop, then there might be a room for an SSD and HDD inside.
    An HDD has indeed moving parts, but if you take care of the laptop it should be ok.

    2. For LoL and SC2 you don't need much, especially SC2. a GT 650M / GTX 660M / dual GT 650Ms will be an excellent configuration.

    3. About photoshop and premiere - this is really a matter of the specific laptop and all. For example, you can use an I7 with some slow HDD and things like that. Also, it depends on the GPU too.

    a. There is the Lenovo Y580 (1000$) is a good option since it also has a good battery performance. Also includes Blu-Ray Burner.
    b. The same Lenovo Y500 (900$) with dual GT 650Ms. Much higher gaming performance than the Y580 GTX 660M in most cases, but lower battery performance.
    There is a hack to make the battery performance better, but I guess you don't want to mess with the Y500 bios.
    c. MSI GE60 with GT 650M, matte 1080p screen (the Y5XXs has a glossy one), it's lighter than the Y500 and an overall good laptop.

    Personally, if you think your friend will appreciate the high graphics the most, I guess the Y500 is the more interesting option, also because you save 100$ you can use for an SSD.

    What do you think?
  4. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    The Y500 does not come with dual GT 650Ms by default. It is like an extra $400. Plus I dont even see it in stock now.
  5. junky77

    junky77 TS Rookie

    I think you are mistaken. Check the link
  6. Kunming

    Kunming TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 308   +184

    True, true. I hadn't actually thought much about that first option.
    17" will probably be way oversize for my friends needs (or wishes for that matter) even though I think
    it sounds excellent. My friend is careful with the laptop(s) but there's still a lot of moving
    around, so I was just curious... Getting up, grabbing it, putting it in a bag. Taking it out again, putting it
    on a desk. Back in bag, then out on another desk. Then unto the bed maybe etc. etc. I know that nothing
    will likely happen, it's just that if the laptop should break, my friend would be royally s****ed.

    That dual stuff is like music to my ears really hahahaha. I will definitely be pushing for something
    like that configuration if possible. It looks to be quite a bargain that Y500 indeed. I'd be most happy to hear
    about the hack, if you would indulge me. I'm not a complete stranger to the BIOS. Tweaks are nice ! (y)

    The MSI GE60 is also attractive. It strikes me as being the more balanced option, which I think is also a
    definite plus. Time for another ridiculously lame question: But does it really matter all that much, if you have
    a 7400 or 5400 (or however much they were) RPM HDD? Is the difference ultimately noticeable and thus
    something you should place an emphasis on?

    I think my friend just wants to get the most "bang for the buck" as funds are low ^--^.
  7. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,920   +629

    7200RPM is the new standard. If a laptop comes with a 5400RPM drive, it's either old or going cheap in the wrong places.
  8. junky77

    junky77 TS Rookie

  9. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    Well, the Y500 on Lenovos site doesnt say it comes with GT650Ms in SLI, but the one on Newegg does. Wierd.
    I +1 StickMan, that is my only gripe about the Y500 and Y580, they only offer 1TB 5400RPM drives. Hopefully the update in the coming months (June 2012 was when the Y580 was released), will add Haswell chips and a SSD option. If they dont offer an SSD in the next release, it cant really compete much against SSD baring machines.
  10. junky77

    junky77 TS Rookie

    The one from Lenovo doesn't come with an SLI. You can also see it by fact that it includes a DVDRW. In the SLI models there isn't a DVDRW.
  11. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    Yeah. I would go for the fan instead of the 2nd GPU personally, but blowing hot air on your mouse side is not fun.
  12. junky77

    junky77 TS Rookie

    Why? you can always sell your second GPU and buy some fan ... no?
  13. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,920   +629

    Not in a laptop.
  14. Kunming

    Kunming TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 308   +184

    Hiya, I've been busy these last couple of days.

    I've looked through the thread once more and noted some things
    down.Thank you for all the support thus far :).

    My thoughts have come to whether the possibility of an ultrabook is
    the answer. Mainly it's the Zenbook and Macbook Air that have occupied my
    thoughts, but other input is certainly always appreciated too.

    Zenbook - http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/01/zenbook-touch-u500vz-quietly-surfaces/

    Even though it might be more expensive, an ultrabook is attractive because of the
    lightness of it. It can still pack some pretty decent hardware IMO too. The reason I'm making
    such a big deal out of weight, is that my friend happens to have this aggravating back
    problem, that makes things that are actually pretty light to most people, seem heavy or heavier.
    Thus it's no use if a laptop weighs "a ton" in my friends opinion; having to carry it around back
    and forth. It makes finding a proper laptop more difficult surely, but if worst comes to worst,
    it'll just have to be a "heavy" or "heavier" laptop anyway, if the price to performance ratio is very good.

    An acquaintance of mine has a Macbook Air that has something like an i7 processor I think. He claims
    it runs smoothly with pretty much everything he does - Also image-editing.

    Thoughts on this? Are ultrabooks just fancy little "nice to haves" or do they have some merit?
    I've never owned an ultrabook myself, so I've only been able to read about them.
  15. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    1) Ultrabooks will overheat like crazy. 2) They have low voltage components, which means less power, and thus worse performance. 3) They are overpriced.
  16. St1ckM4n

    St1ckM4n TS Evangelist Posts: 2,920   +629

    To add on to the above, none ship with dedicated GPUs that I'm aware of, so you won't be doing any gaming on them.
  17. Kunming

    Kunming TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 308   +184

    I just found this for around 999$ or 650£


    To me it seems pretty good, considering it has lots of harddrive space,
    an i7 and 8gigs of RAM.

    Thoughts on this? Could be it's too good to be true.
    The screen resolution isn't too good and the price will go up, as things
    get added to the system. Does this deal present a good value for money?
  18. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    You might as well get the y580. It has basically the same specs but lacks a hybrid ssd. The 660m in the y580 makes up for it though. I would wait personally since Haswell is a month away and Lenovo will update the y580 with hopefully a ssd.
  19. Kunming

    Kunming TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 308   +184

    True. It would definitely be worth it, waiting for Haswell. I just wondered
    about that system.I'd just like a bit more diversity in the choice of options :).

    Trust me, I haven't forgotten about the Y580. Especially
    not when there's this guy on this tech forum I know, called JC713 who likes to
    keep reminding me about it. ;) Thank you for the input.
  20. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    Haha, I am just trying to tell you what I think is the best option.

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