Help choosing "future proof" gaming/graphics editing laptop

I am looking to replace my 5 year old laptop, which has a low-end dedicated graphics card (AMD Mobility Radeon 5470HD w/512MB memory) and 8GB of RAM. It is still fine for everyday tasks, but lags when gaming or editing large images.

I use my laptop for RAW image editing, Photoshop, Corel Painter, and some gaming, as well as everyday tasks. I would like to be able to play a few of the newer RPGs or civilization-building games on high graphics settings. I currently play Sims 3 (which I only get 25-30 or so FPS) and some older titles. I haven't bothered trying many new games because they wouldn't run well anyway.

I want a slim laptop not weighing much more than 5 pounds, with full HD display. I have been looking at NVIDIA GTX 960-980M graphics cards, but maybe this is overkill?

I really didn't want to spend too much over $1500, but I can swing a few hundred more if necessary. I know I am probably overbuying for current tasks, but there is also some degree of future-proofing to consider. I'd like to still be using this new laptop in 4-5 years without feeling like I'm using an ancient machine. What do you think?

Here are a few builds I have been considering:

HP Omen - $1869.99
CPU: 4th gen Core i7 5700HQ
Display: 15.6 inch WLED Full HD IPS Touch
Storage: 512GB PCIe Flash SSD
Optical Drive: none
(I love the touchscreen and the design, but given the other specs and price it might not be a good trade-off.)

Sager NP8657 - $1544
CPU: 6th gen Core i7 6700HQ
RAM: 16B DDR4 2133 MHz
Display: 15.6 inch LED Full HD anti-glare
Storage: 256GB 3Gb/s SSD, and 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD
Optical Drive: none

MSI GS60 Ghost - $1617
CPU: 5th gen Core i7 5700HQ
RAM: 16B DDR4 1600 MHz
Display: 15.6 inch LED Full HD anti-glare
Storage: 256GB 6Gb/s SSD, and 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD
Optical Drive: none

MSI GS60 Ghost Pro - $1718
CPU: 4th gen Core i7 4710HQ
RAM: 16B DDR4 1600 MHz
Display: 15.6 inch LED Full HD anti-glare
Storage: 256GB 6Gb/s SSD, and 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD
Optical Drive: none

Gigabyte P35W v3 - $1674
CPU: 5th gen Core i7 5700HQ
RAM: 16B DDR4 1600 MHz
Display: 15.6 inch LED Full HD anti-glare
Storage: 256GB SSD, and 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD
Optical Drive: Slim swappable blu-ray burner

The Gigabyte is probably my favorite right now, due to balance of specs and price, but I would really appreciate any advice or insight you can provide to help me. Thank you!

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Here I thought the 5700 i7 was 5th gen.

And never found the 6700 it. NONE are future proof as you find the 970 and 980 can't deliver 4K gaming.

I'd dismiss the non-970m GPUs (all the others had less) and 6GB looks excessive today.
Sager in Canada could not get spare parts for me years ago so I'd toss out that name.

That left me with the MSI with the 970m. Let's hope for more than 1 year warranty.

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That was a typo. The HP Omen should say 47xx, not 57xx.

I know no electronic device can be absolutely future-proof since new hardware is released every few months at least, but if I buy a machine with a low-end graphics card now (as I did 5 years ago, when that was all I could afford), then it will show its age sooner than a higher-end machine. At least, that is my thinking. I know 6GM is probably excessive today, but I am trying to think ahead and balance specs along with a decent price. I need help to figure out whether to sacrifice memory for GPU, or sacrifice processor for memory, etc.

I am not interested in 4K gaming. As you say, it is unrealistic now anyway, so there is no point considering it. I do wish I could get a touch screen, but the HP Omen is the only one to offer that.

What do you mean by "And never found the 6700 it?" These builds (aside from HP) are all from xoticpc.

You say, "that left me with the MSI," as if it is still not a very good choice. I did also look into the MSI GS62 Apache on the advice of someone from another forum. It is slightly thicker, which they said would help with any overheating issues. Would that be a better option, in your experience?

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GE62, rather.

These are the specs for the MSI GE62 Apache Pro I built at xoticpc just to check price:
Processor: 6th gen Core i7-6700
GPU: Nvidia GTX 970m 3GB
Display: FHD LED backlit anti-glare
RAM: 16GB 2133MHz
Optical Drive: Slim Blu-ray reader
Storage: 128GB SSD, 1TB 7200 RPM HDD
Price: $1584

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There's a thing about that vendor.

You can check around but what they do "they effectively voided the system's warranty" so it can be downright ugly.

It's out on the web for all to read and since there is on maker's warranty after changes by this vendor, you must warn folk of that issue.

-> Those 128GB SSDs? Sorry folk but after fielding too many questions about running out of space, why would anyone suggest those?

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Thanks for the feedback! The system also has a 1TB drive in addition to the 128 GB SSD, and I believe a second slot for later SSD upgrades. In any case, it could be built with a higher capacity SSD.

I had only read good things about xoticpc. Where would you recommend buying, then? Straight from the manufacturer?

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While it has the 1TB drive here's the question folk ask.

I'm serious, they really do!!!

"Will the 1TB drive be automatically used?"


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I figured the operating system would be on the SSD...

...which, according to Microsoft, takes about 20GB of disk space for Windows 10. Then, I figure I would install the most demanding applications and games on the SSD, and older/less demanding applications, as well as images and music, on the HDD. I also assume I will have to remove a ton of bloat from the SSD before I can install anything on it.

I am checking Newegg, but so far all of their configurations have 128 SSDs with a 1TB HDD. I do understand the reasoning for having a larger SSD. Do you have any other recommendations for where to buy, other than straight from the manufacturer?

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20GB? Here, after updates and one app.

I see closer to 80GB. At least I warned you about it.

You can upgrade later when it gets annoying. As to Newegg, it's a big store, so call and ask if they have that model.

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Thank you!

You have been very helpful!

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The Sager and the Gigabyte are basically the same laptop.

I know Sager are Clevo's (ODM) and I believe Gigabyte is. The Sager has the new Skylake (6th genration) processor and the Gigabyte has a (5th generation). The Sager has the same graphics card but 3 gb compared to 6 gb on the Gigabyte.

Clevo is an ODM with factories in China and Taiwan. They manufacture unbranded machines to basically small Laptop companies and/or Computer single computer store like Xoticpc. Some store sell these has barebones no brand as Clevo machines. Some are branded (Sager, and Eurcomm) are 2 companies. Sager has a factory in California and they recieve the laptop with case and mobo and they add components based on customers configuration. You can also cofigure and order from the factory is Ca.

I bought a Sager awhile back from a computer store in Las Vegas. The pc was ordered and purchased from the computer store but shipped from Sager factory in Ca. I did have a warranty fix and I shpped to Sager (i had to pay shipping to them) and they paid shipping back. Clevo sells to all countries but the brand names are unique to that country England used to have a big brand called The Rock. I would go to Xoticpc and look pplay with the configurations to get the one you like these best.

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Re: Clevo/Sager

I knew about Clevo/Sager being the same, but I didn't know about Gigabyte.

The builds in my original post are all from xoticpc. The specs are all different, is the problem. If they were the same, I could just go with the least expensive one. I need help prioritizing what to sacrifice. For instance, do I go with a GTX 970M with less dedicated memory in order to get a newer processor? Or vice versa? Are the HP specs good enough that I can go ahead and sacrifice money for that touch screen rather than a more powerful computer? Maybe a faster SSD is more important that more dedicated memory on the GPU? That is what I don't know about. I have tried to do my own research before turning to others, but I think there comes a point where seeking out those with experience is the best way to go.


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There was a shootout of SATA 3 or 6 speed
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Thanks for the info...

...and for the link. I will go check it out.

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