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Needed: Laptop Buying Advice

by harshja / December 29, 2008 7:29 AM PST

I'm in the market for a new laptop, but it has been 2 and a half years since my last purchase, so I know very little about the best prices and hardware available. I'm in the market for a gaming laptop (perhaps a desktop replacement), and I'm willing to consider any brand. However, my last laptop purchase was an Alienware m7700 and I must admit it's probably the worst $3,100 I have ever spent on computer equipment. Problems from the start, terrible technical support, and all I got was a free T-shirt. Needless to say, Alienware is not my top choice unless there are reasons why I should trust them more now than last time.

Here are some specifics as to what I'm looking for:

1) Budget: $1,600-$2,000 - I think spending $3,100 on my last laptop was largely a waste of money despite all the problems.

2) Size: I don't expect a gaming laptop to be small, and I'd like the screen to be 17" up to 20"+, but I'd consider 15" too.

3) Screen Resolution: Important - I'd prefer the best or close to the best available. What good is Fallout 3 on a pixelated screen?

4) Battery Life: Not top priority, as I'll be plugged in most of the time.

5) HD Space: I'm definitely not a hard drive maniac, so I usually try to save money in this department. However, my 80 GB drive in my current laptop is barely big enough to hold WoW and a couple other games. Something bigger would be nice, but I would never know what to do with 1 TB so no point dropping the cash.

6) Brand: I've looked a little at Dell, though I don't know how the XPS systems are. Plus, they own Alienware and they've left a bad taste. My last 2 laptops back in college were HP/Compaq and they were awesome, never a single problem, but those weren't made for gaming. My dad got the giant Acer 20" laptop monstrosity and I thought it looked pretty good. Honestly I don't know where to go with any of these options, which is why I'm here. Also, where do I buy the laptop after I choose the brand?

7) Purchasing Location: I'm willing to order anywhere online, or buy from a store in Texas (I live in Houston area). I know shipping costs and taxes become a consideration.

Please let me know if there are any other specifics I should mention. I'm just starting my shopping, so any information is much appreciated.

Thank you very much.

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by Phil Crase / December 29, 2008 11:11 PM PST

Core 2 duo processor firstly (T5700 series or higher),HDD 250 or larger likely 4GB ram (64 bit). Sony, Toshiba good choices, HP ok if you stick with Intel core 2. Why not a MACBOOK? Pricey, true, but very nice. Good luck and have fun shopping!

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by harshja / December 29, 2008 11:40 PM PST
In reply to: Laptops

I haven't kept up with the processor market lately - is AMD not a good choice now? I remember 2-3 years ago I wouldn't consider anything but AMD. It was a much better price/performance ratio than Intel.

As far as Macs go, I will admit I like Apple a lot more now than I used to as far as design and reliability go. However, as a gamer I've never considered a Mac, as I would suspect most gamers don't also due to compatability issues. I'm pretty open-minded to consider why Apple would be a good choice, but I would wager that any price of an Apple is overly inflated.

Can anyone help me out with peripheral specifics, please? I don't know what the best video card would be, or which processor is which, or which type of RAM I'd want and why.

Thank you for the help.

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Since its a gamer's laptop.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 29, 2008 11:52 PM PST

You pay dearly for the laptop form factor. Why not get a desktop this time and for the laptop get the laptop for your laptop needs? You would spend far less as even those 599 or less laptops you see at Staples, Office Depot or such will do just fine for run of the mill grab my laptop and go use. Dell has many in that range and it's fine.

Then you can pop the best video card you can get from,2086.html and you may end up with cash left over.

PS. Yes I have a desktop, laptop and now a netbook. Also too many PDAs due to what I do.

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Well as far as screen size laptops
by orlbuckeye / December 30, 2008 3:52 AM PST

the 20" screens are pretty much discontinued except for Dell. Acer and HP have come out with 18.4 media type systems with High Def screens and Blu-ray options. That leaves 17" which will max out at 1920 x 1200 but most of the mass market laptops (Best Buy, Circuit ity and other retailers) are lower resolution then that.

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Laptop video card
by harshja / December 30, 2008 4:57 AM PST

Yeah I understand what you mean about the form factor. Unfortunately, that's kind of the point of me considering a laptop in the first place. I am on the road a lot and carrying a desktop in my car can be a real pain, and taking it on flights is obviously out of the question. I like what you say about getting a decent laptop then buying my own video card. How difficult is it to install a video card on a laptop? Would that void any kind of warranty on the machine (I know I have heard Dell nulls their warranty under some situations like this)?

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I checked my reply again.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 30, 2008 5:50 AM PST
In reply to: Laptop video card

I don't see where I hint that video cards can be changed in a laptop.

However I will share that any Nvidia 8400 or 8600 based solution is a no-sale unless they offer a 5 year warranty backed by Guido.

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