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new computer advice

Discussion in 'UO Siege Perilous' started by Masumatek, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. Masumatek

    Masumatek Guest

    My computer is melting so I need some advice on a new one seeing as I lack computer knowledge.

    I'm wanting a good gaming laptop in the price range of $1200-1800.

    So far I've been considering the following two computers:


    Gateway P-173X FX Edition

    Intel Core2 Duo Processor2 T7500 (2.20GHz, 800MHz, 4MB L2 Cache)
    Genuine Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate (64-bit) SP1
    4096MB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (2-2048MB modules)
    200GB 7200rpm Serial ATA hard drive w/ 16MB Cache3
    NVIDIA GeForce 8800M GTS with 512MB of GDDR3 discrete video memory
    17.0" WXGA+ Ultrabright TFT Active Matrix (1440 x 900 max. resolution)
    Integrated Realtek 802.11 b/g Wireless Networking

    http://www.gateway.com/systems/product/529668096.php



    HP Pavilion dv9700t

    Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T9300 (2.50GHz, 6MB L2 Cache)
    Genuine Windows Vista Ultimate with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
    4GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
    240GB 7200RPM SATA Dual Hard Drive (120GB x 2)
    512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GS
    17.0" diagonal WXGA+ High-Definition HP BrightView Widescreen Display (1440 x 900)
    Intel PRO/Wireless 4965AGN Network Connection

    http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/s...ainment+powerhouse&series_name=dv9700t_series



    Which would be a better gaming system? The gateway simply because of its better graphics card? Though the hp customizing I'd do would have a 2.5ghz processor compared to the Gateway's 2.2ghz. Does this make up for the hp's inferior graphics card?

    I also don't know how good Gateways in general are? I like HP but I've never had a gateway.


    Please let me know what you think or post any other gaming laptop suggestions in that price range!

    Thanks!
     
  2. Azural Kane

    Azural Kane Guest

    edit: yay double post
     
  3. Azural Kane

    Azural Kane Guest

    Mas if you're going with a Core2Duo and not Quad, go with the E8400 processor or better.

    You also definitely want an Nvidia 8800GT or better. Be careful with their model numbers, more "letters" on the end doesn't necessarily mean "better".

    Generally if you're gonna buy something like a Gateway or HP, you're not going to get nearly as much value for your money spent as you SHOULD be getting.
     
  4. HaHa

    HaHa Guest

    What i did was goto a computer store and say I want a computer for online gaming, price is not an option. When they gave me the first price , I changed my mind and said "ok , then I think that will be an option." If those are "pre-made" packages, then I tend to steer away from those and opt to goto the places like I just described. IMO the stores that arent franchised out tend to be more enlightened and more willing to tend to their customers. For about $2000-$2500 you can get an awesome set up and have the customer service explain each and every piece of the computer to you and if you want to go higher grade or lower on each component.
     
  5. Lorddog

    Lorddog Crazed Zealot
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    I now buy all my computers at the dell outlet. sure they are refurbished or scratch and dent but you still get full warrenty and after 4 laptops 2 computers I have not had any problems. Prices are great that way.

    goto dell.com and find outlet in the menu.

    otherwise I recomment core 2 duo or better. it was a big breakthrough when it came out and far exceeded intels expectations by running much cooler then normal. IMO it was a hugh breakthrough.

    Lorddog
     
  6. Pestilence Hemp

    Pestilence Hemp Journeyman
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    yeah if you can id go for a quad core. at this point if you get the dual your gonna be kickin yourself in a few months. the video card is real important, if you want to play high end games you better get somthing bigger then a 512, Do they have 1 gig video cards in laptops yet?



    personally id go with the new petaflop comps.......
     
  7. Rykus

    Rykus Guest

    Why a laptop? Much more bang for the buck with a desktop. You are also unable to upgrade the graphics card on a laptop, which typically have relatively inferior chipsets compared to a desktop at 60% to 70% of the price. If you really need the portability, look at some of the small form factor boxes that are about the size of a toaster, like the Shuttle XPCs. At least with those you can upgrade the video card when you need to, and you can get much faster HDs, like the high end 7200 and 10k RPM SATA drives.

    Gaming laptops are nice for what they are, but they have some serious inherent disadvantages.
     
  8. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Slightly Crazed
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    seriously you could get a computer 2x better than those laptops for the same price if you get a desktop. Laptops are overrated, and in 5 years your cellphone is going to be as versatile as a laptop.

    Go search craiglist in your town, you'd be suprised how many awesome desktops are sold cheap 2nd hand.
     
  9. Masumatek

    Masumatek Guest

    I realize a desktop is superior for gaming. However, I want a laptop. I also realize the better gaming laptops would cost me thousands of dollars. I don't want to spend that much. I just want any advice you can give on decent gaming laptops for around 1200-1800 dollars. The two systems I mentioned might not be the best but they're still 3 times better than what I have now so I'd be happy. I've been trying to find a decently priced gaming laptop with everything but I've been unsuccessful. If only the hp had a better graphics card ;/.

    Which of the two I mentioned would be better? Is the gateway's graphics card more important than the hp's superior processor? And is gateway a good brand anyway (I've read some negative comments about gateways elsewhere).

    Or are there other gaming laptops you would recommend for around that price? I don't want to build my own either, fyi. I checked alienware, but it's way overpriced there.

    I guess a good thing would be to check some stores but last I checked I didn't see much I liked. I'll probably end up buying it online.
     
  10. Rykus

    Rykus Guest

    Do you plan to play 3D games, like oh, I dunno... Darkfall?? :)

    If so, I would urge you to wait until DF is out, then get the best you can for your money at that time. The sweet year-end deals will be happening in a few months, and everyone knows that the cost to performance ratio only gets better as time goes on. If you absolutely insist on getting a laptop, then this is what I would recommend. But to be clear, I do not recommend a laptop for 3D gaming, except for very few circumstances where a desktop is simply not an option.

    Another option you might want to consider... For the money you are looking at spending, you could sink $1200 into a very nice gaming desktop PC, and $600 into a decent business class laptop, for the best of both worlds. I just don't think you are going to be even close to happy in as little as a year from now with the performance of a laptop, compared to a very upgradable desktop at nearly half it's cost. Especially when you consider the video performance. As 3D games improve their graphics via upgrades and expansions, you'll be stuck with an overpriced laptop with absolutely no video upgrade path. I just hate to see you get locked into this scenario because you *want* something portable. The performance gap and upgradability between a comparably priced laptop and desktop is enormous.

    Or, in terms that may hit closer to home:

    Damnit Jim, it's a laptop, not a real gaming machine! All the pointy ears in the galaxy won't make it so!!

    :thumbsup:
     
  11. Skylark SP

    Skylark SP Available Storage: 0
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    Mas,

    Plan the laptop around the video card, and the display. I'd stay far away from Gateway. Their support & quality has dropped through the floor into the basement with the rats the past 4 years.

    For a gaming laptop, especially on a tight budget, expect that you are going to go with the heftier models rather than the very thin & light. The display adapters suitable for gaming put out a lot of heat, which on top of the output for modern processors is not trivial. So, the case design not only has to physically accommodate the larger graphics card, but has to have extra cooling built in. And likely, you will want a high quality widescreen display, as it is not much advantage to have a nice portable system and have to rely on an external monitor to really enjoy it. This will put the laptop weight at probably between 6 and 8 pounds - closer to 8 for a 15.4" widescreen.

    For reliable laptop options, I would look at Lenovo (formerly IBM), and Dell, first, and Toshiba, and HP next. If you want to customize some, then Dell & Lenovo are probably going to be your best options.

    It is nice to get quad core but the reality is that few applications now can even utilize them. A good late generation Core 2 Duo system with a nice Nvidia 8800 series display adapter is probably the most solid option.

    When you are comparing the video cards, try to get full specs on dedicated video RAM, cache size, and processor speed. OEMs often tweak settings, and some overclock the video processor, and some add more memory to the base model, so even though something may have a label with a model for a particular video chipset generation, it doesn't necessarily mean it will perform the same as one in another OEM's system. The core platform is a good general indicator though of performance, and with NVidia, the second number is a good rule of thumb for the performance tier (i.e. an 8800 is going to be higher grade than an 8300 or 8600, etc.)

    Hopefully this helps some.

    -Skylark

    P.S. as Rykus says...you can get a killer gaming desktop system for the same money or less
     
  12. Memnoch

    Memnoch Journeyman
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    I second the Dell Outlet.. In case you didn't know its just for people who returned or had their dell arrive with a small scratch (Dell wont resell if its on screen or goes deeper then paint)

    I recently purchased a XPS1530 gaming laptop from the outlet and it had these mods:

    Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5Ghz processor
    4MB Memory
    300Gigs of Memory
    256MB NVidia 8600M GT Video Card
    Glossy 15.5" screen
    Came with high end wifi card
    Blue tooth card and a wireless mouse
    oh and the normal CD burner..

    Needless to say this computer can handle WoW without problems and probably games even higher graphic intensive..

    I have a 1 year warranty I believe and when I received it I had 21 days or so to return it for a full refund for ANY reason..

    It cost me roughly $1000 after rebate and I don't even see a scratch on it.

    P.S I did some homework on laptops before getting one on notebookreview.com and well, Dells XPS has been in the top 10 for a good time :)

    P.P.S Desktops are way cheaper and more bang for buck then laptops I mean WAY I got a way better desktop then laptop for $150ish more, and yea, its nut the difference.. But I wont list anymore specs lol
     
  13. Shakaja

    Shakaja Guest

    first i have to say, i prefer and always recommend either lenovo/ibm or toshiba.

    specwise id definitely go with the first one as it has a more powerful graphiccard and thats the main thing youll need for the newer games. the 0.3 ghz not gonna make that much of a change.

    about getting a gaming laptop, that doesnt sound like a too good idea, specially if you dont want to spend too much money. id recommend you to think about it again and decide if you really need the laptop or if a smaller desktop couldnt do it. also if you say what kind of games you plan to play, that would help too.
     
  14. Lorddog

    Lorddog Crazed Zealot
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    I just looked up one in the dell outlet perfect for you
    things I look for in this is wireless builtin, 17 inch screen, 7200 HD speed
    this laptop was probably $2400+ new

    XPS M1710
    (System Identifier: FLV3P39P)


    XPS M1710 Laptop: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T7200 (2GHz/667MHz/4MB)
    Genuine Windows XP Pro

    System Price : $949.00


    Operating System
    Genuine Windows XP Pro
    --------------
    Memory
    2 GB DDR2 SDRAM 677MHz (2 DIMMs)
    ------------
    Hard Disk Drive
    160 GB SATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
    -------------
    Video
    256MB ATI MOBILITY RADEON X1400 HyperMemory
    -------------Scratch & Dent
    Scratch & Dent
    ---------------
    Base
    XPS M1710 Laptop: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T7200 (2GHz/667MHz/4MB)
    -------------
    Media Bay
    8X DVD +/- RW w/dbl layer write capability
    ------------
    Network Interface Card
    Intel Pro Wireless 3945
    ---------------
    Hardware Upgrade
    Hardware is Microsoft Vista Capable
    9 Cell Primary Battery
    ---------------Laptop Screen
    17 inch (Metallic Black Chassis) UltraSharp Wide Screen UXGA Display with TrueLife
     
  15. Goron

    Goron Guest

    I agree. Most people knwo memory (ram) is important, but don't shoot yourself in the foot by getting a low memory graphic card.
    Make sacrafices on hard drive (size, not speed) and sound.

    It is my opinion that you don't NEED an uber processor- I personally focus on ram->graphic->processor->HD in that order.
     
  16. Shakaja

    Shakaja Guest

    for gaming, id put graphic, cpu&mainboard, ram, hd. ram is indeed an important factor but its so dirty cheap id look for the other things first.
     
  17. Alrich

    Alrich Guest

    Plenty of people saying what you should do, ill give ya some don'ts...

    If you plan on upgrading it down the line, DO NOT go with dell (propietary brands FTL)

    Gateway, cheap cheap cheap... not recommended.

    DONT game with your laptop sitting on a bed, couch, or pillow on your lap. Use a hard, solid surface, or one of those laptop desk thingies. Especially with gaming pc's, you'll overheat your system VERY easily which can damage your hard drive, video card, and other components. airflow in a tiny laptop is constricted enough without blocking heat in with a fluffy pillow.

    And last but not least, while I prefer intel processors for desktops, I highly recommend an AMD chip in a laptop. The AM2 socket chips run much much cooler (and on less voltage, which increases battery life) then the Intel counterparts.
     
  18. Alrich

    Alrich Guest



    just adding this in... mobo first, then that decides the memory and graphics you get for it (that ddr3 ram ain't gonna work with that 50 dollar mobo you saw on the discount list)... and don't rely on integrated video if you expect to play any games that came out in the past 12 months
     
  19. Masumatek

    Masumatek Guest

    Hehe Rykus...You're right about computers getting cheaper and better in no time. The HP I was looking at is over 100 bucks cheaper today than it was yesterday. I don't want to wait till the end of the year for the great deals though...that's too long without gaming:).

    HP also put two new comps in its entertainment laptop section since yesterday. I might have found what I'm looking for since one of them has this:
    "512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT"
    Which I guess is a lot better than the 8600M GS in the other hp comp I was looking at?

    Thanks for the advice everyone. I did check out the recommended places but I found nothing I liked for the price i wanted. The only thing I've found is HP and maybe an acer. I'll post whatever system I pick before I buy it to be sure it's okay.
     
  20. Skylark SP

    Skylark SP Available Storage: 0
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    @Lorddog:

    That Dell is almost same spec as my laptop PC I bought about 14 months ago from Dell outlet, except mine was less than $800 at the time (it is an Inspiron with 15.4" widescreen display). I've been very happy with it. One thing though, the Radeon X1400 card is only lower mid range for gaming. It will run WoW OK at medium detail settings but any more will bog it down, and really intensive games it simply can't handle. I tried Vanguard and gave up because even at lowest detail settings the game video rendering was so slow it was unplayable.

    -Skylark
     
  21. Rykus

    Rykus Guest

    Just one more opinion echoing the Lenovo and Toshiba recommendations, in that order. I don't think anyone matches the rugged durability of IBM/Lenovo, except the combat ready Tuffbooks. Then again, those are just really rugged cases, but are still Panasonic on the inside...
     
  22. Masumatek

    Masumatek Guest

    Yah that computer isn't bad, but I'm aiming to get one with more ram and a better graphics card. Thank you for taking the time to find it though lorddog.
     
  23. Skylark SP

    Skylark SP Available Storage: 0
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    Mas,

    The Nvidia 256MB 8600 GT notebook graphics card is a solid mid range card. It should be fine for most games. I think it has DirectX 10 support, but I am not certain.

    Check out the Dell XPS M1530 notebook - it has that card as an option, and is one of the better priced models.

    It won't be performance gaming, but it should be good.

    *edit* confirmed DirectX 10 support...found a nice gaming benchmark review here.

    -Skylark
     
  24. Masumatek

    Masumatek Guest

    This is the computer I'll probably get:

    Genuine Windows Vista Ultimate with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
    Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo Processor P8600 (2.4 GHz)
    17.0" diagonal WXGA+ High-Definition HP BrightView Widescreen Display (1440 x 900)
    4GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
    512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT
    Intel(R) WiFi Link 5100AGN and Bluetooth(TM)
    320GB 7200RPM SATA Dual Hard Drive (160GB x 2) with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection

    It's an hp dv7t.

    http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/s...ertainment+powerhouse&series_name=dv7t_series


    Look good? The only thing is it just came out so it doesn't really have reviews;/.
     
  25. Masumatek

    Masumatek Guest

    That's one reason I was steering away from the Dells...most seem to have only 256mb graphics cards. Isn't 512 much better?
     
  26. Skylark SP

    Skylark SP Available Storage: 0
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    Well, in the same chipset, generally more memory is always going to be better. But more memory on a poor performing chipset doesn't mean it will outperform 256 MB on a robust chipset. If you can find an 8600 GT notebook option with 512 MB RAM that would be good. I think those benchmarks in the link I added were done with the 512 MB model. That might be an important distinction if so.

    -Skylark

    P.S. from the specs the HP looks good, but I really don't know anything about that graphics card. The higher RPM hard drive is a nice plus too.
     
  27. Lorddog

    Lorddog Crazed Zealot
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    masu, whats the cost on that config - I get around $1500-$1600
    also, if your buying a pre-config laptop you can always buy more ram later (be sure to check how many slots it uses up) and the harddrives are pretty easy to upgrade. the things you usually cant upgrade are the graphics card and cpu (although I have done the cpu before - not easy)

    as stated before the cpu isnt really that important except to at least get the dual core. The hard drive speed is kind of important (better to get 7200 if you can) as that is the speed of access to the hard drive. size of the harddrive usually is not that important.

    to me the wifi built in is soooo convient but you can do with a usb stick that gives that to you if you must.

    But being that you need to make your laptop centered around the graphic card you probably need to make sure it is direct x 10 enabled and suitable to handle the games that you want.
     
  28. Lorddog

    Lorddog Crazed Zealot
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    oh ya the choice of 32 bit or 64 bit on that laptop is free.

    As far as I know you probably want the 32 bit as the 64 bit might be incompatable with some games. I know a server we tried to install as 64 bit would not run some of our professional softwares so I had to reinstall the 32bit OS on them.
    maybe someone else can confirm or deny that better then me but if not then its better to be safe then sorry.

    Lorddog
     
  29. Masumatek

    Masumatek Guest

    I think you need the 64 bit though if you want the higher ram.

    I'll probably go with the 2.53 ghz processor too. It has a "6MB internal L2 memory cache" compared to the 2.4 or under 3MB. Does that matter much? I don't want to have to upgrade anything major later so I'd prefer to get it now. Maybe I'll stick with 3gig ram though for now if that's easy to upgrade. Apparently it can recognize up to 8gig of ram so I guess I'll buy the 3 now and wait for two 4 gig rams to buy at a later date.

    So that puts me at just over 1800 dollars. I'm hoping one of the discount coupons work to bring that down a bit.

    And I just found out that graphics card is ddr2. I guess that's greatly inferior to ddr3? Oh well though, I haven't found a better pc for the price I want...Graphics cards can't be upgraded in laptops eh?

    Also my display screen option was "17.0" diagonal WXGA+ High-Definition HP BrightView Widescreen Display (1440 x 900)." There are three other options but I assume this is fine? I also heard high res would be tougher on the graphics card?
     
  30. Skylark SP

    Skylark SP Available Storage: 0
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    Don't worry about having DDR2 - it is still very much mainstream RAM in its mature versions.

    DDR3 uses lower voltage than DDR2, and has lower power consumption for "down" cycles of the RAM, which is attractive for equipment that will be on battery power, and it has overall higher speeds, but your choices for laptop are more limited than desktop, and when you have a budget to stay within, your choices are narrowed even further. In reality, your main & video card processors are going to be far bigger voltage pigs, and you can always buy a spare battery later if you need run times that exceed one battery. In the current configurations, there isn't a lot of evidence that DDR3 provides any significant advantage to gaming over the current performance DDR2 modules of comparable cost, but of course as it matures it will be the top performer. But that is just it - no matter WHAT you buy, something better is going to be around the corner.

    In terms of the RAM, you can upgrade it later - it is the EASIEST laptop component to upgrade, and yes, generally the video card & processor you have when you buy a laptop is the one that will be in it when you retire it.

    If you are going with 32-bit Vista, then I think it will only be recognizing about 3.5 GB of your RAM even if you have 4 GB installed because I believe it includes dedicated video memory as well in the overall "recognized" limit of 4 GB.

    One last thing - while it may push you a bit out of your intended budget, for a laptop I HIGHLY recommend 2 years of pre-paid ship & return warranty service, and accident coverage if the manufacturer offers it, which I believe HP does. It adds a couple hundred bucks but it is like insurance - if you never use it, then it is a sunk cost of course, but if you need it and don't have it, you sure wish you had spent the money back when. ;)

    -Skylark
     
  31. Rykus

    Rykus Guest

    I keep seeing references to Vista using less than 4GB of memory, even though 4GB is installed. This isn't entirely true. The OS can indeed address 4GB, but it reserves up to 1GB for things like shared video memory, device drivers, and other things. The system properties reports how much total system RAM is installed, minus things like RAM dedicated to the integrated video card, which is not considered system RAM in that case. The number reported is how much RAM is available for use after memory for system devices are allocated.

    More info here:
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929605/en-us

    A 32-bit OS can physically address up to 4GB of memory. Unless you are using a server OS (referring ONLY to Windows here, not flavors of Linux or Unix, etc..) 2GB of that is dedicated to the kernel, which is shared by all processes, and 2GB can be addressed by applications. Each application can address up to 2GB at a time, which actually allows the use of more than 4GB of memory. Through the use of various extended addressing schemes, an OS can address far more than 4GB of memory. The chart at the following link at Microsoft's site shows the amount each of these OSs can use, both 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit flavors, which generally top out at 2TB.

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/bb430827.aspx

    There is MUUUUCH more to this topic than these two links illustrate or discuss. I just wanted to poke my head in and say that there is indeed *some* truth to the assertions that a 32-bit OS can only use 3.x GB of memory, but there is far more to the story than just that.

    Mas, if you really, truly are concerned about performance that much, again, you really should be looking at a desktop solution. Sorry to :bdh:
     
  32. Shakaja

    Shakaja Guest

    he knows whats good! :thumbsup:
     
  33. Shakaja

    Shakaja Guest


    there are games that are vista incompatible and there are games that are not runnable on vista, not even with tricks. i hardly doubt thoo there are games that dont run on a 64 bit system while they run on the 32 bit system. if they do, its something else. i for myself run a 64 bit vista ultimate and it works perfect, no problems at all so far.
     
  34. Skylark SP

    Skylark SP Available Storage: 0
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    Thanks for the clarification about the memory allocation in Vista, Rykus, and the links. :)

    -Skylark
     
  35. Chardonnay

    Chardonnay Visitor

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