15.6" mid-range laptop for gaming, general use


May 21, 2014
I have an Asus G51J that's starting to show its age, and I'm thinking about potential replacements. I'd like to keep the same screen size, which is basically perfect for my range of use cases, and I figure I can justify to myself spending something in the $1000-$1500 range. Not too picky apart from that, and I'm not up to date enough on computer hardware to really know what's going to be the bottleneck on whatever systems I'm looking at. Don't need resolutions >1080p, don't need a touch screen (though if I'm being forced into Windows 8, it probably wouldn't hurt), don't need it to be particularly light, and while an SSD is always nice, I don't mind that much if it takes a little bit longer to turn on and launch applications.

I've really liked my current Asus, and so the upcoming http://www.asus.com/Notebooks_Ultrabooks/G550JK/overview/ might be a logical successor. While it still has that silly "Republic of Gamers" logo, it's definitely a lot more stylish than the G51J, which is a plus. It's GPU is a GTX850M, however, whereas a lot of similarly priced machines seem to be going with the 860M or higher. Don't know how much of a difference that makes in practice, but it's the one thing that jumped out in the specs.

Also looking at the Lenovo Y50. No one can claim they don't make quality hardware, and it's a very nice looking machine. A bit bothered by the lack of an optical drive though. While it hardly matters for new games since they're all on Steam these days, I've got plenty of old disks lying around that I might decide to revisit, and being able to play DVDs would be nice too. Any big disadvantages to an external drive vs one that's built in? Never needed one before, so I'm curious about reliability, read/write speed, etc.

Of course there are zillions of other options out there - I've just been looking at these two since I've had experience with both brands.

Any thoughts, recommendations? Thanks in advance.


asus n550jk - basically the same as your ROG option with the 850M - but it's touch screen, silver and $1099.
MSI GE60 apache pro - $1299 - very nice keyboard otherwise just as powerful as the lenovo y50
then there's this - if you put the processor down to an I7 4700 (the only amount you need) then you get a machine that's a good 20-30% better than your other options for $1450.

the asus G550 uses a DDR3 version of the 850M - its clocked higher but its worse in performance in comparison to the GDDR5 version - the GDDR5 version is basically an underclocked 860M.
the difference between the DDR3 and DDR5 850M is around 5%. 850M-860M is around 15-20%. 860M to 870M is about 25-27%.
I'd say the extra power of the gigabyte is worth the extra investment - especially when it's the exact same sort of size - a multimedia notebook - about 1.3 inches thick.


May 21, 2014

Thanks for the pointers. That Gigabyte does look really nice, in re both the specs and the chassis, though it is toward the upper end of my price range. Do you know how their build quality tends to compare to other brands?

edit: Another one I've seen mentioned is the Sager NP8268. Design is a bit uninspired, but the specs are nice, and it seems to be a generally good value. Anyone have any experience with that one?
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