Can this laptop play games like my older one?


May 10, 2017

I normally don't ask questions like this, and much rather prefer searching for all answers. The problem is that I've come across a dilemma and as I don't really understand much about hardware at all, I want to ask you enthusiasts and professionals.

I'll present myself shorty, as this is important to my question. I am a Writer who has used a Samsung N102SP for the past two years. It's an Intel Atom processor with 2GB RAM. It's the slowest junk I've ever used and I really need to come out of it. So I am looking for a new laptop. At the moment, I have a very limited budget of $270 at the top. The most I use is a few Word files, few PDF files, 5-6 browser tabs (sometimes 10-15), SPSS once or twice a month. I don't have any need for video editing. I know enough about computing that ANYTHING better than my current laptop will be a huge upgrade for me.

The twist here is that I want to buy a laptop that can play at least some games. As a reference, my friend has an HP EliteBook 8460p with an Intel i5 3rd(IIRC) Gen and Radeon 6400M. It runs Civ 5, L4D2, Dawn of War 2, and W40K space marine quite well. Most importantly, it runs RuneScape well too.

I've heard that AMD A-series processors are APU? My research show me that they are good for gaming. I found some laptops on Amazon, one of interest is HP 15-ba009dx which has a A6-7310 with Radeon R4 graphics. This looks like a really strong option, but I want to know if I can expect the same games to run as the previous paragraph. I don't want/need to play any other newer games. I'm looking at a few hours of gaming everyday. This works with the EliteBook, can it work with the laptop I just highlighted?

I also found another laptop, this one is HP 15-f387wm with A8-7410 with Radeon R5 graphics. This somehow is falling into the same category, and has a touchscreen, but a share of poor reviews as well. What do you guys think about this one?

I'm open to any suggestions you might have, including any laptops I can get from Amazon in the same price range. Thank you for going through this long article.

Here are the links to the two laptops I've found:



The HP Elitebook has both the Intel HD 3000 (2ndd gen Core i5 CPU) and Radeon 6430m; both of which are pretty weak. In fact, ranks the Radeon 6430m below the Intel HD 3000 based on the links for both graphic core / chip below. The middle column ranks many current and old mobile graphic cores / chips beginning with Class 1 which is the highest performance. Both are considered Class 5. There are no game benchmarks for the Radeon HD 6430m.

The AMD A6-7310 is a pretty weak APU with the Radeon R4 (Beema) graphics core that is pretty weak. It's performance is between that of the Intel HD 4000 in 3rd generation Intel CPUs and the Intel HD 4200 found in low end 4th gen Intel CPUs. The Intel HD 4000 is actually more powerful than the Intel HD 4200. The AMD A8-7410 is also pretty weak. Despite being quad core APU, it's processing power is a bit less than an Intel Core i3 CPU. It has the Radeon R5 (Beema) graphics core that pretty much has similar performance to the Radeon R4. At least it has 4 cores instead of only two cores compared to the A6-7310. Both graphics cores are in the Class 4 category.

Here's a video of L4D played on a laptop with an A8-7410. There is no FPS counter and I assume the lowest graphic settings are being used. Also, I assume software is being used to record gameplay, if so then actual performance when no recording should probably be around 15% better.

I recommend you postpone your purchase to save just a little more money to buy the following Acer laptop with a 5th generation Intel Core i3-6100u CPU and the integrated Intel HD 520 graphics core for $300. It is ranked as a low Class 3 graphics core, but it offers better game performance.

Below is a video for L4D 2 played on a laptop with a core i5-6200u and Intel HD 520 graphic core. Software is being used to record the gameplay, so I assume the recorded performance is similar to playing it with a core i30-6100u. Graphic settings are at the beginning of the video with either high or very high settings.

Be aware that when using integrated graphics to play games, it is best to install a second stick of RAM. Two sticks of RAM means it will run at full speed rather than half speed. That can generally improve game performance by 10% - 15%, but it depends on the game. More RAM also means the laptop's performance should generally be a bit better since more RAM means less disk caching when Windows begins to run out of memory. Disk caching basically reading / writing data back and forth between the hard drive and RAM which slows down overall performance.

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