Creating a desktop using a laptop

freeman3030

Prominent
Aug 4, 2017
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Hi,
I currently have a mid 2011 iMac which has started slowing down. I'm looking to buy a laptop because then I can take it on holiday with me.
However, I enjoy playing simulation games like The Sims 4, cities in motion, cities skylines, tropico etc. And also enjoy GTA V.
(I have to use my partner's laptop for GTA V which is annoying because he's always on it - it is his after all).

So I'm looking to replace my Mac in favour of a laptop for its portability, however, when at home I'd like to hookup an external monitor (I'd really like an ultra-widescreen) because I like a large screen. Will I be able to get an external keyboard/mouse and hookup to an external monitor and loose any performance when gaming due to having a 2nd monitor?

Also are the Nvidia GPU's (e.g. GTX 1060) the same GTX 1060s that you get in a desktop?

Many thanks
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
Absent any budgetary constraints there a lots of laptops that will do the job. Just make sure it has a DisplayPort or an HDMI 2.0 port. That will allow you to connect a 4K monitor and play games at genuine 4K resolution and 60Hz.

For reference, here's a 14" Gigabyte from newegg.com, priced at $1,650:
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834233192&ignorebbr=1

You get a quad-core 7th gen i7 CPU and a 6GB GTX 1060 GPU, and that's going to play just about any game you can throw at it, including GTA V and similar massive open-world games.

It also has my recommended DisplayPort and HDMI 2.0 ports and it only weighs 4.17lbs. But the 91Whr battery pack is really the USP here: Gigabyte claim 'up to 10 hours' of battery life, and even if that should prove rather optimistic it's way more than I've found in any other gaming laptop. But let's not forget the 3K IPS panel, the 16GBs of RAM, and the 512GB M.2 SSD storage drive.

With 3 USB 3.0 ports you can plug in a keyboard and a mouse and still have 1 USB port left for an external HDD with all your games.

You can get gaming rigs with an 8GB GTX 1070/1080 card, and if you feel 14" is a bit small, there are lots of 17" models to choose from. These will be rather more expensive - expect starting prices around $2,000 and weight between 6lbs and 10lbs.

But as indicated earlier the 6GB 1060 card will not only play any game you can think of, but it's also the minimum requirement for running VR applications should you ever decide to explore that avenue.

Finally, from what I've seen $1,600 is the cut-off point for these cards. If you're OK with a 4GB GTX 1050 card prices drop to $900, but 4K connectivity will be much rarer to find and some games need more GPU power.

In theory, games like GTA V and FallOut 4 should play with a 2GB 900-series card, but you have to scale down settings so much it's almost pointless. If you plan on using a 4K monitor you'd want to play at that resolution as well (otherwise what's the point of this monitor?), but in that case FallOut 4 needs more GPU power than the 4GB 1050TI card I currently have in my desktop can deliver. The same goes for GTA V - perhaps even more so.

Happy gaming,
GreyCatz.
 

severinsen70

Prominent
Oct 15, 2017
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As long as your laptop has USB ports and a video out port (HDMI, VGA etc) you should have no issue. I play a lot of my steam games through an HDMI cord on my 40" TV as my laptop is only 13.3". Just connect the mouse and keyboard to the laptop, and the HDMI from the laptop->TV and you should be golden.

The cards are the same: https://www.notebookcheck.net/GeForce-GTX-1060-Laptop-vs-GeForce-GTX-1060-Desktop_7362_7336.247598.0.html

If you're looking at games like GTA V you would be fine with a GTX 1050 laptop as well, or perhaps a 1050ti. It'll be cheaper than the 1060 options. I even think the Ti might be a bit overkill considering the other games aren't too graphically intensive. Now the thing is what you're looking for in a laptop, a traditional gamer style with a strong cpu/gpu, or a smaller sleek form factor (still can get a great cpu/gpu but generally the price will be a bit higher as fitting awesome specs into an ultrabook isn't easy).

My current laptop has an MX150 graphics card (here's a comparison between MX150 and GTX 1050: http://gpuboss.com/gpus/GeForce-MX150-vs-GeForce-GTX-1050) here's how the MX150 performs in GTA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWCcXfGHpRs

Hope this was of some help, let me know if you have any questions.
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
Absent any budgetary constraints there a lots of laptops that will do the job. Just make sure it has a DisplayPort or an HDMI 2.0 port. That will allow you to connect a 4K monitor and play games at genuine 4K resolution and 60Hz.

For reference, here's a 14" Gigabyte from newegg.com, priced at $1,650:
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834233192&ignorebbr=1

You get a quad-core 7th gen i7 CPU and a 6GB GTX 1060 GPU, and that's going to play just about any game you can throw at it, including GTA V and similar massive open-world games.

It also has my recommended DisplayPort and HDMI 2.0 ports and it only weighs 4.17lbs. But the 91Whr battery pack is really the USP here: Gigabyte claim 'up to 10 hours' of battery life, and even if that should prove rather optimistic it's way more than I've found in any other gaming laptop. But let's not forget the 3K IPS panel, the 16GBs of RAM, and the 512GB M.2 SSD storage drive.

With 3 USB 3.0 ports you can plug in a keyboard and a mouse and still have 1 USB port left for an external HDD with all your games.

You can get gaming rigs with an 8GB GTX 1070/1080 card, and if you feel 14" is a bit small, there are lots of 17" models to choose from. These will be rather more expensive - expect starting prices around $2,000 and weight between 6lbs and 10lbs.

But as indicated earlier the 6GB 1060 card will not only play any game you can think of, but it's also the minimum requirement for running VR applications should you ever decide to explore that avenue.

Finally, from what I've seen $1,600 is the cut-off point for these cards. If you're OK with a 4GB GTX 1050 card prices drop to $900, but 4K connectivity will be much rarer to find and some games need more GPU power.

In theory, games like GTA V and FallOut 4 should play with a 2GB 900-series card, but you have to scale down settings so much it's almost pointless. If you plan on using a 4K monitor you'd want to play at that resolution as well (otherwise what's the point of this monitor?), but in that case FallOut 4 needs more GPU power than the 4GB 1050TI card I currently have in my desktop can deliver. The same goes for GTA V - perhaps even more so.

Happy gaming,
GreyCatz.
 

freeman3030

Prominent
Aug 4, 2017
3
0
510
0
Thanks for the replies, you've really helped make things seem much clearer. Originally I was planning on attempting to build my own desktop PC, but upon reflection, it would be nice to have the option to take it with me.
I'm not fussed on it being small and light, so long as its powerful - that's all that matters!
With regards to 4K, i'm happy having a 1080P laptop screen, but if I purchase a larger 4K external monitor, can I use 4k resolution or am I restricted by the laptop in some way?

As for keyboard and mouse, I was thinking about purchasing bluetooth ones purely to reduce cable clutter.

One last thing, is USB C starting to take off with regards to laptop charging? It would be great to only have to take a couple of USB C cables and loose the bulk of a power brick. Also its convenient when taking the laptop upstairs - not having to cart the charger up with me.

Thank you for your replies, the info is brilliant!
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
If we use the Gigabyte as an example, it has a native - or 'standard' - resolution of 2560 x 1440p (which is sometimes referred to as '3K'). While it's true that most games are in fact developed for 1080p, using a 1440p screen won't harm the viewing experience. But truth be told the difference isn't that significant.

But if you go from 1080p to 2160p you'll definitely be able to tell the difference! You just need a CPU/GPU combo that can power the signals. With this Gigabyte you could conceivably run 2 4K monitors using the DisplayPort and the HDMI cable. The way I see it, you'll only be restricted if you decide to play even more sophisticated games than those mentioned earlier or attempt to run very complex multi-monitor setups (that would require 1070/1080 cards).

More and more laptops come with USB 3.1 Type-C ports but the technology isn't as widespread as we'd like, and most options are still only for data transfer. According to the specs, the Type-C port in the Gigabyte allows for USB charging as well.

Finally, a few loose ends:
- I somehow got the Whr specs wrong - it's 94.24Whr.
- While most monitors will ship with the relevant cable types, keep in mind that you need an HDMI 2.0 cable to go with the 2.0 port in the laptop.
- The Gigabyte is an extremely tight fit - you will feel the heat from this machine, so don't put it in your lap! And for extended gaming sessions, you should definitely use a desktop keyboard/mouse setup - wired or bluetooth - because the WASD area will heat up.

Cheers,
GreyCatz.
 

freeman3030

Prominent
Aug 4, 2017
3
0
510
0
Since posting, I've had a look around at various laptops and set a budget of £1,000 as I don't want to spend tonnes of money on this laptop.

I've narrowed it down to 2 options

Dell - Intel Core i7-7700HQ & GTX 1050

Lenovo - Intel Core i5-7300HQ & GTX 1050Ti

Which would you choose?
Both have 1 TB HDD & 128GB SSD
 
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