Deciding between different models of MSI laptops (College Purchase)

ham123

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Mar 14, 2014
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I'm currently searching for a laptop for college, and, with due consideration, I have a rather large budget. MSI particularly interests me considering their laptops are rather solid, but I'm conflicted between what model would be the most bang for my buck.

The main caveat between all the laptops is that they offer a different price point and different hardware. Although, the main problem is whether paying money for a stronger NVIDIA GPU (GTX 780M vs 870M as in other laptops), for a stronger screen (3K vs 1920x1080), or for a stronger processor (i7 4800MQ vs 4700MQ), would be worth it in the long run.

I already am set on the laptop screen size (15.6") and the brand of processor/GPU (Intel/NVIDIA) present in the laptop, but, if there are other laptops I should consider purchasing, I'd like to know what they are. I should also be able to put about $1.25k or more towards a laptop purchase.

MSI GT60 Dominator-424 Upgraded 16GB RAM + 120GB Samsung 840 Evo SSD
MSI G Series GT60 2OD-026US
MSI GT60 Dominator 3K-474 15.6" Core i7-4800MQ/16GB/NV GTX870M
 

photonboy

Distinguished
Hey,
Unless you are playing Video Games, a good Graphics chip is not only a waste of money but adds to the weight of the laptop (better cooler).

The CPU is also overkill unless you are doing CPU-intensive tasks as just about ANY laptop will give the same experience for network browsing, word processing etc.

Since you don't give any special requirements I can't recommend a particular laptop.

I'm not sure why you believe MSI in particular is the best because I don't believe that to be the case. HP, Asus, and Lenovo make great laptops as well (Sony too but they're getting out of the PC business).

You also must look at customer reviews for the exact model (i.e. get something with 4/5 average and at least ten customer reviews.)

My advice on a basic laptop is:
1) HP/Asus/Lenovo
2) 1600x900, or 1920x1080 screen
3) 15.6" screen for portability (or 17" if meant to be static)
*I recommend a 15.6", and buy a separate monitor perhaps with speakers and use the HDMI input. You can use ONLY the monitor or BOTH screens which is useful for writing reports (word processor open on one screen, network browser on another)
4) Intel i5-4xxx CPU
5) Graphics: Intel unless you game (Then GTX750M or better)
6) Good customer reviews

You can buy a good non-gaming laptop for about $500.
 

photonboy

Distinguished
Other:
If you don't need a laptop quite yet, and intend to do some light gaming I suggest waiting for one with the MAXWELL GPU.

The GTX750Ti is the only desktop graphics card with the new architecture. The key point is it's very POWER EFFICIENT so will make a great laptop GPU so I expect that in the next few months.

I don't know what it will be called though, but here's some info:
http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/176785-nvidias-new-maxwell-powered-gtx-750-ti-is-hyper-efficient-quiet-a-serious-threat-to-amd
 

ham123

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Mar 14, 2014
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Thank you for the response! Also, sorry for not mentioning why I was intending to purchase this laptop. Sorry for the lack of information on that front, but I'll clear it up for you.

I intended to get a laptop primarily for gaming as well as some code development on the side. As such, a discrete graphics card would be needed if I am to experience reasonable FPS at a higher resolution, as integrated graphics aren't necessarily cut out for titles like Crysis or Bioshock. I did poke around at other brands of laptops, especially Asus and Lenovo as you mentioned, beforehand. I don't have a particular preference towards the MSI laptops, just more so towards the hardware contained within.

The Lenovo y510p is a viable option as well, but I'd rather have the benefit of the doubt in the power front if you have an idea of what I mean. I could say weight is not a factor here, considering I'm not going to be constantly lugging around the laptop wherever I go, but I'm planning to stick with a 15.6" screen for the sake of portability. I'm not entirely sure if ASUS provides a 15.6" laptop option for gaming other than the ASUS G55VW, but I'd like to know otherwise.

Again, thank you for your help!
 

photonboy

Distinguished
Okay.
The $1600 and $2000 systems seemed the same to me so I'm not sure why the difference in price.

The $1600 laptop seems pretty kick-ass as a gaming laptop.

I don't think you can do much better if you want the 870M GPU. In the future, you may wish to investigate G-Sync monitors once the price drops (the first one isn't even out yet). In a year or so they should be $250.

Other:
I suggest START8 to bypass the new Windows 8 interface. You can still use it from the Start Menu that's been brought back. It's $5.
 

ham123

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Mar 14, 2014
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Okay. Well, yea, I'm used to Windows 8 as it stands, and I actually use Classic Shell right now as it's a nice free alternative to START8. Also, the $1.6k option seems better price wise considering that the performance difference between the 870M and the 780M isn't going to make a noticeable difference FPS wise (should be like, ~5 to 6 FPS).



Well, if I were to go with this option, then I'd be spending in the upwards of $2.2k or so, which, is a stretch considering I'll see diminishing returns GPU performance wise, which doesn't justify spending $800 more if I can get similar performance with the other laptop. Although, it is an interesting option. Is there anything specifically better or worse with a 3k RES screen vs. a 1920x1080 screen other than a higher pixel density on a given screen?
 

ham123

Estimable
Mar 14, 2014
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Alright. I might just go with that option, but maybe after a bit more deliberation considering the 870M and the 780M won't have a HUGE difference performance wise and I can save a few hundred dollars otherwise.
 

CBJ023

Honorable
Mar 17, 2013
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I also recommend the MSI GT60 Dominator 424. I'm planning on getting it for my $1,300 - $1,400 price range, but you could buy it with an SSD from xoticpc for a little more performance.
 
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