gaming laptop advice? external GPU

Daanhoek18

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Jul 27, 2016
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hi everyone! i am planning to buy a gaming laptop, and it's really hard to pick. i am looking for some advice.

there are 2 options that i really like.

1:
HP Omen 15
1080p display, 120hz, G-Sync, and i've heard it's bright enough and pretty good.
16 GB of ram
1TB HDD + 512 GB SSD
GTX 1060 Max-Q 6GB VRAM
i7-7700HQ
thunderbolt 3.0
and it's €1599

2:
Asus ROG strix GL503
1080p display, 120hz, don't know about G-sync, and i have heard it's a gorgeous display with 100% Adobe RGB
16 GB of ram
1TB HDD + 256 GB SSD
GTX 1060 6GB of VRAM
i7-7700HQ
NO thunderbolt 3.0
it's €1599 as well.


the reason why i'm so worried about thunderbolt is that i had the idea of buying an external GPU a few years down the line, when the internal GPU really starts to struggle with more modern games, so i CAN play those games at home without having to buy a new PC or laptop. i could also plug my laptop into my big monitor, essentially making the laptop like a real PC when connected at home.
so, external GPU goes into laptop, laptop throws image onto my monitor. is this a good idea? or is there a problem with it. i could maybe see something like response times be a problem, or compatibility with external GPU's.

please tell me what you think! is it a good idea? which laptop should i buy? i can only execute my plan with the omen laptop... but the asus has a better screen and a slightly better GPU.

thank you all in advance!
 

n0ns3ns3

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May 25, 2016
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you should not worry about thunderbolt. Cards more powerful than 1060 will be limited in performance by the thunderbolt bandwidth.
I'm surprised you have not looked for dell/alienware laptop.
 

Daanhoek18

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Jul 27, 2016
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ahh, alright! and you're suprised i haven't looked for dell/alienware? what laptop would you recommend me then?
 

Daanhoek18

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Jul 27, 2016
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and, why does that limit the card? isn't thunderbolt 3.0 supposed to be up to 40 GB/s? isn't that enough?
 

gasaraki

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Jun 11, 2008
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No. Currently external GPU boxes over Thunderbolt 3.0 suffer a little performance penalty than when used internally on a desktop. The performance gap is even worst if you don't use an external monitor and want to use the laptop's monitor.

Dell uses their own proprietary PCIe 3.0 interface for their own external GPU box that provides full PCIe3 bandwidth to the external box. However, it's proprietary so that the drawback.

I would personally go with the Thunderbolt 3.0 versions even though you lose some performance.

 

n0ns3ns3

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May 25, 2016
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for low end cards, it's enough.
but beyond 1060 they starting to get significant performance hit. for GTX 1070 ~15% for 1080Ti it's over 30%.
Those numbers are for use with external monitor. with laptop monitor it's even worse.

As for laptops, I find Alienware very good. they might be a bit more expensive, but they are simply awesome.
Dell also have gaming laptops though not really high end. And of course razer, though I have some issues with the reliability of their products.
what laptop I'd recommend depends on how you are going to use it (home/stationary with external display and keyboard or on the move running on battery). There are a lot of options.
 
If you're not in a hurry, since you're only aiming for a 1060 and not a monster gaming laptop with a 1070 or 1080, I'd suggest waiting a few months to see if any gaming laptops decide to use one of the Kaby Lake refresh processors (i7-8xxxU). Those CPUs are 15W TDP quad cores, compared to the 45W TDP i7s used in the current gen gaming laptops.

There are two reasons:

  • ■Since you're content with a 1060 and have listed your choices as two thin-and-light gaming laptops, I assume you also plan to use this laptop extensively as a regular laptop, not just as a dedicated but portable gaming rig. I use my laptop the same way (Gigabyte P34W). And the biggest drawbacks I've found is the 45W TDP quad core makes the laptop almost too hot to use on my lap even when not gaming, and kills battery life (only 4-4.5 hours from a 63 Wh battery). I'd really like something I can take to work for a day without having to haul around the charger.
    ■Heat kills batteries. It's been less than 3 years and I've already had to replace my battery once, and the second one is dying. Initially I thought it was a poor charging program in the BIOS. But I took manual steps to counter that with the replacement (avoided charging to full or draining to empty as much as I could), and it's still dying again. The only remaining culprit I can think of is heat. Being a thin and light laptop with a 45W TDP CPU and a 100W GPU, things get really toasty inside, which is bad for the long-term health of a Li-ion battery. Reducing the CPU TDP to 15W should help.
At this level of gaming performance, the new Intel CPUs with AMD Vega M look interesting too. The ML probably isn't up to snuff (we'll have to wait for benchmarks, but expected performance is around the 1050). But the MH is supposed to perform close to the 1060 with a total CPU+GPU TDP of 100W (versus 100W for the GPU plus 15W or 45W for the CPU). Unfortunately it looks like that variant is mostly going to show up in NUCs, but I'm waiting to see if any thin-and-light gaming laptops try using it.

Anyhow, it's a big transition period in this segment of the gaming laptop market, so I think you'll be better served by waiting a few months to see what new options become available.
 

Daanhoek18

Commendable
Jul 27, 2016
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thank you for responding! yes, i am planning to use it for some school work, but i don't really care if it's thin and light. i'm just very interested in these laptops because they seem to check all the boxes. good display, decent GPU, no other weird problems as far as i've heard. also, the cooling in the HP omen should be alright, it's Max-Q. also, do you think a 1060 will be enough for the time coming? i really don't have the budget to step up to a 1070 or even 1080. €1599 is already pushing my limit a bit, sadly.
 
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