Gaming laptop buying advice, $1100 budget


Mar 9, 2014
Hello. I am looking for advice for a gaming laptop around the $1100 budget, but I can skimp on a few things the bring the price down a few hundred dollars (these are listed below). I am very familiar with desktop components but not as much with laptops. It's a little bit harder for me to research the different parts of a laptop since you don't get to pick nearly as much compared to a desktop. Mobos and GPUs are still in the aether as they are not as easy to pick for a specific laptop. So, I have come to this site to ask for some guidance on what my options are.

#14 is where I put a short version of this list. If there are any additional questions I'd be happy to answer them.

1. What is your budget?
$1100, but I would like to spend something closer to $900-$1,000.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Between 14" and 16" is preferred (15" is what I have now), and I don't want or need a keypad. If it happens to come with one, it isn't a deal breaker.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
This isn't important to me. Whatever a ~15" can handle.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
This will be used primarily for games and schoolwork.

5. How much battery life do you need?
Battery life isn't important to me. It will be plugged in most of the time.

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
Games that I will primarily be playing are: Diablo 3, Rift, League of Legends, and X-Com games on Steam. I would like to be able to run these on at least Medium settings without frame rates dropping below 30.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
None that would make a difference on hardware. The laptop I have now, which is around 4 years old, handles the type of schoolwork that I am doing with Virtual Machines without issues so I don't think that is a big factor with the CPUs in the market now.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Probably less than 250gig (SSD), as I will only want an OS, a few games (like the ones listed above) and some space for schoolwork. I will, though, need a little bit extra for some Virtual Machines that I use during school which will take up roughly 10-20 gigs each, and I shouldn't have more than 3 at a time.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I don't have a preference. I have an Amazon Prime account, so if there is something there it would be nice to be able to get it in a short amount of time, but that shouldn't be a determining factor on buying this laptop.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
3-4 years. Once I am out of school it's primary function is access to my other computer with remote access.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
I would like to save the cost and not have an optical drive. If that isn't a possibility, then it doesn't matter what I have.

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
I like the feel of the Inspiron from Dell. That is what I've had for the past few years but after using other peoples laptop for a few times during class Asus and Sony feel fine as well. I don't have a big preference on which laptop it is.

13. What country do you live in?

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
The short version of all of this:
CPU - I know Intel best and think an i-5 3rd of 4th gen should be powerful enough. Maybe even i-3 4th gen.
GPU - no idea
HDD - 250 gig SSD (this is an estimate)
Optical Drive - None
Network - Gigabit ethernet, N wifi (will settle for G if needed, and will take AC if possible for future-proofing)
USB - 4 slots is preferred
Screen Size - 15", could go to 14" if needed but I don't want smaller and I don't want bigger than 16".
Battery Life - Doesn't matter, will be plugged in most of the time.
I want to play some mid level-intense games such as Diablo 3, Rift, and League of Legends. Graphics should be around medium or higher running 60 fps (within reason). I want fast network connection.

Also, if there is a new hardware coming out in the next month or two that would most likely make the price of a component drop a significant amount ($100 or so) I could wait a short amount of time. I know this happens with GPUs and CPUs all the time with desktops (depending on supply and demand of course).

Additionally... you should also consider what support options are available in your area. If say you buy something abroad, will you be able to have it fixed near where you live? Does the warranty apply? How quickly do local accredited technicians fix laptops?
I know desktops much better than laptops, but I feel as long as the mobo and screen isn't bad I should be able to fix or replace anything that goes wrong (ram, hdd, OS). Hardware is hardware and you never know when you get something that won't last a long time. I know how to properly treat my equipment to increase it's longevity but a component will go out on its own when it wants to.

Thank you to anyone who is willing to help.

Edit: Updated a few items for clarification.


Mar 9, 2014
I have found a laptop that I customized through HP. ENVY TouchSmart 15t-j100 Select Edition. The specs are as follows, as I'm unsure a link would work:
OS - Windows 8.1
CPU - i5-4200M
GPU - NVIDIA GeForce GT740M Graphics with 2048MB of dedicated video memory
RAM - 8GB DDR3 (1 Dimm)
HDD - 750GB 5400 rpm

The rest is just the rest, and wouldn't matter as far as how quick the operation is. I will most likely upgrade the HDD to a SSD, but they don't have the option on doing it through their website. But what do you think? Would this be able to run what I want?

Here is the link that I have:
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