Laptop With Expandability, Reliability, and Game-Ability

tech-illiterate

Honorable
Apr 30, 2013
10
0
10,560
0
Hi, I think I am going to make the plunge and switch form a Mac to a PC, but I'm not sure where to start.... I will be using it for basic web surfing, word processing, watching movies (DVDs and streaming) and playing a few games. Here is what I am looking for:

Screen Size-13-15 inches

Processor-Intel Quad Core

Battery Life-Ideally over 4 hours

Graphics-1-2 GB dedicated video card

I would like it to be somewhat expandable so that it does not get outdated too quickly.

I would like it to be reliable and easy to fix (non of this integrated battery crap).

I would like it to be able to play games like Starcraft 2 and Civilization 5 on reasonable settings.

My ideal budget cap is $1600.

I would really appreciate any thoughts that you may have. Thanks for your help!
 

tech-illiterate

Honorable
Apr 30, 2013
10
0
10,560
0


The Y500 has popped up on my radar through some gaming laptop reviews. I'm a little uncertain about the "ultrabay" though. Is that where an additional graphics card is placed (in addition to another dedicated video card) or is that the only place for a dedicated video card? Also, I saw that an additional cooling fan can be placed there, is that worth considering?

Also, I'm unfamiliar with hybrid hard drive systems... I can choose what gets saved on the SSD and what goes onto the SATA right?

Thanks for the replies Rhabot and JD88!
 

JD88

Honorable
Feb 25, 2013
215
0
10,860
20
The Ultrabay is basically the slot for the optical drive. The optical drive is removed in favor of the second GPU.

The first GPU is integrated with the system while the second can be swapped out at any time for an optical drive, fan, extra hard drive, etc.

I believe the SSD portion is just used as a cache for the main HDD offering faster boot and load times. I have the Y400 and just swapped that drive out for a 256GB Samsung Pro Series SSD.
 

tech-illiterate

Honorable
Apr 30, 2013
10
0
10,560
0


Sweet! The next question I was going to ask was whether you could upgrade the SSD. This laptop is sounding better and better!

Two follow up questions:
1-How involved was upgrading the SSD? (Did you have to reinstall the OS and stuff?)
2-Having installed a bigger SSD, are you able to choose what gets saved on it and what goes to the SATA?

Thanks for the help!
 

JD88

Honorable
Feb 25, 2013
215
0
10,860
20
By upgrading the SSD, I'm assuming you mean the 16GB mSATA drive.

Mine version didn't come with the SSD so I just swapped the 1TB 2.5 in drive for a 256GB Samsung SSD and used the cloning software it came with to transfer the data. I didn't even want the standard hard drive in there for power and weight saving reasons.

Alternatively, you could just re-install windows but you would need a bootable Win 8 USB drive or disk for that.

Once installed, you would have the ability to decide what gets installed and stored where.

Check out this thread for some details:

http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/IdeaPad-Y-U-V-Z-and-P-series/Y500-SSD/td-p/1001925
 

tech-illiterate

Honorable
Apr 30, 2013
10
0
10,560
0


Thanks again JD88!

I have a few of follow up questions for this thread:

1) How helpful will the 16GB SSD really be? I am told that it is used for caching but am not totally sure what that will mean in practice or how much I will need to manage it....

2) Would you recommend putting the Windows OS on the SSD for faster boot times instead of using it for caching-and if so would I need to upgrade it to a 24GB or 32GB SSD?

3) I only just realized that the Y500 with the top of the line configuration has TWO 2GB NVIDIA cards, how helpful will this really be if I just intend to play Civilization 5, some RTS games, and watch some streaming movies?

4) Even if I don't require the 2 video cards now, will it mean that my laptop should be able to run similar new games a few years down the road?

Thanks again for all your help, the Y500 is looking really good, I'm just wondering how best to optimize it at this point as I will be trying to keep it for like 6 years.
 

JD88

Honorable
Feb 25, 2013
215
0
10,860
20
The 16GB SSD will be somewhat helpful, but not nearly as effective has having a larger drive that has the O/S and other programs you use most often on it.

I would almost suggest skipping the mSATA SSD all together and replacing the mechanical hard drive with something like a 256GB SSD for everything. This would work unless you need the 1TB of storage for something. It gets rid of some weight and saves on battery.

The GT 750M is a solid card. It should be good for the games you are talking about. I would say just go with one for now and buy the second down the road if you feel like you need it.
 

olin9

Distinguished
Feb 20, 2008
159
0
18,660
7
The 16 GB SSD is in a bay by itself. You can see it in the photos in the review. I think you can upgrade the SSD and keep the 1 TB drive. Key words "I think".
I have read that users have replaced the SSD, they just did not go into details.
 

tech-illiterate

Honorable
Apr 30, 2013
10
0
10,560
0
Hi guys, I've been away for a bit but thank you very much for the help olin9 and JD88, your input has been great!

At this point I'm still figuring out the fine points as far as the configuration but I will definitely be going with this laptop.

At this point the only things I'm weighing are whether to:

A) Replace the 1TB hard drive with an SSD drive of 256GB or so.
B) Get the second video card (maybe not though as the sale just ended on that special JD88 posted :/ )
C) Whether to upgrade from 8GB's of RAM to 16GB's (again because that sale is no longer available :/ )
C) Whether I should down-grade to Windows 7 as I've been out of the PC world for a while and would not be sure where to start with the Windows 8 OS.

In any event, I feel that each of those questions might warrant their own thread and everyone's help has definitely helped my to find my next laptop.

Thanks for the help everyone! :D
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
You can install a 128GB or 256GB mSATA SSD and use it as the primary drive to where the OS will be installed to. That means you can keep the HDD in place for storage. However, there are two caveats:

1. You need a program that will allow you to choose the mSATA SSD as the primary drive so that the OS can be installed to it. I need to dig up that little program...

2. The mSATA SSD will likely only operates at SATA II speed not SATA III speed. That's because Lenovo laptops with the mSATA slot basically have a SATA II interface. It will still be faster than a HDD, but you will not get the full benefits of installing a mSATA SSD.
 

jaguarskx

Champion
Moderator
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
F Laptop Tech Support 0
R Laptop Tech Support 0
2 Laptop Tech Support 3
ITweeks Laptop Tech Support 3
catrose Laptop Tech Support 0
X Laptop Tech Support 0
E Laptop Tech Support 0
Beasttrick246 Laptop Tech Support 1
flameeagle71 Laptop Tech Support 0
M Laptop Tech Support 1
jubitu8 Laptop Tech Support 0
jondajaba Laptop Tech Support 3
B Laptop Tech Support 1
Pandofla Laptop Tech Support 2
B Laptop Tech Support 0
Toastbyte Laptop Tech Support 1
M Laptop Tech Support 0
Machir23 Laptop Tech Support 2
F Laptop Tech Support 1
Z Laptop Tech Support 3

ASK THE COMMUNITY