Moving from Desktop to Laptop for Main Home PC


Jan 16, 2011
I currently have a desktop with specs listed below. It is overkill for what I mainly use it for (surf, play WoW maxed out, edit photos and some HD video editing), but I thought I was going to do more 3D gaming than I've done so that's why I got the high-end video card (i.e. no time to do all that - too busy with work).

Furthermore, I rarely use it unless I'm playing World of Warcraft, as I'm usually in front of the TV on the couch with my work-provided laptop (an IBM Thinkpad T410) because obviously I can bring my desktop down there (it's upstairs).

I'm looking thus to replace my entire home desktop system with a laptop (I'll sell off the desktop piece by piece to cover the cost of a nice laptop). This will mean this laptop will be the main computer in the house, with only my wife's iPad 16GB wifi and my work laptop as the only two other PCs in the house. Oh, sorry, forgot one which is the NAS device I built for the home network that has about 4GB of x264 mkv movies, TV series, and home video/pictures on it.

I've been considering getting a Macbook Pro, but haven't decided yet because they are pricey and feel I may get better bang for my buck with a PC-laptop. Plus, I already have all of the Windows 7 software (and WoW for PC) and didn't want to pay for all that again just to have a Macbook Pro.

Any help in suggesting which way to go with a laptop (Mac or regular laptop); as well as suggestions on which exact models would be best would be really great.

Current desktop system:
Q9450 CPU @ 2.66GHz
4GB Mushkin DDR2 RAM
Asus P5N-D SLI Mobo (ironic, since not using Nvidia cards anymore)
ATI Saphire 5850 Video Card
2 - 64GB Kingston V100 SSDs (RAID 0)
Windows 7 64-bit
Cooler Master Cosmos case
Logitech G15 keyboard and G5 mouse

1. What is your budget?
Up to $1800

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

3. What screen resolution do you want?
As high as possible. Ideally want an LED screen, so long as it doesn't blow the budget out of the water - but can afford less performance for better looking screen.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
It's desktop replacement, but again only in regards to the uses I listed above (Wow or video editing would be most intense things...not 3D gaming beyond WoW Cataclysm at max graphics)

5. How much battery life do you need?
2-3 hours

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)?
As mentioned above, just WoW Cataclysm on Ultra graphics.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
Photo and video editing. Watching x264 videos in mkv container at 720p or 1080p

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
500GB should suffice. SSD would be preferred (are Macbook Pro's SSD?)

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I live in Canada (near Hamilton specifically) - so going across the border for something good is no big deal (but would have to deal with warranty issues). Otherwise, it's,,,, etc.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
3 years minimum. I've had my desktop rig for 2 years, and find it can do everything I want/need now (other than fold up and be portable)

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Gotta be honest...other than for installing stuff (OS, WoW), I never use the optical drive in my PC, so don't think I'd need one in my laptop, if I can get away somehow with installing from a network image or something.

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.
Apple, Asus, Nvidia, ATI, BFG, IBM are all brands I have bought in the past and like. Don't like Dell.

13. What country do you live in?

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Definitely want a wireless N card in it. Ideally a network port on it would be good too, for the times I want to jack in to a faster/better network speed at home. On the road, I'll likely end up using it with one of those wireless rocket sticks from a carrier in the summertime when I'm at my cottage and want to check something on the internet.
Also, while good speakers aren't a must, I would like at least a headphone jack with good audio quality to playing WoW and/or listening to music.

I had contemplated just getting one of the new tablets coming out (ipad 2, xoom, etc.) and keeping my desktop, just so I could surf the net while on the couch, etc. But, I really do want the ability to also play WoW in a portable way, so am now leaning towards the laptop rather than the tablet.


Jan 16, 2011
Looks interesting, but a bit overkill for what I need. I'd rather go higher quality manufacturing than on the performance like this, as I'm only playing Wow.

Also, I live in Canada. So where could I even go look at this thing up here?


Jul 9, 2009
Ima have to go with what maziar said. the i7 mobiles are really close to performance 2630qm is close to i7 920 performance now. the 470m gpu will perform like the 460 desktop. The quality of sager is really great. Alienware uses clevo components just like sager. Pretty sure xotic pc offers shipping to Canada. As i dont live in canada im not sure of which places to buy from. One other thing xotic offers w/o os so choose in the customization. if your not gonna do very intensive look at the sager np5160 3-5 hour battery life and resolution up to 1920x1080, but comes with the 540m gpu. its a 15.6 inch laptop as well starting at about $800. check xotic one of the cheapest/best resellers for sager or gaming laptops.


Jan 11, 2011
Two laptops come to mind that I think would be great for you.

The first is the Sony Vaio EC for $1200. Measuring 17.3" for an expansive workspace, this VAIO® EC Series laptop is ideal for movies, casual gaming, or work. ATI Mobility Radeon™ dedicated graphics, built-in Blu-ray Disc™ technology, and 1 GB of VRAM on select models ensure outstanding picture quality and sound for your digital photos and high-definition movies. Also, the i5-460M processor is a beast. Here are some specs:

17.3" (1920x1080) HD
2.53 GHz Intel® Core™ i5-460M
4 GB DDR3 1000 MHz
500 GB HDD 7200 RPM

The other is the HP Envy 17 for $1300. It has a super-sleek, laser-etched aluminum case, this laptop furnishes HD graphics on the 17" display, your choice of Intel® Core™ i processors, and the superior sound of Beats Audio. It offers everything you need to entertain yourself and look good while you do it. Here are it's specs:

17.3" VGA (1x1) HD
2.66 GHz Intel® Core™ i5-580M Dual Core Processor (2.66GHz, 3MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost
6 GB 2 DIMM 1024 MHz
640 GB HDD 7200 RPM

Honestly, for the extra $100, I'd go with the HP, but both are beasts. Good luck. Hope this helps!

Windows Outreach Team

Sager makes quality laptops with fantastic build quality(especially the performance series such as the one I recommended)
And yes,XoticPC ships to Canada as well.


Jan 16, 2011
The other dynamic here I should have mentioned is that I'm likely going to keep my Dell Ultrasharp 24" monitor so I can plug laptop into it for the bigger screen gaming, etc. Thus, I think the 17" laptops are kind of too big and thus I am aiming for the 15.4" size.

Any suggestions in regards to that change would be great.

Apple's engineering is amazing .... looking inside, it doesn't look like it was made with human hands. That being said, I have to say I don't use one in that as an AutoCAD user, I need more performance than a Mac can offer. If you can use one, the reliability and support are unequaled.

As for brand preferences, you may chuckle when ya find out that that most of the brands people swear by and swear at don't actually build laptops. The vast majority of laptops on the market are manufactured by a small handful of Original Design Manufacturers (ODM).

Major relationships include:

* Quanta sells to (among others) HP/Compaq, Dell, Toshiba, Sony, Fujitsu, Acer, NEC, Gateway and Lenovo/IBM - note that Quanta is currently (as of August, 2007) the largest manufacturer of notebook computers in the world.
* Compal sells to Toshiba, HP/Compaq, Acer, and Dell.
* Positivo Informatica sells to Samsung, Sony, Siragon, Toshiba, HP
* Wistron (former manufacturing & design division of Acer) sells to HP/Compaq, Dell, IBM, NEC, Acer, and Lenovo/IBM.
* Flextronics (former Arima Computer Corporation notebook division) sells to HP/Compaq, NEC, and Dell.
* Itautec sells to Siragon, LG, Samsung, Sony
* ECS sells to IBM, Fujitsu, and Dell.
* Asus sells to Apple (iBook), Sony, and Samsung.
* Inventec sells to HP/Compaq, Toshiba, and BenQ.
* Lanix sells to Sony, Compaq, Toshiba, Siragon, Itautec
* Uniwill sells to Lenovo/IBM and Fujitsu & PC World UK own brand Advent.
* Clevo sells or has sold to Alienware, Sager, VoodooPC, Falcon Northwest, Eurocom, Xoticpc, ProStar, WidowPC, Killernotebooks and many other "boutique" brands.

For personal usage, and not a gamer or demanding graphics application user, it's real hard to go wrong w/ a MacBook. For office usage, I generally recommend the cheaper Asus models .... for high end demanding apps and games, I go w/ Clevo.

You know where to find Apple products ..... Asus and Celvo can be found here:



Jan 16, 2011
Great reply, thanks.

Could you define what you believe is "personal usage"? I imagine for spending as much as a Macbook Pro costs, it would mean something more than checking email and surfing the internet. I guess I'm just trying to find out what a Macbook Pro would be better at specifically than what a Windows 7 laptop wouldn't.

As for gaming, i wouldn't say I need a Clevo, as I'm not playing anything highend or demainding....just WoW Cataclysm.

As Jack mentioned,MBPs build quality are awesome.
Aside from MBP's,you can't find any notebooks with a unibody aluminum design(along with the fantastic battery life they offer). But you need something that can replace your desktop.
First of all none of MBP's offer a quad core CPU and a GPU as powerful as your current card so you may have to look at the iMacs instead which have a fairly powerful CPU and GPU.
Macbook pros have GT 330M which is a mid-range card,so it can handle WoW fine but you may need to lower some options;furthermore,Photo and Video editing benefit from a quad core CPU.(On the other hand,like I mentioned they have outstanding battery life,design,weight,unmatched track pad,and of course the ability to use OS X legally)
Anyway,if you need a windows alternative,have a look at Sager NP5160


Oct 9, 2006
I have to say from personal experience MBP's are amazing machines. Though with that said for $1800 you can find MUCH better performance looking into companies like Sager, Falcon Northwest, higher end Dell and HP. I myself currently use a Dell XPS M1530 it's a couple years old but with an 8600m GT and a T9300 that has 6MB of cache it's a screamer. Looking at what you have currently I'd say look into high end HP or Dell or if you're willing to wait for shipping Sager as suggested


Jan 16, 2011
So heres' a Sager spec that comes out to $1350. It will likely be about $1500 by the time I get it cleared and shipped across the border to Canada. And then I've got potential warranty costs/issues with having to ship it back across the border to get it fixed.

Sager NP5160 / Clevo W150HN PRE ORDER
- 15.6” FHD 16:9 LED Backlit Wide screen (1920x1080) Super Clear Glare Type Screen
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- -2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-2820QM, 2.3-3.4GHz, (32nm, 8MB L3 cache)
- - IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU
- nVidia GT 540M 1024MB PCI-Express GDDR3 DX11 with Optimus™ Technology
- No Video Adapter
- ~ 8,192MB DDR3 1333MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS)- Special
- Standard Finish
- ~Combo 8x8x6x4x Dual Layer DVD +/-R/RW 5x DVD-RAM 24x CD-R/RW Drive w/Software
- ~ 500GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache)
- No Additional Hard Drive in ODD Bay - When Selecting, Optical Drive is NOT Included
- No Back Up Hard Drive
- NO External USB Optical Drive
- No Back Up Software
- No Floppy Drive
- Internal 4-in-1 Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO)
- Internal Bluetooth + EDR
- Intel® Ultimate-N 6300 - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module
- No Network Accessory
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- No TV Tuner
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- No Carrying Case
- NO Spare Battery
- No Car Adapter
- None Standard*
- No Dock/Hub/Adapter
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- No External Keyboard or Mouse
- No Notebook Cooler
- No Operating System Standard - Drivers & Utility Software Only
- No Office Software
- No Software Bundle
- 3 Year Labor 1 Year Parts, Lifetime Sager Toll Free Tech Support
- No Xotic PC Gear

On the other hand, a MBP for $1850 is speced out here:

15.4" TFT/LED backlit screen
1440x900 WXGA+
i5 2.4GHz 3MB cache
4GB max DDR3 - 1066Mhz
320GB ATA-150 5400rpm
Nvidia GT 330M Integrated512MB GDDR3

With the MBP I wouldn't have additional warranty issue costs.
Also, while the Sager setup is great, it may be overkill for what I need to play WoW (probably the most performance intense thing I do, next to maybe editing some HD video).

So which one is the better deal?

Also, in mentioning the Dell or HP systems, which ones are the best compared to above two systems to get right now?


Jan 16, 2011

PM me with the ones you are interested in. Be aware I live in Canada, so higher cross-border shipping charges may apply.

I think I answered you in my last reply
"Aside from MBP's,you can't find any notebooks with a unibody aluminum design(along with the fantastic battery life they offer). But you need something that can replace your desktop.
First of all none of MBP's offer a quad core CPU and a GPU as powerful as your current card so you may have to look at the iMacs instead which have a fairly powerful CPU and GPU.
Macbook pros have GT 330M which is a mid-range card,so it can handle WoW fine but you may need to lower some options;furthermore,Photo and Video editing benefit from a quad core CPU.(On the other hand,like I mentioned they have outstanding battery life,design,weight,unmatched track pad,and of course the ability to use OS X legally)"
Since you want to play WoW,go with the Sager one.It's more powerful;also,although you can install Windows on a Mac but it's not worth it to use a Mac with windows as the primary usage.


Jan 16, 2011


So it looks like the MBP could play WoW at least on slightly lower settings, but the Sager would be required (or equivelent) to play it full out on graphics.

I'm not looking for a laptop to replace my desktop exactly, as I do believe my current desktop config is overkill for my uses (i.e. playing WoW on an ATI 5850 with Q9450 is much more than required for ultra settings). I just wanted to get a sense of what config of a MBP would be required to play WoW at the highest possible settings, without going over the point of diminishing returns.