Need advise on a Daily Use/Gaming Laptop for College!


Jan 25, 2016
Country of purchase: US
Budget range: up to approx. $2,500
Purpose (netbook, ultraportable, mainstream, gaming, desktop replacement, etc.): Daily driver, workhorse, gaming pleasure
Screen size preference: 13-15"
OS preference (Windows/Mac/Linux): Windows
Gaming requirements (list example games and desired fps/settings): Games like CS:GO and Smite, nothing too hardcore
Other performance requirements (video editing, CAD, etc.): Be able to run apps like CAD (I will be studying Engineering)
Portability requirements (constantly carried, frequently moved, mostly stationary, etc.): Frequently moved
Brand preferences and reasons (already owned accessories, familiarity, business compatibility): None in particular, just one with reliability and able to not die on me after a year
Any particular style that you like (examples are great): Any style works, touchscreen or not, just want one lightweight
Which of the following qualities would you prefer? (Choose one or two)
Long battery life -vs- Low weight -vs- High performance: High performance and low weight. Battery would be nice, but wouldn't mind having to carry a block around as long as it's performing well
Build quality -vs- Low price: Build Quality
List any critical features: Good graphics card, preferably 256 or 512 SSD, want it to last, nothing that overheats too extremely (But I can sacrifice heat for performance, as long as it won't damage the device)
Which features would you pay a premium for? (eg. high resolution screen, great keyboard/touchpad/audio, low noise/heat): At least a 1080p screen. Don't want to be playing on anything low resolution, my phone as well as TV's and tablets have me slightly spoiled.

I'm looking for a high performing laptop that I can take with me to college. I am going to be studying engineering, so I will need a higher graphics card for CAD programs in the future/gaming in my free time. I want something lighter-weight (i.e. under 5.5-6 lbs), with high performance. Battery life isn't a huge issue with me, because I won't be gaming all the time. I will when I am able to, but I need a work horse that can also just be a daily driver to type papers or watch Netflix on.

I have looked at the Alienware 13 R2, Razer Blade 14" (2015), and MSI GE62 Apache Pro. I want something that will be reliable with customer support (i.e. Alienware has Dell with 4 year on-site support that will come to you t fix). I just want something with a warranty so if anything goes wrong, I'm not stuck here with a pretty looking brick. I really like the Blade, but from what I've read Razer Support sucks, and when you send them back, they either lose it so you're without a laptop for a while, or they send it back without the problem fixed. Also, I don't know the life expectancy of the Blade, and I've read mixed reviews that people have had them with 2-3 years with no issues, and those that have had issues within a few months, so it seems like a gamble on the quality of the one you're gonna get will be.

Any help or suggestions on laptops would be great. Thanks.