Need help selecting a gaming laptop

ryams27

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Aug 29, 2012
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Hey guys,

Here's my situation. I'm in the market for a gaming/work laptop but, after doing a lot of research, I'm having a really hard time figuring out the best option. I don't have to have the absolute top-of-the-line performance/graphics, but I'd like something solid. For reference, my home gaming PC has an AMD Phenom II X4 and AMD Radeon HD 7850 and 8 GB RAM. As you probably know, I can't run the newest games maxed out and get 60 FPS or anything - more like close to highest settings at anywhere from 40-60 FPS depending on the game. I'm looking for a gaming laptop that will offer similar performance.

As far as work goes, I primarily use it to access and draft documents to my business's Sharepoint site, Outlook, online research, etc. Nothing particularly resource intensive. I will be using it at work on occasion, so I'd like something that isn't too gaudy (for instance, not sure I could pull off an Alienware laptop).

I've looked pretty closely at the MSI Apaches but some of the reviews are pretty critical (heat seems to be the main issue).

Can anyone recommend the best options for my purposes? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

DonkeyOatie

Estimable
Sep 16, 2014
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Sager NP 8278-S with GT970M at the upper end ($1500) going down to smaller screens and less powerful GPUs. These computers can be customized too. That's exactly what I'd buy if I were getting a laptop.

The chassis has two fans and good heat management with better price/performance than other options IMHO.

Budget?
 

ryams27

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Aug 29, 2012
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Thanks for the advice. As far as a budget goes, I'd like to stay under $1200 but might spend a little more if the increased performance/features are worth it.

 

ryams27

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Aug 29, 2012
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Thanks a lot! I've been looking pretty hard at the 8268-S, and honestly I'd have probably already ordered it but for the wait time. The MSI's look good too, but I've read some reviews indicating possible heat issues and I guess I'm worried about making sure it's future proof for the next few years. On the flip side, I tend to be so hard on laptops that I'm not sure how much sense it makes to worry too much about future-proofing. I figure

Do you think I'd be stupid to go ahead and buy one with an 800 series GTX or should I be patient and pay more for the 900 series?



 

DonkeyOatie

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Sep 16, 2014
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Before I decided to build a desktop for my wife (as a prototype for replacement of my own laptop) I had planned, researched and budgeted to buy a 8278-S with a 870M for about $1500 with some bells and whistles. Reading the preliminary reviews I decided that the MSI all-in-one with the 23" screen would be a good alternative at the same price. I wanted to wait for the long-term reviews since many MSI laptops have either heat or noise issues.

For me this is a big decision that you have to live with for some years. In such cases, except in emergencies, I NEVER make the decision based on availability. (at the moment, I want a GTX970, I cannot buy one, but I will not buy an alternative) My decisions are made on price and performance.

I usually buy 'last year's model' tech, when the prices have dropped and since I buy my software the same way (I wait two or three years after release) everything remains in sync.

These benchmarks say it all http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-geforce-maxwell-mobile-gtx-970m-gtx-980m,27833.html

Will a GTX870m do what you want, and is it cheap enough. If not, WAIT!

This is easy for me to say. I'm not sure I had the same restraint and wisdom 40 years ago.

I think 'futureproof' is the wrong way to look at things. Look instead at effective lifespan. How many years do you want to go before replacing it? For me and laptops, the answer is six to seven years, two current years, two obsolescent years, and three obsolete years.

Another way to look at it is lifetime annual cost.. I budget $250 a year for major computer purchase, so if I spend $750, I expect to replace it in three years, a $1500 computer needs to last 6 years, and a $250 upgrade needs to give me at least one more year of useful life. Each year the money gets put away, and each year I decide what I can do with it, if anything. I have $1500 'in the bank' at the moment, coming up for $1750.
 

ryams27

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Aug 29, 2012
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Well, you succeeded in convincing me that patience is worth it. I'm perfectly happy to wait now for the right laptop. However, I've spent all day reading/researching/etc and, believe it or not, I'm on the verge of buying a Lenovo Y50. Talk me off the ledge.

Here's where I'm at. The Sager NP8268-S looks awesome. If I were out to buy the best gaming laptop for $1500 or less, that's what I would (and still might) get. However, as I've thought more about it, I have concerns about (1) weight/bulk and (2) cost, relative to the way I'll probably be using it.

I already have two gaming PCs at home that I'm happy with. Neither have absolute top-of-the-line GPUs (like you, I'm a big "last year's tech/software" guy because value wins out with me) but I've never been disappointed. I imagine the lion's share of my gaming will continue to be on these two machines, but I'd like to have a laptop I can use for working remotely and for gaming when I'm traveling and/or at the office. This is going to sound terrible, but one of the reasons I decided to start looking was that there are times when my wife gives me a hard time about playing games (I'm not a huge gamer, but I do like to play a few hours every weekend), so I'd like to be able to play at my office on occasion without catching hell. I anticipate transporting this laptop to and from work everyday.

I don't buy the latest AAA titles - for instance, lately the main games I've been playing have been Borderlands 2 and Batman Arkham City - and, though I love good graphics as much as the next guy, I don't have to play my games on Ultra settings in order to enjoy them.

With all this in mind, I'm thinking the Y50 might strike the best balance. It's sleek and lightweight, and I think the performance will meet my needs. Part of me doubts I'll keep any laptop in good condition for 5 years - and, again, won't even be my main gaming machine), so I'm having a hard time springing for something $1500+ when I can get the Y50 for less than $1K. I know the screen sucks, but it sounds like it can be replaced pretty cheaply if it bothers me too much. Also, when I'm playing at the office, I can always hook it up to one of my 23" Acer LED backlit monitors. I'm a little hesitant because the Acer V Nitro series is coming out in days, but some of the early reports suggest it has some issues of its own. And while I have a hard time imagining exactly how much difference 2 pounds will make, but 5.2 sounds a lot more appealing than 7 pounds and a massive power brick.

Am I crazy to think about buying the Y50? Is there another competitor that you think is worth looking at?

 

DonkeyOatie

Estimable
Sep 16, 2014
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That's whay I asked about budget.

At $1500, I think that GTX970m is the choice.
At $1000 then GTX 860m is the choice. (Or you can read the reviews and see if the SLI twin GTX755s will do the job)

More later, my students have arrived
 
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