New Laptop advice for work and casual gaming - form filled

Mar 28, 2018
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Hi guys,

I'm going to need a new laptop for mainly work and a bit of gaming on the side (during long train/plane trips), and I am pretty lost in what is best for me in a sea of online offers. I would really appreciate some advice based on the following:

1. Budget: £1000 and can add £500+ for my dream laptop.

2. Screen size: 14' - 15'.

3. Screen res: bit unsure here, i feel like 1920 x 1080 is fine but I've seen laptops with higher ones. Happy to take advice here.

4. Portability/weight: It needs to be portable, as I will be using during business/leisure trips. Ideally, not heavier than 1.8-2kg (maximum).

5. Battery life: 7hours + seems ok? I'd love more but not less than 7 if possible.

6. Games: I tend to play a bit of everything but would probably play some Hearthstone, Overwatch, Dishonored 2, Resident Evil 7 etc. Ideally on med to high settings (very willing to compromise here).

7. Other tasks: writing reports, light video editing, watching films..

8. Storage: I would highly prefer an SSD with up to 256GB.

9. Sites: no preference

10. Longevity: I have no idea how long laptops last these days, maybe 2 years?

11. Optical drive: I wouldn't want one installed as I have an external one already.

12. Brands: no real preference except not wanting a mac.

13. I live in the UK

14. Extras:

- processor: i5, ideally i7.
- ram: 8gb (seems fine for a laptop?)
- GPU: ideally something suitable for 1080p.
- Backlit keyboard: preferred but not deal breaking at all.
- Noise: I need to be able to take it into meetings without it sounding like a jet fighter (I would actually have purchased the Razer Blade 14' laptop yesterday, had I not read about the noise issues).


Thank you for any input you may have!

edit 06/04/2018 - see last post for decision and thanks.
 

10tacle

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Dec 6, 2008
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If you want to game beyond tablet-style games, then you need a laptop with a dedicated graphics card. Here's an ASUS ROG model with a GTX 1060 which is fine for 1080p gaming. Regarding resolution, you will not find a laptop with say 2560x1440 in your budget range (plus it takes a more powerful video card to drive such resolution in games at full quality). This one has both an SSD and an HDD and weighs right at 2.2kg but I'm not sure about the battery life at 7hrs, especially if you are gaming. That draws down battery consumption bigtime. You'd likely need a portable battery brick for extended time use off battery power. I'm linking from Amazon's US site and the price is $1398 USD. You should be able to find it in your EU nation.


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MS14CQH/ref=psdc_13896615011_t3_B072HFXLLM
 
Mar 28, 2018
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Thank you very much for the input, I'm looking into them! Is is true that the current version is quite noisy?


Thank you very much for your answer. Speccs are great (if a tiny bit heavy), but I really do not like the design of this product (please don't hate me, I will be spending quite a lot of time using it) and I seem to be reading that it is very noisy online.

Would raising my budget to a max of £2,000 help in those areas?

 

nobspls

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Mar 14, 2018
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Do you care if it gets noisy during heavy gaming load? I got the MSI GS63VR about 15 months ago, and it has been fairly good. I did have to exchange the first one I got at Bestbuy because it was failing memtest86 right out of the box. Other than that I've not had any issues. I did replace the 1TB HDD with a 750GB SSD and made the 1TB into a portable USB drive.

As for noise, for all non gaming stuff, it is essentially silent. You have put your ear next to the fans to hear the fan, at arms length, I don't hear a thing. When gaming, being something this light and thin, it the fans have to spin up and you will obviously hear the fan noise if you mute the game sounds, or don't use headsets, but I doubt fan noise in that context applies to work meetings. And on a plane or train, I know for a fact on the plane, the plane engine noise that penetrate the cabin is much louder than the fan noise, you be hard pressed to identify the fan noise from the plane.
 

10tacle

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First to back up what the other guy said, noise for non-gaming use is not going to be an issue if you are in the office. But if you want a more professional-looking laptop that you can also game with, you'll have to look at Dell or HP and they are more pricey with dedicated video cards. My suggestion would be to go their websites and custom order one selecting the options you want (I strongly recommend going with a GTX 1060 video card for 1080p).

The Dell 15-inch 7000-series gaming laptop might be up your alley IF you are okay with it being heavier at 2.5kg (backlit keyboard is an option to choose for example):

http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-laptops/inspiron-15-7000-gaming/spd/inspiron-15-7577-laptop

It's going to be difficult to find all the specs you want revolving around your maximum weight of 2kg.
 
Mar 28, 2018
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Hmm, you do make a good point, I would be fine with noise during heavy gaming load. And it's reassuring to know that I could take it into meetings without having to worry.

What sort of battery life have you experienced with yours, both gaming and basic tasks (browsing, doc work etc)? And are you getting acceptable performance with current games?



I'm having a look at these now!

Thanks for taking the time guys...It's really appreciated.

 

10tacle

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They are heavier at 2.5kg or so, but it's going to be difficult to find all the specs you want revolving around your maximum weight of 2kg. You'll have to make concessions somewhere if you don't want anything heavier than 2kg.
 
Mar 28, 2018
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Indeed you're right, I've clearly been optimistic weight/performance wise...

It's really frustrating, as looking through your link, the Inspiron 15 7577 seems great and able to do everything I want, but I really feel that I would regret the 2.6 - 2.8kg down the line.

The MSI GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro suggested above comes in at 1.9kg with seemingly nice specs. What do you think of it?







 

10tacle

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Have you configured and priced it with a GTX 1060? All other things being equal, MSI makes great video cards and motherboards and from what I've seen in laptop buyer reviews, mostly positive. This website reviewed one last November and they mostly loved it. Their only real complaint was the touch pad (I'd use a mouse anyway).

https://www.techradar.com/reviews/hands-on-msi-gs63vr-stealth-pro-review

And it is sharp looking:

https://www.amazon.com/MSI-GS63VR-Stealth-Pro-230-i7-7700HQ/dp/B01N5JUPWO?psc=1&SubscriptionId=AKIAIPHVZTVH6LZ5BFZA&tag=hawk-future-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B01N5JUPWO&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&ascsubtag=trd-311678517-20

With that said I will say this: Dell's support should you ever need it is second to none (RMA, tech help, etc.). I'm not so sure about MSI and a lot of negative reviews of MSI's laptops revolve around that (including this model).
 
Mar 28, 2018
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Yup, with the 1060 it comes to around £1700. And I would use a mouse also, I've always hated touchpads with a passion.

Hmmm, I'm going to watch some more videos and sleep on it. I'll post the result once purchased! :)

 

nobspls

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As for battery life, in gaming mode, I don't think it has lasted past 2 hours. I don't know of any gaming laptop that can truly game on battery and expect to run for too long. I can't speak for every laptop for certain, but it seems when they are on battery, "all" of them will throttle the performance too, So battery life during gaming usually needs an asterisk attached to it at least.

As for non-gaming, my MSI GS63VR has been able to sustain a cross country flight, and even an overseas flight provided that it wasn't on the entire time. So I'd safely estimate 5 hours.

BTW isn't £1000 about $1500 USD? Best Buy here still sell it at around $1500 see:
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/msi-gs-series-stealth-pro-15-6-laptop-intel-core-i7-16gb-memory-nvidia-geforce-gtx-1060-1tb-hdd-256gb-ssd-aluminum-black/5712735.p?skuId=5712735

Or is there a lot of added taxes/tariffs and such for the U.K.?
 

10tacle

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My Dell gaming laptop from about 10 years ago worked like (throttling back CPU and GPU speed) which lowered performance in games while on battery. However I could override it in the power settings to run on performance mode (default on battery is usually economy or balanced mode). If I remember correctly, on max performance on battery I could only game for about an hour. But it was a big 17" laptop and an old Core 2 Duo processor tied with a GeForce 8400M GPU which by today's standards for a gaming laptop were serious power hogs (35W vs. 15W for a mobile i7). I wish Intel would hurry up with the Coffee Lake mobile chips. I'd love to see their TDP and performance numbers compared to Kaby Lake.
 

nobspls

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On the MSI, even with MSI's own Dragoncenter, which has a system tuner that lets you overclock, those performance profiles are all grayed out and disabled when you are on battery. The GPU is basically ran a 50% speed, and I can see I am getting 30fps and not 60fps when I am on battery.
 

10tacle

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Huh. I wonder if that is coded in the BIOS meaning you can't modify anything or if it's just their software limiting things. If the latter, surely someone could create a hack workaround solution for max performance gaming on battery. That's got my curiosity up now.
 
Mar 28, 2018
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Hey 10tacle and nobspls,

Sorry for not getting back to you earlier, life went from 50 to 100 this week.

I ended up going with the MSI GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro and can't wait for it to arrive.

Many thanks to both of you for taking the time to help and answer my questions! :D

Have a lovely weekend.
 
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