Upgrade Desktop or Buy New Laptop? Not sure what to do for upcoming Global Game Jam...


Nov 27, 2012

I am looking to either upgrade my desktop or buy a new laptop, or a combination of both. I do a bit of programming, photography (Photoshop), engineering (CAD like SolidWorks), game development (Unity3D, Game Maker...) and gaming. So I guess I need something relatively powerful.

With the Global Game Jam coming up, I want to get my hardware in place. Last year, I brought my ASUS F502CA. Piece of junk I got back on the previous Black Friday, I can't even launch Game Maker. In fact, when I type something there's a 2 second delay... I opened it up, only the hard drive seems to be upgradeable. Even the RAM is solder onto the motherboard. So it have been sitting brick for last 2 years.

I also have a HP Tx2z from 6 years ago. It ran decently back then before it overheated and burned the motherboard. That was fixed, but I guess can't really keep up with current software. I looked into upgrading it with an SSD and add RAM, but DDR2 RAM is quite expensive. If I would do that, might as well invest in something better.

I built a decent desktop back 4 years ago though, AMD Phenomn x6 1090T, GTS 450, 16 GB RAM, SSD... a bit dated, but still going strong. I currently use this as my day to day computer. But what I am really lacking is a laptop... currently, I am getting away by using my phone to check emails and stuffs, but that wouldn't do for the hackathon.

I have my eyes on an ASUS ROG - i7 4720HQ (2.60 GHz), 8 GB RAM, GTX 960M 2 GB for $789

Seems like a relatively good deal. But my concern is that I mainly use my desktop for everything. The laptop, I only really need it once in a while in a hackathon or lan party. So, it will probably sit in my closet most of the time. Hence, I don't want to spend that much money.

On the other hand, with this laptop being more powerful than my current desktop, I might also use it as my day to day laptop and abandon the desktop. But that's such a waste. The desktop, I can upgrade relatively easily... and also, laptop don't last that long right?

So maybe I should look for a mid range budget laptop like this that's cheaper and less powerful:

But I am scare because how the ASUS F502CA was a big waste of money. And that this don't have a dedicate gfx card, so it might lag badly...

What would you guys do? Any recommendations?


1. What is your budget?
~$800, but of course, the less the better since I just want to use this once in a while... and I am a recent grad just enter the work force...

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
15 ~ 17"

3. What screen resolution do you want?
> 720p

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
portable workstation for use once in a while

5. How much battery life do you need?
4 - 5 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)?
BF3, BF4...
On low would be okay...

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Photoshop, FL Studio, SolidWorks, programming...

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
1 TB

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Newegg, Amazon...

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
> 3 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?

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.
Parent told me Acer is bad, not sure why... hp personally, it screwed me several times... ASUS suppose to be good, but that screwed me too... so idk

13. What country do you live in?
14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.


If you don't want to be stuck with a slow laptop, you need to spend the money even if you won't use it much. Get on with a 940 or 950m video card if you want to save money, on lower settings it will run many games. But since it's not upgradable, if you want to play something on it in a year or two that needs more power, you won't have it.

Why not sell the laptop you are not using, even if you get $100 for it, you are still ahead 100 vs it sitting there.

In general, for you to not think you got a slow system with games, a 960m is about the lowest I'd go. And nothing prevents you from using it instead of your desktop really, you can always sell the desktop, use the laptop, then if you want something faster later, build a newer system.
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