Recommend me a new gaming laptop

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With the addition of a newborn to my family, my gaming time has become much more limited. A factor of limitation in this lack of gaming opportunities is getting to my fixed desktop location in my basement. Sure, I could move it upstairs closer to the baby's room, but that wouldn't allow me to buy a new laptop. So I am seeking advice in helping me find a gaming laptop that will allow me to be a bit more portable. Some of my considerations would be to have a larger gaming screen, 17"+, and a graphics card that will keep me in the game for a couple of years with the newer games. I've got a top end price of $1500 or so, but want to get the best bang for my buck (who doesn't right?). I know something like an alienware laptop would work, but I think you pay a bit more for the brand there. Please point me in the right direction on this one. Thanks in advance.

While not perfect, the Asus "G" series are pretty well rounded for the price.

And for god's sake man, stay away from Alienware unless you wish to spend more and get less.

The Ideapad Y500 with SLI option seemed to go over favorably. This MSI laptop might also fit the bill, particularly since it seems there's a second drive bay ripe for adding a SSD later.

That Alienware comment isn't exactly true. It is true for the desktops. With their laptops, however, you actually get what you pay for. The build quality is much nicer than most gaming laptops. You can turn off all the lights or set them to white so everything isn't too flashy. Just like with a macbook pro, you pay a bit extra for build quality, no bloatware, and no stickers. So, if those types of things are important to you, consider an Alienware. If you are just going for performance alone, go with something else.

The question I run into with Alienware is when to stop upgrading all the options... I'm not paying enough attention these days to hardware to know where the cost/performance ratios are for the particular builds.

As far as laptops go I have not seen a list that has Alienware anywhere other than the top overall. There is a reason they are still in business after so many years.

With gaming laptops, you don't want to upgrade the CPU. Generally, it won't help with most games, and it'll just decrease your battery life and make the whole thing run hotter. 8 GB of memory is plenty. Memory upgrade options are expensive and cheaper to do yourself. SSD options are usually too expensive and easier to do yourself. SSDs are awesome in laptops, though. I threw in a 120 GB SSD in an M11x R2. There's no going back once you do it. 256 GB SSDs are getting so cheap now, and it's a super easy upgrade to do yourself (at least with an Alienware). You can throw the spinning drive it came with into an enclosure and use it as an external hard drive.

So, the only upgrade you really want to focus on is a GPU upgrade if it's available and you can afford it. Baseline everything else is probably fine and they'll overcharge you to upgrade.

EvilShawnAndrich wrote:
While not perfect, the Asus "G" series are pretty well rounded for the price.

And for god's sake man, stay away from Alienware unless you wish to spend more and get less.

Not following...the Alienware are easily the best gaming laptops on the market...my M11x was pretty awesome and when Alienware stopped that model I went with an Origin PC Eon11-S and its build quality was laughable compared to the Alienware...for the same price. Origin and Maingear are comparable in build Quality... The Lenovo Y500 and 580 are good bang for the buck but again not near the quality of an Alienware.

Asus, Acer and MSI are all similar in quality..

As well no one has a 14" model with the power of the M14x right now.

I have a new Razer Blade and its got amazing build quality but despite its thin nature it's still a big laptop and its about $1000 overpriced for its components.

TheGameguru wrote:
EvilShawnAndrich wrote:
While not perfect, the Asus "G" series are pretty well rounded for the price.

And for god's sake man, stay away from Alienware unless you wish to spend more and get less.

Not following...the Alienware are easily the best gaming laptops on the market...my M11x was pretty awesome and when Alienware stopped that model I went with an Origin PC Eon11-S and its build quality was laughable compared to the Alienware...for the same price. Origin and Maingear are comparable in build Quality... The Lenovo Y500 and 580 are good bang for the buck but again not near the quality of an Alienware.

Asus, Acer and MSI are all similar in quality..

As well no one has a 14" model with the power of the M14x right now.

I have a new Razer Blade and its got amazing build quality but despite its thin nature it's still a big laptop and its about $1000 overpriced for its components.

I believe you only referenced laptops with smaller than 17 inch display, which is not helpful to the OP's decision.

Going with a 17 inch monitor on a laptop for gaming is most preferred to something smaller (as long as you don't go under 19x10).

At 17 inches, he's priced out of what he wants if he goes alienware when compared to other manufacturers unless he's willing to make painful sacrifices.

I've played with the m11, and while it has impressive hardware, frankly it's sh*t to play on a sub 12 inch screen. NO friend would recommend a 12incher to another gamer, especially for an MMO with it's dialogue boxes, names of toons all over the place, minimap, RTS's, or MOBA games, etc.

I don't own this but I have been eyeing this MSI laptop

http://www.amazon.com/MSI-Series-GX60-1AC-021US-15-6-Inch/dp/B009H8OA0C/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=2JSQX5C3PJ6C&coliid=I1M1CVSHE31E7Y

It has a solid GPU but an AMD CPU which does not stack up to the core i5/i7. You can check out the wire cutter article here singing praises for the GPU (and recommending a 2K Alienware as your best gaming option) http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-gaming-laptop-alienware-m17x/

As for the Alienware discussion, I have seen Asus and Alienware laptops (both 17 inchers) side by side at LAN parties and the Alienware screen looks a lot better. May be worth the extra cost if it's your primary gaming machine.

EvilShawnAndrich wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:
EvilShawnAndrich wrote:
While not perfect, the Asus "G" series are pretty well rounded for the price.

And for god's sake man, stay away from Alienware unless you wish to spend more and get less.

Not following...the Alienware are easily the best gaming laptops on the market...my M11x was pretty awesome and when Alienware stopped that model I went with an Origin PC Eon11-S and its build quality was laughable compared to the Alienware...for the same price. Origin and Maingear are comparable in build Quality... The Lenovo Y500 and 580 are good bang for the buck but again not near the quality of an Alienware.

Asus, Acer and MSI are all similar in quality..

As well no one has a 14" model with the power of the M14x right now.

I have a new Razer Blade and its got amazing build quality but despite its thin nature it's still a big laptop and its about $1000 overpriced for its components.

I believe you only referenced laptops with smaller than 17 inch display, which is not helpful to the OP's decision.

Going with a 17 inch monitor on a laptop for gaming is most preferred to something smaller (as long as you don't go under 19x10).

At 17 inches, he's priced out of what he wants if he goes alienware when compared to other manufacturers unless he's willing to make painful sacrifices.

I've played with the m11, and while it has impressive hardware, frankly it's sh*t to play on a sub 12 inch screen. NO friend would recommend a 12incher to another gamer, especially for an MMO with it's dialogue boxes, names of toons all over the place, minimap, RTS's, or MOBA games, etc.

True.. but I'm probably still going with the M17x since its comparable in price to other boutique gaming laptop vendors and its build quality is worth the difference between the Asus, Acer, and MSI's of the world.

If you are on a strict budget and you have to stick under $1500 I would get the M14x and live with the 1600x900 screen.

edit

The Razer Blade is a beefier GPU (if even possible) away from being the "best" all around gaming laptop. For a 17" screen its really thin (think the old 17" Apple MBP thin) and light. The tricky issue is finding a good way to carry it around.. Tumi doesnt make a 17" laptop backpack...

But as it is its underpowered for the price.

I wonder if we should have a gaming laptop thread stickied? It's coming up more and more often.

Thank you for the comments posted so far. This is a bit more complicated than putting together a desktop gaming rig. If I stick to the $1500 cap, what about the potential for adding to the laptop at a later point? The above comments about the MSI made me think about the potential to add to it at a later point to make it more well rounded. What is the most important thing to look at in a laptop then? Screen size, GPU and processor seem to be the pieces that are more of a fixed part. Adding a new drive or ram is fairly easy. Should this be a consideration?

http://www.buydig.com/shop/product.a...

Good deal on a Toshiba Qosmio here

What is the most important thing to look at in a laptop then? Screen size, GPU and processor seem to be the pieces that are more of a fixed part. Adding a new drive or ram is fairly easy. Should this be a consideration?

Depends on your given "use" scenario.. I have several gaming laptops because I use them in different ways.. I have my "portable" ones that I use on the road when I travel (which I do around 100-120 days a year) which these days is a Origin PC eos 11, Alienware M14x, and occasionally the Lenovo Y500. I have my "desktop" gaming laptops which I never travel with which is my Alienware M18x, and my Razer Blade. I have two because the Alienware is massive and it stays near my Plasma TV to game on the big screen (its an SLI configured rig so it has plenty of power to drive 1080P) and my Razer Blade when I want to game around the house but not necessarily near my TV.

I value in all of them the ability to easily add new Hard Drives and Ram.. since I would build them when I buy them with as little ram as possible and the smallest HD they sell.. since I will always swap out the ram with 16GB or 32GB of my own.. and SSD('s). I was very annoyed when I got the Razer Blade to find out it was essentially a closed system and involved some fairly extensive surgery to replace the HDD and even worse to replace the ram. You can save $500-$800 in a laptop if you can upgrade the HDD and Ram on your own.. so that saves you more $$ to invest in GPU, Screen, and CPU.

I value GPU highest since that drives what Screen I can reasonably use at native resolution and reasonable details (on a laptop I can live with High details rather than Ultra). Its silly to get a full HD screen if your GPU can't drive it.. I'd rather get a 1600x900 screen in that case. As well I value CPU the least since the % difference between the various mobile CPU's isnt all that great.

edit CPU is within reason.. obviously there are ultrabook CPU's that are far less capable than the traditional mobile CPU's that are in Gaming Specific Laptops.

MannishBoy wrote:
I wonder if we should have a gaming laptop thread stickied? It's coming up more and more often.

That wouldn't hurt, and this thread would be a nice fit. A new one does seem to pop up every few months.

Don't overlook the keyboard as a fixed component; I hate the keyboard in my Qosmio X505-Q880. Most laptop keyboards suck.

TheGameguru wrote:
As well no one has a 14" model with the power of the M14x right now.

I have a new Razer Blade and its got amazing build quality but despite its thin nature it's still a big laptop and its about $1000 overpriced for its components.

I have been debating the blade versus an alienware... My concern was is the blade worth it for portability's sake since I plan on taking it with me on business trips (~60 days a year).

This would become my primary PC. I currently have an older desktop so jumping to the laptop is a big deal and I want to get the right one.

After your comments about how closed the Blade is it makes me a little more aprehensive, but the Aleinwares are just so big. (for obvious and good reasons)

TheGameguru wrote:
What is the most important thing to look at in a laptop then? Screen size, GPU and processor seem to be the pieces that are more of a fixed part. Adding a new drive or ram is fairly easy. Should this be a consideration?

Depends on your given "use" scenario.. I have several gaming laptops because I use them in different ways.. I have my "portable" ones that I use on the road when I travel (which I do around 100-120 days a year) which these days is a Origin PC eos 11, Alienware M14x, and occasionally the Lenovo Y500. I have my "desktop" gaming laptops which I never travel with which is my Alienware M18x, and my Razer Blade. I have two because the Alienware is massive and it stays near my Plasma TV to game on the big screen (its an SLI configured rig so it has plenty of power to drive 1080P) and my Razer Blade when I want to game around the house but not necessarily near my TV.

How do you like the Lenovo Y500? Would that do for a laptop that you could play games on but isn't your main gaming platform? I myself value portability and price over gaming power.

The y500 looks interesting.

The SLI had me intrigued but then I saw it was dual 650M's and made me cringe a little bit.

To be fair, I haven't seen benchmarks yet so I reserve judgement.

EvilShawnAndrich wrote:
To be fair, I haven't seen benchmarks yet so I reserve judgement.

Not hard to find.

The CPU clock dropped to a still viable 2.4 GHz while climbing up to 90 °C (194 °F).

That means the cooling is inadequate. Intel CPUs self-throttle at 90C. If they ever reach that temperature; they won't go higher. Seeing that number means you have a cooling problem, and you are losing performance, perhaps lots of performance.

Just saw a deal for this:
Toshiba Qosmio X870-BT3G23 17.3" Core i7 Laptop w/3GB GeForce 670M, Blu-ray RE, 1080p, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD for $1300 with a 19 x 10 screen.

Not bad on the stats for the price, especially the vid card.

I must disclaimer I've never owned a Toshiba gaming laptop so can't personally vouch for it's quality, but if you are looking to game on the cheap, this might fit the bill for you. Also, I don't know how long the deal is up for.

http://www.logicbuy.com/deals/toshib...

Hope it helps,
/ESA

Thanks for the continues posts.

Thought I might be able to ask a question in this thread instead of creating a new one. I'm sold on the Y500, however, it now looks as though it comes with the NVIDIA GeForce GT750M 2GB GDDR5 card instead of the dual 650 SLI?

Does anyone know if the GT750 is better than the two 650's or should I wait to see if a dual 750 ultrabay is released?

Thanks for the help!

I doubt the 750 would outperform Dual 650's.. its probably around 10-15% better than the 650M stand alone.

Does SLI actually give you a 100% boost over a single card, though?

Kurrelgyre wrote:
Does SLI actually give you a 100% boost over a single card, though?

No...varies from game to game...anywhere from 70-92% efficiency

Continuing on the discussion with GPU's... can someone give me a real world breakdown of the difference between a Nvidia 670, 675, AMD 7970 and a Nvidia 680. All the mobile chips are going to be a great upgrade for me, but where is the value point in gaming on a laptop? How much do I future proof my laptop in comparison to the added cost?

tundra wrote:
Continuing on the discussion with GPU's... can someone give me a real world breakdown of the difference between a Nvidia 670, 675, AMD 7970 and a Nvidia 680. All the mobile chips are going to be a great upgrade for me, but where is the value point in gaming on a laptop? How much do I future proof my laptop in comparison to the added cost?

This is a decent guide

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-...

The 7970M and the 680M are pretty close in class/performance. The 670 and 675 would be lower tier to them.

edit

Sorry forgot to type this.. like most GPU decisions it really comes down to a large part what resolution you are attempting to game at. For example a 15"-17" Laptop with a 1080P screen you really would want the 675 or even higher. For example the Razer Blade has an awesome 17" 1080P screen crippled by a 660M GPU. Really a GPU for a 1600X900 Screen.

Since mobile GPU's are fairly cut down from their desktop name partner IMO you really need SLI mobile GPU's to properly drive most games at 1080P. (important for when you want to connect that laptop to a big screen TV)

So my Alienware M18X that has a 1080P screen I have SLI 680's

What does everyone think of this Samsung as a gaming laptop?

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Samsung+...

It has this graphics card -- AMD Radeon HD 8770M
15.6 screen 1080p

Priced at $1200

Just dropping in to say that I'm really happy with my Lenovo y580.

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