Buying a laptop, need some guidance

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by AceEvo, Nov 15, 2012.

Nov 15, 2012
  1. AceEvo
    OP

    Newcomer AceEvo Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Country:
    Canada
    So I've recently decided to invest in a laptop. I need it partly for school, but only for typing the occasional document and such. My main reason is that my desktop computer is getting outdated and rarely used, but I enjoy the occasional PC game. I don't own a home console, and have no interest in buying one (I prefer mouse and keyboard over controller). So my compromise is to buy a decent laptop that won't break the bank. I don't need top of the line hardware like Alienware, but I'd like to be able to run a modern game like Skyrim or MW3. To narrow down my options further, I'm looking for a windows 7 laptop rather than a windows 8 laptop, as I've read poor reviews and after trying to navigate Windows 8 on my friend's laptop, I found that the traditional windows experience feels far more user-friendly.

    So, fellow Tempers, I'm enlisting your help. If you know of a decent laptop that comes out-of-the-box game-ready, or can suggest graphics cards or even brand to stay away from, any and all help is appreciated.

    Right now, I'm considering the Dell Inspiron 15R. I'd link you to the Dell page for it, but I'm on my phone and cannot access the desktop site. My one concern with it is that it uses Intel HD Graphics 4000, and I've not been able to find any decent reviews on how that handles modern "resource intensive" gaming.

    Again, thank you for any help you can offer!
    -AceEvo
     
  2. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvertâ„¢

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    27,883
    Location:
    Cave Entrance, Watching Cyan Write Letters
    Country:
    United States
    Upgrading the graphics card in a laptop is a no-go. Even in the very few cases where it's technically viable to do, it's too expensive and way too much of a headache... so make sure you pick a model with a decent card to begin with, because you're stuck with it for the lifetime of the machine.

    Intel integrated graphics are not meant for gaming, and seriously lack compared to graphics from AMD/ATi and Nvidia.

    When you are going to pick out a video card you need to be VERY careful with the model number.

    The best way to check how well a card will perform versus other cards is to look up benchmarks of the card in question. This is where sites run the card on certain games, measure how well it performs numerically, and then compare it to other cards. Simply googling for a benchmark of the card you're looking at should return results on how well it performs in games. Take note of two things.

    1. Some benchmarks are done with benchmarking software instead of games.
      http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/high_end_gpus.html
      These are known as "synthetic" benchmarks and while they do measure a card's computational power, the results don't always match up to how well games will run. It's better to look at actual game benchmarks than synthetic ones if you're unsure.
    2. Laptop/notebook graphics are different models than desktop cards, so for example a desktop HD 4850 is more powerful than a laptop one. This is done so laptop cards can save on battery power. Laptop models usually have "mobility" or "M" in the name. As it's harder to find benchmarks for laptop cards (are they're often not replaceable) a good resource for an overview of laptop graphics cards is here.
     
  3. Lanlan

    Member Lanlan Tits

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Messages:
    905
    Location:
    CCCP
    Country:
    United States
    What is your budget? I recommend a Laptop with an AMD A series APU. Great for gaming.
     
  4. Originality

    Member Originality Chibi-neko

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2008
    Messages:
    5,151
    Location:
    London, UK
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    For this case, I would go with an AMD A series APU too. Weak processor, good integrated graphics, low price.
     
  5. AceEvo
    OP

    Newcomer AceEvo Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Country:
    Canada
    Thank you all for your help. As you can tell, I'm not very knowledgeable in the realm of laptops. After reading your suggestions, I did find a laptop that seems suitable and reasonably priced.

    http://www.walmart.com/msharbor/ip/21777787?adid=1500000000000012981640&veh=mweb

    I'm hoping that link works, I find that sometimes switching to desktop mode from and iPhone makes links redirect to strange places. Assuming it does, could somebody check it out and perhaps point out any flaws in the setup that I didn't catch? It's the Acer Silky Silver 15.6" Aspire V5-551-8401 Laptop PC with AMD A8-4555M Accelerated Processor and Windows 8. As I said, I'd prefer a Windows 7 laptop and if anyone could find either the same laptop with 7 or a W7 laptop with an equal setup, that would be greatly appreciated.

    Again, thank you for your help.
    -AceEvo
     
  6. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvertâ„¢

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    27,883
    Location:
    Cave Entrance, Watching Cyan Write Letters
    Country:
    United States
    That one would be alright for less-demanding gaming (notebootcheck reports the performance around a low-end 7500M series), but you can probably find a little better.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834310645
    This one has a slightly-higher model graphics card, but also has double the harddrive space, more RAM, etc. (thus the higher price), and it seems to be built better (Acer's Aspire series is sort of low-end)... but it's Windows 8 again.

    Here is a custom search for windows 7 machines with (what I consider to be) acceptable graphics cards for $750 and less.
     
  7. AceEvo
    OP

    Newcomer AceEvo Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Country:
    Canada
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834246492

    So I used your search and found the laptop I linked above. It's got a Nvidia chip, decent ram and it's one of the cheaper ones on the list. I know AMD was the suggestion by you guys, but Nvidia has a better rep as a video card maker for games, right?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834158578
    Here's an AMD laptop, little more expensive but seems reasonable as well.

    Between the two of them (or another one that's better for the same price), what would you guys suggest?
     
  8. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvertâ„¢

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    27,883
    Location:
    Cave Entrance, Watching Cyan Write Letters
    Country:
    United States
    Nvidia and ATI/AMD's cards for games both focus on games and both work fine. Both manufacturers do make video cards that aren't oriented for games, but those are rarer and have different designations/names, they're for 3D modeling and such.

    The first looks slightly more powerful than the second, though the way the second is built could mean better battery life.

    Do note I said "could". Manufacturers are known to take a laptop with less power drain and simply stick a weaker battery in it so the life is about the same and it costs less for them to make.
     
  9. AceEvo
    OP

    Newcomer AceEvo Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Country:
    Canada
    Battery life is not extremely important, as it'll be mostly home use where an outlet is always nearby (and the odd occasion where I need it at school).

    I'll look into the laptop a little deeper and check out some reviews before making a final decision, up until this point I've been looking purely at specs.
     

Share This Page