A tale of two Sagers: how important is upgradeable graphics?

Discussion in 'Gaming (Software and Graphics Cards)' started by ArturoOsito, Jul 27, 2014.

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  1. ArturoOsito

    ArturoOsito Notebook Enthusiast

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    How important is an upgradeable graphics card in a laptop? How good is the 860m?

    I'm currently trying to decide between a safer np7358 and an np8268. For an extra 160, the 8268 is 1.5 pounds heavier but features an upgradeable pcie graphics card. How important is this? They both feature the gtx 860m. How long will the 860m remain a viable game engine? Is there anything out right now that it can't max out?

    I play lots of older games (from arkham city and skyrim to max payne 1 and deus ex) and lots of modern multiplayer stuff (Dota 2, counterstrike GO, TF2, planetside 2). I want to be able to keep up with upcoming multiplayer stuff, and stuff like GTA V.

    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. J.Dre

    J.Dre Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Is the "non-upgradeable" version a Maxwell 860M? It will perform a bit better than the Kepler GTX 860M. But, in my opinion, you'll want upgradeable graphics. Even if you don't plan on upgrading, it will help with ease of resale, as people tend to like upgradeability.

    The GTX 860M is a decent card. The Kepler version provides 37+ FPS in BF4 on Ultra (preset w/4xMSAA).
     
  3. ArturoOsito

    ArturoOsito Notebook Enthusiast

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    Wait...you mean the maxwell version will provide higher fps?
     
  4. HTWingNut

    HTWingNut Potato

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    Yes by about 10%
     
  5. TomJGX

    TomJGX I HATE BGA!

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    I would get the Sager NP8268-S.. Its $1279 from XoticPC and best of all, it has a 4810MQ and a 870M which is faster then both.. 2-3 years down the road, you can upgrade the GPU and keep using it for a few more years whereas the 860M soldered Maxwell will be useless then..
     
  6. chris_laptopfan

    chris_laptopfan Notebook Consultant

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    What do you mean by that, Tom? As far as i read so far, GPU upgrading is barely possible in laptops, isn't it? Think alienware's are a bit of a exception here... Of course he could upgrade from 860m to 880m down the road, but laptop GPUs are hard to get. (ebay would be too risky to me though) and i wouldn't buy a used graphics card.

    Unfortunately laptop parts aren't as easy to get as desktop parts. In addition to that prices are very unattractive and even after a couple of years stay on a very high level. Even 2 year old 680Ms (new ones) sometimes are offered on almost same price levels like 780m or 880Ms).
    Newer generations would be quite hard to get to run properly as Clevo doesn't provide you with a new BIOS, do they? Therefore a new graphics card wouldn't be recognized. Maybe there a possiblities to get modified BIOS. But either way it's a very uncomfortable way to go (especially if you aren't so much knowing about these things)...
     
  7. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow

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    It is possible to upgrade GPUs in this big Sager/Alienware/MSI laptops. The biggest problem is BIOS compatibility. If a manufacturer doesn't ensure it works, you have a slim chance of upgrading it. There are 3rd party BIOS writers, but you are rolling the dice on possibly bricking your machine. Even if the upgrade is possible, you then hit the money barrier. Typically a brand new top of the line MXM card is 600-800 dollars when it is first released, on top of any additional stuff you need (x bracket, new heatsink, pads, etc). Sure it is a nice feature to have, but I don't think it should break the bank. The MXM 860M is a Kepler 860M and it is significantly slower than the soldered Maxwell chip. But you would be handcuffed to the soldered Maxwell 860M, so the real question is what do you value more: cheaper now and won't be able to play the highest games in 1-2 years, or buy more expensive but not guaranteed updatability later down the line. It's generally best to buy the most performance you can up front, as they will subsidize the MXM upgrades as you are already purchasing a baseline card. Of course this means spending alot of money up front but it tends to last longer.
     
  8. klauz619

    klauz619 Notebook Geek

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    You can try adding 250 bucks instead I think you can get an 870m. That'll last you 4 or so years easily, at that point you can get another laptop 2-3x better at the same price.
     
  9. Ethrem

    Ethrem Notebook Prophet

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    If you want upgradability, you're better off with an Alienware than a Sager/Clevo machine for the simple fact that as Tsunade pointed out, you need a BIOS that supports the video card in those machines.

    You do not need one in an Alienware machine, however. My old M17xR1 didn't refuse to POST when I put a bricked 880M in it for flashing while my Sager said go to hell and wouldn't POST, just powered on and shut back off.

    With that said, Maxwell will be the last generation that is compatible with the old MXM standard from what I understand so if you're looking to upgrade in 2-3 years, you'd be stuck with a Maxwell card when Pascal *should* be out.

    Buy the performance you need now. These cards hold their value on the second hand market too so if you want to upgrade later and you have a compatible machine, you can sell your cards and put the money towards the upgrade.
     
  10. ArturoOsito

    ArturoOsito Notebook Enthusiast

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    Okay this has been super helpful. For one, i didn't realize the mxm cards still used the krappy kepler. It's also good to hear confirmation that mobile graphics cards are a pain in the a$$ to replace even if the option is open. The 870m is actually kind of unattractive, as it's only somewhat better than the 860m (the 860m can max out every game that exists at the moment) but it uses literally twice as much power. Seeing as how this is a laptop, efficiency is sexier than raw power, once you reach the level of 860m+.

    Thanks for the responses, super helpful.
     
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