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Monster gaming laptops vs. Practical gaming laptops

Discussion in 'Gaming (Software and Graphics Cards)' started by theoak1, Sep 28, 2007.

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  1. theoak1

    theoak1 Notebook Consultant

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    I know there will alway be a niche market for the monster laptops that cost $4,000+, weigh 10+ pounds, have a 130W+ power supply, and have SLI GPUs and a 2.8+ GHz processor; but what is the sweet spot regarding cost/benefit for components in a practical gaming computer?

    In 2004 I purchased an Dell XPS laptop with a 3GHz desktop processor and a 256MB GPU. It ran games very well, but it didn't have an available auto/air adaptor, it was huge and looked too obtrusive to use at work, it sucked a lot of power, and it ran hot (I couldn't use it literaly as a laptop). I ended up returning it for an Inspiron 8600 with a 2.2GHz Pentium M, a 128MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9600, a 100GB/5400 HD, and 2 GB RAM. Sure I lost some performance, but it ran games well enough and it was practical for everyday use. It's still not a bad laptop, and it seems like the only real progress in the last few years has been the dual-core processors and more RAM for GPUs.

    Regarding the new Dell XPS 1730: For kicks I priced one out with the Blu-ray, 2x200GB 7200 HDs, and a 2.8 GHz processor at just over $4,800. I have spent over $3,000 in the past on a computer, but $4,800 is scary...I hope it's available with 3 years accidental damage!

    I read somewhere that to take advantge of the SLI 8700s in the XPS 1730 it would be best to get it with the 2.8 Ghz X7900, otherwise the processor may hold back the GPUs in high end games. Wouldn't the X7900 with SLI 8700s be pushing the upper limits of practicality for a laptop in terms of heat, power consumption, and price? It seems like you reach a point where you are better off getting a powerful desktop and a reasonably priced 15.4" laptop.

    And where does it all end? In 3-4 years will we be buying laptops with quad-core 5+ Ghz processors, 2GB/512-bit GPUs, 16GB RAM (complete with a 260W auto/air adaptor and a wheeled carrying case)?
     
  2. Theros123

    Theros123 Web Designer & Developer

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    there's plenty of laptops that blend together both power and portability... IE, look at the new Asus G1s, F8s, C90s, etc. Also the Acer 5290 Gemstone. In addition, a ton of new 15.4" laptop have Nvidia 8600 GT cards/ATI equivalent in them balancing gaming power with reasonable battery life. IMO, I don't understand buying a 8+ pound laptop...how is it a laptop anymore?
     
  3. zfactor

    zfactor Mastershake

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    im in this debate myself i cant decide which way to go.. spend near 2k on a machine that will run anything i want or spend just over 1k on a machine that wil run everything pretty good...
     
  4. The Forerunner

    The Forerunner Notebook Virtuoso

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  5. odin243

    odin243 look at all the colors...

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    Well, where you want the balance between portability and power is a personal preference. Personally I say the perfect balance is something like the T61p, which is only 5.0lbs, a little over an inch thick, and has a 64-bit Quadro FX 570m in it (approximately equivalent to the DDR2 8600M-GT). If you push the balance a little farther towards power you get the Macbook Pro and the HP 8510p, the two most portable 15.4" laptops with the two best 15.4" GPU's on the market. Push the balance even farther toward power and you get the HP 8710p, even farther and you get the Alienware M9750.
     
  6. theoak1

    theoak1 Notebook Consultant

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    I can see someone buying the XPS 1730 who goes to college or brings their laptop to work (where it stays on a desk all day), needs a minimum of portability with maximum performance, and has a ton of cash to drop.

    I think a mid-priced 15.4" is more reasonable, however looking at the XPS 1730 specs gives you monster-rig envy and makes mid range specs seem inadequate. How can you compare playing Supreme Commader on the XPS 1730 as opposed to the Asus G1S?

    I'm just wondering where we'll be in 3-4 years. How fast a processor + GPU can you put in a laptop before it either melts or becomes a 20 lb cinder block?
     
  7. moon angel

    moon angel Notebook Virtuoso NBR Reviewer

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    The Premium of 17" powerhouses over 15.4" gamers is annoying. I'd kinda like a 17"er but not if the same hardware spec will cost a lot more. 15.4" is ok for me. Plus there's more choice.
     
  8. Tony_A

    Tony_A Notebook Evangelist

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    Impossible question to answer. Each person has his own definition of practical size, cost, and value. What is "too much" for you, is "just right" for the next guy.

    I my case, I got the 17" one in my sig alomst a year ago. It fits my needs perfectly. Is it the right choice for everyone, no, of course not.
     
  9. morphy

    morphy Notebook Deity

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    Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the 570M is 128bit and comes with GDDR3 which would make it more equivalent to the 8600M GT in the G1S/G2S.
     
  10. odin243

    odin243 look at all the colors...

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    I was speaking of the 14.1" T61p which comes with a 64-bit 128mb version. The 15.4" T61p is indeed as you say, however that laptop is considerably less portable than the 14.1" version.
     
  11. theoak1

    theoak1 Notebook Consultant

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    Sure, and for some a 20", 16lb, $5,279.87 VoodooPC Envy H:201 is "just right," but at that point it's starting to become a portable desktop rather than a laptop.

    I think the future will see more add-ons like the Physx Accelerator, Turbo RAM, etc, as there has to be a limit for laptops concerning power requirements, heat generated, and size (cost is probably no limit for some).

    The approximate 2-year obsolescence cycle benefits Microsoft, nVidia, Intel, Dell, etc. They continue to come out with new operating systems, laptops, processors, GPUs, etc to keep sales going strong. Vista/DX10 is a good example: XP is a stable OS and the 7950 GTX is a great GPU, however I'm sure perfectly good 7950s will be kicked to the curb once the DX10 games start coming out en mass.
     
  12. HTWingNut

    HTWingNut Brain size of a planet...

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    Personally, if your laptop is going to be your *ONLY* PC, then spending $2500 seems somewhat reasonable. But forking over $4000 is just ludicrous. Between my gaming desktop and laptop I spent under $3000. And they're both spec'd quite well for gaming at home and on the go.
     
  13. Phritz

    Phritz Space Artist

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    At purchase my Alienware cost me EU2400 ($3360) and the US version got a $200 price cut this week, no way you should pay $4800 for a slower DX10 SLi setup (albeit faster processor). If youre willing to give up DX10 you can get the cheaper ($3400 for a decent setup), lighter (8.5lbs, 1.5") Alienware m9750. The Clevo D900 is around the same price ($3200 for a decent setup) but is a "monster" at 13lbs and 2.5".

    P.S. The m9750 gets the 8700M GT in october, and the 8700M GT is even cheaper than the 7950GTX...
     
  14. Crimsonman

    Crimsonman Ex NBR member :cry:

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    Personally i agree with htwingnut, get both a desktop and a laptop. but the only thing i dont like about desktops is your confined to one place, thats why i hooked it up to my plasma TV :D
     
  15. Patrick

    Patrick I beat spamers with stiks Super Moderator

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    I went from using a 12" ibook to a 12" powerbook G4 to the asus C90s. Its quite a difference. However, compared to my father's 17" Powerbook, its puny.
     
  16. goke313

    goke313 Notebook Evangelist

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    co signs....i see no reason to buy a dell, when the sager is better quality,better parts,better warranty,looks better, and best of all it's cheaper.
     
  17. Crimsonman

    Crimsonman Ex NBR member :cry:

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    yeah but its .5 inches thicker and 3 pounds heavier
     
  18. The Forerunner

    The Forerunner Notebook Virtuoso

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    Well they are both MAJOR desktop replacements. Hmmm save 500 to over 1k (with better performance) or have something that is 3 pounds heavier thats not really meant to move anyways? You decide. :)
     
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