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My first gaming laptop - please help!

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by MCJD4ever, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. ntrain96

    ntrain96 Notebook Evangelist

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    You will not notice a difference in performance between any of the i7 processors. The important thing is that you get an i7, thats all that matters. :) Trust me, if you cancel out your current order and pick up an m18x or Sager equivalent with dual cards you will come back to this thread thanking me. The laptops with the dual video cards are TRUE desktop replacement powerhouses, especially for games. :)

    Again the important thing is the muscle in the system. 2 MXM slots means serious gaming performance now, and it means your laptop will remain a serious performer for alot longer as well. Your dollar goes so much farther literally. :)
     
  2. ntrain96

    ntrain96 Notebook Evangelist

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    Yep the m18x's come stock with a VERY NICE 1080p screen that calibrates VERY WELL. :)
     
  3. MCJD4ever

    MCJD4ever Notebook Consultant

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    Hmmm...I'm seriously considering going the Alienware M18x route. I'm just hoping what you said is true and that I can get a further discount for being a member of this forum, as that is what I'm counting on brining the price VERY close to the MSI I had configured.
     
  4. ntrain96

    ntrain96 Notebook Evangelist

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    Just call up and talk with a rep there.

    Like I said earlier, your spending $2500 on your Mustang, so why not make sure it has the V8 option under the hood. ;)

    The 580m and 6990m are both great cards, but alone they give you that "tease"........powerful enough to play pretty much all games at high settings, but not quite powerful enough to be maxed out in reality. I played with them both for about a week, always found myself tweaking settings to keep gameplay around 60fps without the occasiaonal sttering and slowdown from heavy draw scenes. On SC2 and WOW for me it was most annoying which is why in the end I went with a pair of laptops with dual card setups.
     
  5. MCJD4ever

    MCJD4ever Notebook Consultant

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    I dunno. I know Alienware is considered the best in gaming laptops...but something about their style is sort of...off putting for me. Like, I would be embarrassed to ever take it anywhere outside my apartment (as if the M18x wouldn't already give me a hernia). I think I like MSI's styles better.

    I think I may go with my original MSI config, but calm down some of the specs to save more money. I dont need anything too crazy. I work, attend graduate school part time, and have a gf/friends/family (not implying anyone here does not, just making a point), I don't even game as much as I used to when I was in college and younger. I feel like I wouldn't "get my money's worth" if I really went crazy and got top of the line specs with two 580Ms. I know I won't get silkly smooth performance on all games with just one 580M, but I'll take what it can give me, which is sure to to satisfy me :)

    Will let you guys know what I utlimately decide. Thank you all for your input. You've all been very helpful, and I've learned a lot in a short period of time.
     
  6. ntrain96

    ntrain96 Notebook Evangelist

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    You do realize that MSI you looked at/ordered is nothing but a knockoff off the Alienware laptops in design with some corners cut?(One fan cooling both the gpu and cpu instead of dedicated fans and heatsinks per core) The Alienware m18x is built well, better built and designed than the MSI counterpart IMO, especially the cooling system.

    Bypassing the programmable backlit keyboard and led lighting accents both have the M18x is just a better performance laptop, by a large margin over the MSI for the same money. I've got experience with both, the m18x is just a nicer rig period. I was originally going to get my wife the MSI that you were looking at, and played with 2 of them for about a week on and off(but were not overly impressed with the gaming performance offered by the 580m), but after getting my hands on the 18x the choice for me and her was simple and made instantly as she wanted something as capable as my P180hm. And like I said, its not necessarily the up front "now" performance, but how it will ultimately perform in a few years time. The dual card m18x will without question last you a few years longer, so in the long run, your actually spending less in reality. ;)

    But anyway, good luck with your decision or purchase either way.
     
  7. wtferrell

    wtferrell Notebook Evangelist

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    Seriously, the GT780/GT783 is a knockoff of an Alienware in Design?

    If you seriously played around with one, then you can't possibly say that. They look nothing like the Alienware computers. The only similarities are:

    A) They're a notebook computer
    B) They have keyboards that light up

    Therein lies the similarities in the aesthetic department.

    The main reason I went with the MSI is for the styling. I had a M15x before, and could not stand the styling of it, so I got rid of it quickly. If you are going into any sort of business meeting, the last thing I want is to pull out some gaudy looking laptop, which is where I would put the Alienware laptops.

    The MSI is extremely sleek, you can turn off the multicolored keyboard to make it white or blue, and you couldn't tell that it's a gaming laptop. There's nothing that says "HEY! Look at me! I'm a gaming laptop!"

    To people who want to enjoy their games, without the "Hey look at me" looks, then go with Sager or MSI. Now the MSI 15" series is another story, with the orange lights all over it. I couldn't handle that one.

    "Knockoff off the Alienware laptops in design with some corners cut?" That's absolutely ridiculous. I'll concede the fans, but my 580M hasn't reached temperatures close enough for me to worry it. You can say that you think the Alienware looks better, but to each their own. I wouldn't be caught dead with one again. Back in my teens and early twenties, sure... but no longer.
     
  8. MCJD4ever

    MCJD4ever Notebook Consultant

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    Ntrain, I'm sorry, but I definitely don't see how the MSI 783 looks like the M18X. I'm already getting a laptop that's a little bigger than what I originally wanted. The M18x isn't THAT much bigger, but for me, it's just a little too big.

    For me, the M18X is something that just screams "I'm a gaming nerd," like errel alluded to. I totally AM a gaming nerd (have been all my life, ain't nothing wrong with that), but I'm almost 28, and I need something that's a little more flexible and subtle looking. I really like the MSI 783's style, in that regard.

    I know I could get an M18X with two 580M cards for around/just under 3K, but when I start adding features/specs (even if I do it on my own), everything will start to really add up. It's my personal preference to have almost everything right out of the box, and not have to make a million upgrades on my own just to save a little money.

    I may not be able to max out every single game that comes along with just one 580M, but it's enough for what I need. As long as the games I want to play run nicely enough (and I know they will), that's good for me.
     
  9. ntrain96

    ntrain96 Notebook Evangelist

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    No the "Alienware knockoff", "clone" or whatever you want to call it is my opinion having had a few of em in hand and for direct comparison. It is what it is, and there are without question a few corners cut in the gaming chassis of the MSI, sorry man, its just not built as robustly and for the price, I personally do expect a bit more. The cooling system on the MSI is without question kinda of cheesy, especially for a $2k plus laptop. So sorry man, Im entitled to my opinion RIGHT? And your aware that the lights(all 9 zones)on the M18x can also be taken care of as well if you need to tone down the looks right? Just like the MSI.
     
  10. ntrain96

    ntrain96 Notebook Evangelist

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    All I can say is, if you had an M18x in front of you, then you would change your opinion real quick. $2500 is alot for a "performance" laptop that already is a little long in the tooth is how I see it. But hey if the MSI works for you, then thats all that matters. Just knowing the games you want to play(The Witcher 2 especially)your going to find settings are going to be dropped well below max after spending $2500. Thats alot of coin to drop those settings for specific games........and we got a whole crop of new DX11 games coming out within the next year that are really gonna tax that GPU just like Witcher 2. Anyway man good luck enjoy. ;)
     
  11. MCJD4ever

    MCJD4ever Notebook Consultant

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    Hey, actually the price is now more like $2300ish - I made some adjustments with my specs to get the price down some more. So, all in all, I'm pretty comfortable with what I'm getting for the money.

    I don't play a huge amount of games like I used to. And even when I do have occassional streaks where I get to play A LOT (which, for me being a part-time student and work full time, is rare these days), some hiccups here and there on high/close-to-max settings won't infuriate me or anything. As far as the cooling system, I intend to get one of those USB powered cooling pads to aid the system in keeping itself cool.

    And also, I'm not attempting to "diss" the M18X in anyway shape or form - it's an immensely impressive piece of equipment :) But for a few reasons (style, size, what I "need"), it's just not for me as of now.
     
  12. wtferrell

    wtferrell Notebook Evangelist

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    With my last post directed towards you, followed by the ignore list, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I normally respect everyone's opinion, even though other members in this e-discussion may not.

    When someone states:
    "You do realize that MSI you looked at/ordered is nothing but a knockoff off the Alienware laptops in design with some corners cut?"

    When anyone with a set of eyes can look at the chassis side by side, and see that they look nothing alike. We're not talking about internals whatsoever. It comes down to the fact of wanting/needing a computer to blend into whatever lifestyle you want it to adapt to.

    I've had my hands on them side by side as well, which is ultimately what made me go the opposite direction of the styling of the Alienware.

    It's just not built as robustly for the price, in your opinion. Having held both the GT783 and the M17x, in my opinion, it had a more sturdy feel to it. The keyboard is far better in my opinion, and overall, it's everything that I want/need it to be. Lastly, I don't care that you can turn off the lights on the M18x, it still has the "Alienware" look. That's the look that I don't want, and turns more than a few people away.

    Be happy with your computer, let the OP be happy with his decision, and stop trying to justify your purchases to him.

    "I may not be able to max out every single game that comes along with just one 580M, but it's enough for what I need. As long as the games I want to play run nicely enough (and I know they will), that's good for me."

    Good luck w/ your order MCJD. Sorry that the thread went off course, hopefully you were able to decipher through the craziness that ensued.
     
  13. ntrain96

    ntrain96 Notebook Evangelist

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    Ive had a 1761 and a 7 series "branded" MSI laptop in hand previously last month. Generally speaking its has all the same "flash" with the LED lighting,logo and effects as the Alienware laptops(the 1761 though deletes the cover logo and effect LEDs). Overall yeah, they actually do have the same overall "gaming look".

    But lets be real here, when your using your laptop, are you worried about the logo's or accent features, or are you staring at your display and keyboard? 99.99% of your time spent using your laptop or any other computer, the last thing your worried about is what the logo on the flipside of the screen says or looks like. At to me anyway. If your worried about the looks of the case, better off with an Apple,Lenovo or Sony Vaoi product IMO, because the large MSI,Asus,Clevo,ALienware laptops are anything but sleek and understated.

    Now my comparison's done previously in this thread were based on PRICE PAID FIRST. So I was comparing the 7 series MSI actually the m18x since they are both in the same cost bracket. And sorry, but the 7 series MSI is just not built as well as the m18x. The m18x uses a full aluminum frame, has 3 dedicated fans and heatsinks for the cpu/gpu cores, and the chassis just has alot of small touches that makes it easy to break down, rebuild or work on.

    My simple view is this: If your going to be paying around or NORTH of $2k for a performance laptop, your system should be up to the task graphically for the most demanding games, not just now, but for the next few years at least too. The problem with the single card laptops is that they just can't do that............still. This is now and in the present. So in just a short year's time or so its going to potentially be even more dated. Or a good chunk of change is going to be spent for another MXM card potentially in the near future to try and keep up with the new DX11 games coming out in the next year or 2. WIth the m18x and a pair of the same cards or the ATI equivalent, you dont have to worry about being able to play your games at all high or the highest settings, even the most demanding ones play north of 30-40fps maxed out. And these dual gpu systems will stay current for AT LEAST a couple years before they start to get long in the tooth, like the 580m is in single card configuration presently.

    I personally wouldnt feel comfortable recommending to someone a $2000-$2500 laptop thats not up to the task ALREADY for specific games mentioned that he wants to play. Feels like a waste of money.

    But if the OP doesnt mind spending $2k plus knowing that he is going to be dropping quality settngs dramatically to play at a smooth framerate on his games on his new laptop, then hey, my opinion is just that, my opinion, and as long as he is happy with his decision, then all the power to him. I just hope he doesnt run into the same issue I did with the 2 MSI's and that was the constant tinkering of graphics controls to try and improve the settings without killing the framerate, cuz IMO once you start doing that constantly, then you already know you bought the wrong system. The laptops I got for myself, I dont need to tinker with settings, or updated drivers,or to waste time with "overclocking" to improve visual quality and framerate. And thats how I know I made the right purchases.
     
  14. MCJD4ever

    MCJD4ever Notebook Consultant

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    I'm not sure where you are getting your prices from - but an M18X with all the same exact specs on the MSI (same warranty, RAM, HDD, etc.) is about $1000-$1200 more than what I finally ended up spending on the MSI. And this is BEFORE TAX. Granted, I can get one from powernotebooks.com, but even without tax and after a possible discount (and measly 3% cash discount), it would still be close to $1000+ more, assuming I put in the same exact features as the MSI (except for the dual 580Ms or 6990s). And I just like the MSI style more, I really don't like the AW style. It just turns me off. I do not agree with your opinion that they look alike. I agree that they are both fairly large, but as far as looks, I just prefer the MSI. Plus, the M18X is even bigger (though not by too much) than the 783.

    I mean, ultimately, If I find that I really enjoy PC gaming (as I've always been a console guy), and want to "go all the way," then I'll just get a PC gaming desktop with a larger monitor, because those are a lot cheaper for what you get for the money.

    And you guys keep insisting that the 580M single card is already on its way to irrelevancy. I've spoken to a number of people who know A LOT about PC gaming, graphics cards, builds, and such, and they have all said this is not the case. In fact, I even challenged the person I was buying my MSI from, and told him that he could be honest with me, becuse no matter what, I was going to buy from him. He basically said that two video cards in a laptop was "overkill for most games out there now and possibly even the next few years," and that if I wanted a top of the line PC gaming machine, I should look to a desktop solution. And I trust this guy's opinion, I will say that.

    Like I said - this is my first gaming PC, and I dont get as much time to play as I used to, so I don't necessarily need a top of the line machine. If I can't max out every game that comes out, then whatever, that's fine. If I can play at least most games on high settings and max out some (even with some framerate issues), then that is enough for me, for right now.
     
  15. MCJD4ever

    MCJD4ever Notebook Consultant

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    To be fair, you guys are answering based off of my initial request to max out all games, particularly The Witcher 2, which I know is a very demanding game. That's on me. I should have stated that I wanted a very solid gaming PC to play everything on at least high settings, and maybe Ultra on most games (and I don't care too much about FPS).

    I've seen the graphical differences between many games between high and ultra, and sometimes the differences aren't even worth writing home about.
     
  16. ntrain96

    ntrain96 Notebook Evangelist

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    Here is my take, stuff like the extra RAM, upgraded HD, warranty, wifi card upgrades, stuff like that.........its all FLUFF. Dell charges obscene prices for these "upgrades"..............MSI, although not as bad, overcharges too. Stuff like RAM, wifi cards, HD's, "thermal paste", all of this stuff, can easily be bought seperately and none of it takes an engineering degree to install. If you can brush your teeth, then you can install em yourself on your own. Hell on my own I can change out the optical drive, 2 hard drives, 3 sticks of RAM, do a complete repaste of both my GPU's and CPU and upgrade the wifi card in less than 30 minutes time. It aint hard, and in reality it saves you HUNDREDS of dollars if not near $1000(based off Dell's accessory pricing ;) )

    I base my pricing off the true meat and potatoes of your system. The main case/chassis/screen, cpu, video cards and motherboard. This is the core of your system, and this is what determines your real world performance. And as stated and shown an m18x can be bought with basic hd, i7 processor,4-8gigs of ram and dual Ati or Nvidia gpu cards for about $2500 shipped.

    As for 2 video cards being overkill.........far,far from it. 2 high end laptop video cards gives you the performance roughly of one single desktop Nvidia GTX 560ti. And that single card in a desktop playing games at 1080p is far from overkill.

    The place you bought your MSI from is most likely protecting their sale. And I can garentee you the profit margin from the MSI laptop from a 3rd party vendor is going to be much higher than from reselling a Dell since there already are 2 middlemen in line on the resale. If the MSI with the 580m was truely overkill, Id still have a 1761 or 7 series in my possesion, and Im not exactly a huge gamer myself, neither is my wife. But I do like the games I do play on occasion to look and play their best.
     
  17. MCJD4ever

    MCJD4ever Notebook Consultant

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    Hey man, I understand - I want my games to play and look their best as well. I've done some research about The Witcher 2 (one of the most graphically demanding games out there in quite a while), and most people have said that a single GTX 560 would max the game as long as ubersampling is turned off. So, as long as I'm able to at least play on Ultra settings, with that feature turned off, that's fine with me. And, in the same forums, I even saw some who had dual GPU's who occassionally ran into problems.

    I was comparing prices with the exact same specs, because I felt that was only fair. I know I could have afforded a bare bones dual graphic card laptop (such as the M18x), but I really don't like AW's style/look, and I guess I just wanted more of an "all around" entertainment laptop, and not necessarily a graphics powerhouse that will last the next decade (which is seldom the case even with top-of-the-line PCs, as new technology is always coming out, unlike in the console world). LOL sometimes I feel like PC gaming (especially with laptops and the higher GPU costs) is something of a novelty, because new things are coming out every few months lol. Consoles usually last for like 5 years!

    If my single 580 card ever truly poses a problem in the future, then I will either upgrade the graphics card, or look to at a desktop solution. I honestly feel that I'm going to be ok with my set-up! :)
     
  18. wtferrell

    wtferrell Notebook Evangelist

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    No need telling him that MCJD... he's most likely going to tell you that you won't like it because it's not his opinion.

    I'm not you, I'm not him, I'm me... and I'm overly happy with the GT783 and would recommend it to anyone. I've not ran into so much of a stutter w/ the game playing Skyrim with a pretty substantial list of mods and high res texture packs.

    Like I said, it defaulted to Ultra w/ all of the sliders at their max settings, and even w/ the Civil War mod installed, I'm not experiencing any hiccups. Perhaps I got a superior card, but I don't see too much of a way that they can be "that" different.

    As for the looks of it, I agree wholeheartedly. The Alienware laptop is just ugly. The MSI, although still a large system, is a much better looking notebook. Then again, I guess we need a Lenovo, Apple, or Sony because the MSI and Alienware are apparently nearly identical in looks.

    And even though you stated that you don't want to go through the hassle of ordering the parts from different vendors, and installing them yourself because you would rather have a system that is take out of the box and play, you're doing it wrong. Get real. I'm like you in the fact that I don't want to order RAM from somewhere, wait for it to get there, get my SSD from somewhere, wait for it to get here, an optical drive from somewhere... you get the point.

    I have money set aside for a desktop build, but right now, I don't need to use it. I'm more than happy w/ the performance my single 580M gives.

    Let us know when it comes in and post some impressions.
     
  19. ntrain96

    ntrain96 Notebook Evangelist

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    No I understand where your coming from actually on all aspects, looks, accessories etc. I though do feel that the Alienware "looks" are not as gaudy as what the marketing pages make it out to be, especially when you get one in hand. As for media/entertainment, any "graphics powerhouse" is also going to be equally good as a media center hub. As long as the laptop has plenty of peripheral ports(USB 2,3,HDMI out etc etc). Anyway man Im sure you will enjoy the laptop. The MSI you chose is really a good punchy overall laptop, I just felt per dollar spent that its a bit pricy, but dont let me comments on that be taken as a slight against it. Because IMO pretty much all performance/desktop replacement laptops are over priced in reality. Both my laptops in my signature cost me under $2k, because I was not willing to spend full retail on em anyway(since I had to get a pair).
     
  20. ntrain96

    ntrain96 Notebook Evangelist

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    A. I thought Im on the "ignore list"...... ;) Please enable your feature. ;)

    B. Your right, some people don't want the heavy duty hassle of spending a few minutes installing a few peripheral items, some people though like myself are more concerned with what the total cost is. Myself, Id rather spend 15-20 minutes installing some add ons, vs putting hundreds of dollars in someone else's pocket for the same quality parts and installation.

    C. As for waiting for X parts to get to your house from Source Y, many times its actually quicker to buy the parts seperately. I know when I ordered my laptops, I also ordered the same day the other parts I wanted to add on and upgrade myself. Those parts actually came in before I recieved my laptops. So there isnt necessarily an extra wait. Hell I find that even with overnight shipping the parts ordered most times are still significantly cheaper than having the vendor install them on site. So IMO no real "wait time" is necessary.
     

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