Need a reliable mid to low tier gaming laptop for work and a little gaming

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by sinfolmatt, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. sinfolmatt

    sinfolmatt Notebook Geek

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    General Questions

    1) What is your budget? Approximately $1,000, could spend more or less but trying to aim for that price range. If anything, maybe a little more. Maybe $1,200 if I need to get what I'm looking for.

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    a. Ultraportable; 10" - 12" screen
    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen
    15" or 17", it needs to have a number pad for work. Otherwise I care most about good air flow.
    3) Which country will you buying this notebook? United States of America

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like: higher build quality Dell, Evga (although they stopped making laptops), and anything with a higher build quality and better airflow.
    b. Dislike: Sager/clevo, I heard good things about them so 2.5 years ago I bought the
    Clevo P950HP6/Sager NP8950
    From HIDEvolution. Just after I passed the 1 month no pixel problem warranty I had a dead or black pixel in the center of the screen, just after the 2 year warranty point some of the keys on the keyboard stopped working, I ordered a replacement keyboard from them about 3 months ago which had a 60 day warranty and last night for a period every key but caps lock stopped working. I will not be surprised to see the keyboard break again because it seems to be a common issue people have with this laptop. It seems that the heat from the laptop can affect the keys, I think.

    I didn't really get bothered by the pixel problem, but I need a working keyboard for traveling and working. More important than anything else for me is reliability.

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed? No, I want new, reliable, and prefer a good warranty service.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook? Primary purpose is accounting work, but I occasionally will play games on it. Most the games I play are older (i.e. League of legends and Ultima Online) but i like to have the ability to run newer games at least on average or lower settings.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both? Both, but I do not mind a larger laptop. Most of my favorite prior laptops were 17". If it is larger I may need a good bag to fit it.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?) Most the games I play are older (i.e. League of legends and Ultima Online) but i like to have the ability to run newer games at least on average or lower settings.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need? Not a lot, I will almost always be able to plug in, but I don't want it to die in 30 minutes or something. Is 2 hours reasonable?

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK? Online is OK

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc. Windows

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.) 1080p is fine

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.) Not a major preference. But I guess I would like to be able to see it outside when it is bright if possible.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you? Not really.

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need? 500gb minimum.

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity


    16) When are you buying this laptop? Could be in the next month, could be in the next year. Depends a bit on my current laptop keyboard holding out, while I find something I like and hopefully with a little deal.

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop? As long as possible. Minimum 3 years but I would hope for work it will last 5 or more. My work is not very tough on any components. If not for some gaming I could get something significantly less expensive I think.

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail? My plan is to keep my current laptop as a backup, so I can be ok in the case of a failure. But I would really like to avoid failures and keep down time to a minimum.

    19) Would you be willing to pay significantly extra for on-site warranty, or would it be acceptable to you to have to ship the laptop to the vendor for repair with perhaps a week or more outage? Shipping is OK. Especially with our current environment, I am not looking to have strangers in my home.

    I hope this information helps, thank you for taking the time to read my post and thank you in advance to anyone who replies (I will probably thank you again, but in case life distracts me and I dont.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
  2. Ed. Yang

    Ed. Yang Notebook Evangelist

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    The Ryzen U-class 4500U CPU used in this system, is also used in business makes, like in the ThinkPad E, L, range of products.
    https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/ideapad/ideapad-300-series/IdeaPad-3-17ARE05/p/88IPS301433
    @ USD$540, you get a big screen, bigger storage, and fatter battery which had been upsized from 42whr to 56whr, when compared to the Blue Heart make of similar size.
    https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/ideapad/ideapad-300-series/IdeaPad-3-17IML05/p/88IPS301422
    ...and with INTEL Heart, it costs u more! Yet with performance on light gaming, will be lacklustre when compared to the RED Heart.

    With that deal a steal, you'll have ample budget left for you to buy extra insurance, including the battery!

    Or else... the next budget class biggie that you'll have to hunt for... will be the HP17.
     
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  3. sinfolmatt

    sinfolmatt Notebook Geek

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    Thanks for the response. I am really looking to include a dedicated graphics card in the laptop of possible. Most games I play wouldn't need it, but occasionally I might and don't want to be without one when that time comes.
     
  4. Ed. Yang

    Ed. Yang Notebook Evangelist

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    here's the playability of the most budget dGPU that u can get with ur budget.

    ... note that the Nvidia MX350 in the benchmarking clip was paired with the more expensive CPU from Intel that could burst ur budget by few hundreds of dollars ​
     
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  5. sinfolmatt

    sinfolmatt Notebook Geek

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    Thanks for the video, but I am a little confused because i dont see laptops with mx350 in them. How do these compare to a laptop with a ryzen and a gtx1660 or rtx graphics card
     
  6. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    Several machines would work at that price range.

    The Lenovo Legion 5 (Ryzen + GTX1650Ti combo) would fit your budget I think and most of your requirements. Runs cool & quiet, good keyboard with numpad, 1650Ti is enough for the games you're looking to play. You could always opt for an Intel model with a more powerful GPU, depending on your budget, but then you're getting a better GPU in exchange for a worse CPU.

    If you're willing to go up to $1200, then several other options open up, like the Acer Predator Helios 300, Dell G5 series, HP Omen and others.

    From a warranty perspective, Dell and Lenovo offer on-site service, so if warranty and service is a concern, you might want to stick to those two brands. I think HP offers some sort of on-site service (could be pickup?), so HP Omen 15 is an option too.
     
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  7. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    The iGPU of the new Ryzen chips are sufficient to play games like LoL and other older/less-demanding games, but they aren't at all comparable to GTX/RTX cards.
     
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  8. sinfolmatt

    sinfolmatt Notebook Geek

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    Thanks for the response. Yeah I think a gtx 1650 or 1660 is probably what I would want after doing a little more research. I have never really been a fan of integrated graphics. Does the mx350 even have its own dedicated memory or does it use RAM when needed?

    Ryzen seems to be the recommended CPU now. Do you have any of the laptops you recommended, how is the Lenovo Legion? I know my wife loves her X Carbon.

    I like how the Asus TUF series is markets as really strong (I try to be gentle but I tend to break things) but that could be more marketing than an actual difference in the computer build quality.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
  9. Ed. Yang

    Ed. Yang Notebook Evangelist

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    Yes. Certainly, the Legion is a better choice with a very efficient cooling design. I'm holding one now, and i can attest to that!
    However, OP is looking for something big. And for the moment, Legion 5 with such a big 17inch "screenscape", limits to the INTEL based make. And the most basic configuration will burst OP's budget, even with little allowance.
     
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  10. Ramzay

    Ramzay Notebook Connoisseur

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    I believe the MX350 has its own dedicated memory. Keep in mind that the iGPU that comes with mobile Ryzen 4000 chips aren't that much slower than a MX350. Of course, since the iGPU on the Ryzen chips shares total system memory, you need to keep that in mind when purchasing/configuring your machines. Also, Ryzen 4000 chips are very senstive to fast dual-channel RAM (adding faster RAM and especially dual-channel RAM makes a big difference in gaming performance).

    https://www.notebookcheck.net/The-N...y-are-some-OEMs-using-it-anyway.464274.0.html

    I don't have any of the ones I mentioned, though I do have the ThinkPad T14 (Ryzen 5 Pro 4650U) and Dell Inspiron 5505 (Ryzen 4700U). I've played some LoL on both of them, 1080p medium settings, 100+FPS. The HP Probook 455 G7 is also a machine I have my eye on, seems decent for the price. A quick search will give you plenty of reviews on the Legion 5, pretty much all say its a solid machine.

    Only caution about the new TUF 15 machines is that the cooling systems appears to be iffy on certain models (some reviews out there go over this).




    If it were me, I'd likely be leaning towards the Legion 5 with AMD (I don't mind the extra heft, Ryzen 4000 series are really good, and I am really sensitive to fan noise and chassis heat). If you're ok with the noise/thermals, the TUF A15 looks like an overall decent machine with good specs at a decent price.
     
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