Need help with choosing a new gaming laptop

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by africanleopard, Aug 15, 2018.

  1. africanleopard

    africanleopard Notebook Enthusiast

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    I am replacing my 5 1/2 year Lenovo Y580 with GTX660M and an ancient generation of the i7 cpu.

    General Questions
    1) What is your budget?
    CAD 2000-2500 (about USD 1500-1800)
    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    3) Which country will you buying this notebook?
    Canada

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like: I have had excellent experience with Dell/Lenovo - but I am pretty open to any decent brand
    b. Dislike: Apple

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    No
    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    Gaming. Occasionally for work (I now have a work laptop, so this will hopefully be rare)
    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Both - I also travel internationally twice a year.
    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?)
    Yes. examples: ARK, Overwatch, Civilization, World of Warcraft,Diablo/Heroes of the Storm/Starcraft, Elder Scrolls and any new game that takes my fancy.
    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    Maybe 3-4 hours, usually plugged in.
    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 10 Pro

    Screen Specifics
    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.)
    Minimum 1080p (1920x1080), and at least a 120 MhZ
    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.)
    Prefer matte/non-glossy
    Build Quality and Design
    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    Yes - if it has lighting, I must be able to switch it off or make the color non-descript

    Notebook Components
    15) How much hard drive space do you need?
    At minimum 500GB, but ideally 1 TB (prefer at least 256 GB as a SSD, balance can be a HDD)

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity
    16) When are you buying this laptop?
    Within a couple of days.

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop?
    Based on my current usage of laptops 5+ years

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail?
    Don't have an issue, have a spare laptop (the Lenovo I am replacing)

    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?
    No

    Please state any additional features you need.

    1. At minimum GTX1060 with 6GB memory (prefer 1070, but most seem to be outside my budget)
    2. At minimum 16 GB RAM
    3. SD card reader (for camera) -nice to have
    4. RJ-45 Ethernet socket (not everywhere is on WiFi, and my ISP troubleshoots on LAN)
    5. NumPad (I'd be lost without it)
    6. Thunder bolt 3 port, if possible
    7. Something that is cool enough not to fry eggs or boil water
    8. Port & cooling vent location - I am right handed so minimal ports on RHS would be ideal and no vents on RHS


    I am aware there is no perfect laptop out there, so I may need to make some compromises...

    Do I need G-SYNCH? Community seems to be divided on that. I haven't seen any tearing with my Lenovo, but it may be applicable to the newer AAA games.

    There are a plethora of laptops out there, with ASUS and MSI having so many different models and variants (how to confuse the consumer)....Most only offer Windows Home, so I would need to factor in the cost of upgrading to Windows 10 Pro (about CAD 260), if it doesn't void the warranty - don't see how, but you never know :).

    I have been looking at the following 15" and scored them, the total is the score value:

    [Model] (Total) <Cost > {With Win Pro}
    1. [MSI GS63 8RE-020CA Stealth] (28) <2299> {2299}
    2. [MSI GP63 8RE-201CA Leopard] (24) <1858> {2118}
    3. [MSI GE63 8RE-200CA ] (24) <2099> {2359}
    4. [Alienware New 15 " R4] (23) <2355> {2355}
    5. [MSI GP63 Leopard-428] (23) <2199> {2459}
    6. [Asus GM501GS-XS74] (23) <2499> {2499}

    Aside from not having a GTX 1070 and even with having only a 128GB SDD, the GS 63 Stealth scored top honors, talk about being surprised :). However, I have no idea about build quality, and of course heating (these are all stock) and don't really know ASUS and MSI.

    I am thinking for future proofing I should have a thunderbolt port (the Stealth has this), which implies that the ASUS and Alienware (the weight of this monster is somewhat of a turn off though - 3.5 kg!! - my ancient Lenovo is light weight in comparison and its heavy) are definitely still in play.

    There only two laptops in my list with a GTX 1070 viz the ASUS and the Leopard-428.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. Grant B Gibson

    Grant B Gibson Notebook Deity

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    Welp, all of them run hot, GSync isn't really a necessity or priority, you can buy a cheap Win10 Pro key off ebay for a couple bucks (Not suprised if you aren't comfortable with that, most aren't) Out of all them, the GS63 is probably the best, you really don't need more than a MX150 for your games anyways, non of these laptops aren't truly "future proof" as they are all soldered garbage, if you don't mind chunky but in a 15 inch form factor Clevo has one with a Desktop CPU and 1060-1080
     
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  3. africanleopard

    africanleopard Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the response, I know you don’t like BGA :). I am not looking for a DTR though - I will be rebuilding my PC.

    Which Clevo did you have in mind? My options are limited to Eurocom (they are very expensive) and resellers on Newegg and Amazon. And from what I read on this site - one needs Prema :). I don’t mind chunky, but I don’t want a heavy machine.

    For us Canadians with the bad exchange rate we are looking at a 30% premium on the US price, plus then there is shipping and import duties.
     
  4. Grant B Gibson

    Grant B Gibson Notebook Deity

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    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
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  5. africanleopard

    africanleopard Notebook Enthusiast

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    That Clevo is a really nice machine - but it weighs 3.4 KG (over 7 lbs), and, running the math its outside of my budget :(, as I would need to get an international warranty as well.

    Thanks for the advise on the GS and GP laptops though :).
     
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  6. Grant B Gibson

    Grant B Gibson Notebook Deity

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    NP, just want to help people get the best bang for buck along with best build quality, I'm sure the GP will serve you well
     
  7. Raphandryu

    Raphandryu Notebook Consultant

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    Hey! Hope I'm not too late in this post. Here is my opinion but before that, need to sort that list of 6 laptops you mentioned above. Let's remove these -
    • Alienware New 15 " R4 - Thermals are poor and is very loud.
    • MSI GP63 8RE-201CA Leopard - Leopard is just the cheaper version of Raider with slightly less performance. Raider is better than this.
    • MSI GP63 Leopard-428 - Again, Raider is a better choice than this.
    Okay so for the rest -
    • MSI GS63 8RE-020CA Stealth - Best thing about this laptop is it's screen. It is one of the most colour accurate screen so far with a 100% sRGB and 91% AdobeRGB. Good battery life. Drives are slower. Upgradability in this laptop is way too difficult. So you gotta stick to the stock. Due to it's thin design, gaming for an extensive period of time will cause thermal throttling. Speaker are just okay.
    • MSI GE63 8RE-200CA - RGB lighting is what makes this laptop really unique. Screen is nice with a colour accuracy of 100% sRGB and 89% AdobeRGB but since it is a TN panel, viewing angles are not great. There is no thermal issues in it as it has 7 heatpipes. It maintains a comfortable temperature even at high loads. Bad battery life (really bad). Speakers are just garbage.
    • Asus GM501GS-XS74 - Zephyrus is superior in terms of performance than the other two as it have a GTX 1070 in it. Screen is nice for gaming as it fast and have vibrant colours which makes games look great but not really suitable for content creation as it has a colour accuracy of 91% sRGB and 62% AbobeRGB. battery life is average, somewhere between MSI GS65 and MSI GE63. Due to it's self lifting design, thermals are amazing in this laptop. It is easy to upgrade unlike GS65. Speakers are great.
    Quick Summary
    • Overall Performance - Asus > GE63 ~ GS65
    • Battery life - GS65 > Asus > GE63
    • Speakers - Asus > GS65 > GE63
    • Thermals - GE63 > Asus > GS65
    • Screen(as per gaming requirement) - GS65 > Asus > GE63
    • Accessibility - Asus ~ GE63 > GS65
    • Control center software - Asus > MSI
    My opinion is go for Asus Zephyrus GM501GS-XS74.
     
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  8. africanleopard

    africanleopard Notebook Enthusiast

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    Wow - that’s a pretty well thought out response - thanks so much!

    The GS 65 is ridiculously expensive though.

    There is very little info on the GS63 sadly - I was unable to find reviews on it - it’s the Cinderella of the GS line. It’s heavier than the GS65, and actually has the numpad, sadly the one thing missing on it is the GTX 1070 (its on the 17” model though) and the smaller hard drive (128GB), but aside from that it meets my all my requirements, including a 2 year warranty.

    The ASUS is very tempting and it’s deeply discounted at the moment - missing the LAN and card reader, and only a 1 year warranty. Can be fixed with a docking station and a USB card reader. The warranty makes me nervous though . Personally I don’t know ASUS and MSI brands very well....
     
  9. Grant B Gibson

    Grant B Gibson Notebook Deity

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    Most cheap $15 USB C hubs have both, if you can't get it with a warranty over a year be careful, but otherwise right choice for you
     
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  10. Raphandryu

    Raphandryu Notebook Consultant

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    GS63 is actually a high end version of GE63. In GS63, you'll get all the things from GE63 with more premium build quality, more battery, more room to upgrade your ssd and better port selection by adding a thunderbolt 3 support which is not there in GE63.

    MSI launches laptops for all price ranges so every person who wants to be a gamer can achieve the desired performance, no matter what their budget is. GT series for hard core gamers who have a lot of money. GS series are for those who loves premium build quality and outstanding performance. Then comes GE, for those gamers who not very rich to afford GT series. After that, GP series which contains the same hardware as GE but a lesser premium build quality and lesser RGB to reduce the price without affecting the performance. GF and GL series are for entry level/casual gamers, pure plastic body and only red RGB to reduce cost and less powered GPU. In the comes GV series which basically for those school students who can tell their parents that this is a normal looking laptop they need for school projects but they game on it instead as they get the GTX10 series graphics with 8th gen intel processors.

    MSI and Asus are purely dedicated towards gaming.

    Asus don't have a variety of products like that of MSI but it do have the machines which are just unbeatable for the price and performance. If there is any asus service center near you than you don't have to worry about the support as it good.

    My personal experience - Once you start opening your laptop or PC to see what's inside, you just stop caring about the warranty issues. Applying new thermal paste, overclocking, undervolting... doing everything to make it better than what you get in the stock version which automatically violates the warranty xD.

    But don't worry. MSI and Asus are trustworthy brands. And without giving them a chance, how you're going to know it, right?
     
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