Non-gamer seeking gaming rig

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Robert Robb, Apr 23, 2020.

  1. Robert Robb

    Robert Robb Newbie

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    My current machine is an ASUS G73JH. Yeah, you read that right. I've been using it for 10 years and is doing pretty well for what I need (right now). But, it's had issues and I'm finally fed up and done, plus I have the funds to splurge a little.

    I would like to know if you are aware of any machines comparable to what I have found for both performance and price. All my needs and desires are at the bottom - I think I was pretty detailed and its quite lengthy. Plus, the group of machines I'm looking at all tend to have the same components, so I'm trying to only mention the differences up here at the top to make things easier.

    Right now, I have found these machines meeting all my musts, in order of most to least interesting, with their key differences. If you have something equal / better at an equal / better price, please let me know. It must have a number pad and a webcam. I really don't like MSI's dual power toward the front, but could live with it if the deal is too good to deny. MANY thanks

    HP Omen 17 = 144 Hz, i7-9750, RTX 2070, 512GB M.2 for $1650 on

    Alienware M17 = 60 Hz, 8750, RTX 2070 MaxQ, 512GB M.2 for $1500 on Amazon (but Renewed).

    Lenovo Legion Y740 = 144 Hz, 9750, 2080 MaxQ, 1TB M.2 for $1800 on Amazon (by Lenovo).

    Acer Predator Helios = 144 Hz, 9750, 2070 MaxQ, 512GB M.2, not sure about G-Sync for $1760 on Amazon (by Acer).

    I haven't found anything with those specs near those prices for ACER (ConceptD), Gigabyte, XMG (Clevo), or Schenker. No Razers because they don't have a number pad and no ASUS Strix Hero III because there's no camera.

    I am shying away from used in general, especially from 3rd party sellers I don't recognize. I am shying away from MSI because of their dual-power and its positioning toward the front - it would have to be significantly better deal than the HP Omen 17 found on Walmart. I am shying away from ASUS because of my current machine's issues and past customer service experience plus their generally higher prices by ~$250 or more.

    [This paragraph can be skipped, unless you're interested in the details of why I'm ready to move on from the G73.] Back in the day there were trackpad and display issues. Now, there are power system issues that are so bad I cannot use the second hard drive bay. A couple years ago I upgraded the OS drive to an SSD and kept the HDD for storing family pics and vids. In the last couple years, it would just turn off (not power down, just everything "off" instantly) if unplugged for more than ~45 seconds. The HDD started making clicking and high-pitched spin-down noises; of course I thought the drive was failing. Also, I started having to do the thing where you unplug the battery and AC power, hold the power button down for a couple seconds, and then plug back in the battery and AC back in to get it to boot properly. Otherwise, it would instantly power off somewhere between POST and boot, freeze, etc. Eventually, I bought an external USB caddy for that HDD to figure out if it was a bad drive or something in the computer. Well, here it sits, running perfectly smoothly without any noises or issues for several months. Tried to put it back in its bay - yep, it's the power of the machine. And now I realize I've wasted 3 batteries over the years thinking they were wearing out and needed replacing. Right now, I'm still nervous to ever unplug it and almost never do, and it still sometimes freezes as background tray programs load, the only fix being the battery remove / hold power button / battery insert weirdness.

    The next section contains my needs, musts, desires, etc. but could be skipped to go straight to what I've found at what price.

    My needs right now are ridiculously low - I play Minecraft with my kids, cast 1080p mp4 / m4v movies via WiFi (Windows right click cast-to-device) to the 65" Samsung smart tv in the living room, zoom with teachers and students, and sometimes watch LTT on YouTube. Rarely, I get to play turn-based RPGs & sims (SimCity, Civ, XCOM, Crusader Kings, Stellaris). I know what you're thinking, "what the h*** is this guy smocking?!?"

    My needs are for the future. Looking at guides and prices, I would rather spend an extra $500-750 for something fancy, since I know I will keep and use the machine for a VERY long time. I also might get to start playing some AAA games in the next few years and refuse to buy cheap now + buy again later. You're probably also thinking, "dude, just get something around a GTX 16xx and you'll be fine." OK, an ASUS Strix G 17" is around $1400 right now. I can get RTX 2070 machine for only ~$200 more = worth it. Then I'll have Ray Tracing for Minecraft as a little bonus.

    Must haves:
    17", 1920x1080, 60Hz (No Sager 16". I don't have the space for a monitor and I want a nice, big screen since I'll be staring at it for the next decade.)

    RTX 2070 MaxQ or higher (No 2060. The price / performance jump is worth it to me.)

    1 or more empty slots / spare bays for a future ~2TB SATA HDD or maybe even a SSD / M.2 / PCIe (Don't worry, I've got offsite cloud backup covered for my family pics and vids.)

    Backlit keyboard (Actually, I haven't found any that don't.)

    Number Pad (No Razers. I do enough spreadsheets and such that it's worth having to me.)

    Camera (No Strix Hero III. I don't want more cables and peripherals.)

    144Hz IPS (I don't care about 240Hz, it's too much for me notice. Yes, I watched Linus' skills video with the pro gamers.)

    i7 8750H or higher (All the machines I'm finding have i7-9750H, one MSI had 10750. This is where I can save a few hundred $, maybe upgrade far in the future to max it out.)
    RTX 2070 or higher (Seems like the 2080s price jump ~$400. To me, that's not worth the incremental performance bump I see on UserBenchmark for the mobile versions).

    1x8GB RAM or higher (Yes, I know about single channel, but I won't notice it right now. By the time I have uses that will reflect that problem, I'll upgrade to 2x# with better CL than the stock stick.)

    256 GB M.2 SSD (That's all I need for OS and some programs / games right now. I'd rather save $ here and upgrade speed / size when the need arises. I already have a 1TB SSD for 'files'.)

    G-Sync (It sounds like something really good, but I don't think I'll ever notice it, and if I do I don't think it will bother me enough.)

    Single power toward the back (I'm glaring at you, entire MSI lineup.)
  2. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    I'd still look at an MSI, the newer models are quite attractive in design and features. Otherwise you picked out the major 17-inch gamers. The Lenovo Legion Y740 would be my pick, it has a good mix of high-end features and performance.

  3. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Of the models you listed, I would dismiss the Alienware out of hand on account of its 60 Hz screen. I'm personally not a fan of Acer's design or product quality on account of my own very poor experiences with their laptops. The HP has decent specs for the price, but for just $150 more the Lenovo gives you a more powerful GPU and double the storage so that would be my pick.

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