My Mid 2010 17" MBP, which had the top hardware specs at the time of purchase, died this week. So, it's time to look for a new laptop that will last at least 2 years.
Work: I'm a Data Architect. I run M$'s complete SQL Server BI stack and development tools: servers, databases, IDE's, SSIS, Sharepoint, SSAS, etc. Win on Mac had very few problems running my work processes, including complex ETLs. I did have problems with battery life. I will never buy another computer that requires a screwdriver to change a battery.
Play: BF3, X-Plane, and Auto CAD - None of which I've ever been able to run maxed out on my MBP. When traveling, I watch my home TiVo using Sling Player.
So, I'm looking for a desktop/server replacement that rocks as a gamer.
1. Upgradability. I've had two MBP's. I loved them. They gamed alright w/ Win. and I really like OSX. But, they couldn't be upgraded. I had, a decade ago, a Dell Inspiron 8000 that lasted 6 years because I could upgrade the GPU and RAM. If I'm going to spend the $, I want it to last, even if only as a secondary/backup machine.
2. Weight. I like the Sager NP9270, but MAN, that thing is a beast I don't want to haul though airports. I don't even think it will fit under the seat in a plane. It weighs 12lbs. Definitely want something lighter. Old MBP was 7lbs. so something from 6-10 lbs would b fine.
3. Battery/Power. My job also requires at lease one week of cross country travel per month. Battery life is critical on these trips. But, if the battery can be changed easily and I can carry a couple extra, then that goes away. The rest of the time, the machine is plugged in and runs nearly 24/7.
4. GPU. I'm a little lost here. I'm torn between a couple of options. I like nVidia. So, there's the 500M's and 600M's. I've read reviews and seen benchmarks that put the 500's close (in some cases better) than the equivalent 600's. So, I'm not sure which I should get. Ivy Bridge releases tomorrow, I know there's a significant performance boost, but is that boost the same between the two generations? Also, there's the 670M w/ 3GB or the 675 w/ 2GB. Is it better to get the newer one or the older one w/ more onboard memory? This choice also goes into the chassis selection, as a couple models won't support 675 for another month. MUST HAVE - Run BF3 MAXED!
4. Drives. I want at least two, if not three drives. One SSD, dual boot Win & OSX. The others need to be at least 1TB and can be any type. No RAID needed.
5. Memory. at least 8GB. I figure I should go w/ 2 x 8GB to save $, knowing I can max the MoBo out w/ another 2 x 8GB in an upgrade. I don't want to waist 2 x 4GB in an upgrade to 32GB. And keeping the count at two let's me use the dual channel instead of 1 x 8GB. (Is this a correct analysis?)
6. Screen 17" NO GLARE! It must be a matte finish. 3D would is a nice to have, but not a deal breaker.
7. Sound. Not so much an issue. As long as I can hear team speak, stream radio, and hear my Sling Player (headphones and speakers,) I'm good. I'm not an audiophile.
8. Radios - Pretty standard. WiFi N & Blue Tooth.
9. Chassis - This is my second stopper. I want a Full keyboard. A 17" laptop has the room, I want 2 use is (not like my Macs.) I presume all chassises will offer Ivy Bridge after tomorrow.
That points me to three chassis:
I've used an Asus G74SX. I love the feel. It's sturdy and the rubberized surface is nice. But, I think (please correct me if needed) the hardware isn't the top end yet. It doen't have the nVidia 675m.
I like what the Segar NP9170 offers in hardware. All options are on the table, and I like the hardware options. I've read that there is a little give in the keyboard. This REALLY concerns me, as I'm on this computer 10-20 hours / day. I don't want a computer that isn't SOLID! and that feels cheep. I'm spending a lot of $, I want to feel it.
I've been told the MSI GT90 is a great option. It's solid. I've read that it does look a little cheep. It has an awesome sound system, but MSI MoBo's don't support GTX675m's yet (not an issue if 3GB GTX670m is better due to the onboard memory.)
COST. I'm hoping to spend between $2000 and $3000.
I think that covers it. Thanks for taking the time to read the long post, but I wanted to give you all the details. Please let me know if I've missed anything that should be a consideration, and thank you in advance for your suggestions/comments.
I wouldn't suggest a G74SX. It's got a mediocre GPU, especially for the price. If you want to run BF3 maxed, the G74 won't come close. There are newer, better Asus models coming out soon, but they won't max BF3 either.
On board memory doesn't affect GPU performance, by the way. Anything past 1GB is sufficient unless you want to be running multiple external monitors or something. A 675M is better than a 670M. The 600 series is also better than the 500 series.
I'd suggest you wait a little bit and get a Sager 9170 with a 7970M GPU. The 7970M is easily better in all respects than any current Nvidia cards. Probably the only single laptop GPU that will max out BF3.
Last edited by RiddlelddiR; 29th April 2012 at 04:22 PM.
Now lets clarify a bit regarding the high end mobile gpus
AMD has the 7970m out, its a beast. In synthetic benchmarks its close to 100% better than what nvidia is offering. On gaming its at least 40% faster. Its basically a 7870, remove 10-15% of the performance and you will have plenty of benches to look at. BTW we have already some members that have the 7970m, people got to overclock the cards to the 7870 levels, and it was easy
Nvidia has the 500m and the 600m
the 560m is discontinued, thank god for that, its a 460m rebadged with a slight overclock. The gt 650m performs right in the middle of those gpus.
660m performs close to the 570m, its a new card using kepler
570m/670m are fermi cores, the latter is using a slight overclock to achieve better performance.
485m/580m/675m fermi core, with the 485m having the lowest clock.
I would think of a np9170:
CPU: i7 3720qm
HDD1: the crucial m4 256gb is at an amazing price in provantage, just looked today its 241
HDD2: 1tb buy it yourself as well
mSata: if you want they have the PM800 but I would wait for the m4.
ODD: suit yourself
Screen: Matte 72% gamut
Ok, I just ordered the NP9170. I waited until the 3rd gen i7s where out. I really wanted the 7970m, but can't wait. I need a machine NOW for work, or I can't afford anything at all. so I went w/ the GT675m. I'll upgrade when I can get a 7970m.
CPU: i7 3820
HDD1: 120GB SSD
HDD2: 750GB 7200RPM (from old laptop)
HDD3: 750GB 7200RPM (from old laptop - installed in optical bay)
mSata: None (doesn't help w/ HDD1 SSD. may consider putting one in it for the extra drive space)
Memory: 16GB 1866
Can't wait 2 get it loaded up.
I'm gonna try and load OSX on it, along w/ Win7 Pro. Anyone have xp w/ OSX on the 9170?