I'm considering purchasing a gaming laptop. Am I nuts?

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#51 Posted by FengShuiGod (1517 posts) -

I wouldn't do it. You can get a pretty decent laptop to do a lot of gaming on, but it you want something really powerful they get expensive fast.

I bought an $800 laptop two years ago, and while I wouldn't try to run Battlefield I was able to play Skyrim on it which looked about as good as the 360 version and loaded a hell of a lot faster. The laptop runs anything I want it to. Mostly I just play Source games, but Skyrim, ME2, and Stalker all run fine. Lots of newer games probably aren't so good, so I stay away from them on my laptop.

Even if you spend a lot more than I did, you are probably going to be in my situation in a few years, especially after the next gen comes. That's fine if you just want a laptop that can run TF2, not so much if it's a dedicated gaming rig. Laptops really suffer from diminishing returns. Shop around for the right Asus or something and you can get a pretty decent deal for a grand or so. Spend a lot more than that, and you get something that isn't so portable, is more expensive than a similarly powerful desktop, might get hot, ages quickly, is harder/more expensive to repair should you need to, and is probably more likely to need repairing.

#52 Posted by Andorski (5469 posts) -

If your current rigs monstrous size is what's keeping your wife from letting you put it anywhere else in the house, why don't you just build a new PC in a case more inconspicuous?

#53 Edited by ShadowConqueror (3351 posts) -

I got a fairly high-end laptop for gaming purposes and for college. I don't regret it.

#54 Posted by FengShuiGod (1517 posts) -

@endaround said:

@Baltimore said:

@endaround: To answer your first question I've been slowly gravitating to PC over consoles for a little while now. Mass Effect, Borderlands 1 + 2, Diablo and the Indi scene has brought me a lot of fun. That's not to say I haven't played stuff on consoles. Mark of the Ninja has had me hooked since it came out. But I think that the PC space has been offering me things that I haven't been able to find on consoles this late in the generation.

The use case is simple, I need something that keeps me out of the basement. I know that sounds very strange but my basement gets down to 40 degree F in the winter and I can't be down there even with the space heater on.

I guess my point then is not to go all out an some hugely expensive gaming laptop. Most PC only games don't tax most systems. Diablo 2 is meant to run on most anything modern.

Yeah. Just for an example, my $800 two year old laptop can run at least 11 of the top 20 bestsellers on Steam right now, and can probably run more like 15. If I don't want to play at native resolution (1366 x 768) I can probably run all of them, though in all fairness I wouldn't consider that acceptable.

#55 Edited by Snail (8776 posts) -

@Baltimore: I forgot to ask: do you already have water cooling on your rig? I upgraded my desktop's cooling almost a year ago, and that made it a whole lot quieter. Maybe it wouldn't bother your wife as much. In any case, you can probably craft a desktop that's less of a monstrosity, maybe that would be more economical and suit your needs.

#56 Edited by tripclaw_forced_to_rename__why (8 posts) -

I dont think you are crazy. I say now is a good time for a gaming laptop, unlike just a year ago, there's some really decent 3D cards in some mid-priced laptops (~$1400). I'm about to get a 15" laptop for mobile gaming/3d art/game development, so here's a few good choices in my opinion:

Sager NP9150http://www.sagernotebook.com/index.php?page=product_info&model_name=NP9150 i7 / GTX 675M (or HD 7970M or GTX 680M if you choose upgrade)

Asus G55http://www.asus.com/Notebooks/Gaming_Powerhouse/G55VW/ - i7 / GTX 660M

MSI GT60http://www.msimobile.com/level3_productpage.aspx?id=356- i7 / GTX 670M

All of those can be had for about $1400-1500 (excluding the Sager video card upgrades)

If you want 17" (But why? you said you will hook it up to a TV?) there's equivilents of all of the above in 17", Sager NP9170, Asus G75, MSI GT70, and maybe check out the Samsung Series 7.

I think the gap is closing with laptop vs desktop in terms of price vs performance... or at least the choices are certainly better now than any time before!

#57 Posted by falconpunch (181 posts) -

If you have the cash then NOTHING IS OF LIMITS

#58 Posted by Dezztroy (941 posts) -

Friend of mine bought an Alienware laptop a couple years back for schoolwork and gaming. He just recently bought a desktop because his Alienware couldn't keep up with any of the games released within the last year or two.
So yeah, stay as far away from Alienware as you can.

#59 Posted by Zekhariah (700 posts) -

@Baltimore said:

@Zekhariah: I'm not ruling that option out at all. Are there any OEMs or ODMs that you would recommend for the best bang for the buck. I'm not saying that I can't build my own, I would rather have someone else build and test it for me.

You are probably not going to find something that is small, looks reasonable, and is at a cost optimal point. Puget Systems and Origin PC have the full small / home theater acceptable gaming PC down pretty well, but it would cost a decent bit more than buying a generic mid-tower and throwing in a video card (or self built). They might be worth pricing out though.

I would not trust any of the very small form factor OEM/ODM type devices from HP/Dell and similar, as the power supplies are not able to support any kind of video card. If you go to a standard mid-tower, adding a video card into a Asus (for the high motherboard quality) or HP/Dell would be the other path. But from a pure price prospective, whatever is on special at Costco for the month will probably be your best price/performance and have some reasonable level of build quality even if the brand is a bit no-name. Otherwise HP and Dell sometimes run specials on their websites, and their build quality should be comparable with any other consumer PC you can purchase (and better if you go with a business line product). Their video cards on the standard product line tend to be out of date though.

#60 Posted by Jams (3043 posts) -

@SuperZamrod said:

@Jams said:

You're nuts, but if you have the monies then go for it. I have the Razer Blade sitting in my Amazon wishlist for fantasy reasons. It's about as expensive as a mac, but it has some pretty cool features. If I had the money to burn on a laptop, I'd probably be thinking hard about getting this one.


Why are people interested in this laptop? Do you realize its video card is shit? You'd be hard pressed to play most modern games at decent settings with the gt555m, and at that price advertising this as a gaming laptop is an outright scam. I got a Lenovo y580 a few months ago, it came to $990 after tax and everything. It looks great (sleek, not bulky or heavy, and not a flashy or dorky "gaming laptop"), has an Ivy bridge quad core processor, 8 gigs of ram, a gtx 660m graphics card, blu ray, 1080p screen, etc. I love it and it has run flawlessly thus far (knock on wood!). I'm sorry, but i can't imagine paying $2200 for that piece of crap!

That's why it'll always stay on my wishlist. I know better than to get a gaming laptop seeing as how I spend most of my time at home anyways and never travel. A laptop is completely useless for me.

#61 Edited by Wallzii (212 posts) -

Judging by your first post, it seems that you are looking for something that you can move around your home and plug into one television or the other. It doesn't sound like you are in need of a machine that you can sit down anywhere in your house and game on, or bring to a friend's house for a LAN party, because you've said that you will always plug into a TV or monitor. For that reason alone, I'd suggest steering away from a laptop and looking into building a small yet powerful PC housed in an mATX case that would just as easily be moved around the home.

I'm definitely not against gaming laptops. I own one myself and absolutely love it, and will probably continue to purchase gaming laptops over towers in the future when a need to upgrade comes. I use it as a laptop however, bringing it with me to LAN parties constantly with my friends and moving it about my home depending on where I decide to setup. I bring it into the bedroom to watch movies, game while watching something on TV in my living room, or even on the back patio on a nice day if I want. For those reasons I chose a laptop. I have the option and ability to connect to an external display or TV if I want, which is nice, but it is just an option and not the desired purpose of the machine.

You'll spend a lot more money on a great performing laptop compared to a compact rig in a smaller case. The portability of an entire system is truly awesome though (all you need is a power outlet, don't ever expect to get gaming performance from your machine when it is running on battery), so you really just need to decide if that is something that you are interested in.

If you are, there are a lot of options available. Mobile GPUs have come a long way in the last year alone, and they are only getting better. The gap between mobile and desktop components is quickly closing. If you told anyone last year that a laptop GPU would be released in 2012 that puts out GTX 670 performance, and in some cases even better, you'd probably be discounted as a lunatic. Reality is that this has happened however, and it is only going to get better with AMD and nVIDIA's next offerings in their mobile 8000 and 700 series chips at the beginning of next year.

If you do decide a laptop is something you are interested in, the next decision is how big. If you don't plan to use the monitor that much, go for a 15 inch (which won't restrict your GPU options from the top tier offerings) to save yourself a bit of money. Otherwise get a 17 inch, which should be plenty large enough for the times you aren't plugged in to a display.

Going top-tier with a laptop (top-end GPU, SSD drive, high-end i7 CPU, large high-RPM secondary HDD, and Bluray), expect to pay around $2000-$2500 depending on screen size, make, and whether or not an OS is required in your purchase.

As already suggest prior, heading over to NotebookReview forums is definitely something you want to do if you think a laptop is something you want. I cannot stress this enough. The knowledge base there is extremely broad and the community very helpful. Your best manufacturer options are likely Sager or Alienware, both allowing intended user upgrades to GPUs and CPUs, something no other manufacturer offers. Asking around on the boards over there you can also find out how to get some good discounts from Alienware which will turn it from an over-priced machine into something reasonably priced with its competitors.

Everyone has their own needs and requirements when it comes to this stuff. Whether a laptop suits you or not is something you will need to decide. That said, I've made that choice and will never turn back.

EDIT: I'd also just like to add that while new laptops from a lot of manufacturers out there have great cooling systems on them now and run very cool (especially from Sager and Alienware), don't ever expect to play with one of these on anything else than a desk or table, especially not on your lap without some sort of flat tray or stand. Number one the intake vents for the cooling system are usually located on the bottom, and secondly they are often quite heavy and large. It isn't about becoming uncomfortably warm or even hot on your legs, it's about the awkwardness the size of these things can impact on you, and more importantly damaging the components by not letting them breathe properly.

#62 Posted by GiveUpNed (238 posts) -

You could get a laptop and hook up an external GPU. However, it would be cheaper to build a gaming pc. Right now it's more cost effective to do so. Ask PC and reddit.com/r/buildapc for help. Use http://pcpartpicker.com/ to build your pc, find the cheapest prices possible and to easily share you builds.

#63 Posted by Baltimore (344 posts) -

First, let thank each and every one of you who replied to this thread. You have all given me a lot to think about.

What I decided to do was NOT buy a gaming laptop. After looking at prices, and considering how technology is changing, not spending $2500.00 (or higher) appears to be the best decision. Instead I spent about $150.00 on a table and chair to move my gaming pc up into the living room. (pics below, and yes, that is Optimus Prime on the desk)

The desk is a VIKA AMON/ VIKA ADILS from Ikea (with legs) and the chair is a MALKOLM swivel chair from Ikea. Both are good products but the assembled table is a little wobbly and the arms on the chair do not come up to the top of the table. Not huge issues but annoying at times.

Also BeastBuy recently had a sale on keyboards and mice so I took advantage of those prices and picked up a Logitech G500 mouse and a Logitech G710 keyboard. Using some point I had from their reward program I was able to nab both for $60.00 total. I love the mouse. It's great for gaming and being able to adjust the feel with weights is also something I enjoy. I have noticed that I am going to need to get a mouse pad since the desk is rather rough and the mouse does not slide all that smoothly on it's surface. The keyboard is nice (fantastic to type on) but the LCD is useless to me and I never use the macro keys since I'm not an MMO player. I have also noticed that the individual keys are much smaller than any other keyboard in my house. Not sure I going to keep this keyboard but I will give it a chance. As I stated, they keyboard is great to type on.

The only thing I need still is a decent wireless headset and maybe a new monitor. Currently I am using a seven year old Dell 24" monitor. The monitor works fine but the amount of heat it's outputting is a little alarming and the sound bar connected to it, well, it's just a sound bar so it works ok. For now, a headset is more important since the monitor is in fine working order. I'll do some research and put a nice headset on my Christmas list.

Overall I am happy with this setup. It's comfortable, easy to use, and keeps me out of the basement. Again, I want to thank everyone for their input as I'm sure I would have done something kind stupid had I not gotten such good advice.

#64 Posted by Sbaitso (609 posts) -

@Baltimore: You should get one of these.

#65 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12896 posts) -

As an owner of a gaming laptop, I can assure you that you have made the right decision in not buying one.

#66 Posted by Azteck (7416 posts) -

You headset people are crazy! How do you not get super annoyed at not hearing your own voice clearly when you speak!?

#67 Posted by FLStyle (5694 posts) -

Yeah I would've agreed not to buy one, might be worth looking into in the future.

#68 Posted by Baltimore (344 posts) -

@FLStyle: Maybe in another year or so. The Haswell chipset is supposed to have some crazy specs for high-res video support.

@Azteck: Not sure what you mean. I'm not talking about a headset for multiplayer. I want a headset so everyone in the room can't hear what I'm playing/watching.

#69 Posted by Azteck (7416 posts) -

@Baltimore: Oh you're in a room with other people when you're on the PC?

#70 Posted by RazielCuts (3077 posts) -


#71 Posted by Imsorrymsjackson (866 posts) -

Just build a smaller desktop pc and link it with HDMI hidden behind the TV, problem solved, dont buy a gaming laptop, you wont get as much for your money.

#72 Posted by biospank (700 posts) -

Yes you are nuts. I would not buy that one because it will most likely have heating issues in about a year or two. Plus if you are going to buy a gaming laptop then it should at-least have one of the newest GPUs from Nvidia or ATI, in the geforce department it would be from a 670m-690m which in any case are, OK. Rather spend that money on a real gaming PC.

#73 Posted by Baltimore (344 posts) -

@Azteck: I am now yes. In the living look specifically. About 5 feet to the left of our tv.

#74 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5904 posts) -

Just build a smaller, minimalistic PC to plug into the TV. Way cheaper, runs stuff better.

#75 Posted by Azteck (7416 posts) -

@Baltimore: Then I can totally see why you'd want a headset!

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