Looking for not-too-expensive, gaming-capable laptop

#1 Posted by BombKareshi (996 posts) -

So I've pretty much committed to the desktop model myself, but my lady friend is looking to buy herself a laptop. The focus seems to be "general purpose", but she wants to be able to use it for "gaming" as well. What's a good budget choice these days?
 
Looking for something that can handle newer games maybe on the lowest graphics setting, and preferably something with an i5 or equivalent processor. Any suggestions?

#2 Posted by liako21 (522 posts) -

been looking for the same thing myself! my poor laptop cant even handle Crusader Kings! And I really want to try out the WWI flight sim Drew was playing too....but im strapped for cash!!!

#3 Edited by WilltheMagicAsian (1545 posts) -

That doesn't work. Those three things just can't go together. A budget would probably be around sub-$1,000

#4 Posted by AlisterCat (5575 posts) -

I want to fit a planet in to a shoe. Some things just don't work.

#5 Posted by BombKareshi (996 posts) -

Yup, that's what I told her. I had a "gaming" laptop myself once. It was expensive as shit. Was obsolete within two years.
 
Nevertheless, it is my impossible task to find the closest match. Let's settle for a bit less. Say it should be able to handle games like TF2, and not die when you open Office or PaintShop Pro... Anything?

#6 Edited by sins_of_mosin (1556 posts) -

I researched a desktop replacement laptop for two years, it just don't work unless your budget is very very high. Now, if you only wanted to play older games then you have a lot more options but today's and tomorrow's games will demand a very expensive laptop to be run at high settings. Anyway, you can go build a laptop at ibuypower.com. I and two friends have bought from them in the past 1-2 years and they are solid desktops.

#7 Posted by GS_Dan (1403 posts) -

You might be better off asking the guys over in the tested.com forum.

#8 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Wasn't there a thread on this at some point, with a ton of options listed off or whatever?

#9 Posted by Hunkulese (2728 posts) -

What exactly does budget mean? What kind of games does she want to be playing?

If she's willing to spend $1500 the Asus G74sx-rh71 is pretty good and wont be obsolete for a couple years at least.

#10 Posted by leftie68 (215 posts) -

You will have to spend over 1K for a good gaming laptop. If you are willing to go big (more of a desktop replacement, with little out of home use). Check this laptop out.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+17.3%22+Laptop+-+8GB+Memory+-+1TB+Hard+Drive/4775907.p?id=1218525518576&skuId=4775907

Like Hunkulese mentioned, your best bet is to go with an ASUS. Goodluck.

#11 Posted by Brendan (7811 posts) -

The best deal is probably at powerlaptops.com, where she can get a 15 inch Sager with an optional GTX 580M for something like 1600-1800 is she's willing to dial it back on the processor.

#12 Posted by BombKareshi (996 posts) -
Checking out ibuypower.com and will keep an eye on ASUS. 
 
Bookmarking that bestbuy offer, and  also powerlaptops.com for future reference; it doesn't seem to want to load for me at the moment.
 
@Video_Game_King said:

Wasn't there a thread on this at some point, with a ton of options listed off or whatever?

I'd most certainly be interested in seeing that, if I can find it. :-/
 
@sins_of_mosin said:
...but today's and tomorrow's games will demand a very expensive laptop to be run at high settings.
Yeah, though I did say at "low graphics", but even so, my initial description was asking a little much.
#13 Posted by GiveUpNed (218 posts) -

Good luck with that. All gaming laptops are massive beasts and cost a lot of money. It's like me wanting a large, cheap house in a good neighborhood.

#14 Posted by BombKareshi (996 posts) -

Shame, I guess my love was asking for the moon after all.
 
OK, forget gaming. Maybe I should be asking, "What's the best laptop in terms of value-for-money right about now?"
 
Ideas?
 
Anybody?

#15 Posted by kindgineer (2730 posts) -

@WilltheMagicAsian said:

That doesn't work. Those three things just can't go together. A budget would probably be around sub-$1,000

This. Gaming and affordable (which is subjective) aren't really an easy pair. If you want a laptop that is able to play games from even 4-5 years ago smoothly, you're looking at $1,000ish.

#16 Posted by sub_o (899 posts) -
#17 Posted by BombKareshi (996 posts) -
@sub_o: Thanks, sub, I think that's exactly the kind of thread I was looking for, I just didn't know it!
#18 Posted by sub_o (899 posts) -

@BombKareshi: No problem. You're welcome.

#19 Posted by StrikeALight (1114 posts) -

Pretty much what the others have said.1k + (be that dollars, or pounds) for a decent gaming laptop.

#20 Posted by buft (3317 posts) -

@BombKareshi said:

So I've pretty much committed to the desktop model myself, but my lady friend is looking to buy herself a laptop. The focus seems to be "general purpose", but she wants to be able to use it for "gaming" as well. What's a good budget choice these days? Looking for something that can handle newer games maybe on the lowest graphics setting, and preferably something with an i5 or equivalent processor. Any suggestions?

If you get one with an i5, the on-board HD3000 should be capable of playing most games on lowest settings with decent frame rate as long as you have lots of RAM.

This isn't from my own experience however and rather from a PC magazine I recently read, the article was a comparison of on-board graphics cards today versus those of old, apparently they have come a long way. Some of the test games included Hawx 2, Dirt 3 and Deus EX. All of which achieved 30fps with decent graphics.

#21 Posted by Winternet (8019 posts) -

Asus n55 and/or n53 series

HP dv6-6c series

These are two good series of laptops which cost around 1000 bucks.

#22 Posted by BombKareshi (996 posts) -
@buft said:

If you get one with an i5, the on-board HD3000 should be capable of playing most games on lowest settings with decent frame rate as long as you have lots of RAM.

This isn't from my own experience however and rather from a PC magazine I recently read, the article was a comparison of on-board graphics cards today versus those of old, apparently they have come a long way. Some of the test games included Hawx 2, Dirt 3 and Deus EX. All of which achieved 30fps with decent graphics.

If that's true, then I'm sure that more than enough for my angel. Will have to follow up, though. You don't happen to remember which PC magazine that was?
#23 Posted by buft (3317 posts) -

@BombKareshi said:

@buft said:

If you get one with an i5, the on-board HD3000 should be capable of playing most games on lowest settings with decent frame rate as long as you have lots of RAM.

This isn't from my own experience however and rather from a PC magazine I recently read, the article was a comparison of on-board graphics cards today versus those of old, apparently they have come a long way. Some of the test games included Hawx 2, Dirt 3 and Deus EX. All of which achieved 30fps with decent graphics.

If that's true, then I'm sure that more than enough for my angel. Will have to follow up, though. You don't happen to remember which PC magazine that was?

sorry duder, was a buy this for a train journey type deal, I'm sure if you do a search for HD3000 mobile on youtube, you'll get some results

#24 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -

Roght now, the best gaming laptop I can recommend is the HP Envy 15.  If you want a gaming laptop you have to get one with an Nvidia GPU as the Intel Integrated just doesn't have the grunt for proper gaming and the ATI Mobility GPUs cut corners which makes them sometimes have some weird incompatibilities with games and other software.
 
@buft said:

@BombKareshi said:

So I've pretty much committed to the desktop model myself, but my lady friend is looking to buy herself a laptop. The focus seems to be "general purpose", but she wants to be able to use it for "gaming" as well. What's a good budget choice these days? Looking for something that can handle newer games maybe on the lowest graphics setting, and preferably something with an i5 or equivalent processor. Any suggestions?

If you get one with an i5, the on-board HD3000 should be capable of playing most games on lowest settings with decent frame rate as long as you have lots of RAM.

This isn't from my own experience however and rather from a PC magazine I recently read, the article was a comparison of on-board graphics cards today versus those of old, apparently they have come a long way. Some of the test games included Hawx 2, Dirt 3 and Deus EX. All of which achieved 30fps with decent graphics.


Yeah that's probably with lowest settings in terms of shaders and texture detail.  Achieving 30fps isn't the same as consistently delivering a smooth framerate either. I cannot recommend anyone Intel HD if they actually want to enjoy their games.
#25 Posted by clstirens (847 posts) -

@BombKareshi said:

So I've pretty much committed to the desktop model myself, but my lady friend is looking to buy herself a laptop. The focus seems to be "general purpose", but she wants to be able to use it for "gaming" as well. What's a good budget choice these days? Looking for something that can handle newer games maybe on the lowest graphics setting, and preferably something with an i5 or equivalent processor. Any suggestions?

You can pick up a refurbished Asus G73 for about $950. I'm using one right now, and I run BF3 on High with some med (for 60fps consistent, it can handle high and some ultra just fine) at 1600x900. Everything else runs fantastically.

#26 Edited by clstirens (847 posts) -

@BombKareshi: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834230111 out of stock right now, but you can probably find similar G73 or G74 refurbished for a similar price.

EDIT: Found some, here's exactly the one I use. I've had a great time with it, but the reviews on Amazon are kinda mixed. The biggest issue I'm seeing is one I can technically confirm. The Trackpad is terribad, but that's about it. http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00405WVVW/ref=dp_olp_refurbished?ie=UTF8&condition=refurbished

Also, because of an issue with ATI changing something in their newer drivers, you might have to flash the Vbios to the latest version. It's not hard at all, and here's a site that lists every step. http://forum.notebookreview.com/asus-gaming-notebook-forum/

#27 Posted by buft (3317 posts) -

@SeriouslyNow said:

Roght now, the best gaming laptop I can recommend is the HP Envy 15. If you want a gaming laptop you have to get one with an Nvidia GPU as the Intel Integrated just doesn't have the grunt for proper gaming and the ATI Mobility GPUs cut corners which makes them sometimes have some weird incompatibilities with games and other software.

@buft said:

@BombKareshi said:

So I've pretty much committed to the desktop model myself, but my lady friend is looking to buy herself a laptop. The focus seems to be "general purpose", but she wants to be able to use it for "gaming" as well. What's a good budget choice these days? Looking for something that can handle newer games maybe on the lowest graphics setting, and preferably something with an i5 or equivalent processor. Any suggestions?

If you get one with an i5, the on-board HD3000 should be capable of playing most games on lowest settings with decent frame rate as long as you have lots of RAM.

This isn't from my own experience however and rather from a PC magazine I recently read, the article was a comparison of on-board graphics cards today versus those of old, apparently they have come a long way. Some of the test games included Hawx 2, Dirt 3 and Deus EX. All of which achieved 30fps with decent graphics.

Yeah that's probably with lowest settings in terms of shaders and texture detail. Achieving 30fps isn't the same as consistently delivering a smooth framerate either. I cannot recommend anyone Intel HD if they actually want to enjoy their games.

again this isn't from my own experience but the tone of the article indicated that the HD3000 has come a long way from the 1000 and 2000 which i would not recommend by any stretch of the imagination.

Maybe it is the case with the 3000 as well but the article did mention that its performance scales really well with the amount of RAM and CPU speed available to it.

It seems there are plenty of people playing games on their Macbook Airs which uses the HD3000 and they are able to play Skyrim at 720p with low settings with a pretty decent framerate.

If budget is the biggest driving factor then maybe just maybe they might get by on this kind of setup but i would recommend a dedicated graphics card if the budget will stretch to it.

#28 Posted by Aurelito (721 posts) -

IMPOSSIBLE.

Highest laptop graphics card equals a lousy Geforce GT 440.

#29 Edited by Viking_Funeral (1791 posts) -

I bought a refurbished P-7811 FX on eBay back in 2009 for around $800 w/o shipping. It's more than powerful enough to run most modern games, though the hard drive I had was small for me. It won't blow you out of the water on Battlefield 3 or The Wicher 2, but it'll get you through the Mass Effect Trilogy or the Assassin's Creed games (which, if you do play on the PC, use a 360 controller).

I've recently spoiled myself with an Sager NP8170, and it can play near everything at max. It's a beauty of a machine, and it doesn't have all that crappy Alienware lights and icons. I'd rather not have people know that my laptop cost a few thousand dollars, especially when I'm traveling. Plus, it's tacky. There is nothing like a nice, smooth black machine.

But, yeah, look for refurbished laptops on eBay. My P7811 still runs. I just gave it to the wife.

#30 Posted by MrRedwine (430 posts) -

Consider using onlive for gaming on a mor budget level PC.

Just a thought.

#31 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -
@buft said:

@SeriouslyNow said:

Roght now, the best gaming laptop I can recommend is the HP Envy 15. If you want a gaming laptop you have to get one with an Nvidia GPU as the Intel Integrated just doesn't have the grunt for proper gaming and the ATI Mobility GPUs cut corners which makes them sometimes have some weird incompatibilities with games and other software.

@buft said:

@BombKareshi said:

So I've pretty much committed to the desktop model myself, but my lady friend is looking to buy herself a laptop. The focus seems to be "general purpose", but she wants to be able to use it for "gaming" as well. What's a good budget choice these days? Looking for something that can handle newer games maybe on the lowest graphics setting, and preferably something with an i5 or equivalent processor. Any suggestions?

If you get one with an i5, the on-board HD3000 should be capable of playing most games on lowest settings with decent frame rate as long as you have lots of RAM.

This isn't from my own experience however and rather from a PC magazine I recently read, the article was a comparison of on-board graphics cards today versus those of old, apparently they have come a long way. Some of the test games included Hawx 2, Dirt 3 and Deus EX. All of which achieved 30fps with decent graphics.

Yeah that's probably with lowest settings in terms of shaders and texture detail. Achieving 30fps isn't the same as consistently delivering a smooth framerate either. I cannot recommend anyone Intel HD if they actually want to enjoy their games.

again this isn't from my own experience but the tone of the article indicated that the HD3000 has come a long way from the 1000 and 2000 which i would not recommend by any stretch of the imagination.

Maybe it is the case with the 3000 as well but the article did mention that its performance scales really well with the amount of RAM and CPU speed available to it.

It seems there are plenty of people playing games on their Macbook Airs which uses the HD3000 and they are able to play Skyrim at 720p with low settings with a pretty decent framerate.

If budget is the biggest driving factor then maybe just maybe they might get by on this kind of setup but i would recommend a dedicated graphics card if the budget will stretch to it.

Yeah, that's what I'm saying though.  Skyrim on low settings @ 720p with around 25-30 frames/sec.  That's not a gaming machine.  Skyrim might be a new game but it's engine is extremely old now.  My GF's HP Core2Duo 2Ghz ATI 4259 laptop can do Skyrim on Low Settings too and she played it through to completion.  Playable fore sure, but ugly as sin.  MobileTechReview did a review of the Dell XPS 13 which uses the same Intel Integrated HD GPU and you can actually see how it plays on games like Left 4 Dead 2, Mass Effect 2 and so on.  It's playable on low settings, specifically shaders and other details which really make a difference to atmosphere.
 
  
#32 Posted by Grixxel (766 posts) -

Never understood the want for having a gaming laptop. They are -never- worth the price.

#33 Posted by tourgen (4503 posts) -

@AlisterCat said:

I want to fit a planet in to a shoe. Some things just don't work.

#34 Posted by BombKareshi (996 posts) -
@clstirens: Hey, thanks, I'll definitely recommend her this option.
 
@Grixxel said:

Never understood the want for having a gaming laptop. They are -never- worth the price.

Agreed. I guess if you travel a lot and want to take your games with you, but even so, it's never the economic choice.
 
That said, this here forum topic has been plenty helpful.
#35 Edited by NoelVeiga (1100 posts) -

@ccampb89 said:

@WilltheMagicAsian said:

That doesn't work. Those three things just can't go together. A budget would probably be around sub-$1,000

This. Gaming and affordable (which is subjective) aren't really an easy pair. If you want a laptop that is able to play games from even 4-5 years ago smoothly, you're looking at $1,000ish.

Ok, guys? This is bullshit. I gave away as a present a 700 buck laptop that plays Arkham City with PhysX on at 720p just fine. Asus has a bunch of those, if you're willing to get worse displays to save on the price.

There's tons of good, cheap gaming laptops out there, as long as you're cool with Xbox-like 720p 30 to 60 fps performance. Which, yeah, is more than enough for Skyrim or Crusader Kings or even single player FPSs, let alone anything older than 2 years. If you're willing to shell out a bit more than 1k you can even graduate to newer cards that will do 1080p just fine, too.

#36 Posted by CaptainCody (1507 posts) -

You're going to be spending some money. At least $1000 if you're really looking for something capable.

#37 Posted by BombKareshi (996 posts) -
@CaptainCody said:

You're going to be spending some money. At least $1000 if you're really looking for something capable.

Bring 'em on!
#38 Posted by believer258 (11914 posts) -

@ccampb89 said:

@WilltheMagicAsian said:

That doesn't work. Those three things just can't go together. A budget would probably be around sub-$1,000

This. Gaming and affordable (which is subjective) aren't really an easy pair. If you want a laptop that is able to play games from even 4-5 years ago smoothly, you're looking at $1,000ish.

Not entirely true, I've got a laptop that was $600 and can play Portal 2 just fine, as well as games like FEAR, Dragon Age 2, Left 4 Dead, and some other somewhat recent games at a decent framerate, albeit at lower settings.

However, it's hardly an experience I would recommend over a laptop/console setup. OP, a cheap laptop suitable for smooth-as-butter gaming is not something that really exists. Now, if she's willing to settle for a mid-range desktop, that can be done quite well. However, if she must have a laptop and she must have everything at, say, less than $1000, then your best bet is to buy a laptop for around $500, then a 360 or a PS3 and a few games.

Also, pretty much anything relatively new and reasonably powerful can run TF2 and older games. I can run TF2 very well and I'm on Intel HD graphics, as well as things like Half-Life 2 and KOTOR.

#39 Posted by whyareyoucrouchingspock (975 posts) -

For gaming you are better avoiding a laptop altogether.

#40 Posted by RubberBabyBuggyBumpers (716 posts) -

if you want something that'll be able to hang with current and future games for at least 3 years, you have got to be willing/able to shell out no less than $1300. my current gaming laptop is going on four years old and can still play games. the more current ones can't be played at their maximum settings, however. the ones that were new back then, like the witcher, can be played at maximum without a single frame rate hiccup.

with gaming laptops, you get what you pay for.

#41 Posted by SuperiorArmbar (32 posts) -

There is a a new lineup of mobile GPU's on the horizon, so wait and see what comes of that. There is some rumored benchmarks out there claiming the new Acer Aspire bested the alienware mx14 in some key games like Battlefield 3 using the new 640m gpu. If the Aspire's keep their price tag, I twill be something like $600-$700

Anyways, this is a good site for getting roundups of laptop news http://www.bestgaminglaptop.net

#42 Posted by ProtoSound (1 posts) -

I pc game on an Acer Aspire TimelineX 4830TG. For $700 I'm able to run most of what I want at reasonable settings (reasonable to me anyway) and playable FPS on the power adapter and get pretty good battery life for web browsing and less graphic intensive tasks off of it. Only game that hasn't really performed well so far is The Witcher 2.

#43 Posted by hoossy (934 posts) -

I've tried the 'gaming' laptop option before... does not work. You either fork out a huge amount of cash for a fucking beast that you won't end up wanting to take anywhere because it's practically the size of a desktop and the battery life is shit. or.

You'll buy something on 'budget', and it'll be a great paper weight in little to no time at all!

#44 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Don't those lowend alienware thingies do a decent job? They go for about 400$ and run stuff like Diablo 3 and Battlefield 3 on low at around 20 frames. Then again, I might be high...

#45 Posted by firecracker22 (546 posts) -

I'm planning to get a laptop, not looking to spend that much and am thinking about getting this one: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/HP+-+17.3%26%2334%3B+Pavilion+Laptop+-+4GB+Memory+-+320GB+Hard+Drive+-+Pewter/5044486.p;jsessionid=29168A7C9547371EA8DA5D2CDED72A38.bbolsp-app02-21?id=1218608959156&skuId=5044486

I'm a console gamer, so I'm pretty lost on the importance of key things like the processor type and stuff. So, should this do the trick? I'm not looking to play high end PC games, so I'm not worried about it being obsolete for gaming a year or two down the road. I'm thinking about just playing old PC games I missed out on, and playing it casually for the most part. Something like The Witcher 1, or Fallout, or something like Vampire The Masquerade...things like that is what I think I'd end up playing on it. Modern shooters and FPS or really fast paced games that need a ton of hardware is stuff I'll get on my 360 or PS3.

#46 Posted by Wallzii (173 posts) -

You can get a decent gaming laptop for around $1,100-$1,500USD, before taxes and without an OS.  
 
At the $1,100 mark, you're looking at a 15 inch 1080p screen with a low-end dual core i5 CPU, but a pretty decent 670M GPU which shouldn't have a problem running modern games at native resolution on high settings, with a few things adjusted here and there. 
 
At $1,300, you'll get the same configuration as previously mentioned, but with a better i7 quad core CPU, giving you more breathing room with CPU intensive games. 
 
When you crank it up to $1,500, you've got something that will tear through modern games at native resolution with everything pretty much maxed out, thanks to AMDs new 7970M GPU. This thing is putting out desktop GTX 570 performance into a laptop, and that is crazy impressive. 
 
If you increase the screen size to 17 inches and start throwing other components in there like upgrade screens, SSD drives, high capacity and fast secondary HDDs, BluRay drives, prices soar extremely fast, and it becomes hard to warrant the price unless you really want or need something portable. And when I say portable, I specifically mean something you can unplug and plug in elsewhere with ease, because don't expect to get any significant battery life out of gaming laptops, and the performance just isn't there unless you stay plugged in. 
 
Clevo/Sager custom builds are the best way to go in my opinion, and there are many different resellers out there dealing them. When I got my gaming laptop, I went with XoticPC, and it was an effortless process. Check out the link below to see a list of configurations you can take. 
 

http://www.xoticpc.com/custom-gaming-laptops-notebooks-clevo-sager-notebooks-ct-95_51_162.html

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