Which laptop should I get?

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Mjr. Whoopass

<FONT color=lightblue><B>I was going to say someth
I'm considering purchasing a laptop. I work as a REALTOR, so I'm at open houses, I meet with clients, and I'd use it at the office. I'd like to be able to play games at low traffic open houses, the office, and home (otherwise I would prefer a more powerful desktop comp.) Primarily, I would like one that's built for gaming, and I assume it would be able to do any work functions I might want.

I can spend up to $3,000, but would prefer to keep it around $2,000 (or less if there's a good value). I favor the Turion 64 chip and would like to play Wing Commander games as well as any new game releases... I would need at least enough ports for a joystick and mouse. Since it needs to be able to play current releases as well I assume I need alot of speed: 1.8 or higher? Not sure how valuable dual core would be.

Any advice is appreciated!
 

Halman

PSY-YI-YI
Alienware seems like a decent place to start if you want to spend a bunch of money and have a neat looking laptop. specifically This one

Or you could just get a pretty good dell or hp for around 1,500-2,000. You can get the Turion with the alienware and the HP laptops, dell seems to be all intel.
 

Edfilho

Cry some more!
While the Alienware one is REALLY awesome, I would strongly advise Mjr. Whoopass to get something with a 15" screen or smaller, considering that you'd be carrying it around.

I have had "work" notebooks for some years, and learned that low weight and not-so-big form factor are pretty important. 17" notebooks are a bit too big, more suited to a non-moving desktop substitute role than for portable computing.

The Aurora that halman linked is a great machine, and of course it can play a lot of games well, anyway.
 

Mjr. Whoopass

<FONT color=lightblue><B>I was going to say someth
Thanks Halman and Edfilho. I WAS thinking about getting a desktop replacement. The excercise couldn't hurt, but if it causes back problems it wouldn't be worth it. So I think a 15" might be better: I'm sure I'd prefer the 17" at the start, but after a few open houses I might regret it.

What about some of the other kinds like Sager, Acer, etc.? I guess Sagers (and other types) are generic brands which use basically the same components of others without the name brand. Are they reliable though?

I've heard some bad things about HP's.. but perhaps those people aren't in the majority. I'm not sure if the alienware logo would give the desired impression to some of my clients if I bring the laptop to a listing presentation. Hopefully any laptop I get will be able to play the old Wing Commander games, multiplayer Prophesy, Homeworld2, and recent releases.
 

Death

gh0d (Administrator)
Alienware (and Sager) laptops are rebadged Clevo systems.

Looking around some on Pricewatch can find you systems with comparable options for less than you'd spend paying for the "priveledge" of a name-brand badge stuck on the notebook shell.

Also, like Ed said, if it's something you'll be carrying around a lot, a 15" screen would be a better bet. Being an LCD, instead of a CRT, that measurement is the actual screen size, so it's closer to using a 17" desktop system monitor than using a 15" one.

It may only be a pound or two difference between a 15" screen and a 17" screen, for a laptop, but it adds up after a while.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Mjr. Whoopass said:
I can spend up to $3,000, but would prefer to keep it around $2,000 (or less if there's a good value). I favor the Turion 64 chip and would like to play Wing Commander games as well as any new game releases...

There's no need to spend anywhere near $3000 for what you're looking for. Customize something at http://www.dell.com/content/products/category.aspx/xpsnb?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs
For $2000 you can get a cutting edge dual core processor, a laptop geforce 7900, a gig of ram and a 17" inch screen.

Mjr. Whoopass said:
I would need at least enough ports for a joystick and mouse.

All that stuff is USB now, and these computers have 4-6 USB ports.

Mjr. Whoopass said:
Since it needs to be able to play current releases as well I assume I need alot of speed: 1.8 or higher? Not sure how valuable dual core would be.

You can't go by the clockspeed stuff anymore. It depends on the processor. A new 1.8 GHz cpu today can be several times faster than a 2.2 GHz processor laptop from a couple years ago. Most of the higher end laptops now come with dual core chips automatically. Since these newer chips are generally superior even when just running something that can't utilize a second core, you probably might as well. They do help when you're running multiple programs in Windows, and newer games are starting to take advantage of them more.
 

BrynS

Mr Kat says...
As mentioned, if you're looking for a 17" Desktop Replacement (DTR) notebook you can get a lot of hardware for under $2,000.

Boutique sellers like Alienware (recently purchased by Dell) offer great gaming notebooks that are also appropriately styled, but at a premium. Whereas Dell's XPS line is a bit more reasonable, their Inspiron E1705, while less flash than the XPS or Alienware models, can pack a serious punch if suitably configured. Dell should also be releasing AMD Turion X2 notebooks in the near future.

For under $2,000 an Inspiron E1705 could be configured with:

- Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 Dual-core (2.0GHz / 4MB Cache)
- 2GB RAM
- 160GB HDD
- 17" UXGA (1920x1200) Widescreen
- nVIDIA 256MB GeForce Go 7900GS
- 8x DVD-RW, etc

Also note that the Core 2 Duo supports 64-bit (like all the Turions) whereas the Core Duo does not -- with Vista on it's way, I think having a 64-bit CPU (Turion or Core 2 Duo) is a good investment. The T7200 is probably the Core 2 Duo sweetspot in terms of price/performance and should be quite a bit faster than the top-end Turion X2 (TL-60 / 2.0GHz). I'd go for a minimum of 1GB RAM in a gaming laptop, although with your budget 2GB should be possible. If you get 1GB, it should be possibile to upgrade to 2GB later. For a gaming notebook with a resolution of 1400x900, I'd recommend at least an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600/X1700 or GeForce Go 7600 GS/GT, but if you want to play more demanding current and upcoming games and/or opt for a higher resolution panel, then select one of the GeForce Go 7900 variants (7900GTX and 7950GT are the fastest models) or a Mobility Radeon X1800XT.

Some of Toshiba, HP and Acer's higher-end models look pretty good, but it's probably worth going to the local Fry's or similar and trying out some of their desktop replacement notebooks to get a feel for the screen/text size (1920x1200 on a 17" panel can appear too small for some people), performance, build quality, etc.

Another very recent development to watch out for is Microsoft's Vista coupon scheme. From 26th October, 2006 until 15th March, 2007, Microsoft is providing system builders and OEM's like Dell, Sony, Toshiba, HP, etc with coupons to provide a free or discounted upgrade to Windows Vista for new PC purchases.

Cheers,


Bryn
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
Mav23 said:
Am I the only one who has had bad experiences with Dell?

Everyone tells me about having horrible problems with them - but three out of the four computers in this house are Dell and we've never had a problem with them. Heck the one that runs our WiFi is going on 7 years old and still runs fine.
 

Mav23

Swabbie
Banned
Hmm. I'm using a laptop I've had for about a year or so now and it's been making some crazy screeching noise that I can't diagnose for over half that time. I asked them about it via live chat and was sent a new hard drive, I plugged that in and the noise got worse. The live chat in the first place was annoying as hell as the operators couldn't think outside the script and treat me like a real person. Suffice to say I think my next purchase will be an HP or Gateway.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Everyone tells me about having horrible problems with them - but three out of the four computers in this house are Dell and we've never had a problem with them. Heck the one that runs our WiFi is going on 7 years old and still runs fine.

I've owned quite a few computers in my life... the only two that still work are a pair of Dell laptops.
 

Mav23

Swabbie
Banned
What so did I just get the one shit Dell in the world or something? (Not that that wouldn't coincide with my luck track record.)
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
Mav23 said:
What so did I just get the one shit Dell in the world or something?

I think it may depend on how much you spend on your towers.
 

Mav23

Swabbie
Banned
Actually it's a laptop and it's one of the cheapest models available. I'm not expecting high performance here I just hate the screeching noise it makes and the horrible customer support I've received in the past. Oh well all the more reason to save up for a new one. I was planning on saving for a new MacBook or whatever they call them now (iBook?), but that fell through. It's hard to save money when you don't make any.
 

Mjr. Whoopass

<FONT color=lightblue><B>I was going to say someth
Mav23 said:
I was planning on saving for a new MacBook or whatever they call them now (iBook?), but that fell through.
If you're looking for reliablility, I don't think you can beat a Mac. I'm using a Power Mac G3 that I've had for about TEN YEARS! It still plays WC3 and 4 very well. Virus' are also much less common for Macs. My dad also has a mac laptop that's quite a few years old but still works great, whereas the Toshiba laptop my Mom bought crashed in the first year; the screen doesn't work and it runs VERY slow.

I have to buy a PC though since the REALTOR MLS and our security system cards run on those systems. Also, I want to play the Wing Commander games that aren't available on Mac, and mods like Standoff and Czacen's HW2 mod.
 

Mav23

Swabbie
Banned
Yeah my only problem with Macs is that they're just so much more expensive when compared to what Windows based PCs you can buy. It's like paying the same price for half the machine. Plus I'm not really accustomed to the Mac OS so I'm not sure if I would like it more than Windows or not (although I've heard you can now run both operating systems simultaneously on Macs).
 

PopsiclePete

Mission programmer
Using a Mac shouldn't prevent you from playing any WC games; the new Intel Macs can dual-boot into Windows XP, there is a Dosbox version for MacOS and Wine is even coming to the MacOS.

Edit: for those who don't know what Wine is, it's the Windows API layer for Linux, so that Windows apps can run straight from Linux without emulation. It's currently letting you run about 85% of the Windows apps correctly, including DirectX games such as StarCraft and World of Warcraft... not sure how well it does for the WC games, though.
 

Starkey

Avenging Rooster
Ability to run Wing Commander games should be your top priority :D

After a few years of testing between Dell, HP and IBM, the company I work at settled for acquiring mostly Dell desktops and laptops. They have over 1,000 of them and they are very reliable. I use the same Dell laptop and desktop to work for the past 3 years, they never let me down.
 

PopsiclePete

Mission programmer
Mav23 said:
Plus I'm not really accustomed to the Mac OS so I'm not sure if I would like it more than Windows or not
I used both, and I'll tell you that GUI-wise, apart 2-3 little things, I prefer MacOS X. Lots. It's really easy, it's more intuitive, yet it's familiar when you're a Windows user, so switching is easy. Gotta love the copy-paste dialogs that allow you to skip, overwrite or rename the existing files, apps that don't stop working when you move their folder, the keyboard shortcuts for almost everything, Exposé, etc.

Now if only there was a "Hide all apps and show desktop" button like that small befault button next to the Start menu in Windows, and a window "maximize" button that actually makes the window fill the screen instead of only fit the maximum size of the document (wich is nice, GUI-wise, but sometimes you want to fill the screen and see nothing else), it'd be my dream OS.
 
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