Who to buy a laptop from? More Importantly: Graphics

CobraKill · 1929


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on: August 10, 2013, 04:31:12 am
What are some good companies to buy laptops from?

I'm looking for a powerful laptop with:
  • A 15.6 inch laptop. Anything between 14 to 16 will do
  • Intel Core i7 4700MQ or 4800MQ. Other high end Intel Quad Cores will do
  • Discrete NViDIA Graphics
  • At least 16Gb of RAM or the option to upgrade to it. I want to setup a RAM Drive.
  • 200+ Gb SATA III SSD or do two 120's in RAID 0 (Preferred cause it'd be awesome)

Any recommendations?

I'm mainly asking in case anyone has some good input. I'd like something that won't cost me an arm and a leg especially when I know I can similar performance for a much cheaper price. I don't want an Alienware though, because I think they're ugly and your paying for the brand a bit.

I'm looking at the higher end models of the Lenovo IdeaPad Y510P because it ticks the most of my boxes but, I'd have to put in my own SSD (I don't want a cache SSD) and I really like the idea of 750M's in SLI but I wouldn't have an optical drive, unless I redid it myself.

Also I found an reall nice MSI Laptop that I like. The only thing I don't like is it needs four more gigs of Ram :P

My main question though is graphics.

I'm baffled as to which Graphics I should get. The biggest problem I'm having is finding price of them and solid reviews. I do have my eye on a few setups though:
  • NViDIA GeForce GTX 750M
  • NViDIA GeForce GTX 760M
  • NViDIA GeForce GTX 765M
  • NViDIA GeForce GTX 770M
  • NViDIA GeForce GTX 750M in SLI

My main worries is wether the cost is justifying the increased performance of the higher end models. Also if the 770M and the SLI setup start running into cost and power requirement issues. I want the battery to last atleast an hour :P. SLI microstuttering just compounds the problem. I'd like to have an optical drive also and the ThinkPad with SLI takes out the drive.

One last thing because I feel as if I should ask; is it possible to build your own laptop? I doubt it is, but it would save me a ton of money if I could.

Because I'm stupid I forgot price. Me and my dad agreed on between $1500-2000
« Last Edit: August 10, 2013, 11:57:47 am by CobraKill »

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Reply #1 on: August 10, 2013, 08:05:12 am
You missed the most important criterion - Price. Unless you tell us your price bracket, we can't advise you well. :)

The more RAM, the better your performance will be - up to a limit. I"d never consider having anything with less than 16 GB of RAM and more commonly I'd want about 32 GB of RAM.

NotebookCheck is a very good site with comprehensive graphics card reviews.

There is almost no reason I can imagine to get an SLI configuration, esp. on a laptop.

I personally like Lenovo as a brand. Since the mid-90s, those are the only laptops I buy for me and members of my family. I do, however, mostly buy in the Thinkpad range and have only bought one, about 7 years back) in the Ideapad range, but it was a superb machine.

I've heard good thinks about ASUS, but I hear some complaints about their Customer service - I think all overseas companies (ASUS, MSI, etc.) have different conceptions about our expectations of support.

I think the Cache SSDs are a pretty good idea. I have a laptop with a 750GB Cached Drive and it runs like a charm. Although my current desktop has a SSD main drive, I find it a hassle and I will definitely recommend that anyone building a machine (except  a top-tier machine) consider cache (and possibly RAID on a desktop) as a way to get a single view of drive space with tremendous performance.

As for the MSI machine - a lot of stuff on it looks good, but I'm baffled by the 12GB of RAM - that's not common and I don't understand how they can configure 12 GB on a dual-channel processor. RAM comes in 2, 4, or 8 GB increments, and they'd have to put 2 x 4 and 2 x 2 GB Cards in. That would  mean they have a mobo with 4 slots and they will force you to waste two stick of RAM if you ever should wish to upgrade. You're better off with increments of evenly matched RAM that matches the sizes they come in (so 2 x 8, or 4 x 4, etc.)

Get away from the idea of a RAM Disk, unless you have a 32-bit processor that can't use more than 4GB of RAM or if you have way more than 32 GB of RAM. In between the best use of RAM is by the processor.

You should be aware that the trade-off for RAID 0 (2 x 120GB =240GB) and the performance boost is that you double the chances of failure. If either disk fails your machine is toast.

I really don't think I can live with only 200GB of drive space. My machine with the least space is a 500GB harddrove.

Let's look at graphics. You can do some comparison on the notebookcheck site I linked you to.

Also try the PassMark site. Here is the link to the GeForce 770M comparison.

Mobile graphics card usually don't have a retail price, since they are sold to and installed by the manufacturer. Laptops are much less customizable that desktops because of the higher heat and power tolerances that is required.

You can build a laptop, but it will never look as good as a model you buy from someone that specializes in laptop design.

If you want a really high-end gamin laptop (which, given the price of the models you listed is not the case), you can look at the specialized builders I listed in the other thread. But it will set you back at least double the price of the Lenovo you referred to. ANd the Lenovo I am pretty sure you won't get many options to cusstomise it's internal. I know that the Lenovo on bootup will validate all cards (even the WiFi card) to make sure they are Lenovo-authorized.

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Reply #2 on: August 10, 2013, 08:31:21 am
I would also suggest you add Toshiba to your list to look at. They have good support and have a gaming line. Although most of the options you are looking for only show up in the 17" screens


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Reply #3 on: August 10, 2013, 12:48:28 pm
I don't think I need more than 16Gb. In fact I don't think I need more than 8Gb. My current laptop is a 64-bit laptop with only 4Gb and I've only got up to 75%. Granted my CPU is going full bore and my laptop is lagging and slow. But still. I don't think I need more that 8Gb. The reason I wanted to 16Gb was because I wanted a 8Gb RAM Drive to copy my most used files on and run them off there.

What's so bad about SLI? You always have hated it.

I'm not against the idea of a cache but I never considered because new files would constantly be moved on and off because of the amount of programs I use and the files I open and deal with.  I also want the startup and shutdown speeds of an SSD. I would want the OS on the cache wich would be impossible or leave me with only 4Gb on it.

For 12Gb, could they do 3 x 4Gb and leave the last slot open?

The RAM Drive I already talked about.

RAID I like because my computer backs up every night to our file server and I like the increased performance. I want no bottlenecks. Also 200 to 250Gb is plenty for me. I don't store huge amounts of pictures or movies and I don't have 6Gb programs.

EDIT: I've created a blazing system that actually is pretty affordable from Maingear


Chassis: Nomad 15 Performance Chassis
Processor: Intel® Core™ i7 4800MQ
Memory: 16GB Corsair® Vengeance™ DDR3-1600
Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce™ GTX 770M 3.0GB GDDR5
Hard Drive Bay One: 256GB SuperRAID -Dual 128GB Plextor® M5M mSATA] w/ TRIM [1080MB/s Reads]

Cost; $1,921

« Last Edit: August 10, 2013, 10:34:41 pm by CobraKill »

Never trust a computer that doesn't fit through your nearest window.