Buying a laptop for PC gaming/college

April 27, 2011 at 10:32:28
Specs: Windows 7
Hello all,
I'll be headed off to college in a short while and I wanted to get a new computer to use there. I think I'd rather have a laptop than a desktop so I can take it around with me.
I admit I'll be using it for gaming a good chunk of the time. I was wondering if you guys had any particular recommendations for laptop models.

In terms of gaming, I like a strong balance between high performance and quality. I'd like to be able to run high-end games for the four years I'll be away without much difficulty. Aside from gaming, I'll be using the laptop for schoolwork, slight music production with Cubase or some other software, and a bit of illustration work. I'd prefer not to go over $2,000.

Any thoughts or recommendations?

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April 27, 2011 at 14:06:32
At least you're being realistic about the cost. Way too many people buy $400 Walmart specials expecting to be able to game with them. Probably the most important feature to watch for is the graphics card. You can have a Kickazz processor & tons or RAM, but if the graphics card suck, the gaming experience will suck. Have a look at the offerings from Alienware, Asus, Gateway, Falcon NW, MSI, Sager, etc. This site will help with the graphics choice:

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April 29, 2011 at 15:25:28
Whats going to narrow down your options are how big you want it to be, and what kind of battery life you hope to get out of it. If you want it to be portable and last for more than a couple hours on a charge, then you'll be stuck sacrificing some gaming power (though nVidia Optimus graphics can help with that). What games do you want to play, and at what kind of settings? That can also narrow down what you should be looking at.

High end gaming, with ultra settings... you'll be looking at 16-17 inch laptop from Sager, Asus, or MSI. I leave out Alienware for the simple reason that they will not fit your budget as well as the others- they put too much into flashy lights and looks, and you pay a premium for it. Quality-wise, you really can't beat Sager (built on Clevo). Asus usually has some of the best price/performance gaming machines around, with great customer support. MSI is hard to beat on prices, and they can be strong competitors when it comes to features.

Check out you don't pay tax here, and you get an even larger discount for paying cash. Also, they are the best prices with a great selection that I know of.

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April 29, 2011 at 15:27:13
Also, instead of notebookcheck (which isn't a site I highly recommend) you should spend some time on these forums:

They have a "What Notebook Should I Buy" subforum that I used to moderate, and you can fill out a post detailing exactly what you need/want, and get specific recommendations. Most of the people there can be a great help.

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