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Gaming Laptop Recommendations


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#1 Aosys

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Posted 17 August 2018 - 06:57 PM

Howdy all,

 

It's time for me to do another hardware upgrade, and this time I'm looking to replace my old Dell Latitude E6410, which is getting a bit long in the tooth now. Considering how you TDM folks are responsible for the awesome gaming desktop I have now (thanks guys!), I thought I might ask for recommendations/advice here again.

 

I'm looking for something that can run TDM, Darkradiant, and especially Unity (the engine I have to use for my graduate degree). Optionally Unreal, but I'm not sure I'll be using that or not. Being able to do some next-gen gaming could potentially be nice too, but I anticipate most of that will be done on my desktop. I'd also appreciate something I can install Windows 7 on without too much fuss, since I do have an extra copy ready to go, but I might bite the bullet and bear with 10 if I absolutely have to... A machine under 4 lbs would also be ideal, since I'll have to commute with the thing a lot.

 

MSI looks like it makes halfway decent laptops, but I've also considered Asus ROG, and had someone at work recommend the Razorblade 14 2017, 1080p. I think I may want to stay away from Alienware, since they seem pretty overpriced. Top budget is probably $1500-ish, but cheaper would be better.

 

Thoughts?



#2 demagogue

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Posted 17 August 2018 - 10:05 PM

ASUS ROG is great while it lasts, but support is the worst. If you get it, get the extended warranty and keep the original invoice with the logo of the store you bought it from on it because they won't repair it without it. Mine had the motherboard short after 6 months (the standard warranty is only for 1 month!), and now I can't repair it (I don't have the invoice) & it's a useless brick I have to sell as a junk piece & for parts. Can't even buy a new motherboard and take it to a nearby shop as the cost isn't much less than the whole thing and there's a risk of mangling the repair. It's also like 10 pounds, so heavy and it doesn't fit in bags well.

 

If you just want to play things like TDM, DR, Unity, and Unreal, you don't need a big rig gaming laptop. You can play those just with Intel graphics and a mid-level laptop. My main laptop is a Dell XPS 13, with the flip top. It's super lightweight (2 pounds, 1/2 inch thick) and the screen flips into a pad. And I can still play games like GTA V and Skyrim on it on lower graphic settings, and definitely TDM. I'm really happy with a laptop this tiny and mobile that can still play the games I want to play.

Edit: I'm not recommending it for gaming per se, but just to say if your games are not too high end, the field my be much wider than you might expect.


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#3 kano

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Posted 17 August 2018 - 10:49 PM

I know you asked about laptops, but have you ever thought about building an mini-ITX machine? They can get really small. I built one that fits in a backpack for traveling. Unlike a laptop, they are easy to upgrade like a desktop computer is. And the parts are cheaper than laptop parts. Only downside is that you can't whip it out on a train or plane and start working, because it requires a monitor and AC power, but thanks to phones I can't remember the last time I did that with a laptop anyway. Unlike a laptop, you can also build to your exact specifications/desires.

 

Getting Windows 7 to work on modern hardware will be a bitch. Microsoft is deliberately making it this way, even going out of their way to sabotage people who manage to pull it off. https://www.theregis...ck_on_new_cpus/

 

I look at it as just another reason to stick to using Linux.


Edited by kano, 17 August 2018 - 10:52 PM.


#4 Bikerdude

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 05:18 AM

Do you want to retain Windows 7 compatibility..?



#5 chakkman

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 05:38 AM

Getting Windows 7 to work on modern hardware will be a bitch. Microsoft is deliberately making it this way, even going out of their way to sabotage people who manage to pull it off. https://www.theregis...ck_on_new_cpus/

 

Ignoring the conspiracy theories: Windows 7 will have extended support (only bugfixing, no feature updates) until mid 2020. There won't be any updates from that point. Considering you want to buy a new laptop, i'd really think twice about still sticking to a discontinued model OS.

 

And if you want my opinion: Windows 10 is better in any regard. I wouldn't even consider installing Windows 7 anymore.



#6 kano

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 10:36 AM

Microsoft's little update-blocking stunt affected Windows 8.1 users too, even while the Windows 8.1 product was still in mainstream support, something they should have been sued for. Hilariously, it also backfired and affected machines that weren't of the Ryzen/Kaby Lake generation. https://windowsrepor...tel-processors/

 

After all of Microsoft's bad behavior to get Windows 10 adoption, they then posted a phony apology in order to gloat in everyone's face that they aren't going to be punished in any way. https://www.ubergizm...ws-10-campaign/

 

Consumers can force Microsoft to extend Windows 7 support if they refuse to abandon Windows 7 for the spyware/adware cesspool that is Windows 10. Consumers have done this before, forcing Microsoft to extend both Windows 98 and XP support. But me personally, I'm done with Microsoft. I don't support them or their products in any way now.



#7 chakkman

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Posted 18 August 2018 - 10:50 AM

Well, nice story, but, how exactly does that help the OP?



#8 Anderson

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 10:37 AM

Well, nice story, but, how exactly does that help the OP?

 

Food for thought regarding Win 10 I guess. To learn Ubuntu and Linux. I only ever tried Macintosh personally but at that point might as well use Linux for free with the niche app support they have with Macintosh. Can't hurt to go with that on a mid-range laptop I guess. Just in case something terrible happens to Win 10. Besides, nowadays most retail stores sell computers with Windows pre-installed so there's no escaping it either.

 

Basically yeah, Asus, Dell, HP are all decent laptops far as I saw.


Edited by Anderson, 19 August 2018 - 10:39 AM.

 "I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

 

 

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


#9 chakkman

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 11:11 AM

 

Food for thought regarding Win 10 I guess. 

 

Rather a opinion. I would say everyone here is old enough to think for him-/herself.



#10 Anderson

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 12:00 PM

 

Rather a opinion. I would say everyone here is old enough to think for him-/herself.

 

Very true. Though we live in a time when things change quickly. So it never hurts to ask?


Edited by Anderson, 19 August 2018 - 12:00 PM.

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 "I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

 

 

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


#11 Aosys

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 12:11 PM

So, I was looking at review online and the Razor Blade 14 seems to be very poorly received. By contrast, the MSI GV62 looks like a good amount of bang for a very reasonable amount of buck.

 

https://www.amazon.c...customerReviews

 

The Acer Predator Helios 300 looks really nice as well, but seems a little on the heavy side (6 lbs). Unless anyone here thinks that's manageable? My current machine is around 4 lbs.

 

https://www.amazon.c...s=gaming laptop

 

 

This particular machine I definitely need Windows on. I plan at some point to get an old Thinkpad specifically for Linux (or maybe repurpose my current laptop, will have to see).


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#12 Bikerdude

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 12:21 PM

  • Being able to do some next-gen gaming could potentially be nice too, but I anticipate most of that will be done on my desktop.
  • I'd also appreciate something I can install Windows 7 on without too much fuss, since I do have an extra copy ready to go, but I might bite the bullet and bear with 10 if I absolutely have to...
  • A machine under 4 lbs would also be ideal, since I'll have to commute with the thing a lot.
  • Top budget is probably $1500-ish, but cheaper would be better.

In an attempt to get this thread back on topic... @Aosys, let me asking you a few question that will enable me/other to give you a considered recommendation -

  • What online places do you like to purchase computer kit from?
  • Do you have an aversion to buying used? or used with warranty..? - this imho is the best route to get  good bang for buck.
  • getting a laptop that weighs under 2kgs maybe a push, but I like a challenge.
  • This is where used would payoff.
  • So, I was looking at review online and the Razor Blade 14 seems to be very poorly received. By contrast, the MSI GV62 looks like a good amount of bang for a very reasonable amount of buck.
  • The Acer Predator Helios 300 looks really nice as well, but seems a little on the heavy side (6 lbs). Unless anyone here thinks that's manageable? My current machine is around 4 lbs.

Let me have a look.


Edited by Bikerdude, 19 August 2018 - 12:22 PM.


#13 Anderson

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 01:08 PM

 

 

The Acer Predator Helios 300 looks really nice as well, but seems a little on the heavy side (6 lbs). Unless anyone here thinks that's manageable? My current machine is around 4 lbs.

 

 

 

If you take it into a backpack the weight is pretty balanced during travel and does not exhaust you ask quickly if you were to carry it only in one hand on the side.


Edited by Anderson, 19 August 2018 - 01:08 PM.

 "I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

 

 

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


#14 s.urfer

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 01:56 PM

Regarding the MSI you linked, 8GB RAM is the bare minimum for gaming, I can easily fill the 8GB on my gaming laptop to 90% when playing e. g. Doom 2016 with full eye-candy. So it is sufficient right now, but for the future you might want to at least have an upgrade path available.

 

Even more a no go in my opinion, is a mechanical HDD. My laptop came with an SSHDD, but even that was a constant pain in the derriere. I upgraded to an SSD (like pretty much all my other systems run for years) and never looked back.

 

The Acer looks more modern, has a much better video-card, enough RAM and an SSD. The weight would be a bit on the high side for me, too.

 

My gamer is an Terra Mobil 1590 (a.k.a. MSI Ghost) that retailed for €1400, I picked it up used for around 900. It was a Christmas present gone wrong, it had only 6 operating hours and looked like new. That was probably one of the more unusual action gems :) At 2kg also a nice companion.

 

Most of my systems are bought used, usually from professional refurbishers, including a one year warranty. That plus buyer protection should be almost as good as new, for much less money.

 

There seem to be not much refurbished gaming laptops, though. Mostly you can get three year old leasing business laptops...

 

[edit]

 

The Asus ZenBook Pro series looks like solid lightweights. Prices are a bit stiff, though.


Edited by s.urfer, 19 August 2018 - 02:54 PM.

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#15 Bikerdude

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Posted 19 August 2018 - 03:03 PM

  • The MSI GV62 looks like a good amount of bang for a very reasonable amount of buck.
  • The Acer Predator Helios 300 looks really nice as well, but seems a little on the heavy side (6 lbs).

 

MSI GV62

 

Good

  • 120hz IPS screen
  • GTX1050 dedicated 4GB - so slower than the acer.
  • 16gb optane SSD and 1TB HDD - the optane drive is a gimmik (isnt big enough to do its job affectingly). The caching I beleive only works under Win1, imho just get a fast 512Gb SSD period.
  • faster CPU than the acer,
  • 2.2Kgs

Bad

  • The on-cpu gfx (HD 630) has no win7 support, no much of an issue if you can disable it in bios.
  • You need to F6 the USB 3.0 driver to get win7 to install.
  • You will need to run the 3rd fix to get windows update working under win7, due to M$ bullshit.

 

Acer Helios 300

 

Good

  • IPS screen
  • GTX1060 dedicated 4GB
  • fast cpu, but you will need to run the 3rd fix to get windows update working under win7

Bad

  • 1TB HDD is 5400rpm, cant see the specs on the 256Gb SSD.
  • The on-cpu gfx (HD 630) has no win7 support, no much of an issue if you can disable it in bios.
  • You need to F6 the USB 3.0 driver to get win7 to install.
  • You will need to run the 3rd fix to get windows update working under win7, due to M$ bullshit.
  • 3kgs

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#16 Aosys

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 03:18 PM

Found another MSI laptop, this time on Newegg. Seems like a freakishly good deal, but not really sure?

 

https://www.newegg.c...N82E16834154684

 

Especially with both the sale and the rebate.



#17 s.urfer

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 03:53 PM

If the weight is not weighting you down, the deal looks sweet indeed.

 

When you are ready to spend this amount of money, treat yourself to the GTX 1060, it should make much more of a difference than the price increase.

 

Caveat emptor, including the 1TB SSD will explode the price, no dual channel memory, colour rendering of 94% NTSC seems low and running Win7 will be still a bitch...

 

Other than that, why don't we get this kind of deals over here ;)



#18 Aosys

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 07:52 PM

Yeah, the weight seems a bit too much on that one in hindsight. I also found this one:

 

https://www.newegg.c...N82E16834154478

 

but it's over my price point by a not insignificant margin. The Amazon price is not much better either.

 

This one is a bit better, but has a smaller SSD:

 

https://www.amazon.c...bin:13580795011



#19 s.urfer

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 07:48 AM

You do realise, that both are the basically the same machine, with different components?

 

You could downgrade the first you've linked to 256GB SSD and it'll fall under the price of the second one.

 

In terms of SSD size, I usually treat them only as system drives with some programs installed, but not as a data grave. My first SSD lasted for around three hours, that learned me the lesson, not to put important data onto an SSD pretty fast ;) But to be honest, that was my only SSD crash ever (knockin' on wood).

 

The Stealth series looks much like the younger sibling of my Ghost, so I like it :)






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