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Which is better for gaming?

daddystabzdaddystabz Member Posts: 63

I am looking at 2 different laptops right now I can afford. I am interested in being able to game a bit on my laptop, mostly MMORPG games like World of Warcraft, DC Universe Online, The Lord of the Rings Online, etc. Some other games too but mostly MMOs.



The two I'm looking at are as follows:



1) Notebook, 9-cell lithium-ion battery, AC adapter

VISION technology from AMD with 1.7GHz AMD Phenom II quad-core mobile processor P940

17.3" diagonal high-def+ HP BrightView LED display, 1600x900 resolution

4GB DDR3 RAM

640GB 5400RPM SATA hard drive with ProtectSmart hard drive protection

LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-RW drive, 2-layer support

802.11b/g/n wireless LAN

Bluetooth technology

ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 switchable graphics with 512MB DDR3 RAM, up to 2173MB total memory

Beats Audio and HP triple bass-reflex subwoofer

HP TrueVision Web cam, digital mic

HP SimplePass, integrated fingerprint reader

HP Clickpad

5-in-1 digital media reader: SD, MMC, MS, MS Pro, xD

Battery life up to 6 hours

3 USB 2.0 ports

HDMI, eSATA/USB, VGA, RJ-45 ports

Headphone/mic jacks

Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit

Microsoft Office 2010 Starter

60 days Symantec Norton Internet Security 2011

HP software

Measures approximately 16-3/8" x 10-3/4" x 1-1/2"

UL listed adapter; 1-year LMW



2) Includes notebook, eight-cell lithium-ion battery, HP Mobile remote, AC adapter, 2GB SD card with PC Treasures software

2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor P7550

17.3" diagonal HD+ LED BrightView widescreen display, 1600x900 resolution

6GB DDR3 memory

640GB 7200 RPM SATA hard drive

8X LightScribe SuperMulti DVD+/-RW drive, double-layer support

802.11b/g/n wireless LAN

ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650 graphics, up to 2815MB memory

Altec Lansing audio

SRS Premium Sound

HP triple bass-reflex subwoofer

HP Web cam, digital mic

Touchpad

10/100/1000 Base-T ethernet

5-in-1 digital media reader: SD, MMC, MS, MS Pro, xD

Three USB 2.0 ports

HDMI, eSATA/USB, RJ-45, IEEE 1394, VGA, expansion, consumer IR ports

Two headphone jacks

Mic jack

ExpressCard/34, 54 slot

Genuine Windows Home 7 Premium, 64-bit

Microsoft Works

60 days of Microsoft Office Home & Student 2007

60 days of Norton Internet Security 2010

HP software

Measures approximately 16-1/4"W x 11"D x 1-3/8"H

UL listed; 1-year LMW



Or would you go for this one?: http://www.qvc.com/qic/qvcapp.aspx?v...&walk=&cmtags=

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Comments

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,626

    You should get none of them.

    If you want a gaming laptop, then at minimum, you should wait for Sandy Bridge to launch in January.  That will offer vastly better processor performance than any of the laptops you're looking at.  You can perhaps compensate for an inadequate video card by turning down video settings.  You can't do that for an inadequate processor.  So a lot of games won't run well at any settings on any of those laptops.

    If you want a gaming laptop on a budget, then you should probably wait for Llano to launch next Spring.  That will be markedly better than any of the laptops you're looking at, and will probably be a lot cheaper, too.  Llano will offer integrated graphics that are actually good enough to play games on, which means no need for the extra cost and heat of a discrete video card.

  • noquarternoquarter Member Posts: 1,170

    Of those 3 I'd get the 2nd one. The limiting factor in laptops for gaming is usually the abysmal GPU. The Geforce 335M and Radeon Mobility 4650 are just about the same speed but the 2nd laptop has a much faster CPU. The Mobility 5470 in the first laptop is too slow, and still has a slower CPU than the 2nd laptop.

    For that price range I would look at something like this though:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834115820

  • daddystabzdaddystabz Member Posts: 63

    So the #2 laptop on my list is superior to the Alienware M11X for gaming?

  • noquarternoquarter Member Posts: 1,170


    Originally posted by daddystabz
    So the #2 laptop on my list is superior to the Alienware M11X for gaming?

    Yes. #2 has a 2.26 GHz core 2 duo while the M11X has a 1.3GHz core 2 duo. The graphics cards are equivalent to each other. #2 has a 17" screen while the M11X has an 11.6" screen.


    I think the purpose of the M11X is to have a very portable laptop that is still capable of playing games. Hardware wise the larger #2 option is superior though.

  • noquarternoquarter Member Posts: 1,170

    Also if you need to order specifically from qvc I think this laptop is superior to any of the options:
    http://www.qvc.com/qic/qvcapp.aspx/view.2/app.detail/params.item.E222049.desc.HP-173-Notebook-wCore-i5-4GB-RAM640GB-HD-Win7
    2.53GHz i5-460M is faster than any that we've discussed, and the Radeon 5650 is also faster than the other GPU's.

    The cost difference from the faster CPU and GPU is made up by less ram (4GB instead of 6GB) and slower hard drive (5400 rpm vs 7200 rpm). Both of which are actually a good thing in a way. The 4GB will be able to run in dual channel instead of single even if it has less RAM to share with the GPU, and the slower hard drive will put out less heat and heat is a problem in every gaming laptop I've seen.

  • daddystabzdaddystabz Member Posts: 63

    How about this one, noquarter? This one seems like it is a bit cheaper than the one you showed me but is comparable in performance, isn't it?

     

    http://www.shopnbc.com/Toshiba_Satellite_PSAW3U_08803C_16_Core_i5_4GB_500GB_Notebook_w_Carrying_Case_Jump_Drive/U120316.aspx?storeid=1&cm_re=SearchList-_-N-_-N&prop=Computers%20%26%20Electronics|237&prop=Notebooks|240

    The thing that scares me about this one though is that I do not see any info listed as to what kind of a graphics card it has, if any.  I hope it isn't integrated video.

  • noquarternoquarter Member Posts: 1,170


    Originally posted by daddystabz
    How about this one, noquarter? This one seems like it is a bit cheaper than the one you showed me but is comparable in performance, isn't it?
     
    http://www.shopnbc.com/Toshiba_Satellite_PSAW3U_08803C_16_Core_i5_4GB_500GB_Notebook_w_Carrying_Case_Jump_Drive/U120316.aspx?storeid=1&cm_re=SearchList-_-N-_-N&prop=Computers%20%26%20Electronics|237&prop=Notebooks|240
    The thing that scares me about this one though is that I do not see any info listed as to what kind of a graphics card it has, if any.  I hope it isn't integrated video.

    Yea if they don't list the GPU it's almost always an integrated Intel GPU which is worthless. You wouldn't want to gamble anyway because even if it had a GPU you can't tell if it's a decent one.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,626

    If it doesn't say that it has a discrete video card, then it probably doesn't.

    I'd dismiss Toshiba out of hand because they disable driver updates.

    It's important to recognize that you're comparing several rather slow machines, none of which will run games well.  You'll probably be fine if you stick to very old games or games with very low system requirements.  But a lot of games simply aren't going to run well on any of those machines.

    Wait until January and you can get something much better on the same budget.  Wait until next Spring and you can get something markedly better on a much smaller budget.

  • daddystabzdaddystabz Member Posts: 63

    Actually, the Alienware M11X is supposed to be able to run any game currently out today.  There are videos of people playing Modern Warfare 2, WoW, Team Fortress 2, etc. maxed out with it.  Look it up on YouTube.

  • theartisttheartist Member Posts: 553

    Originally posted by daddystabz

    Actually, the Alienware M11X is supposed to be able to run any game currently out today.  There are videos of people playing Modern Warfare 2, WoW, Team Fortress 2, etc. maxed out with it.  Look it up on YouTube.

    I'm actually gaming currently on a Gateway NX (FX series is what they market by) that's pretty comparable to number 2 on his list. Just swap the ATI card for it's Nvidia equivlent.

    I run Fallout New Vegas and MW2 maxed, and I had no hitches playing that steaming pile of crap called Final Fantasy FIV altho' I didn't have it maxxed. Just what it ran on default looked fine and it started to heat me up a bit.

    If 2 is within your budget and you can get it, I think it'll work. Both fine machines and the processors are fine. If you wait for the new tech it'll up the price probably 400 to 500 bucks (or more) and really I think the improvements will be minimal at the start aside from some heat issues resolved and it using less power.

    Also don't worry about the battery. Mine off the grid gets me about 4 hours of web surfing tops and that's with a lot of the energy saving features kicked in full force.

  • daddystabzdaddystabz Member Posts: 63

    http://www.qvc.com/qic/qvcapp.aspx/view.2/app.detail/params.item.E221769.desc.Dell-173-Notebook-with-6GB-RAM-500GB-HD--Blu-ray

    How does this one stack up to the Alienware M11X I posted about previously in terms of gaming? 

    I also found this one that has impressive features but I'm not at all familiar with the brand:

    http://www.qvc.com/qic/qvcapp.aspx/view.2/app.detail/params.item.E218113.desc.ZT-15-Notebook-wIntel-Core-i5-4GB-RAM-500GBHD1GB-Graphics

  • CleffyCleffy Member RarePosts: 6,296

    Personally, I would dismiss both those laptops.  For MMOs the top one will perform better because it has a better processor then the bottom one.  In mobile GPUs, the HD4670 performs about the same as the HD5470.  Infact the HD5470 may perform better depending on the chipset it is paired with.  The problem with mobile GPUs is the ones designed for general gaming use on the desktop usually have their clocks or cores paired down on the laptop.  On the other hand they typically do not adjust the lower end GPUs like IGPs and the HD5470.

    There is a benefit to waiting so I would wait.

  • noquarternoquarter Member Posts: 1,170


    Originally posted by Cleffy
    Personally, I would dismiss both those laptops.  For MMOs the top one will perform better because it has a better processor then the bottom one.  In mobile GPUs, the HD4670 performs about the same as the HD5470.  Infact the HD5470 may perform better depending on the chipset it is paired with.  The problem with mobile GPUs is the ones designed for general gaming use on the desktop usually have their clocks or cores paired down on the laptop.  On the other hand they typically do not adjust the lower end GPUs like IGPs and the HD5470.
    There is a benefit to waiting so I would wait.

    The Mobility 4670 is significantly faster than the Mobility 5470:
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-ATI-Mobility-Radeon-HD-4650.13883.0.html
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/ATI-Mobility-Radeon-HD-5470.23698.0.html

    Many MMO's don't use quad core especially well either so I still think the 2nd CPU is more powerful for many games.


    Also to OP, I wouldn't buy the ZT brand. No idea what the quality of the build is. I tried Dell, HP and Sony's site and was able to put together a pretty good 17" laptop at Sony for $950 though if you want to try that out.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,626

    Originally posted by daddystabz

    Actually, the Alienware M11X is supposed to be able to run any game currently out today.  There are videos of people playing Modern Warfare 2, WoW, Team Fortress 2, etc. maxed out with it.  Look it up on YouTube.

    If you mean run as opposed to blue screen, then perhaps.  If you mean run smoothly to give a good gaming experience, then no.  Not even close.  Some games will run very well.  Some will be choppy but playable.  Some will be a slide show that you can only marginally interact with--and will still be choppy if you turn video settings way down.  Why would AMD, Nvidia, and Intel bother to make high end parts if lower end stuff with maybe 20% of the performance can run everything flawlessly on max settings.

    Watching a grainy video on YouTube doesn't exactly reveal what image quality the game is using.

    "If you wait for the new tech it'll up the price probably 400 to 500 bucks (or more) and really I think the improvements will be minimal at the start aside from some heat issues resolved and it using less power."

    Sandy Bridge will likely be about 40% faster than Clarksfield to start.  The gap could well grow with time if software starts taking advantage of AVX.  And that's without increasing the thermal envelope.  It will also be cheaper than Clarksfield for Intel to build, so it won't cost more.  Die shrinks are wonderful.

    "In mobile GPUs, the HD4670 performs about the same as the HD5470."

    Actually, no.  The 4670 is dramatically faster.

  • daddystabzdaddystabz Member Posts: 63

    Here are some videos of the M11X playing games like Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 on high settings completely smoothly:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1HLijIka5o

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW7cog1WTGw&feature=related

    Left 4 Dead 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1BdWINKHuk&feature=related

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,626

    And I'm supposed to be surprised that games that aren't very demanding on hardware run well on not very good hardware?  Maybe impressed at the efficient coding of whoever made the game, but that's not a statement about hardware.  If you want to stick to games that aren't very demanding, then sure, you can get rather slow hardware and it won't matter.

    Basically what you're saying is that companies that are trying to sell you hardware can pick out games that aren't very demanding and say, see, it runs great.  AMD was even able to find some games that run great on their upcoming Bobcat netbooks.  That doesn't mean that their netbooks are going to be really powerful hardware.  It just means that some games aren't very demanding.

  • daddystabzdaddystabz Member Posts: 63

    There are vids of it running Crysis pretty well as well on YouTube. Just look for M11X Crysis. Is that game demanding enough for you? The thing to remember here is that I am working on a limited budget and this is why I am having to take advantage of QVC's value pay option.  I cannot afford to drop 3 grand on a laptop.  I think some of you also misconstrued what I'm looking to do.  This new laptop will NOT be my primary pc or even my primary gaming pc.  I have a great desktop at home for that.  I simply want a good laptop that can play MOST of today's games well.  Most of the games I play are not all that demanding....games like World of Warcraft, DC Universe Online (soon), Pirates of the Burning Sea, etc.  Every now and then it would be nice to play a game like Oblivion or Dragon Age or even maybe Call of Duty on it.

    I've heard good things about this model despite the slower clock speed of the processor (1.7 GHZ), although it is a core I7: http://www.qvc.com/qic/qvcapp.aspx/view.2/app.detail/params.item.E220787.desc.Alienware-M15x-Notebook-6GB-RAM500GBCore-i7Backlit-McAfee.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,626

    There's an easy way to make Crysis run smoothly on not that great of hardware:  turn down video settings.  You can't tell the difference once in a grainy YouTube video, anyway.

    If you want pretty nice performance, then you should wait for Sandy Bridge.  That will get you much better performance than anything on the market today, but without costing more.  Sandy Bridge will probably be cheaper for Intel to build than Clarksfield.

    And if you're on a tighter budget, you should wait for Llano to launch in the Spring.  That will run pretty much any game smoothly on moderate settings, and you'll probably be able to get a laptop based on it for $600 or so.  That will bring the price tag way down to get a laptop with kind of all right gaming performance, which may be what you're after.

    -----

    The processor performance on a CULV Core 2 Duo is roughly comparable to the top Zacate processor in AMD's upcoming netbooks.  Seriously, netbooks, or perhaps rather, machines that will straddle the line between netbooks and laptops.  Games that are processor-intensive cannot be made to run well on that at any graphical settings.

    If you really want to get caught up in Dell's marketing hype, then it's your money, I guess.  As the saying goes, a fool and his money are soon parted.  But please do recognize that they're cherry-picking what they'll show you to try to put their hardware in the best possible light, and not showing results typical of what you're likely to see if you buy it.  The point of the Alienware M11x is that it will more or less run some games in a tiny form factor.

  • daddystabzdaddystabz Member Posts: 63

    I have a lot of trouble believing that Intel's new technology will be priced on par with current technology.  Even if it is indeed cheaper for Intel to manufacture, I'm sure they will use the increase in performance as reason enough to justify a heftier price tag.  New tech with better performance NEVER equals a similar price tag to what is available currently.

  • noquarternoquarter Member Posts: 1,170

    Well I still can't beat this from Sony:

    VPCEC390X

    Intel® Core™ i5-460M processor (2.53GHz) with Turbo Boost up to 2.80GHz (Save $20 in Cart)
    Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit
    320GB Hard Disk Drive (5400rpm)
    4GB (2GBx2) DDR3-SDRAM-1066
    17.3" VAIO Display with LED backlight (1600 x 900)
    ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 5650 GPU (1GB VRAM)

    $929.99 in cart


    If you can use their financing option it seems like the best way to go to me. Getting about the same processor we've been looking at in the other laptops, but it has a Radeon 5650 which is faster than any that we've compared. Cost savings from a smaller, slower hard drive (re: cooler), and only 4GB of RAM instead of 6GB but this allows it to run in dual channel (2x2GB) instead of single channel (4GB + 2GB) which is a plus to me.


    The 15.4" version is $879

  • noquarternoquarter Member Posts: 1,170


    Originally posted by daddystabz
    What do you all think of this one? http://www.qvc.com/qic/qvcapp.aspx/view.2/app.detail/params.item.E220516.desc.HP-156-Notebook-PC-w-6GB-RAM-500GB-HD-Intel-Core-i7
    Or this one? http://www.qvc.com/qic/qvcapp.aspx/view.2/app.detail/params.item.E220787.desc.Alienware-M15x-Notebook-6GB-RAM500GBCore-i7Backlit-McAfee

    The HP one is good. I still like the Sony one I posted a bit better but I would get this HP if going QVC. The Alienware one is overpriced but very good.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,626

    Originally posted by daddystabz

    I have a lot of trouble believing that Intel's new technology will be priced on par with current technology.  Even if it is indeed cheaper for Intel to manufacture, I'm sure they will use the increase in performance as reason enough to justify a heftier price tag.  New tech with better performance NEVER equals a similar price tag to what is available currently.

    Suppose that VIA were to come up with some super awesome video card technology that absolutely blows away the competition.  Suppose that their intended "low end" card offered ten times the performance of anything else on the market, and it scaled all the way up to a high end card that offered a hundred times the performance of today's high end.  Suppose that these cards cost about as much to manufacture as current GeForce or Radeon cards intended for the same market segment.

    How much do you think VIA would charge for these new miracle cards?  Think they would charge $3000 for their low end card, and more for the higher end cards?  That would cede basically the entire market to AMD and Nvidia, and they'd make basically no money if they did that.  No, they'd want to make a lot of money, and so their low end card would have to be priced low enough that most gamers wouldn't just dismiss it out of hand as being too expensive.  Maybe they'd charge $100 or $200 for it.  Maybe they would charge thousands for their new high end cards, but the other cards in their new lineup would be priced lower to fill other market segments.

    There's nothing special about VIA here. I picked them for this example just so that people wouldn't have strong preconceptions about VIA as the sort of company that would do this or that.  But if you replace VIA by AMD or Nvidia, the same analysis still holds. If you replace them by Intel building processors, the same analysis again still holds.

    Intel doesn't want to keep building old processor architectures forever.  They want to stop building Penryn, Nehalem, and Westmere and move everyone building a new computer to Sandy Bridge.  It's cheaper for Intel that way.  They don't necessarily slash prices on older processors; they just introduce newer ones that are a better deal.  Check here, for example:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115130

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115067

    The first processor is a lot more expensive.  The second is a lot faster.  The first isn't New Egg gouging you.  They're just passing on how Intel prices them.

    Fairly credible rumors of Intel's pricing scheme for Sandy Bridge desktop processors have already leaked.  Basically, Intel is going to charge the same for their new processor lineup as they did for their old processor lineup in each given market segment.

    Furthermore, Intel knows that once Sandy Bridge hits, they're going to be way ahead of AMD.  But they probably only have four or five months before AMD catches up with Bulldozer.  They want people to buy early in the year, so that people will buy Sandy Bridge from Intel.  If they give people reason to wait for prices to come down, then once Bulldozer hits, Intel might have to cut prices lower than they'd like to in order to compete--and will probably lose a lot of sales to AMD that they would have gotten if the same people had bought earlier in the year.  Intel makes $0 if you buy a processor from AMD.

    -----

    I'd dismiss Sony laptops out of hand if you want to play games on them.  Sony disables driver updates.  Eventually you'll probably need to update your drivers for some reason, and if you have a Sony laptop, you won't be able to.  Toshiba and Panasonic do that, too.

  • CatamountCatamount Member Posts: 773

    To the OP, I don't know what your budget is, but you're pointing to laptops in the $1000 range (at least, that's where the QVC one you first linked sat), so I'm going to assume that that's in the ballpark of what you want to spend.

     

    With that in mind, there are *decent* options available for you righ now, not great, but decent. For $950, you can get the latest variant of the Asus N61JQ. The Radeon HD 5730 is a decently fast video card. It's essentially a slightly slower-clocked desktop 5650, but with DDR3 memory. It's definitely not high end, but I have an Asus N61JQ myself (with a slightly slower i7 720QM) and at 1366x768, I can play Crysis on mostly high settings (one or two things on medium), and get almost 30fps, which is honestly not too shabby. Here's a video of my machine playing the game posted awhile back on youtube (not by me), which has fraps running and starts with the game settings page so you can see what it's being played at:

    COD Modern Warfare 2 not only runs at maximum settings fluently, but does so with the anti-aliasing turned on (at 4x it's a hair shy of fluent, but still pretty good, however I prefer keeping it at 2x just for the better framerate).

    As far as laptop CPUs go, you're also not going to get more powerful than the Core i7 740QM in your price range, pretty much no matter what. Asus also ships with a respectable 2-year warranty, but more importantly, if they're still doing it, they ship that model with a 1-year "accidental damage warranty", which isn't just a warranty, but actual insurance, in case you drop your computer in a pool one day. That's pretty good for a free add-on, and beyond what most companies give.

     

     

    A more powerful gaming machine would be the MSI GX640. It can be gotten from Xotic PC for about $1150 after shipping and a thermal grease upgrade (I'd highly recommend the IC Diamond, because this machine WILL get hot, and having a better thermal compound will help there). That machine only has a Core i5 450, but that's still a pretty powerful mobile CPU (and really, the dual core will save power and produce a little less heat), and it has a much more powerful Mobility Radeon 5850, with GDDR5. In fact, that card is just slightly less powerful than the Mobility Radeon HD 5870 (it's within ~10% according to Notebookcheck.net's tests). It also has a better 1680x1050 screen (yes, an actual return to 16x10 laptop screens! :D ). That'll basically negate the performance advantage of the 5850 gives over the Asus N61JQ's 5730, but the higher resolution is generally nicer, because the standard 1366x768 on most laptops is just NOT an adequate screen resolution for much of anything. I always feel cramped on my machine.

    Mind you, the battery life is not very good this machine either, and I'm not kidding when I say the MSI GX640 gets hot, especially internally. That said, MSI packs it with a 3 year warrant, and you're not going to be doing serious gaming on that machine after 3 years anyways; it'll just be too old to be worth it.

     

     

    Now, all of this said, I will also say that Quizzical is entirely right. Better machines will be out shortly, and at this point, it's going to be better for you to wait a few months rather than buying laptops that are nearly a year old (both of these were unveilded at CES 2010 I believe) and aren't going to be around much longer. Sandy Bridge is just going to be a much better option.

  • mmogawdmmogawd Member Posts: 732

    I definitely wouldn't be buying a laptop right now with Sandy Bridge so close.  The first ones are popping up righ tnow.  If you can wait 1-2 months, you won't regret it and you'll get a much longer life out of your laptop.

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