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Gaming Laptop help....

Clemson11Clemson11 Member Posts: 11

Need some help here.  I would much rather game on a desktop but I need a laptop for work. 

My options are:

XPS 17

i5 560M 2.66ghz 4 threads

GeForce 435M 1GB

8GB Ram




XPS 17

i7 740QM 1.73ghz 8threads

GeForce 445M 3GB

8GB Ram (possibly 12gb)


Will I see much improvement in gaming and general surfing the net stuff (porn jk) by upgrading to the i7 and 445 card?




  • CleffyCleffy Member RarePosts: 6,299

    They both suck.

  • Clemson11Clemson11 Member Posts: 11

    No they dont.  I currently have the first one and am playing games with ease.  however i can upgrade if i want with no shipping or restocking fees.

    Instead of just being an ass how about tell me what you don't like about them.

  • Chile267Chile267 Member UncommonPosts: 141

    Take the second and upgrade if you can affoard it. Better to be ready for the games coming out in the next 18 months. I always go with the most I can affoard, save in certain areas but always go good with CPU, GPU and RAM. My two cents.

  • noquarternoquarter Member Posts: 1,170

    What's the cost difference, and do you have to go 8GB ram or can you go less?

  • Clemson11Clemson11 Member Posts: 11

    about $300 difference.  the second also has blu ray and more hard drive space.


    Also could go with this one http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+L...=1218243761956

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,677

    A lower midrange card with 3 GB of video memory?  Seriously?  Even the 1.5 GB versions were obscenely overkill and now they're making a 3 GB version?  They could have scrapped 3/4 of the video memory and given you 0.75 GB instead and the only difference you'd ever notice is that it takes less power and runs cooler.  That's the worst sort of trying to impress people with useless specs.

    The biggest difference between the GT 435M and the GT 445M is that the latter has six times as many ROPs.  You'd never guess that from the name, of course.  It's the difference between not enough and sometimes hamstringing the card, versus too much to point of being overkill.  More generally, a GT 445M would on average be maybe 40% faster than a GT 335M.  I'd say paying a bunch for that upgrade is kind of ridiculous.

    A Mobility Radeon HD 5870, on the other hand, is really a lot faster.  As in, maybe three times as fast.  Upgrading to that is more sensible.  The mismatched memory channels are silly (6 is not a power of 2), but it's a slow enough processor that that probably won't hurt much.

    If you want something that would be faster for browsing the web, try getting a good solid state drive.  That will be a lot faster, since storage is the main bottleneck for web browsing.


    Do you really have to get the new laptop right now?  If you need it right now for work, then fine, I guess you're stuck.  But this is about the worst time to get a new laptop that you could have picked.  Sandy Bridge is a little over a month away, and will offer about 40% more performance in the same thermal envelope and for the same price tag.  Basically, you get an extra two years worth of Moore's Law-style improvements for free if you can wait until January.

    The Mobility Radeon 6000 series is due out soon, too.  I'm expecting only modest improvements in performance per watt over the 5000 series, but it might include some nice features.  The hardware-enforced TDP rumored to be in Cayman would be great for laptops, though it might not make it there just yet.  It's probably not worth waiting for on its own, but Sandy Bridge sure is, and the new video cards will likely launch at about the same time as Sandy Bridge.

  • Clemson11Clemson11 Member Posts: 11

    Quizzical-  sending you a PM.


    Thanks for the help.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,677

    To reply to your private message, yes, Sandy Bridge definitely is coming out in January.  Intel hasn't publicly announced the release date, but they have to send a bunch of samples of the processor to companies that build motherboards and laptops and so forth and tell them what is going to happen, so that there can be motherboards ready when it launches.  Lots of information leaks out, and one tech site even got a hold of one of the engineering samples and benchmarked it a few months ago.  Rumors currently say that Intel will launch Sandy Bridge at CES (January 6-9, 2011).  Now, those rumors could be wrong, but if they are, the real launch date will probably be something like January 5 or 11 instead.  I'd be absolutely shocked if we get to the end of January with no Sandy Bridge to be found.

    Sandy Bridge is a full node die shrink as compared to Clarksfield (e.g., Core i7 740QM), so one would naturally expect about 30% less power consumption for the same performance.  Realistically, Intel uses that to clock Sandy Bridge higher with the same power consumption.  It's also a new architecture, and will offer better performance per clock cycle.  Most importantly, Sandy Bridge will offer a more aggressive turbo boost, to allow programs that only use one or two cores to clock much higher if the other cores are idle.  I'd expect to see about 40% better performance.

    Sandy Bridge will probably also be cheaper to build than Clarksfield.  I'd expect Intel to simply replace Clarksfield processors by Sandy Bridge at the same price points.  The reason some laptops are selling out and disappearing now is that laptop manufacturers don't want to be caught with a bunch of Clarksfield laptops that they can't sell after Sandy Bridge launches, and having to get rid of them at clearance prices or wait until they can find enough suckers who can be tricked into buying something they shouldn't.


    You also brought up the possibility of keeping your old laptop while buying a desktop for gaming.  That's the route I'd recommend if you can.  People who want fairly nice gaming performance and also need a laptop would often find it cheaper to buy both a cheap laptop and a gaming desktop that performs better than the gaming laptop they would have bought.  Gaming laptops only make sense for people who absolutely need a gaming laptop, such as someone who travels a lot and wants to take a gaming machine with him.

    If you can keep old peripherals, you could get a gaming desktop significantly nicer than the laptop you got for under $600.  If you need a new monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, and surge protector, you'd be looking at more like $800 for the desktop.  Add a few hundred dollars more and you could get something really a lot nicer.

    This is possible largely because desktops can safely put out a lot more heat than laptops.  For a laptop processor or video card to put out 50 W is rather problematic, and they have to go to great lengths to cool it properly.  It likely still ends up running kind of hot, gets obnoxiously noisy, and is annoying to touch a keyboard that is very hot while gaming.  It's also expensive to come up with a good cooling system for that much heat, and that adds to the weight of the laptop considerably.  In a desktop, for a processor or video card to put out 100 W is no big deal.  You just put a big heatsink on it (of the sort that wouldn't physically fit in a laptop), stick a big fan on it, and run the fan slowly to blow air across the heatsink.  This keeps the hardware cool without making much noise, but isn't physically possible to do in a laptop.

    A Mobility Radeon HD 5870 is roughly comparable in performance to a desktop Radeon HD 5750.  A GeForce GT 335M is roughly comparable in performance to a desktop Radeon HD 5550.  You can readily look up prices on those yourself if you like; the desktop cards aren't expensive.  A Core i7 740QM that Intel charges over $300 for will typically lose on performance to a 3 GHz Athlon II X4 desktop processor that AMD sells for $100.  The latter uses about twice as much power as the former, which makes it unsafe for laptops, but perfectly fine for desktops.  And, of course, you can pay more to get desktop parts that are much faster yet.  For example, $240 will get you a Radeon HD 6870 that is about twice as fast as the Mobility Radeon HD 5870, and maybe five times as fast as the GeForce GT 335M that you just got.

    If you do want to build a gaming desktop, I'd probably still wait for Sandy Bridge to launch in January.  Laptops often use essentially the same processors as desktops, but merely at different clock speeds and voltages for different power consumption.  It won't be as big of a deal in desktops as laptops.  Even so, Sandy Bridge is likely to be nearly the end of the line in single-threaded desktop performance.  Get a four core version and it will last you a long, long time without needing a processor upgrade.  Processors will still keep adding more cores, but that may not offer much more benefit for games.

  • Clemson11Clemson11 Member Posts: 11

    thanks for the help Q.  Do you mind if I contact you when if I decide to build the desktop?

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