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requesting help in choosing a gaming laptop

wolffacewolfface Member Posts: 9

Hello guys;

I would appreciate any advice in choosing my next gaming laptop.

I bought a Battalion Battalion 101 P151HM1 Gaming Laptop Sandy Bridge from IBUYPower less than a 3 weeks ago which i returned for a refund. It kept crashing even when performing simple windows tasks.

here are the specs:


Battalion 101 P151HM1 Gaming Laptop

$1,325.00

1

$1,325.00

 

1 x Case

Battalion 101 P151HM1 15.6" Full HD 1920x1080 Widescreen LED TFT Laptop w/HDMI Port, eSATA port, fingerprint Reader, Li-Ion Battery, Universal AC Power Adapter - Original Metallic Black Color

1 x Processor

Intel® Core™ i7-2630QM Mobile Processor (4x 2.00GHz/6MB L3 Cache)

1 x Memory

8GB [4GB x 2] 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM [Laptop Memory] - Corsair or Major Brand

1 x Video Card

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M 1.5GB GDDR5 3D Video [P151HM1]

1 x Free Stuff

[FREE] - 12-In-1 External Built-in USB Cable Flash Media Card Reader/Writer SDHC supported

1 x Free Stuff

[Free Game Download] - Total War: Shogun 2 - Free with Purchase of Intel Core i7 Processor

1 x Primary Hard Drive

500 GB 7200rpm Serial-ATA Super Slim Laptop Hard Drive

1 x Optical Drive

8x Dual Format DVD±R/±RW + 16x CD-R/RW Combo Drive [P151HM1]

1 x Flash Media Reader / Writer

Built-in 9-in-1 Media Card Reader/Writer [Laptop]

1 x Sound Card

3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard

1 x Network Card

Built-in 10/100/1000 Mbps LAN [Laptop]

1 x Fax Modem

Built-in 56K V.92 Fax Modem [Laptop]

1 x Internal Wireless Network Adapter

802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi Link + Bluetooth Combo Card

1 x Operating System

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional + Office Starter 2010 (Includes basic versions of Word and Excel) - 64-bit

1 x USB Ports

Built-in 2x USB 2.0 Ports + 2x USB 3.0 Port [Laptop]

1 x Carrying Case

Free Deluxe Carrying Case

0 x Headset

None

1 x Video Camera

Built-in 2.0 Mega Pixels Digital Web Video Camera

1 x Warranty

Standard Warranty Service - Standard One(1) Year Limited Warranty + Lifetime Technical Support

1 x Rush Service

Rush Service Fee (not shipping fee) - No Rush Service, Estimate Ship Out in 5~10 Business Days

 

CyberPowerPC have a loptop with very similar specs and within the price range. My main concern is that both these laptops have the same motherboard (Clevo) which worries me a lot. Also, from what i read CyberPower only sends a reboot disk for Windows and not the whole copy, which i dont like at all.

Another thing I hate about Clevo is that the drivers on the website are OUTDATED which is completely weird and is a concern in case i buy from CyberPower.

What do you think I should do, go with CyberPower or is there any other company out there that you recommend?

I travel frequently and I already have a gaming desktop that i built, so I dont need one for the time being, in case someone suggests building one myself.

Also, I am not sure if Sandy Bridge is the problem, is there still a recall on those?

BTW, i checked all the hardware on my returned  (memtest86, seatools for HD (short and long), Intel Diagnostic tools) and all the drivers were up to date.

Please any advice is welcomed.

M

Comments

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,125

    If you're looking to buy a gaming laptop, I'd strongly recommend that you wait for AMD's upcoming Llano APU to launch.  Having integrated graphics that are good enough for gaming is really going to be revolutionary.  Any gaming laptop that you could buy today for under $1000 will be thoroughly obsolete to the point of being ridiculous in about two weeks.

    Even for a budget somewhat larger than that, I'd rather give up some graphical performance and go with Llano to save money and avoid the traditional problems of gaming laptops--such as the crashing that afflicted your last one.  Gaming laptops try to pack too much heat into too little space, so they're very prone to overheat.  Llano will avoid that, as using integrated graphics means no need for a bunch of PCI Express lanes to connect the processor to the graphics, no need for discrete video memory, and a variety of other things.  That saves both on total power consumption, and on design complexity, which brings the total cost of building the laptop way down, with no need to buy a discrete video card and then keep it cool.

    Llano will also be built on Global Foundries' 32 nm HKMG SOI process node.  That's a huge advance over the TSMC 40 nm bulk silicon process node that GPU chips are currently built on, and that also means much lower power consumption for given performance.  Llano should be roughly a Phenom II X4 plus a (desktop) Radeon HD 5570 in a single chip.

    Compared to the laptop you bought, one based on a high bin of Llano will probably offer comparable processor performance, maybe half of the graphical performance, around half of the total system power consumption under gaming loads, and a price tag around $700.

    Now, if you're going to get a Core i7 2720QM, a Radeon HD 6970M, and a good SSD, then I could understand getting a more traditional laptop with a discrete video card.  But that puts you in the $2000 range, and I don't think that fits your budget.

    So when will Llano launch?  Any day now, actually.  The tech industry doesn't announce launch dates ahead of time, for fear of the ghost of Adam Osborne.  My best guess is May 10.

    -----

    On another note, it's rather odd to see that gaming laptops with Sandy Bridge processors seem to be mostly using Nvidia video cards.  The reason this is unusual is that from top to bottom, AMD's laptop video card lineup is vastly superior to Nvidia's, largely because of a large advantage in performance per watt.  Laptop manufacturers have had Llano chips for quite some time, and know what they can do, so I'm wondering if they're holding off on discrete AMD cards to pair them with Llano rather than Sandy Bridge.  At the high end, this wouldn't make sense, as I don't expect Llano to catch a Core i7 2720QM and higher in processor performance.  But for mid-range stuff, it's possible that AMD has gotten some real benefits out of having the same drivers control both a discrete video card and integrated graphics.

  • PhryPhry Member LegendaryPosts: 11,004

    sounds like a plan to me.. Quizzicals that is.. especially if waiting will get you a better system.. i know i'd be annoyed if i spent all that cash and a few days later.. discovered i could have had a much better computer if i'd been patient.. image

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,125

    For what it's worth, after Llano launches, the next meaningful upgrades in laptop processors would be Ivy Bridge (Intel) and Trinity (AMD), likely early in 2012.  In discrete video cards, the next meaningful upgrades would be Southern Islands (AMD) and Kepler (Nvidia), likely also early in 2012.  So if you get a sensible gaming laptop after Llano launches, it won't be the slighest bit obsolete until next year.

    For a budget gaming laptop that uses Llano and its integrated graphics, that will still stack up decently against anything else that launches before 2013.  For a higher end gaming laptop with a discrete video card, Ivy Bridge+Southern Islands will be vastly better than anything you can get today, because they're both a full node die shrink as compared to current parts.  Kepler might well be Nvidia's chance to catch up to AMD in laptops after losing this generation and the previous one, but it is improbable that Kepler will launch before Southern Islands.

  • wolffacewolfface Member Posts: 9

    Hello Quizzical, guys;

    Thanks a lot for your advice, I will definitely wait for the new AMD Llane processors.

    Hopefully something with a dedicated graphics card too..

    Thanks again I really appreciate it.

    Wolf

  • DocZDocZ Member Posts: 105

    i wonder how long its gonna take for someone to come on saying pcs are better for gaming

    I challenged my reflection to a staring contest....4 days later i won

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,125

    Desktops are better for gaming, but he said he already has a gaming desktop.

  • wolffacewolfface Member Posts: 9

    To docZ;

    just what Quizzical said.

    which part of "i travel extensively" and " i already have a desktop that i personally built" you did not read or understand??

    wolf

  • cormachcormach Member UncommonPosts: 89

    I don't know what your budget is, but I purchased an MSI GT680R about a month ago. So far, it has handled everything I've thrown at it without any problems. It's the first MSI laptop I've had, and I really like it a lot.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,125

    That's basically equivalent to what the original poster bought.

    Why are there so many gaming laptops that ship with a GeForce GTX 460M?  It really isn't a very good card as compared to the AMD alternatives.  Is Nvidia giving them away dirt cheap or some such?  $1500 for a laptop sure doesn't look dirt cheap to me.

  • charlespaynecharlespayne Member UncommonPosts: 378

    All i can say is alienware do good gaming laptops and thay look awsum too.

  • wolffacewolfface Member Posts: 9

    Hey Quizzical;

    Which AMD mobile graphics card do you suggest pls??

    Wolf

  • fjcastelfjcastel Member Posts: 127

    Originally posted by charlespayne

    All i can say is alienware do good gaming laptops and thay look awsum too.

    Alienware is overprized and way over rated!!! yeah if you got the money to burn and dont feel liek building your own then go ahead with them...

     

    as far laptops welp they not really intended for gamers they are more of work tools but i do play MMos out of my laptop when i travel... but any min end laptop should be able to handle the basics easy with out going broke

    image

  • NaxriusNaxrius Member Posts: 62

    Asus makes the best laptops for the price

  • psyclumpsyclum Member Posts: 792

    Originally posted by wolfface

    Hello Quizzical, guys;

    Thanks a lot for your advice, I will definitely wait for the new AMD Llane processors.

    Hopefully something with a dedicated graphics card too..

    Thanks again I really appreciate it.

    Wolf

    the whole point of waiting for Llano is so you dont NEED a gfx card:D   dedicated gfx card burns way too much power therefor produce way too much heat for the laptop platform.   IF you insist on getting a dedicated gfx card, you are better off getting an i5 of i7 since the 2nd gen intel chips are built on the same 32 nanometer technology but put more silicon on the CPU side of the chip rather then a balanced CPU/GPU apporach that AMD is taking.   but if you insist on a dedicated gfx card, then the intel chips actually perform better due to a larger share of the silicon dedicated for CPU. 

    however, intel chips doesnt use openCL properly so eventually you might get better performance out of the Llano anyway (assuming games are programmed to take advantage of openCL) even with a dedicated gfx card.  Llano can repurpose the GPU for physics calculation whereas the intel chip simply shuts down the GPU side of the chip when you put a dedicated gfx card in there.   saves power, but you are shutting down 30% of the processing power of the chip you paid for:D

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,125

    Originally posted by wolfface

    Hey Quizzical;

    Which AMD mobile graphics card do you suggest pls??

    Wolf

    That's largely a question of budget, and where you want to go in the trade-offs between performance and heat/power.

    The top end AMD card is the Radeon HD 6970M.  That performs comparably to a GeForce GTX 485M, while being a lot cheaper and using quite a bit less power.  The Radeon HD 6950M is basically the same card, except clocked and probably volted lower to save on power.

    A Radeon HD 6870M is somewhat faster than a GeForce GTX 460M while using a little less power and being cheaper.  A Radeon HD 6850M is basically the same thing except clocked and volted lower to save on power.  There are both GDDR5 and DDR3 versions of the 6850M; don't get the DDR3 version, as that's not enough memory bandwidth.  The Radeon HD 6870M and 6850M are rebranded Mobility Radeon HD 5870 and 5850, respectively, though by the older name, they'll probably come with an older processor, which you don't want.

    If laptops with the 6870M and 6850M are out of your budget, then just get Llano and use the integrated graphics.  Slower cards won't beat Llano's integrated graphics by enough to be worthwhile.  From the laptop you originally bought, it looks like you'll be able to afford a discrete card, though.

    -----

    Make sure that you get a Sandy Bridge quad core processor, as that will be vastly better than older processors.  The Core i7 2630QM is the bottom end one.  A Core i7 2720QM is better, with a 200 MHz higher stock speed and 500 MHz higher single-threaded turbo boost, but also about $150 more expensive.  Faster processors than the 2720QM are too much added expense for not enough added benefit unless you've got a ridiculously large budget.

    It would be nice if you could get a solid state drive.  But your budget is what it is, and you might not be able to afford it.

    There are some sites that offer Sandy Bridge+Radeon HD 6970M now.

    Sager:  http://www.sagernotebook.com/index.php?page=product_customed&model_name=NP8150

    Eurocom:  http://web.eurocom.com/EC/ec_model_config1(1,219,0)

    Alienware:  http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=dkcwvn1&c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&model_id=alienware-m17x-r3

    Asus and MSI will presumably offer Northern Islands cards in their gaming laptops eventually, but they're taking their sweet time, which makes me wonder if they're going to pair them with Llano rather than Sandy Bridge.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,125

    Originally posted by psyclum

    Originally posted by wolfface

    Hello Quizzical, guys;

    Thanks a lot for your advice, I will definitely wait for the new AMD Llane processors.

    Hopefully something with a dedicated graphics card too..

    Thanks again I really appreciate it.

    Wolf

    the whole point of waiting for Llano is so you dont NEED a gfx card:D   dedicated gfx card burns way too much power therefor produce way too much heat for the laptop platform.   IF you insist on getting a dedicated gfx card, you are better off getting an i5 of i7 since the 2nd gen intel chips are built on the same 32 nanometer technology but put more silicon on the CPU side of the chip rather then a balanced CPU/GPU apporach that AMD is taking.   but if you insist on a dedicated gfx card, then the intel chips actually perform better due to a larger share of the silicon dedicated for CPU. 

    however, intel chips doesnt use openCL properly so eventually you might get better performance out of the Llano anyway (assuming games are programmed to take advantage of openCL) even with a dedicated gfx card.  Llano can repurpose the GPU for physics calculation whereas the intel chip simply shuts down the GPU side of the chip when you put a dedicated gfx card in there.   saves power, but you are shutting down 30% of the processing power of the chip you paid for:D

    The top bin of Llano probably won't catch a Core i7 2630QM in processor gaming performance, and has no real hope of catching a Core i7 2720QM on the processor side.

    Llano is made on Global Foundries 32 nm HKMG SOI process node, which is likely to be a better process node than Sandy Bridge uses, as Intel has abandoned SOI to save money.  The processor architecture for Llano isn't as good as Sandy Bridge, though, as it's basically a tweaked Phenom II, with power gating and turbo core added, and presumably some other tweaks.

    Part of the point of Llano is to allow a gaming laptop without a discrete video card.  The integrated graphics in Llano won't merely be the fastest integrated graphics ever made.  They'll be several times as fast as the next best.  Llano is going to be starved for memory bandwidth, though, so for a Llano gaming system that uses the integrated graphics, you'll need at least 1600 MHz memory.  I'm not sure what laptop vendors will do here; if they charge an extra $50 to get 1600 MHz DDR3 rather than 1333 MHz, it would be well worth it from a performance standpoint.  In most computers, the performance difference between 1600 MHz DDR3 and 1333 MHz is basically a rounding error.

    ------

    Llano might also offer discrete switchable graphics with AMD video cards.  If so, then this would mean that you can have your discrete video card kick in in graphically intensive games and perform well, but then turn off the video card entirely and use the integrated graphics otherwise.  That way, when not gaming, the laptop would run cool and quiet and offer long battery life.  I'm sure that AMD would love to offer this as a feature; the question is whether they can make it work properly.

    Both AMD and Nvidia offer discrete switchable graphics with Intel integrated graphics.  The problem is that mixing graphics drivers makes things a major mess to update the drivers and get them to work.  It's also harder to know when to switch when you can't see what the Intel graphics are doing.

    If AMD can make switchable graphics with discrete AMD cards and Llano integrated graphics work, then you could probably just grab normal AMD mobility catalyst drivers for updates.  It would also make things easier when the same drivers control both chips, and can see what they're both doing and know when to have the discrete card kick in.

    Of course, one downside of waiting Llano is that even once the processor has launched, it might take a month or two for laptop vendors to start selling laptops with it.

    -----

    The most common rumor out there of when Llano will launch is July.  And that's also officially denied by AMD, which says it will launch in Q2, that is, May or June.  So basically, we don't know when Llano will launch, but I expect it to come out any day now.

  • psyclumpsyclum Member Posts: 792

    Originally posted by Quizzical

    The top bin of Llano probably won't catch a Core i7 2630QM in processor gaming performance, and has no real hope of catching a Core i7 2720QM on the processor side.

    I think this depends on the adoption of openCL by game developers.  As intel claims full support for openCL in Ivybridge, the number of games that will take advantage of that will increase over the lifetime of the laptop and the extra processing power from the GPU on the AMD chip may tip the balance vs sandybridge. 

    but then again, all this is moot when Ivybridge hits the market with its sexy 22nm technology and 3D "tri-gate" transistors to increase density:D

  • VaultFairyVaultFairy Member UncommonPosts: 566

    Originally posted by charlespayne

    All i can say is alienware do good gaming laptops and thay look awsum too.

    I beg to differ i had nothing but trouble with mine, after 3 months i finally got a refund. All i can say is in my personal experience is to avoid Alienware like a plague.

  • ormstungaormstunga Member Posts: 736

    I only skimmed thru OP but I dont see a pricetag mentioned anywhere, could be wrong ofc =)

    I think quizzical wrote something about new stuff coming out with half the graphics performance... why would you want that unless its about the price, which I guess was the good part about it. Half of laptop graphics performance, no thx. Integrated graphics would be cheap at least? Its hard for me to compare pricing from EU sry =/

    Anyways, my first gaming laptop was Asus gaming republic g73 series and its awesome. I'm never buying a stationary again, this one fills all my needs and then some. My wife bought one too last week, she got hers thru the small business she runs so she could afford to bump up cpu and ram quite abit lol (jealous).... but ye also works great. =)

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,125

    Originally posted by ormstunga

    I think quizzical wrote something about new stuff coming out with half the graphics performance... why would you want that unless its about the price, which I guess was the good part about it. Half of laptop graphics performance, no thx. Integrated graphics would be cheap at least? Its hard for me to compare pricing from EU sry =/

    Why would anyone buy a (desktop) Radeon HD 6950 when it's less than half of the performance of a Radeon HD 6990?  The price tag matters, and so does the heat output.

    Is there no value in getting acceptable gaming performance for only half of the price tag for the entire machine?   Or in a laptop that runs cool enough that it doesn't fry itself?  Or in a laptop for which you can actually touch the keyboard while playing games?  Or that you can set on your lap while gaming without sterlizing yourself?  Or getting a small form factor so that you don't have to lug around a 17" machine that weighs 10 pounds?

    The day Llano launches, Nvidia's entire GeForce GT whatever (as opposed to GTS or GTX) lineup will be obsolete, as a result of not being meaningfully better than the integrated graphics of high bins of Llano.  So will a lot of AMD's discrete cards.  Why get a discrete card if you can get the same performance from integrated graphics?

  • ormstungaormstunga Member Posts: 736

    Originally posted by Quizzical

      Why get a discrete card if you can get the same performance from integrated graphics?

     You wouldnt ofc, but like I said I thought it read "half the performance" not "the same".

    But anyways, I dont play with my laptop in my lap =P I dont have heat issues, its very stable and if its fries after a couple of years its no issue for me really. I'm not saying pay anything to get the best performance ofc, but for me its worth a little extra cash to have better then half performance. I dunno. Is there a huge market for cheap "half performance" laptops? Probably =D Is that what the OP should buy or he'd be a fool? I dunno =)

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,125

    There's no "half performance" in the abstract, but only, half of the performance of what?  Hardly anyone gets a computer with more than half of the graphical performance of a top end pair of Radeon HD 6990s in quad CrossFireX.

    Just because you laptop hasn't died yet doesn't mean that you don't have heat problems.  It is possible to make gaming laptops with higher end discrete cards that don't really have heat problems, but it means that the laptop has to either be very large and heavy, or else very noisy, or both.  And it has to be very expensive.

    Llano-based integrated graphics will suffer from none of those problems, and be good enough to run nearly all games smoothly at moderate settings, and many games at high or even max settings.  If you want to run nearly all games at max or near-max settings, and are willing to pay an extra $1000 and put up with the heat and noise to do so, then that will still be an option.  But it's not a sensible option for most people.  Personally, I'd much rather spend some of that $1000 on avoiding cut corners and getting a good SSD.  Other people can have different personal preferences.

  • psyclumpsyclum Member Posts: 792

    Originally posted by ormstunga

    Originally posted by Quizzical

      Why get a discrete card if you can get the same performance from integrated graphics?

     You wouldnt ofc, but like I said I thought it read "half the performance" not "the same".

    But anyways, I dont play with my laptop in my lap =P I dont have heat issues, its very stable and if its fries after a couple of years its no issue for me really. I'm not saying pay anything to get the best performance ofc, but for me its worth a little extra cash to have better then half performance. I dunno. Is there a huge market for cheap "half performance" laptops? Probably =D Is that what the OP should buy or he'd be a fool? I dunno =)

    at some point, you really should examine what is a "laptop":D  back in the day we had these full size chasis "laptop" computers that weight in at around 45 pounds:D   i'm sure with some "army engineering" you can stuff a microatx board and run a sli out of that "laptop" box:D   sure you'll need to tow around a car battery to run the thing for 30min, but hay, it's a "laptop" that will kick the crap out of the "laptop" you have:D

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