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New Laptop for Uni

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Jimbooo, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. Jimbooo

    Jimbooo Nibble Poster

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    Hi guys, I'm considering buying a new laptop with the following specs, and I was wondering if people could tell me if the price is good, if it's okay for gaming and I have a few other questions.

    Screen: 15.4"
    Weighs: Approx 2.7Kg
    Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T9500 (2 x 2.6Ghz) 800Mhz FSB 6MB L2 Cache
    Memory/RAM: 4GB Corsair DDR2 667MHz
    Graphics Card: 512MB Geforce 8600GT + D-SUB + TV-OUT
    Hard Drive: 320GB 5400rpm 8MB Cache
    Wireless: 802.11N Wireless Card

    Comes with all the usuals, fingerprint scanner, 2 x 9 Cell Lithium Ion Batteries, 2 years warranty, Windows Vista 32 Bit.

    £1193

    So, I have a few questions that I hope some of you nice people could answer for me!

    1. I can go up to 2 x 2.8 Ghz Extreme CPU's, for an extra hundred or so.. is it worth it? I'm not going to be doing heavy duty video editing or anything, just some gaming.
    2. I know that all of the 4GB RAM will not be able to be used in Vista x32, so how much will be with the spec above? I'm hoping for at least 3GB, is there any way to tell?
    3. What are the differences between 802.11G and 802.11N, are they important? I can save a tenner by choosing 802.11G..
    4. And most importantly, the graphics card. Is it 512MB dedicated? It DOESN'T say 8600M GT. I want to know how good it is, as I will be planning on playing Company of Heroes, some Crysis etc.

    Is the price good?

    Edit: I can't find a better laptop anywhere for between £1000 and £1200. If anyone has other companies, please post them as I haven't ever bought a laptop before and obviously want the best deal!
     
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    WIP: BSc (Hons) Computing
  2. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Playing games on laptops generally doesnt work very well mate :blink
     
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  3. NightWalker

    NightWalker Gigabyte Poster

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    Yep, its true. If you want good performance for any gaming you need a desktop machine, or an xbox :)
     
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  4. Jimbooo

    Jimbooo Nibble Poster

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    Thanks, but I aim to take my laptop around Uni a lot and that's why I'm going for a 15.4" not a 17". So, if I'm getting a laptop, I am looking for it to be decent at playing some games too. Why not? You know, I can be sat there taking lecture notes on my laptop (hope to be studying computing :D) and afterwards switch to crysis for a quick gaming sesh.. That's my plan! :P

    It's kind of annoying, being able to buy a Quad core computer with 8GB ram for the same price, but a Laptop is the way to go at uni.
     
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  5. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Hee hee! :biggrin

    Dude,you will need to drag a fully loaded gaming rig around if you want to do that! :biggrin
     
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  6. Jimbooo

    Jimbooo Nibble Poster

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    Hehe *slings computer case onto back and straps screen to stomach*..

    Okay, there is one other option that I have that I just thought of...

    Maybe I could buy an asus ee pc, or equally tiny laptop that enables me to: Watch movies, listen to music, browse the web (wirelessly) and then buy a powerful desktop that can play these games to put in my dorm. I can take my notes on my laptop and transfer them to the computer.

    I would still have the cost limit of £1200 or so, but perhaps that idea is a lot better? I'd appreciate any feedback, as this is definitely a big decision for me!
     
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  7. Sparky
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    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Much better plan mate. :biggrin

    I haven’t played any games on a PC for a few years now (got to pay a mortgage and all the other boring things!) but some of the other members here should be able you help out with a spec for your gaming rig.

    You could pick up a laptop for around £500 if you just need it for basic Office tasks and to watch a DVD. 8)
     
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  8. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    It's more than possible to get a very good gaming laptop these days as companies have been making specialist gaming laptops for a while now. Ok yes, you are going to have to spend a fair bit extra to get decent performance but sometimes it's nice to have something that's capable of playing the latest games in a portable format.

    We are about to get a couple of these laptops at work. http://www.simplyacer.com/product/id/411994/LX.AP40X.121 Not I might add from that company, but that's the one we are going with. It just so happens that it's going to be a very capable gaming laptop as well as serve a number of other functions (virtualisation being high on the list).

    Obviously if you do decide to get a gaming laptop then the main criteria is the graphics card that it comes with. Go with the best one you can afford then spec the rest of the laptop accordingly. CPU speed is definitely secondary to the power of the graphics chipset since you are going to be looking at at least a 2Ghz C2D (or higher).

    The GFX chipset you originally mentioned is a pretty good one by laptop standards. Have a look here to see a comparison of most of the ones that are currently available ( http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-8600M-GT.3986.0.html ). The 8600GT should be capable of around about 4000 in 3DMark06.

    If you do decide to go down the route of cheap laptop + decent gaming PC, then you should be able to do it for less that £1000 quite easily really.

    You can get a laptop with a dual core chip and a couple of gigs of ram now for £350 ( http://www.ebuyer.com/product/139025# ) believe it or not. For the remaining £650ish you could get a gaming rig that could hit 10K+ in 3dmark06 no problems. If you do want a hand with a suggested spec, let me know.
     
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  9. asje1

    asje1 Byte Poster

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  10. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    The spec looks good, and the graphics chipset is a very good one (albeit oriented towards 2d / cad performance) but I'd be wary of going for a laptop that isn't from a mainstream manufacturer myself. I'd worry about the viability of extended warranties etc...
     
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  11. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

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    Please note that some games specifically do not support laptops of any kind. Not in the sense that they are guaranteed not to work, just that if they don't work you can't claim that the game is at fault. :dry
     
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  12. derkit

    derkit Gigabyte Poster

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    I felt this way when I left for uni...... that soon disappeared, and I spent nearly 6 years away from the PC game scene (apart from the odd summer at home).

    There's plenty of things to do at uni, I did a shed load in my time and only wished I had slept a couple of hours less to fit some more stuff in!

    way of topic, but there's time to play in your house when your working - uni is probably the most stress-free, laid-back time I've ever experienced (and that includes deadlines for coursework/exams!)
     
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  13. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    You also need to remember that laptops disappear faster than almost anything else at Uni. Because of this many insurers won't cover them.

    Harry.
     
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  14. Jimbooo

    Jimbooo Nibble Poster

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    PLEASE DELETE POST
     
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  15. Jimbooo

    Jimbooo Nibble Poster

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    Wow! The Acer Aspire 6920G has fantastic specs for the price... better than my best find above! The processor is 2.4Ghz as opposed to 2.6Ghz, but that wont make much difference will it?

    Wont a 16" be a little too big to carry around Uni? Taking it to my computing lectures? It's 3.68Kg, what do you think?

    There's that route, with a blueray player, for under £1000!! OR I can get myself a little Asus Eee PC that's small and has a lot more battery life and spend the rest on building a gaming rig with 4GB ram and quad core processors. It's a hard decision!

    Thanks Derkit. I haven't actually experienced Uni yet, and no I'm not going to be a hermit and stay inside all the time! I'll be going out a lot :twisted: but say one day after a lecture there's nothing to do except.. wap on company of heroes..

    I might point out here that if I buy a small laptop, I aim to be paying for the main computer on finance (ie, £40 a week tops), so it needs to last me my time at Uni :biggrin:.

    First, I need to decide between powerful laptop which will look cool (that Asus!) or a tiny laptop which looks snazzy and a supercomputer in my dorm room which will play anything. I can't decide!!
     
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  16. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    edit: Double post deleted.
     
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  17. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    Funnily enough myself and WagnerK (he posts on here also and we work together) got our Aspire 6920's the same day I recommended it to you. I can't emphasis enough how incredibly cool this laptop is (I'm typing this on it actually :) ). It's got lots of loevely blue glowing lights all over it - if that wasn't enough, it's got a good spec also. :)

    It is a heavy laptop, but certainly not a big deal. It doesn't feel heavy with it in it's bag over my shoulder. The screen is pretty amazing, it's a true 16:9 widescreen ratio, so it makes a 15.4" widescreen laptop look almost square in comparison. It also sports a resolution of 1920 x 1080, so if you have bad eyes, don't get this! In it's native resolution things do appear to be a little small on the screen. It's pretty easy to tweak Vista to use bigger fonts for most things though.

    It's the 2.4Ghz C2D with 3MB of cache (45nm though which is nice). I'm sure it's going to be plenty fast enough for what I need. Nice fast video card as well (GeForce 9500 GS, 512MB). It scores about 4100 in 3D Mark 06 with all the default settings. So Crysis ain't exactly going to fly on it, but most games will run very well indeed.

    The Blu-Ray player is very nice and somewhat of a bonus as we weren't after one in particular but this laptop had it built in. It also has a HDMI output on the laptop which I tested last night on my 42" 1080p TV. After I had tweaked a couple of settings I was watching some lovely HD footage on my big screen. The GeForce 9500 has the HD acceleration built in, so the processor doesn't have to work it's arse off just to display HD.

    It also comes with a full size remote control, which will control Media Centre + the Blu-Ray player. And as a final little extra it has a built in digi tv tuner and comes with an ariel for it.

    Negatives.

    Not too many really. It does come with Vista Home Premium 32Bit, so even though the welcome screen displays 4GB of ram, it's only able to address 3GB. We are intending to upgrade it to Vista Ultimate 64bit though (oem version can be had for a little under £100).

    As mentioned, HD output via the HDMI socket took a little tweaking to get right. You can't have the display in clone mode (built in panel and HD TV) at the same time for Blu-Ray due to HDCP bollocks. So you have to disable the on board panel for Blu-Ray. Once I figured this out though, it was ok.

    Can't think of any other negatives at the moment, I suppose the battery life could be one (about 2hrs) but I didn't expect any more out of such a powerful laptop really.
     
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  18. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    Just to say, there is something funny going on with posts. I posted the above, and it was showing that I was the last poster on the thread, but not showing the post. I posted it again, so I don't know if it will end up showing a double entry.
     
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  19. NightWalker

    NightWalker Gigabyte Poster

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    You need to enable Physical Address Extensions so it can see all 4GB. Open a CMD window as administrator, enter:
    Code:
    BCDEdit /set PAE forceenable
    Then reboot.

    Seen some posts on forums that say this doesn't work, I only have 2GB of RAM so I have not tested it. I have used the /PAE switch in boot.ini on Server 2003 32bit to address 16GB of RAM successfully.
     
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  20. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    Thanks for the tip, but it didn't work. I didn't really expect it to though because so far the only reliable way I have seen to be able to address more than 3GB in Windows is to use a 64bit edition. Isn't the 3 to 4Gb area reserverd for hardware addressing or somehting like that? Mapping ram for video adapters and other such things.

    Anyway, I'm going ot experiment with multibooting it and see how I get on. It's got a 320GB HDD, so there is plenty of space for an OS party. :)
     
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