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Help buying a new notebook

Discussion in 'PC hardware help' started by Ray92, Apr 27, 2008.

  1. Ray92

    Ray92 Regular member

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    My IGCSE exams are coming up into 20 days, and after they finish I want to get a new notebook pc. I want to be able to game on it and hopefully game hard.

    I have found a laptop that fits my price range of 5,100 Saudi Riyals which is around $1360 give ir take. It is the ASUS M51 Sn

    These are the specs of the laptop:

    Operating System

    Genuine Windows Vista® Ultimate,
    Genuine Windows Vista® Business,
    Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium,
    Genuine Windows Vista® Home Basic,

    Processor & Cache Memory

    Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor T9500/T9300/T8300/T8100 : 2.6 GHz - 2.1 GHz, 6/3MB On-Die L2 Cache, FSB 800 MHz;
    Intel® - 2.0 GHz, Core™2 Duo Processor T7700/T7500/T7250 : 2.4 GHz 4/2MB On-Die L2 Cache, FSB 800 MHz
    Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor T5750/T5550/T5450/T5250 : 2.0 GHz -1.5 GHz 2MB On-Die L2 Cache, FSB 667 MHz

    Chipset

    Mobile Intel® PM965 Express Chipset +ICH8M

    Main Memory

    DDR2 667 MHz SDRAM, 2 x SODIMM socket for expansion up to 4GB SDRAM

    Intel® Turbo Memory Technology with 1GB NAND Flash(optional)
    Display

    15.4" WXGA/WXGA+/WSXGA+ Color-Shine (Glare-type),Asus Splendid Video Intelligent Technology

    Video Graphics & Memory

    NVIDIA NVIDIA® GeForce® 9500M GS, 512MB VRAM External 512MB VRAM , TurboCache: 768M with 1G system memory, 1280M with 2G system memory

    Hard Drive

    2.5" 9.5mm SATA
    120GB,5400rpm
    160GB,5400rpm
    200GB,5400rpm
    250GB,5400rpm

    Optical Drive

    5.25" , 12.7mm
    Combo:
    DVD Super Multi DVD Super
    DVD Super Multi Light Scribe
    HD DVD
    Blu-Ray

    8 in 1 card reader: SD,MMC,MS,MS-Pro,mini SD w/ adapter,MS-Duo,MS-Pro Duo via adapter

    1.3 Mega Pixel swivel web camera

    Integrated Intel® High Definition Audio chip ( Azalia) compliant MDC fax/modem and 10/100/1000 Base T
    Built-in Bluetooth™ V2.0+EDR(optional feature)
    Intel® Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN or Intel® PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection(optional)

    Power-on/Suspend
    Battery Charging/full/low
    Storage device access
    Capital / Scroll / Number Lock
    Wireless/Bluetooth on status indicator (optional)
    Bluetooth on status (optional feature)

    1 x Express card
    1 x TV Antenna Input (Optional)
    1 x Microphone-in jack
    1 x Headphone-out jack (S/PDIF) 1 x VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin for external monitor
    1 x TV Out (S-Video composite) 4 x USB 2.0 ports
    1 x IEEE 1394 port 1 x RJ11 Modem jack for phone line
    1 x RJ45 LAN Jack for LAN insert
    1 x RF in

    Built-in speaker and microphone
    KeyBoard

    19mm full size 88 Key with MS Windows function keys
    Battery Pack & Life

    6 cells: 4800 mAh, 53 Whrs
    9 cells: 7200 mAh, 80 Whrs
    AC Adapter

    Output: 19 V DC, 4.7 A, 90W
    Dimension & Weight

    36.5 x 26.9 x 2.8 - 4 cm (W x D x H)
    2.95 kg, (6 cell battery pack)

    BIOS Booting / HDD User Password Protection and security lock
    Kensington lock hole
    Supplied Accessories

    Optical Mouse
    Carrying bag
    TV remote controller, receiver, and antenna(Optional)

    Warranty & e-support

    2-year limited global hardware warranty

    1-year battery pack warranty


    Is this graphics card good?
    I want to be able to play games like bioshock, COD 4, UT3 and such on high, and the crazy new games like Crysis and Assasin's Creed on like mediun or a decent stting

    I'm also open to other laptops in the same price range

    Thanks
     
  2. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    The laptop is a decent spec, but the graphics card is hopeless for playing games to the extent that you want to.
    I'd recommend trying to get something like a Dell XPS M1710 or Alienware Area 51-m if you want to get decent gaming performance out of a laptop.
     
  3. Ray92

    Ray92 Regular member

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    Thanks for the feedback.

    I have also seen the XPS 1750, and alienware laptops (and would love to get one)

    However, I'm fifteen, and my budget and parents won't let me get either of those laptops above.

    Another reason is that I would like to be ables to take the laptop with me when I go to a friend's house, or on holiday, and the 17" beasts are not very portable, so I'm looking at a 15" laptop that will last me a couple of years.

    I read here : http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Asus-M51SN-Mutimedia-Notebook.8452.0.html
    that it is decent for gaming.

    I have also looked at the XPS M1530, and ASUS G1S

    Thanks, also if you know of any other decent 15" gaming notebooks I would be much obliged

    PS: My current rig is crap (P4 + 1GB RAM + 7600GS) so I think this is an improvement.
     
  4. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    The card is admirable compared to laptops of old but it's not really anything exceptional and if you want to play Crysis on a laptop and it not look dump, exceptional is what you need.
    The laptop scores 4051 in 3dmark06. To be able to max gears of war and UT3 at 1440x900 you need a 3dmark score of about 4000 so fair enough.
    Bioshock will require about the same score. To max Call of Duty 4 you're looking at around 5000 3dmarks, but to run Crysis at all high setting at 1440x900 you need about 10,000. Crysis is not going to run well or look good on that laptop.
    Have you considered giving portable performance a miss and going with a desktop? You can get much better performance out of it. Heck, there'd probably be enough left over from your original to get a cheap laptop so you can have a PC of at least some sort to take with you. After all, $700 builds an admirable gaming PC these days, and that's half the cost of the M51 Sn.
     
  5. Ray92

    Ray92 Regular member

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    I didn't think this would be able to run Crysis on full, so that was expected.

    I think you are right about a desktop, but my parents would never go for it cuz I got my current rig only a year ago. And I live in Saudi Arabia where it is hard to find decent deals when building a rig so no way I could buils a decent rig in 700 bucks here. Piracy is also an issue, so to get original vista [to play with DX10] here is almost 266 bucks.

    I would also like a laptop because I will be going to college/uni in about two years so I think if I get a good laptop it should keep me going for at least 4 years, and will be easier to transport compared to a rig

    I am not a hardcore gamer, I play COD 4 on full on my current rig with no DX10, and a res. of 1080 x 760. So if this can play bioshock, GOW, UT3, and such on full at the high res you mentioned, (with DX10?), then it is actually pretty mindblowing for me when I consider That I can afford it.

    I'm also looking at the MSI GX600 Extreme, a little pricier, but it looks wicked, is it any good??

    Thanks Sammorris
    I really apreciate you helping me.
     
  6. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    With DX10 you might have trouble, with DX9 it's certainly doable though. One problem you may encounter is that Vista uses a lot of memory, so you may have problems with only 2 gigs. One of the other bonuses I mention when telling people to build their own PCs is that you can use windows XP, which is much preferable to Vista in most cases.

    Have you considered simply upgrading your current desktop instead?
     
  7. Ray92

    Ray92 Regular member

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    I have thought of updating my current rig, but when I got it built, I had no knowledge of anything computers so i was ripped off.

    The mobo has only 2 ram slots (filled with two 512 sticks)
    I have a p4 3.4 GHZ and a 7600GS

    How could I upgrade this??

    PS- You said the m51 can play gears of war and ut3 and bioshock on full, is this with or without dx10?
    Could I play a game like world in conflict in this on full with res scaled back a little.
     
  8. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    World in conflict doesn't really run much worse than UT3 and Bioshock, it's not the most demanding RTS out there, so you could probably max it at 1440x900.
    I've not actually run any games on DX10 as I prefer using windows XP as my OS, so I can't tell you exactly what the performance hit is like. From what I hear though, it's quite significant, and the screenshots I've seen are far from overwhelming. One side-effect of using DX10 however is that Anti-Aliasing won't work.

    As for your desktop, essentially make a full basic replacement. What I mean by that is, replace all the components except for the case (unless it's a tiny one with hardly any fans in which case that goes too), power supply and all the performance-determing components, i.e. RAM, CPU, Motherboard and GPU. You can leave the hard disks and CD/DVD drive(s) well alone unless you need extra storage.
     
  9. Ray92

    Ray92 Regular member

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    The case is crap because when I bought it I knew nothing about pcs

    It doesn't even have a fan at the back,

    I think it would be a waste for me to try to upgrade this, and it would be better to buy a new rig.

    I really like laptops, and wnat to know which 15.4" notebooks can give me a decent gaming experience, and with a decent price tag (not like the alienware beasts that cost an arm and a leg)

    Thanks again sammoris for helping me out
    PS - I saw the pic of your rig, and I think it looks awesome (specially with the whole UFO thing going on with the lights ;P)
     
  10. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    Mmm yeah it doesn't sound like that case would hold up well with new components.
    Could you perhaps try and grab me some links to some stores you'd be happy to buy a laptop from? I'll have a look around and see if I can find a decent deal.

    Thanks for the compliment by the way, much appreciated! :)
     
  11. Ray92

    Ray92 Regular member

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    No worries

    The thing is that I live in Saudi Arabia, and don't know which websites ship here, and how much they charge for shipping. I buy all my computer parts from an area known as "The Computer Market", although it can sometimes be dodgy.

    I just want to get an idea of which decent 15.4" gaming notebooks are out their, and roughly how much they cost. After my IGCSEs are over (June 11 :D) I will go out an about looking to see if I can find the notebook I have decided to buy.

    I have read about thses and they all really appeal to me:
    -- ASUS M51sn
    -- ASUS G1S
    -- MSI GX600 (KILLER DESIGN!!!!! and OVERCLOCKING BUTTON)
    -- MAYBE Dell XPS M1530

    I haven't however researched the topic very well so I'm not sure what else it out there that matches these in performance.

    PS -- Can you tell me whether the MSI is any good, cuz I am sooooo loving the design [I love tribal flames - I'm sumwhat of a tribal artist so...)

    Thanks again for all the feedback

    AFTERDAWN ROCKS!!!!

     
  12. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    The M51SN varies in specification so it can be configured to be like any of the others, obviously with an accordingly varying price tag:

    Asus G1S: T7500 CPU, 160GB HDD, 8600M GT, 15" 1680x1050
    MSI GX600: T7250 CPU, 160GB HDD, 8600M GT, 15" 1440x900
    XPS M1530: T7250 CPU, 250GB HDD, 8600M GT, 15" 1280x800

    As you can see, the G1S has the better specification with a faster CPU and the best screen. The M1530 has the biggest hard disk but the worst screen. The ideal combination would be of course to spec the M51SN to have the 7500CPU, the 250GB HDD and the 1680x1050 (WSXGA+) screen. This will be pricey, but will give you the best compromise. The graphics performance of all these seems quite similar, not able to play Crysis properly but most other games will be alright.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2008
  13. Ray92

    Ray92 Regular member

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    I was thinking along the same lines, the M51 allows the most customisation, so I could get that and configure it to get the best of all current 15" gaming notebooks right??

    How much better is the 7500CPU compared to the 7250, and can any of them be overclocked, as I may want to increase Ghz later.

    How much better is the 1680x1050 (WSXGA+) as compared to the normal 1440 x 900 one. I am not to sure on how resolution affects gaming, but doesn't it make the icons smaller on the desktop, and so on??

    I currently have a res of 1024x720 and when i make it 1---x1--- the icons get mych smaller and I find this a little irritating.

    Thanks again

    PS Does the 9500M GS give better results than the 8600M GT??
     
  14. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    The 7500 isn't hugely better than the 7250, but it's a noticeable improvement. While laptops can be overclocked, usually you can't go far without them overheating as you can't fit third party cooling systems.
    As for the resolution, the icons get smaller but the picture becomes much more crisp. You can however increase the DPI of the windows desktop to take advantage of the higher resolution.
     
  15. Ray92

    Ray92 Regular member

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    So I should go with the t7500 as this is better and will be more beneficial to me in the longer run.

    With the t7500 will the price be about mid-range??
    and what about with the T8xxx Processors mentioned in the specs????

    What speed does the T7500 run at, and is it decent by today's standards
    Sorry I don't know much about dual-core and quad core processors.
     
  16. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    The T7500 is comparable to a standard fare desktop dual core CPU. I'm not sure on the exact performance differences, I haven't looked into it much. As for the pricing, try it yourself on the Asus site.
     
  17. Ray92

    Ray92 Regular member

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    Will this laptop last me long in terms of future use, I usually just do assignments on my pc, watch vidoes, surf, chat, and download off the net.

    Will this laptop play future games like assasin's creed, devil may cry 4, far cry 2 and such??

    Thanks

    PS - Which is better the 8600M GT or the 9500M GS

     
  18. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    It'll probably play them, but not at all well. laptops that can play top end games cost absurd amounts of money.
    The 9500GS seems slightly better than the 8600GT.
     
  19. Ray92

    Ray92 Regular member

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    I thought so, but the laptop should last in terms of gaming at lower resolutions, normal teenage use such as burning DVDS, movies, music, homework, surfing and so on Right??
    At least a few years even if it can't play games.

    How would this laptop be at multi tasking.

    I checked the asus website but it doenst, allow me to configure the specs and get an idea of the price. Could you by any chance give me a direct link.

    Thanks so much once again bruv!!!
     
  20. sammorris

    sammorris Senior member

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    For casual gaming those laptops will last a decent amount of time, and they're fine for multitasking, but unless you're very rich, if you want a gaming PC, it has to be a desktop.
     

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