Looking for opinions on a new laptop CPU/Graphics.

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Chris Dude70
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:13 am UTC

Looking for opinions on a new laptop CPU/Graphics.

Postby Chris Dude70 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:26 am UTC

G'day forum users,

My current laptop (HP Pavillion dv5) is nearing the end of it's life and I'm looking for a new laptop.
I have not been happy with the HP range, so I'm looking elsewhere.

The machine I have my eyes on is the Acer 2630 notebook.
http://www.computeralliance.com.au/parts.aspx?qryPart=12510

Other than school work it's going to be used for some gaming. I'm not looking to run the latest games with everything set to high.
I'm into MMOs, some shooters and a bit of RTS, nothing too graphic intesive.

Here are some key specs:

Intel® Core™ i7 Quad Core Gen 2 630QM(2GHz/6MB/1333FSB/64-bit) up to 2.90 Ghz with Turbo Boost
4GB DDR3-1066 Memory (1x4GB), can be upgraded to 8G RAM (2 x 4GB)
- I will be upgrading to 8GB RAM
15.6" WXGA Widescreen LED
NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 540 with up to 4096 MB of TurboCache™
2048 MB of dedicated DDR3 VRAM, up to 2048 MB of shared system memory,

Price : approx $1300(Australian) including an extra stick of RAM.

What I would like your opinions on are the graphics card and CPU.

I like to consider myself pretty good with computers, but for some reason I have never been properly able to wrap my head around CPU and Video cards. ( Probly not a good thing considering I'm half way through doing a Certificate III in IT).
I know the CPU is pretty good, but the whole multi core thing is straight over my head.

So what I would like to know is:
Are the CPU and Video cards going to meet my needs? (Mid level graphics games)

And if anyone can direct me to a better laptop for around the same price, what would you suggest?

Also, No, I do not want a desktop computer, before anyone suggests it. I like the portability of a laptop. I seem to get asked that question every time I ask for an opinion.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

User avatar
Amalith
Posts: 50
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:39 am UTC

Re: Looking for opinions on a new laptop CPU/Graphics.

Postby Amalith » Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:16 pm UTC

The CPU is fine. It's the lowest end i7, but it is the current model, and there's no real reason to get better unless you intend to do CPU intensive processes with it. It should be able to run everything.

The 540 is an ok midrange card. It should run everything currently out on at least medium. You can find a good comparison of notebook graphics cards here (there's also benchmark comparisons if you follow the link at the top of that page)

Another thing to look at is the screen. Unless you plan on having a separate monitor and keyboard, it's usually beneficial to get something with a higher resolution than 1366x768 if you can find it. I also would recommend matte. Fair warning though, it's getting fairly hard to find good screens in most laptops now.

Honestly, I don't know AUS pricing or availability well enough to tell you which laptops are of a comparable price or if you're getting a good deal. Normally though I'd attempt to recommend the HP dv6t quad edition (with upgrading the screen and graphics card), though when it's not on sale, it's rather overpriced. Another laptop I'd normally consider is the Sager NP5160 or Clevo W150HNQ (same laptop, different names), but I'm not sure if they have any Australian vendors, though I guess it wouldn't hurt to look.

Chris Dude70
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:13 am UTC

Re: Looking for opinions on a new laptop CPU/Graphics.

Postby Chris Dude70 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:38 am UTC

Thanks Amalith
I made up a Sager laptop, its mostly the same as the Acer but has a better screeen and Wireless LAN card.

The only thing I'm not sure about is the Video card again.

They both have the GT540, but the Sager has a 540M. The Acer is just a 540, is there a big difference?
Also, the Sager can only have 1GB dedicated video memory while the Acer has 2GB and can share an additional 2GB.
Would I notice much of a difference?

EDIT:
The price came to
1,475.20 USD
=
1,401.70 AUD

ajd007
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:18 am UTC
Location: Providence, RI

Re: Looking for opinions on a new laptop CPU/Graphics.

Postby ajd007 » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:05 pm UTC

Any laptop is going to have an M series card (M stands for mobile). So the Acer has the same card, they probably just neglected to write the M. The extra GB of dedicated video memory probably won't make a big difference because you're already limited by the capabilities of the mobile graphics card. If this were a desktop graphics card, the extra GRAM might make a difference, but not in this case.
For shared memory, all computers can share their RAM with the graphics card to increase its effective memory. There's a simple setting in Windows to tell it how much RAM you want to share.

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Solt
Posts: 1912
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 5:08 am UTC
Location: California

Re: Looking for opinions on a new laptop CPU/Graphics.

Postby Solt » Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:22 am UTC

Nothing you will be doing will require the power of the i7. Save a bundle and go with an i5.
"Welding was faster, cheaper and, in theory,
produced a more reliable product. But sailors do
not float on theory, and the welded tankers had a
most annoying habit of splitting in two."
-J.W. Morris

GeorgeH
Posts: 527
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:36 am UTC

Re: Looking for opinions on a new laptop CPU/Graphics.

Postby GeorgeH » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:07 pm UTC

i5 and i7 are almost completely meaningless, especially in the mobile space. For example the i5-2540M is basically identical to an i7-2620M, both are faster than an i7-2617M, and both have half as many cores as an i7-2630QM. If you consider all product lines, an "i7" can have anywhere from 2 to 6 cores running between 1GHz and 3.5GHz+.

With regards to the OP, the i7-2630QM is my favorite mobile CPU, for the reasons of being the cheapest mobile quad-core Sandy Bridge Intel sells and being basically as fast as the top of the line (without going to the "extreme" range) i7-2820QM.

The GT540M is on the mediocre end of things for gaming - not bad, but not great. The sweet spot is generally somewhere between a GT555M and a GTX460M (Nvidia) or a 6770M and a 6870M (ATI.)

Chris Dude70
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:13 am UTC

Re: Looking for opinions on a new laptop CPU/Graphics.

Postby Chris Dude70 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 10:44 am UTC

Slowly narrowing it down.
So far I'm going with the Sager NP5175

Display- 17.3" Full HD LED-Backlit Display with Super Glossy Surface (1920 x 1080)
- The glossy/matte issue doesent bother me. The lighting where I use my laptop is not a problem.
Video & Graphics Card - 2GB GDDR3 Nvidia GeForce GT 555M GPU with Optimus Technology / Embedded Intel HD Graphics
Memory- 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 2 X 4GB [$70.00]
Primary Hard Disk Drive - 500GB 7200rpm SATA 300 Hard Drive [$20.00]
Wireless Network Card - Bigfoot Networks Killer™ Wireless-N 1102 - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module [$40.00]
- I'm not entirely sure If im going to notice any difference with the network card, but its only $40 so I'm going with it anyway.

The thing i still need to work out:

Would I be better going off with a
2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i5-2410M Processor ( 3MB L3 Cache, 2.30GHz)
or
2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-2630QM Processor ( 6MB L3 Cache, 2.00GHz) [+$70.00]
?

ajd007
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:18 am UTC
Location: Providence, RI

Re: Looking for opinions on a new laptop CPU/Graphics.

Postby ajd007 » Fri Jun 24, 2011 3:12 pm UTC

The i7 is definitely going to be faster. The extra L3 cache will have a much larger effect than the slight decrease in clock speed. However, its up to you whether that increase in speed is worth the extra $70. Depending on your budget, I would go with the i7 because, I have a feeling that with the i5 2410 you might get bottle-necked by the CPU on some games.
You can look at these sites to see some benchmarks for the two processors:
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Core-i7-2630QM-Notebook-Processor.41483.0.html
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Core-i5-2410M-Notebook-Processor.45317.0.html

GeorgeH
Posts: 527
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 6:36 am UTC

Re: Looking for opinions on a new laptop CPU/Graphics.

Postby GeorgeH » Fri Jun 24, 2011 6:49 pm UTC

- WiFi card; there's one born every minute, but it's your money. :wink:

- Make sure you realize just how big a 17" laptop is and that you're okay with that.

- For $70, the 2630QM is unquestionably a better deal. Unless you're on a tight budget, buying a dual core is just silly if you plan to use your PC for anything more stressful than Facebook.

Chris Dude70
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:13 am UTC

Re: Looking for opinions on a new laptop CPU/Graphics.

Postby Chris Dude70 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:13 am UTC

Alright, looks like im going with the i7.

That comes to:

1,520.30 USD
=
1,448.18 AUD
With shipping.


1,214.00 USD
=
1,156.41 AUD
Without Shipping.

Chris Dude70
Posts: 92
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:13 am UTC

Re: Looking for opinions on a new laptop CPU/Graphics.

Postby Chris Dude70 » Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:39 pm UTC

Thanks everyone btw lol.

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L4nce0
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:16 pm UTC
Location: Fort Collins Co

Re: Looking for opinions on a new laptop CPU/Graphics.

Postby L4nce0 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:43 pm UTC

Hmm probably too late. I don't like that price you posted.. seems a bit high. Though I'm not seeing directly which one you went for. So here's my wow I've been programming all night and it's now 9 am! -- rant

I bought a new laptop last semester. Has a quad core i7, 12 gbs of ram, ssd.. came out to about that price.. well, less... newegg is your friend.. I usually run 2 or 3 VMs on it at once. Though I didn't really look to see if you cared about weight.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6834220921 1.1k
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820227543 200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820231342 64
1.36k total.


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