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Old 11-12-2008, 02:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Custom Built vs. Pre-built vs. Gaming laptop. HELP!

Hi there.

I'll start off by saying I'm a hardware noob, so take that into account when reading this/answering.

I'm not a professional or extremely hard-core gamer, but I'm getting a new PC and I definitely want something that I can play pretty much anything on (inc. high-end games like Crysis) with ease, not only now but also in the future (I want it to last a while!). My budget is roughly $2000.

I have three questions:

1. With that sort of budget, am I better off going for a custom-built pc or something pre-built (such as Acer Aspire Predator GT7700)? What are the advantages of each?
2. I'm not in a terrible rush to get a new PC, so should I wait for a certain date (i.e. Windows 7 or a new processor to come out) or is any time good to buy?
3. I also need a laptop, which I would be using just for work (i.e. college), and therefore don't NEED anything spectacular. I would have extra money for the laptop, i.e. it doesn't take away from my $2000 budget. Should I get a gaming PC + a decent laptop (nothing fancy at all), or instead look into combining the two and get a really nice gaming laptop (in which case I could pool my pc + laptop budgets) which I would use at home as a PC? Remember I want something good, but it doesn't have to be mind-blowing, which is why I'm considering a gaming laptop. I have no idea about the market for those and was wondering whether you had any advice.

If you could spare a moment of your time to respond it would be really appreciated.

Thanks

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Old 11-12-2008, 02:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Custom Built vs. Pre-built vs. Gaming laptop. HELP!

1. custom, all prebuilts, epecially in ur price range will slap on like an extra $500 just because they can, and they usually dont use that good of brands for there parts. if u custom build ur pc u will be able to pick brands and get exactly what u want. and what is most cost efective, like u said u really dont know much about hardware but alot of ppl can help you here, just decide your budget and make a thread saying bla bla bla make me a build that will cost $xxxx

2.it really depends on wher u want to do, a new cpu just did come out, a whole new socket(i7) its pretty big cuz intel has been using the lga775 sence the p4 this is a pretty big event, to bad not alot of ppl around here think its worth the money yet.... but on waiting its up to u if u want a pc now get one now if u want to wait for sometime wait for sometime but really the next big thing that is coming out will be the new nvidia card and that wont be till the end of winter maybe early spring from what i understand

3.no laptop is going to be good at gaming, id say build a pc and get a lap top, a $1500 is still going to be top of the line stuff and a $500 wont be anything terrible.
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Custom Built vs. Pre-built vs. Gaming laptop. HELP!

1. Custom-built. It's really easy to do and you will be able to pick every part (including the mobo, which manufacturers usually cheap out on). Not to mention exponentially cheaper.
2. Any time is good, after you wait, you'll just have another reason to wait since parts come out so quickly.
3. Get a gaming PC + a NETbook. I am also in college and I wouldn't trade my $350 9" netbook for a $2000 17" gaming notebook.
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Custom Built vs. Pre-built vs. Gaming laptop. HELP!

Personally I would suggest a custom build computer, but they both come with advantages and disadvantages:
Advantages:
Custom built - You get more for your money, you usually can get much better parts for lower prices than you will find at Best Buy. You will also get a computer that suites your needs better. Maybe you don't want 1 terrabyte of disk space, maybe you only need 250 GB, in which case you could spend that money on a better graphics card or faster processor.
Pre built - Warranty, you usually can get a warranty from them for an additional cost, so if ANYTHING goes wrong with the computer they'll fix it. You can see the computer in action at the store, something that you may not be able to do building a computer. Cost, while it will cost more most of the time you could get it on a card in which payment (or the entire payment) won't be due for 6 to 12 months. You also don't have to put it together or have a clue about hardware.

Disadvantages:
Custom built - You have to put it together. You have to get the right parts (somethign we could help with) and ensure their compatible. If it breaks because you did something wrong during the build, you have to replace the part (IE shocking the RAM w/ static electricity). Most of the time you can get stuff under manf warrany, but it isn't always guaranteed and there are 'limitations' to the warranty. Can't test the computer before purchase. Have to purchase everything at once (although if you spend enough newegg has a finance card now).

Pre built - Costs more. Not getting as much for your money.
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Old 11-12-2008, 04:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Custom Built vs. Pre-built vs. Gaming laptop. HELP!

Custom built is the ONLY way to go. You get exactly what you want at a much cheaper price compared to prebuilt junk. Il never forget the day my buddy bought a top of the line alienware like 3 years ago. His final bill was upwards of 2500+ if I remember right. Had the top of the line video card, 4 gig of memory (A LOT at the time), the works done with to it. After about 3 days of it being in his posession, you could totally tell how dissapointed he was. He didnt want to come out and say it after spending so much and bragging about it but you knew he wasnt happy. He previous desktop with older parts performed as good as his state of the art alienware lol. FPS in games was lower with the alienware. Right now he is looking to build another pc again and get rid of the alienware. Custom built FTMFW.
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Old 11-12-2008, 04:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Custom Built vs. Pre-built vs. Gaming laptop. HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by stalin90 View Post
1. custom, all prebuilts, epecially in ur price range will slap on like an extra $500 just because they can, and they usually dont use that good of brands for there parts. if u custom build ur pc u will be able to pick brands and get exactly what u want. and what is most cost efective, like u said u really dont know much about hardware but alot of ppl can help you here, just decide your budget and make a thread saying bla bla bla make me a build that will cost $xxxx

2.it really depends on wher u want to do, a new cpu just did come out, a whole new socket(i7) its pretty big cuz intel has been using the lga775 sence the p4 this is a pretty big event, to bad not alot of ppl around here think its worth the money yet.... but on waiting its up to u if u want a pc now get one now if u want to wait for sometime wait for sometime but really the next big thing that is coming out will be the new nvidia card and that wont be till the end of winter maybe early spring from what i understand

3.no laptop is going to be good at gaming, id say build a pc and get a lap top, a $1500 is still going to be top of the line stuff and a $500 wont be anything terrible.
Pretty much right except number 3...

Gateway - Laptop with Intel® Centrino® - P-6831FX

Well the Desktop with that type of stuff is cheaper.. this is still a good deal..
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Custom Built vs. Pre-built vs. Gaming laptop. HELP!

well it's got 3gb of ram. wont max out crisis. and cant upgrade ram. proc is running at 1.6ghz. all for $1200 doesnt sound too good to me.
dude just go with a custom build it yourself desktop.
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Custom Built vs. Pre-built vs. Gaming laptop. HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by philbar71 View Post
well it's got 3gb of ram. wont max out crisis. and cant upgrade ram. proc is running at 1.6ghz. all for $1200 doesnt sound too good to me.
dude just go with a custom build it yourself desktop.

why would you even say "cant max crysis"?? Of course not even desktops have trouble with it lmao.

It actually runs crysis really well, and you can upgrade ram and cpu.

Oh and the 8800M GTS 512 is like a desktop 9600GT.

Theres also this one for a bit more:

Newegg.com - ASUS G Series G50V-X1 NoteBook Intel Core 2 Duo P8400(2.26GHz) 15.4" Wide SXGA+ 4GB Memory 200GB HDD 7200rpm DVD Super Multi NVIDIA GeForce 9700M GT - Laptops / Notebooks

Gets 7K in 3dmark06.


And this bad boy is even better for $1400:
Gateway P-7811 FX Review

Almost 10k in 3dmark06!

P8400 @ 2.26ghz
9800M GTS 512MB
4GB DDR3 800mhz
17" screen @ 1920x1200
200Gb 7200rpm 16mb SATA HDD

It beats some desktops here on the forums ha.

and crysis performance:
Quote:
Crysis with all settings on high, and the resolution set to 1280x800 managed a consistent 29-31FPS throughout the beginning of the demo, even while engaging adversaries. If you turned back the settings to medium, framerates peaked as high as 63 FPS during low action scenes and dropped to the low 30's during action. The game felt perfectly playable, although don't expect the same results pushing 1920x1200.
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Custom Built vs. Pre-built vs. Gaming laptop. HELP!

ok i shouldntve have said max out crysis. it might be playable at med settings. my dads pc can max out crysis and gets like 40fps at 1440x920, or what ever the res for a 19in wide screen is. and best buy said the ram is not expandiable.

and the $140 gateway laptop wipes the floor with my pc.(at least with this crappy cpu it does but that will change around xmas time)
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Custom Built vs. Pre-built vs. Gaming laptop. HELP!

It can run it on high settings @ 1280x1024, other games will max out at native res.

The 8800/9800M series are high end for laptops, the only faster card
is the 8800MGTX and i think theres a 9800MGTX now as well.

And Best Buy is stupid. ram, hd, cpu can be changed out.

The FX series are gaming laptops...they dont even have warranty void stickers underneath.
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