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Old 07-19-2011, 01:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Buying a laptop for university

So I'm trying to find a laptop to buy for university. I've never had a laptop before, so I don't know what the do's and don't's are. I need something that will pretty much run the latest games for the next 3/4 years or so. My current computer (which is a PC) has the following specs:

Quote:
2.67 gigahertz Intel Core2 Quad Q8400
64 kilobyte primary memory cache
2048 kilobyte secondary memory cache

3328 Megabytes Installed Memory
Slot 'DIMM1' has 2048 MB
Slot 'DIMM2' has 2048 MB
(think this is because windows xp pro only recognizes up to 3328mb memory on the 32bit version)


NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT [Display adapter] (think it had 1gb memory)"
And it lagged when I played WoW on ultra settings (not that this matters any more), and on sc2 when playing protoss on default graphics settings (only when you try to build a new pylon and the circles appear everywhere telling you where you can build other buildings).

Anyway the reason I mentioned my current computer is because I want something better than this, but everyone I know who has bought a laptop has had it overheat when playing games for too long, and has had to send them off for repairs etc. I don't know if this is because their specific laptops are crap or because laptops in general are crap for playing games on. If they are I might have to rethink (as in get a cheap laptop for work and then buy a more powerful desktop pc as well).

I bought my last computer from PC specialist and plan to buy my laptop from there again unless anyone can recommend something substantially cheaper. I'll be using the laptop for uni work (using LaTeX etc.), playing games (MW3,BF3, GW2, SC2 etc.), photoshop, skype, watching movies.

The "Optimus II" looks like what I want to get, because once you've customised it, it turns out to come to around £900 to £1000. Anyway I have some questions about what parts I should get it built with, and if they work together:

(when I'm mention specific parts I'm referring to the options on the site I linked earlier)

Processor:
I know next to nothing about what I need, but I've been reading some other threads and people say you'll be fine with an i5 processor unless you're doing video editing and other processor-heavy tasks. I get this, but since I have the money, and I want my laptop to last a while, I'm thinking it might be a better idea to get the i7? I don't know if this changes with the mobile versions;<. So for example, is the "intel core i7 quad core mobile processor i7-2630QM (2.00GHz) GMB cache" better than the current processor on my PC? Does it make much difference if I get the 2.2/2.3ghz one?

Memory: I want 8GB cause I can imagine that just having 4gb will cause problems in the future. Is it worth getting the Kingston 8gb over the Samsung 8gb, for an extra £40?

Other:
I want the 2gb version of the graphics card they have there, because 2 is a bigger number than 1. Not sure if I'll need it though. Same issue with the hard drive; I don't know what I'll need other than that I need 500gb of hard disk space.

I have a feeling that PC specialist doesn't consider problems such as overheating when putting the laptop together; that they just put together what you tell them to. For example when I was looking into building a pc, people told me I'll need a better cooling system than the one I had chosen. There seems no way to customize cooling systems with a laptop. How do I know that what I've chosen won't overheat? And does having a more compact laptop (like getting the 15 inch over the 17inch) make a difference to this?

I'm also completely open to suggestions that aren't from pcspecialist.co.uk, I just want a good laptop for as cheap as possible! Also, just to clarify, I live in the UK.

Anyway as you can see I'm pretty much clueless I'm just looking for advice/recommendations from people with more experience. Thanks!
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying a laptop for university

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I want the 2gb version of the graphics card they have there, because 2 is a bigger number than 1.
This is priceless My sentiments exactly!

I will look over the site you mentioned after I chop some grass. Can you link some online retailers there, I'm in the us I use newegg but doubt they work there.
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying a laptop for university

Fix up your desktop and just get a netbook or low laptop. As you said, they are not meant for intensive gaming. The desktop, however, is.

What are your specs of your desktop? PSU Make/Wattage? Board Make/Model? Memory speed? HDDs? Operating System?

I think a new graphics card will pump it up nicely.
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying a laptop for university

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Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
This is priceless My sentiments exactly!

I will look over the site you mentioned after I chop some grass.
Thanks!

Quote:
Can you link some online retailers there, I'm in the us I use newegg but doubt they work there.
Here's the thing, I'm not aware of many!
I've been using:
Amazon
PC specialist (as I linked earlier)

And apart from that I've been checking the UK versions of sites like dell/asus which all seem to be really overpriced compared to US sites. I get the feeling that electronics in the UK are overpriced in general though=/. I've bought stuff before from the US thinking it would be much cheaper but they just charge you loads of tax etc. as it came from abroad.
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying a laptop for university

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Fix up your desktop and just get a netbook or low laptop. As you said, they are not meant for intensive gaming. The desktop, however, is.

What are your specs of your desktop? PSU Make/Wattage? Board Make/Model? Memory speed? HDDs? Operating System?

I think a new graphics card will pump it up nicely.
Ah I'm slightly afraid of getting a PC, I didn't mention this in the original post but I'm going to one of two universities, one located in London where I live with my parents, in which case a PC would be fine, and the other located like 200 miles away in which case I'll be doing a lot of travelling (seeing as you only spend like 35 weeks (iirc) of the year at uni). it would be kind of awkward to be lugging my PC. about on the train!

I'm not quite sure how I find out things like the memory speed ;O. I know my operating system is xp pro 32bit though!
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying a laptop for university

There is Ebuyer.com, that I often go by for Brits. :P
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying a laptop for university

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Originally Posted by MindoverMaster View Post
There is Ebuyer.com, that I often go by for Brits. :P
Thanks for the recommendation! I tried it and I couldn't really find anything that beat pcspecialist, it looks like a lot of the specific brand ones cost more, compared to one you "build yourself." thanks anyway though
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying a laptop for university

You can't build laptops yourself
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying a laptop for university

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You can't build laptops yourself
Yes and no.

Websites offer "Configure to Order" (e.g. HP, Dell, etc.) to configure your laptop within certain limitations.

There's also laptop-build kits I've seen a while back, but were pretty expensive, IIRC.
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Old 07-19-2011, 03:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Buying a laptop for university

You mean barebone Laptops? Yeah, they are expensive, and rare. I think Aria does that as well, not sure. I know a person that works there, I can ask him.
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