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Old 04-27-2008, 01:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Gaming yet portable laptop

Okay, I've searched this forum and read the graphics card rankings. It's time for me to get a college laptop, and I'm trying to find one that can achieve the impossible: be both portable yet be able to muster the strength to play a game near the caliber of Unreal Tournament 3. My budget should stay somewhere close to $1500 (I can get an academic discount at both Dell and HP.)

Laptops I've looked at/am considering (I'd custom order each of these online, at mostly max options):

HP:
dv2700t - 8400M GS
dv6700t - 8400M GS
dv9700t - 8600M GS

Dell:
XPS m1530 - 8600M GT

Vista is fine at any flavor, but I'll go with Ultimate if it fits in there. 4GB memory preferable, a Core 2 Duo at 2.4+GHz, wireless and all that jazz. Any screen size is fine, but the more portable, the better - I want to be able to take this places with me.

It would seem the m1530 is the perfect match for me - 15 inch screen, 8600 GT - but I've heard about so many of those breaking and the build quality being poor. If possible, I'd like to not have to go through a single RMA process. I just want a laptop I can work on and depend on. I'd be willing to settle for a smaller graphics card to achieve portability + reliability, but I don't really want to. Any suggestions/recommendations are welcome.

Lastly, for anyone that owns a dv9700t, is it heavy? And is 17" too hard to carry around? I can't decide if it's worth the weight or not.
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gaming yet portable laptop

Well first i have a Dell Inspiron and it is great. But i do not recommend Ultimate. Being the Windows guy that is something big as well. Get Home Premium and save some money. To get Dreamscene and some new sounds is not worth the price of Ultimate.

The 1501 i have is great with a 15.4" screen. Not to heavy yet still big enough of a screen. I would recommend the XPS. Of course i dont hate Dell's so i am a odd commodity. What can i say...
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Old 04-29-2008, 04:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gaming yet portable laptop

I just got a dv9700t with tons of stuff...it's incredible and I definitely recommend it!

-Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 (2.5GHz, 6MB L2)
-3GB DDR2 SDRAM
-250GB SATA Drive (1 HDD, 1 empty bay for future expansion)
-nVidia GeForce 8600M GS 512MB
-DVD +/- R/RW DL /CD-RW burner with LightScribe
-1680x1050 HP BrightView 17" Display
-Windows Vista Ultimate 64 Bit Edition
-(Installed afterwards) Ubuntu Linux 8.04 Desktop 64 Bit Edition

I think this is an awesome laptop, great performance with the C2D, good gaming performance with the 8600M GS, has a fingerprint reader and webcam built in, full size keyboard (with number pad), Intel Wireless A/B/G/N, Realtek PCIe Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000), and more. Also has a built in SD/MMC/MS/XD reader.

Personally, I love the big screen. Others will say it's too big/heavy/etc, I say, it's worth the extra size and weight. Definitely worth it. The dv9000 is actually lighter and thinner than my old IBM ThinkPad 15.4" A21p, so I'm happy. I give the dv9700t a 10/10, period. However, I'd probably get a backpack or good carrying bag if you plan to travel with it a lot.

I think HP makes great laptops, I've heard some Dells have problems with screen hinges. And of course we all know about the exploding Dell laptops (though I'm pretty sure that issue is long gone).
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Old 04-29-2008, 06:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gaming yet portable laptop

@Mak: Yeah, I guess Ultimate isn't worth the $150 upgrade. I will be getting a 64 bit edition, though.

@Calc: If I were to get a dv9700t, it'd be very close to your configuration. I have a laptop bag, I'm just not sure the 9700 would fit in it. I would spring for the dv9700t in a moment if I knew I could carry it around everywhere I wanted to; that's what's holding me between the dv9700t and the dv6700t. The only real differences between them are battery life (I'm guessing), screen size, and the graphics card I could get. Do you think a 512MB 8600GS could handle UT3 with 30+FPS?

Argh, I'm gonna go weigh a junker laptop I have sitting around here for a reference point. The HP site says the dv9700t weighs around 9 lbs, depending on what you have inside of it. How much would you say yours weighs? Thanks.
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Old 04-29-2008, 06:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gaming yet portable laptop

it depends what games u wanna run. i'd recomend an XPS M1330 cos they are REALLY mobile, but you're trading in the 8600 to a 8400, so that decision is up to you. personally, i'd pick a M1330, but then again, you have to weigh up how much gaming you need or want.
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Old 04-29-2008, 07:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Gaming yet portable laptop

Well, contrary to my original assumption, my dv9700t and my ThinkPad A21p weigh the same, 8.5 pounds according to our digital scale (not sure how accurate that is). I honestly don't think it's that heavy, but then again, for reference I weighed my backpack (which only has my binder full of papers and notebooks, didn't need any textbooks for tonight's homework) and it's 16 pounds, so to me, 8.5 pounds is nothing. That said, I'm definitely not a light traveler.

Check the dimensions, I'd be more worried about size than weight. The dv9700t is fairly large (obviously it has a big screen, that's to be expected). I ordered a laptop backpack with my HP order so I doubt I'll have a problem, but if you have a bag already, I'd measure it (or consider getting a new bag). For my old laptop I just stuffed it in a normal backpack with a few mousepads for protection, but for a new expensive one I got a good bag to protect it.

As for UT3, I've never played the game (nor anything based on its engine). I can play Half Life 2: Deathmatch at 1680x1050 with all settings (including AntiAliasing and Anisotropic Filtering) at max with very little lag (Deathmatch has smaller maps than the main HL2 game though, and I only played it because Deathmatch was free to nVidia and ATi owners). For Quake 3 games, they run very well (one of my older games, Jedi Academy, runs very well, even my custom map that I went overboard on and lagged out my other computers runs at near 60FPS easily). I don't remember what I got on 3dMark06, but it was above 2000. If there's any free games using the UT3 engine, I could do a test run. DX10 works too, as I tried the Cascades and Adrianne nVidia demos (the 8800/8600 demos that support DX10) and both worked well.
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Old 05-01-2008, 11:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gaming yet portable laptop

Thanks, all of you. 8.5 pounds doesn't seem that bad...I think I'll go with the dv9700t or dv6700t (or if I get really courageous and trust Dell, the m1530.) I'll do some more thinking. There isn't supposed to be any new mobile or otherwise graphics card releases any time soon that would change the offerings for each of these laptops, is there?
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gaming yet portable laptop

The only cards coming out soon are the nvidia ones. The 9XXX series. But that should stop you from getting what you want now.
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Old 05-05-2008, 09:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gaming yet portable laptop

If you don't mind a 17" this laptop has a 8800M GTS 512mb and costs $1,350

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Old 05-05-2008, 01:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gaming yet portable laptop

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalcProgrammer1 View Post
I just got a dv9700t with tons of stuff...it's incredible and I definitely recommend it!

-Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 (2.5GHz, 6MB L2)
-3GB DDR2 SDRAM
-250GB SATA Drive (1 HDD, 1 empty bay for future expansion)
-nVidia GeForce 8600M GS 512MB
-DVD +/- R/RW DL /CD-RW burner with LightScribe
-1680x1050 HP BrightView 17" Display
-Windows Vista Ultimate 64 Bit Edition
-(Installed afterwards) Ubuntu Linux 8.04 Desktop 64 Bit Edition

I think this is an awesome laptop, great performance with the C2D, good gaming performance with the 8600M GS, has a fingerprint reader and webcam built in, full size keyboard (with number pad), Intel Wireless A/B/G/N, Realtek PCIe Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000), and more. Also has a built in SD/MMC/MS/XD reader.

Personally, I love the big screen. Others will say it's too big/heavy/etc, I say, it's worth the extra size and weight. Definitely worth it. The dv9000 is actually lighter and thinner than my old IBM ThinkPad 15.4" A21p, so I'm happy. I give the dv9700t a 10/10, period. However, I'd probably get a backpack or good carrying bag if you plan to travel with it a lot.

I think HP makes great laptops, I've heard some Dells have problems with screen hinges. And of course we all know about the exploding Dell laptops (though I'm pretty sure that issue is long gone).
THAT is a great config indeed! I want to order one too but I am waiting for prices to drop down and have to find someone who could order it for me online since HP Canada just does not offer customizable options, why I dont know and I dont understand the logic behind it as well.

will be ordering the SAME config as yours either off Ebay or through someone in the US from HP.com :laughing:


I have a question, how often do you game on your laptop? Whats the avg battery life? say while surfing the net and just enough brightness to read the screen off ?

Also, is the screen way too reflective?

Thanks
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