Looking to get a new laptop, advice?

PerdexPerdex Omnipresent
edited May 2012 in Hardware
I'm looking to purchase a new laptop within the next week or two for use with school work, general multimedia, and gaming. As far as gaming goes, I'm looking for something that can run games like Skyrim, SC2, LoL (Though that's hardly worth mentioning in this context), etc. on med-high settings. My budget is around $1100, though the more I can save the better.

One possibility I'm currently looking at is HP Pavilion dv6t quad edition with:
-Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3610QM Processor (2.3 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache)
-NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GT 650M Graphics with 2GB GDDR5 memory
-8GB DDR3 System Memory
-1TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
-32GB mSSD Hard Drive Acceleration Cache
-15.6-inch diagonal Full HD Anti-glare LED-backlit Display (1920 x 1080)
Which will end up at about $1001.

I'm rather new to the computer hardware world, and I know a few of those pieces may be a bit overkill, but I was wondering if there were any recommendations for upgrades or downgrades in the hardware, or any other brands/models I should take a look at. General advice on the subject is appreciated as well. Thanks!

Comments

  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Geeky, in my own way Naples, FL
    That hardware set is decent at least. The price is probably pre-tax and pre-shipping though. The one thing I would get for sure in addition to what you list for a laptop if you want it to be more durable and shedding of heat is a metal shell instead of a plastic shell.
  • PerdexPerdex Omnipresent
    edited May 2012
    Yeah, but I have free shipping on it, and tax is only about $80. This model doesn't appear to be available in a metal shell, though I can't really figure out what the default shell is. Should that be a deal breaker for me?

    Oh, and out of curiosity, do you think the 32gb SSD cache and 2gb gfx card are good to have? From what I've read, they both seem to be decent additions for $50 apiece.

    Edit: After further searching, it appears to come in a metal shell by default, so disregard my first question.
  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA
    Yeah that is a pretty solid laptop. The only thing you could step down on without noticing much is going from i7 to i5. The SSD cache is a really cool feature that is sneaking into laptops and desktops that can greatly speed up your access of normal files. YMMV with their implementation of it. @primesuspect did a write up on a drive that incorporates both into a 750GB 2.5" HDD that you may get for less overall. The graphics memory is gonna help with games that have a ton of stuff onscreen at once, just keep your expectations lower than the equivalent computer parts.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    MSI is about to release a 16" laptop with an AMD A10 APU and a 7970M for less than a thousand bucks. Total bargain.
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    The hybrid SSD that was mentioned: Seagate Momentus XT 750
  • PerdexPerdex Omnipresent
    edited May 2012
    Yeah, I probably would've grabbed the i5, but that model only gives i7's as choices. Similar models give a choice of i5, but the only ones I saw came with AMD gfx options, and I've heard much better things about Nvidia cards. I considered the 2.7 ghz i7, but didn't see that as being worth the extra $200ish dollars, which seems to have just been affirmed.

    Edit: Sorry, got ninjaposted and didn't realize it. When's the release date for that MSI? That 7970m looks glorious, but I don't know much about the A10. Would it be considerably better for me to wait for that?
  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Geeky, in my own way Naples, FL
    edited May 2012
    Perdex-- I think you would be fine with what you have picked out. Thrax WORKS for AMD (he "forgot" to mention that), so it looks like he is warming up to shill again.

    While the A10 is a good processor design from the info I have (limited to what is public knowledge), it is not yet out for laptops that I know of-- what I have heard about so far on it was in desktop machine implementations.

    HP or Lenovo would be my choice of brands. I am an ex-OEM and part-time consultant in IT. I also favor Intel due to bad experience with AMD stuff (way back, 20 and then 8+ years ago).

    MSI has had a history of using plastic cases, and one of the folks here (IIRC, fatcat) had a all-plastic hinge on one MSI laptop that looked mashed beyond belief in the photo he posted. He went with an HP when MSI would not help him out, saying that the computer was out of warranty (IIRC).

    Check out long-term warranty prices also please, unless you plan on only having this laptop a year. HP offers long-term warranties now, spurred partially by Dell and Lenovo offering same economically.
  • PerdexPerdex Omnipresent
    Alright, I'll probably be ordering it within a day or two, so thanks a ton for all of your help with everything!
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    Thrax WORKS for AMD (he "forgot" to mention that), so it looks like he is warming up to shill again.
    :rolleyes:
    Edit: Sorry, got ninjaposted and didn't realize it. When's the release date for that MSI? That 7970m looks glorious, but I don't know much about the A10. Would it be considerably better for me to wait for that?
    As Straight_Man mentioned, I am an employee of AMD. I didn't mention because I forgot, but I frequently disclose this fact and most people here are well aware.

    Suffice it to say, the AMD A10 chip is every bit as good as a Core i5, but the CPU matters less than the GPU at 1080p, which I believe the MSI laptop is. The 7970M, as you seem to know, pulls its weight incredibly well.

    I can find out the launch date of the laptop on Tuesday if you're interested.
  • @Thrax feeling like he has to proclaim "shill mode" every time he posts kind of aggravates me because the man is nothing but straight forward with people.

    @Lincoln Suggestion for the forum, for people that work in the industry just something in their signature that clarify's this, so they don't feel obligated to post it over and over. So guys that work for hardware or game companies don't have to explain themselves every time they post.
  • edcentricedcentric near Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    Right now my house has two Dells, XPS14z and XPS17.
    Both 1080 with discrete graphics.
    Neither of them as powerful as what you are looking at.
    They are nice machines, I love the screens.
  • PerdexPerdex Omnipresent
    I can find out the launch date of the laptop on Tuesday if you're interested.
    @thrax If you could find that out, that'd be fantastic. From what was said about the A10 not even being released for laptops yet, and because I assume this is inside information, it probably won't be for awhile though, right? If I could wait for that, I probably might, but I kind of need the laptop by mid-June at the latest :(
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    edited May 2012
    The A10 has launched for laptops last week, so the only gating factor is MSI actually shipping the product. :) I'll let you know.
  • PerdexPerdex Omnipresent
    Alright, thank you very much :)
  • edited May 2012
    Don't buy from MSI. If it ever breaks, you'll be fighting an uphill battle to get it fixed properly. Their laptop support is utterly atrocious. (Cue Thrax rolling his eyes at me)

    I have a Pavilion dv6t quad edition (albeit with a Radeon GPU, not Nvidia) and I love it so far. Would definitely recommend it. Also, if you check retailmenot.com you can probably find a nice juicy coupon code to use on it (I found one on there for 33% off when I ordered mine).

    EDIT: and just to throw some extra info at you to back up what I have to say, see this:

    http://www.laptopmag.com/mobile-life/tech-support-showdown-2011.aspx?page=14

    Laptops in general are unreliable. The average two-year failure rate is something like 12% last I checked. ALWAYS buy from a company that stands behind their products (and get the extended warranty FFS).
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    Everyone has horror stories about every OEM. HP, ASUS,.MSI, you can find them all on Icrontic. I don't put much stock in anecdotal evidence any more.

    However, you are right that the industry failure rate for laptops is about 12%.
  • edited May 2012
    I've yet to see a support study or consumer survey give MSI a good rating for support. That's why I posted linkage to back up what I'm saying. Yes, I had an extremely bad experience with MSI, one that went on for over a year (similar to @mertesn with ASUS), but my anecdotal evidence also happens to be supported by the (admittedly few) surveys and studies that I've read which actually bothered to include MSI.

    The only laptop brands I'd buy from at this point are Lenovo, Toshiba HP or Dell. In descending order based on what I've read about their reliability and support. Those or Apple if you really want to pay their tax (though it's not worth it in my opinion).
  • PerdexPerdex Omnipresent
    Also, if you check retailmenot.com you can probably find a nice juicy coupon code to use on it (I found one on there for 33% off when I ordered mine).

    Yeah, that's actually a major draw for me with this laptop. It takes about $500 off the "original price" (Though its really only $250 off their instant rebate.)
    Everyone has horror stories about every OEM. HP, ASUS, MSI, you can find them all on Icrontic. I don't put much stock in anecdotal evidence any more.
    I think I would stay away from a non-metal shell, to avoid that kind of thing happening to me. And as a general rule, I take incredibly good care of my stuff, especially if I'm tossing $1000+ at it.

    I have two more questions, by the way: With the coupon, upgrading from a 2.3 ghz i7 to a 2.7 ghz i7 would cost me about $115. While this might put me a bit over budget, It would be small enough that I could deal with it. Would it be worth it to go for this? What potential advantages would it have?
    Also, I know this is PC hardware and this is a software question, but since its still rather relevant to the thread topic: What should I do about antivirus software, firewall, etc? I've heard that it's really not worth paying for with the laptop, but do you guys have any recommendations in that category?
  • edited May 2012
    Upgrading your processor is unlikely to make much of a difference unless you do something CPU intensive. Gaming these days is more GPU intensive than anything. Unless you're doing a lot of video encoding (and not doing it using GPU enabled software), or something else strictly CPU bound, I would say you don't need it.

    Don't buy any software from your laptop manufacturer, with the possible exception of Office (and even then, only if you absolutely know you NEED microsoft office and that Libre Office, Open Office or Google Docs won't do). For Antivirus, always remove whatever crap they pre-install and install Avira Free Antivirus. For the firewall, you're going to have Windows 7... it has a passable firewall preinstalled. You don't need a 3rd party one, just make sure you don't turn the Windows Firewall off.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    End of June, with demonstrations shortly at Computex.
  • PerdexPerdex Omnipresent
    Ahh, dang, I can't wait that long. Thanks for finding that out anyways, though. And thanks for all of the advice from everyone, you really helped me out a bunch with this :)
Sign In or Register to comment.