Which 17" Laptop please?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by keytiger, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. keytiger

    keytiger
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    I currently own a Samsung R780 - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-i5-480M-Processor-2-66GHz-DVDSMDL/dp/B004ISKZEQ

    Ive had it a couple of years and dont get me wrong its great for what I need it for but its looking abit battered (mainly due to me failing badly changing the screen) and now the power jack has started to cause problems meaning I am switching between battery and mains every few seconds with a wiggle on the wire. Previous experience tells me it either needs fixing, or a new laptop.

    Assuming its the latter, what laptop would you recommend as a good and worthwhile upgrade? Its like a minefield out there. I will answer the questions as requested to give you a better idea of my useage -

    What is your budget? - erm upto £1300 but prefer the £1000 mark....willing to pay abit extra for quality I suppose I am saying.

    What size laptop do you want? - 17" definite
    (In terms of screen size)

    Do you have resolution requirements? - I guess for that type of money I should be expecting a good display? I am not into 3D yet so that isnt a necessity (unless ofcourse you think it would be worth it)

    Do you prefer a matte or glossy (reflective) screen?
    Please note matte screens are harder to find these days, so may not be in budget.
    - Please enlighten me lol I want it nice and bright and clear like this one lol :/

    What will you be using the laptop for?
    For example, Browsing, Gaming, Word Processing, Video Editing, Web/Graphic Design
    - My activities include gaming, such as the new Sim City, Forge Of Empires and other top strategy type games. I wouldnt use it for COD or FIFA for example, I have a 360 for that. Alot of streaming, live betting, iplayer, and such. General browsing. Photo/video editing. Some Word Processing but not loads.

    If you will be gaming, what games do you need to play? - As above, mainly strategy games like Sim City, Football Manager etc, not FIFA etc. However I do want to be able to comfortably run them, not only just with my laptop smoking as its running lol

    How long does the battery need to last? - irrelevant really, it will always be plugged in

    Does it need to be portable?
    Will you be taking it out and about or just leaving it at home on a desk As portable as a laptop should be.

    Do you require Blu-Ray? - erm no not really but I would imagine it is standard with my budget?

    Do you require HDMI output? Yes - I like to stream from my laptop to my TV (I know, I havent got a smart tv yet lol)

    Do you have a preferred brand?
    For example Dell, HP, Acer - Honestly, that is why I am here. I have been through them all over the last 15 years and im fed up of choosing ones that constantly over heat and the power jack fails grrrrrrrrr

    Are there brands you would prefer to avoid? no

    Would you be happy with a refurbished laptop? yeah if it was quality

    Any other details you feel necessary... Colour; Webcam; Good quality speakers; general spec: CPU, RAM, HDD space, SSD; Operating System or anything else you can think of.

    Decent Sound - Atleast as good as current - HDD space not so important as most data saved to external HDD. All in all I want a fast, powerful laptop thats not going to shut down at the thought of playing an online game or changing between simcity to check my emails, do a bit of surfing and return to the game etc. I dont mind paying for quality and speed providing it is worth it.

    Thanks for any advice
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  2. keytiger

    keytiger
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    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  3. LJx

    LJx
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    It's bad, that graphics card can be bought on £500 laptops. If you are spending in the region of £1000 then look at the custom laptops at PCSPECIALIST - Custom PCs, Custom Computers, Custom PC, Desktop PC, Custom Built Computers, Gaming PC
    you can buy a laptop with better spec than that Toshiba for £600 - and I am not exaggerating that figure
     
  4. keytiger

    keytiger
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    Thanks for the heads up mate, i figured that tbh thats why I posted here. I have the habit of impulse buying and getting the best one there rather than the best one available.......with abit of patience lol

    I have just been looking at the Alienware M17, and I configured it with the basics and got a price of £1,350. Heres the specs -

    Alienware M17x Stealth Black edit
    PROCESSOR - 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3630QM (6MB Cache, up to 3.4GHz w/ Turbo Boost 2.0) edit
    OPERATING SYSTEM - Windows 8 64bit, English edit
    GRAPHICS CARD - 2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660M edit
    MEMORY 6144MB (1x2GB + 1x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3 Dual Channel edit
    HARD DRIVE 500GB 7,200rpm SATA 3Gb/s HDD edit
    LCD 17.3" WideFHD (1920 x 1080) WLED LCD edit
    OPTICAL DRIVE BluRay Combo (Blu-ray read only, DVD, CD read & write) edit
    WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 2230 with Bluetooth 4.0 edit
    PRIMARY BATTERY Primary 9 cell Li-Ion Default Base Battery edit

    Looks good but the specs are lost with me. There are upgrades to that for slightly extra but I just wouldnt be sure which would be worth paying for as such. I will go have a look at PC specialist now mate, thanks again
     
  5. keytiger

    keytiger
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    WOW, I wouldnt even know where to start on PC Specialist...so many choices!

    Ive done one matching various specs I have found and think either Alienware or PC Specialists are the way forward. The trouble is, its so easy to tick the better spec and before you know it youve doubled your budget. I am quite computer literate but I wouldnt know if it was beneficial to get a slightly bigger HDD for £70 for example.....the processor power just goes on and on lol I am guessing a quad core is the way to go? Hmmm, wonder if they do an advice service lol

    E2A - Yeah, it would appear you get more for your money on PCSpecialist. Thanks agaion, I will continue to look :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  6. LJx

    LJx
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    The base laptop prices on pcspecialist are essentially decided by which graphics card is in the system, so for example I am sure there is one that has a 660M like that Alienware , everything else can be changed to personal preference. For example the best CPU to go for in my opinion would be whatever the cheapest quad core i7 is available. After that they start adding maybe £50 - £100 on for a slightly faster version which is not any where near as good value.
    They even have somepre configured versions like this which are decent
    http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/computers-for-next-day-delivery/91/

    http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/computers-for-next-day-delivery/90/
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  7. Spy

    Spy
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    I am in a similar boat to you, currently hunting for a top-end laptop that I will use for video editing and some gaming.

    My budget is similar to yours and as such I want at least some future proofing that will mean it will still play games a couple of years down the road, even if at slightly lower settings. The video-editing for me rules out Radeon cards as I want to use Adobe Premiere Elements which utilises the CUDA cores in Nvidia cards.

    If I didn't have the video editing requirement, I would be looking for a Radeon 7970 equipped laptop. It is generally recognised that this is the best 'bang for the buck' laptop graphics card with enough grunt to play most games at high or ultra setting and enough to mean you should be able to play new releases for the next couple of years, at medium to high settings.

    The 7970 is an option on Alienware laptops as well as others.

    In the Nvidia camp, I wouldn't go for a 660M. This is at the high end of the standard graphics card but not really deemed an enthusiast/gaming GPU. Depending on budget, you should be looking at 670M or 675M. The next step up would be the Kepler based cards like the 675MX or 680M. The 680M is the top end of Nvidia's laptop GPUs and blows away the ones beneath it.

    Ultimately it is about budget and trying to get the absolute best spec you can for that budget. Hopefully the above gives you an idea of the pecking order.

    Most of the games you have listed actually would play fine at Ultra setting on nearly all the cards mentioned but who knows in the future ? The only one that will struggle is Sim City, for some reason, that is very GPU hungry.

    As regards screen, my preference is a Matte screen as these avoid annoying reflections from light if you are outside or sitting near a window. The positive of a gloss screen is that it tends to look brighter but at the expense of reflections.

    With regard to the processor, I would aim for a quad core i7 processor given your budget. At the moment games are not CPU intensive so you could get an i5 but I think this swill change as the new generation of consoles comes out. It is rumoured that future games developed for consoles (and therefore inherited by their PC versions) will utilise the CPU more. Also, photo editing and video editing are heavier on the CPU than the graphics card.

    Other things to consider is an SSD (say around 120Gb) for your Windows and a separate large HDD for storing everything on. The SSD will make boot up times fly and worth the upgrade on an expensive laptop. If you find a good deal on one without an SSD, you can always add in the SSD yourself later.

    The laptops I am looking at are:
    - Alienware m17x
    - MSI GT70
    - Clevo P170EM based laptops as sold by PCSpecialist, Schenker (mySN.co.uk), Overclockers, Cyberpower and Scan

    Good luck with the search :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  8. keytiger

    keytiger
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    Thanks mate,

    I have bit the bullet and ordered the Alienware M17X

    I was talking to a friend who is very knowledgeable about these types of things and we talked about getting an SSD but he said it was something he could add for me at a later date to keep costs down. I spent way too much but what the hell, having a baby in a few months so never gonna get the chance again....here she is -

    Alienware M17x : Standard Base
    203-33091 N00W7M01 1 SR
    338-16738 Processor : 3rd Generation Intel Core i7-3630QM (6MB Cache, up to 3.4GHz w/ Turbo Boost
    2.0)
    1 SR
    230-12513 Display : 17.3" WideFHD (1920 x 1080) WLED LCD 1 SR
    319-10808 Camera : Integrated FullHD Camera with dual digital microphones (Win 8) 1 SR
    320-12436 LCD Back Cover : Soft Touch - Stealth Black 1 SR
    340-29313 Ship Accessory : English Docs 1 SR
    340-29317 Placemats : Placemats (Eng, Gre, Pol, Ara, Rus) 1 SR
    340-31186 MOD,SW,MY-DELL,3.X 1 SR
    370-20087 Memory : 8192MB (2x4096) 1600MHz DDR3 Dual Channel 1 SR
    400-25333 Hard Drive : 500GB 7,200rpm SATA 3Gb/s HDD 1 SR
    429-16656 Optical Drive : DVD+/-RW (Read/Write) 1 SR
    450-13572 Power Cord : UK 250V 1 SR
    450-16348 Power Supply : Alienware 240W AC Adapter 1 SR
    451-11606 Battery : Primary 9-cell 93W/HR LI-ION 1 SR
    490-14104 Graphics : 2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M 1 SR
    510-10451 Sound Card : Creative Sound Blaster Recon3Di with THX TruStudio Pro Software 1 SR
    555-14415 Wireless : Intel 2230 Wireless Card + BT 1 SR
    583-16273 Keyboard : Internal UK/Irish Qwerty Keyboard 1 SR
    619-38334 Operating System : Windows 8 64bit, English 1 SR
    620-13866 Os Media : Windows 8 64bit, MUI Resource DVD 1 SR

    --------------------------------------------------------

    £1650 give or take....what do you think? Like I said, I am promised that the parts I may want upgrading I can buy and my friend will so them for me but for a starter I think it looks the business! Just a 2 week wait now grrrrrr

    Thanks again everyone for the advice. Its like a minefield out there. The trouble is, most people dont want top end laptops. All of my friends think I am wasting my money spending so much when I can get a basic laptop for £400.............they make a point but come on, sat with my green lit up alienware in a few weeks.................that in itself is worth it lol
     
  9. EarthRod

    EarthRod
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    I have a suspicion that right from the start you lusted after the Alienware. :)

    You asked for advice and then ignored it. The PC Specialist laptop some advised you look at is about £400 cheaper for the same specification as the Alienware and has a range of options to light up with different coloured lights. You can make it look like a DJ station if you wanted.

    However, having said that, I've seem the Alienware and the look of the beast does smack you right between the eyes. I'm quite envious!

    Good luck with the multi-coloured beast!

    :cool:
     
  10. Spy

    Spy
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    Congratulations on the Alienware purchase. Your friend's advice is spot on, particularly when buying Alienware - buy the spec of CPU and GPU you want and then upgrade the memory and drives yourself.

    I hope you took advatage of the 10% off coupon and the 11% Quidco cashback :thumbsup:

    Alan is right, in that you could have got a PC Specialist laptop with an SSD and Hard Drive as well as the top of the range Nvidia 680M GPU for about £400 less but the Alienware is a nice machine :devil:
     
  11. keytiger

    keytiger
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    Hiya all,

    @ Alan CD, it wasnt that I ignored peoples advise to a point that it wasnt worth them posting, it gave me the opportunity to look at alternatives. I totally see I could have configured a laptop with the same spec as my alienware for £400 cheaper (well, I didnt realise it was that much mind lol) but I dont know, the Alienware just looks so much nicer and £400 nicer? I dont know, I guess I will find out when it arrives tomorrow lol

    Devastated I didnt take advantage of any of those offers though..........would have saved £150! Grrrrr wish Id have checked back again now lol

    I'll let you know what i think tomorrow. Ive tracked it half way around the world the last few days. Its finally arrived in England for its final leg to my house tomorrow lol

    Thanks again for all of the advice (that I didnt take lol but tis true, it was a great help)
     
  12. EarthRod

    EarthRod
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    Alienware nicer? I wouldn't describe it as 'nice' - it's a bad boy!!

    Seriously, keep us posted on your thoughts about the beast after you've used it for a few days.

    Have you hired a fork-lift truck ready for when you unpack it?

    :D
     
  13. Spy

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    I saw both the P170EM Schenker and the Alienware m17x at the Gadget Show and they seemed to be the same weight :thumbsup:
     

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