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aaltair

Military deployment- need advice for gaming laptop

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Hi guys! My husband is deploying for a year and needs a laptop he can play things like League of Legends and whatever else on. Witcher, etc. Stuff to keep him occupied during much of the boredom. He's been running a partitioned macbook for a long time now but it's dying and obviously it sucks for games in general. The deployment was a sudden thing and he's insanely busy prepping his guys to leave so I told him I would do the research into what he would need, and considering that I don't know much about laptops I figured you guys would be my best resource to start. He doesn't need an insane machine and we're not made of money so we're looking for a good balance of running new games like Fallout 4 smoothly and not breaking the bank. I appreciate any advice, thanks!

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Well the most important thing is budget. How much at the very most?

Then there are other aspects:

Size - as in display size. I presume it will be used alone without any external monitor. If it's supposed to be running games, the larger the better.

Weight. Does it even matter?

 

The specs can - in my opinion - only be decided after these are cleared.

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I'd suggest an MSI laptop, if you can find a decent price. I recently bought an MSI GE-62 2QF. Great laptop.

 

The most important component will be the video card. Video cards can't be changed on laptops, so it's important to note that this will be the limiting factor on the life of the laptop. It is the most important component for gaming.

 

You also want 4GB of RAM or more, preferably at least 8GB.

 

Lastly, the most noticeable speed "boost" for the average user is when using an SSD vs. an HDD. Boot time can got from minutes to literally less than 10 seconds. Among other benefits.

 

Final piece of advice would just be to shop around. If you're looking for a notebook on a budget, the Internet is the best place to buy, for sure. You can find refurbished laptops (with warranties) from places like Newegg that are the same exact product, but cheaper.

 

Check out many different websites, and just look around. I purchased a laptop for a friend (not my MSI) for $500. I had seen a very similarly specced laptop sold for around $1300 elsewhere. So it is definitely worth it to search around once you have an idea of what you are looking for.

 

Anyway good luck!

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$1000 or less would be great, and he would prefer a 17" screen. Are there any brands I should outright avoid? And do the graphics cards in a laptop translate straight across from a desktop? As in, is a GTX 960M the same as a GTX 960 in a desktop, and is that card going to suffice for new games like Fallout?

Thanks again :)

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Mobile graphics are usually one generation down. I equate performance from my 970m to around a GTX 870. Except it still retains most of the new "features". Just the performance is less.

 

When researching the purchase of my laptop about 6 months ago or so, I found that there were a lot of issues online about the Lenovo brand. Screen quality was one big one.

 

Also, try to avoid any touchscreen models, or ones with 4k screens. Ups the price significantly, when you can use those laptop dollars on better internal hardware.

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The Nvidia mobile 900 series are really quite good.  I've got a GTX 970M in my MSI Dominator and I've yet to find a game that I have to dial down the graphics on.

 

I'd say a big thing to keep your eyes on is how cool does the laptop stay.  My MSI Dominator is probably about 2x's the money you want to spend, but I'm going to pump up the cooling system that this laptop uses.  I've yet to get either my CPU or GPU up to 70F regardless of what I'm playing.  Excessive heat on any processors in a gaming laptop can be a real problem.

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Avoid HP at all cost. Lenovo, on the other hand, I can only recommend (have first hand experience with the L series, which is not any high end, and still it's great with good build quality).

It should have a discrete GPU chip (others will recommend something concrete) for any gaming, with enough video memory (not sure how high can it go these days, but it should be 2GB or so, not less). 8GB RAM should be a minimum too. Do NOT buy anything with less than 8GB.

Edited by Octopuss

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Avoid HP at all cost. Lenovo, on the other hand, I can only recommend (have first hand experience with the L series, which is not any high end, and still it's great with good build quality).

It should have a discrete GPU chip (others will recommend something concrete) for any gaming, with enough video memory (not sure how high can it go these days, but it should be 2GB or so, not less). 8GB RAM should be a minimum too. Do NOT buy anything with less than 8GB.

To clarify, I have no first-hand experience with Lenovo. I just remember researching one particular laptop that I was very close to purchasing, and which I declined due to the reported screen problems with that particular model.

 

Lenovo could be a good brand overall, I really don't know. My research was only really with the one model.

 

However, I do remember Lenovo's sticker price was cheaper (in relation to the value of the parts inside) than most other companies. Which is never a bad thing.

Edited by Nebulous112

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It's a great buy but unfortunately too small of a screen. Too bad he can't really bring a desktop.

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$1500 will get you an decent MSI GT72 Dominator. 

 

It's a pretty beast, too - https://www.amazon.com/Dominator-G-1445-Notebook-Computer-i7-5700HQ/dp/B00ZJKDEI6/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1448409313&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=MSI+GT72&psc=1

 

I didn't think I'd love the back-lit Steel Series keyboard as much as I do.  It's even got a built in 4 inch subwoofer so you can feel those fireballs as well as hear them!

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This one is OK...GTX 960m (4GB model), 8GB memory and 1TB HDD. $950: Acer Aspire V17 Nitro Black Edition VN7-791G-76Z8

 

This one is great, but the whole laptop is a red color. Personally, I wouldn't care with $800 off. Phenomenal deal...970m and 16GB memory with a 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD. A little over budget, though, $1149: MSI GS70 Stealth Pro-086

 

I'll edit more in if I see them.

 

Edit: The $1149 red model linked apparently also comes with a free game.

 

This one is a good open box deal, but still not as good as the brand new red laptop. Basically the same as red, with 128GB more SSD space (256GB vs 128GB). $1269: ASUS ROG G751JT-DB73

Edited by Nebulous112

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I think he might go for the red one. He says he likes that it's obnoxious, lol I guess when you're wearing green 12 hours a day you take what you can get in terms of different. I'm not entirely clear on how the SSD operates...would you download your games to that drive and run them through there to make them faster? Not clear on how that one works.

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