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Albertine_Courserrim
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re: Best Gaming Laptop for MMOs - Advice?

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My lovely husband has offered to buy me a new laptop as my current one is getting a bit old and creaky (hello minimal draw distance and running into invisible monsters that haven't rezzed!)

So I wondered if anyone has any advice on the best kind to get?

Things I need/want from one are:

NEED

- Around £1200 mark or less

- Able to run LOTRO, Elder Scrolls, Skyrim type games

- Able to run a basic photo editing & illustrating package eg paint.net or GIMP and Inkscape

- Available in the UK if possible (though I guess you can ship stuff these days, would just be a case of making sure the battery cable has the right plug on it)

WANT

- Not massively big and chunky - my current machine is an Aspire 4820T and a nice size & weight for me

- DVD-Rom drive for old games i have on CD ROM

 

I don't care if it's a silly colour or has daft styling as long as it works nicely.

 

Any ideas/recommendations gratefully received!

 

Alb

Ice Weasel
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re: Best Gaming Laptop for MMOs - Advice?

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You don't specify screen size, but I assume that if you do graphics work, a 17" is what you want. (I know my eyes like to use GIMP and Inkscape on a 17" screen laptop.)

I use a Mythlogic laptop, which is a Clevo builder here in the USA. They specialize in gaming rigs, laptops and desktops, and build LAN gaming centers as well. While I don't do CAD as much (read: at all) anymore, I got this because a good gaming laptop had plenty of horsepower for CAD as well. One of the best things is that Clevo-based laptops can be upgraded. Some years down the road, you can buy a better graphics card, and just pop it in place of the old one. (I have a long list of reasons why I went with Mythlogic, but they are based in Michigan in the US, so wouldn't be much use to you).

I don't know the Clevo vendors in the UK, but I imagine some Google work would bring up the list. One thing I learned in researching this laptop three years back is that customers are VOCAL. Check things like the forums at notebookreview.com or Tomshardware.com, and you can form a decent picture of who gives good customer service, and who goes the extra mile. 

A high-end Clevo-based 17" system isn't a light and slim one, though. Kind of clunky, but horsepower abounds. Some of the options are very attractive, to the graphics person as well as the gamer. For instance, I paid $50 to upgrade to a screen that is 97% NTSC color gamut, much higher than most laptop screens. I can tell the difference in color reproduction, and am very satisfied with it.

Aside from the general plug, I don't know much about computer vendors in the UK... I do know that your VAT is a killer, but not much to be done about that!

Good luck, and if I can answer any questions about my experience with Clevo-based laptops, just ask. 



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Albertine_Courserrim
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re: Best Gaming Laptop for MMOs - Advice?

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Hi!

Ok so time to come clean... I am kinda clueless about all the techie hardware settings and stuff, but I did a quick google search and found a UK supplier ... is this quote (pdf'd it in Google docs) about the right sort of spec do you think?

Also thanks for the recommendation - have to say I hadn't come across Clevo before

Briallan
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NEEDS:

  • any new computer will be able to run those game; HOWEVER my biggest piece of advice would be to max out the memory if its in your budget; the quote you have is for 8GB, which is enough to run those games*; you will notice a big difference in load time and performance with more memory for those types of games.
  • any computer can do photoediting, illustrating paint.net, GIMP, etc. I have run GIMP for example on low to high performance computers with not too much noticeable performance issues
  • yes, voltage differences for the plug into the wall are the main difference between US and Europe AFAIK -- rest of interfaces I think are standard (e.g., USB)

WANTS

  • check the dimensions and weight of your current computer for comparision -- any machine you buy online will show u what the dimensions and weight are as part of the specs. Just for example, I have an alienware laptop, it is AWESOME in performance, but very big and heavy, so you really do need to check, and shouldn't assume any laptop would be suitable for you
  • unlikely that any computer you buy off-the-shelf will come with a DVD-ROM built in (the one you quote does not have one), but any computer will have USB which you can use to connect an external DVD_ROM drive -- you just need to buy the DV_ROM separately. If buy a custom built computer (in US, from Dell or someplace like that) you might be able to get a DVD-ROM but I am not sure even then. You can buy external ones on Amazon, etc

To summarize, I would go for maxing out the memory within your budget, and checking the weight and size compared to your old machine and I bet you will be fine. The things I would question about the quote you supplied is that I would try to get more memory. Also 15.8" isn't a very big screen, but you should compare that to the diagonal dimension of working space on your current laptop's screen, and if it isn't any smaller than your current laptop, you may feel fine with it.

I wonder if you couldn't get a better deal from UK Amazon? this one has 12GB memory for same size screen for ₤969. Also has backlit keys (nice in the dark) and decent speakers. Specs don't say that it's compatible with UK voltage; I would expect items directed at UK consumers would work with UK voltage but I guess I would check first.

* - EDIT: Since I haven't actually played Skyrim and Eldar Scrolls, I am going by recommended system requirements which is 4GB for each. For LOTRO recommended system requirements are 2GB. However, my experience with LOTRO (I have played it on systems of 4GB, 8GB and 16GB) is that running with 16GB makes a BIG difference in load times compared to 4GB and 8GB systems.



Last edited by Briallan on Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:32 am; edited 1 time in total


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Ice Weasel
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re: Best Gaming Laptop for MMOs - Advice?

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There is a DVD drive on that system:

1st DVD/BLU-RAY Drive 8x SATA DVD±R/RW/Dual Layer (+ 24x CD-RW)

Still, it may not be the system for you.  One thing you'll quickly see is that opinions on hardware are as different as snowflakes. There really isn't a list of "must have/avoid" items, not universally. 

As for screen sizes, you might want to 'pre-shop" a bit, look at display models in stores locally to get a feel for what you think. Like everything in computers, it's always a "money vs. desire" equation. When the cost exceeds your want for that feature, take a step back and settle on that. 

The system as specified is a good one, but I don't have a good enough grasp of Pound-to-USD to know if it's a good deal. The graphics option is a nice one. Me? I'd look for some more quotes, and compare.   I note they aren't doing line-item costs on that quote. That's something you should ask they do. You can also come out ahead with custom builders by playing the "the other guy is offering" game. If one builder is offering a better graphics chip, you can ask the other guys to include it, for the same (or better) price. 

Some people love to wheel and deal. If you aren't one of those, then strike up a conversation with the sales folks. Explain what you want, and tell them you will shop around. They ought to show you the best system they can for an affordable cost. After all, a sale, even discounted, is better for them than no sale.

I suggested custom build as I have found them to be ideal for me... but not everyone wants the "joy" of all the specifying and shopping. 



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Hobbelion
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re: Best Gaming Laptop for MMOs - Advice?

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You might have considered this, but have you considered a desktop? I had a laptop for five years. It was getting old and I realized that I used it 90% at home in the same place. I wanted two mointors, a high end graphics card, and other things and PC was the best way to do it. I know the desktops are dying at home, but if you're a power user (multiple screens, gamer, etc) Desktop is the best way to go. While the monitors were separate, I got a very high end PC from Dell for less than a 1000 US dollars. I think it was one of the best purchases I have ever made. Since January of last year, I have rarely needed or used my laptop (which is pretty much junk anyway). I supplemented the desktop with a Surface 2 this past Christmas, but even then, I use a vast majority of my work and play on the PC.

Obviously you might use your laptop for traveling and for work, but if you're going to use it at home a vast majority of the time, I would recommend getting a PC then having a cheaper laptop or a tablet for traveling and tasks that you want to do from the couch.

Malvy
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re: Best Gaming Laptop for MMOs - Advice?

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Does anyone already have experience with the current ultrabooks? Like MS surface 2 pro, or Lenovo Yoga 2? Are these suitable for LotRO and other current games, video etc?

I know that these are rather small (display-wise), but that is the point. Be able to carry it around and at least have access to the game world when on travel.



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Albertine_Courserrim
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re: Best Gaming Laptop for MMOs - Advice?

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Cheerp - sounds obvious, but check whether the models you're looking at have DVD-Rom drives. I just assumed they come as standard, but they leave them off some of the smaller models to make them smaller and lighter. Not a problem if you exclusively download games, but if you occasionally buy hard copies or have legacy titles you still like to play from time to time it could be annoying.



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Malvy
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re: Best Gaming Laptop for MMOs - Advice?

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They both don't have CD/DVD. I do not expect these anymore, as most of the content you need is download nowadays. I might get an USB DVD drive if needed, or just net-mount a drive on the normal PC (if possible).

What bothers me more is that at least the Lenovo even has no LAN cable, only Wifi. Should be ok, but you know, sometimes I feel better with a cable as backup. Old-school, maybe.



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Briallan
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re: Best Gaming Laptop for MMOs - Advice?

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Our various laptops have LAN ports and honestly I can't remember the last time I used them :) I am trying to think of a case where I would have needed one and can't think of anything. Asked my dad (who is in software development business) and he thought of one IT situation involving corporate password expiration/resets where you needed a cable connection .. but it wouldn't apply to a machine for personal use only.



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