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JCC Looking to buy a new laptop this weekend.. what should I get?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ghost, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    The laptop I'm on now is about 6 years old, the motherdrive is about to go on me again, the battery no longer works, the screen has this weird bright "splash" effect on the bottom-right corner, it's physically breaking down, and it's no longer running that fast even after all the different tune-up's I run every week. (I'm glad I've saved everything on flash drives and on Carbonite)

    I think it's time a for a new computer!

    I want to have no trouble playing games like Civilization, the new Sim City about to come out, the Sims, Age of Empires, Lord of the Rings Online, and maybe The Old Republic once it goes free. And still compatible with old, classic games like Civilization II, Test of Time, Alpha Centauri/Alien Crossfire, Sim City 3000 Unlimited, Age of Mythology, etc.

    I'd like to stick to Windows 7 and Microsoft Office, especially since I have to take another class on spreadsheets/Excel this semester, and do a few more Powerpoint presentations for my MBA classes. So something that works well with those progams.

    A decent webcam would be nice (this one doesn't have any), and something that's good with playing DVD's.

    Is there anything else a "modern" laptop should have? Any specs I should make sure it meets?

    I know the price tag can't go over $800, that's the max. Something around $500-700 would be much better too. Hopefully something that could last another 5 years for me. Anyone have any suggestions???
  2. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2001
    Someone will suggest a Mac. If your objective is to be seen with it, preferably in some trendy wi-fi hotspot cafe as you update a blog or work on the crucial sixth chapter of your novel (which will change everything), then sure - go a Mac. It will be fun to defend their patent suit bullying of Samsung as consister with the indie beliefs of it's self-righteous userbase.

    Since you want to play games, however, you can ignore this sageless advice to get an Apple. A desktop gaming machine will always be better but if you're set on a laptop, squeeze the budget and maybe look at a Toshiba Satellite based on the combination of hardware and affordability.
  3. ManaByte

    ManaByte Chosen One star 5

    Aug 20, 1998
    I'd say to still get a Mac. Most of those games are on the Mac, except for TOR, and MS Office is available for it. Better OS than Win7 by far.
  4. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

    May 4, 2003
    Do not get a Mac. Those people are completely without conscience. They will even lie to your family members about important issues, and go home and laugh about it later. They are cruel, uncaring advocates for ineffective, worthless machinery.
  5. mrsvos

    mrsvos Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 18, 2005
    My spaz is happy with her Assus.
  6. mrsvos

    mrsvos Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 18, 2005
    And she gave me her old laptop with Ubutnu.m.
  7. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    I don't have the money to go shopping for new Mac CD's for all my classic games :p

    Nevermind the price
  8. Rox

    Rox Administrator Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 24, 2000
    A Mac isn't even in his price range. So no point in debating it. The Toshiba satellite series is right in your price range and you could be in one for about 599 at best buy.
    Darth-Ghost likes this.
  9. Darth Guy

    Darth Guy Chosen One star 10

    Aug 16, 2002
    $800 limit, which is at least a couple hundred lower than any new Macbook as far as I know. lol, overpriced hardware.
    Mar17swgirl and Darth-Ghost like this.
  10. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    Ok, I'll look into the Toshiba Satellite, thanks guys!

    Any other suggestions?
  11. Lowbacca_1977

    Lowbacca_1977 Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Jun 28, 2006
    To focus money on the laptop.... if you don't need Microsoft specifically, I'd recommend OpenOffice. I switched to it when I got my laptop and haven't looked back.
    solojones, Darth-Ghost and Souderwan like this.
  12. Platelet

    Platelet Jedi Knight star 2

    Sep 2, 2012
    Thinkpads are pretty solid computers, though they're going to run pretty close to your price limit, depending on the model and what kind of upgrades you need.

    One thing to keep in mind, there are some classic computer games that aren't compatible with x64-bit computers. I have no idea what that even means, but I've been unable to run some of my older games. Also, you can get pretty decent webcams on amazon for $5-20. Not as convenient, but probably cheaper than an upgrade if it doesn't automatically come with the laptop.
    Darth-Ghost likes this.
  13. GrandAdmiralJello

    GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin ❉ Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Nov 28, 2000
    Or you can get a free beta copy of Office 2013 (aka Office 365). But then I like running beta software and OSes on my laptop :p
  14. jp-30

    jp-30 Manager Emeritus star 10 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Dec 14, 2000
    Once a classic, always a classic. Huge library of games, too.

  15. Souderwan

    Souderwan Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Jun 3, 2005
    I think it's awesome how you can expect to get so much performance for so little cost. I remember my first laptop costing like almost 3 times what I paid for the one I'm using now and this one is 10 times better.
    Darth-Ghost likes this.
  16. Falcon

    Falcon Chosen One star 10

    Feb 7, 2002
    Anything but Toshiba, saw so many compaints about those computers up right there with samsung and acer is hit and miss.
    HP maybe

    Love my lenovo, been four months since I bought mine and those will be in your price range for sure :) used to be IBM think pads

    I managed to get this one for 350. dual core 2.20 ghz nothing too fancy but gets the job done
    Darth-Ghost likes this.
  17. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2001

    (Samsung are the evil ones here guys, I mean, come on)
  18. ZanderSolo

    ZanderSolo Jedi Master star 4

    May 18, 2007
    Honestly, if you want it to have no issues playing upcoming games, you are not going to find one for $800. I just looked around the past few weeks for moderately good component laptops with regards to CPU/Gfx card and RAM. Your looking at about a grand before tax.

    The previous suggestions of Ideapads/Thinkpads/Lenovo are great ones. The deal i ended up going with was an Ideapad Y580- The ones Lenovo designs to be able to handle gaming. Currently they have severe pricing discounts on those models as well (I took the 3rd option which was discounted about 33%). Good new-ish CPU, moderately good new GFX card, and 8g RAM. Those are essentially the standards your looking for. Everything else is icing.

    They have a $850 model currently that is closer to your price range, but the older CPU will run things like MMO's and RTS games slower than what you probably want as there is so much to be processed at once.

    Lenovo gaming laptops:

    Edit: I've read that Lenovo's are rather low quality with their 13XX resolution screens, but awesome on their 1920's, which is why I chose the more expensive version. Just as an FYI.
    Darth-Ghost likes this.
  19. Obi-Zahn Kenobi

    Obi-Zahn Kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Aug 23, 1999 is a great website for these sorts of resources.

    I'm a huge nerd (obviously, I post here) but am really into PC laptop hardware. You're wanting something with decent graphics capability. This doesn't come cheap.

    This laptop, for example, is a solid choice. It has an Ivy Bridge i5 - a solid processor, with Intel HD 4000 graphics. "Intel HD xxxx" is their way of described integrated graphics that are processed through the CPU and use system memory. As processors have gotten faster and so has memory, it's been more feasible for a computer to have integrated graphics that work well - Intel HD 4000 is honestly quite remarkable and can run modern games at low settings.

    For Civilization, this will be good because of a higher resolution (1600x900 as opposed to a more standard 1366x768).

    But a higher resolution means that playing games will tax the computer more unless you play them at a non-native resolution (which looks like crap).

    If you want SERIOUS gaming ability you'll need a dedicated GPU, but from the list of games you had and the likely fact that you won't mind running them at lower settings, I don't think it'll be a problem as long as you get a serious processor.

    One way that you can seriously bump up the speed of a laptop is with an SSD or a hybrid drive. This is a hybrid drive that stores the files you access most (like system start up files, files from your most played games, commonly used utilities like MS Office) and drops loading times immensely. An SSD would just make it all readily accessible, but they're still in the dollar range per gigabyte (expensive).

    Ultrabooks are nice - they're much smaller and get excellent battery life because they undervolt the processors and make them much less powerful. For that reason I think you'll want a standard laptop.

    This one is bigger than the other laptop (a real turn-off for me. I like slim and sexy computers), but has a better processor and a dedicated graphics card.

    If you want things more in your budget I can suggest, but I'm going to push the edge of your budget to get you the most gaming power you can.

    This one is a lot cheaper but has an older Intel Core i5.

    Your gaming needs are not very strenuous so don't be fooled into thinking you need a high powered graphics card.
  20. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    May 25, 2002
    Have you tried running those games using Compatibility Mode? I've got a solitaire suite running on Win 7 64-bit that was designed to run with Win 95. (It's been installed on every PC I've owned so far with success, from 95 to XP to Win 7 64 bit).
  21. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 6, 2001
  22. Only-One Cannoli

    Only-One Cannoli Ex-Mod star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 20, 2003
    I skipped most of the posts here, but for that price range and for what you want to do, I'd just say get a desktop. I know you want a laptop, but the realistic and honest answer to that is that there's no laptop that's going to last you very long for that price and play all those games without having issues too soon and you'll just have to replace it again relatively fast, so why not just save yourself hundreds of dollars? Personally I don't see the point of dropping $800 on something that's going to last you 5ish years when you could get something that could last you more if you just properly put money in.

    edit: Also I work mostly on PCs, but you people shouldn't knock macs. It just makes you sound like absolutists who have no understanding of computers.
  23. SithLordDarthRichie

    SithLordDarthRichie CR Emeritus: London star 9

    Oct 3, 2003
    Acer tend to do cheap decent laptops, I know a few people with that brand and they work well.

    If you want to do some gaming, you'll need a decent graphics card.
    Most RAM now is 4GB minimum and that is usually enugh run games (I play TOR and only have 4GB of RAM), plus most are at least dual core. I have a 2.9ghz dual-core desktop an it easily plays TOR and other games I have on Steam, shouldn't be that hard to get a laptop with similar specs for around the price you want. The advantage of a PC though is I can upgrade parts if they are behind what I need, never tried it with a laptop but I would assume it's harder to do.

    Macs are good if you like to do editing, but they aren't really for gaming and are stupidly over-priced for what they are.
  24. Mar17swgirl

    Mar17swgirl Force Ghost star 7

    Dec 26, 2000
    I agree with Richie, Acer laptops generally have a pretty good parameters/price ratio. The batteries tend to go to hell fairly quickly, though - I've had my current laptop (Acer Aspire 6530) for over 3 years now, and the battery life at fully charged went down from the original 3.5 hours to a little over 1 hour. That's not a huge deal, though, as I use it mostly as a desktop, but I am thinking about replacing it with a combination of a desktop for main use and a lightweight mini-laptop for traveling/mobile work.
  25. Only-One Cannoli

    Only-One Cannoli Ex-Mod star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Aug 20, 2003

    Actually they're perfectly fine for gaming, provided the games run on them, which the majority do nowadays. You just have to know where to look. Or you could just bootcamp.