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Discussion Starter #1
My desktop system is vintage 2003, lol, AMD Athlon XP 3000+, 1 gig RAM, 100gig hard drive, ATI 9600XT AGP 256mb vidcard, Sound Blaster Audigy 2.

So, I'm about to ditch it and get a laptop probably a 17"+ desktop replacement type since portability is not high on my list.

Price limit "about" $1000.

Here's a couple contenders:

HP DV7-2270us, 2.0Ghz Intel Q9000 quad core CPU & ATI 4650 vidcard, 7200rpm 500gig drive, $1049:

Newegg.com - HP Pavilion dv7-2270us NoteBook Intel Core 2 Quad Q9000(2.00GHz) 17.3" 4GB Memory 500GB HDD 7200rpm DVD Super Multi ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650 - Laptops / Notebooks

Gateway P7908u-FX, 2.53Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU & nVidia 260M GTX vidcard, 5400rpm 500gig drive, $999:

Newegg.com - Gateway P-7908u FX Edition NoteBook Intel Core 2 Duo P8700(2.53GHz) 17.0" Wide XGA+ 4GB Memory DDR3 1066 500GB HDD 5400rpm DVD Super Multi NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M - Laptops / Notebooks


I am not a huge gamer excpet I want to start playing Call of Duty 4 (old I know but I never got to play it) and I want Microsoft Flight Sim X to run like butter with all or most graphical settings maxed. Flight Sim X performance is more important to me than COD performance, since I am more into that (out of currency licensed private pilot ~ 180hrs logged). Even though I don't fly real airplane lately, messing around with MS FSX helps me to not forget everything.

The gateway has the stronger video card, on nVidia'ssite they state the 260M has a 256bit memory bus. The ATI has a 128bit memory bus. But FSX,with the patch, is coded to use four cores if they are available and so I'm on the fence as to whether FSX might perform better on the HP quad core even with the weaker ATI video card due to the four CPU cores. Other games or apps, I realize may only use two cores and in such a case the Gateway laptop would clearly be the fastest.
 

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For gaming I lean toward the stronger GPU in the Gateway. Some will argue that the HDD RPM favors the HP (and it does) but once your games and apps are running there isn't a whole lot of drive activity anyway except for level loads. Plus, a hard drive upgrade is much cheaper and easier (hardware-wise) than trying to find an upgrade GPU. If you think you'll need the extra CPU grunt for other apps then that's a big plus for the HP. But if the desire for power comes just from gaming, the Gateway should be good for at least a few years.

To extend the useful gaming life on my rig, I've been hitting up Good Old Games to buy completely legal (they work with the publishers to get old titles) DRM-free classics for cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah,I was leaning toward the Gateway, but the four cores of the HP keeps tempting me. I can swap out drives and re-image pretty easy, I use a Windows Vista/7 PE boot DVD with Norton Ghost32 on it, and this lets me reboot from DVD drive, use Norton to image the primary drive, then I swap in the new drive, boot from the DVD and copy the image onto the new drive. All the same data, new faster hard drive.
 

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Normally I would lean towards the better GPU as well, but it's tough to say because the quad core processor will perform a LOT better than the core 2 duo with apps that fully utilize it. Still, I don't know how much that would affect gaming performance and whether the core 2 would be a bottleneck at all.

On a side note, have you considered getting something smaller and adding a monitor? Keep an eye on a deals site like the Techbargains monitor category and you'll see some really nice deals every once in a while; monitors are getting better and cheaper all the time. That way you do get some portability, plus I would think a nice big monitor would provide a more immersive flight sim experience.
 

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Right, so I think I would leave the HDD RPM out of the equation and make the decision based on CPU vs GPU (given those stats listed and not knowing anything about the rest of the options on those rigs). My CPU requirements are low (Office-type apps, mostly) so GPU is normally king for me.
 

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From my personal experience (and I'm posting on such a computer right now), Gateway's customer service is like taking your Subaru Forester into a bakery and asking them to tune it up. :)

That said, I'd go with the HP if I had to choose. However, I'd rather have a QX9300 and a 280m instead of a Q9000 and ATI Mobility 4650. =\
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm not sure what I was thinking,but the Gateway is @ $1149 on Newegg. I swear I thought it was $999... but I've been looking at SO MANY laptops online I must have had a brain cramp. This development does tilt the needle towards the HP at this point... since Amazon has the HP quad core for $974 after rebate w/ free shipping, that puts the Gateway almost $200 higher.
 

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Do you really need a laptop? Sounds like you would be getting a desktop replacement...if that is the case, I would highly recommend a Dell Studio XPS 9000. Much better bang for the buck and so much better for gaming. My dad just picked up a new one with i7-920 chip, 1GB Nvidia G-force GTS 240 card, 16GB RAM, and Win 7 64Bit. Of course he got his for running complex algorithms but it is killer for games :icon_wink:
 

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Alienware, from what I've read and heard, is a glorified version of iBuyPower.com except Alienware has some of the more "better" stuff (depending on how you look at it). AND you don't have to deal with iBuyPower's bad customer service let alone all of their bad quirks.

Have you looked at sagernotebook.com, Lone?

On a side note, I'm still looking for a laptop that can do what I want it to do without turning into a vacuum cleaner, especially during class. That might still be a ways off though. =\
 

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Will, What is a Studio XPS 9000?

I think the only current model lineups are the XPS 13 (what I'm using now), and the XPS 16 (what I hope to replace mine with).

The 13 is mediocre for gaming. I can play COD - Modern Warfare with the P8700 C2D and the Nvidia 9500M, and it plays alright. I also have 8GB of RAM, which helps everything. Still, it tends to slow down at points of high definition in COD - WAW.

The 16, with it's i7 and 1GB GPU memory would blow my 13 out of the water. But that comes at the cost of added size and weight.

I've heard nothing but good things about Sager... except their cost.
 

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Have you though about a refurbished laptop or are you stuck on new? Im cheap and got a nice refurbished for my girl. Bairly paid $300 for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I looked at sager.com. Seems overpiced, but then again they offer the extra speed things like 1333mhz RAM and potential for RAID, but then again I don'tthink I need THAT much punch. I won't consider Dell. No offense to any Dell fans, but they are steaming piles of crap lately. At work we have about 50 Dell E5400 laptops and Dell OptiPlex 755 and 960 desktop PC's, as well as 33 Dell XFR D630 fully ruggedized mil-spec laptops. They all have problem after problem. Bad hard drives, boot black screen lockups, bad touchscreens (on the XFR's), parts falling off (stylus holder on the XFR's), and they're slooooow even though they're all 2 gig RAM and running XP Pro. The XFR is supposed to compete with the Panasonic Toughbook, but its no contest-- the Panny is a much more reliable unit. The 2002 purchase Panasonic CF-28's that were replaced by the 33 Dell XFR's were in the field (police patrol 24/7) 6 yrs with hardly any problems, and these XFR POS's are less than a year in service and experiencing failures left and right. The other half of our field ruggedized's is Panasonic CF-29's of which we have about 40 that will remain in service until 2011, and they have been very reliable as well.

Lol, sorry for the Dell rant.

Looked at the HP DV7-2270us at local HHGregg yesterday. However, all they had in stock was an open box one, the box was mangled from apparent rough handling in shipping, and they would not discount it from being open-box item. The display unit was nice though. After googling HHGregg,though, doesn't surprise me-- lot of complaints for poor service accross the board.

Frye's is selling a version of that killer 17" Gateway notebook, but with a GeForce 9800M GTS videocard instead of the 260M, but for $899. Problem is its not available for shipping and the nearest Frye's store location is 3 hr drive each way.

Still, the thrill of the hunt is a blast and I love searching!
 

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I looked at sager.com. Seems overpiced, but then again they offer the extra speed things like 1333mhz RAM and potential for RAID, but then again I don'tthink I need THAT much punch. I won't consider Dell. No offense to any Dell fans, but they are steaming piles of crap lately. At work we have about 50 Dell E5400 laptops and Dell OptiPlex 755 and 960 desktop PC's, as well as 33 Dell XFR D630 fully ruggedized mil-spec laptops. They all have problem after problem. Bad hard drives, boot black screen lockups, bad touchscreens (on the XFR's), parts falling off (stylus holder on the XFR's), and they're slooooow even though they're all 2 gig RAM and running XP Pro. The XFR is supposed to compete with the Panasonic Toughbook, but its no contest-- the Panny is a much more reliable unit. The 2002 purchase Panasonic CF-28's that were replaced by the 33 Dell XFR's were in the field (police patrol 24/7) 6 yrs with hardly any problems, and these XFR POS's are less than a year in service and experiencing failures left and right. The other half of our field ruggedized's is Panasonic CF-29's of which we have about 40 that will remain in service until 2011, and they have been very reliable as well.

Lol, sorry for the Dell rant.

Looked at the HP DV7-2270us at local HHGregg yesterday. However, all they had in stock was an open box one, the box was mangled from apparent rough handling in shipping, and they would not discount it from being open-box item. The display unit was nice though. After googling HHGregg,though, doesn't surprise me-- lot of complaints for poor service accross the board.

Frye's is selling a version of that killer 17" Gateway notebook, but with a GeForce 9800M GTS videocard instead of the 260M, but for $899. Problem is its not available for shipping and the nearest Frye's store location is 3 hr drive each way.

Still, the thrill of the hunt is a blast and I love searching!
I'd agree about the dell, and I feel about the same toward gateway. They've been steaming piles of poop for a while, I'd never ever touch a gateway/compaq. HP has been making some nice machines lately, my buddy picked up one of the cheap ~$500 ones (high end processor, but cheaped out on video card) for a test machine, and its been great aside from issues with the OEM win 7 install.

I'd go for an HP, and get the highest end video card you can afford. Thats going to make the biggest difference long term, especially since it isn't upgradeable. Any of the newer dual or quads are good, most programs won't take advantage of the quadcore however, so I would put priority on the video card and actual CPU speed (i'd go for a 2.4ghz or higher, if you get a 2ghz quad and the app only runs on 2 cores, you're going to end up with a slower machine anyway!). Make sure you stay away from the intel integrated video cards, they're fine for everyday media use, but terrible for any sort of gaming (the one built into my laptop is specifically noted on most game packages to be unsupported, even though its relatively new, and the machines a 2.4 core2duo)

Also, if you don't mind lower battery life, I'd go for a 7200rpm hd. It makes a big difference loading stuff like textures, and also boot speed of the machine. The ultimate would be a ssd boot drive, and then a 7200rpm sata drive for storage.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yeah, the Intel GMA integrated video card that uses system RAM, is common on the laptops below about $700. You're right, it is crap for any serious 3D apps or games. I don't want to go lower than the ATI HD4650, but would prefer a videocard with 256bit memory bus, the HD4650 is only 128. nVidia has more GPU chips with 256 bit memory bus than ATI does. I found this excellent site that gives a summary run down and benchmarks on virtually all laptop videocards:

Notebookcheck: Comparison of Graphic Cards

I'd prefer a high end card that falls under Class 1 in their list, but at my price point may have to settle for a mid range Class 2 card.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Bought one

Well I bought the HP DV7-2270us Quad Core laptop. $1024.95 on Amazon.com with a $50 mail-in-rebate for net of $974.95 w/free 2 day shipping (Amazon Prime trial membership).

I must have looked at a hundred different configurations from various notebook makers... HP, Asus, Gateway, MSI, Sager, Toshiba, Sony, Lenovo. I looked at benchmarks for processors and notebook videocards here: PassMark Software - CPU Benchmark Charts and here: PassMark Software - Video Card Benchmark Charts and all in all the combo of the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9000 and ATI HD4650 w/ 1 gig discrete RAM that HP brought together in the 2270, along with its other components and specs could not be beat at the price offered.

It was tempting to shoot the lock completely off my wallet (credit card, lol) and go for a lappy w/ the newer Intel Core i7 720QM quad core processor, that thing is sweet, but 17" lappys dressed out with the i7 and a decent discrete videocard were running about $400 above this best price on the HP 2270 and I really needed to stay on budget.

Yes, 17" is going to be huge for a notebook,but the only mobility is going to be moving around to different rooms in the house or out on the deck, not packing it around offsite anywhere.

It will be kind of bitter-sweet when it arrives... Thrill of the new, but sad to retire my trusty old AMD Athlon XP 3000 (overclocked 2800+) that has served me for the last 6 and a half years. Okay, jk, its going to be awesome. :Banane36:
 

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Well I bought the HP DV7-2270us Quad Core laptop. $1024.95 on Amazon.com with a $50 mail-in-rebate for net of $974.95 w/free 2 day shipping (Amazon Prime trial membership).

I must have looked at a hundred different configurations from various notebook makers... HP, Asus, Gateway, MSI, Sager, Toshiba, Sony, Lenovo. I looked at benchmarks for processors and notebook videocards here: PassMark Software - CPU Benchmark Charts and here: PassMark Software - Video Card Benchmark Charts and all in all the combo of the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9000 and ATI HD4650 w/ 1 gig discrete RAM that HP brought together in the 2270, along with its other components and specs could not be beat at the price offered.

It was tempting to shoot the lock completely off my wallet (credit card, lol) and go for a lappy w/ the newer Intel Core i7 720QM quad core processor, that thing is sweet, but 17" lappys dressed out with the i7 and a decent discrete videocard were running about $400 above this best price on the HP 2270 and I really needed to stay on budget.

It will be kind of bitter-sweet when it arrives... Thrill of the new, but sad to retire my trusty old AMD Athlon XP 3000 (overclocked 2800+) that has served me for the last 6 and a half years. Okay, jk, its going to be awesome.
:mob: How DARE you retire an old laptop?! RAWR! LET'S HANG HIM! :chair:

Lol, just make sure you don't throw away old computers that still work though. You never know if you'll end up with a new yet BITTER lemon/lime. :raspberry:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
P.S. In case anyone wonders about the i7 720QM (which I didn't get,lol), it has Hyperthreading... that puppy can run two threads per core! When you expand the Processor entry in Device Manager on a Core i7 system it shows EIGHT processors! :huh: four cores x 2 threads per core. Insane. :crazy:

Just thought I'd add that little nugget about the Core i7 series. So cool. :cool:
 
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