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joncrap

Decent gaming laptop

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After a good amount of research, I think this is the system I'm going to go with, but I would like some input. It's over my price range(wanted under 2000), but oh well. I picked a brand spanking new 45nm Penryn Intel processor. There's not much info on them yet so we'll see how that works out.

 

The only thing I'm really worried about is the vid card. I've heard the 8600M/8700M GTs are weak for any DX10 game so that's why I went with the 7950 GTX. Would I be better off waiting for a bit and picking up one with a better DX10 capable vid card?

 

Anyone have any other criticisms about this notebook? Is it worth the price of $2,250? I've never bought a Sager before, but I've heard good things. Thanks for the help.

 

- Display: 17" Wide Viewing Angles WUXGA LCD with Super Glossy Surface (1920 x 1200)[+$145.00]

- Processor: 45nm Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor T9300 / 6MB L2 Cache, 2.50GHz, 800MHz FSB[+$140.00]

- Video & Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GO 7950 GTX Graphics with 512MB DDR3 Video Memory

- Operating System: Genuine MS Windows® VISTA Home Premium 32/64-Bit Edition

- Memory: 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz - 2 X 1024MB[+$55.00]

- Primary Hard Disk Drive: 200GB 7200rpm SATA 300 Hard Drive[+$165.00]

- Optical Drive: 8X DVD±R/RW/4X +DL Super-Multi Drive & Software

- Wireless Network Card: Intel PRO/Wireless 4965AGN - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module

- Bluetooth: Internal Bluetooth Module

- Intel Robson Technology: Intel 1GB TurboMemory Module[+$35.00]

- Primary Battery: Smart Li-ION Battery Pack

- Integrated Security Device: Fingerprint Reader

- Warranty: Sager One Year Standard Warranty

- Carrying Bag: Standard Carrying Bag

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absolutely need a Penryn cpu? ANY Core2 cpu will do just fine. You do NOT need the most expensive cpu.

 

the 7950GTX is going to run a good bit of money. DX10 gaming...is a joke at this point, and will be for 3-5 more years, longer than you'll probably have this laptop. Why? Because DX10 games perform worse than DX9 yet look no better, but more importantly, Vista has less than 15% penetration rate a year after release, which means that 85% of the world (America at least, probably higher in most other countries) still uses an OS that is DX9, mostly WinXP at that.

 

The 8600GT onboard graphics are very good. NOT A SINGLE GPU IS GOOD AT DX10 RIGHT NOW. That's the honest truth. Why? Because there are no NATIVE DX10 games that I can think of (no, not even Crysis), and there won't be for...3-5 years I'm sure (and even if there are, they will ALL have to be DX9 compatible for a few years because again, why would a game developer lock out 85%+ of their potential customer base that doesn't have Vista/DX10???).

 

Then on top of that, for DX10, you need Vista, and Vista is still very weak compared to XP's maturity and performance on the same exact hardware. Even if SP1 for Vista makes it run better, it still won't outperform XP. I've helped 4 customers since December pick out laptops, and every last one of them I've ordered with Windows XP, NOT Vista. There's a reason for this (as laptops are used for more than just gaming, and let's be honest, gaming on Vista isn't as smooth and as high-performing as it is on XP).

 

2GB RAM is definitely the only way to go.

 

So that basically leaves it down to the mfg you've chosen. In all my years of being into computers and fixing them, networking them, buying them for residential and corporate customers, etc, I've never once even heard of the name "Sager".

 

I personally prefer the HP DV9000 series laptops. A lot cheaper, better overall support (I mean, let's look at HP's volume of sales vs Sager, whoever they are, and then decide who the major hardware mfg's like Intel, Nvidia, Seagate, Micron, etc that supply the hardware to make the laptops, are going to favor when it comes to fixes, updates, etc...).

 

I've worked on a good number of DV9000 series laptops (not because they've broken, but because professional hockey players as well as professionals like lawyers, doctors, etc love to get them infected with pornography and viruses), as well as a zillion Dell, Compaq (junk), Toshiba (ultimate junk), etc laptops, and the HP DV9000 series laps are VERY good, and very reliable.

 

Save yourself some money. Even if you go to Dell and configure nearly the same laptop but with the 8600 video, you are looking at about 1/2 the cost of this Sager thing (I configured a Vostro 1520 business laptop with 2GB RAM, Windows XP, 8600GT onboard graphics, etc for right around $1100, and then used a Dell coupon code to get $300 off, so with free shipping, the total came out to $952.59).

 

Includes a Swiss carry case AND 2-year on-site warranty from Dell. Can't be beat...and Dell's support is going to be as good if not better than HP's. I'm pissed at Dell for not honoring our banner clicks that have led to at least 6 laptop sales, so we've dropped them as an advertiser, but that doesn't mean I don't think they and HP are the best laptops on the market.

 

I just can't see spending more than $1200 total for any laptop. Laptops break down a lot. All the miniaturization + closed space = heat breakdown an awful lot (and rarely from the cpu, especially Core2 mobiles...mostly from everything else from hdd's to motherboards etc).

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Sager is a reseller for Clevo and you will probably get the identical laptop as Alienware for a lot less money. Clevo and Compal make excellent laptops and they make many company's laptops. I don't think you can go wrong. Sager will always fix it if something goes wrong and they expect people to somewhat customize them so you won't void the warranty by touching it.

 

You could save a few bucks by buying from someone like

http://www.powernotebooks.com/

http://www.xoticpc.com/

if you want to do your own OS and pay cash. These two vendors are very good. They will be there to help if you have any trouble as well. But you can always go to Sager for repair and support even if you buy from these other vendors. I have had 3 Sagers and found them to be high quality and well supported. They always seem to have the high test units that others either don't have or are charging considerably more for similar.

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absolutely need a Penryn cpu? ANY Core2 cpu will do just fine. You do NOT need the most expensive cpu.

 

It was only a bit more than the regular core 2 proc I was gonna get anyways. I figured since it uses less energy and produces less heat it would be better for a laptop. I never buy the most expensive anything...look at my sig :)

 

As for the 8600 on board video, what does this measure up to in a DX9 game? Which 7xxx is it on par with? I want to make sure this thing will run semi-new games at a decent framerate on native res. I've heard the 8600/8700 lack in data width so for higher resolutions they drop off pretty fast.

 

Thank you both for responding. Both were very helpful posts. I love that you can order without an OS from those links. I wish more companies gave you that option.

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If you really want something that will run semi-new to new games with zero issues, spend half the amount you are looking at and get a desktop with a good 8xxx video card.

 

Laptops, no matter how expensive they are, will NEVER be gaming machines. I used to think I wanted a laptop for gaming too...but I know better now =/

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Go Sager and never look back my friend.

http://forum.notebookreview.com/forumdisplay.php?f=1017

People are talking without going to the sites and comparing apples to apples.

I don't know if I would choose the same config as you have listed though.

 

Hey if you want a cheap 8600gs 256 get an Everex xt5300t $799 from NewEgg with beautiful 17" and room for 2HD. Crappy support can make things interesting. Run XP on it and life is good.

 

As to HP here is DV9700 for $2133 and you get an 8600GS (how does that compare to 7950????). It is just not true that you can find these big name units configured equally for even the same money.

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People are talking without going to the sites and comparing apples to apples.

 

As to HP here is DV9700 for $2133

 

wow, talk about "people talking without going to sites and comparing apples to apples", you are in fact guilty of this as well.

 

You've done what people like Fox News and others do, choose your own 'facts' to present.

 

There are many more options out there in the HP DV9000 series, but you've conveniently picked the most expensive one to compare to a very inexpensive Sager.

 

Not sure I could really trust your words anymore than you can mine now.

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wow, talk about "people talking without going to sites and comparing apples to apples", you are in fact guilty of this as well.

 

You've done what people like Fox News and others do, choose your own 'facts' to present.

 

There are many more options out there in the HP DV9000 series, but you've conveniently picked the most expensive one to compare to a very inexpensive Sager.

 

Not sure I could really trust your words anymore than you can mine now.

 

I'm not sure I really disagree with Angry except for some of the general statements.

 

To generally say just go buy Dell or HP is not my position. Deals change from day to day. But for laptops with high end graphics, one usually pays more from Dell for example than from Sager. The dell deals seldom if ever exist on Dell's high end. Now if you are buying a laptop for your grandmother ... then buy a Dell.

 

Should a person even buy a high end graphics laptop (as in 7950, 8800, or sli something)? Not if money is important but if you just have to have a laptop ... In the 8600 vintage Sager is usually somewhat cheaper than Dell models. I don't value Dell's support over Sager so I save the money even if it is only a couple hundred bucks.

 

Available configurations are sometimes important. From XoticPC for example you can get some models with 1GB ram in 1 slot. With Dell you are selling the ram to upgrade or overpaying for Dell's ram offering. Sometimes XoticPC already has AS5 TIM on the CPU. Some already have N-wifi included. Everytime I start adding this stuff up Dell and HP end up to be more for me.

 

To compare with the Vostro Angry mentioned, from XoticPC you would use this link.. Comparing the Vostro 1520 to the laptop in the first post doesn't mean much. You would have to at least go to a Vostro 17xx.

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There was also a point in time when I gave the prospect of buying a high end gaming laptop a decent consideration, until logic lead me to build a desktop.

 

Laptops are designed for portability, so they contain scaled down desktop parts that are made for laptops. Hard drives were never designed with mobility in mind, which makes them a prime candidate for failure in laptops and mp3 players. I suppose thats a good bit of the reason why there is such a big backing of SSD technology for laptops and portable devices; although that would add $700+ to the price of the laptop while decreasing your storage capacity.

 

Laptops aimed at high end and gaming will be large, quite large, heavy, and have poor battery life; none of those aspects are desirable when regarding a mobile device.

 

So you get a high end gaming laptop that can play games for 35 minutes on battery, but you'll always have it plugged in so that doesn't really matter. It plays new games at high settings for a year or so, and before you know it, the $2500 toy can't even play new games at the native resolution with low settings. Electronics are bound to be outdated, its just part of what makes it so interesting.

 

Once your $2500 laptop isn't able to be used for gaming any more, its restricted to more mundane tasks like school work, web browsing, video playback etc, nothing too intensive. They're all fine uses for a laptop, especially since you can bring your laptop with you can work where you want to, but since you bought a 10lbs behemoth it is just as mobile as an xbox 360; sure you can easily unplug it and bring it to a friend's house, its just too big and awkward and not worth the hassle, so it stays on a desk in your living room.

 

Now that laptop is essentially a 'family' computer with slightly increased portability. Thats why I think gaming laptops as a whole are just a bad idea. They wont be portable, so when they're unable to play new games, you still wont want to use the laptop as a laptop since its too heavy, big, and has poor battery life. If you are still inclined to buy a laptop and use it for gaming, I highly suggest limiting yourself to one no larger than 15.4". That size laptop has an acceptable level of portability, wont be able to drive the fastest gfx card so it will have a useful amount of battery life (2-4 hours realistically), and when it cant play games it'll still be convenient to use for basic work on the go.

 

I bought a laptop with the intent of using it for school work, and some games, so I ended up with a nice 15.4" laptop with an 8600GT Mobility. The graphics card doesn't make the laptop unbearably hot, or severely limit the battery life. While I could probably squeeze an hour of counter strike: source on the battery, any time I would be playing that game I would have a mouse, a chair, and a table to use, and a power outlet within reach, so gaming battery life isn't too much of an issue there. Once my laptop wont be able to play any new games, it will still have its initial amount of portability and it will be a fine laptop for browsing the web in starbucks and checking or checking my email.

 

If your only intention is gaming, buy a desktop. If you're like the majority of us and spend most of your time staring at gaming benchmarks and various tech sites, think realistically and for the long term, that mobility 8800GTX is not going to load ms word 2007 any faster, so why endure its problems when it yields no benefits?

 

Hope that makes your decision a bit easier

--Fenix

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Just be aware that a gaming laptop won't really be a laptop. It's gonna be heavy, it's gonna be hot and your battery life is gonna last like a fat man at a triathlon. Also, when running on batteries the laptop takes a serious performance hit.

 

My brother just purchased a gaming laptop. Running the 1.8Ghz C2D mobile variant, 2gigs and 8700m video card. The screen is a 17" 1680X1050. Hot, noisy, heavy and louder than my desktop. Granted my desktop is fairly quiet, but even still his lappy sounds like a mini hurricane under load.

 

The 7950GTX was the most powerful mobile card until a couple months ago. Now the 8800m GTS and 8800m GTX hold that crown. The GTX TDP is 35W and I believe the 7950GTX is 45W, so you might want to look at the 8800 cards for performance and power consumption benefits. I'd say take the processor as low as possible as well. Anything to save on power man, I'm not kidding.

 

I'd say go for 1680X1050. Even though it's a "gaming" laptop, the components don't necessarily match desktop variants as you'd expect. The 7950GTX is comparable to a 7950GT desktop card. The 8700m is comparable to a 8600GT.

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But if you are a card carrying couch potato, you don't want to get caught sitting erect at a desk top. You could lose your membership.

 

I have to have something that will at least take a shot a gaming in the event I want to. But even those with 7600 or better and some kind of dual core will at least give a reasonable experience.

 

 

Take a look at this Gateway at BB with 8800. Ya I know, it's a Gateway but still. @1249

Reviews:

http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=4208

http://laptopcom.blogspot.com/2008/01/gate...-laptop-is.html

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