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01-31-2011   #1 (permalink)
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Default Notebook or desktop?

Money has been slowly but steadily accumulating on my bank account, so I decided it's time to spend some on a PC upgrade. The thing is, I can't decide what should I get - a notebook, desktop + a cheaper notebook or just forget the notebook idea altogether and go with a beastly stationary PC that will last me a long time.

First of all, I need a computer that is able to run some upcoming games smoothly. Especially D3 and GW2 have caught my eye in the MMORPG department. Then again, I could use a notebook to bring with me to uni, considering the PCs we get to use there are all slow pieces of crap and I'm basically the only person in my group that doesn't have her own notebook. Sometimes that causes problems when our professors tell us to install some software and I have to either use VirtualPC or try to squeeze it on my memory stick. Not to mention I could use it to play some games through boring lectures. *cough*

The problem are my funds, which are limited, me being a poor student and all. I only have around 1500$ to spend on the PC (there's a possibility I could spend 100$ - 200$ more, but not much more than that). Would it be enough to get a good gaming laptop, or should I rather invest in a desktop and use the remains to get a cheap, easy to carry around notebook? Heck, maybe even a netbook would do, as long as it can run Excel, MS Word and some fancier stuff like MathCAD, MySQL and Visual Studio smoothly. That would mean no gaming at uni for me, but I could live without it, I guess...

Then again, the ability to lay on a sofa or in bed, playing games, browsing sites, lurking forums... It just FEELS GOOD MAN. And I could use it with my older desktop to dual box in some games, kekeke.

tl;dr new desktop + cheap notebook OR gaming notebook OR gaming desktop + crappy school PCs forever; budget is 1500$ - 1700$; hardware tips welcome
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01-31-2011   #2 (permalink)
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My opinion:

Build your own desktop, and buy a netbook. If you shop around you can build a decent (read: plays basically every game ffffing well) desktop for around $1200 or so. For buying computer parts online, I recommend Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, LED LCD TV, Digital Cameras and more!

If you buy from a store, your best bet is either a specialty store or Best Buy. I loathe Best Buy, but they do tend to have the shit you need.

And you can get a good (read: gets the job done) netbook for like $200 if you keep your eyes out for deals. My buddies got some from our college bookstore for $100 during a special sale, so you really have to watch. And I mean, netbooks work just fine, you can net-surf and take notes and stuff without trouble.
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01-31-2011   #3 (permalink)
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I'll suggest specific parts. I strongly suggest you get a BEASTLY desktop and an AWESOME netbook. You picked the perfect time to go shopping. =) You will need to put quite a bit of effort into this to make it happen though. I will suggest parts, you will find the lowest price possible.

Let's start with the netbook. They aren't what they used to be anymore. These little guys have quite a lot of horsepower for their price. Surfing the net... na not good enough. Running word, excel etc... na not good enough. Playing 1080p video... too easy. Gaming, easy.

Netbook - Price ~$250 including tax. - BestBuy will have these. I don't know any other place to buy them.
Acer AspireOne 10.1" with a AMD C-50.
The new series from AMD is an APU. This is a single chip with a graphics processor and CPU on it. The C-50 is a dual core @ 1ghz. This is godly for a netbook already, but it also has a dedicated video card due to the new chipset. What does this mean? Cheap netbook with possible gaming capabilities, but definite 1080p video playback. It should be able to handle CAD programs. My current netbook can handle CAD easily. For current gen netbooks, avoid intel at all cost. Intel Atom dual core is not comparable to AMD's Ontario.

Desktop - ~$1200 Including tax (Assuming you have a monitor, keyboard and mouse.) Newegg.com should provide you with decent parts. I don't know any other site for the US.
i5 2500k (~$200)
P67 Motherboard for LGA1155 (~$150)
GTX 560 Ti (~$250)
4GB DDR3-2000 (~$100)
60GB SSD (~$100)
1TB HDD (~$100)
600-750W Powersupply (~$200)
Aftermarket Heatsink for CPU (~$100)

Spend some time and overclock the i5-2500k. It can handle 4.5ghz easily with great temps. If you get a GTX560 Ti Twin Frozr II, it can easily overclock to 1ghz with reasonable temps. You need a decent power supply, don't cheap out. Build this desktop, it should be pretty kick ass.

I recently build a rig with the old intel chipset and gtx 460s. My dad wanted it so I let him have that. My current build looks very similar to what I suggested, except I have a i7-2600k with GTX 560 Ti in SLI.
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Last edited by Shugi; 01-31-2011 at 10:51 PM.
 
02-01-2011   #4 (permalink)
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You won't need to overkill to play the upcoming games. If my little cousins rig can handle FFXIV on high with crappy specs then GW2 and etc shouldn't be an issue. It was cheap too so it was around...$550 with deals.

His rig
Phenom II X4 3.0ghz stock
Radeon HD 5770
ASUS 785G mobo
6GB DDR2 667 MHZ

You COULD get both desktop/laptops but it depends on how long you want to maintain the performance to time ratio

edit: you can build an full gaming rig with $750 that can run everything you mentioned on high settings. that's including OS and no deals. Note we're going by USD so we have no clue how it'll convert to Polish currency.

Last edited by Henreh; 02-01-2011 at 04:28 AM.
 
02-01-2011   #5 (permalink)
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My friend plays WoW on pretty much max settings on this computer, it's an ended auction on eBay but `-` just throwing this out there.

ASUS G50VT 15.6" HD GAMING 4GB HDMI WIFI NVIDIA DVDRW - eBay (item 170574530356 end time Jan-27-11 12:11:27 PST)

Quote:
The Asus G50Vt is a 15.6-inch HD display hardcore gaming laptop. This pc laptop delivers efficient and rapid computing operations and smooth graphics. The Asus G50Vt features several hotkeys that take you through different applications through a simple click of the designated button. This gaming laptop delivers in-game notification via email or messenger using the Asus Direct Messenger Keyboard display, a designated gaming keyboard featuring marked control keys and also cool flashing sidelights that enhance your gaming experience. The Asus G50Vt features the exclusive mini-OS that powers up almost immediately and has amazing features like Face Recognition Technology. Enjoy high fidelity acoustics with its Altec Lansing speakers and Dolby Home Theater audio and stunning image quality with its Video Enhancement Technology with this pc laptop.
I'm no computer wiz, but my friend uses this for both school and gaming and all of my friends were recommended it to another friend of mine advertising it as a fairly cheap but very good laptop. Dunno how USD translates into Polish currency but if it translates alright you can prob get an Asus and a netbook.
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02-01-2011   #6 (permalink)
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The G50VT is a little outdated, everyone I know who owned one has switched by now. Also WoW doesn't require a very powerful system to run it at max settings. I personally don't consider it a benchmark at all.
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02-04-2011   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advices everyone. I've decided to go with a netbook and save some more money for buying a decent desktop later on. No need to hurry, it doesn't seem like any of the games that interest me are coming out anytime soon, a month or 2 won't kill me. Even though my old desktop is already... Malfunctioning a bit.

Gaming laptops are not only horribly overpriced here (I've seen Alienware Mx15 sold for as much as 4500$ here, lolololNO) in comparison to desktops with similar power, they are also heavy as bricks, which would tire me out quick or at least annoy me. So yeah, netbook it is.

That Acer with AMD C-50 did seem interesting at first... Till I found out it's not gonna be sold in Europe anytime soon. After qq-ing for a bit I've come across this baby here: Toshiba NB550D. Seems pretty similar to Acer, and should be available for purchase in Europe soon enough. Hopefully the price is going to be reasonable. I'm not paying over 650$ for a netbook, nuh uh.

Keeping that in mind, are there any other netbook models I should take a look at? All I want is good performance, maybe even the ability to run some older games. *cough WoW? cough*
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02-04-2011   #8 (permalink)
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C-50 isn't meant for heavy gaming.
It is only good for light gaming and heavy browsing and HD content.

Editorial: The rise of the notbook, the fall of the netbook -- Engadget <-- this might help
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02-04-2011   #9 (permalink)
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None of us meant for you to game on a netbook. We meant for you to be able to still do everything you want on the go without sacrificing a huge amount of performance. It can handle many games, but the GPU still won't be powerful enough.

I have a netbook with a Athlon II Neo K at 1.7ghz with a 4225. I can game, but any game that came out recently will not work.
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02-05-2011   #10 (permalink)
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Obviously I didn't mean to run any recent games on highest details, but some older ones should work just fine. Either slide them down to minimum or grab an oldschool classic. Ta-da, now you have a game to play while you're away from home and bored. For everything else, there's Mastercard desktop.
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02-05-2011   #11 (permalink)
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