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OnTucsonTime2
03-09-2009, 12:17 PM
General Questions

1) What is your budget? $1000 to $2000 Where is the "sweet spot" with performance/price?

2) What size notebook would you prefer?
a. Ultraportable; 12" screen or less
b. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
c. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
d. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen

It must be a desktop replacement gaming machine, but that being said, I'm going to use a 24" monitor and external keyboard/mouse 90% of the time. If I could find a 13" with good enough guts to run the games I'd be ok with it.
3) What country are you buying this in? United States

4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like? Nothing comes to mind. I've had Dells and Compaqs as my last laptops, so anything you guys sell will probably be a step up.

5) What tasks will you be performing with the notebook? Burn music, Surfing, Gaming, Limited DVD ISO burning, Photoshop and Illustrator.

6) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places or leaving it on your desk? 90% of the time it will be on my desk using external monitor and keyboard.

7) Will you be playing games on it; if so, which games? Well, for some reason I've been playing Diablo 2 a whole lot...but that will run on anything. Others include L4D, GTA4, Halflife, Diablo 3 (When it comes out) I'd like to be able to play the newer games when they come out.

8) How many hours of battery life do you need? Battery life is not a huge issue, a couple hours should be more than enough.

9) Do you mind buying online without seeing the notebook in person? Not at all, as long as I feel secure with the company.

10) What OS do you prefer? (more details below) I've always preferred XP over Vista, but I'm not stuck on anything. It makes sense for me to make the move to Vista (64-bit I assume)
-Windows XP Home SP3
-Windows XP Pro SP3
-Windows Vista Home Premium 32-Bit or 64-Bit
-Windows Vista Business 32-Bit or 64-Bit
-Windows Vista Ultimate 32-Bit or 64-Bit
Screen Specifics

11) From the choices below, what screen resolutions would you prefer? (more details below)
Widescreen
d. WXGA or WXGA+ - 1280x768/800 or 1440x900; Wider viewing version of XGA, good for movie viewing or spreadsheets.
e. WSXGA+ - 1680x1050; Wider viewing version of SXGA, good for movie viewing or spreadsheets.
f. WUXGA - 1920x1200; Wider viewing version of UXGA, good for movie viewing or spreadsheets.

Not a huge deal either. I want the video card to be able to put out 1920x1080 to my monitor, and do it well.
12) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non glossy screen? Doesn't matter

Build Quality and Design

13) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you? I started to say it didn't matter at all, but I've seen some butt ugly orange flames on a laptop that I wouldn't own if they paid me. I'll take normal over "stylish" any day.

14) When are you buying this laptop and how long do you want this laptop to last? Until technology forces me to upgrade. My first laptop lasted me about 4 years, I haven't had my last one for a year yet. I'd prefer to get 3 or 4 years though.

Notebook Components

15) How much hard drive space do you want; 80GB, 160GB, 250GB, 320GB, 500GB, 1TB, or 1.5TB?
I like the idea of an SSD and another HD for space, but I don't think it makes sense yet. 250GB would probably do me just fine.

16) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a CDRW/DVD-ROM, CD/DVD Burner or Blu-Ray drive?
Yes, burn a dvd or cdrm for music every once in a while. But this option isn't going to make or break anything.

17) What speed CPU/Processor would you like? Dual core or Quad Core CPU? Dual core. What speed? You tell me. I have a 1.8Ghz that can't find it's way out of a paper bag, but I'm sure the new 2Ghz would be much better. What speed do we go by these days? I'd like it fast, but not extreme.

robamb2002
03-09-2009, 01:08 PM
You've come to buy at the right time lemme tell ya :) Have I got your system set...(sorry I'm excited for you the NP5797 just got upgraded to the newest GPU on the market)

Here is my opinion

Sager NP5797 Custom Notebook (Built on Clevo M570ETU) - Back Ordered until Late March
- 17" WSXGA+ "Glare Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright Glossy Screen (1680x1050)
- ~Intel® P8600 45nm "Montevina" Core™2 Duo 2.40GHz w/3MB L2 On-die cache - 1066MHz FSB 25 watt
- nVidia GeForce GTX 280M 1,024MB PCI-Express DDR3 DX10 (User Upgradeable)
- ~ 4,096MB DDR3 1066MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS) (Requires Vista 64-Bit to recognize Full 4GB)
- NP579x Orange Frame Trim Color
- ~Combo 8x8x6x4x Dual Layer DVD +/-R/RW 5x DVD-RAM 24x CD-R/RW Drive w/Softwares
- ~ 320GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache)
- ~Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit Installed (64&32-Bit CD Included) w/ Drivers & Utilities CD's
- 3 Year Labor* 1 Year Parts Warranty Lifetime 24/7 DOMESTIC Based Toll Free Telephone Tech Support
(Labor Warranty through Xotic PC)

$1879.00 before cash discount and shipping costs.

I left the screen at WSXGA+ because you said you will be using a monitor most of the time, plus most people prefer this res for gaming. The stock 2.4 GHz processor is a great plus as anything over 2 GHz will run just about anything you'd like :) The stock GTX280M GPU is an OMGWTFBBQ video card that has just been anounced and benchmarked to be faster than all but the 9800M GTX SLI and the Radeon 4870 x2 CF this is the real meat and potatos of a gamming laptop and it will give you a huge boost compared to any compeditor. I also upped the memory to 4 Gb because who couldn't use the extra 3 Gb for only $65. the same for the HDD. I put in the 7200RPM drive because it will load faster than all but the SSD.(which as you pointed out are still pretty expensive... wait a year or so for the price of the ssds to become viable). Finally I through Vista 64 Bit on there to make sure you use all 4 Gb of that inexpensive memory. In my opinion, this is by far the best bang for the buck. If you have a little extra cash to spend, I would concider upgrading the warrenty to the 2 yr, then upping the processor as you see fit. The only downside I see for this configuration is that it is on pre-order (back order technically this is because the upgraded parts are on preorder) so early april would be the soonest you would see this beast.

as for the design/quality of the sager 579x series, I can say first hand that it is classy. I have the orange accents and think they look real sharp, without being to over the top. It is closer to a copper color if you ask me. Their are plenty of subtle accents that dont jump right out at you, but you can appreciate when you get close and use the machine.

anyway, I hope this helps a little. And as for which company to buy from, I can tell you that XoticPC is top notch. I bought from them over a year ago and am still comming back to let peeps know this is probably the best business I've ever dealt with..

This is a link to a third party resellers ratings page which puts XotiPC in what I believe to be the proper light

http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Xotic_PC

:) Good Luck and Happy Lappy Hunting! :)

Anewbus
03-09-2009, 04:36 PM
Hi OnTucsonTime,

Just so you can see I’d like to show you a 15.4 inch idea since you are going to be using an external monitor.
This machine will also do the job for you. I kept the screen res at 1680x1050 as I agree with Robamb. Also the 1920x1080 ability comes at $175 more and in my opinion it may not be worth it unless you run almost everything at that res or if it is required for some reason.
I also selected the 3-year parts and labor covered by XoticPC (not Sager) This is their best warranty. You mentioned you would like it to last 3 to 4 years. With this warranty it’s a guaranteed 3 years and with proper care 4 to 5 years easily or more.:)


Sager NP8660 (Built on Clevo M860TU) Back Ordered Until 3/20/09 (http://www.xoticpc.com/product_info.php?products_id=2411%7B76%7D768%7B187 %7D1757%7B94%7D1074%7B92%7D2422%7B88%7D2417%7B186% 7D734%7B93%7D2431%7B193%7D657%7B112%7D656%7B98%7D1 295%7B96%7D2434%7B168%7D1453%7B116%7D1416%7B117%7D 705%7B120%7D703%7B110%7D2426%7B169%7D1449%7B119%7D 1898%7B100%7D734%7B164%7D1441%7B107%7D689%7B106%7D 1696%7B121%7D%20)
- 15.4" WSXGA+ "Glare Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright Glossy Screen (1680x1050)
- Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- ~Intel® P8600 45nm "Montevina" Core™2 Duo 2.40GHz w/3MB L2 On-die cache - 1066MHz FSB 25 watt
- nVidia GeForce 9800M GTS 512MB PCI-Express DDR3 DX10 (User Upgradeable)
- ~ 4,096MB DDR3 1066MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS) (Requires Vista 64-Bit to recognize Full 4GB)
- Standard Finish
- ~Combo 8x8x6x4x Dual Layer DVD +/-R/RW 5x DVD-RAM 24x CD-R/RW Drive w/Softwares
- ~ 320GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache)
- Internal 7-in-1 Card Reader (MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/MS Pro Duo/SD/Mini-SD/MMC/RS)
- Internal Bluetooth + EDR
- Built-in Intel® PRO/Wireless 5300 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi Link
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Basic Black Business Case - Included
- Smart Li-ion Battery (8-Cell)
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- ~Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit Installed (64&32-Bit CD Included) w/ Drivers & Utilities CD's
- 3 Year Parts & Labor Warranty 24/7 Tech Support

TOTAL = $1782.86 with cash discount



I also think the NP5797 is very sweet! It has become my personal favorite in the 17 inch category. (If I wanted a dual or multi drive system I’d go with the “Sager Beast” NP9262):XPCS::smile2:
Anyway, if you can swing the NP5797 especially with an even further XoticPC warranty upgrade that would be the machine of the year! (Plus it will make me turn green with envy).:p By the way, the Xotic warranties have free business shipping both ways for warranty service should the need arise.
Well, there you have a couple of machines and stuff to chew over and play with the configs and all. Let us know if you have more questions and such.

OnTucsonTime2
03-09-2009, 04:58 PM
I'm at work, so just a quick reply now, I'll check everything out better tonight or in the morning.
Real quick, You both suggest 1680x1050...I'm fine with that on the lappie, as long as the vid card will support my monitors native resolution of 1920x1080. Is that the case with your suggestions?

You're both pushing the 2k limit...if I had said 2000 to 3000 you probably would be pushing the 3k limit :eek: That's my fault, I know. Do you have a less expensive suggestion or is this the only thing you'd suggest?

I thank you for your time and replys, I will read and answer a little better soon.:smile2:

robamb2002
03-09-2009, 05:10 PM
to answer your questions, yes both GPUs will support higher resolutions (that is determined by the GPU and the drivers, not necessarally the laptop screen. both have at LEAST 1920X1080 support as there other screen options cover this :) I will have to delve deeper into the cost/performance at a later time because I have to eat... in a nutshell I think the NP5797 is the BEST cost/performance you will find and is in your price range... but if you want to look at less, the NP5793 is another good choice...

basically the top two machines that blow others out of the water are the NP9262 the beast 3k+ and the NP5797 1.5k+ its worth the time researching :)

I would suggest the NP5797 for anyone in the $1800-$3500 price range... it truley is an amazing machine

potent
03-09-2009, 05:52 PM
I just thought I would throw in a few cents to the pool. Even if you dont buy the most pumped up sager available in whatever size you choose. it is a lot cheaper to upgrade it down the line than to buy another entire laptop like you would from the other big laptop names :laugh:

Anewbus
03-09-2009, 06:14 PM
You're both pushing the 2k limit...if I had said 2000 to 3000 you probably would be pushing the 3k limit :eek: That's my fault, I know. Do you have a less expensive suggestion or is this the only thing you'd suggest?




Not necessarily. Just configured the machines for maximum punch while fullfilling your wants and needs you stated within your range. I'll work on some other possible alternatives in a little while. (Remember, the configs on any machine are only opinion. You can play around with them).:) If 2K max in your stated range is going to be a bit of a hardship, you can always change it and let us know. Don't feel bad about that. Some folks around here kind know me as a budget hawk, meaning I try to stay well within budgets on the lower endif I can, while trying to fullfill wants and needs. It can usually be done unless the wants and needs exceed the budget by their very nature. Believe me, not that my little Force3298 is not a little champion, but I want a 5797 in the worst way, but I can not afford even the most basic config of that lappy. So for now all I can do is dream about one and live vicariously through others.:-/

powerpack
03-09-2009, 07:06 PM
I like all the suggestions so far. They have been the best of the best. Also notice Anew priced in a warranty upgrade. That is a conservative conscientious approach. Removing would save you a few dollars and still the the same machine.

Also they did not go wild they focused on GPU's with good CPU's but not the highest performance CPU's. Many of these notebooks are made from similar or comparable components. You can make judgments on your needs and the overall value of different systems.

I have said before and still think the Sager/Clevo's are pure performance. Can't think of any that on a pure performance standard out do. But if we move to a value/performance standard Asus has several offerings. And recently MSI has I believe 3 major offerings in the value/performance arena. 1 15.4" and 2 17".

On your interest in a 13". Yes you do sacrifice on some performance. Mostly GPU as they do seem to offer similar CPU's in that small form factor. Until we know your hardware experience hard to tell what would be a step up or down for you and by how much.

I have a 14" and I can game and they have come out with some with even greater potential than mine. Smaller always makes thermal management harder and as a result mostly GPU restrictions vs the larger.

Post back let us know more of where your thoughts are. You don't have to spend more than you want and you don't need to buy the most powerful if you don't want. Lots of performance at all price points.

If they ever offer the 280m in a 14" or smaller I might just "stroke out" so I do share rob and Anew's giddiness.

Have a look and good luck. And welcome.

Xith
03-10-2009, 02:16 AM
I purchased the 5797 while I was in Iraq, and it sat at my house for about a Month and a half before I got home, which was painful. I can tell you that I got the price up to around 2800, here's what's in there:

Sager NP5797 Custom Notebook (Built on Clevo M570ETU)
- Arctic Silver: Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
- Dead Pixel Policy: Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- Processor: ~Intel® T9600 45nm "Montevina" C
- Video Card: nVidia GeForce 9800M GTX 1,024MB
- External Monitor Video Adapter: None Standard
- Ram: ~ 4,096MB DDR3 1066MHz Dual Chan
- Intel® Robson Turbo Memory: 2GB Intel® Robson Turbo Memory I
- Exterior Finish: NP579x Orange Frame Trim
- Optical Drive: ~Combo 8x8x6x4x Dual Layer DVD +
- Primary Hard Drive: ~ 320GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 3
- External Hard Drive (Back Up): None Standard
- Floppy Drive: None Standard
- Memory Card Reader: Internal 7-in-1 Card Reader (MS/
- Bluetooth: Internal Bluetooth + EDR
- Wireless Network: Built-in Intel® PRO/Wireless 530
- Wireless Network Accessories: None Standard
- Camera: Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- TV Tuner: None Standard
- Display: 17" WUXGA "Glare Type" Super Cl
- Sound Card: Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audi
- Case: Basic Black Business Case - Incl
- Battery: Smart Li-ion Battery (8-Cell)
- Car Adapter: None Standard
- Spare AC Adapter: None Standard
- Port Replicator / Dock / Hub's: None Standard
- Fingerprint Reader: Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- Mouse / Keyboard Accessories: None Standard
- Notebook Cooler: None Standard
- Operating System: ~Windows Vista Home Premium 64-B
- "Medialess" Microsoft Office Sof: None Standard
- Software Bundle (Not Installed): None Standar

I am fairly certain you can remove quite a bit and get the price down. But, let's be honest, you could go out and get a decent Toshiba for the lower end of the price point you are looking at. We are showing you machines that are better, faster, strong, etc... which come with a bit of a larger price tag.

My advice, if you want a true gaming laptop, and don't like the prices, save your pennies for an extra month or two, don't cut yourself short to save eleventy dollars or so.

I run a 28" widescreen at 1920 x 1200 with this video card and it works great. I also play warhammer online with this setup, in that resolution, with zero screen lag. The only downside to this machine is the single USB port in the back. Personal preference, I like clean looking setups, and my network cable and USB cables hanging off the right side is sort of tacky looking. Other than that, lack of internal 5.1 or better sound sorta stinks, but I purchased an external card to hook up the multi speaker setup.

Gluck!

OnTucsonTime2
03-10-2009, 10:09 AM
You guys are great. Thanks for your replies. I may have to rethink what I'm doing. Yesterday morning I was thinking I was ok with $2k. But I think sticker shock hit me a little bit. I don't want to say I won't pay $2000 because a computer is important to me, I just have to convince myself it's what makes the most sense. I'm planning on selling my Inspiron 1520 and my Inspiron 530. Neither are great computers but they do get the job done for me at the moment. I consider myself computer literate, but not an expert. I just don't keep up with technology enough to know which pieces make sense to put with other parts. But if I have all the right parts for a desktop I can put it all together. And it will probably work :) But for laptops I've always had the "what you see is what you get attitude" My first was a Compaq from Bestbuy, 2nd was a Dell refurb. So now I'm trying to be smart about it. Anyway, I'm getting off track.

Robamb: The 5797 just got the newest video card, is there a timeline for the 280M to go into a 15"? Is it even possible? I kind of wish the 9800M was an option on that setup as it would make it much easier to compare apples to apples with the video card/price.I love the bigger better faster more mentality, but in your opinion, do you think a 17" and the 280M are worth it? Especially using an external most of time time? I love the rest of your setup and I agree with your reasoning on the choices you made.
(Just reading your second post) I assumed the cards would support higher external resolutions, just had to be sure, thanks :) I do like the choice of the NP5793. I set that up at $1324 before shipping.
- 17" WUXGA "Matte Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright Screen (1920x1200)
- Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- ~Intel® T6400 45nm Core™2 Duo 2.0GHz w/2MB L2 On-die cache - 800MHz FSB 35W
- nVidia GeForce 9800M GTS 1,024MB PCI-Express DDR3 DX10
- ~ 4,096MB DDR2 667 PC2 5300 (2 SODIMMS) Dual Channel Memory (Requires Vista 64-Bit to recognize Full 4GB)
- NP579x Orange Frame Trim Color
- ~ 2X Blue-Ray Read/8X DVDRW Super Multi Combo Drive
- ~ 250GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 300)
- Internal 7-in-1 Card Reader (MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/MS Pro Duo/SD/Mini-SD/MMC/RS)
- Internal Bluetooth + EDR
- Built-in Intel® PRO/Wireless 5100 802.11 a/g/n
- Built in 1.3Megapixel Camera
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Basic Black Business Case - Included
- Smart Li-ion Battery (8-Cell)
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- ~Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit Installed (64&32-Bit CD Included) w/ Drivers & Utilities CD's
- 3 Year Labor* 1 Year Parts Warranty Lifetime 24/7 DOMESTIC Based Toll Free Telephone Tech Support
(Labor Warranty through Xotic PC)

Is there somewhere that has these bench marked? I looked real quick in the reviews and owners lounge but didn't see anything. I think it would be cool for XOTICPC to have all their computers bench marked in one spot somewhere. Sorry, getting off track again.
Yeah, the 5792 is a nice machine, but just a little out of my comfort zone :)

Anewbus: Thanks for the 8660 setup. I can see I'm going to have to spend some time on http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php checking out the processors. The biggest difference I saw in your setup and my setup of the 5793 was 17" vs 15" and P8600 vs T6400 There are some other differences, but I didn't see a $400 one. Or is it a product of "a little better for just a little more" that adds up?
(Reading your 2nd post now) I know 1 to 2K is quite a range. My thought process was if I sell my laptop that's $500 "extra" and then selling the desktop is another $500 "extra." That gives me $1000 "play money" to either spend or save. I appreciate you being a "budget hawk" and I may update my $$ needs in a bit. For now I'll keep getting thoughts and ideas in this range. I guess I'm still trying to figure out what my budget is. And who knows, after I see what the IRS does I may come back and get advice on a 9262 setup (don't hold you breathe though :)

Potent: For such a short and to the point post you sure said a lot. I hadn't even considered the upgrade ability of laptops. I've changed hard drives and upgraded ram on a laptop, but never thought about doing more than that. I'll have to do some research on that.

Powerpack: With your 14"...what type of gaming do you do? Do you find performance suffers too much or the machine runs too hot? Do you think you would be hurting your computer with a 6 or 8 hour stint of Left 4 Dead? I'm going to have to find a place to read benchmarks on the ATI4650 vs the 9800M just to see the difference.
On the MSIs and Asuss' (asusi?) you mentioned...Are they as upgradeable as Sagers or am I reading Potent's post correctly that the Sagers have that market cornered?
Thanks, as I said I guess I'm still trying to figure out what my target price is. Gathering info now is the main thing.

Xith: It's amazing how some people say that same thing, just in a different way and it "clicks". You're right, if I want a "true gaming laptop" these are the prices/specs I need to be looking at. Now I just need to figure out if that's what I want.

I thank you all for your time and responses. I also thank you for ignoring all the typos and missed/wrong words :) I have some research/thinking to do and your answers and thoughts are helping me to do that. Bottom line is I have no idea what I want right now. I'll keep bouncing ideas off of you every once in awhile. Just a couple quick general questions then I have to get some work done.
Am I reading the "cash discount" correctly...if I pay with a credit card it does not apply?
I see some of the systems have a military discount. Is that only for active military or does it also apply to retired military? Is that a set % or $ amount?

OK. Time to get back to work.

Justin_W@XoticPC
03-10-2009, 10:52 AM
Just a couple quick general questions then I have to get some work done.
Am I reading the "cash discount" correctly...if I pay with a credit card it does not apply?
I see some of the systems have a military discount. Is that only for active military or does it also apply to retired military? Is that a set % or $ amount?

OK. Time to get back to work.


You are correct in your understanding, a credit card would not qualify for the cash discount. The cash discounted price is for orders that are submitted with payment via Check, Money Order, Cashiers Check, Wire Transfer, or PayPal eCheck. These payment methods are eligible for the cash discount. If you'd like information on the military discount, please feel free to email me :)

robamb2002
03-10-2009, 10:55 AM
We are all glad to help out! :) If you want a good resource for comparing GPUs then the best I've come across is

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Comparison-of-Graphic-Cards.130.0.html

This has a list of just about every mobile graphics card ranked by 3DMark benchmarking scores. Some people will argue the validity of synthetic benchmarks, but I think it will give you a hint of what these cards are capable of compared to each other.

The NP5793 is a great machine with "last generation" technology which means price savings for you! The benchmarks I've seen and FPS for recent games seem to indicate the 280M has about 20-30% higher stats than the 9800M GT (though I believe most of these benchmarks were done on the 512 Mb unit not the 1028 Mb unit, not sure how much that changes things) or a game that gets 50FPS on the 9800M GT would get 65 on the GTX 280M. It is up to you to decide if the performance boost is worth the extra premium. Note the GTX 280M has been benchmarked to be greater than 9800M GT x2 in SLI, plus most SLI settups are plagued with driver and game specific issues.

the price jump for the np5793 to the np8660 is due to the np8660 has similar specs but jammed into a smaller form factor, the np8660 also has ddr3 support (not as big of a boost as most people make it out to be) and HDMI and ESATA ports which are huge if you use them and useless if you dont :) (I dont have them and wouldnt use them if I did so its a wash for me)

good luck and keep the questions coming, we are all happy to answer or point you to the peeps who can answer.

Happy Lappy Hunting :)

OnTucsonTime2
03-10-2009, 11:16 AM
Justin: When I get closer to finding out what I am looking for I will contact you about the Military stuff. Thanks.

Robamb: Thanks, I'll check out that link. This is where I've gone in the past. http://www.gpureview.com/show_cards.php?card1=590&card2=567 But it's just raw numbers and sometime they don't match up. I'm ok with the "last generation" stuff, as long as it's not last generation crap. SLI is not something I'm considering unless I win the lottery and get the "Sager Beast" as someone put it. But between power/heat/noise I'm thinking SLI in a laptop isn't my thing.
I guess I didn't consider larger size being more cost efective, but it does make sense...something else to keep in mind.
I have never used an ESATA port and don't have plans to, but I was thinking HDMI might be nice. Anybody notice a difference in HDMI and DVI? (I don't care about sound going to my monitor, just video quality)

OK, now I really have to get some work done :D

Anewbus
03-10-2009, 04:21 PM
Hey there Tucson,

Here’s some more info to keep in mind and some answer to some of your questions.
Regarding screen type (Matte or Glossy): I just wanted to point out that Glossy screens have better contrast and saturation than matte screens. (Unless the matte screen happens to be LED backed, then its even field). The rule of thumb is that if your going to be mostly working under normal lighting or low lighting then Glossy screen is the way to go. If you are going to be mostly working under really bright lights or sunlight, then Matte is the choice you want.

I think there is a bit of misinformation out there regarding: “HDMI or DVI or VGA”? You really won’t notice a difference between DVI and HDMI hooked up to a PC monitor. As I understand it, you will get the same video quality with all three of those hooked up to a PC monitor (provided it has DVI or HDMI ports) or an LCD TV, which is “essentially” a monitor with a built in tuner except it has a strict native resolution and can only downscale from there. What matters is the source from which your feeding the video signal. For example: Say your watching a video on the internet (say a TV show episode), and its 480i def, standard resolution. That is what you will see on the monitor with any one of those hookups regardless of the resolution you set your GPU at. (Note: Higher the screen resolution = smaller the video window in that case). Now let’s say your watching an internet video that is high resolution or even Hi-def then that is what you will see on the PC monitor except maybe with VGA hookup, but that’s “maybe”, I could be wrong and you could get Hi-def on a PC monitor with VGA (provided your GPU can do Hi-def and most can).
It’s the same thing with a game, same thing with watching a DVD on your computer. Basically concerning PC monitors is that they are a little more flexible in their ability to use resolutions (they can scale up to higher resolutions than LCD or Plasma TVs). So with PC monitors its “what you see is what you get” pretty much.
All that said, (I hope I didn’t confuse you) there is a small difference between HDMI, DVI and VGA when it comes to hooking up to an LCD or Plasma TV. TVs have a set native resolution and can only scale down from there. So, while it still depends on the source of the video signal there is one difference. HDMI and DVI can both do “Hi-def” signal to a TV, again depending on the source. VGA definitely cannot do “Hi-def” signal to a TV as far as I know. (However, it can do High Resolution up to the TV’s native resolution).
So unless you are hooking up to a TV, at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter which you use. (Although I would stay away from S-video or composite – those are awful).
This is how I see it and understand it, I could be wrong on something in all that.
(I’ll be hooking up my lappy to my new LCD TV in about a month and I only have a VGA out port on my lappy. So I’ll be able to put the theory to the test so to speak).


Ok, all that said here are some machines and config ideas that will still do the job for you (or at least extremely close) that are down nearer the lower end of your budget range.
As always, you can play around with all this.

Here is a 17 inch idea:
Note that it is a Matte screen. It is also only somewhat last Gen tech, but NOT “crap last Gen tech” (Mainly the CPU).
The standard warranty only covers parts for one year, but it does cover labor for 3 years. You could look at it this way: The parts, outside of the motherboard and screen are relatively inexpensive. It’s the labor and shipping that can be killers. (If your motherboard or screen ever go south then it’s time for a new laptop as those will cost you half of what you paid for the whole thing).
I don’t know if you’ll like the orange trim or not.
This one in this config comes in between your low end and the middle of your budget.

Sager NP5793 Custom Sager Notebook (Built on Clevo M570RU-U / M571RU-U) - Back Ordered until 3/20/09 (http://www.xoticpc.com/product_info.php?products_id=2276%7B76%7D1495%7B18 7%7D1757%7B94%7D1074%7B92%7D2296%7B88%7D2049%7B186 %7D734%7B93%7D1931%7B193%7D657%7B112%7D2032%7B98%7 D2494%7B96%7D2039%7B168%7D1453%7B116%7D1416%7B117% 7D705%7B120%7D703%7B110%7D1748%7B169%7D1449%7B119% 7D1678%7B100%7D734%7B164%7D1441%7B107%7D689%7B106% 7D1696%7B12%20)
- 17" WUXGA "Matte Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright Screen (1920x1200)
- Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- ~Intel® T8100 45nm "Penryn" Core™2 Duo 2.1GHz w/3MB L2 On-die cache - 800MHz FSB
- nVidia GeForce 9800M GTS 1,024MB PCI-Express DDR3 DX10
- ~ 4,096MB DDR2 667 PC2 5300 (2 SODIMMS) Dual Channel Memory (Requires Vista 64-Bit to recognize Full 4GB)
- NP579x Orange Frame Trim Color
- ~ 2X Blue-Ray Read/8X DVDRW Super Multi Combo Drive
- ~ 250GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 300)
- Internal 7-in-1 Card Reader (MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/MS Pro Duo/SD/Mini-SD/MMC/RS)
- Internal Bluetooth + EDR
- Built-in Intel® PRO/Wireless 5100 802.11 a/g/n
- Built in 1.3Megapixel Camera
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Basic Black Business Case - Included
- Smart Li-ion Battery (8-Cell)
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- ~Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit Installed (64&32-Bit CD Included) w/ Drivers & Utilities CD's
- 3 Year Labor* 1 Year Parts Warranty Lifetime 24/7 DOMESTIC Based Toll Free Telephone Tech Support
(Labor Warranty through Xotic PC)

TOTAL = $1386.13 with cash discount



Now since your using an external monitor, keyboard and mouse you could easily consider some 15.4 inch models.

Here is the same NP8660 I configured without the 3 year full coverage warranty. I also dropped the HD down to 250GB 7200 RPM saving about $10 on that. (I stuck with the higher RPM as it is not much more money and does allow faster load times and such).
It has the same GPU as the 5793 but 512MB on board memory instead of 1GB. However, still a good GPU and the 512MB should do fine for you. (I have a much older GPU on my lappy at the same amount of memory and I can play MoH, CoD at full whack, not to mention watch TV on the internet at high resolution with no problems).
It’s about $125 more than the 5793, but has a better screen in my opinion and current generation tech in the CPU department.
This one in this config comes around the middle of your budget range.

Sager NP8660 (Built on Clevo M860TU) Back Ordered Until 3/20/09 (http://www.xoticpc.com/product_info.php?products_id=2411%7B76%7D768%7B187 %7D1757%7B94%7D1074%7B92%7D2422%7B88%7D2417%7B186% 7D734%7B93%7D2431%7B193%7D657%7B112%7D656%7B98%7D1 295%7B96%7D2039%7B168%7D1453%7B116%7D1416%7B117%7D 705%7B120%7D703%7B110%7D2426%7B169%7D1449%7B119%7D 1898%7B100%7D734%7B164%7D1441%7B107%7D689%7B106%7D 1696%7B121%7D%20)
- 15.4" WSXGA+ "Glare Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright Glossy Screen (1680x1050)
- Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- ~Intel® P8600 45nm "Montevina" Core™2 Duo 2.40GHz w/3MB L2 On-die cache - 1066MHz FSB 25 watt
- nVidia GeForce 9800M GTS 512MB PCI-Express DDR3 DX10 (User Upgradeable)
- ~ 4,096MB DDR3 1066MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS) (Requires Vista 64-Bit to recognize Full 4GB)
- Standard Finish
- ~Combo 8x8x6x4x Dual Layer DVD +/-R/RW 5x DVD-RAM 24x CD-R/RW Drive w/Softwares
- ~ 250GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 300)
- Internal 7-in-1 Card Reader (MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/MS Pro Duo/SD/Mini-SD/MMC/RS)
- Internal Bluetooth + EDR
- Built-in Intel® PRO/Wireless 5300 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi Link
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Basic Black Business Case - Included
- Smart Li-ion Battery (8-Cell)
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- ~Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit Installed (64&32-Bit CD Included) w/ Drivers & Utilities CD's
- 3 Year Labor* 1 Year Parts Warranty Lifetime 24/7 DOMESTIC Based Toll Free Telephone Tech Support
(Labor Warranty through Xotic PC)

TOTAL = $1512.23 with cash discount



I don’t know much about the MSI based machines, but they are quite popular in Europe.
(Of course Xotic does not deal in walmart, low quality stuff either. So anything they have has met their high standard).
The GPU is one notch down from the 9800, but still good. (It just isn’t the latest uber GPU – big deal).
Note that this machine comes with the Uber warranty included though.
This one in this config comes again between your low-end and the middle of your budget range.

FORCE 3551 (Built on MSI-1651) (http://www.xoticpc.com/product_info.php?products_id=2462%7B76%7D2006%7B18 7%7D1757%7B94%7D1074%7B92%7D2446%7B88%7D2463%7B186 %7D734%7B93%7D2459%7B193%7D657%7B112%7D2476%7B98%7 D1799%7B96%7D1803%7B168%7D1453%7B116%7D1416%7B117% 7D707%7B120%7D703%7B110%7D2426%7B169%7D1449%7B119% 7D1898%7B100%7D734%7B164%7D1441%7B107%7D1539%7B106 %7D1691%7B1%20)
- 15.4" WSXGA+ "Glare Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright Screen (1680x1050)
(Black Brushed Aluminum Default Exterior)
- Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- -Intel® P8600 45nm "Montevina" Core™2 Duo 2.40GHz w/3MB L2 On-die cache - 1066MHz FSB 25 watt
- nVidia GeForce 9600M GT 512MB PCI-Express DDR3 DX10
- - 4,096MB (Corsair, Kingston, Major Brand) DDR2 800 (2 SODIMMs) Dual Channel Memory
- Standard Finish (WXGA - Plastic Matte Black with Silver Trim ~ WSXGA+ - Black Brushed Aluminum
NO DELAY for Custom Color Options
- - Combo Dual Layer SuperMulti 8X DVDRW Drive w/ Software
- - 250GB 7200RPM WD or Seagate (Serial-ATA II 3GB/s)
- Internal 4-in-1 Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO)
- Internal Bluetooth + EDR
- Built-in Intel® PRO/Wireless 5300 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi Link
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Carrying Case Optional (Select if desired)
- Smart Li-ion Battery (6-Cell)
- -Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit w/ Drivers & Utilities CD's
- 3 Year Complete Care Full Parts / Labor Warranty - Next Business Day Shipping both ways - Lifetime 24/7 DOMESTIC Toll-Free Telephone Tech Support

TOTAL = $1341.51 with cash discount



This one is similar to my machine, only a bit more powerful in CPU and GPU. Not sure if this will meet all your needs or wants.
Again, the Uber warranty comes included.
This machine in this config comes closer to your low-end of your budget.

FORCE 3310 (Built on COMPAL JHL90) (http://www.xoticpc.com/product_info.php?products_id=2455%7B76%7D1743%7B18 7%7D1757%7B94%7D1074%7B92%7D2446%7B88%7D2410%7B186 %7D734%7B93%7D2459%7B193%7D657%7B112%7D656%7B98%7D 1799%7B96%7D1803%7B168%7D1453%7B116%7D1416%7B117%7 D890%7B120%7D702%7B110%7D2486%7B169%7D1449%7B119%7 D1898%7B100%7D734%7B164%7D1441%7B107%7D1539%7B106% 7D1688%7B12%20)
- 15.4" WSXGA+ "Glare Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright Glossy Screen (1680x1050)
- Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- -Intel® P8600 45nm "Montevina" Core™2 Duo 2.40GHz w/3MB L2 On-die cache - 1066MHz FSB 25 watt
- nVidia GeForce 9600M GT 512MB PCI-Express DDR2 DX10
- - 4,096MB (Corsair, Kingston, Major Brand) DDR2 800 (2 SODIMMs) Dual Channel Memory
- Standard Finish
- - Combo Dual Layer SuperMulti 8X DVDRW Drive w/ Software
- - 250GB 7200RPM WD or Seagate (Serial-ATA II 3GB/s)
- Internal 3-in-1 Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS)
- Built-in Intel® PRO/Wireless 5100 802.11 a/g/n
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Carrying Case Optional (Select if desired)
- Smart Li-ion Battery (9-Cell)
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- -Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit w/ Drivers & Utilities CD's
- 3 Year Complete Care Full Parts / Labor Warranty - Next Business Day Shipping both ways - Lifetime 24/7 DOMESTIC Toll-Free Telephone Tech Support

TOTAL = $1205.71 with cash discount


Something else to keep in mind: My personal opinion is when shopping for a lappy keep your needs in mind and look for something that either meets your needs hopefully with a little room to grow or something that already slightly exceeds your needs. If it falls within your budget range without getting too close to max, then your in good shape. Also if you just can’t seem to find what you need in your budget range, but did find something that would be maybe around $100 or less over your max, it would be well to just save up for a month or two more and then get it.
For instance, most laptops let you upgrade the HD and Memory later (if your running a 64 bit OS though, it’s 4GB or don’t bother). Some let you upgrade the GPU, but sometimes that may not be necessary depending on what you are doing.
(Technology seems to change about every week so there is no point in trying to keep up with the latest and greatest. In fact, it’s impossible. Just get what is right for you).

OnTucsonTime2
03-10-2009, 05:25 PM
On an older desktop I had a video card with a VGA and DVI port on it. When I got a monitor that had a VGA and DVI port I tried both and I could see a definite difference. That was years ago so things may have changed a bit. But on my PS3 I get better looking video from the HDMI than I did from the DVI and that was months ago. I'm not going to sit here and say you're wrong. There are plenty of things I could have messed up and skewed the results. I guess in my mind it's VGA < Composite < S-Video < Component < DVI < HDMI But even if that's true you could be correct that it doesn't make a visible difference. All I know if I need DVI or HDMI @ 1920x1080 Whatever I need to do to get that looking as sharp as possible is what I'll do :smile2:

Do you know if the FORCE systems and as upgradeable as the Sagers? I don't know if I'd ever just upgrade something, but it would be really nice to have the option to do so.

I never actually bothered to find out what the difference in screentype meant. I guess I've been concentrating on my external. That's good to know, I would probably go with the Glossy screen over the Matte.

I'll check out the new systems you posted, thanks.

Anewbus
03-10-2009, 06:25 PM
I think you can only upgrade the memory (if you did not already put 4GB in) and HD on the Force systems. I may be wrong.

What I do know for sure about HDMI, DVI and VGA is connecting to a TV. There are the ability differences between HDMI, DVI and VGA as far as HD is concerned (and of course you get audio and video together with HDMI), but from what I hear from a few other guys who have hooked up their laptops to thier TVs, they say the image quality is almost the same and that it depends on the source. (If it is not then my lappy could become nothing more than a paperweight).
As for the rest of the info regarding HDMI, DVI and VGA - it is based on theory, so results could vary in different cases. Like I said, I could be wrong on something here and there.

OnTucsonTime2
03-12-2009, 03:40 PM
Everybody: I think for now I'm going to dust off my old Opteron 180 desktop to play games with. If I find that I need a laptop I'll try to get away with one of those mini things. I may bug Rob for info on his OCed 901 :) I do expect that I will be in the market again within the next 6 months to a year so I'll probably hang out and try to keep up to speed. Thanks again.

robamb2002
03-12-2009, 04:15 PM
If your looking at a mini, wait a few months for the new ION platform. then you won't need to worry about OCing.... do a google search for Nvidia Ion Platform and search around, theyre pretty amazing. I'm sure XoticPC would sell them once they get the specifics :)

OnTucsonTime2
03-12-2009, 04:32 PM
Wow, The Nvidia Ion Platform looks awesome. I'll have to google more, but that could be really nice if they don't spike the price on it too much.

robamb2002
03-13-2009, 07:21 AM
from what I've read, they are in the ballpark of +$50 that of the standard netbook, well worth the performance gain IMHO.

we will see what they really come out at though. definatly exciting things happening this year :)

OnTucsonTime2
03-13-2009, 08:30 AM
What I saw yesterday was saying $299 by summer 2009. I can live with that :)

Anewbus
03-13-2009, 10:29 AM
Everybody: I think for now I'm going to dust off my old Opteron 180 desktop to play games with. If I find that I need a laptop I'll try to get away with one of those mini things. I may bug Rob for info on his OCed 901 :) I do expect that I will be in the market again within the next 6 months to a year so I'll probably hang out and try to keep up to speed. Thanks again.

Nothing wrong with that plan, especially with things the way they are with this horrifying economy.
I'm planning on getting on of those eeee machines as well in a little while for the kitchen. It's strictly going to be for culinary things only: Recipie storage, manipulation, reference and download. (I wouldn't want to try to game on one though as I'm not sure about the GPU and the screens are too small at least for me anyway).

Anewbus
03-13-2009, 10:31 AM
What I saw yesterday was saying $299 by summer 2009. I can live with that :)

Me too, although that may be the base price and I'll probably have to add memory at least!:)

OnTucsonTime2
03-13-2009, 10:33 AM
That's a good idea Anewbus. For $200 (for the cheap Dells) you could almost put one in every room. It's easier than taking a book into the crapper with you too :)

Anewbus
03-13-2009, 11:06 AM
That's a good idea Anewbus. For $200 (for the cheap Dells) you could almost put one in every room. It's easier than taking a book into the crapper with you too :)

Dell? No way! Yeech. I'm getting mine from Xotic. As Rob pointed out, I'm going to wait for one of those new Ion drive powered things or whatever that is. Do those also have Warp engines with Matter/Antimatter chambers and Ion cannons?:p They sound safer than the Atomic ones since those never come with a radiation shield or even an indicator badge anyway.:p
When I get one of those machines I'll put "Now that's a spicey meatball" on it (with speakers of course), so everytime I'm done making something I'll go over and hit the button assigned to it.:laugh:

OnTucsonTime2
03-13-2009, 11:12 AM
If I want a good one I'll get it from Xotic, but if there is a possibility I'd drop it in the toilet..Dell is good enough for that...or even made for that :D

And I'll stop there before the joke gets too rude :twitchy:

robamb2002
03-13-2009, 12:10 PM
if there is a possibility I'd drop it in the toilet..Dell is good enough for that...or even made for that :D

Epic win!:laugh: you my friend have just won the internetz! :notworthy