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  • Laptop Dilemma

    Hey guys,

    Hey guys,

    With my first college move in date rapidly approaching and being currently laptop-less, I have been feverishly combing the internet for a suitable laptop. So far the two that fit my needs the best are the Asus UX-51vz and the Razer Blade 14. Im sorta torn between the two as both seem to have things I desire. Ill be using this laptop for engineering major type activities as well as gaming. I play Arma III, Battlefied 3, Dota 2, Crysis 3 mainly. I'd also like it to be able to handle Battlefield 4 when it comes out although I know that is a ways off. Another thing worth mentioning is that I will probably be using this laptop for the next 4 years since I doubt funds for a new comp will become available till I get full time job. This has led me to the two aforementioned laptops but I face a dilemma. This is how I see it,

    Asus:
    Pros: Full 1080p display, not too flashy but still rather handsome, back lit chiclet style keyboard, excellent speakers
    Cons: Heard issues about GPU throttling and excessive fan noise (maybe fixed now), GTX 650m isnt quite as powerful as the Blade 14's GTX 765m, doesn't have Haswell yet and I can't wait for a refresh

    Razer:
    Pros: Stylish, more powerful GPU, wafer thin (and very minty), I have heard good things about the KB
    Cons: 1600X900 (not really sure how much of an issue this is given that it is a 14 inch), a little more expensive, less connectivity than the Asus



    Since I need this laptop to last as far into my undergraduate degree as possible, I hesitate on the ASUS since the GPU isn't quite as powerful and it doesn't have a Haswell processor. I am hesitant about the Razer however, due to the resolution, which might not be as much a problem on a 14 inch screen after all. Are there maybe other laptops I may have missed that keep the same form factor, similar memory/GPU/battery life too? Any advice or experience would be much appreciated!

    Thanks in advance!
    lTG-Irrl Argetnar
    If you hear the chatter of my Vossaraptor you're already dead.
    "Squad attack Tollhouse!" Experiment626
    "Cookies?" Argetnar
    "Yes bring your cookies too!" Experiment626
    sigpic

  • #2
    Re: Laptop Dilemma

    Have you considered a powerful desktop instead while using a cheap laptop for mobility?
    |TG-12th| Namebot

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    • #3
      Re: Laptop Dilemma

      I have thought about that. The thing is, the desks in the dorm rooms really aren't that big and frankly it seems like it would be inconvenient to have two seperate computers. Could be wrong about that though. I'm willing to compromise on the graphics performance a bit for mobility, I just want my more intensive games to be playable on at least mainstream style settings. I've heard rumblings about these gigabyte ultrablade laptops that look really promising but I haven't heard a release date for them and I have to have a computer for University. Would it maybe be practical to buy a 1080p monitor and hook it up to the blades HDMI out if the screen is a serious issue?
      lTG-Irrl Argetnar
      If you hear the chatter of my Vossaraptor you're already dead.
      "Squad attack Tollhouse!" Experiment626
      "Cookies?" Argetnar
      "Yes bring your cookies too!" Experiment626
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Re: Laptop Dilemma

        Originally posted by Namebot View Post
        Have you considered a powerful desktop instead while using a cheap laptop for mobility?
        I second this notion.

        I did the pricey laptop thing when I was in undergrad (over half a decade ago...) and ended up buying a desktop before I graduated.

        I am currently a law student and use my dual monitor desktop setup for real productivity and serious gaming while I have a very capable laptop (HP pavilion dv6 (discontinued): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834157877 A8-3500M(1.5GHz) , 6 GB Ram, AMD 6620G x 6600M hybrid graphics).

        The laptop can handle BF3 on all low and it is only a 1366 x 768, but it cost me under $700 new. My desktop is made of a bunch of middle range parts and is probably around $800-900 worth (it plays BF3 on all high for 60fps). But, my laptop goes with me to class every day and is about to start its third year of being used for hundreds of pages of notes in law school (and at my job).

        You could easily get a good desktop gaming rig for $800-$900 and spend whatever is left from what you would have spent on either of those machines for a good laptop.

        You will be able to slowly upgrade your desktop to keep up with games (mostly replacing the GPU) while your laptop will continue to handle the simple older games and continue to do real work for 3-4 years (before the first HDD kicks the bucket). If you are using your laptop for gaming as well, you tax the whole system a lot more and run more heat through it frequently. It is more likely to kick the bucket before you finish school with the hard life of gaming + productivity.

        Plus, by having a desktop you always have a backup and the luxury of a full monitor / keyboard setup for doing serious work (coding, lab write ups, writing). It has come in handy quite often for me.

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        • #5
          Re: Laptop Dilemma

          I would agree with the idea of desk top and laptop. I'm not in school any more but have found d even for work having both is great. Use the laptop when on the road and sync it up with the desktop when at home/office. If you use Google drive or something similar you don't even need to worry about which comp a file is on as they will both be accessing the same doc.

          So save your money, get a cheap but workable laptop and use the rest for a gaming rig. Don't forget to see if you can get any deals through your school on the laptop either. I know up here in Canada most of the campus bookstores have someone crazy discounts on good laptops.
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          • #6
            Re: Laptop Dilemma

            There are desktop form factors widely available now that can help you conserve space. Check out "itx" and "matx" if you aren't familiar. I'd say having more than one computer is a plus, because not only do you have a backup if one takes a dump. But you have a place to backup all your files to as well, so they are safe.

            It shouldn't be a problem to attach an external monitor to a laptop if you want. You could even use a TV with HDMI if you want, that way the device can pull double duty. Keep in mind that when you go to play games that the increased resolution means decreased performance from the same setup.
            |TG-12th| Namebot

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            • #7
              Re: Laptop Dilemma

              Originally posted by hil3illy View Post
              Use the laptop when on the road and sync it up with the desktop when at home/office. If you use Google drive or something similar you don't even need to worry about which comp a file is on as they will both be accessing the same doc.
              I use Dropbox and Skydrive as well. All of those make the two computer solution very elegant today. Skydrive integration is built into Office 2013 if you are using that for school anyway (though the single license on office 2013 is a bit of a pain).

              Cloud gaming is also quite useful. Origin and Steam both do quite a lot of syncing for you. I play the same leagues on Fifa 13 on my desktop and PC, play the same Civ 5 saves on both, etc. without having to do anything. BF3 is a bit of a pain because you do need to reset all of your graphics settings each time you change machine though because that settings file is in the cloud (I should probably disable cloud for it, not like I care about the single player save I have).

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              • #8
                Short advice from phone: laptops are money pits if not babied. Lost money over the years to issues... Even asus issues.



                Interested in listening to guitar playing and a good conversation, look for me on TS.

                "Hope is for the weak. I hope for nothing. I work for things. That is the only way for events to unfold." -Cleverbot

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                • #9
                  Re: Laptop Dilemma

                  Alright, well I think if I were to get a laptop I would go with Razer Blade since it seems like its hardware will carry it farther than the Asus. I sort of like the desktop/laptop idea and I would have no problem building the rig myself, but hauling a tower/monitor/keyboard an hour and a half back home or back to college on Holidays sounds a little scary to me. I should add though that I'm an engineering major so my computing needs might be more intensive than an english major's.
                  lTG-Irrl Argetnar
                  If you hear the chatter of my Vossaraptor you're already dead.
                  "Squad attack Tollhouse!" Experiment626
                  "Cookies?" Argetnar
                  "Yes bring your cookies too!" Experiment626
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                  • #10
                    Re: Laptop Dilemma

                    Thats what they told me as well, but it ended up being almost completely for course information and collaboration with other students. Design work was minimal. Things may have changed since then though. I really do suggest you check with people doing the course work currently to get and understanding of the computing needs.
                    |TG-12th| Namebot

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                    • #11
                      Re: Laptop Dilemma

                      Engineering programs are fairly easy to run on a decent gaming desktop. To be honest, the only "heavy" program you will use is a CAD program such as SolidWorks ($150/year to buy for yourself). At school, they will put it on machines with about 8 GB ram, an i5 proc, and the cheapest workstation GPU they can buy. A decent gaming desktop with an average gaming GPU will run it better than the school computers. Install SolidWorks on a SSD, and save your files there, and it will run perfectly. Even with SolidWorks, you don't really need much. Performance improvements are only seen in the load time, when spinning a 3D part, and when running 3D animations. I know a guy who ran it in Bootcamp on his MacBook Air.

                      Other programs you may see in engineering majors (ME, NucE, EE): ANSYS - runs on any modern PC; MATLAB and Simulink - run on about any modern PC; B2Spice - runs on any modern PC; MDSolids - runs on any modern PC.

                      To tell you the truth, the only programs you will actually use at home will probably be Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and possibly SolidWorks if you get a free semester or year license. More often than not, you will be using pencil and paper. For labs, Excel and Word. The professors will make you learn to do everything by hand so that you understand what it is you are doing, and how the quicker computer programs do it. Some of the really powerful programs you may use will be seen during internships. They will also probably be far too expensive for you to buy.


                      If I were you, I would get the following:
                      1) A really nice mechanical pencil (I prefer the Pentel P207)
                      2) Plenty of lead
                      3) A nice Mars eraser
                      4) A bunch of paper (I prefer the green engineering pads)
                      5) A nice graphing calculator (I prefer the HP graphing calcs since they use RPN input - less keystrokes for the same equations and no more typing parenthesis)
                      6) A laptop built for mobility (great battery, thin, 13-14 inch screen) like the ASUS ZenBook series.
                      7) A decent backpack
                      8) A home built gaming desktop.

                      You should be able to get MS Office and other MS products free through your school (ask your adviser, professor, or upperclassmen). Use some kind of syncing service for your laptop and desktop. To be honest, you don't necessarily need a computer, it is just convenient.
                      Viking

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                      • #12
                        Re: Laptop Dilemma

                        If you're going into a engineering program, check to see if your school participates in the Microsoft Academic Software Program. Often times, you can get a free license copy of MS Office as well as current Windows OSes as you already paid for these in your "activity fees". Speaking from experience as a computer science major, I got a whole bunch of related MS software to my field for essentially "free" after you consider the cost of the software versus my measly $400 quarterly activity fee.

                        As for desktop + a laptop, spend more on the desktop side and less on the laptop side. You really don't need a gaming laptop and a gaming desktop. That's just a waste of money. You can do work on the go on a inexpensive $500 budget laptop (think AMD's A-series APUs + SSD would be my suggestion). Then on the desktop side, as someone above pointed out, go with a mini-ITX or microATX build. Both have a variety of quality cases and are a great small form factor that should easily fit under most dorm desks (or next to them). Since dorms are notoriously hot (or provide lackluster ac), I'd consider buying a closed-loop/AIO water cooler for the CPU. That way in the summer months, you won't have to worry about your CPU overheating.

                        If you need help with building the mATX or mini-ITX desktop, I can help you there as I've built quite a few and have a list of components that I feel are ideally suited. :)
                        |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                        TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                        Former 9th & 13th

                        Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                        Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                        SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

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                        • #13
                          Re: Laptop Dilemma

                          My vote:
                          # Get an inexpensive netbook with a decent sized display - you could even get a tablet with a keyboard like the Asus transformer.
                          # Get a desktop PC (just like everyone else recommends)
                          # Use remote desktop to access your PC from the netbook/tablet. If your PC is off site, or if you need extra security, get a router that supports VPN. This way, you can access all your PC data and programs from the netbook/tablet while staying mobile.
                          The best part of all this is that everything you buy for this setup will last - the PC is upgradable, and the netbook/tablet can always serve for web browsing and as a terminal.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Laptop Dilemma

                            Thanks for all your input guys, I really appreciate it! I think that I'm going to give it some thought though and maybe see what else, if anything, comes out in the next two weeks.
                            lTG-Irrl Argetnar
                            If you hear the chatter of my Vossaraptor you're already dead.
                            "Squad attack Tollhouse!" Experiment626
                            "Cookies?" Argetnar
                            "Yes bring your cookies too!" Experiment626
                            sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Laptop Dilemma

                              I'm going to be burned at the stake for this but...

                              Get a Windows 8 desktop as well as a surface tablet/laptop thing.

                              It will allow you to keep both up to date as well as allow you to take notes on the surface during class and transfer that to the PC to write your paper.

                              Really the best for both worlds to me.
                              Last edited by Portable.Cougar; 07-25-2013, 10:25 PM.
                              doYouEvenLuftwaffe

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