Recommendations for Gaming laptop under 600$-700$-800$-900$-1000$-1100$ – 24/05/2012 and why I don’t update more often

Hi

 

First of all – why I don’t update more. These are, again, times of evolutional changes. Not just laptop models, but new architectures from Nvidia (Kepler / the 6XXM GPUs series), AMD (The new Trinity architecture and the higher-end 7XXXM mobile GPUs) and Intel (Ivy Bridge CPUs). New laptop models are coming out equipped with this new hardware and there aren’t in-depth reviews of them yet. For example, the Asus N56VM (preview) and N56VZ laptops – one of them, the N56VM, has a weak GPU and high quality TN panel 1080p screen – but we still aren’t sure what we’ll get in the final production models, so I can’t really recommend them.

What I can do is warn you that new and interesting things are coming and also recommend already known models.

 

This time I’m gonna change the table a bit and order the rows according to the max price of the gaming laptop. Moreover, there will be less columns to make things easier and more immediate. I want to say thay my higher end choices based on the GT 650M and GTX 670M. The reason is that the GT 650M offers the same performance level of the previous generation GTX 560M (link) but you can find laptops with the GT 650M for 800$ (and up) instead the 1100$-1200$ we used to with the GTX 560M, plus it’s more energy efficient. Anyway, I looked for GTX 560M gaming laptops in this price range too but you can hardly find ones (listed them in the “omitted” section below).

OK, let’s start.

Top PriceModel (link to coupon)GPU/CPUStreet PriceWhyWhy notsources
1100$15.6″ Sager NP9130Intel I5-3210M / Nvidia GTX 670M1066$ (cash) -1099$ (credit)
  1. Clevo grade laptop – high quality FullHD display, good casis
  2. supreme GTX 670M performance
  3. 7200RPM HDD
  4. two slots for HDD/SSD – future proof.
  5. 8GB DDR3
  1. Intel I5-2450M might be a bottle neck in the future ( I wouldn’t worry too much)
  2. Heat OR noise might be higher than usual
  3. Still, 1100$
  4. No OS.
Sager NP8170 review (previous gen.)Clevo P170EM review
Dell Alienware m14xIntel  I5-3210M / Nvidia GT 650M1099$
  1. High quality display
  2. Compact – 14.0″ gaming laptop
  3. High gaming performance, especially for an 14.0″ laptop
  4. good temperatures
  5. Strudy – very high build quality
  6. Gaming freeks styling
  1. Noisy
  2. High price
  3. Styling is in the eyes of the beholder
previous generation m14x reviewAnd another one
 1000$ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

900$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

800$

HP dv6t / dv7t Quad editionNvidia GT 650M / Intel IB I7800$-1000$, depends on configurationcurrent dv6t coupon
  1. High performance: GT 650M + Intel I7
  2. 1TB HDD
  3. High quality FullHD option and more (high density battery, faster HDD and staff)
  4. Very high value/price ratio
  5. 8GB DDR3
  6. Nice looks
Time will tell, screen quality still unknown as in-depth reviews are not availableHP dv6t-7000 review

 

Another good dv6t-7000 review

 

previous gen dv6t review

15.6″ Sager NP6165 and17.3″ Sager NP6175Nvidia GT 650M 1GB GDDR5 / Intel Ivy Bridge I5 (base configuration)870$ and up, depends on configuration
  1. High GT 650M performance, 7200RPM
  2. very good FullHD included in price
  3. good upgrading options (I7 +70$, Hybrid HDD +60$ and many more)
  4. Very good price/performance ratio
  5. Two slots for HDD/SSD – that’s great
  6. 8GB DDR3

 

Heavy and bulkySager NP8170 review (previous gen.)Clevo P170EM review
17.3″ Dell XPS 17Nvidia GT 550M / Intel I7-2760QM~900$ with coupon code ?$QNC1?HSKNR9F for this model
  1. High quality display
  2. Very good build quality
  3. Good sound
  1. For that price, you can get considerably better gaming performance
  2. heat problem
Dell XPS 17 review
14.0″ Lenovo IdeaPad Y480Nvidia GT 640M 2GB / Intel IvB I7-3610QM850$ with coupon from Lenovo (almost always you’ll find one)
  1. more compact 14.0″ screen for those who need it.
  2. 1TB HDD3. Strudy
  3. JBL sound system
  4. 8GB DDR3
  1. Not so lightweight
  2. only 4 hours battery on normal use
  3. not that cheap for its gaming performance
Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 review
700$ 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

600$

HP Pavilion dv6t select editionAMD Radeon HD 7690M 1GB GDDR5, Intel I3-2330M to I5-2450M605$ and up with coupons, 680$ w/o.I5-2430M upgrade adds 75$ (I think it worths it)
  1. 7690M GDDR5 performance
  2. 1TB HDD
  3. Good price for performance
  4. Many configuration options5. 8GB DDR3
Considerably lesser gaming performance compared to just 100$-200$ more laptops.
Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 I7 versionNvidia GT 555M / Intel SB I7-2670QM720$-800$ with coupon USPY52W0517
745$ including Bag and Logitech wireless mouse on TigerDirect
  1. Above the average screen
  2. Very high build quality
  3. Very good JBL sound system
  4. Good price for this performance and features
  5. 8GB DDR3
  1. only a 1366×768 resolution (no configuration option)
  2. only 4-5 hours of battery in normal use
  3. The Y580 should be out soon, probably with a GTX 660M GPU
  4. The competitors’ GT 650M offers considerably higher performance.
Lenovo Y570 review – this is the I5 version review, but it’s basically the same laptop
Lenovo IdeaPad Y570, I5 versionNvidia GT 555M 1GB / Intel I5-2430M700$ on Amazon and TigerDirect
  1. Above the average screen
  2. Very high build quality
  3. Very good JBL sound system
  4. Good price for this performance and features
  1. only a 1366×768 resolution (no configuration option)
  2. only 4-5 hours of battery in normal use
  3. The Y580 should be out soon
  4. The competitors’ GT 650M offers considerably higher performance.
Lenovo Y570 review
Acer Aspire AS7750-6458 17.3″AMD Radeon HD 6850M DDR3 / Intel I5-2430M580$ at B&H
  1. Radeon HD 6850M DDR3 (About HD 6770M performance)
  2. Overall, pretty good gaming performance for 600$
  3. low noise
  4. good battery lifetime
  1. average screen, but not worse than other gaming laptops in this price.
  2. not that great keyboard
Other Acer AS7750G review

 

Omitted from this list due to a considerably lesser gaming performance compared to other gaming laptops in the same price range or because they are still have not been released and their specs are not fully known (Asus N56 for example). That’s true that many times you don’t need the most powerful hardware in town but rather the best mix for you – some laptops have a lesser gaming performance but a far superior LCD screen. However, I chose to focus on the fastest ones because mobile GPUs are still a bit weak for higher mentioned resolutions (1600×900 and 1920×1080) and this is a gaming laptops blog. I will post some other recommendations in the following weeks for those who doesn’t need the most FPS for their money (people like me).

 

Omitted:

1. Dell XPS 15 – good laptop, but the GT 540M is not a good competitor in this price range.

2. Asus N56VW and N56VZ (although you can find this promising GT 650M equipped laptop on Amazon)

3. MSI x460DX – again, too pricy for the GT 540M

4. N53SV – same.

5. Acer Aspire AS5750G / AS5755G – same.

6. Toshiba Qosmio GTX 560M family – prices 1000$+ and have no advantages over the GT 650M laptops. Not only that, but they have a lesser quality LCD. Here (X775-Q7272 review and here too, X755-Q7170 and more). The better Qosmios cost more

7. Asus G53SX-AH1 that you can find for 1100$ now on Amazon. It has a variant of the GTX 560M with a 128-bit memory bus width instead of the reference 192 bit one and people around the net report it has a significant impact on performance (downwards), as expected.

8. Probably more models from Toshiba, Samsung and more – there are many variations and models.

 

Final decision

Currently, the lack of in-depth reviews creates a problem when you try to decide which gaming laptop to take – main issue is the screen quality which many companies like to forget about and save for themselves another 20$-30$. However, there are some models that we know are good or at least sufficient.

1. The dv6t quad and select edition machines are probably a safe bet in that manner and they offer quite high performance for their price and also – many upgrade options (dv6tqe with GT 650M and dv6tse with Radeon 7690M). You have to count on coupons, but for now they’re keep coming. For 804$ you’ll get a dv6t Quad edition with a GT 650M, I7-3610QM, 8GBDDR3 memory and 1TB HDD. For ~100$ more you’ll also get a high quality FullHD display.

2. Another good option is the Clevo barebone based Sager gaming laptops which offer GTX 650M or GTX 670M – a supreme gaming power for low money, side by side with a very good FullHD display and besides – you know you get a good overall laptop. The GTX 670M will allow you to run almost every game on highest settings on native resolution (maybe without high AA filter).

3. Alienware M14x with I5-2450M and Nvidia GT 650M. Well, for 1099$ its performance/price ratio isn’t good as the others. However,   the mix might suit you – unique Alienware styling + 14.0″ form factor gaming laptop + Very high build quality + very high gaming performance. The M14X is the fastest 14.0″ gaming laptop that doesn’t weight 10kg or something like that.

4. For the lower prices you got the Acer Aspire AS7750-6458 that B&H still got in their stocks. For 600$ it’s a top performer too with its Radeon HD 6850M – just remember this is a cut down version, with DDR3 memory which means that it actually in the Radeon 6770M level and even less according to benchmarks (check here), thus I suggest that you’ll find a HD 6770M or HD 7690M.

 

 

All these choices offer you the highest performance per $ you’ll get currently and they also offer good upgrade options, if you want. The GT 650M and GTX 670M are the top performers in this price range and the GT 650M itself is a decent 20%-30% faster than the GT 640M or GT 555M. The Radeon HD 6850M (DDR3), although a much weaker version of the HD 6850M or Mobility HD 5850, still got his punch, especially for 600$, combined with a good I5 cpu.

 

Last point – again, if you can wait, then wait. You lose nothing as far as I see it as I think the good coupon will keep coming on, but you’ll also have a larger variety of good gaming laptops to choose from.

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