AU Diary: Recommend Me A Laptop, Please

A funny thing happened to me two days before I flew out to E3. My laptop died.

The screen corrupted into a mess of glitched, multi-coloured pixels. Then turned into green squares. Before I knew what was happening, the whole thing was trapped in a perpetual loop of rebooting, trying to start up, failing and rebooting again.

So here I am in the market for a new laptop. Any recommendations?

I'd like something reasonably portable, although admittedly it'll be sitting on my desk most of the time. I'd like to be able to play the latest games, although I'm not greatly concerned about maxing out any graphical settings.

Oh, and I'd like something that isn't going to die on me.

Looking forward to your suggestions...


    A desktop pc and a big arse suit case... Just a thought... OK that was silly.

    Buy a decent desktop PC and a couple of cheap netbooks.

    My friend just bought an acer gemstone blue, and he's really pleased with it. I think he paid about 2.5k for it, maybe a little closer to 2.

    I think it's a good laptop, but the blu-ray player is just a little far over the top, imo. You could probably pick up a similarly spec'd one sans blu ray player for about 2.

    If you want battery life, though, get a macbook pro, and just put boot camp on it to play the PC games.

    Man that must've sucked going to E3 without a laptop! Chose the perfect time to kick the bucket, didn't it?

      Yes, it did suck. Fortunately I was able to borrow a laptop from a friend. But, unfortunately, the internet at my hotel was mysteriously not working for the entire week.

        I work for a hotel, concierge. Any half arsed hotel should have contracted IT support. Tis tis.

    well i've ordered the new Macbook Pro 13", portable and enough grunt.

    I really like my Dell XPS 1530, the build quality is good, it is light enough for me to carry on the train each day and it can easily handle Team Fortress 2. I think Dell in general have really picked up their game in the past few years. It looks like they have been replaced with the Dell XPS Studio 16 which I am sure will be my next laptop.

      Second here for Dell- I've got an XPS1330 and it was wonderful when I took it overseas. Light and portable (especially with the LED screen), while snappy enough to do everything I wanted (though admittedly I didn't game on it).

      So at least give the XPS range a look in. I've heard the regular laptops aren't quite as good, though.

        Dell? Really? I have an XPS 1730 and am not happy... had a world of trouble getting the damn thing to work in the first place, has dual SLI 8700s but SLI sucks and doesnt work for anything so its basically an expensive laptop with a single 8700 in it which chugs with TF2... Mirrors Edge is barely playable on absolute minimum settings... L4D surprisingly not bad tho. Only thing i like is the backlit keyboard.

    you should get a macbook pro, they're a bit expensive but the quality and performance is unmatched, plus you can run windows on them for games.

    I use a HP Pavillion DV9700t. got 17" screen, dedicated NVIDEA 512MB graphics card (be careful you need dedicated not on onboard chip for gaming) 4GB RAM and Dual core 2.2 ghz. its about a year old now but runs UT3 just fine, Empire TW on low ish settings and fallout 3 only suffers when using VATS.

    also use it for video editing/motion graphics/3D modelling everyday. has travelled over from the UK and not died.

    so a long winded recommendation for HP PAvillion Laptops.

    I would honestly recommend a MacBook or macbook pro.
    The pro now comes in a 13" model which is pretty portable without sacrificing any graphical abilities or processing power. And as far as games go there's always boot camp so you can boot it as a windows PC or you could run windows virtually (which i do)if you have 3-4GBs of ram you can run windows virtually dedicating 2gigs to windows and the remaining to OSX which works fine for me with most games. Not trying to be a fan boy as im in the middle, but as far as laptops go both of the intel mac laptops i own have served me quite well, including travelling overseas etc. :)

      I'm going to wholeheartedly concur with the MacBook Pro suggestion, though I think you might prefer one of the 15" models with a dedicated graphics chip in addition to the integrated chip the the smaller models have. The integrated chip should work well enough for most games, but the dedicated unit is obviously going to give you much better performance.

        Another vote for the MacBook Pro. Booting into Windows XP / Vista is a breeze (and in my experience, run better on the Mac than on Asus and Acer laptops). I've got last years version with an 8600GT gfx card and I can play most of what's released now without a hitch (though with the graphics turned down) but the newer models ship with the 9600 range of gfx (a nice boost).

        MBPs great for writing and graphic work, are hardy, reliable and have excellent customer support.

        Downside is that they're also relatively expensive in comparison to other laptops with similar specs built for Windows.

        Try and get hold of someones to play with for a little while to see what you like. Otherwise, why not invest in a desktop and spend 300 on an EeePC to take when you travel?

    I love my XPS1530. Though, if you're on the go a little more, you might want to look at the 1330.

    Have you got any price limitations... if not, go for a macbook pro.

    Great machines, well built and best of both worlds in terms of OS. I'm sure you could get it on their KCP, through one of your workplaces, which gives you like 10-15% off and 3 year warranty.

    These guys seem to make a pretty powerful gaming laptop.

    Not that I've ever owned one, but if someone offered it, I wouldn't refuse. Battery life may be a tad low, though.

    Get an Asus N50VN.
    T9600 2.8Ghz, 4GB Ram, 500Gb HDD, 1GB GeForce 9600M, 15" Backlit LED Screen.

    Go for around $2498

    I run a similar rig to Jason HP dv9205tx. Bought it when Vista came out. No issues ever (I'm a developer, and we tend to need a new PC after about 1 - 2 years minimum).

    Currently running win7 no issues as well.

    HP has released an ultra high end version too now. 18" widescreen, with four core CPU and 8 GB of memory.

    The downside of my laptop. Even on power saving mode it chews through a full charge in about 1 hour. On full power, it can last about 20-30 minutes. Those big ultra bright screens (perfect for sunny conditions) suck down the juice majorly.

    For the guys that think MacBooks, it's just an unchangable, small keyboarded, one mouse button brick that I would hope you would all see. Plus what is the highest spec of it? I hardly think that they are the same at performing running on the same os.

    For all, try win7. It kicks arse. the speed of XP plus the capabilities of Vista Plus some more.

      Apple have had multi-button mice as a standard feature since 2005, and they have had right-click support since at least OS 7. The keyboard on the Macbook Pro covers more area than most equivalent-sized laptops. The hard drive and RAM is easily upgradeable (you just open a latch).

      If you want to criticise Apple there are a hundred things that you could point at that are actually factual instead. Including that Apple fanboys are some of the most annoying people on the planet. But that doesn't mean that their actual hardware is terrible.

      Certainly you can get a slightly more powerful Windows-based gaming laptop from another manufactuer. It'll have lower battery life, much lower build quality, weigh five kilos and cost about the same. Considering that the OP suggested he wants to be able to actually travel with it (and I presume use it for doing actual work in addition to playing games) a Macbook Pro fits the bill far better than a high-end gaming laptop.

      Unfairly harsh criticism. I've been through an ASUS G1, and friend's have tried Alienware and other laptops, and they've all bitten the dust in record time. They all have major issues running Windows. After churning through three Windows spec laptops and arriving at the MacBook Pro, it's the first time I've been happy with a lappy.

      You've never used an MBP before, have you?

    I would recommend getting a Macbook Pro. It's got massive battery life and will cater your gaming needs, provided you Boot Camp Windows or run it as a virtual machine using VMWare. Otherwise I also recommend the Asus N50VN, it's a powerful gaming laptop, but is a bit heavy and it's battery life doesn't compare to that of the Macbook Pro

    I have a Samsung (yes samsung) r55 laptop. Id say preety much anything is good these days. Just ensure that you have a decent amount of Ram 2GB min. Don't want to be stuck with vista and 1GB. Also may want to put Windows 7 on is asap, or go back to XP.

    Dedicated graphics card is a +, integrated or shared are just terrible.
    These guys had decent priced laptops, avoid places like Arrow Computers...

    word of warning on the hp pavillion laptops - the screen on mine died a slow and horrible death (lines gradually filling up the screen). a mate with the same laptop had his screen just stop working altogether. this happened to both just outside of warrenty - funny that.

    now got a toshiba p300 - there's lots of different varients with good specs depending on how much you want to spend (start around 1800 mark). i find it a great desktop replacement and for a 17" its very light and portable.

    Maybe might help you.

    Not sure what the current macbook pros are like, but I have one from about 2 years ago.
    I find mine heats up quite fast when games are pushing the processors, and the fan is quite distracting when on full.
    Battery life wise, you get about 3-4hrs on OSX, and 2.5hrs on bootcamped XP (not as good battery management?) both cases were a bit less than the then advertised hours.

    but then again it was from 2 years ago.. current models might have improved..

      Running OSX on the Feb 2008 model I can get about 4 hours life if I'm just doing writing / web-browsing.

      Far less for Windows in dual-boot though. Have some issues dimming the screen, which I think helps suck down the juice.

    While Stewart Walker's hate for Macs is unfounded. His right about one thing, the highest spec is not very high...on the cheap models. So it depends on your price point. If you're willing to get the 15in with dual graphics cards and 4gigs ram, you'd be probably be sitting gravy. Otherwise I can't really recommend the 9400M chipset for gaming.

    I guess it depends on what games but your future-proof changes are quite slim. If there's one thing Apple is great at doing, its cheaping out on graphics card, you don't need to look far to see that. Look at *any* of their computers.

    Personally I own only Macs but that doesn't mean I think they're suitable for everyone. Obviously also running games is a hassle and you have more performance and capability issues depending on how you're doing it. Bootcamp being the best way but also the most annoying in terms of rebooting every time.

    I definitely do not recommend getting a Mac and then installing Windows primarily...what is the point, unless you like the physical appearance and quality of build. There are far more powerful and cheaper WIndows dedicated laptops.

    Macbook Pro. You pay a slight premium, but the hardware is excellent, the whole thing is extremely well-built, not overly heavy and has great battery life. Upgrade the RAM and HDD yourself - don't buy the parts from Apple, they'll sting you for a massive premium and use boot camp to throw Windows on for games. The only downside is that in Windows the fantastic trackpad doesn't have any of the multi-touch support that you get in OS X. Once you start using that trackpad, every other Laptop is going to feel terrible. :(

    I picked up a 15" MBP a few months ago and couldn't be happier with it.

    Buy an Acer, nah joke, it'll just crash and burn.

    I would recommend the Toshiba X300 Qosmio.

    I bought one of these a few months ago, and so far its been very reliable. It IS a gaming laptop and does have quite a high retail price.

    I have seen it in shops for around AU$4000... not sure what your price limit is. Check it out...Its able to support the vast majoirity of games, has amazing video/sound quality, and truly is a beast of a laptop.

    It IS

    15" Apple MacBook Pro.

    There are so many things right with this revision.

    To start, the build quality is excellent. Fit and finish is superb.

    It's 2.5kgs of weight, while not perfect, strikes a good balance between weight and strength of build.

    The CPU+RAM combo is perfect for mid-tier applications (or lots of applications+multitasking)

    The GPU+GPU combo, which is not being used now, will eventually be made useful in Snow Leopard with the GPU processing.
    For now, the chip scores roughly 60% of an '06 2.66Ghz Mac Pro w/8800GT on 3DMark2006.
    -And the MacPro can do TF2 on 1920x1200 w/4xAA-AF about 45-50fps. (fairly fast)

    The battery life is absolutely amazing. 7-8 hours doing light tasks; 5 hours heavy use.

    And if you game, you can easily switch over to Windows through Boot Camp. The machine operates just as a regular laptop would. Best of both worlds.

    There is one glaring issue, and it's the SATA debacle. It's been caped at SATA1 speeds for some strange reason. If you're using SSDs you won't get full benefit. If they fix that, it's the perfect laptop.

    If you forgo the technical mumbo jumbo, it's a very good machine.

      Nice work giving actual specs on TF2 on a Macbook.

      Has anybody run Crysis on a boot-camped Macbook at all? Care to give any FPS details? More curiosity than anything else. Seems pretty resounding that Macbooks are the way to go but don't know how many actually play games on it rather than just use their consoles for gaming and laptops for the net.

      I will say in my personal experience, avoid HP due to hardware failures (particuary to do with the GPU integration - yikes!). Dell are good all rounders and Lenovo thinkpads are solid but I haven't really gamed on any of them so I don't have the facts to back it up from a gaming POV.

    Desktop for gaming, get a cheap laptop for anything else.

    Macbook Pro (15"). Buy a copy of Windows and dual boot it. It's rad.

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