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Thread: Which laptop to buy?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2004

    Which laptop to buy?


    I have a budget of $3000-3200 for a new laptop. I've always used either Toshiba or Dells. I would like to get one that is great for gaming...specifically, Medal of Honor (I do a lot of online gaming for MOHAA).

    I just started doing research on a new laptop and have heard a lot of talk about Sager 8900. Is this machine better than anything Dell or Alienware puts out :scratch: ?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!


  2. #2
    Registered User Overture's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Austin, Texas
    First, Search the forums. It isn't that hard.

    Second, this entire forum is dedicated to desktop replacement laptops that normally excel in gaming. All of the sagers, and alienware machines have the latest and greatest graphics cards in them.

    If you are looking for a personal opinion, go read the sager reviews forum and take a look at .

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    i'll try to be a bit more gentle,
    no offense overture, but many of us are NOT laptop game-players or even laptop users.
    i think you would have to agree that there are unique (to laptop) variables that simply don't exist for desktop users - especially where games are concerned. and for me at least, an avid gamer, it's all rather confusing.
    mostly the confusion and difference involves laptop screens and video cards.
    gators - i won't profess to be the best person to answer your questions, but the reason i came here is because i was looking for a gaming rig to take on trips.
    overture is correct - there is a very efficient search tool here.
    1. screen 'ghosting' appears to be a major concern for gamers. this seems to occur mostly in screens over 15". do a search.
    2. for laptops, there seems to be no comparison between ati and nvidia video cards (unlike desktops now). the ati radeon 9600 (with 128 megs memory) rules presently - probably to be (soon) displaced by the ati 9700 just released.
    3. unlike desktops, people seem to claim that there is a true advantage to havig a full gig of system memory (where 512 is perfectly fine on a desktop).
    4. heat can be a potential issue with different laptops.
    if you were to search each of these issues and check on those things that appeal to you (re-write drives, sound, speakers, etc) i think you'll find the forum's answers most telling. then ask for clarifications regarding what remains obscure.
    hope this leads you in the right direction.

  4. #4
    Squeaky Wheel
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Kahuluu, Hawaii
    A bit of elaboration on legolas.

    The 8890 is, in my opinion and that of many others with a lot of experience, better than anything Dell offers. I am sure there will be rebuffs to that opinion but them's the facts, man. Alienware does offer some comparable machines, primarily because they are the same machine from the same base manufacturer. However, generally, AW costs more.

    As to LCDs and laptop video systems, yes, in the desktop replacement category, that is the big difference between them and desktops. LCDs are different from CRTs. Period. A CRT uses an electron beam to excite a phospor coating that reemits the energy as colored light you see on the screen. The beam sweeps across the screen in lines, doing the whole screen so many times a second, the minimum usually being 60 with a maximum up around 85 to 95. That's called Hz. Its the reason you get some flicker with CRTs and some interference with fluorescent lights. The reemitted fluorescence of the phosphor dims over the short time the beam is elsewhere exciting other bits of phosphor. In an LCD, the individual pixels are each a Liquid Crystal, a sort of gate/filter that controls the light coming through from the backlighting screen. The pixel stays in whatever state its in continuously until it gets new instructions. So there's no flicker. However, there is response time, which is how long it takes the pixel to change from totally opaque to totally transparent. If this is too long, then the image will "ghost" or leave a trail behind it as it moves across the screen. Generally, you want to look for a response time that is below 30, the less the better. This is especially important on screens with high resolutions as the pixels are closer together so it takes less time for an image to sweep from one pixel to the next. Its less noticeable on larger screens because there is more distance between the pixels so the image takes a tad longer to sweep from one pixel to the next. The best analogy I can think of is the line between night and day sweeping across the surface of a rotating planet.

    As for video systems, yes, ATI is currently way out in front of NVidia.

    The issue on RAM is a matter of how much you need which is based on what you use your computer for. A good way to tell how much you need and whether or not you have enough is to look at the Task Manager and the Physical Memory vs Commit Charge on the Performance tab. If the Peak Commit Charge exceeds the Total Physical Memory, you are going into paging which is relatively slow and would be affecting your performance noticeably. If that's the case, you need more memory, especially if you are seeing that condition a lot of the time. Its probable that 512 MB may be OK, but just as likely that its not. Most performance oriented machines have Dual Channel memory which requires matched sticks. That means you have to have two of a kind, so the next step up from 512 MB is 1 GB. Its unlikely that you would need more than 1 GB, but certainly possible. That will become more true in the future as programs, especially MS, get more complicated. As of now, 1 GB sticks are quite expensive and the ones available from PCT are not as fast as the 512 MB sticks, so most of the time, whenever you are not using over a GB, it would be slower.

    I don't really find heat is an issue though a lot of people do. First of all, despite the name, Laptop, these desktop replacements are not meant to be used on one's lap, no laptop really is as that's about the least ergonomic position you could have. Besides, most of the bigger machines have the air intakes for their cooling systems on the bottom. Because they are tightly packed into small enclosures, desktop replacements have to be a lot more concerned with heat and when they eject it, it tends to come out in one obvious place. This makes keeping the machine lint and dust free as possible. Use it in lint and dust free areas. Inspect the cooling system often and clean it when necessary. Do the Arctic Silver treatment. If you keep it clean and provide it with plenty of air, heat will not be a factor. Heck, in some colder areas, it might even be a real advantage.

    There really is a lot of information in these forums and the search function is the key to unlocking it all.
    The best way to predict the future is to invent it

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2004


    I appreciate all the help you guys have given. Sorry I did not use the "search" feature. Will do so in the future.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    thanks marquis -
    i knew someone would come through for him. your elaboration probably saved the guy a day in searches.
    and thanks for the explanation on ghosting.

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