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Hardware  » Alienware gaming laptops

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27 posts found
  Volenibblets

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/08/12
Posts: 201

 
OP  1/21/13 4:48:06 AM#1

If you had the cash kind-of to spoil yourself with (£1450ish) and you wanted a gaming laptop for pleasure and for bringing in and out of work every day to do work stuff, do you reckon this is the best use of your money?

 

3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3630QM (6MB Cache, up to 3.4GHz w/ Turbo Boost 2.0)

English Windows® 7 Home Premium (64 BIT)

2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660M

8192MB (2x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3 Dual Channel

500GB 7,200 RPM + 32GB mSATA Caching SSD

7.3" WideHD+ (1600 x 900 ) WLED LCD

Alienware M17x Stealth Black

DVD+/-RW (Read/Write)

Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 2230 with Bluetooth 4.0

Primary 9 cell Li-Ion Default Base Battery

 

If not, does anyone know of a better gaming laptop for that kind of cash or less?

 

  Bakoryo

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/14/02
Posts: 460

1/21/13 4:50:17 AM#2
Now, I have no idea what laptops go for in the UK but I can safely assume that alienware isn't the way to go as you pay a big sum just for the brand, kinda like apple. I'm sure some techy guys on these boards will direct you to a much better laptop in that price-range. Personally I'm aiming for a Lenovo Y500 which is under that price-range but what I've read it has gotten good reviews. :)

The speed of the mole and the power of steel is my weapon

  drunkensolja

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/12/06
Posts: 71

1/21/13 4:53:40 AM#3
  Volenibblets

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/08/12
Posts: 201

 
OP  1/21/13 5:26:23 AM#4

Thanks for the comments guys!

Yeah I was looking at the ol' Lenovo Y500, it's looks like a really good deal alright. It's i5 and a fair bit slower than the alienware i7 one. I agree that the brand probably adds a significant cost, not to mention Dell's sizable idiot tax! Plus, I'm doutful that the i7 chip adds much in itself when it comes to gaming and the lenovo also comes with a better GC. 

That Samsung on looks nice too, bit more pricey, similar chip speed to the Lenovo but it has some lovely features. I am also keen to get an SSD if possible as this takes a lot of pain out of loading speeds...they are costly though.  

I also need it for running molecular modelling software (which is the reason I can get it as a work expense from my research grant). So, for work use, I need a decent GC and at least 8 gigs of RAM, not sure how the processor speed would impact on that kind of software. 

For gaming, I'm a bit in the dark with how gaming laptops run, I've experienced the overheating thing playing with a friends alienware system. I am less familiar with how much 1ghz less speed would affect most of the existing games I play (like PS2 and Neverwinter in the near future).

Hmmm

  destro521

Novice Member

Joined: 5/29/12
Posts: 48

1/21/13 7:29:00 AM#5
Originally posted by Volenibblets

If you had the cash kind-of to spoil yourself with (£1450ish) and you wanted a gaming laptop for pleasure and for bringing in and out of work every day to do work stuff, do you reckon this is the best use of your money?

 

3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3630QM (6MB Cache, up to 3.4GHz w/ Turbo Boost 2.0)

English Windows® 7 Home Premium (64 BIT)

2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660M

8192MB (2x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3 Dual Channel

500GB 7,200 RPM + 32GB mSATA Caching SSD

7.3" WideHD+ (1600 x 900 ) WLED LCD

Alienware M17x Stealth Black

DVD+/-RW (Read/Write)

Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 2230 with Bluetooth 4.0

Primary 9 cell Li-Ion Default Base Battery

 

If not, does anyone know of a better gaming laptop for that kind of cash or less?

 

Hey bro i currently own the Revision 3 of the m17x and i wouldnt reccomend it.

Here are my reasons: A) They are quite overpriced, My friend just bought an R4 for 3000 australian dollars

While i had purchased the R3 for 1450 AUD it was the best m17 of its time and a year later Bam! have to run on medium to lower settings which is disheartening ( and also why i am getting a 2400$ desktop so it deosnt happen for a couple years)

In comparison the 2400$ desktop i am building is around 25% - 40% better than what my friend had bought for 3000$

Now i dont really know about the english market as i have not lived their since 2006 but if you really want to buy one go ahead :)

Performance wise i was maxing out games that were released right up until mid to late 2012 which is fair call to a laptop :)

BUT!!! Dell do overprice their parts if you want to upgrade in teh future for example

Radeon 7970m they quoted me cost 1480$. Now to put that into perspective... That is 980 Pounds for one card

The desktop card costs 150-400 pounds ( am i right)

so thats a massive premium just for a laptop

That is why i am building a desktop so i dont have to pay for over priced BS IMO

  VaultFairy

Advanced Member

Joined: 10/21/09
Posts: 542

1/21/13 7:32:30 AM#6
My personal experience with an Alienware Laptop. Hell NOOO!
  rguilbert

Novice Member

Joined: 1/10/11
Posts: 108

1/21/13 1:34:53 PM#7

I've gone the high end laptop route for a long time now, and have spent a fair amount of time shopping for them.  I've never had an alienware, but I've read hundreds of posts from folks who bought them and had a bad experience (mostly customer service type complaints).  I haven't looked at them much lately, but I also remember them being a little more expensive than the competition for what you got.

 

The last couple I bought were Sagers.  Several smaller operations act as resellers for them.  My first was PCTurbo (If I remember right...not sure if they are still in business, but I was pretty happy with them).  My second was Xotic PC (very happy with the product and the service). 

 

Shop around a bit, and read a lot of customer reviews.  You can probably do better than Alienware.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13681

1/21/13 1:50:33 PM#8
Originally posted by Volenibblets

If you had the cash kind-of to spoil yourself with (£1450ish) and you wanted a gaming laptop for pleasure and for bringing in and out of work every day to do work stuff, do you reckon this is the best use of your money?

 

3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3630QM (6MB Cache, up to 3.4GHz w/ Turbo Boost 2.0)

English Windows® 7 Home Premium (64 BIT)

2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660M

8192MB (2x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3 Dual Channel

500GB 7,200 RPM + 32GB mSATA Caching SSD

7.3" WideHD+ (1600 x 900 ) WLED LCD

Alienware M17x Stealth Black

DVD+/-RW (Read/Write)

Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 2230 with Bluetooth 4.0

Primary 9 cell Li-Ion Default Base Battery

 

If not, does anyone know of a better gaming laptop for that kind of cash or less?

 

I'd expect the hardware listed there (assuming you really mean a 17.3" monitor, not 7.3") to run about $1200 in the US.  I could understand paying £1000 for it, but nowhere near £1450.

Why do you want a gaming laptop in the first place?  Do you already have a good gaming desktop?  Because if not, then you're probably better off getting a gaming desktop, or perhaps both a gaming desktop and a relatively cheap laptop if you need something portable.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13681

1/21/13 1:52:45 PM#9
Originally posted by drunkensolja
 I picked this up a few months ago and love it! Greatest computer I've ever owned!    http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Series-NP700G7C-S01US-17-3-Inch-Laptop/dp/B006MX0WHU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358761841&sr=8-1&keywords=samsung+series+7+gamer

If that's the best computer you've ever owned, then you've never owned all that nice of a computer.  It's got an old Fermi video card that shouldn't go anywhere near a laptop.  And it doesn't have an SSD.  Compromises like that are understandable if it's necessary in order to get the budget down, but not for anywhere near $1800.  Or $1500, for that matter.

  Zinzan

Novice Member

Joined: 3/03/06
Posts: 1368

1/21/13 1:54:37 PM#10

For £1200 take this as an example http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=LT-009-OE

Take a second HDD, possibly another SSD, up the RAM, up the processor plus a few other tweaks up to the magic budget line.

It runs a 4gig GTX680, standard 60gig SSD.

Slightly more bang-for-your-buck than the MX imo, but im sure there are better deals out there.

 

 

Expresso gave me a Hearthstone beta key.....I'm so happy :)

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13681

1/21/13 2:01:23 PM#11
Originally posted by destro521

BUT!!! Dell do overprice their parts if you want to upgrade in teh future for example

Radeon 7970m they quoted me cost 1480$. Now to put that into perspective... That is 980 Pounds for one card

The desktop card costs 150-400 pounds ( am i right)

so thats a massive premium just for a laptop

Welcome to vendor lock-in.  That's why being able to grab off-the-shelf parts is such a big deal.  If you can only buy one vendor, then they can charge whatever they want and your only choices are to pay it or replace the system entirely.  And if they can charge whatever they want, you'd better expect them to charge a more than if they had competition threatening to undercut their price.

Still, laptop cards do tend to cost more than desktop cards based on the same GPU, for two reasons.  One is that they're low-volume parts.  If you can spread the cost of designing a card and setting up assembly lines across 100k customers rather than 10k, you can get the same profit margin while charging a lot less for each part.

Another is that laptop cards effectively get a higher bin of the GPU chip than desktop cards.  AMD and Nvidia cherry-pick the GPU chips capable of running at the lowest voltages for laptops, in order to decrease power consumption.  For a gaming card to put out an extra 20 W is often no big deal in a desktop, but it's a problem in a laptop.  And if they pick out the best GPU chips, then expect to pay more for them.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13681

1/21/13 2:26:29 PM#12
Originally posted by Zinzan

For £1200 take this as an example http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=LT-009-OE

Take a second HDD, possibly another SSD, up the RAM, up the processor plus a few other tweaks up to the magic budget line.

It runs a 4gig GTX680, standard 60gig SSD.

Slightly more bang-for-your-buck than the MX imo, but im sure there are better deals out there.

That or some other Clevo P170EM rebrander is the alternative to Alienware if you're looking for a high end gaming laptop.  Well, other than the ridiculous CrossFire/SLI setups.  Here's the Clevo P170EM configurators that Overclockers UK has:

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/search_results.php?sortby=&groupid=959&search=P170EM

Four starting points, three of which they call the fastest gaming laptop they sell.

Anyway, while a GeForce GTX 680M is a better card than a Radeon HD 7970M, it's not by all that much.  And it's vastly more expensive, so if you want to keep the budget around £1400 rather than pushing closer to £1600, then you're better off getting the 7970M.

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=LT-012-OE

Switch to a Core i7-3630QM, 8 GB of system memory, a 120 or 128 GB SSD, a 1 TB hard drive, and your choice of Windows 7 or Windows 8, and it comes to about £1323.

As compared to the Alienware, it gets you more than double the graphical performance, a real SSD with plenty of capacity for some games rather than a dinky caching SSD, and a larger hard drive, and it costs more than £100 less.

You definitely don't want a GeForce GTX 675M.  That's an old Fermi card, and way too hot to be reasonable for a laptop.  A GeForce GTX 675MX might be a decent option, but they don't offer it.

  Volenibblets

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/08/12
Posts: 201

 
OP  1/22/13 4:06:32 AM#13

Thanks lads for the as always excellent and helpful advice I get on this website. Those laptop suggestions look great and better than the alienware one for sure. I have read some mixed reviews on alienware, some happy some pissed off. It seems they've gone downhill since Dell bought them out. 

Alas I'm boycotting Overclockers as they sent me a pre-built desktop (I know, I should have built my own) before Christmas with damaged memory for the 2nd time in 5 years. After spending hours testing to find out why it was giving bluescreen errors, I eventually found the errors with a memtest. They offered to replace the RAM (assuming it was the RAM and not just faulty motherboard RAM slots or something worse) and wouldn't offer anything to make up for the hassle (or even an apology) for having to go through this crap again so I asked for a refund and will never order from them again. They send not one but TWO inadequately tested pre-built systems to the same customer and don't try and retain his custom by offering something as a gesture to make up for the inconvenience? Where I come from that's called bad business and I believe in voting with my feet.   

I'll have a look for system with similar setups from other sites.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13681

1/22/13 9:35:07 AM#14
Originally posted by Volenibblets

Thanks lads for the as always excellent and helpful advice I get on this website. Those laptop suggestions look great and better than the alienware one for sure. I have read some mixed reviews on alienware, some happy some pissed off. It seems they've gone downhill since Dell bought them out. 

Alas I'm boycotting Overclockers as they sent me a pre-built desktop (I know, I should have built my own) before Christmas with damaged memory for the 2nd time in 5 years. After spending hours testing to find out why it was giving bluescreen errors, I eventually found the errors with a memtest. They offered to replace the RAM (assuming it was the RAM and not just faulty motherboard RAM slots or something worse) and wouldn't offer anything to make up for the hassle (or even an apology) for having to go through this crap again so I asked for a refund and will never order from them again. They send not one but TWO inadequately tested pre-built systems to the same customer and don't try and retain his custom by offering something as a gesture to make up for the inconvenience? Where I come from that's called bad business and I believe in voting with my feet.   

I'll have a look for system with similar setups from other sites.

The bulk of the laptop is actually made by Clevo, but they don't sell to the general public.  In the US, you can buy rebranded Clevo laptops from a bunch of different vendors.  There are likely other Clevo vendors in Britain, too.

  birdycephon

Novice Member

Joined: 8/08/09
Posts: 1327

Not Safe For Woona (NSFW)

1/22/13 9:40:02 AM#15
Ask yourself this question, do you want to replace it in two years?
  Volenibblets

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/08/12
Posts: 201

 
OP  1/22/13 11:59:36 AM#16
Originally posted by birdycephon
Ask yourself this question, do you want to replace it in two years?

No and that's the only turn off really. I like the mobility and the convenience...and the fact that I can possibly get it through my work grant...but I don't like the fact that gaming laptops tend to break worryingly often. I assume that's what you mean. Is it the heat or are they just deliberately made with inbuilt obsolescence on a timer?

  darkhalf357x

Elite Member

Joined: 1/25/12
Posts: 1124

I'm only playing the role chosen for me. Who you supposed to be?

1/22/13 12:07:57 PM#17
Originally posted by Volenibblets
Originally posted by birdycephon
Ask yourself this question, do you want to replace it in two years?

No and that's the only turn off really. I like the mobility and the convenience...and the fact that I can possibly get it through my work grant...but I don't like the fact that gaming laptops tend to break worryingly often. I assume that's what you mean. Is it the heat or are they just deliberately made with inbuilt obsolescence on a timer?

If you invest in a gaming laptop you will have to buy a new one in 3-4 years (if  you want to play new games at high settings).

I buy a new gaming laptop every 3 years and drop 12-1400 USD on each.  I like Sager's and bought my last customized one through another reseller.

Only real constraint is that the laptop has to be plugged in to run the Nvidia graphics card at max settings.  Fine for me as I just wanted the portability (I'm always plugged in - at least when gaming).  Weight and heat are a factor as well but nothing too discouraging.

  ShakyMo

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/11
Posts: 7246

1/22/13 12:09:24 PM#18
I don't get why anyone would want a gaming laptop, when your taking well over £1000 and you could build a Better desktop for half the money.

Even if mobility is the issue you could go with a small form factor desktop and appropriate parts and build something similar to these gaming laptops for about £800 and not have the various issues with heat etc..
  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13681

1/22/13 12:40:48 PM#19
Originally posted by Volenibblets
Originally posted by birdycephon
Ask yourself this question, do you want to replace it in two years?

No and that's the only turn off really. I like the mobility and the convenience...and the fact that I can possibly get it through my work grant...but I don't like the fact that gaming laptops tend to break worryingly often. I assume that's what you mean. Is it the heat or are they just deliberately made with inbuilt obsolescence on a timer?

There are several problems.  First is that gaming laptops are fundamentally a proposition of trying to put too much heat into too little space.  That means they run hot, especially as dust accumulates with time.  And that makes them a lot more prone to failure.

Second is that laptops tend to power up and down a lot more than desktops.  Laptops commonly turn video cards off entirely, and desktops don't.  Laptops also try to go into sleep mode a lot faster than desktops.  Going from cold to hot and back again means thermal expansion and contraction.  Do that for enough cycles and things can wear out, kind of like bending a paperclip back and forth too many times.  You can kind of engineer for it, but it is more stress than desktop parts have to deal with.

Third, you start way behind on the performance curve.  A gaming laptop such as you'd buy today is only a little faster than the gaming desktop I built in 2009.  The Alienware rig you were looking at at the start of the thread is actually much slower than my desktop.  If we have similar performance needs, then you'll presumably decide you need to replace your laptop around the time I decide that I need to replace my desktop.  But I've already gotten 3+ years out of my desktop, and you don't even have your laptop yet.  That means my desktop lasts around three years longer than your laptop.

Fourth, desktops have a lot more upgrade options than laptops.  If a year from now, I decide that the rest of my desktop is fine, but I just need a faster video card, I can replace the video card and keep the rest of the system.  If you make the same determination a year from now, you'll have to replace the laptop entirely.  Same thing with a keyboard or monitor.  I've got a lot more storage options available than you, too.

Fifth, you can get higher quality parts in desktops.  If you build a desktop, you can select every part yourself and make sure that you get high quality parts that are likely to last a long time.  If you want a high end gaming laptop, then your choices are whatever Clevo, Dell, and MSI have decided to build that year.  They'll maybe have one or two models each.  And you can't really gauge the likely reliability of individual components in a laptop when you don't even know what they are.

Sixth, laptops tend to take more physical abuse than desktops.  Once you build a desktop, it mostly just sits there and doesn't move.  Laptops tend to get jostled around a lot more.  Even if you don't drop your laptop on the ground, simply carrying it around in a backpack is a lot of shaking that desktops don't have to deal with.  That wear and tear does take its toll.

So no, laptop vendors don't try to make junk.  But there are a lot of disadvantages to going with a smaller form factor.

  Volenibblets

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/08/12
Posts: 201

 
OP  1/23/13 3:44:42 AM#20

Thanks for that Quizz, makes sense. And, even if you treat a gaming laptop like one of your own children and avoid knocking it about the place (thereby sidestepping the only advantage of having one) you still can't control points 3 and 4.

Hmm I reckon I'll just build a good desktop from ebuyer parts and get a middle of the road laptop for work and possibly low end gaming needs. 

Thanks for saving me money and sanity again fellas! 

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