Calling all computer Nerds!

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Calling all computer Nerds!

Postby Phardaxia » Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:05 am

Here's the deal... as I said before, I need a new computer.

I have been trying to decide between a tricked out laptop (for mobility) or a screaming desktop (cheaper more bells and whistles)

Since I am going back to school, I have decided that I should probably go with something more mobile.

Thus I enter the world of laptops.

I can get the high end Qosimo that would suit my gaming/powerhouse needs, but it's lacking on mobility.
http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/pdet.to?seg=HHO&poid=424964

Or I can go with a tricked out TX2500z.
http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/computer_can_series.do?storeName=computer_store&category=notebooks&a1=Category&v1=Mobility&series_name=tx2500z_series

I like the tx2500Z...scratch that.. I love the tx... it has almost everything I want in a computer as far functionality. My only concern is that it only has a ATI 3200 graphics card. Now, from my research on the web, that card seems to run games rather well (including WAR), but it's still not comparable to even the standard cards on most desktops.

So my question,
Is that graphics card something I can change as it gets too old to handle games or am I stuck?

I can build a desktop from spare parts, but I am embarassed to say I know nothing about the expandibility of a laptop. The processor and the ram will get me at least 2-3 years, but I am just worried about the card.

Also, if you have any reccomendations on how I should go, I would appreciate it. Thanks for all the help. :)
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Re: Calling all computer Nerds!

Postby Caviel » Fri Dec 12, 2008 12:37 pm

That's the problem with laptops. Is it POSSIBLE to upgrade a laptop video card? Yes, IF (And that is a big if) there is an upgrade available that fits the form factor and manufacturer of your laptop chassis/motherboard. Your best source for that is compatible spare parts from a higher model laptop in the same line/manufacturer/form factor via eBay or parts warehouse. Card type add-ins like Hard Drives, RAM, even Wireless, can all be upgraded relatively easily since you usually just need to pop off an access panel on the bottom and play swaptronics. CPU and Video card, not so much.

Also, keep in mind updating a video card (Presuming there is one) is quite an ordeal. Not nearly as simple as removing the side of a case and swapping cards. For the Dell Inspiron 8200 upgrade I did once upon a time, it involved pulling the keyboard, a cover plate, the top layer of clamshell, then the video card. Not impossible, although unless you are really comfortable under the hood of a PC, I wouldn't attempt a laptop since it is very tight-quarters in most cases. More so with smaller form-factor laptops

In regards to that TX2500z, that 12.1" display is tiny...Especially if it's widescreen resolution. That looks more like a tablet PC than a laptop. Might I suggest a Dell XPS?

http://www.dell.com/content/products/pr ... l=en&s=dhs

Starts at $950 or so, you'd probably want a video card RAM upgrade since 128MB is relatively small for today's standards. Might push it up to $1200-1300. Just watch for the sneaky price incrementing upgrades Dell likes to pull when you customize the system. You can often buy a smaller HDD with the laptop to save money, then hit Newegg and get a larger 7200RPM drive for less or equal money than what you'd pay for a Dell upgrade. Same with the RAM, although unless you are running a 64-bit OS, having more than 3GB of RAM is a bit of a waste. I would also suggest watching http://www.fatwallet.com/cash-back-coup ... me-Systems for a nice $250 off coupon.

Since you seem set on the laptop, I'll close with this bit of advice:
Spend the extra money and get as cutting-edge hardware wise as you can afford, don't count on being able to significantly upgrade later.
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Re: Calling all computer Nerds!

Postby Phardaxia » Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:13 am

Thank you for the help.

I know the screen is small.. .and yes it's a tablet. But those are the functions I like (when it's mobile). If I am at home gaming, I will be docked into my huge screen, sound system etc... So my thinking is the smallest powerhouse I can find.

as for the upgradability, I kinda figured that. I just didn't know. It's just weird that most companies don't even give you the option of upgrading the card... even if you are willing to pay more. they seem to say... "Sure... have the killer processor and the 4 bazillion gig HD... but hey.. you have to take the integrated graphics."
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Re: Calling all computer Nerds!

Postby Garberage » Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:31 am

I'll throw out my suggestion once more: MacBook Pro. If it is in your price range that is.

If you can get over the whole "omg it's a Mac eww" phase you'll find that it really is a nice machine. For years I've always built my own desktops, and swore off Mac entirely. However, when I started playing WoW, I found myself in the same situation you are in now. I bought the MacBook Pro then and have loved the descision since. I bought my second MacBook Pro for AoC this summer, and I still love it (the laptop, not AoC!). You'll pay a little more, but it will give you the portability and gaming performance you are looking for.

Some things to consider if you get a MacBook Pro: you'll have to install Windows on it via BootCamp in order to run Warhammer. Additionally, the video card drivers that come with the BootCamp install are always outdated, so you'll need to update them. This process is not as simple as "go download the latest". There is a series of steps that must be taken as Apple refuses to put out drivers for the MacBook. Luckily, there are some smart people out there that figured out how to get around the manufacturer's requirements: http://www.laptopvideo2go.com/

You were also wondering about changing out a video card in a laptop. I would pretty much put that thought out of the realm of possibility. As stated earlier, I've made many a desktop computer. I've worked inside some laptops too and it is a whole different world. First, some laptops might be genuinely impossible to upgrade the video card on. Others that are possible may be tricky, and most likely support such a small subset of the video cards that are out there.

Finally, you mentioned that the 12.1 screen doesn't bother you as you would dock the laptop at home. If that is the plan, make sure you research the supported resolutions of the video card in the laptop. You may find that with a 12.1 screen, the resolution is 1200x800 or something. Then, when you dock the laptop, the video card doesn't support any higher resolution. So you'll have a bigger screen but no further detail than the small one.
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Re: Calling all computer Nerds!

Postby Phardaxia » Mon Dec 15, 2008 6:23 am

Thanks Garb

Wow.. I didn't even think about the resolution issue. Good call.

Yeah.. I looked at the.... <gulp> Macbook... but I just can't. Besides... my wife would divorce me if I brought home a mac.


....hey....
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Re: Calling all computer Nerds!

Postby Braynon » Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:07 pm

Pity... I also play (when I get a chance to play, that is) on a MacBook Pro. LOVE. IT.

I have other reasons to own a Mac. My job away from my job is professional photography, and while many argue that a PC is just as valid a platform for graphics work... I prefer to use a Mac for it. I run Windows using BootCamp, and boot into that when I play. The machine runs fantastically.

But it's not worth getting served papers. A desktop will always outperform a laptop, but you lose mobility. To Garberage's point... definitely make sure that the TX laptop supports the resolution that you would use on your giant monitor. If it doesn't... you might get it for your school work... but you're not going to be using your large monitor to it's fullest with that machine. If it doesn't support it, I would consider a cheaper laptop and a desktop to game on rather than getting a gaming laptop. Or you might get a Dell XPS.
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Re: Calling all computer Nerds!

Postby Phardaxia » Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:38 am

if i go for a laptop with power, more then likely I will go with the Toshiba. That looks like the most bang for the buck.

thanks again for everyone's help.
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