Need laptop / desktop selection help

Ok, so this is a question for you guys who are more in-tuned with what parts/laptops are good for gaming.

I’m a backer (bought a Super Hornet with LTI). However, I currently have ZERO rigs to play the game.

I have to upgrade my laptop (giving my current laptop to my in-laws). My plan is to do the following:

1.) Buy a gaming laptop that can run the game now and allow me to play and get used to the game before the PU comes out. This will also allow me to be able to play if I’m ever travelling.

2.) Build a desktop PC to play in the PU. This would be allow me to take advantage of prices dropping on components. As well as take advantage of new technology (new GPUs) as they come out later this year.

So my budget for the laptop is $1400 or less. For the desktop, it will be about $1200 or less.

I’m looking to get at least the following components in both the desktop and laptop:

CPU = i7
RAM = 8GB (at least)
GPU = GTX 970 (or better as better GPUs come out)

Any suggestions on a good gaming laptop in my price range?

And do you have suggestions on components that I can use for my price range for the desktop?

I don’t know if you’ll be able to get all 3 in gaming laptop for less than $1400.

I do feel that Asus gives the best bang for your buck and if your budget is set in stone, then I recommend this: … Id=8618931
Or at least one of their similiar models.
Bear in mind that this comes with a 5400 hard drive. You’ll want to substitute your own, preferably an SSD :stuck_out_tongue:
And it only has an 860m card (2gb)

That being said, it’s the laptop I use and I think it’s great.

I guess the question is, how “on the go” are you?

Gaming laptops are usually one giant ball of compromises with a big price tag attached. Not something that I would look at, even it i was traveling for 1/4 of the year. And if your only on the road for a few weeks, the benefit of being mobile means nothing when you back at home for the other 48 weeks. In order to get something with some decent power, the unit will need extra cooling, which, on top of the extra parts already, adds weight to a device that is supposed to be portable. And most gaming laptops need a lot of power to run those extra fans, chips and drives, which eats into you total battery life. Which, kills off its portability. Plus, in order to charge the beast in the bag, you need lug around 3 pound power supply to give it the 300 watts it needs.

So, its a ball of compromises. Too heavy to be portable, crap battery life, and not enough power to justify the price tag. Plus, the heavier the bag, I swear the more the TSA screener hates on it while your needing to get that flight out of Terminal 5 at O’hare. That and I’m a whiny bastard about battery life, as I tend to use mine for 6-8 hour stretches.

For that budget, a “gaming” laptop is going to be hard, at least one that is going to comfortably run SC. And even if you do by a SC capable laptop (which the new mobile 970s and 980s could do), your going to be paying an arm and a leg, and by the time this game is released, the cost of getting that same level performance in a laptop will be ~$1000 less. And laptop hardware really does not benefit from costs going down over time, most gaming laptops are niche devices around MSRP for 6-8 months, a few hundred off for a few months, then in the closeout bin and gone in a month, replaced with the next years model with the same high price and potentially no improvement.

So yea, I’m not a fan of “gaming” laptops. Had a Sager a few years back and well, it may look like a portable computer, but it felt no more portable than my 1986 Apple IIc was.

And I kind of laugh at people when they say something like “you can’t game on that laptop”. Hell, find the right game. My old HP 2745 plays Fallout, TF2 and SPAZ with no issues at all on a Intel IGP (running 720p). My personal though is you run a good gaming desktop at home. Then a laptop which a easy to use, cheaper, portable, and just keep your mobile gaming limited to older titles, or titles that do not need that much power. Sometimes vintage games can be better than their modern counterparts, and you don’t need a “gaming” laptop to play those.

So… Desktop

The “k” series i5 or i7 chips are not bad choices. If money is tight, stick with the i5, the jump to the 4 core i7 isn’t worth the price at this point in time. That fancy Hyperthreading is only going to give you about 10-15% better performance at most. Most situations there will be little to no effect if the program isn’t optimized to use those “virtual” cores. If you made the jump to a 6 core i7, well, that’s a different story, but that’s also going to be a big premium due to having to step up to a Intel X-series motherboard, DDR4 memory, and more, but it is the more “future proof” way to go.


8GB at least, but I’d recommend 2 matching (sold as a set) 8GB DIMMS to give you 16 total. That will at least give you some cushion for a few years going forward, and i personally have a thing against not maxing out the memory slot on the motherboard. Lets say you have a motherboard with 2 memory slots. I hate having to “remove” 8GB of useful memory (2x4GB, my initial purchase) to upgrade to 16GB(2x8GB) of memory. So in that scenario, I’ve bought 24GBs for a machine, only am using 16GB of it, and have 8GB left over to help me open boxes at Christmas. Yes, the 8GB was cheap when i made it, but the 16GB at the get go might be cheaper in the long run. Don’t look to much at the expensive sticks with “hyper fast mhz ratings” and fancy heatsinks that look like they were stripped out of an anime film or a bad Brockheimer movie. The heatsinks do very little, and so does that mhz rating. If you looking at a 4 core i5 of i7, stick with 1600mhz sticks with lower CAS values (like 9 or 10). My personal favorite is the Corsair 16GB (2x8) 1600mhz CAS 9 LP kit that is floating around the interwebs.

Another thing about memory. I’ve NEVER had good luck in recent years mixing brands and timings/speeds. So if you plan on limping on 1 8GB stick till you can afford another, then make sure you get the same company and model #, but your much better off buying in pairs from the start. And if you have dreams of populating all 4 slots on that fancy board of yours. Same story, you better off keeping the brands and model numbers the same. I most recently tried mixing a 2x4GB CAS 9 Patriot kit with a 2x8GB CAS 10 Patriot kit in my wife’s PC. It worked. Minus a random blue screen every couple of hours of use. when the memory usage started going over 16GB.

Graphics card.

Of the current crop, you can go wrong with a 970, 980 or a soon to be replaced in market AMD 290. Look at 4GB+ cards, and make sure to find one that fits in the case you end up using. Personally I’d lean toward a EVGA 980, but when AMD’s new 390 comes knocking at the door, that very well may be my next card. Currently running a EVGA 660ti 2GB, runs AC with no issue on Medium at 1080p. Hanger is a little pixelated, but i honestly don’t care to much about the room that my static ship sits in being pretty.


I used to harp about having a OS and games SSD, paired with a small hard drive for random data. Then I bought a 512GB SSD, and well, stopped using my “data” hard drive all together. So, I’d lean toward a 512GB SSD myself. Personally have had very good luck with the Crucial MX100, M500 and my old drives, which were M4s. But disks like the Sandisk Ultra II is another one I’d put high on the list. Not a big fan of “premium” SSDs like Samsung 840 and 850 pro’s. You just won’t see the extra money you pay for it using it on a day to day basis. Granted, if you the type that runs benches everyday, then, well, go Samsung, you won’t find much faster sold. The “evo” series is priced in between the mainstream and the pro drives, which puts it in a interesting market. Sure its faster than a Crucial MX100, sure you pay more, but I bet you can’t tell the difference in Windows, the web, and AC.

If you do pick up a motherboard with SATA express or a M.2 port for a SSD, I’d most certainly try it, but i hear installing Windows 7 can be a pain.


I stay in the 130-170 range if your looking at a 4 core i5 or i7. Most boards over $200 have more features than you will ever use. Currently a fan of the Gigabyte UD series (3 and up) and the Sniper or Gamer series. But the Asus ASUS Z97-A does catch my eye, as its an affordable ASUS board where they don’t screw you on the mounting like the usually do on their budget boards. (6 screws instead of 9 like the ATX standard, so you feel like your going to break it in half when installing memory, power or Sata connectors.)


Never cheap out on the power supply, but never buy more than you will ever use either. If your looking at a unit with a 1 or 2 year warranty. Run away fast. The power supply is the one thing that if it fails and could potentially kill every part that is connected to it. Personally a Seasonic whore, which is anything made by them or XFX (which is made by Seasonic. But there is a lot of other good manufactures out there. Check the post in that other thread a few weeks ago and remember, there are more people selling power supplies than making them, and there is ALOT of rebranding going on.

If still have your attention after all the above, ColdBore’s build in his PC update Idea’s thread in general is a pretty solid start, and should be under the $1500 number as well. Granted, I’m still not sold on AIO liquid cooling, and cases are really a personal preference that then effects overall cooling set.

Annnnd… I’m spent.

Thanks all. I understand the drawbacks of the laptop, but I do have to upgrade mine soon since I’m giving this one to my in-laws. The deal is I either buy them a new laptop or I buy myself a new laptop and give them mine. So that’s why I was looking at at least something that runs SC. I was looking at some MSI or Sager laptops that seem to be under $1400 so I may go that route (knowing that they don’t benefit from the prices dropping). It will do more than just gaming (office stuff, book writing, etc…)

I’m still going to build my desktop and use it almost 100% for SC when I’m home. And again, thank you for the quick responses. They are very helpful and very appreciated.

Double post

Don’t knwo much about Sager. I’ve seen MSI but only articles where they’ve dropped the ball on gaming laptops a couple times. All the advice I have. :slight_smile:

Let us know what you pick!

Being a commercial truck driver my gaming is almost exclusively on a laptop. And my truck requires a small laptop as a bulky monster is just to hard to move around the cab. I finally upgraded my 4yo M11x and just got a new Alienware M13x. At $1,400 + tax it comes with a i7 5500U 2.4Ghz (3Ghz with turbo boost), 8GB Ram, And a 960M 1gb graphics adapter. The beauty is in the graphics accellerator port. I can purchace an external graphics accelerator box that can accpet any double thickness desktop graphics card and plugs into my laptop. This adds some future proofing and when at home Ican plug in a couple full size monitors and a KB which turns my laptop into a defacto desktop. Being on the road 250 days a year makes a ture desktop computer a bit of a waste for me.


Are you sleeping in the truck or in hotel rooms? I’ll be honest you could big a small cube system with a carry handle for about $600-700 and it would run circles around that laptop. Then connect to the TV in the truck or hotel with an HDMI cable, add in a wireless keyboard/mouse and you’d be in business, and still have money left over to buy a $400 laptop for those times you need one.

I work on the road half the year and picked up an ASUS ROG750 … OG_G750JX/ . Except mine has 32gig, a GTX 880M, and 2-256gig SSDs + 2-500gig 7200s all in raid zero.

BUT, it was a pretty penny and the current draw backs are my hotel connection and SC has not been optimized yet. So, I can’t give you a good idea on how laptops in general will be able to handle SC, if at all.

I sleep in the truck. Unless you’ve lived in a 73" sleeper you don’t know the struggle lol. There is no table to sit at. I have a platform I put on my lap when sitting in the bunk for my laptop. My TV is only 19" and way to far away to be able to read any text…I just have a ps3 hooked up to it for movies and assassins creed. Plus I have a large clipboard that hooks to my steering wheel to put the laptop on but a place for the joystick would be a problem. My truck Has an apu with a 6KW generator so I have power and my wireless plan has 10GB of data so I should be ok playing when I’m not at a truck stop with wifi. Though usually my 4g connection is faster than truck stop wifi.

Still hate big laptops, but its all dependent on how you use it. Most of my laptop usage is conferences/training, wireless testing or running between wired distribution points, so the smaller and better battery life the better. I can wait a week or two to play the pixel intensive stuff.

If a gaming laptop is the answer, then keep an eye out at the forums on and Since Nvidia just refreshed their entire mobile lineup 920m to 980m, you should start seeing closeouts of the 800m series parts as company’s are trying to clear out before the 9xx series starts filling the shelves.

Just today Lenovo put up the Y50 for $849, normally $1200.
[url]FatWallet - Thank you!

I can’t comment on the performance of the 860m though. But Jurgis’s laptop is very similar in spec. This has a better storage drive (SSHD hybrid seagate), have a feeling the battery isn’t as good ( 4 cell vs 8 cell ), and the display is a different panel.

And if Amazon is having the sale, make sure to go though the main page here, as free org funds are good. At some point I’ll have destroyed every ship in the hanger in asteroid collisions and will have to beg Jay to loan me one. :slight_smile: Or clean the floors… Or something.

I really like what Dell did with the Alienware M13x, as IMO that’s the way a gaming laptop should be. Small, decent portable performance, but the option of adding a PCI enclosure when you really want to use it. Maybe someone should bring back the laptop dock… Add a Alienware Graphics adapter port to a Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro and you would have my dream Windows laptop. (unless the Broadcom wireless adapter and antenna turns out to be crap. )

Companies, personally, had no issues with Sager, and I’ve had countless Lenovo and HP laptops at work, but not gaming focused. All i can say though is Enterprise support is what tech support should be with HP and their consumer tech support is like going to the dentist with no insurance and no pain meds. Dell was good years ago (consumer and enterprise), but HP was better for the enterprise sector, so we ditched Dell a few years back. So no recent experience there. MSI scares me and Acer give me nightmares.

Mine has a 765m and it does good in arena commander. I can’t imagine the 860 being worse. :slight_smile:

Was guessing you had that Asus G751JM-BHI7T25 from BB :slight_smile:

So yea, I’ll vote for it being playable. I’d toss another 8GB dimm in it for good measure. And since it should get a free win10 upgrade, you should be solid for DX12.

Thanks all!!

I was told by some helpful (or not so helpful) people that in the PU I’m going to want a 970 or better GPU. And that lesser cards are running Arena Commander okay right now because they aren’t rendering as much as they will have to in the PU. Is this the case? Or do you think anything north of the 870/880 will do?

I think I like the idea of the Alienware laptop and get the graphics accelerator later on to add an external desktop GPU to run the game. I already have a nice 22in monitor to play on (a remnant of my last desktop - may it rest in peace).

I think I’m ok bumping down to an i5 CPU as long as I can bump up the GPU, correct? This should hopefully keep the pricetag in my range.

Close! It was the g750 from BB. Don’t think they sell it anymore. :wink:

There’s no way the requirements are going to be the same in 2 years.
I’d settle for now and spend the extra on the desktop when the time comes.

Honestly, i think some of the hardware madness is a bit overblown. Yes, turning on all the bells and whistles, running two 1440p screens, and wanting to run at 90fps on your fancy 144hz monitor will take a beast to run. But in the end, they can’t make a game that only a fraction of the gaming population will be able to run else the PU will be a very lonely place. You just have to manage the settings and set reasonable expectations. We can only speculate what the PU will be like.

I need to dig some before i say anything on the 8xx vs 9xx, but i will say the 9xx was a big leap ahead of performance vs the 8xx series. But, the PU is what? Two years away maybe? Rather all the cash on a system for something that fall out, it might just be better to spend something to run the game comfortably now, then wait and see how it all fleshes out in the end. Two years is a lot of time in Hardware terms. That $1500 laptop now may have the same overall power as a $800 unit in late 2016.

There isn’t much difference between a similar clocked i5 vs i7, as HT isn’t a big deal, so if it was between a i5 with a 970, and a i7 with a 870, then I’d pick the i5. Pay attention to the core count, not sure if Intel is still shipping two core i5 or i7 chips.

Thaipoon don’t let them get to you. Arena commander is not optimized AT ALL. So yes the PU will require more, however it’s going to be optimized. Now if you want to up the ante with 1440p gaming then those people might be right but I think you’ll be able to get away with less if you’re sticking with 1080p (which is what 98% of gamers use at the moment, even though people will make you believe differently). <–that’s a steam statistic too, not many people I know don’t use steam, even if it’s just for one game or so.

Saw lots of good suggestions posted earlier, and if you are going with the laptop route choices are limited.

As for those worried about how things will hold up once the PU/“actual game” launches, right now everything is just guesswork. Yes, more assets will have to be rendered at once and yes, optimization will help, but to what degree? And how will direct X12 boost performance? The best bet with regards to what hardware will handle the game is to just wait 2 years and then buy it! I mean, just today the Nvidia TitanX came out (ok, tomorrow).

If you’re desperate to play and your laptop can’t run it well, there have been some guides floating around on which settings to turn off in your user config file to help make it playable. If you don’t know how to create a user.cfg file, it’s basically just opening up notepad, copying the listed texts and then Save-as “user.cfg” with .cfg being the file extension. Don’t save it as user.cfg.txt :slight_smile:

forums.robertsspaceindustries.c … d-graphics

Going to add something else to the laptop considerations.

Many of the mobile GFX chips support using both DDR3 and GDDR5 for memory. DDR3 is cheaper than GDDR5, but it is also significantly slower. So even though it might have a Nvidia 850m chipset, the manufacture could have very well gimped it by using plain jane DDR 3 to save a few pennies. And the cost to the end user’s performance is unbelievably high. Which they tend not to say on the box.

I ran into this once before when i bought a AMD 7750 for my theater box (I think still the fastest single slot AMD card). Saw something come on sale for $60 bucks, hit buy way to fast, and ended up with a DDR3 based card. And well, hated myself.

I ran into this…


So pay attention to the memory type associated with the dedicated graphics, if its DDR3, then run. Fast. And it looks like everything below the Nvidia “60” level could support standard DDR3. (so, 950m, 940m, 850m, 840m, etc) Also note, the system itself will be using DDR3, so pay attention, DDR3 associated with the graphics core is bad, DDR3 associated with the system, no worries.

Same 860m based above Lenovo is now at $799.


There is also a Lenovo Y40-80 at shop Lenovo for $779. (Slick deals link)


Which gives you a slighter smaller screen, with ok reviews. - I like smaller screens
Changes out the Hybrid Drive for a 512GB SSD - Betters
Drops the processor a notch to a Dual core i7 - Worse
And changes the dedicated video to a AMD R9 M275, a 4GB model - No idea, don’t pay much attention to AMD’s mobile chips. Will edit if i find something.