Sherdog Official Gaming Laptop & Review Thread (Revised)

Discussion in 'Video Game Forum' started by Madmick, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. Madmick Stop Spoiling My TV Life (it's the one I like)

    Madmick
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    http://forums.sherdog.com/threads/s...lass-nvidia-10-series-gpus-available.1891053/
    Previous thread is above. I'm creating this to give our official gaming laptop thread a more solid and useful OP.

    I regard this German website to be the most useful and thorough laptop reviewer on the web:
    https://www.notebookcheck.net/


    Processing Power
    http://www.userbenchmark.com/
    Everything Else
    • Display
      • Size (13.3", 15.6", and 17.3" are standards; 15.6" is most common)
      • Resolution (higher = better)
      • Display Type (OLED > IPS > TN*)
        • *for picture quality, but not necessarily gaming framerate/smoothness
      • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz or 120Hz? (higher = better)
      • G-Sync capable? (this will only apply to NVIDIA GPUs)
    • Battery Life
      • higher= better, obviously
    • Ports
    • Chassis
      • Build quality (Metal / Aluminum > Plastic)
    • Keyboard
      • Backlit or not?
    • Operating System & Software
      • Windows 10 > all other operating systems & versions of Windows for game performance
      • Pre-installed software (i.e. bloatware): the less the better

    Above are your major specs divided into two major categories. "Processing Power" refers to hardware components that will affect game performance. I've hyperlinked UserBenchmark for each component if you want to see how it stacks up.

    Laptops and desktops share many of the same components, but buying laptops is usually a bit simpler because it is designed to work as a single system, so you don't have to worry as much about research to make sure your individual components are all compatible/optimal for each other. There is very little that can be upgraded or replaced in a laptop. RAM and batteries are about it.

    -- the CPU and GPU are the most critical components. While UserBenchmark focuses on desktop components they are slowly adding in laptop components for easy-to-understand ratings and h2h comparisons. Be aware that for the GPU (aka "video card") this can often be confusing because on websites like Amazon or Best Buy the NVIDIA GTX 10 series GPUs will be listed in name indistinguishably from the laptop version. For a true benchmark comparison you must look for "Mobile" in the title. See the difference here:
    http://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Nvidia-GTX-1060-Mobile-vs-Nvidia-GTX-1060-6GB/m164336vs3639
    This is a big deal because frankly, right now, you really shouldn't be buying any gaming laptop that isn't running on an Intel CPU and an NVIDIA GTX 10 series GPU. They perform so much better at so much lower temperatures that AMD cannot compete in the laptop territory.
    Reasonable laptop gaming power has been achievable for $1500 or so for about the last 3-4 years, but the release that really changed everything for gaming laptops was when NVIDIA finally brought the desktop-class GPUs to laptops with the new GTX 10xx series. Almost all of these laptop video cards are now only 10%-30% behind their desktop versions (which are already the best in the world) in terms of performance, and there no longer exists an outlandish markup on any of the gaming laptops that carry a GTX 1060 6GB class GPU or lower (because they produce so little heat relative to past generations that it isn't presenting a major engineering challenge, anymore, for manufacturers to shove them into laptop spaces).

    Right now that Acer Helios Predator 300 everyone is mentioning is the bestselling overall gaming laptop on Amazon. It's 15" with mostly the same specs and comes in at $1050, so $1K is all that a highly respectable gaming laptop will run you in the USA, these days.

    The laptops carrying GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 cards still demand a more significant markup over the desktop market because they run quite hot, and because living in such a premium niche, they simply don't sell as large a volume. They're also massive and loud because they have to pack actual fans in to keep everything running smoothly. You won't be able to rest them on your lap. Furthermore, they still don't even make GTX 1080 Ti laptop cards. Too hot.

    By far the most desirable cards for gamers with no budgetary concerns are NVIDIA's new "Max-Q" laptop cards, but you won't see these in laptops below $2K. These are actually even slightly weaker than the normal Pascal laptop video card versions I'm talking about above. Max-Q is considered a distinct laptop architecture. The reason they are so highly prized is because they took the weight, size, and heat reduction to even more incredible levels. Basically, you can fit a GTX 1080 card into a laptop as sleek as a MacBook Pro, and sit it on your lap. To prove this, in the product launch, NVIDIA executives would actually sit down, rest the laptops on their laps, and conduct the product pitch while it was running games for at least 15 minutes. Apparently they still generate a bit of noise, but less than the traditional Pascal mobile versions.



    Here is a list of all Max-Q laptops current to October 18th:
    https://www.ultrabookreview.com/16277-laptops-nvidia-max-q/

    I find it irritating that they felt the need to signify the leap in laptop performance with Pascal Mobile by dropping the "M" that used to come after the card. For example, back during the GTX 9xx generation, if you saw a laptop with a GTX 970 in it, they would write "GTX 970M". I wish they would still do that. Not doing it is misleading, and confusing for consumers.

    NVIDIA current video card classes
    • Desktop -------------> Pascal
    • Laptop ---------------> Pascal Mobile
    • Laptop premium --> Max-Q
    I wish they would just denote it this way. NVIDIA gets 2 out of 3 right (meanwhile retailers like Amazon make no distinction between any of the below):
    • Desktop --------------> GTX 1080
    • Laptop ----------------> GTX 1080M
    • Laptop Premium ---> GTX 1080MQ
    -- For RAM you really just want to procure at least 8GB. All current hardware will run DDR4 RAM. The MHz rating after that is an indication of speed, but this isn't terribly important. The DDR4 class guarantees a minimum frequency of 2133MHz.

    -- For storage an SSD is highly desirable for better load times and overall snappiness, but laptops can combine an SSD (for the OS) and an HDD (for more, cheap storage). This is the best of both worlds.

    -- The rest is mostly a matter of preference and individual user demands. Learn more about it by asking questions in this thread.



    **********************************************************************
    OCTOBER 2017 RECOMMENDATIONS
    **********************************************************************

    I don't recommend 14" or below for gaming laptops, due to the premium for the shrinking form factor, but the Alienware R3, Alienware 13, Razer Blade, and MSI Phantom or Stealth Pro variants are probably your best options in this size range. You'll pay at least $1500 for equally priced hardware as in the recommended units below. Every laptop below is considerably more powerful than the original PS4 or Xbox One.


    15"

    $1049
    Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7 CPU, GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, VR Ready, 15.6" Full HD, 16GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, Red Backlit KB, Metal Chassis, G3-571-77QK
    Acer Predator Helios 300
    [​IMG]
    • Display: 15.6" 1920x1080 IPS
    • CPU: i7-7700HQ
    • GPU: GTX 1060 6GB (mobile version)
    • RAM: 16GB DDR4-2400
    • SSD: 256GB
    This is currently the bestselling gamer laptop on Amazon, and it isn't hard to see why. Acer is still stained by a reputation for being something of a problem brand for laptops, but that's for its budget office offerings. Their "Predator" gaming monitors are the most highly prized gaming displays in the world, and pretty much anything they make under that sub-branding is afforded special attention in order to uphold it.


    17"
    $1199
    Eluktronics N870HP6 Pro-X Premium Gaming Laptop - Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core Windows 10 Home 6GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 17.3” Full HD IPS Display 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD + 16GB DDR4 RAM
    Eluktronics Pro-X N870HP6
    [​IMG]
    • Display: 17.3" 1920x1080 IPS
    • CPU: i7-7700HQ
    • GPU: GTX 1060 6GB (mobile version)
    • RAM: 16GB DDR4-2400
    • SSD: 256GB
    The new kid on the block. Read more below:
    This appears to be the hungry new upstart in the laptop game. I know very little about it. Almost all forum chatter I can find about this across the internet doesn't go back to further than October of last year. They are headquartered in Delaware, in the USA, which is usually a big plus for customer service and for merchant integrity (i.e. they don't tend to suddenly disappear after six months). Apparently their laptops are just rebranded Clevo/Sager units-- at least the chassis-- which are considered the absolute top-of-the-line among PC brands for build quality and reliability.

    Additionally, if you follow my link to the Amazon page, you'll notice that their customer service reps themselves answer the customer FAQs on Amazon, and even specified the exact LG manufacturing part number for the display used in the Pro-X laptop recommended above so that customers could research it in more depth. These guys mean business.

    http://www.eluktronics.com/about
    On Amazon:
    Clearance Sales (recent models) listed on their homepage:
    http://www.eluktronics.com/RTS-Sales/

    Budget Sub-$1K
    $799
    Lenovo Legion Y520 - 15.6" Gaming Laptop Computer i5-7300HQ / Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB / 8GB DDR4 DRAM / 256GB PCIe SSD / Windows 10 Signature Image 80WK00FHUS
    Lenovo Legion Y520
    [​IMG]
    • Display: 15.6" 1920x1080 TN
    • CPU: i5-7300HQ
    • GPU: GTX 1050 Ti 4GB (mobile version)
    • RAM: 8GB DDR4
    • SSD: 256GB
    The Lenovo Y series has been probably the best-reviewed budget gaming laptop series for a decade, now, and this model offers more hardware bang-for-your-buck than anything else out there. The Y520 model only gets an average review from Laptop Mag (in the roundup at the bottom of this post), mainly due to the poor display quality, but then, it's not like anybody else offers a better complete package under $1000. Note that the price of this or any other budget model might inflate steeply when it drops out of stock.
    -- Alternatively, the Acer Nitro 5 offers identical specs for the same price, but also a variant that adds 8GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD for $150 more. Nevertheless, the non-Predator Acer laptops are not as esteemed.
    -- Another alternative is this "Amazon Choice" MSI GL62M laptop for $100 less at $699 by stepping down the video card from the GTX 1050 Ti to the GTX 1050. It also carries an i7 and i7 + Ti variants if you want to consider higher price points to upgrade those components.


    State of the Art
    $2699
    ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501 15.6” Full-HD 120Hz Ultra-portable Gaming Laptop, GTX 1080, Intel Core i7, 512GB PCIe SSD, 16GB DDR4
    Asus ROG Zephryus GX501VI

    [​IMG]
    • Display: 15.6" 1920x1080 IPS
    • CPU: i7-7700HQ
    • GPU: GTX 1080 8GB (Max-Q version)
    • RAM: 16GB DDR4
    • SSD: 256GB
    If you don't suffer any budgetary concerns the above laptop is considered the finest gaming laptop in the world right now. It was the model NVIDIA used to introduce and launch their "Max-Q" video cards that allow for such light and sleek laptops with such incredible power. As you can see from Amazon reviews...that doesn't necessarily translate to customer satisfaction.

    For more $2K+ options here is a list of all the Max-Q laptops available current as of this posting:
    https://www.ultrabookreview.com/16277-laptops-nvidia-max-q/


    Additionally, some enthusiast lines that cater to hardcore gamers in the laptop world are below. However one feels about them they are worth mentioning in this context to curious consumers:
    Alienware gaming laptops
    Asus ROG gaming laptops
    Acer Predator gaming laptops
    Razer gaming laptops

    Finally, the online zine LAPTOP MAG (associated with Tom's Guide) offers this article series grading the most recent gaming laptops manufactured by each of the major players.
    2017 Gaming Laptop Brand Rating & Report Card
    1. (90 pts) Alienware & Dell
    2. (85 pts) MSI
    3. (81 pts) Razer
    4. (78 pts) Asus
    5. (76 pts) Acer
    6. (75 pts) Origin
    7. (70 pts) Aorus & Gigabyte
    8. (67 pts) Lenovo
    9. (59 pts) HP
    Here is their page will their specific, top recommended models. Be warned that every single model on the list is over $1000 except for the top recommended unit in the sub-$1K category (which only nets a 3.5* score):
    https://www.laptopmag.com/gaming-laptops
     
    #1
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  2. TSO Silver Belt

    TSO
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    There's a monster out there with dual 1080ti's in it. Can't remember who makes it but I was thinking of selling one of my trucks to get one.

    Not really, I can't afford it even after selling a truck.
     
    #2
  3. loyalyolayal Gold Belt

    loyalyolayal
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    Acer.


    [​IMG]
     
    #3
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  4. Madmick Stop Spoiling My TV Life (it's the one I like)

    Madmick
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    Yeah, the Acer Predator 21X is a fine option for Scrooge McDuck:
    $8,999: Acer Predator 21 X Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7, GeForce GTX 1080 SLi, 21" Curved 2000R Full HD, 64GB DDR4, 1TB PCIe SSD, 1TB HDD, with 21X Protective Travel Case, GX21-71-76ZF
    What's the point of dual GTX 1080 Ti's for a 2560x1080 screen?

    There's more. Notebookcheck actually offers the ability to filter by GPU configurations. If you scroll down to the "benchmarks" you can study which laptop models have actually benchmarked this configuration.
    https://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-1080-SLI-Laptop-Benchmarks-and-Specs.178631.0.html
    Here are the laptops with Dual SLI GTX 1080 Ti configurations:
    Of these the Asus ROG GX800VH would appear to be the most sensible dream laptop build:
    ASUS ROG GX800VH Liquid-Cooled Gaming Laptop 18.4”, 4K, G SYNC, Core i7-7820HK, Dual GTX 1080 SLI, 1.5 TB SSD, 64GB, RGB KB
    Official page here:
    https://www.asus.com/us/Laptops/ROG-GX800VH-7th-Gen-Intel-Core/
    4K screen, G-sync, liquid cooling, higher-clocked RAM, larger SSD, all for $6K. Both have shit battery life (up to 3 hours).

    But...the truth is there's a reason that NVIDIA didn't even put out a GTX 1080 Ti version of Max-Q. These just get too hot; especially when you SLI them. You won't be able to actually use this on your lap. It's not terribly practical for a laptop. Just too much heat. Furthermore, there's the fact that while we were promised SLI/Crossfire as the future a mere few years ago when the low-level APIs like Mantle debuted the opposite has been realized. SLI/Crossfire is dead:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/nvidia/comments/6n6xgq/the_state_of_sli_on_the_games_of_2017/

    Additionally, that thing comes with a protective case because the computer costs $9,000. Unless you're comfortable putting a $9K item in a flimsy backpack there's just no practical advantage for portability over the most LAN-friendly Mini-ITX setups, and these can built with superior specs for less than 1/3rd the price. Their cases are no more cumbersome than the 21X's "Protective Travel Case." If you want that much power--- you need to get into building:
    Sherdog: The Best LAN Party PC Cases
    PCPP: Mini ITX Cases compatible with Dual SLI x Zotac Mini GTX 1080 SLI

    Corsair Graphite 380T
    [​IMG]


    Lian Li PC-TU200
    [​IMG]


    NCASE M1 v5
    [​IMG]


    Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ITX
    [​IMG]
     
    #4
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
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  5. loyalyolayal Gold Belt

    loyalyolayal
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    That's just Acer trying to get into the gaming market. They're trying to make a name for themselves the way a pretty non-descript Taiwanese brand like MSI did-only they're pushing it to ridiculous levels only to say that they did.
     
    #5
  6. loyalyolayal Gold Belt

    loyalyolayal
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    I'm pretty much out in the gaming laptop scene. Gotta build a decent rig in the neae future or when my old msi craps out. Anyway, story time:

    Electronics are very expensive in the philippians. As I was still in Malaysia earlier this month, I saw a dude selling his Asus rog with 980m for around 870usd. I could sell my msi(870m)here in the flip for almost the same price. I was looking for buyers but I only have 3 days left. missed opportunity.
     
    #6
  7. HIMBOB Steel Belt

    HIMBOB
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    Laptop Question.

    Do any of you guys know how i can tell when a laptop i have was first used?

    A guy selling it is saying its a year old and i think he is full of shit.

    Lenovo Think Pad if it matters.
     
    #7
  8. Madmick Stop Spoiling My TV Life (it's the one I like)

    Madmick
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    Sure. You can look up when computers were manufactured. You just need the full model number.
     
    #8
  9. HIMBOB Steel Belt

    HIMBOB
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    Thanks.

    Found what I needed.

    The apparently 1 year old laptop was purchased in oct 2015.
     
    #9
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  10. ben236 Silver Belt

    ben236
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    For those on a budget and can do without playing the latest games at the highest settings at 60fps, you should also check out the Nvidia's MX150 GPU. Not quite as good as the GTX1050, but it will definitely save a couple hundred bucks and can play a lot of newer games very well with a few tweaks to the resolution and graphic settings.

    For example: You can get an Acer Aspire 5 with this GPU in it for $600 US

     
    #10
  11. Madmick Stop Spoiling My TV Life (it's the one I like)

    Madmick
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    I'm more excited about the new collaboration between Intel and AMD (the first time since the 1980's) in the iGPU space. NVIDIA has been the monster in the laptop space, even in the lower end, no question, but I think they're about to get smacked.
    Intel and AMD team up: A future Core chip will have Radeon graphics inside
     
    #11

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