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vlakarados 04-25-12 05:55 AM

Laptop with external display
Hey guys, seeking for your recommendations here.
I have an Acer Aspire laptop and looking for an upgrade. Basically, I don't want a monster laptop as it should be affordable to say the least. The main requirement is that I want to run wow on an external display at 1920x1080 resolution without lags and good fps (best to be on highest video settings), can someone recommend me what are the best models to achieve this? Maybe someone can recommend me a mobile graphics card model so I could be looking myself further? If it would be a desktop PC it would not be a problem, but I have little knowledge of mobile hardware, so if some experienced users could answer me, I would be more than pleased!
Thank you in advance!

semlar 04-25-12 07:03 PM

Let me start by saying that the problem with using a laptop for gaming is that the more power you put into it, the less portable it becomes, and you can't upgrade the system like you could with a tower. That being said, I can understand the need for someone who can only afford one machine.

I'll describe what I would personally be looking for in a gaming laptop if I were in the market for one.

Ram: 8gb minimum. Ram is cheap enough that you could buy 16gb for between $100 and $130. This is one of the only components you can actually upgrade yourself in most laptops.

CPU: Quad core i5 or i7, 2.4ghz and up will cover pretty much anything you need to do.

HDD: The hard drive speed could affect loading times in certain situations, so it actually can make a difference, but isn't commonly considered. A solid state drive (SSD) offers the quickest seek times, but is extremely expensive per GB when compared with platter drives. However, they do make hybrid drives now that offer most of the advantages of an SSD along with the size of a standard hard drive. Not really a game-changer but something to think about. Can vastly improve boot times.

GPU: The mobile graphics card. This is going to be the biggest issue and none of them are going to stack up against a standard desktop GPU. On the plus side, WoW isn't that demanding of a game.

You can check this site for some mobile GPU benchmarks (SLI and Crossfire mean two graphics cards are being used), but it looks like the GeForce GTX 580M and 675M are pretty good cards. Do NOT get tricked by the model numbers, they're utterly meaningless, use benchmarks to find the card you want.

iBuyPower might offer the best bang for your buck, followed by Asus and then maybe Alienware although I don't think they're what they were before being bought by Dell.

You're looking at between $1000 for a lower end laptop "gaming" rig and $2000 on the high end.

vlakarados 04-26-12 01:18 AM

Thank you, the information you provided is really interesting, but it does not answer the question about GPU, which would be the best for playing on the external screen? Does it matter if I play on internal or external display? Will the performance be the same if I plug in a display with same resolution? And what to look at, when choosing a GPU? As I understand every mobile GPU is built with the internal display in mind, so it would be rather disappointing if I buy a laptop and the game will lag on the external monitor :(

semlar 04-26-12 06:02 AM

I guess I neglected to mention it because using an external monitor has no impact on performance.

In fact, the laptops I looked at even used 1920x1080 for their native resolutions, which seems high to me considering I'm using the same resolution on a 23" monitor and the laptop only has a 15" screen, but I suppose they wouldn't be using it if it didn't look okay.

The only reason using an external display would lower your frame rates would be if it were set to a higher resolution, because it has to render more pixels for every frame, but it would be the same as if you increased the resolution on the internal display.

Here's a link to the laptops on iBuyPower to give you an idea of what to look for and the prices. I wouldn't personally buy a laptop with a 17" screen though, at least not if you're planning on moving it around and why would you buy a laptop if not for portability.

Keep in mind you will need to make sure the laptop you buy has a port for whatever monitor you're plugging in or you'll need to use an adapter (generally hdmi, dvi, or vga). I wouldn't pick the laptop based on this though, I'd get the laptop I want then adapt the monitor to suit my needs.

vlakarados 04-26-12 06:10 AM

That was exactly what I was wondering, I have a laptop and to my own opinion which is based on a feel when I connected external monitor with the same resolution as laptops internal one (1366x768), I had lower frame rates, but thank you very much for your answer, will be looking for a laptop with a good GPU. Maybe you can recommend some of them to me? What will be an affordable mobile GPU which will have good fps at high graphical settings and 1920x1080 resolution in wow and wow: mop? Maybe someone had some experience in this?

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