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Old 2012-01-23, 07:15 PM   [Ignore Me] #1
Ailos
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Why you shouldn't plan on playing PlanetSide 2 on a laptop


Came across this article on Tom's Hardware earlier today, and thought I'd post it here since I see quite a few questions that run along the line of "Do you think my laptop will be ok?"

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...tion,3118.html

I personally strongly urge any potential gamers to instead buy a desktop instead of a laptop if they really do plan on playing PS. There are quite a few college students out there that like to use laptop because they are easier to manage while in college, but a $400 laptop will do everything you ask for college and more. But that same $400 laptop will cry if you even show it something like PS2 installation file, and what the article talks about is a reason why.

So for those of you that are in college, but still want to enjoy PS2, here's my recommendation:

Ailos' guide to enjoy PlanetSide 2 for the price of a Macbook Pro

Macbooks are becoming very popular with college students these days, but they're not exactly the cheapest piece of hardware you could have. Also, since PS2 isn't being developed to run on Mac, you'd have to trick it to run PlanetSide 2 by using boot camp and the like, which is annoying at best. With that in mind, let's see what other options do you have, especially if you have a fixed budget.

An 13" macbook pro starts at $1199, which will get you an Intel HD 3000 integrated card and only 4 gigs of RAM. Though enough for most daily computing, any mildly-informed buyer will recognize this won't be enough to run any recent games. For that, you'll have to splurge out and go for the 15", 2.2 GHz version that has ATI Radeon HD 6750M graphics, and that's a whopping $1799.

Source: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/hom...URE-MACBOOKPRO

Some of you reader might also point out that Alienware (DELL) make gaming laptops in a similar price range, starting at $1499, and that come with seemingly better hardware: http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-M17x-r3/pd.aspx

However, while both Macbook and Alienware laptops offer impressive every-day computing ability, it does come at a price. My goal with this post is to show that for the same $1800, you can buy a laptop for mobility, and a fully-equipped desktop to enjoy games without compromising either task.

Let's start with the simple part: the laptop.

I recommend a simple laptop for creating and editing your documents and managing your school life, something like this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834157819

Its hardware isn't quite on the same level as the macbook or the alienware monsters, but it's more than enough to browse the internet, edit documents, and even play older games without much sweat. Plus, you'll get the battery life of the macbook, without the price.

That plust $30 shipping takes $410 out of the $1800 budget, leaving us with $1390.

At this point, there are two routes you can take:

1. You could buy a manufactured desktop (such as an HP or Dell) and upgrade one or two of its crucial components. This will result in a slightly worse value-for-money deal, but is easier than option 2:

2. You could build your own desktop from scratch.

If you're planning on going with option 2, this article is probably not for you. So I will concentrate some more on option 1.

Modern games' performance depends on many factors, so it is important to provide ample headroom to prevent have enough memory and avoid CPU bottlenecks and allow the video card to have ample power to handle the incredible battles that surely await us in PS2.

I recommend starting with a system similar to this:
http://www.dell.com/content/products...corp&~lt=popup

You will have to spec it somewhat from the website when ordering to make sure you get the right stuff.

First, you'll want to go for the highest processor, and in this case, the Core i5 should be more than capable to handle anything PS2 throws at it (that processor will give you 8 threads at 3 GHz speeds, and that's plenty). A Phenom II X4 would be the AMD equivalent (only 4 threads, but much more bandwidth).

Hard drive size is somewhat arbitrary, since almost any desktop in this price range will come with something like a 320 GB 7200 rpm SATA drive. What this means is that you may not be the first to load on a continent, but if you spec everything right, you will never experience any other issues.

RAM is something that you do want to max out on - for the Dell model I mentioned above, that will be at 8 GB (some other manufacturers may allow you to go up to 12).

The last important bit is the graphics card. I advise against picking any upgrades from the base in this section, because these will almost always be overpriced, and rarely a top shelf-option. I recommend going for the most basic option here because this is the only part that you will manually upgrade post-purchase.

However, there is one thing that needs to be paid attention to when we decide to upgrade the video ourselves: making sure there is enough space for it. Manufacturers like to load up their motherboards and power supplies with a lot of (frequently unnecessary and useless) extras, so I recommend foregoing any other options, such as wireless cards or TV tuners. These can always be added later on in the same way we will add the video card.

If you've followed my recommendations, you will have arrived at a build with specs similar to these: 3 GHz Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, DVD R/RW, Intel HD graphics. Throw in a Dell 21" full HD screen and some speakers and your total comes to $790. And crucially, we have one PCI x16 2.0 slot open in this system. This also means we have $600 to spend on upgrading this rig's video card, more than enough to get a true monster.

There is a potential issue that must be addressed when selecting a card here: the power supply. The Dell model I listed comes with a 300 W PSU, which is well below what is recommended for most cards (500W min). Thus, you arrive here at another choice. Upgrade just the card, or upgrade the PSU to support a more monstrous GPU.

The first option will be easier and cheaper to accomplish, but will mean your PC will have a pretty short lifetime as a gaming rig (you'll feel like you'll have to buy a new one in less than a year).

If you go this route, you have to stick to relatively low-end cards, which won't be much better than simply having selected the upgrade option when you were originally speccing the PC from the manufacturer.

For performance and value, then, you will be needing to go the second route, which means you'll have to swap out the PSU and add the video card.

My recommendation here is to lean towards nVidia cards simply because they tend to be less power-hungry (and will consequently dissipate less heat, which will create less potential for cooling issues with this type of a rig). Plus, at this price range, there really is no graphical performance difference between the two cards (ATI cards tend to fare slightly better on the lower end market).

My recommendation is a GeForce GTX 570: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130593
Listed on newegg for $340. This card will give you flawless performance even in full 1920x1080 HD. This card is also the highest card you should even consider buying due to power concerns and space concerns - you are unlikely to have the space to fit any heat sinks necessary to keep anything more beastly in a quiet enough shape.

This also means you'll need a supply much beefier than the 300W that the dell PC came with, and I recommend this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817341018
for $90.



The actual process of installing the card and power supply is relatively straight forward. Simply connect the new powersupply's wires in exactly the same places the old one's went. The card will fit into one slot on the motherboard, but will take up two bay spots (which is why I recommended no other PCI addons or extras), and will also need to have a 4-wire cord connected to one of the power supply's outlets. If you install the power supply first completely first (and boot up the computer to make sure it works) before doing anything with the card, you should be fine. Just remember that nothing in a PC ever requires a hammer to install.

So the final price of all components as I listed them here:
  • HP Laptop - $410
  • Base Dell tower, with 21" HD monitor and speakers - $790
  • GeForce GTX 570 - $340
  • PSU for the video card - $90
    Total: $1630

So at the end of the day, you'll be left with:

A very usable laptop for your every day mobile computing needs, a very decent gaming PC, and an extra $170 in your pocket.

Those of you with experience building your own PCs will realize that the final cost of the PC came in at $1220 - that's and that's enough money to make a rather well-equipped home gaming PC (you might be able to even throw and SSD in there for that price), that will likely have specs even better than the ones you get from the dell-based build I mentioned above, and crucially, give it much more upgrade potential for the upcoming years. But as this is already a very long post, I'll leave that for another discussion.
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Last edited by Ailos; 2012-01-23 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 2012-01-23, 09:30 PM   [Ignore Me] #2
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Re: Why you shouldn't plan on playing PlanetSide 2 on a laptop


I have a year and a half old Dell laptop, I know it's not very good so I plan to upgrade sometime during the beta. If PS2 doesn't run somewhat well on laptops though, then there are a lot of potential customers that will be left in the dark. As for me, I'd like to play with fancy settings (my first "nice" desktop was bought right before PS1 and that rocked), but I'll wait til the last minute to upgrade because I'm cheap like that... lol
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Old 2012-01-24, 02:59 AM   [Ignore Me] #3
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Re: Why you shouldn't plan on playing PlanetSide 2 on a laptop


Originally Posted by Ailos View Post
My recommendation here is to lean towards nVidia cards simply because they tend to be less power-hungry (and will consequently dissipate less heat, which will create less potential for cooling issues with this type of a rig).
Wut?

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/HD_7970/26.html

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5261/a...hd-7970-review

http://www.guru3d.com/article/amd-ra...d-7970-review/

AMD either win comfortably, or it's within 5 watts/degrees (for HD6000s as well. I just used 7970 reviews because they're the most up to date), but the temps are irrelevant anyway as who's going to buy a dedicated card with a stock cooler?

Still, I don't keep up with laptops at all, so I was actually surprised to see laptops getting results that good now.
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Old 2012-01-24, 04:05 AM   [Ignore Me] #4
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Re: Why you shouldn't plan on playing PlanetSide 2 on a laptop


Ailos

I totally agree with you that the most cost effective way to truly enjoy today's AAA PC games is on the desktop.

I personal have ditched the laptop entirely and just have a decent smart phone and a nice desktop at home and a workstation at work.


Originally Posted by Ailos View Post

My recommendation here is to lean towards nVidia cards simply because they tend to be less power-hungry (and will consequently dissipate less heat, which will create less potential for cooling issues with this type of a rig). Plus, at this price range, there really is no graphical performance difference between the two cards (ATI cards tend to fare slightly better on the lower end market).

My recommendation is a GeForce GTX 570: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130593
Listed on newegg for $340. This card will give you flawless performance even in full 1920x1080 HD. This card is also the highest card you should even consider buying due to power concerns and space concerns - you are unlikely to have the space to fit any heat sinks necessary to keep anything more beastly in a quiet enough shape.
While i agree the GTX570 and HD6970 are about the performance at low AA 1080x1920 (at higher res/AA the 6970 pulls away in performance) and price (newegg has atm $305 for 6970 $310 for 570) the ATI card is by a small margin the more power efficient

bit-tech
system Idle: HD6970 141W vs GTX 570 150W
system Load: HD6970 306W vs GTX 570 330W

guru3d HD6970 GTX 570
system Idle: HD6970 174W vs GTX 570 181W
system Load: HD6970 361W vs GTX 570 369W
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Old 2012-01-24, 04:18 AM   [Ignore Me] #5
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Re: Why you shouldn't plan on playing PlanetSide 2 on a laptop


For those in Europe and wanting a gaming desktop for cheap'ish without having the will/knowledge to build one themselves, I can wholeheartedly recommend Novatech.

Extremely happy I decided to throw my money at that place. The best customer support I've ever got anywhere and the computer works like a dream seeing what I paid for it (one of their lower end gaming desktops)
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Old 2012-01-24, 07:50 AM   [Ignore Me] #6
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I started playing PC games on a laptop. I do not miss it at all.
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Old 2012-01-24, 10:16 AM   [Ignore Me] #7
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Re: Why you shouldn't plan on playing PlanetSide 2 on a laptop


Originally Posted by Oryon22 View Post
I started playing PC games on a laptop. I do not miss it at all.
Same here. Finally switched to desktops last march when my Asus gaming laptop ran out of warranty and the GPU started acting up.

EDIT: Ok well I didnt start playing PC games with a laptop, but when I finally got a computer that was anywhere near up to date, it was a laptop.

Until 2005 I was stuck with a PC that had 266mhz CPU. Beat that.
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Old 2012-01-24, 12:10 PM   [Ignore Me] #8
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Re: Why you shouldn't plan on playing PlanetSide 2 on a laptop


So, I have an ASUS G74 SX... do you think this laptop will be good enough? Because I blew a lot of cash on it..
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Old 2012-01-24, 12:12 PM   [Ignore Me] #9
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Re: Why you shouldn't plan on playing PlanetSide 2 on a laptop


I'd figure with ASUS G74 SX it's playable, but I can almost see the overheating inbound already

But the truth still is you probably could run the game better on a desktop that cost half the money you spent on that laptop.
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Old 2012-01-24, 09:42 PM   [Ignore Me] #10
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Re: Why you shouldn't plan on playing PlanetSide 2 on a laptop


Originally Posted by Vancha View Post
Wut?

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/HD_7970/26.html

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5261/a...hd-7970-review

http://www.guru3d.com/article/amd-ra...d-7970-review/

AMD either win comfortably, or it's within 5 watts/degrees (for HD6000s as well. I just used 7970 reviews because they're the most up to date), but the temps are irrelevant anyway as who's going to buy a dedicated card with a stock cooler?

Still, I don't keep up with laptops at all, so I was actually surprised to see laptops getting results that good now.
If you understand the intricacy associated with swapping out a GPU fan with an after-market cooling solution (such as a water cooler), this isn't for you.

Stock GPU fans are adequate unless you plan on overclocking, in which case, again, this post is not for you.

I would expect anyone that's making the transition from the pre-assembled computer to a custom one to buy a card and keep it stock cooler. It's a poor idea to make your first venture into custom computing a very complicated one. I'm also a big follower of the KISS principle: KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID!
Originally Posted by Mutant View Post
Ailos

I totally agree with you that the most cost effective way to truly enjoy today's AAA PC games is on the desktop.

I personal have ditched the laptop entirely and just have a decent smart phone and a nice desktop at home and a workstation at work.


While i agree the GTX570 and HD6970 are about the performance at low AA 1080x1920 (at higher res/AA the 6970 pulls away in performance) and price (newegg has atm $305 for 6970 $310 for 570) the ATI card is by a small margin the more power efficient

bit-tech
system Idle: HD6970 141W vs GTX 570 150W
system Load: HD6970 306W vs GTX 570 330W

guru3d HD6970 GTX 570
system Idle: HD6970 174W vs GTX 570 181W
system Load: HD6970 361W vs GTX 570 369W
Well I guess I stand corrected here. In any case, the choice between ATI and AMD is currently somewhat arbitrary.

Originally Posted by BloodySoul View Post
So, I have an ASUS G74 SX... do you think this laptop will be good enough? Because I blew a lot of cash on it..
I'm not going to sugar coat it: No

Asus laptops are generally not a recommended buy at any level. And I've already established my dislike for laptops in this price range.

The 560M Has a 775 HMz core (OK), up to 3 GB 1250 MHz GDDR5 (also good), 192 shaders (not really that good) and 192-bit memory interface, and 1.17 billion transistors (mediocre) which look impressive on the shelf at Best Buy. But let's look at that card's desktop brother, the GTX 560:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814134137
Listed here for a rather reasonable $180.
Right off the bat, we're looking at an 810 MHz core clock, with 336 shaders, a 256-bit memory interface communicating (lol "just") 1GB of GDDR5 memory at effective 4000 MHz. And this isn't even a top shelf item.

Suffice it to say, you got ripped off on this one. The only way you'll get all the promised performance from this is if you keep it on a flat surface (such as a desk) and put a fan or two to help it stay cool, making it a desktop.
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Last edited by Ailos; 2012-01-24 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 2012-01-25, 03:20 AM   [Ignore Me] #11
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Re: Why you shouldn't plan on playing PlanetSide 2 on a laptop


Originally Posted by Ailos View Post
If you understand the intricacy associated with swapping out a GPU fan with an after-market cooling solution (such as a water cooler), this isn't for you.

Stock GPU fans are adequate unless you plan on overclocking, in which case, again, this post is not for you.
You didn't read what I asked. I didn't ask who'd buy a GPU and keep the stock cooler, I asked who'd buy a GPU with the stock cooler? I.e. Why buy the reference card when you can get an ASUS DirectCU II or MSI Twin Frozr III with a better cooler pre-installed?
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Old 2012-01-25, 05:28 PM   [Ignore Me] #12
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Re: Why you shouldn't plan on playing PlanetSide 2 on a laptop


Originally Posted by Vancha View Post
You didn't read what I asked. I didn't ask who'd buy a GPU and keep the stock cooler, I asked who'd buy a GPU with the stock cooler? I.e. Why buy the reference card when you can get an ASUS DirectCU II or MSI Twin Frozr III with a better cooler pre-installed?
The cards you linked there are the epitome of what I'd call past the point of reason. You're blowing an extra $200 on a pretty-looking red fan. There isn't that much difference between the cooler they put on it and the one that XFX (just to throw out a name) puts on theirs. And in any case, you won't run into the issue of overheating that card with its OEM cooler unless you overclock, which aside from being a separate venture, voids the warranty and is not advisable for those making a first venture into hardware configuration.
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Old 2012-01-25, 06:44 PM   [Ignore Me] #13
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I don't see the reasoning behind this thread. I play everything on my laptop. Got it hooked up to my tv when at home. Haven't had a desktop in many years. USB keyboard, trackball... Just max out the video card and ram when you can.
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Old 2012-01-25, 06:45 PM   [Ignore Me] #14
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Re: Why you shouldn't plan on playing PlanetSide 2 on a laptop


One thing most people dont think about in a smaller and cheaper laptop, is AMD Llano. I got one in my laptop, got a steal on the price at just under $400 (i think more realistic now is 500 and only if you get a good deal). I originally got this just to run my camera to from my telescope when in the field. However i threw some games on for the heck of it to see how they'd run. And holy crap, they all run great. I'll easily play PS2 on this.

I can run WoW at pretty high settings and even in orgrimmar during primetime its still smooth. I run crysis 2, L4D2, Dead Island, Dirt 3, PS1, everythign runs great. Its an AMD 6620 gpu built in, while not uber, its gonna run anything out there just fine, esp if you turn off some of the more over the top settings you cant even see anyway on the smaller screens. Until intel puts out mobile chips with decent GPU's, unless you are spending a sizable amount to pay for the higher cost Intel chip plus additional discrete graphics on top of that, i would go AMD Llano hands down. This is definately true if you go in the 13 to 14 inch laptop range where the chips work great for most whatever you can throw at it.

Keep in mind, im saying im impressed and my desktop runs an oc'd gtx 580 + OC'd i7-2600k, so my standards are not low.
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Old 2012-01-26, 03:19 AM   [Ignore Me] #15
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Re: Why you shouldn't plan on playing PlanetSide 2 on a laptop


Originally Posted by Ailos View Post
The cards you linked there are the epitome of what I'd call past the point of reason. You're blowing an extra $200 on a pretty-looking red fan. There isn't that much difference between the cooler they put on it and the one that XFX (just to throw out a name) puts on theirs. And in any case, you won't run into the issue of overheating that card with its OEM cooler unless you overclock, which aside from being a separate venture, voids the warranty and is not advisable for those making a first venture into hardware configuration.
Stop right there, mister! You're misinforming people in an informational thread. You've compared a 6870 with a 580 or something. $20 for some coolers, maybe. $200? Never. Not even the ultra ridiculous price bump on PowerColors Devil 13 is $200.

www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/GeForce_GTX_570_Direct_Cu_II

Just as an example, the extra $10 on that 570 gets you one of the quietest 570s (I care about noise. Guess what the other quiet cooler is?), with lower temperatures, and depending on who's benchmarks you read, slightly lower or the same power consumption.
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