Author Topic: Need some advice from you computer geeks  (Read 5696 times)

Offline TwoElkhounds

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Need some advice from you computer geeks
« on: August 10, 2013, 01:00:06 pm »
Hi,

My son has been bugging me for a new laptop for some time.   He has become quite the computer nerd, talks about things I do not understand, uses terms I am not familiar with, and obsesses over taking care of his machine.   He runs multiple operating systems on his machine (he hates Windows).  He has become our household IT department, helping my daughter with her machine, updating our virus software, keeping our operating systems up to date, cleaning out our registries, you name it. 

He generally likes to just do hacking and learning about how the machine works.  Researching things on the Internet, then doing them himself on his machine.   But he also plays some games such as RollerCoaster Tycoon.  I have seen him booting this game up on his current machine, it takes a good 20 minutes, so he probably has a point about needing a new machine.

Anyhow, I made a deal with him that I would match any money he put towards a machine for his birthday.  He has been working all year (not bad for a 16 year old!) and it is now judgement day, he wants his new machine.  I told him to figure out what he wants and let me know.   

He decided he wants a System 76 laptop with the specs below:

CPU: 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4900MQ Processor
GPU: nVidia GeForce GTX 780M 
RAM: 24 GB
SSD: 512 GB Samsung 840 Pro Series Solid State Drive
Hard Drive: 1 TB
WIFI: Intel Centrino 2230
Screen: 17.3" 1080p Full High Definition LED Backlit Display with Matte Finished Surface ( 1920 x 1080 )
System: Windows 7/8 Professional

Cost $3204

Any thoughts from you computer nerds (Ace, I am thinking you)?   Can he get more bang for his buck with something else?  Anything in the setup that is not worth the money?     I am also not familiar with System 76.  Their previous laptops were HP's and they served us well, no problems.

This is a little bit more money than I originally thought I would spend.  I was thinking he could put in a grand and I would match it.   I should have put some limits on this!! :D  However, Brandon has been working hard and saving his money religiously.   He is also getting so deep into these computers, certainly a very good skill that will serve him well as he enters the workforce.   I want him to continue to build his knowledge.   I also don't want him to get a machine that he outgrows in a year.   But.........$3204!! ???

Any suggestions are appreciated from you geeks.

DAN

cdawrld

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Re: Need some advice from you computer geeks
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2013, 06:48:50 pm »
I am a big time gamer (Crysis, Unreal, Elder Scrolls) Building my own desktop game machines since '92. Trs-80 and commador 64 back before that. 
For a gaming laptop there is Alienware. Has been around a longtime. Great specs and build quality. Since they are owned by Dell now you know they will be around awhile more for product support.
I myself would get an Asus G750. About $1500-1900 depending on memory and hard drive. A really nice unit would have 256gig SSD for boot drive, 1 TB for storage and 16gig ram would be good(only Photoshop rendering will demand more than 12gig RAM). Never had a problem with my Asus motherboards and I use a Asus tablet daily. Someday I'm getting that laptop but in 15" so I can actually carry it.


BrandonMH

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Re: Need some advice from you computer geeks
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2013, 09:51:37 am »
Yea, I agree with Asus, I never had problems with their boards either.  I have been building desktops as well since 99, working on them before then.  Alienware is a good company, I had no idea dell bought them now, but figures since their XPS line was pretty nice as well.

Offline TwoElkhounds

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Re: Need some advice from you computer geeks
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2013, 11:05:30 am »
Thanks for the comments.   I went and configured a similar machine on Alienware and the price came back as $3500, so a little bit more pricey.   But I guess you are paying for the name.

I also looked at Asus.  The problem here is there is no option to customize the processor or the graphics card.  They have their standard configurations.  I am sure this is why they are able to keep their costs so low. 

I discussed this with my son, he says he wants the GeForce GTX 780M graphics card as it is currently the best on the market.  It is overclocked and uses shaders (so he tells me).  Looking on line and he is indeed correct, it is currently the fastest laptop graphics card on the market, benchmarked at 30% faster than its predecessor.  It also supports resolutions up to 3840x2160.   You cannot get this card on either Alienware or on Asus, only from customized laptop manufacturers such as System 76.  Maybe a bit of overkill?  Looking on PCPartpicker.com, the desktop version of the 780M sells for about $200 more than the older verisons.  Maybe worth the extra cost?

Any more thoughts from anyone?   Clearly my son seems to want a top of the line machine, one that cannot be currently purchased from large scale PC builders.  This is partially my fault as I have encouraged him to get fully engaged in this project.   If we were getting a desktop, it might not be such a big deal, you can upgrade components later as technology improves.   On a laptop, you are stuck with what you have, not possible to upgrade the graphics card for instance.   This is a factor in the decision, I would think.

Ace, where are you?  Really would like to know what you think.

DAN





Offline Willingtonpaul

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Re: Need some advice from you computer geeks
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2013, 11:15:03 am »
It is overclocked and uses shaders

Sounds like NASCAR talk to me....

 ;)

780, 790, whatever it takes....

Or maybe some 30 weight oil and ball bearings.  What kind of name is poon, anyhow ?

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Offline TwoElkhounds

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Re: Need some advice from you computer geeks
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2013, 11:18:18 am »
One more note, System 76 offers Linux on their laptops without Windows.   They do not load up their machines with all the crapware that the other manufacturers do.  So he wants to get his laptop configured with Linux, nothing else.  Then he will do a custom install of Windows.  He discovered System 76 from the Linux forums that he frequents, evidently they are well thought of in those realms.   

DAN

Offline TwoElkhounds

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Re: Need some advice from you computer geeks
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2013, 11:31:37 am »
Sounds like NASCAR talk to me....

 ;)

780, 790, whatever it takes....

Or maybe some 30 weight oil and ball bearings.  What kind of name is poon, anyhow ?



I will watch the race today and see if we hear those terms used!

Offline W5CI

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Re: Need some advice from you computer geeks
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2013, 12:50:06 pm »
$3500 for a Laptop to Play Games on is CRAZY, Laptop are becoming obsulete anyway.
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Offline TwoElkhounds

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Re: Need some advice from you computer geeks
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2013, 02:24:32 pm »
$3500 for a Laptop to Play Games on is CRAZY, Laptop are becoming obsulete anyway.

My original post was intended to try to get some opinions for a less expensive option to accomplish what I want to do, so I might generally agree with you, $3500 for a computer to play games on is crazy.  However, he does do more than play games.  Desktop is out since he needs it to be portable.   I think desktops are more becoming obsolete than laptops anyway.   Tablets currently do not have the horsepower that laptops have, so they cannot be used as an equivalent.  I agree, if all you do is play simple stuff, surf the internet, or check email, a tablet may be fine.   

Many of our friends have limited their children's computer time or will not let their kids use computers at all.   We always felt it was better to go the other way, let them play games but also have them build skills.   My son loves hacking, my daughter is quite an artist using graphical software.  We have always encouraged them to continue to build these skills as they will serve them well.   Both are extremely computer literate and can run circles around me on the computer.  They find the computer classes at school to be a joke as they know more than the teachers. Our friend's children can barely even type on the computer.  So in my opinion, these parents have done their children a disservice.   This stuff is here to stay so shielding them from it because you didn't have it when you were a kid is not the right thing to do.   

DAN 

« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 07:07:20 pm by TwoElkhounds »

Offline Calvin+Hobbes

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Re: Need some advice from you computer geeks
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2013, 03:54:38 pm »
I'll put my little (?) WPI student who cut his teeth on Information's and Technologies on this task and let him weigh in...... He's in the process of getting ready to go to college and he's doing the updated latest/greatest laptop for college... stand by.
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Offline TwoElkhounds

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Re: Need some advice from you computer geeks
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2013, 07:17:13 pm »
Found this computer from MSI (MSI GT Series GT70 2OD-039US), has all the stuff he wants along with 32GB of memory. :drool:  Good God, I remember when 512KB was all the rage.  :o  Price is down to $2699, still obnoxious, but sounds better than $3500.  Seen it on other sites for $2599 with free shipping.   Getting almost paletable.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834152395

Still waiting Ace ........................  :poke:

DAN

« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 07:21:50 pm by TwoElkhounds »

Offline Happy Camper

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Re: Need some advice from you computer geeks
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2013, 08:59:36 am »
Found this computer from MSI (MSI GT Series GT70 2OD-039US), has all the stuff he wants along with 32GB of memory. :drool:  Good God, I remember when 512KB was all the rage.  :o  Price is down to $2699, still obnoxious, but sounds better than $3500.  Seen it on other sites for $2599 with free shipping.   Getting almost paletable.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834152395

Still waiting Ace ........................  :poke:

DAN

Nice laptop.. they sure have come a long way; and you are correct; laptops blow tablets away. I think that puppy will run just about anything out there; and for a long time to come. I bought a HP DV7 quad core with 8 gig nearly 6 years ago; it was mucho expensive, but money well spent; it is still compatible with the newest OS and runs most programs out there; most 6 yo computers are doorstops.  So investing that much into a machine now is not that insane; what is insane is having to replace a computer you spent a $1000 on, in 2 years, because it is obsolete; and what a huge pain in the a$$ it is to upgrade to a newer machine.
I built a nice office machine with an AMD FX-8350 8 core processer and GeForce GTX 760 Graphics. IMHO intel is overpriced; I used to not like AMD as they were prone to overheating; but not anymore, AMD processors tolerate overclocking a lot better than Intel; again IMHO. SSD is the way to go of course; but I would opt for a larger SSD and forget the old platter drive; they just eat up battery life, and seam to cause the SSD's to lag a bit. I have a 1 TB WD drive and I manually hang it off the connectors in the machine every week and Norton ghost backs up to it. Then I have a NAS 4TB server, Norton ghost incrementally backs up to daily.
Eric

<BTW> A good resource for hardware and software info: http://www.tomshardware.com/
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 09:01:18 am by Happy Camper »
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Offline TwoElkhounds

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Re: Need some advice from you computer geeks
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2013, 10:01:29 am »
Thanks Eric.

Curious if you have any thoughts on the Intel® Core™ i7-4900MQ Processor versus the Intel® Core™ i7-4700MQ Processor.  The 4700 comes in at 2.4 GHz and can be overclocked to 3.4 GHz.  The 4900 is 2.8 Ghz.  but can be overclocked to 3.8GHz.   The 4900 has 2MB more cache than the 4700.  The 4900 adds a few hundred bucks to the cost, maybe more.   My son is afraid of overclocking the 4700 and is pushing for the 4900.   Sounds like from what your saying, he may have a point.  Do you think I should spend the extra money?  I would need to go custom build in order to get the 4900, which of course means $$$$$$.

DAN
 

Offline Happy Camper

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Re: Need some advice from you computer geeks
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2013, 05:37:23 pm »
Overclocking means heat; heat is the arch enemy of electronics. unfortunately no way to augment the cooling in a notebook; if it was a desktop I'd say overclock and add some exotic aftermarket cooler, but since it's a notebook, IMHO overclocking is not a good idea, they have a hard enough time removing the heat in that cramped environment to begin with. I'd use it a factory speed. If you overclock and burn the processor or graphics the MFG will know it and will void the warranty. So I'd just go with the 4900 or....
If your son is a gamer...gaming is about graphics.. here's a laptop that has the option for an Intel 4930 (extreme edition) + dual graphics in SLI or Crossfire mode  and it cost less! you can add memory to get 32 gig I think 32 would be enough for most anything, + I upgrade that SSD to a 512.
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Fang-Taipan-M2-Cyberpower-SLI-CrossFire-Core-i7,23770.html   
This is considered one of the hottest gamers on the market
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 05:41:20 pm by Happy Camper »
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Offline Nathan

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Re: Need some advice from you computer geeks
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2013, 06:34:59 pm »
Overclocking means heat; heat is the arch enemy of electronics. unfortunately no way to augment the cooling in a notebook; if it was a desktop I'd say overclock and add some exotic aftermarket cooler, but since it's a notebook, IMHO overclocking is not a good idea, they have a hard enough time removing the heat in that cramped environment to begin with. I'd use it a factory speed. If you overclock and burn the processor or graphics the MFG will know it and will void the warranty. So I'd just go with the 4900 or....
If your son is a gamer...gaming is about graphics.. here's a laptop that has the option for an Intel 4930 (extreme edition) + dual graphics in SLI or Crossfire mode  and it cost less! you can add memory to get 32 gig I think 32 would be enough for most anything, + I upgrade that SSD to a 512.
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Fang-Taipan-M2-Cyberpower-SLI-CrossFire-Core-i7,23770.html   
This is considered one of the hottest gamers on the market
Nice!  You guys are as bad about computers as you are about campers:  "Sure, that's a nice gold plated unit, but this one is platinum"  8)
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