OK, but what’s the point?
The point is having a high performance laptop and if you got here you probably looking or thinking about looking for performance laptops that will allow you to play smoothly anything on high to highest settings on full hd resolution. Now, some people say there is no such a thing “gaming laptop”. Well, the fact is that even the slowest laptops below will run your games on FullHD resolutions and high to highest settings smoothly and the fastest of them will run any stable game smoothly on highest settings, full hd resolution with AA filtering. So far for the gaming abilities of laptops. In another aspect, some of them offer good overall quality, including build quality, screen quality, thermals and easy manual customizations.
For those who do not know why they are looking in this articles – you’re right. There is a real need to explain in which cases you’ll need/want a GTX 675M and not a GT 650M and I’ll do that in a different article, but basically, the GTX 670M / Radeon 6970M (and more then that – GTX 675M/Radeon 6990M) and up are aimed to get let you play games on very high settings, including resolution, filters and so on. You’ll notice the Radeon HD 7970M which costs considerably less than the GTX 680M and offers the same performance more or less (read: you’ll not notice the difference).
As in other posts, besides the ‘why’ and ‘why not’, I used two indictors: price / gaming performance ratios and value / price ratio. The former being the raw gaming performance compared to the price you pay and the latter is an indictor that takes into account other laptop variables, like the heat and noise, keyboard and screen, weight and so on – it’s not perfect, but it does give some indiction and lights the way to go.
The marks are relative. If I write “good keyboard” it doesn’t mean that it’s good in some absolute terms and you’ll surely get what you want, but it’s based on grades from in-depth and user reviews and practically says how it felt compared to other laptops. Same for the other variables. Sometimes I add additional information to makes the details clearer.
The laptops with the somewhat green (?) background are those which in my eyes are recommended and the ones you should really check (currently). Each of them has something special (or something like that), like best performance for the money or great overall quality. For example, I marked the Asus G75VW-TS2 as a recommended one because its build quality, thermals and noise levels are great, although the performance it offers – I7 + GTX 670M – you can buy for lower price (Sager).
LAST NOTE: I’m pretty sure there are some more models I didn’t take into account, like the MSI GT780 (GTX 570M) and more such models. I might add them later, but I think they do not add anything currently.
OK, enough blabbering. Lets walk the walk.
|Model (link to coupon)||GPU/CPU||Street Price||Why||Why not||price / gaming performance||value / price||sources|
|Alienware m17x R4 17.3″||base: GTX 660MInteresting: Radeon 7970M/I7||1499$ for basic configuration,1780$ including Radeon 7970Mand 8GB DDR3 memory with coupon code “BHW1L0MX0D?MCX!“||
||Very good to Excellent||Very good to Excellent. The very high build quality (above the average for this class) and not too bad thermals for such a HW (I7 + 7970M), especially considering the alternatives||Alienware m17x-R4 review|
|Alienware m18x-R2||base: GTX 660M.Upgrade: CrossFireX or SLI/ I7||base: 1999$, 2550$ with crossfireX of Radeons 7970M||
||Doesn’t matter||Good||Alienware m18x-R2|
|Samsung 700G7C 17.3″||GTX 675M / I7-3610QM||around 1720-1750||
||Very Good||Good. The 16GB is useless for many cases, the short battert time and the high price makes this laptop less than appealing for this price.||Samsung 700G7C review|
|Toshiba Qosmio X875-Q7290 / Q7291||GTX 670M / I7-3610QM||1880$||
||OK||Well, depends. You get the 3D. If that’s what you want, then this is one of the only laptops with this feature + performance.Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend it.||in-depth review, review of the X870,another X870 review|
|iBuyPower||Actually, no advantage over the Sagers. Sometime better coupons. Same Clevo barebones|
|MSI GT60-0NC||GTX 670M / I7-3610QM||less then 1400$||
||Very Good||Good to Very Good. Why only ‘good’? because it doesn’t add anything compared to the other competitors, but a good laptop overall.||MSI GT60 review|
|MSI GT60-0ND||GTX 675M / I7-3610QM||still unavailable||still unavailable||still unavailable||still unavailable||still unavailable||MSI GT70-0NC review|
|MSI GT60-0NE||GTX 680M / I7-3610QM||base: 1900$ and prostarinteresting: screen upgrade (+120-160$)||
||Very Good||Considering the performance – Very Good||MSI GT70-0NC review|
|MSI GT70-0NC||GTX 670M / I7-3610QM||1400$ 670M||
||Very Good||Very Good. Doesn’t add anything compared to the other competitors, but a good laptop overall.||MSI GT70-0NC review|
|MSI GT70-0ND||GTX 675M / I7-3610QM||base: 1450-1550 (TigerDirect - 1450$, Amazon)||Same as above, higher performance, less appealing heat handling||Same as above (GT70-0NC), higher noise||Excellent (GTX 675M for 1450$)||Very Good. Doesn’t add anything compared to the other competitors, but a good laptop overall.||MSI GT70-0NC review|
|MSI GT70-0NE||GTX 680M / I7-3610QM||base version still unavailable, but should be around 1900$. other version are on pre-order status||Very Good. But same performance can be achieved for lower price.||MSI GT70-0NC review|
|Asus G75VW-TS2||GTX 670M / I7-3610QM||1400$ (GTX 670M, FHD),Amazon,XoticPC||
||Very Good||Excellent: The combination of high performance and very good thermals/noise levels makes the G75VW-TS2 a premium laptop in my eyes.||Asus G75VW review 1,Asus G75VW review 2|
|Eurcom Racer (P150HM) 15.6″||base: Radeon 6970M 2GB / I7-2670QM||1375$ for 6970M, I7-2670QM,1440$ for 6990M (=~GTX 580M / GTX 675M),I7-2670QM+70$ for high quality FullHD display||
||BEST||Very good to Excellent (screen, connection ports, excellent thermals)||Eurocom Racer (1.0) review ,Eurocom Racer 6970M review 2|
|Eurcom Racer 2 15.6″||intersting: Radeon 7970M / I7-3610QM||1540$ for GTX 675M + High Quality FHD screen,1650$ for 7970M + High Quality FHD screen||
||BEST||Very Good||Eurocom Racer 2.0 review|
|EUROCOM P180HM Leopard 2.0||base: GTX 560Minteresting: SLI / CrossfireX 6970M / 6900M/I7-2670QM||2063$ for a crossfire of 2x6990M||
||Doesn’t matter. If you want to spend money to get the highest performance available then it’s a very good choice – Excellent for that.||?||review,review 2|
|FORCE 16F2-012 / MSI 16F2 15.6″||GTX 580M / I5-I7||1260$ (I5), 1360$ (I7)||
||Based on other MSI barebones:
||BEST (without screen upgrade)||Very Good||MSI 1762 / One M72-2N review|
|FORCE 1762 / MSI 1762||GTX 670M – GTX 675M / I7-3610QM||1200$ (670M) – 1270$ (675M)||
||BEST (without screen upgrade)||Very Good||MSI 1762 / One M72-2N review|
|Sager NP9130 15.6″||GTX 670M / I5-I7||base: 1100$,Interesting: screen upgrade (+95$)||
||BEST||Very good to Excellent. As other Sager laptops – excellent for upgraders too||user review and discussion|
|Sager NP9150 15.6″||Base: GTX 670M.Interesting: 7970M, GTX 675M / GTX 680M (7970M is the most cost effective)/I7||base: 1320$Intersting: Radeon 7970M, screen upgrade (1615$)||
||BEST||Very Good to Excellent. As other Sager laptops – excellent for upgraders too. Just remember that heat and noise handling isn’t that good and that’s why the “very good” and not complete excellent.||Other P150EM laptop review,User review|
|Sager NP9170 17.3″||Base: GTX 670MInteresting: 7970M, GTX 675M / GTX 680M (7970M is the most cost effective)/ I7||base: 1370$,Interesting: Radeon 7970M + screen upgrade.||
||BEST||Very Good to Excellent. As other Sager laptops – excellent for upgraders too||Clevo P170EM review|
1. 3D – To get this out of the way, you got the Toshiba X875 or the Alienware m17x. The difference is that the Alienware price starts where the Toshiba ends, more or less and for 3D display you’ll have to add another 400$ or so. The alienware is an overall superior laptop, however. Read the summery and decide.
2. Crazy performance - To get this out of the way too. The 18″ models, like the Alienware m18x and the Eurocom P180HM Leopard 2.0 can house crossfireX or SLI configuration. Take it if you want – I won’t recommend such laptops as CFx and SLI are not perfect solution and sometimes do not add to the performance, will sip electricity like it was whisky and will heat your house. Anyway, the Eurocom Leopard 2.0 is a good option if that’s what you want. For 2060$ you get CFx of 6990M. For 7970M CFx go to the m18x.
OK, to the interesting part:
3. You want the top performance for your money - Just go to one of the laptops marked as “BEST“. If you got to this point you’re probably looking to run smoothly almost any game on high to highest settings and high resolution. To get most out of your money, you just need to get one of the “best” laptops and you’ll get it. If you have question, you better ask in the forum but you can also post here.
It’s important to note that all of the recommended laptops above have a FullHD screen and most of them have a very good one or the option to get one. You don’t have to spend money on it if you’re ok with the typical screen, but if you are sensitive to colors and contrast or you watch movies in high quality formats (especially blue-ray), then I truely suggest that you’ll take the upgrade.
A problem: Many laptops are equipped with the GTX 670M which is – although ‘Fermi’ based – are still good. The problem is that the Kepler based GTX 660M are very close in performance (an average of 5%-15% - read GTX 670M vs GTX 660M) and many of the GTX 670M laptops cost 1400$ and more while GTX 660M can be bought for as low as 900$ (Lenovo Y580, no FullHD screen) and recommended laptops are between 950$ and 1100$, including the screen upgrade I nagging you about.
So, in the case of GTX 670M laptops, my suggestion is unless you buy one of the cheaper GTX 670M laptops or found a great GTX 670M laptop (like the Asus G75VW-TS2) that you want, take a recommended GTX 660M laptop and save the money or spend it on other things like SSD or comic books.
Otherwise, for high performance, the Sager NP9150 and Sager NP9170 and the Eurocom Racer which offer great performance and great screen for lower price than the others – upgrade to the Radeon HD 7970M GPU which offers the same performance as the GTX 680M for lower price. The Alienware m17x R4 is a catch too, which the current coupon (BHW1L0MX0D?MCX!).
Remember that the Sager comes with no OS and if you need to buy it, the total price will be higher.
4. You want a good performer but also care about its the overall quality. That’s what the second ratio column is for. Favorites – Asus G75VW-TS2, the Alienware m17x R4 that costs more than the barebone competitors (Sager, Eurocom) but you get added value in the form of very good heat levels even when equipped with the Radeon HD 7970M and ofcourse I must recommend in this case also the Sager NP9150 and Sager NP9170 which might be worse in terms of heat and noise levels and no OS, but offer great performance and great screen for lower price than the others. This is your choice.
And again – remember that the Sager comes with no OS and if you need to buy it, the total price will be higher.
The MSI GT70-0ND with GTX 675M offers sometimes excellent performance for the price with coupons and good thermals. The downsides are average build quality only and although this laptop is relatively cool, it is quite noisy.