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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 18th May, 2005, 09:00 AM
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Which laptop for gaming?

Hey guys, wondered if you could give me some advice?

A friend of mine wants to get a laptop that will run Dawn Of War and a few other games like Rome: Total War. He's got a budget of up to £1000. Now, this really isn't my territory, as I have a pc for gaming and a laptop for mobility and never the two shall meet, but I did come up with a suggestion from Novatech from their crossfire range:

15.0" XGA TFT Screen
AMD Athlon 64 3200 DTR
1024MB PC3200 400MHz DDR RAM Memory
60GB HDD Hard Drive
128MB ATI Radeon 9600
DVDR Multi Burner
56K Internal Modem
Built-in 10/100 Based LAN Network Port
£903.58 inc VAT

He's already got a seperate wireless PCMCIA card, so that's not really a consideration.

Only problem was, he got down there to look at it and the thing weighed quite a lot and the guy behind the counter couldn't even tell him how long the battery lasted - two important considerations for my friend.

Any advice please?

Oh - needs to be a UK supplier please!
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Old 18th May, 2005, 10:38 AM
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AMD / ATI laptops are the SUVs of the laptop world. Dont expect much battery life, but yea that would do the trick.
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Old 18th May, 2005, 11:01 AM
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Do you have any recommendations then on a laptop that performs equally well but with longer battery time?

As I said, i'm after alternatives to my initial suggestion to my friend, as it wasn't suitable for him because of the weight and (presumably low) battery time.
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Old 18th May, 2005, 11:18 AM
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erm, Apple powerbook G4 has about the longest battery life of any decent laptop (4-5 hours) and has an ATI 9700Pro in it as well.

But then, you cant play games (decent games) on OSX.

Toshiba have some very long battery life laptops with decent 3d cards, and are probably still the best built and most reliable laptops on the market. That said they cost a fortune.
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Old 18th May, 2005, 11:41 AM
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Just looked at some of the Toshiba ones, a couple of the Tecras. Finding it hard to find any with more than 64MB of graphics memory. They were very pricey too! Any suggestions with a balance between features, price and battery life?
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Old 18th May, 2005, 12:02 PM
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The one im recommending at the moment is a company called TwinHead. TwinHead is the exclusive supplier of laptops to the Australian military, along with many other national armed forces. They are shock proof, water proof, and have a required battery discharge capacity, and a required battery life expectancey by the Australian Army.

Extremely low failure rates, and a reputation that they have to uphold to keep military contracts.

Here is a link to the Australian dealer: http://surpass.com.au/content/standard.asp?name=TH15B

Pay close attention to the battery life: 2 hours 41 minutes on absolute maximum load. That is as good as anything on the market. The video card is a 64MB 9700, and yes, it will be more than adequate. Seriously, a 64MB card with decent power is all you need in a laptop.

Most people get put off by cards with low memory on them, but the chip is far more important than the ram capacity. Trust me, that card will do everything you need it to, with power to spare.
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Old 18th May, 2005, 03:05 PM
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Found one - have a look and see what you think of the spec. Battery life is very good, not too weighty, good graphics card too.

http://www.acernotebooks.co.uk/Acer_...aptop/prod.asp - 8101WLMi
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Old 18th May, 2005, 09:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsio
Pay close attention to the battery life: 2 hours 41 minutes on absolute maximum load.
BatteryMark doesn't test absolute maximum load. It tests the 'typical' user (AKA an mobile office worker). I've found that maximum load tends to result in battery life somewhere around 40-60% of the BatteryMark figure.

For playing most games, unless you've got a couple of batteries, don't expect too much more than 60-120 minutes. As the batteries age, their capacity will drop. If they're well used, expect them to hold about 60% of their original charge after a year.

Take manufacturer's battery life recommendations with a large pinch of salt. You might find they work the battery life out by setting the laptop up in it's best power saving mode, and then not running anything on it!
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Old 18th May, 2005, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tottyspotter
Found one - have a look and see what you think of the spec. Battery life is very good, not too weighty, good graphics card too.
Not sure how they got the 4.5 hour battery life figure, when Acer are only claiming 4 hours maximum. Battery capacity is 72Wh, which is reasonable large.
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Old 18th May, 2005, 11:34 PM
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i use a toshiba satellite 4100XDVD, may not be able to play dawn of war but it plays sim tower, sim city 2k, sim city and colonization on win98 .
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Old 19th May, 2005, 12:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Áedán
As the batteries age, their capacity will drop. If they're well used, expect them to hold about 60% of their original charge after a year.
It also depends on how you use and store it. A good friend of mine is religious about keeping his toshiba's battery in the fridge between uses, and at 33% capacity, only charging it fully when it will be in heavy use. Makes a huge difference to battery degradation.

On the other hand, my current compaq M300 battery has been left in the hot car on a daily basis, and is definately degrading as a result after only 6 months.
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Old 19th May, 2005, 09:05 AM
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Well looks like I can add another person to my list of people whose arse to whoop at Dawn Of War - he ordered it last night.

Áedán - I checked ACER spec too and did tell my friend that they say it's only 4 hours battery life. Also when he's playing games he'll most likely be on the mains, it's just that he want's that portability when he needs it, but doesn't want to get a laptop and a pc.

DSIO - idea about the fridge / 33% charge sounds interesting, not sure my friend is quite that anally retentive though! (j/k) All jokes aside, sounds like a lot of hassle!
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Old 19th May, 2005, 09:06 AM
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mate, it sounds hard, but there are times when you wont use your lappy for a week or more, and its worth emptying the battery to around 33% and cooling it for extended periods of time.
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Old 19th May, 2005, 09:16 AM
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Ok, thanks for the tip i'll mention it to him. Not sure he'll have room in his fridge with all the beers in there though!
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Old 20th May, 2005, 12:00 PM
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Li Ion batteries don't like being stored at full power, and definately don't like being stored with little charge in them. Li Ion battery manufacturers seem to suggest between 40 and 75% of full charge for storage. Also, Li Ion batteries definately have a limited number of cycles. The closer you take it to flat, the more damage ends up happening to them.

There's a whole bunch of things that affect the life of such a battery, but typically they're expected to last at least 500 cycles.
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Old 23rd May, 2005, 12:53 PM
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thats interesting Áedán, i was always told to let a rechargable battery run down to nothing from time to time and then full charge, does this not apply to li-ion
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Old 23rd May, 2005, 02:59 PM
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For NiCAD and NiMH, that is definately the case. For lead acid and Li-ion, my understanding is that it's not such a good idea.
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Old 25th May, 2005, 03:01 AM
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Definetly Take a look at alienware, they may be a bit expensive but there the ferrias of computing
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Old 26th May, 2005, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tottyspotter
Just looked at some of the Toshiba ones, a couple of the Tecras. Finding it hard to find any with more than 64MB of graphics memory. They were very pricey too! Any suggestions with a balance between features, price and battery life?
I have a Toshiba Tecra S1, its a 1.7 centrino 512mb ram 60gb hdd, and radeon 9000 igp, whilst not the best in the world have managed to play hl2, doom3 and bf1942 without probs (obviously very scaled down) plus being centrino i get very good battery life after 1 year or so it still lasts for a good 3-4 hours of constant use

cant wait until seperate components, chassis etc are readily available as in desktops
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Old 26th May, 2005, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amarkarian
Definetly Take a look at alienware, they may be a bit expensive but there the ferrias of computing
actually acer make one I believe called a ferrari ??? not 100% but the specs look great far better than alienware for the money
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