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Greetings all!

I am considering a new laptop, but am having a hard time finding any NEW laptops that have XP on them. I am hoping to get some suggestions from my favorite gaming community (okay, honestly, this is the only gaming community in which I participate!).

Important Considerations:
1) I like 'old' games: Diablo II (expansion); Divine Divinity; Sacred Plus; Dungeon Siege 2; Gothic 3 and of course, my all time favorite (until I get to play FoV, which I've already downloaded onto my current laptop), Divinity 2: Ego Draconis [please no comments concerning my game preferences; I list them only to give an idea of graphics and memory usage that I'll need on a computer, as well as what possible operating system (PC) will work if I can't get XP]

2) Laptop will be a replacement for my current 17" Dell Vostro 1720 w/ XP downgrade (from Vista); nVidia graphics card GeForce 9600M GS ; IDT audio; etc. I am not a hard-core gamer-- I don't adjust clock or speed or anything else, and will sometimes use lower graphic settings just to avoid burning out my computer (or my hand, which is more the usual case).

3) I still want the 17" screen size, as I use my laptop for more than just gaming-- I use it for everything computer and internet, including web page designing and watching/listening to media.

4) Though I used to work in the computer field, I am WAY behind the times as technology has advanced so quickly-- I would like suggestions!

5) Budget is a factor (isn't it always?), and I'm in USA.

The reason I post here (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is because I need help. I love playing ED, but have noticed that it makes my current laptop (Vostro 1720) very hot and nearly burns my hand (I have sensitive skin). I ask here also because this community is so involved and provides such encouraging help. . . and lets face it, most of us are here because we love the games from Larian! I have more Larian Studio games than any other studio, I think, and I most certainly play them more often!

Please reply to this thread with suggestions and opinions on laptops that are great for the games I listed, with a primary concentration on ED and FoV in the 17" size. Or, for moderators, please let me know if, how, and where this thread should be moved to if this is not the proper place.

Thanks in advance!

~~CierraShore


"I don't need to get a life. I'm a gamer, I have LOTS of lives!"
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A couple years ago when I was looking to get a laptop the only places that had XP as an option were Eurocom, Alienware, Sager, Falcon Northwest, etc. However, XP is no longer available, so unless you have a retail version of XP that you can install yourself (there may not be XP drivers for all the hardware on current systems), you are pretty much stuck with Windows 7.

Have you tried Windows 7? Vista was certainly worth 'downgrading' to XP, but 7 is suppose to be much better.


Check out NotebookForums.com; there are likely a few topics with similar requests to help you narrow your options down, and someone should be able to answer specific questions (ie about heat) or give more targeted suggestions.

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Thank you, Raze. I'll look into that. The compatibility issue would likely become a problem, which is a concern. I have heard great things about Windows 7, but I'm not sure that the games I mentioned would be playable on that OS.

Thanks again. I'll check into that link.

~~CierraShore


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I agree with Raze that's a good place to start. There's also www.notebookcheck.net its available in multiple languages and has the largest collection of notebook benchmarks on the internet; and Notebook Review Forums for asking questions.

XP is being phased out in favor of Windows 7. There are still some compatibility issues with very old games, however many new and upcoming games take advantage of the newer graphics features in Windows 7 (Direct X) that will never become available to XP users.

If you're looking for a gaming notebook you should prioritize what features are important to you besides the graphics card and screen size, such as is color accuracy or brightness important while gaming or not gaming (such as watching a HD movie), ports such as USB and eSATA if you have external storage connected to your notebook, etc. If the only primary factor is good gaming performance I would find the best graphics adapter with a keyboard layout that works for and the 17" screen.

Personally I've found the ASUS G73Jh and G73Jw (depending on your preference for ATI or nVIDIA) to be a great value. Both of these notebooks are often found demoing Crysis on high in big box stores; this answers the question to greatest running gag in gaming for the past few years. The keyboard layout and fan placement (exhaust in the back) is inline with most high end gaming notebooks, but both of these units sell for a fraction of the cost of an Alienware, Eurocom, or Sager.

Before you make you decision I suggest checking out the links everyone has provided and also consulting Windows 7 Software Compatibility List to ensure the games you want will be playable on Windows 7.

Note: many of the new gaming notebooks can be installed with XP, but you'll need to hunt for the drivers yourself on the internet since the manufacturer does not provide or support them.

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If you get Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate, you will get a free XP licence to run as a 'Virtual Machine' - you need to install it manually though after downloading from Microsoft:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/

It features full integration with Windows 7, e.g. a Windows 7 start menu shortcut can be used to start an XP program running under the Windows 7 desktop. You can also access it directly (like accessing a remote desktop across a network, but without the lag). It does take a little effort to set up, but it then gives you the best of both worlds. XP will run slightly slower than if you installed it directly due to the virtuialisation, but the difference is negligable and should be offset by your new hardware anyway.

You can also convert your current XP laptop's hard disk into a Virtual Hard Disk (.vhd) to use as a virtual machine, so you will be able to access your 'old' laptop from within your new one (note this will require re-activating XP on the new hardware, so you can't keep using your old laptop if you do this). This is more complicated (e.g. you have to manually install the integration features), but is still not too difficult. The following site gives instuctions:

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/wi...ows-7-virtual-machine-with-disk2vhd/3091

I've done both processes many times (and with many operating systems apart from XP), so if you need help, you can PM me for tips.

HOWEVER: I have never needed to use the XP virtual machine for compatability - Windows 7 already has an excellent compatability mode for XP built in (unlike Vista). I had one flight simulator called "Wings Over Israel" that stated it could ONLY be run on XP, but it actually worked fine under Windows 7 using compatability mode. So my recommendation would be to get Pro/Ultimate just in case, but don't worry about using virtual machines unless you actually have issues with the default compatability mode.

Hope this helps!

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Worth mentioning...

Virtual PC, packaged as Windows XP Mode in certain copies of Windows 7 does not support Direct3D. It should only be considered for very old games since any game that requires 3D acceleration will run in software mode. Some older titles may still run well since modern CPUs are considerably faster.

Virtual PC was not designed for gaming, so that's something to keep in mind if you truly need XP to run a game.

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Originally Posted by candlebbq
Worth mentioning...

Virtual PC, packaged as Windows XP Mode in certain copies of Windows 7 does not support Direct3D. It should only be considered for very old games since any game that requires 3D acceleration will run in software mode. Some older titles may still run well since modern CPUs are considerably faster.

Virtual PC was not designed for gaming, so that's something to keep in mind if you truly need XP to run a game.


LoL - OK, forget everything I said (I never tried direct 3D, because every game I owned worked under Win 7 anyway).

I still think most games (including those you mentioned) should work under Win-7 compatability mode. Also, if you really can't find an XP laptop, and you don't need your old one anymore, you can use the product key from your old one on your new one (technically you shouldn't if it's an OEM licence, but I've migrated OEM XP licences before without issue). You'll need access to an XP installer DVD if you do it that way - most laptops come preloaded and don't include the DVD.

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Wow, thanks for all the info!

My current laptop will be passed down to my kids, as they're little gamers as well, and my old desk top (also a Dell) is about dead and barely plays Dungeon Siege II any more (which is my daughter's favorite game). Since my kids are still young-ish, they're still playing older games w/o all the blood and guts of new games. But the other desk top is a Vista, and is slow as all get out for games.

Also trying to reduce clutter. I'm thinking of the best solution to cover all our bases without there being only one comp (the kids have no reason whatsoever to EVER access my computer!)

I do prefer a matte finish on the screen (which my Vostro 1720 has), so I'm glad that it was brought to my attention that screens do vary widely. I'm "monitor shopping" (you know, window shopping online) the various computers (and what is available through NewEgg.com). I really like the specs that were mentioned by candlebbq-- the Asus g73 (I think I prefer the nVidia graphics, which is what I've got now and found it better than my previous graphics card-- which was a replacement for the issued graphics card on the desk top).

There seems to be a lot of commentary about Asus taking forever to run the software updates and there being "bloated software." I do despise bloats, which is why I liked getting a Dell business laptop-- just the basics and I add only what I need. But, given the heat of this Dell laptop (my left wrist and hand sometimes comes up completely red and looking minorly burned after playing ED or Gothic 3... or even now which is just doing internet stuff!

Anyway, I will definitely be checking out the links and continue to do more research. I was pretty bummed about the discontinuation of the Vostro 1720 line, as it's been a great comp (other than that heating issue, which is probably only an issue because of my. . . delicate skin).

So, thanks all for the time. I look forward to future replies and assistance. What a great little virtual community this forum is! smile

All best,
~~CierraShore


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There seems to be a lot of commentary about Asus taking forever to run the software updates and there being "bloated software." I do despise bloats, which is why I liked getting a Dell business laptop-- just the basics and I add only what I need. But, given the heat of this Dell laptop (my left wrist and hand sometimes comes up completely red and looking minorly burned after playing ED or Gothic 3... or even now which is just doing internet stuff!


Asus is actually faster than Dell at releasing updates. But for gamers slow equates to not having drivers the same day a manufacturer like nVIDIA releases their own drivers. However, most gamers are enterprising and will scrounge around the internet for the latest and greatest updates; and they are easy to find.

As for the software bloat... it is a consumer notebook so it is no different than any other manufacturer. You can either spend an extra hour uninstalling the software when you receive the machine or simply install another copy of Windows 7 over it. The good news is Asus software uninstalls easy; there are probably only 5-6 uninstall you can make that do not affect the functionality of the machine. This is in comparison to Sony notebooks in my experience that makes you jump through a couple dozen hurdles to uninstall.

The other good news is that the cooling system is overly engineered in the newer Asus notebooks. There are adventurous modders attempting to throw in even more power graphics cards and even more energy consuming power supplies. The cooling system works so well its virtually quiet while playing games. It will likely become a bit noisier over time due to dust and wear, however I've never found the machine to be hot to the touch; and a quick shot from a canned air duster into the exhaust vents periodically is about all the maintenance you need.

The only big caveat is the warranty. Asus offers a fantastic warranty on paper, but the turn around times on repairs are easily dwarfed by Dell and HP business class machines. If you're used to business machines you should be aware there is a huge discrepancy in service. Business machines are usually repaired and returned within a few days. You can send it in on a Monday and have it back by Wednesday. Consumer lines from these two usually take about a week to a week and a half in my experience. Asus on the other hand takes around 2-3 weeks for a major repair such as graphics card or mainboard replacement. You should keep this in mind.

Other than the service aspect, they are great machines with the same performance you get from top tier manufacturers without the price tag.

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Quick question in regards to "top tier manufacturers"... is that in regards to that "Alienware" computer that costs a ton of money and seems to be for hard core gamers?

I have heard good things from others in the computer field that Asus is pretty decent. Hubby has had a Lenovo that played games fairly decently (but we vary considerably in patience, I having less of it!).

As I'm doing comparisons, I'm seeing that there seem to be 'new' players on the field from when I last shopped for a computer (about 2 years ago, when I got this current laptop as a desktop replacement).

Okay, another quick question (I hope)... has anyone used newegg.com to order a laptop? If so, how on earth does one compare models? How can I tell what a newer model is when they all have letter-number combos which tells me nothing about their primary function use and when manufactured?

Oh, and one more *blush* What is this "Republic of Gamers"?

I'm finding this more frustrating than last time, because this time I've got a whole lot on my plate, so I appreciate those who are taking the time to answer and give input. It is very helpful to me!

~~CierraShore

Last edited by CierraShore; 13/02/11 06:08 AM. Reason: added question

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The following is a bit of read, but I hope this helps you out.

Top tier usually refers to the top sellers in a certain market. Although there's been some shuffling you usually the following manufacturers in the PC market: HP, Dell, Toshiba, Acer, and Apple. Lenovo is occasionally considered since they had a decent share when still owned by IBM; the market for Lenovo is still strong in the business sector. There are also brands under these manufacturers-- for instance Alienware was acquired by Dell in 2006 and represents their entry into high-end gaming PCs. Asus is also among the major manufacturers although their entry is primarily based on their component lines (motherboards, graphics cards, etc.) and netbook sales. When I refer to top I usually mean Dell and HP since they own the lion share in virtually every market category.

Although companies like Eurocom, Sager, and other integrators offer custom notebooks, the parts are usually sourced from an overseas manufacturer like Clevo and simply integrated with components purchased off the shelf. The warranty offered by these brands is usually poor and provided by 3rd party consumer electronic insurance providers. The turn around time to fix a custom part can be an eternity.

The reason I have any experience with this is because of the number of units that come through my work for eval. We have reps and FAEs that come down from each manufacturer to sell us on new server. They also send us notebooks for eval that usual head straight to QC so we can validate our products on each machine. The most common thing I have to say is the shear volume of graphics adapter we get from nVIDIA and ATI-- every time something new comes out we end up testing out a card that you'll probably never see on store shelves. I have a pile of them sitting in a corner in my office :P But I digress...

On newegg.com there is a tab for details where you can view the specifications of the product you are receiving. Unfortunately, newegg isn't a site that will try to sell you on a product through a marketing sheet. Newegg is spartan and geared towards techies that know what they want and simply want to confirm the specs before a purchase. Your best bet is to take a look at the item you are interested in, check the details to make sure it has what you want (for instance a dvd drive or blu-ray), and then read the reviews in the feedback tab. After you a satisfied you can copy-and-paste the exact model number into a search engine and look for a few professional reviews to validate your choice.

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Originally Posted by candlebbq
every time something new comes out we end up testing out a card that you'll probably never see on store shelves. I have a pile of them sitting in a corner in my office :P But I digress...


A geeks paradise... cheer

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Thank you candlebbq! smile

That information was fairly short compared to the volumes I've already been trying to write. Your answer was clear and makes sense!

We've ordered off newegg, but it was for just a 'regular' computer, not one tailored for gaming.

I am leaning towards the Asus G series, as I like the heat 'sources' are towards the back, instead of right under my hands. That's a pretty big deal for me. The only problem I'm seeing right now is they do tend to run pretty high. I think at Amazon the Asus G73 A1 comes w/ a backpack and mouse (bonus!)... but kind of on the pricier range.

Time will tell. I will continue to refer back to this information, as I'm about to 'throw out' the desktops! They take up too much room, but my children are already little gamers and will also need to learn 'information processing' here soon. I don't want their education to be as out-dated as mine.

If this gives you a clue... back when I was into working computers, Unix was the only system that was truly dual/multi-tasking at the same time!

~~CierraShore


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Always a good idea to invest in a laptop cooler, it will improve your laptop's life and well it keeps it cooler.


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Originally Posted by Virc
Always a good idea to invest in a laptop cooler, it will improve your laptop's life and well it keeps it cooler.


Yes, I'm on my second laptop cooler. It helps some, but not enough w/ this laptop. I will always use a laptop cooler to preserve life span and from burning my hand. Thank you, though, because when I first bought a laptop I didn't know that coolers had an actual purpose-- I thought they were just a way for a company to make money. Not so! I probably should have started using one when I first bought the laptop, instead of just a wire "cooling" rack for cookies! *blush*

smile

All best,
~~CierraShore


"I don't need to get a life. I'm a gamer, I have LOTS of lives!"
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Comparing the following:

Model ASUS K72F-A2B ($879)

General
Color
Dark Brown
Operating System
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Downgradable to Windows XP Professional
CPU Type
Intel Core i3-370M (2.40GHz)
Screen
17.3"
Memory Size
3GB DDR3 Hard Disk 320GB
Optical Drive
DVD Super Multi Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics

Video Memory
Shared memory
Communication
Gigabit LAN and WLAN

Dimensions
16.50" x 11.10" x 1.10" Weight 7.30 lbs.

CPU Type
Intel Core i3
CPU Speed
370M(2.40GHz)
CPU Support
3MB L3 Cache
Chipset
Intel HM55

Screen Size
17.3" Wide Screen Support Yes Resolution 1600 x 900
LCD Features
LED backlight
Operating System
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Downgradable to Windows XP Professional
GPU/VPU
Intel HD Graphics
Video Memory
Shared system memory
Graphic Type
Integrated Card
HDD 320GB HDD RPM 5400rpm HDD Interface SATA
Memory
3GB Memory Speed DDR3 1066 Memory Spec 2GB x 1+1GB x 1
Memory Type
204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM
Memory Slot (Total)
2
Memory Slot (Available)
0
Max Memory Supported
8GB
Optical Drive Type
DVD Super Multi
Optical Drive Interface
Integrated
Communications

LAN
10/100/1000Mbps
WLAN
802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN

USB 4

Video Port 1 x VGA

HDMI 1 x HDMI

Audio Ports
1 x Microphone jack; 1 x Headphone jack

Audio

Audio
Integrated Sound card
Speaker
Altec Lansing speakers
Input Device
Touchpad
Yes
Keyboard
Standard
Supplemental Drive
Card Reader
3-in-1 card reader: SD, MMC, MS
Webcam
0.3MP
Power
AC Adapter
65-watt AC adapter
Battery
6-cell (4400 mAh)
Manufacturer Warranty
Accidental Damage Warranty
1 year ASUS Accidental Damage Warranty - Drops, Fire, Spill, Surge
Parts
2 years limited
Labor
2 years limited


OR:


Toshiba L670-EZ1711 Series Satellite Pro ($899=$50 discount from normal price)+ discount if I get laptop cooler (aka combo deal)

General

Color
Black
Operating System
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
CPU Type
Intel Core i3 370M(2.40GHz)
Screen
17.3" Widescreen
Memory Size
4GB DDR3
Hard Disk
500GB (5400 RPM) Serial ATA hard disk drive
Optical Drive
DVD Super Multi
Graphics Card
Intel HD Graphics
Video Memory
Shared memory
Communication
LAN and WLAN
Battery Life
Up to 4 hours, 32 minutes
Dimensions
16.3" x 10.6" x 1.10"-1.49"(W x D x H Front/H Rear)
Weight
Starting at 6.2 lbs. depending upon configuration
CPU Type
Intel Core i3
CPU Speed
370M(2.40GHz)
CPU Support
3MB L3 Cache
Chipset
Intel HM55
Screen Size
17.3" Wide Screen Support Yes Resolution 1600 x 900
LCD Features
LED backlight
Operating System
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
GPU/VPU
Intel HD Graphics
Video Memory
Shared system memory
Graphic Type
Integrated Card
Hard Drive
HDD
500GB HDD RPM 5400rpm HDD Interface SATA
Memory
4GB Memory Speed DDR3 1066 Memory Spec 2GB x 2
Memory Slot (Total)
2
Memory Slot (Available)
0
Max Memory Supported
8GB
Optical Drive Type
DVD Super Multi
Optical Drive Spec
Maximum speed and compatibility: CD-ROM (24x), CD-R (24x), CD-RW (24x), DVD-ROM (8x), DVD-R (8x), DVD-R DL (6x), DVD-RW (6x), DVD+R (8x), DVD+R DL (6x), DVD+RW (8x), DVD-RAM (5x)

Communications
LAN
10/100Mbps
WLAN
802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN
Bluetooth
Bluetooth version 2.1 Enhanced Data Rate (EDR)

Ports

USB
2 x USB v2.0, 1 x eSATA/USB combo port
Video Port 1 x VGA
HDMI 1 x HDMI
Other port
1 x RJ-45 LAN port
Audio Ports
1 x Microphone jack; 1 x Headphone jack

Touchpad
TouchPad pointing device with multi-touch control

Keyboard
Standard US keyboard with 10-key numeric keypad (Black)
Supplemental Drive
Card Reader
Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity, Memory Stick Memory Stick PRO, Multi Media Card (shared slot may require adapter for use)

Webcam
Webcam and microphone integrated
Power
AC Adapter
65W (19V 3.42A) 100-240V/50-60Hz AC Adapter.
Battery
6-cell lithium ion
Battery Life
Up to 4 hours, 32 minutes
Features
Software Included
Toshiba Software and Utilities
- TOSHIBA App PlaceSM
- TOSHIBA Assist
- TOSHIBA BookPlace
- TOSHIBA Bulletin Board
- TOSHIBA Disc Creator
- TOSHIBA ec- Utility
- TOSHIBA Face Recognition
- TOSHIBA HDD/SSD Alert
- TOSHIBA HW Setup Utility
- TOSHIBA Laptop Checkup
- TOSHIBA Media Controller13
- TOSHIBA Password Utility
- TOSHIBA PC Health Monitor
- TOSHIBA Recovery Disc Creator
- TOSHIBA ReelTime
- TOSHIBA Service Station
- TOSHIBA Supervisor Password Utility
- TOSHIBA Value Added Package
- TOSHIBA Web Camera Application

Third-party Software
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Google Toolbar
- Google Chrome
- Internet Explorer 8
- Microsoft Office Starter 201014
- Microsoft Windows Media Player 12
- Microsoft Silverlight
- WildTangent Games Console
- Microsoft Live Essentials
|_ Phot- Gallery
|_ Messenger
|_ Mail
|_ Writer
|_ Movie Maker

Special Offers and Trial Software
- Intuit Quickbooks Financial Center
- KidZui, The Internet for Kids
- NetZero Internet Service
- Norton Internet Security 2011 (30-day trial subscription)
- Skype
- Toshiba Online Backup (30-day trial subscription)

Manufacturer Warranty
Parts
1 year limited
Labor
1 year limited

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ confused confused confused ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sorry they're not side-by-side comparisons. Both these models are listed at newegg, and that is also the price that I put into parentheses. I have used neither Asus nor Toshiba, so I have no experience with either brand. I like the sound of the Asus gaming computer mentioned by candlebbq, but even at newegg that comp is a little out of my budget range (of what I'd ideally like to spend, which is less than US $1,000).

The specs on both seem very similar, and with it being so close in specs and price, I am wondering which brand is the better deal. Does anyone have any experience with either of these manufacturers and/or these particular models? If so, what seems to be the better deal, given they are only about $20 apart? Which company usually produces a higher quality product?

Thanks for the help thus far... the search will continue. I don't want to have to buy another computer for a while, so longevity is also a primary factor.

Thanks again for the input.

All best,
~~CierraShore
p.s.
I'm sort of leaning towards the Toshiba, but I like the brown color of Asus. But, color is no big deal-- I can always get stickers... er, I mean "skin."


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Will this notebook also double as a gaming machine? The neither notebook you provided has a discrete graphics card; both use the Intel HD on-board graphics. It should have great battery life but performance with current games will be poor. You should be able to find premium non-gaming notebook that fits your price range with mid-range nvidia and ati graphics.

I found most gaming notebooks start over $1000; last I checked they were $1200 or more. That said, if you're willing to go second hand or refurbished a quick look on google or ebay may net you a machine closer to your price range.

EDIT: I would have recommended the Studio XPS, but it looks like Dell dropped it in favor of their XPS line. It barely squeaks into your budget at a penny under a grand.

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Okay, so a discrete graphics card is basically like "dedicated" graphics card that is used when doing intense graphic stuff like gaming and HD movies?

Whatever I purchase is for my all-purpose + gaming machine. I don't have the time or space for separate machines. I went to the Toshiba website and found that the price of the machine I listed above starts at $899 through them!

At the Toshiba site, I did a 'custom build' on one of their Satellite models, just to see what it would look like and what the price would be-- the quickie is this (including a discrete graphics card)-- please let me know what you think, because you're far more equipped then I am for um, comparing comps. I guess I'm also wondering if I do have enough info to do a custom build that will give me exactly what I want and need, and have it still be decent for all-purpose and gaming. I've gotta just post the specs quick and get off here because I think I just saw some lightning! Crap, lighting storm w/ very dark overcast skies. Hurray. Feel free to comment on any of the specific choices so I can see where I lack knowledge.

Thanks again. I really appreciate all the replies. Special thanks to candlebbq for taking the time to provide me with information to bring me up to speed a bit. More lightning, gotta go!

Quick Specs on the custom build,
Toshiba Satellite A660-BT2G25 Laptop :
* Intel® Core™ i7-740QM processor (1.73 GHz (2.93 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology), 6MB Cache
* Genuine Windows® 7 Professional 64-bit
* 6GB DDR3 1066MHz SDRAM (4096MB+2048MB)
* 500GB HDD (7200rpm, Serial-ATA)
* NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 330M with 1GB GDDR3 discrete graphics memory
* DVD SuperMulti (+/-R double layer) drive
* Glossy Black LED Backlit Tile keyboard
* Lithium-Ion Battery (6-cell, 48Wh)
* Broadcom Wireless LAN (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth® Version 2.1 +EDR
* Microsoft® Office 2010 Starter
* Norton Internet Security Suite (NIS) 2011 (30-day trial)
* 1 Year Standard Limited Warranty

~~CierraShore


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Discrete graphics means it has a separate module that handles the graphics. The term dedicated isn't used anymore before graphics cards do more than just graphics now.

The specs on the unit you put together are actually quite good for the price.

You may also want to look at both HP and Dell. They have performance notebooks in this price range that you might want to check out as well; HP has the dv7 and Dell has their xps series. At this price point much of the decision will likely come down to looks, brand preference, and customer service.

I know... it looks like I'm trying to push you towards different brands. But they all offer similar specs. You mentioned you liked the look of a certain machine so I would look at their units with similar specs and see which unit you find looks better.

EDIT:
I was curious and I did do a little digging myself. The toshiba unit has the best balance of specs. The Dell is a bit more expensive, but has a more capable graphics card. The HP unit at the same price (as Dell) also had less specs on on CPU/memory but ATI graphics of comparable performance with Dell.

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Integrated graphics are pretty much crap; ok for general desktop and business use, but not very good for video and poor for gaming. A discrete graphics card is usually a replacement for integrated graphics, though some systems are starting to use both (the integrated graphics chip handling basic chores to keep heat down and conserve battery power, while discrete graphics take over for video and games). Early implementations of this required a switch be manually moved and the system rebooted to change video chips, but I think any system doing this now should be automatic. Generally, people looking at gaming class laptops are not primarily concerned with battery life, though, so I don't know if duel graphics would even be a feature in the laptops you are looking at.

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I don't want to turn this into confusing graphics discussion. But for anyone interested here's the breakdown...

The current state of graphics in both notebook and desktops is such that all new PCs will have integrated graphics. This is does not mean all PCs currently sold have integrated graphics. I speak only to products recently released or those that will be released.

Integrated graphics come free either as the result of the chipset--the main collection of chips that makes your mainboard function--or the chip itself whether Intel or AMD. The primary exceptions are the high end (extreme/black) processors and high end chipsets that forgo integrated graphics in exchange for higher clock speeds and enthusiast options (such as overclocking).

So whether you want integrated graphics options or not, its likely that any machine you buy will have it. Don't think of this as a bad thing. It means all PCs will have a certain base level of 3D graphics capabilities.

Discrete graphics are manufacturer options. The extra graphics hardware is either used in place of integrated graphics, that is disabled, or inconjunction, where it provides a graphical boost and/or power savings.

Not every manufacturer takes the time to implement power saving schemes using the integrated graphics. However, since the enabling the option is essentially free, you do see many new gaming notebooks that also support battery saving scheme when not gaming.

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Candlebbq,

I don't mind being "pushed" to look at other brands. Actually, the last two computers (this laptop and the desktop it replaced) were/are both Dell. Previous to that... um, golly, that was like, a decade ago so I don't remember-- I think it was a custom build through a local shop!

I just did a custom build (for comparative/explorative purposes of course) at HP (I've not been a huge HP fan, because it seemed there was less quality-- but that was a decade+ ago. Perhaps they've come up. Without realizing until after I did the build that you said to check HP's dv7, I was surprised to see what I could get for the money-- I can go above $1,000, I just don't want to. But, with the dv7t build I did, including getting a wireless printer (my current printer is about had it--it's the all-in-one I got w/ my desktop Dell about 7 or 8 years ago), I was pretty amazed that I could put a little more "umph" into the computer, as well as getting some nifty little gadgets and carrying case just because. . . for the first time in over a decade I'm actually looking at an HP!!

Perhaps I'm just vacillating too much, but I really want to invest in a computer that's going to last at least 5 years (I know, that's pushing it w/ the rapid progress of technology these days). I won't go "refurb" because I had an horrible experience the one and only time I tried it (first laptop, and it worked for about 5 hours total!). I will only buy new, and, come to think of it, the reason I started w/ Dell all those years ago was because of the ability to customize. I don't do the out-of-box thing (hubby does, and he hasn't made the best choices).

Now, given the three brands I'm currently looking at (Dell, HP, Toshiba), which tend to be the better quality and longevity? The Dell XPS I 'made' which was very similar to the HP I did was nearly a $400 difference (Dell being more expensive, including the 'extras' that were nearly comparable w/ HP 'extras'). Toshiba seems to not be nearly as customizable as Dell or HP.

And then reading reviews! Wow! It just gets more confusing. *sigh* The search and vacillation continue.

~~CierraShore
p.s.
Again my thanks for the replies. Raze, how can I tell if I have to manually switch to the discrete or, is that why it's called "discrete" now instead of "dedicated"-- not having to manually switch.

EDIT: Just found this through reviews. Origin PC's that are massively hard-core gaming laptops that are incredibly customizable, but completely out of my price range. Still, in case there are any hard-core gamers following this thread, I wanted to mention that it looks like an awesome gaming computer. www.originpc.com Way cool to play around w/ how incredibly customizable it is. Wow!

Last edited by CierraShore; 16/02/11 06:59 AM. Reason: added info

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I completely understand the desire you make your money last as long as possible. I think you have already picked out an excellent price point that has the best value for the money. When I make a purchase I usually aim to purchase a top-of-line unit because some how it assuages my concerns about its durability and usefulness. But what may have been sound economics many years ago, no longer apply to electronics. I think the best option is to purchase something that fits your needs now and for any software you think you will be running in the foreseeable future; not necessarily software that you think may come out in the future, but software you don't have but think you might buy. Productivity software and web browsers will certainly run on any machine you purchase today. Newer version will continue to run on the machine five years down the line. But games with latest eyecandy features likely won't run well on older hardware. This is specially true of notebooks that have slower equivalents to their desktop counterpart.

Just in case your interested in the switchable graphics feature...

All new notebooks that have the feature list it under the marketing terms Optimus (for nVIDIA) and Switchable Graphics (for ATI/AMD). Many notebooks can be hacked to enable the feature, but your mileage and desire to mod your notebook may vary.

nVIDIA has a list here: http://www.nvidia.com/object/optimus_technology.html

AFAIK ATI/AMD does not have a list, but there is a list compile of both ATI and nVIDIA notebooks compiled by netizens: http://forum.notebookreview.com/wha...49-list-laptops-switchable-graphics.html

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Discrete and dedicated are the same thing, referring to graphics chips (ie not integrated). Not all dedicated cards will be good for gaming, but they should all be better than integrated.

As Candlebbq said, if you are looking at a laptop that uses duel video chips, that will be listed in the features. It is highly unlikely you would run into a manual switch, though. I'm about 4 months behind reading a computer magazine, and have not looked at any tech sites online for 5 or 6 months, and even then the first generation of devices that used a manual switch were outdated. It is only early adopters that are willing to put up with that inconvenience; once the first automated system came out manual switches became a hassle rather than a necessary step to enable a cool feature.

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Thank you once again, candlebbq (btw, I like the idea of a candle bbq-- w/ marshmallows!).

I have recently remembered I switched graphic cards on my Dell desktop not too long after getting it (a few months... maybe a year or two?), the card I replaced the original with was an ATI card. I switched because there was a problem w/ the mouse (which came w/ the order) and some other graphical problems; the tech said there was a problem w/ the graphics card and to replace it. I did, but never did get the darned thing to work correctly! Thus, I have realized, I have a bad flavor for ATI, though perhaps it wasn't the problem.

You've made good points that can easily guide me in the decision making process. You're right, what was good economics back in the day (I started on computers before hard drives came about!) are no longer applicable w/ today's technology.

Okay, point 1) Figure out price range [which I've already done]. Got that. Point 2) Look at what works for me now, and what software I may use in the near future (3-5 years?).

I must admit I prefer the nVIDIA graphics, but using that brand came after the whole issue as mentioned above. I've had no conflicts this time around, w/ the nVIDIA on my laptop.

Hmmmmm... HP still worries me, but boy did that build look nice!

HP Build:

dv7t
Windows 7 Pro 64-bit OS; Intel Core i7-740QM (1.73 GHz 6MG L3 cache) w/ Turbo boost;
1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 DDR3 graphics for quad core (this is one of my concerns--ATI)
8GB DDR3 system memory (2 DIMM)
640 GB 7200RPM HDD w/ HD protection
6 cell standard battery
17.3" diagonal HD+ LED BrightView Wide screen (1600x900)
TrueVision webcam & integrated mic
LightScribe Super Multi 8x DVD+/-RW w/ Double layer Support
Intel wireless N Card w/ Bluetooth
standard keyboard
Cyberlink DVD Suite Premium

+ additional 'options' that I 'need', such as a wireless all-in-one printer (& a cable, because it's not incl.), port replicator, external 640GB disk drive, auto (car) adapter, headset, speakers, 4 port USB hub, & backpack

Total: $1,891 (rounded up)

Dell

XPS 17

Specialized cover (it's a purtiful color)
Windows Pro 64-bit OS; Intel Core i5 (2.66GHz, 4 threads, turbo boost up to 3.2 GHz, 3M cache)
nVIDIA GeForce GT 435M 1GB graphics w/ Optimus (hey! There's that term you mentioned!)
8GB shared dual channel DDR3 memory
640 GB 7200rpm SATA hdd
Blu-ray disc BD-Combo (reads and writes to DVD/CD) w/ Roxio Easy CD&DVD burn
9 cell battery
backlit keyboard
Bluetooth
Recovery DVD for OS
DataSafe online backup 2GB for 1 year

extras
Netgear Push2TV Adapter; wireless mouse (mine is dying); docking station w/ VGA/DVI & Ethernet
1TB portable HDD; HDMI audio video cable; all-in-one wireless printer;

Total: $2,125 (rounded up)

The Toshiba build is on a 16" screen and was listed previously.

The Origins build... just got lost (apparently, I was multi-tasking a bit too much). But it was close to $3,000, and that was without extra booty!

Hum ho, must make a decision. . . someday. Probably sleep on it and do some more 'research' later.

Thanks again! thankyou

All best,
~~CierraShore wave
p.s.
Will be playing DKS for a long time to come, so long as I can transfer my DKS to the new comp! I downloaded from Larian store, so I'm hoping it'll be fairly simple to transfer to my new comp.

p.p.s.
I'm stressing about buying a computer, when I'm in the middle of buying a house, which is going to require me to find a washer and dryer and fridge. . . are my priorities slightly out of whack? silly

Last edited by CierraShore; 16/02/11 08:56 AM. Reason: p.p.s.

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If you uninstall DKS on the old computer (while online) it will automatically revoke the activation for that computer (or you can do so manually online). I think with digital versions you can have the game activated on 3 computers at the same time, so that may not be necessary if your kids are allowed, and would want, to play DKS as well.

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There's a little contradiction to a candle bbq. I didn't think it was possible but google and you shall receive some videos of people making candles perform amazing acts of pyrotechnics.

Each machine has some fairly balanced specs. I'm actually surprised, but I shouldn't be, that the prices landed around the $2k mark. I assume that's how these OEM make their money-- off extras.

The ATI concern you mentioned is no longer an issue with Windows. This applies to desktop applications and games alike. ATI has lackluster support for open source and their linux drivers are poor; they've been pushing the OSS community to do their own work without proprietary ATI code. But, that's a different subject entirely... unless you plan on running linux in addition to windows.

EDIT:
If you're a gamer, a computer is always a top priority grin

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Quote
Each machine has some fairly balanced specs. I'm actually surprised, but I shouldn't be, that the prices landed around the $2k mark. I assume that's how these OEM make their money-- off extras.
...
EDIT:
If you're a gamer, a computer is always a top priority grin


I'd have to agree. I don't know anyone who has a computer but goes w/o a printer. That just doesn't make any sense! I've used the *bleep* out of my Dell 922 or whatever it is. It's about dead-- gripes about wanting to retire. I tell it to shut up, close the lid, do it's job, and I won't have to smack it-- then it cooperates for a little while. But then there's the problem of ink cartridges...apparently the cartridges stopped getting made for machines after they reach the ancient age of... 7+ years! And then there's the whole deal w/ these new t.v.'s (first NEW t.v. I've bought in... um, since before my son was born! He's a pre-teen)...

Wow, thinking about all that has gotten me sleepy. Time for bed.

Thanks to all the contributors. I will ponder more later, vacillate repeatedly, and finally come to a conclusion... but I might close on my house and get my appliances before that... and by that time, there might be a newest latest and greatest laptop out!

~~CierraShore

[EDIT]
p.s.

Okay, thoughts on the two builds listed previously, but HP w/ a 1TB extra HDD instead of the 640, and a couple of other 'extras' change that raised the price (to my nice surprise) only $100. I am really leaning towards this build, in spite of the ATI graphics card, and in spite of my feelings about HP. The build for the price is what's making me seriously, seriously consider it. Given the major hardware upgrades, I would like some more input from other on whether HP is a better choice over the Dell build? Toshiba has a smaller screen size, and I really am looking for a desktop replacement, so that's a factor. I don't care for a glossy screen, but I might be able to get over that if this is a really rockin' build. I do not have enough experience to guide me in my choice, and am just kind of going with my gut while doing the custom build. By all means, I am open to having the build "picked apart," so that I can gain understanding and know better how to make a kicking build which won't require me to do a whole lot afterward-- as in, I want it kickin' straight out of the box! smile

In case anyone is wondering how I went from comparing Asus/Toshiba to HP/Dell, um, a whole lot of vacillation, and being directed to think outside my box of antiquated information. Also, all the reviews I read of Asus that were 'negative' were mostly because of serious lack of customer support. I like their Bamboo model, but it doesn't come in the 17" screen size, nor (to my finding), the i7 processor. Just a little FYI to anyone who cares.

Thanks again, all! grin

p.p.s.
Candlebbq, I just re-read your information about graphics cards, and this time it's finally 'clicked' in my brain. Admittedly, I'm a little slow in. . . well, in most areas. Thanks for posting that information. Can I assume, in putting together everything that's been written here, that ATI graphics card on a Windows system (particularly Win7 OS) won't cause my previously horrid issues, and they are competitive with nVidia?

Thanks again for your time.

~~CierraShore hehe

Last edited by CierraShore; 17/02/11 06:35 PM. Reason: added more

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Okay, then... my impatience got the better of me. I hope I don't regret the choice!

With only minor changes to the accessory portions, I went with the HP dv7 custom build:
dv7t (champagne color)
Windows 7 Pro 64-bit OS; Intel Core i7-740QM (1.73 GHz 6MG L3 cache) w/ Turbo boost;
1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 DDR3 graphics for quad core (this is one of my concerns--ATI)
8GB DDR3 system memory (2 DIMM)
640 GB 7200RPM HDD w/ HD protection
6 cell standard battery
17.3" diagonal HD+ LED BrightView Wide screen (1600x900)
TrueVision webcam & integrated mic
LightScribe Super Multi 8x DVD+/-RW w/ Double layer Support
Intel wireless N Card w/ Bluetooth
standard keyboard
Cyberlink DVD Suite Premium


It won't be ready until next month (wahhhh, no immediate gratification! But, that's the result of customizing a computer, right?). I may post back here a review of the comp if any one is interested in seeing how it stands up to general productivity, and most definitely in regards to Larian games, particularly the DKS! smile

Thanks for all the info, links, and input from everyone. I appreciate it. I also hope that readers gained valuable insight as well.

All best,
~~CierraShore


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I have a HP notebook somewhere around here. It's an Elitebook 8740 that I requested for its "dreamcolor" display. I haven't had any major issues with it or previous HPs in the past 5 years; I will concede that they've been business machines so any minor repairs I had were handled expeditiously.

I actually have the Dell equivalent, Studio XPS 16, of the unit you purchased sitting on my desk right now. I usually keep it here for a few small tasks because it looks good. I picked it up after seeing it featured on tv ads and at various trade shows.

The performance is quite good; and I've had no problems with the ATI graphics whatsoever. It won't play any current titles on high, since the graphics are a bit dated compared to the monster that's in the ASUS and also in the current generation Alienware 17" notebook. However, medium plays nicely with very few hickups. The graphics card in HP you ordered is a slight bit faster so it should have less issues playing games on med to high. If you're moving from an older notebook to this one, the graphics performance should be a pleasant surprise.

Just something I wanted to mention...

Small caveat: I didn't add this info before since Intel was in the process of releasing a fixed version of their hardware.

Assuming you were to wait a while as you intimated, I would have suggested waiting for the Sandy Bridge CPU upgrades that manufacturers are starting to push out. The upgrade primarily affects CPU performance and not graphics. There is a very significant increase to CPU performance and battery life on Sandy Bridge notebooks. It should have been released already, but many OEMs pulled their offerings after Intel announced a bug in their chipset. Its bad of me to make you second guess your purchase after you've already made it. But I wanted to let you know in case this affects your opinion of the machine since this upgrade will begin showing up on manufacturer websites around the time you machine ships. Hopefully now, it won't come as a surprise. If this is something you definitely would consider I assume HP will still allow you to cancel at this stage on the build process.

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Thanks for the heads up, candlebbq! I had read mention of "Sandy Bridge," but information was scarce, and through building various comps that was never an option. I wonder if I can upgrade it later? Probably not.

I'm not a hard-core gamer, honestly. I still love the graphics of Divine Divinity, but thoroughly enjoyed Ego Draconis as well as Gothic 3. I don't have to have graphics set on "high" and I've never done "overclocking" because 1) I don't know how and 2) I don't see the point for the games I play.

Part of why I was tempted to hold off was because of the Sandy Bridge thing I read about, but as there was no definite date for release, and I'm at the beginning process of moving, I'd have to either wait until spring to get a new comp (thus the impatience), or get one now so that it ships before I move! What a predicament!

Thanks again for the heads up. I'll see if I regret my choice of computer, but seeing as how it's been a long time since I've used an HP, and it's easy to find HP compatible hardware, I'm hoping it'll turn out fine for a 5+ year investment.

All best,
~~CierraShore


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Originally Posted by CierraShore
I'm not a hard-core gamer, honestly.

Denial! grin

Personally, I do like cranking all the graphics up just to the point where they impact performance enough for me to start moaning about it. I don't do OCing though because I know my luck, and my luck will be that I have the rare component that'll catch fire if I try.

As for regret, I could have the best price/performance combination that's ever been seen in the history of personal computing and I'd still get a major case of "the grass is greener" in no time at all. Sigh. There's no pleasing some people; or at least there's no pleasing me.


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Just received my computer! Doing the set up on it right now.

Quick question, that I hope can be answered here. I am not familiar with using "personal portable HDD." Can I install DKS to the external portable hard-drive and play it from that on whichever computer I hook it up to, or must I install it to a computer's HDD?

Thanks a bunch.

~~CierraShore


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What connection does the external hard drive use? There is (probably) nothing preventing you from installing the game on an external drive, but playing off one may cause performance problems. I'd guess a USB 2 drive would have issues, while USB 3 should be fine (but I've never tried playing a game off an external drive, if you don't count SCSI drives in an external enclosure).

You might be better off just keeping the saves on the external drive, and installing the game on the systems you will be playing it on. There are various ways to backup your saves to the external drive, or get Windows to redirect the game so it saves there directly, or even to sync the saves online using Dropbox, etc.

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Hmmm, Okay. So I'll need to uninstall from my old comp (so as to retain the 3 registration abilities-- or something to that effect), download to my new comp, and use the external drive for save games. That pretty much makes sense (I think).

I'm not sure yet how to go about with the whole un-install from one and/or install onto this new one-- I purchased digital copy from Larian Shop, so I'll have to browse the forums for an answer I suppose. I had tried searching for an answer to the question I asked, but hadn't found an answer yet. Thanks for giving info.

All best,
~~CierraShore
p.s.
Can't wait to 'break in' this new laptop using DKS! I have 21 days to make sure it's all good... now just to download the games (legally) and play them! smile


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Usually you cannot plug in an external hard disk and play a game on another computer. This is because games often use DRM to restrict the number of devices (computers) you can install or play the game on.

In your case you mentioned you can authorize 3 computers for your game. Installing a copy on each computer is the way to go.

Unfortunately, it will take a little effort to resume gameplay from a different computer. You will need to copy the saved games files from one computer and save it to another before resuming play. There is no mechanism to allow you to save the games to an external disk instead of your local disk. Installing to the external disk does not change this either.

I don't have an experiences with Larian Vault. However, I'm sure a member of the Larian staff would be happy to assist you once they read your post. Or you can try emailing them.

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Thank you, candlebbq. I've been reading the FAQ's of the Larian Store, and I can install the activation code on three different computers. What I'm not sure about is whether or not I should un-stall on the 'old' laptop before downloading to the new laptop. I should find the answer before too long, though.

I didn't get too far into playing DKS on the 'old' laptop, so I can easily start over, and since I already played ED before the DKS/FoV came out... it's pretty quick knowing which quests to do and how to do them.

Grrr. The main problem I'm having w/ my new laptop is a sticky space bar! This makes typing quickly difficult, because I have to backspace so often to make corrections. :p

I don't plan on having to get another comp for another 5 years (that'd be my ideal), so the three activations through Larian Store should be sufficient, and if not, they wrote in the FAQ's that you can write them for special permission for increased (within reason) activations. I'm glad they realize people change computers fairly frequently, and that it's not all about pirating, yet they have taken measures to protect themselves. Pretty cool.

BTW, this HP is pretty! The keyboard layout is a little larger than the Vostro 1720 that I had, so it's more like a regular keyboard, but the keys aren't as "clunky" as a regular keyboard. My only problem is the sticky space bar! How annoy. Every couple of words it doesn't want to work. Humph.

I will post in this thread how this comp plays DKS (since I have already posted the build specs here), once I get a chance to do that.

What a great community it is here! smile

Now back to 'real life' of running backups and deleting stuff off the old computers.

Have a great week!

~~CierraShore


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If you kept the downloaded file(s) on your old computer (or copied it/them to a USB drive or burned to DVD-R, etc), you can use that to install DKS on the new laptop. You don't have to re-download DKS unless you didn't keep the original downloaded file(s).

As long as you are online when you uninstall the game from the old computer that will automatically revoke one install, or you can do so later on Securom's website (ie if you are not online, or are not able to uninstall the program). It doesn't matter if you do this before or after installing the game on the new computer, as long as you do not already have it installed on 3 systems (re-installing on the same system is automatically detected, and doesn't use up another activation).


In Windows Vista/7 you can use symbolic links to point to a file/folder at a different location, which most programs will handle just like accessing the original file/folder. One of the examples in this howto article is having Steam games outside the Steam folder. As long as the drive letter for the external drive is consistent on each system, you could set Windows to have the game save files to the external drive. It would be safer to leave the saves on each computer, though, and run a program to synchronize them to the external drive (or online, via Dropbox or Windows Live Mesh, etc).

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Originally Posted by CierraShore
My only problem is the sticky space bar! How annoy. Every couple of words it doesn't want to work. Humph.


I don't mind helping, I find it relaxing wink

Your spacebar issue sounds like a defect. You should contact HP and have them correct the issue. Since it is a new purchase within 30 days they may elect to send someone to your premises to repair the issue or advance you a replacement unit.

I also did not suggest Raze's method of symlink to your saved games since they are in a Windows special folder. Catastrophic failure of Windows can occur if you start relocating special folders or subfolders. There are multiple articles about relocating a user profile to another drive that warn against this.

Although as Raze suggested using a backup program or sync program maybe an quick solution if you have time to configure it.

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I'll be running this comp hard for the next 21 days to see how it handles. I took off the 'keep it pretty' sticky thing, and have had less problems w/ the space bar, and as I've continued to use the keys I've had less problems (though most has been mouse-work; updating and downloading, and moving things around, getting rid of 'bloat', like the 'trial' versions of items they include automatically. Not a whole lot of text work, other than a couple of emails and the postings here. But again, after removing the "keep it pretty" sticky thing that completely surrounded each key, well, I had less problems. I was hoping to keep it pretty, but that just won't work.

The keys are also quite different from the Dell laptop... kind of a mid-way between a regular sized keyboard ("clunky" keys), and regular 'smooth' laptop keys. Probably just take some time to get used to it.

I'll probably go ahead and just start a new game after having taken the HOURS to download DKS to this laptop, and later I'll uninstall it from the other... maybe. I know my kids are going to want to play it, but I haven't decided when they'll be "old enough" for the game. I guess I could do the uninstall, and then re-install later when they're old enough. I think Larian did great in that respect, in realizing how often people change computers and accommodating us! Way to go, Devs! smile

Don't think I want to hassle w/the whole folder-switch-a-roo. I'm having a hard enough time just trying to get my writings transferred from the Dell laptop to the external (personal) drive (which I thought worked, but found it didn't), and then loaded onto this one. Grrr... Such is life.

Now... gotta start downloading the patch (I think) so I can go to bed. It's "late" even for me!

Thanks all! smile

~~CierraShore


"I don't need to get a life. I'm a gamer, I have LOTS of lives!"
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Well, here's the 2nd update. I am having repeated problems with the space bar. I have done the "live chat" with a HP tech's who had me update the BIOS, then run a "check" in the BIOS for a 'beep' when I use the space bar. Often no 'beep', which I reported back. They are going to send me a box to mail the computer back to them for repairs.

I'm a little frustrated, because I've not had a firmware problem with a computer before. I am not happy that I have to mail this machine back, because 1) I've taken hours to 'clean' up and set up the comp the way I want it, 2) have loaded multiple softwares (including DKS), and 3) have some very, very, very personal stuff on here :blush: Now I've got to figure out how to get rid of the personal stuff before sending it back to computer 'experts' so that they cannot access that personal stuff!

Otherwise, I like the Windows 7 OS, the wide screen (but hate that it's glossy--very reflective), the keyboard layout is a little wider spread than a typical laptop, which makes it feel more like a regular keyboard (without the clunkiness). The little bit of Ego Draconis (DKS edition) and Gothic 3 that I got to play on it was great and very beautiful looking! Doggone space bar didn't help during games, though.

Every other part of my order from HP seems to be all right, and although the techs weren't native English speakers (I'm sure British folks would say I don't speak native English, either, since I'm American!), the communication seemed to be okay-- as live chat. On the phone was a different story. The girl was nice and polite, but such a thick accent that I couldn't understand much of what she said!

So, there's an update on this HP Pavilion, dv7 Notebook, in case anyone was interested.

~~CierraShore
p.s.
I am open to information on how to get all my personal stuff off of this comp before I send it in! I will uninstall DKS so as to revoke the license so that I can retain my 3 licenses. But getting all my personal info COMPLETELY off this comp... I need help with that!


"I don't need to get a life. I'm a gamer, I have LOTS of lives!"
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Do you still have everything on the old computer? If you were copying everything over to the new one, the easiest method to clear everything would be to re-install Windows (in the custom setup options you should be able to delete the current partition and re-create it). That will make sure nothing gets left behind. If you were moving files over to the new computer, make sure you move them all back before re-installing, if you don't otherwise have a backup.

If you just need to make sure everything you move or delete is gone, you can use a program like Eraser to securely delete files and/or wipe the un-used parts of the drive (to take care of possible fragments left from already deleted files).
Run this after re-installing Windows, and nobody would find any personal info even if they went looking for it.


There are programs that can be run from a bootable floppy, CD/DVD-R or USB drive which will wipe out the entire disk, but that would also take out the recovery partition, required to re-install Windows (though HP does have a program to let you burn a set of recovery DVDs).

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Raze,

I already have Windows Recovery DVDs (I ordered them w/ the comp for "just in case.") Most everything is still on the old computer except for a couple of newer items/documents/files. Most of what I did put on here came from the external hard drive (which didn't pick up all my docs and music during a 'backup' of the old comp! Lots of missing gaps- I'll to do that manually, I guess).

I'm sure HP would be very upset if I wiped the recovery partition.... but I do want to protect my identity and data as much as possible. I will research the Eraser you linked here (thank you!),not only for this comp, but a few others I need to "clean up" before 'recycling' them.

It appears the program you mentioned is very straight-forward and easy to run. Guess it's time to back up this drive, and figure out how to get my old laptop back online (I screwed something up when trying to connect the computers together through the router) to access the internet-- I would go nuts without the internet!

Thank you very much for your quick reply. Instead of waiting around, maybe I'll just get this comp sent in soon as I get the box and CSO and mailing labels, and maybe I'll get the computer back before moving. Oi!

Thanks!

~~CierraShore
p.s. Must get coffee... brain not functioning.....

Last edited by CierraShore; 05/03/11 05:16 AM. Reason: corrected misspelling

"I don't need to get a life. I'm a gamer, I have LOTS of lives!"
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Actually, do wipe the drive. They don't care. If they send you back the same machine with the same hard drive, they'll either leave it alone or re-image it. Either way you should be able to get the machine back to working with the recovery dvds.

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Possible good news.... I may have fixed the space bar issue! I figured it wouldn't really 'hurt' to check the seating again, by using a little extra force to look under the bar. Low and behold, on the right side a 'hinge' thingy wasn't in its "socket", and that was probably what was interfering with the right side thumb strikes!

A little brain work, a letter opener (before switching to a pen-sized multi-tip, non-magnetic screw driver), and I was able to successfully pop the 'hinge' thing back into place! I've typed several paragraphs, and haven't missed a space bar strike yet! Still having spelling and grammatical errors, but that is definitely not the computer's fault!

Now I can play the comp hard while in the warranty period still, and that way if anything else pops up, I should still be good to go. This is especially good, since I'm stressed enough about moving, and this computer issue was just adding more to my already over-flowing plate!

Thank you all for the advice and support. I will still be checking out that erasure program, as I have several nearly-dead computers that I would like to thoroughly clean up before passing them on for recycling of parts or something. That bit of information is extremely useful, and something for which I have long searched to find!

This community here rocks! smile hug
headbanging

*does a little happy dance while smiling and waving to everyone* groovy

~~CierraShore


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Grats! A little DIY FTW

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FTW?


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Ah, cool. laugh and thanks.

I'll probably have to use that link a lot. So many times I feel like people are speaking a foreign language around me!

~~CierraShore


"I don't need to get a life. I'm a gamer, I have LOTS of lives!"
Joined: Nov 2010
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Yup, just shoulda banged the keyboard against the wall...

If in doubt, SMASH IT. ouch


*** Stay put while I go search for a butterfly net. ***
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Should I have put it in a butterfly net first? wink

I thought about drop-kicking it, but decided a more precise approach might be better. Waved my magic fingers, pulled out my magic stick (it was a staff at one time, but it's seen quite a few battles... pretty soon all I'll have left is a toothpick... then a splinter!) and said some likely "unprintable" things while I worked my magic.

The computer wasn't totally dead, so I definitely didn't dabble in necromancy. But what would I be, then? A healer, maybe? I fixed part of a skeleton by re-attaching a ligament? laugh Erm, that still makes me sound like a bad guy. Can't someone just give me some double swinging swords so I can go play?

Um... I'd better get to bed. Hope someone got a laugh out of the ramblings I just wrote.

~~CierraShore


"I don't need to get a life. I'm a gamer, I have LOTS of lives!"
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Hello, to anyone who helped me three years ago, and to any newbies who might be reading this.

The HP started blue & black screening within a year of purchase. In 2013 I ended up having to revert back to my Dell Vostro1720, on which I am making this post. The power cord got broken in 2013, which would have cost $112 to replace (there wasn't a generic replacement), and I figured it'd be better to use my Dell and save up to get another awesome computer.

I will NEVER buy HP again! The printer still works, but everything else either broke or had problems.

I have just-finally-- ordered a new computer to replace the HP (so glad I kept this Dell, because it has been great as my backup!). Going with a brand I haven't heard of before, but gets high marks-- an MSI brand computer. Not only that, but it is a special edition (which means it has a red dragon cover grin ).

Here are the specs, for anyone who cares:


Learn more about the MSI GT70 Dominator Dragon-2202
Model

Brand
MSI
Series
GT Series
Model
GT70 Dominator Dragon-2202

General

Color
Dragon Edition

Operating System
Windows 8.1 64-Bit
CPU Type
Intel Core i7-4810MQ 2.7GHz
Screen
17.3"
Memory Size
12GB DDR3L
Hard Disk
1TB HDD + 128GB SSD
Optical Drive
BD-ROM
Graphics Card
NVIDIA Geforce GTX 870M
Video Memory
3GB GDDR5
Communication
Killer Gaming Network
Dimensions
16.85" x 11.34" x 2.17"
Weight
8.6lbs

CPU

CPU Type
Intel Core i7
CPU Speed
4810MQ (2.80GHz)
Number of Cores
Quad-core Processor
CPU L3 Cache
8MB

Display

Screen Size
17.3"
Wide Screen Support
Yes
Resolution
1920 x 1080
LCD Features
Non Reflection

Operating Systems

Operating System
Windows 8.1 64-Bit

Graphics

GPU/VPU
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M
Video Memory
Dedicated 3GB
Graphic Type
Dedicated Card

Hard Drive
SSD
128GB
HDD
1TB
HDD RPM
7200RPM
HDD Spec
Super RAID (2 x 128GB SSD RAID 0) + 1TB 7200RPM

Memory

Memory
12GB
Memory Speed
DDR3L 1600
Memory Spec
8GB x 1+4GB x 1

Optical Drive

Optical Drive Type
BD-ROM

Communications

LAN
Killer Gaming Network
WLAN
Intel 7260 Wilkins Peak 2 (2x2 802.11 ac)

Bluetooth
Bluetooth 4.0

Ports

USB
3 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0
Video Port
1 x VGA, 1 x mini DisplayPort
HDMI
1 x HDMI

Audio

Audio
Dynaudio Tech
Speaker
Speakers x 2 + Subwooferx1

Input Device

Touchpad
Multi Touch
Keyboard
Steel Series Gaming Backlit 102 keys
Backlit Keyboard
Backlit

Supplemental Drive

Webcam
720P HD Webcam

General

Style
Thin and Light

Type
Gaming & Entertainment

Usage
Consumer

Power

AC Adapter
180-watt AC adapter

Battery
9-cell lithium ion

Physical Specifications

Dimensions (W x D x H)
16.85" x 11.34" x 2.17"
Weight
8.6lbs

Features

Package Content
MSI BackPack included

Newegg


"I don't need to get a life. I'm a gamer, I have LOTS of lives!"
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Ha!
It was enjoyable re-reading this, now in June of 2017!

I'm still using my MSI and have loved it. Had problems with the internal Blu-Ray player, but was too sick to do the whole warranty thing, so I bought an external drive. I have dropped this laptop on more than one occasion, and it has suffered only some superficial damage. Speakers still work well, all the keys work without problems (this time I've used a keyboard cover) and most of the USB drives work fine. I love the turbo fan for this, as well as the short-cut keys. It's been a good computer, and I hope will continue to last me for a while.

Re-reading this has helped me come to a decision, as I have been thinking (again) of getting a new computer. I can keep this MSI for gaming and watching movies, and get a smaller one for internet browsing and writing and whatnot. My non-tech Hubby has two laptops and a tablet and an old cell phone; I have this MSI laptop (and my Dell Vostro 1720 as back up still) and a 1-2 year old smart phone. That picture just doesn't seem to be right!

This online community is the best! hug div2s

~~CierraShore biggrin


"I don't need to get a life. I'm a gamer, I have LOTS of lives!"
Joined: May 2010
Location: Oxford
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Location: Oxford
I think you could probably obtain a more optimally balanced division of the family gadgets by stealing one of his laptops. If he's non-techie he probably won't notice anyway. biggrin

I also use a separate computer for interwebbing and general office stuff on the basis that it's smaller and quieter and makes my lair a lot less hot than the gaming rig.


J'aime le fromage.
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