Forums » General Gaming

Gaming PC/Laptop Help

    • 253 posts
    January 23, 2014 7:25 PM EST

    Hey all, I was wondering if I could get some opinions on my 3 choices. Before you all go "waa waa alienware is overpriced and for noobs" I have to say that my only option is dell. I can only afford these because of Dell's monthly payment thing. My 3 choices are:

    (Laptop) Alienware 14:

    4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4700MQ processor (6MB Cache, up to 3.4GHz)

    16GB DDR3L at 1600MHz (2 x 8G)

    1TB 5400RPM SATA 6Gb/s + 80GB mSATA SSD Caching

    NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 765M with 2GB GDDR5

    14" WLED FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Display

    @51 USD a month


    (Laptop) Alienware 17:

    4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4700MQ processor (6MB Cache, up to 3.4GHz)

    16GB DDR3L at 1600MHz (2 x 8G)

    750GB SATA 6Gb/s (7,200 RPM)

    NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 770M with 3GB GDDR5

    17.3" WLED FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Display

    @59 USD a month


    (Desktop, also comes w/ mouse & keyboard) Alienware x51:

    4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4770 processor (8M Cache, up to 3.9 GHz)

    Dell UltraSharp U2412M 24"W Monitor, 24.0 Inch VIS, Widescreen

    16GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1600Mhz

    1TB SATA 6Gb/s (7,200RPM) 64MB Cache

    NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 760 Ti with 2GB GDDR5

    @51 USD a month


    They all have various things that are of value.

    Alienware 14: While I am looking for a desktop or a laptop to act as a "mobile desktop", the punch it packs with its smaller size is definitely worth considering. I will be in college in a few years and a 14" laptop would be very nifty. Also it has a nice SSD, but only 5400 rpm vs the 7200 of the others.

    Alienware 17: While being the most expensive of the 3, it also has the *best* graphics card, att 3gb ddr5. The x51 is a desktop, so it will get a lot more out of its 2gb ddr5, the power boost is still worth considering. Also, as a "mobile desktop", the screen size would be quite nice.

    Alienware x51: The x51 is basically the same as the 14, except that it is a desktop and has a better graphics card. Being a desktop its card will still rival that of the 17 even though it appears to be weaker.

    Any help would be appreciated. And please do not recommend any other brands for the reason I stated at the start, and Dell is the brand that I really actually trust. Thanks. 

    • 111 posts
    January 23, 2014 9:35 PM EST

    There has been a few comments on the merits of desktops v laptops for gaming purposes on another thread recently.

    For you I think there are some basic things to consider

    First it's not weird or dumb to have a gaming desktop at college

    Generally and I think you've already worked out some of these issues anyway the main pros and cons are


    Better performance
    Potentially less crashes
    Less overheating
    Better screen and image quality
    More drive space on the HDD to store games

    Unwieldy to cart around
    Takes up a lot of space compared with a laptop


    Mobile and easy to use wherever you are sitting or even lying down

    Even the latest ones tend to overheat quickly after too much  activity - result shutdown or game slowing
    More expensive than a desktop for the same performance
    Less storage space

    As a general point having an SSD will give you a noticeable performance improvement with less system effort over a standard I/O HDD drive with a spinning disc  and read/write heads. So in gaming installations and usage you might want to think about that if you go the laptop route

    Of course all three machines are easily capable of running Skyrim, but the next level of gaming Witcher 3 for example and maybe even TESVI? that will need the extra bang contained in the machine specs you show

    Not quite sure why you need so much main memory but hey it's a lot faster than a swap file in principal and as I'm not up to speed on the latest minimum specs for the new games coming out now I'll suspend judgement

    On the subject of the Alienware 17's bigger memory on the GPU I'm not sure that in gaming it's actually going to make that much difference in performance terms. 3D design maybe but gaming? Doubtful especially when the other laptop has an SSD

    • 79 posts
    January 23, 2014 9:45 PM EST

    If you are still a teen or about to head off into college it's best off sticking to something light. Get a netbook and build a custom desktop to play on when you get home, it'll end up costing you 1k at most (700 for custom build rig and 300 for netbook). If you are an adult and past the age of learning, go all out and build yourself a decked out desktop or buy yourself a beefed up gaming laptop.

    If you get a gaming laptop while you're still in school/studying at college you'll just be throwing away your money because you'll not be spending enough time doing your work/studying or using your laptop fully to make it worth purchasing which will ultimately lead to a lose lose situation.

    • 253 posts
    January 23, 2014 9:58 PM EST
    Good point on the extra gfx card memory vs SSD. What do you think about the 5400 rpm vs 7200 rpm? As for the large amount of RAM in general, it is a really cheap upgrade to the overall cost, and I just like having room to breath with that type of thing.
    • 253 posts
    January 23, 2014 10:06 PM EST

    Yeah, still a highschool sophomore, but I like to be prepared. I did consider a custom rig and a cheap netbook, but one of my issues is that my dad is super paranoid about computers so anything not Dell is a very uphill battle to convince him to let me buy (and it is even my own money ... -_-)

    • 111 posts
    January 23, 2014 10:06 PM EST

    Zach doesn't appear to be considering any other option else I'd suggest a desktop for gaming with a tablet for movies and research

    You can use a laptop for more than just gaming and there are portable HDDs and USB sticks. When I was at college my games were football, swimming, and athletics. 

    To much time indoors studying/researching and preparing dissertations freaked me out even though I was a good student

    • 253 posts
    January 23, 2014 10:09 PM EST
    I will consider it, but I am just not planning on it due to the reason I said in my reply to Jake.
    • 79 posts
    January 23, 2014 10:18 PM EST

    If that's the case and it is your own money, tell your father that you'd like to, just once be in a position to buy things for yourself, to learn to be responsible since (I hope) your father believes you to be a matured and studied young man.

    Try to persuade him why Dell is ultimately a bad investment (ie they are way over priced, etc.), it can be a father and son activity of building your family's very first custom rig (it's a very fun and rewarding experience), etc. etc.

    Seriously though, you should make an effort to persuade your father if you want to look out for your well being in the future... I can't think of a worse purchase than a Dell truth be told.

    • 253 posts
    January 23, 2014 10:22 PM EST

    True, very true. I will give it my best effort. And even if I did not want to go with building a desktop for some reason, brands like MSI put out the same type of specs as these Alienwares at much cheaper, ASUS as well. The only *good* thing about Dell is their payment plan and the fact they they do not break (I'm using a 5-6 year old Dell laptop and it is slow as hell, but most definitely works). 

    • 79 posts
    January 23, 2014 10:39 PM EST

    That's because they don't allow you to overclock or customize aka uncap your computer/laptop. Assuming Dells follow the same nature as ASUS or any other brands, they would break all the same. Meaning you are paying more money upfront and in the long run for brand loyalty. From my experience ASUS does do payment plans as well (you'll have to talk to their customer service for more info).

    I had a 1005h eee pc (5 y/o) and it was pretty goddamn solid for a 220usd netbook purchase (+8hr battery life, very portable, very compact, very customizeable). To give you a better idea of what I mean.. before I gave away my 1005h eee pc it could be overclocked to play games pretty well (again this is with a 5y/o 220usd netbook):

    • 253 posts
    January 23, 2014 10:57 PM EST

    That is pretty funny for such a small laptop! I have a buddy who has a 14 year old laptop, with a 12 gig hardrive that slides out, and it can play Diablo II!

    • 79 posts
    January 23, 2014 11:15 PM EST

    Well, the main jest I was getting at is other brands like ASUS makes comparable (eg. durability, pricing) pcs at fraction the price. eee pcs is more for work (or on the go settings, portable) and shouldn't be treated as a gaming computer (though it can if you wanted it to be).

    On a side note, why on earth would your buddy want to keep a 14 y/o relic...?

    • 253 posts
    January 23, 2014 11:33 PM EST

    He really likes computers. he is the type to take a broken laptop and rebuild it (functioning) inside a pizza box.

    • 253 posts
    January 23, 2014 11:39 PM EST

    I have another question. Would there be a significant difference between a 1TB 5400RPM SATA 6Gb/s + 80GB mSATA SSD Caching hard drive and a 500gb hybrid? I am asking because there is a configuration of the Alienware 17 available that has all the same specs (and very similar price) of the Alienware 14 I listed except the better processor but the different hard drive. I do like the idea of a large screen while still portable, and the Alienware 14 I listed is still very competent. 

    • 111 posts
    January 24, 2014 2:55 AM EST

    If you were electing to go the Desktop route then 7200 and a good cooling fan without a question, but again with a laptop data retrieval at 7200 gives your piece of kit  a greater heat diffusion problem and therefore increases the risk of system lag or CTD

    Another advantage if you're are moving outside Dell for your desktop shopping spree, is that you can get an off the shelf package that you can upgrade therefore extending it's useful lifespan for some time before you need to replace it

    In the business world Dell were in my experience notorious for mass producing machines that were not upgradeable and had to be completely replaced within 2 or 3 years as applications became more resource demanding

    Just noticed your exchange with JakeG. I built my own systems for years and as the budget holder used to buy IT kit for my business. As regards Dell in general I used Dell as my preferred supplier for my company's  workstations as they were (a) cheap, (b) met all the basic requirements for most of our users, and (c) oh yeah did I mention they were cheap? Dell laptops at one stage were a source of envy as were the Dell's desktop Optiplexes back in the nineties (486/25/33s)

    Today Dell has an outstanding XPS 12 laptop/ultrabook, which in your country where things are cheaper, weighs in at around a thousand bucks,. Also Dell have some pretty good budget monitors in the Dell UltraSharp U2312HM and the U2412M for roughly 150 and 200 dollars respectively 

    AS Jake G says there are plenty of other fish in the sea

    • 111 posts
    January 24, 2014 5:15 AM EST

    The only hybrid I know of in Dell's portfolio is Dell's studio range. Originally I think they were cobbled together as a reaction to some of the more creative innovators production results in the market.

    The Dell Studio hybrid has received poor reviews for it's lack of planning in production/manufacturing of this model

    While it has loads of nice features, and the design is pretty cool, under the hood the engine and it's component parts perform like a turtle with lumbago! At least that's the general feedback I've been picking up from users