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Thread: Such a thing as a real "desktop replacement" laptop?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Every four or so years I get a hellishly expensive system meant to keep me going for the next four without upgrades. My current system has held up beautifully since 2004 but now it's time for an upgrade and because I spend most of my life in front of a PC and would like to get out of my room, I'm thinking of a laptop.

    I'm a DJ, performing Psytrance producer, video editor and gamer so I need something that's going to fulfil all those - on par with a desktop - but still give mobility I need. (Carrying a tower + monitor to a nightclub isn't fun.)

    We don't have Alienware here in South Africa, but we have Dell (although not the XPS line.)

    The system which seems to meet my needs the most is an M90 except I don't like the fact that it's got a Quadro card and small disk space on it. My dream system is a hybrid of Alienware and Dell that wont need any upgrades for the next few years - or very minimal ones, at least. I know upgrading laptop parts is tricky.

    Even though I'm quite a gamer, I generally never really worry about hi-resolution and play at a decent 1024X768 with everything turned up. I'm playing Prey now on my current AMD3400+, gig of ram and Geforce6800 with those settings and it runs beautifully. I know that quadcore processors are available, but do I really need one? Will I ever really use it for what I do?

    Anyways, the specs I'm looking at are as follows. There's no motherboard - I'm not too clued up on Laptop MoBos - which would you recommend? Should I get an SLI-able motherboard in case I decide to get a new card, or is SLI not possible with a lappy?

    Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor T7700 (2.33GHz/667MHz/4MB)

    512MB NVidia® GeForce™ 8700M GT (Does Rivatuner and Coolbits etc work with mobile graphics cards? Is the forceware for mobiles different at all from the one I'm used to on desktop?

    2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SO-DIMM at 667MHz - 2 x 1024MB (Should I go for 4GB, or can I upgrade later if necessary?)

    8x Dual Layer CD-RW/DVD±RW Burner w/ LightScribe Technology

    400GB (200GB x 2) Serial ATA 1.5Gb/s 7,200 RPM w/ NCQ & 16MB Cache

    Windows XP Pro SP2

    17" WideUXGA 1920 x 1200 LCD with Clearview Technology (What is the 1024X768 equivalent of a widescreen monitor?)

    Because I'd be getting the parts custom, I don't think I'd get a stylish Alienware design, so are there any laptop cases I should look at...If such things exist? Plain black might just be the thing so such a powerhouse doesn't draw attention to itself.

    One thing I've never used before is WiFi. What hardware do I need? A WiFi card and modem at home, and then use the modems at WiFi Hotspots? Is WiFi hard to set up? Internet on the move is more important to me than a girlfriend.

    How do the specs look? Compared to a desktop PC with the same specs, would the laptop perform worse or the same? I take it custom laptops don't have self-contained drivers like Dell or something similar, so in the case of a format I'd need to reinstall everything myself?

    Any advice is mucho appreciated! It's either a laptop or this prebuilt beast. (which is about $2500)
    Last edited by Vamp; 09-01-2007 at 09:28 AM.

    Ardeth In Pre-Production

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  3. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    zapjb's Avatar Computer Abuser BT Rep: +3
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    "... I take it custom laptops don't have self-contained drivers like Dell or something similar, so in the case of a format I'd need to reinstall everything myself?..."

    An image or clone would would save you from chasing drivers. Or driver gathering specific programs also.

    Oh and that PSU, "Coolermaster Extreme Power 650Watt Power Supply
    12V Dual Rails ( 36A ), Super quiet", sucks.

    I'd look At the Panasonic Toughbooks in your circumstances. But as I recall they're $4-5k USD.

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by Vamp
    Such a thing as a real "desktop replacement" laptop?
    No, there isn't.

    Laptops can be configured as quite capable business/work computers but start talking graphics and upgrading and they fall far behind a desktop.

    AFAIK, building a "custom" laptop means starting with a "whitebook"...basically the chassis, motherboard, display, keyboard & touchpad and cooling.
    With this as the startpoint you can decide on HDD capacity, optical(s), RAM(how much), and processor.

    The problem here is upgradability...there is very little that can be done with the core components, specifically the motherboard.
    A change in mobo requires a whole new chassis as laptops don't conform to component standards like desktops do.

    Higher end video means high power consumption and high heat...two areas that laptops are poorly suited to deal with.

    All in all, I think you need to stay desktop.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Hmmmm...I think so too, but I really need to be mobile. Maybe I'll just keep gaming for the consoles and get a 99% work related laptop. What laptop motherboard would you recommend for those specs? Would I be able to run games nicely with those specs, or would I still run into problems that I wouldn't with a desktop?

    Ardeth In Pre-Production

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    tesco's Avatar FST Programmer
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    What about just buying a cheap laptop for the portability; and upgrade the graphics card, ram, any other small things in your current system?

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Well, I need a powerful laptop seeing as most of my mobile work is processor/ram intensive stuff. Maybe I'll just get a Dell M90, I honestly don't game as much as I would like to, so maybe a quadro will suit my needs.

    Ardeth In Pre-Production

  8. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    100%'s Avatar ╚════╩═╬════╝
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    i am using a M90.
    2gb ram
    512mb video
    100gb (7200rpm)

    they newer ones have 160gb (7200rpm)
    here are 2 good reviews

    but for half the price of the m90, you could get hp pavillion

    Intel Core 2 Duo Prosessor T7300
    4096 Mb RAM
    320 Gb HDD (2X160Gb - 5400 RPM
    nVidia GeForce 8600M 256/1023Mb
    17" WXGA HighDefinition BrightWiew WS
    DVD-SuperMulti Lightscribe brenner
    BlueTooth, FireWire
    Trådløst nettverk 802.11a/g/Draft N
    Intel Pro Networkconnections og Bluetooth
    webcam, remote control

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Is the T7300 a decent processor?
    I am actually seriously thinking of getting a good laptop and a powerhouse desktop, like the one in my first post...Thing is I'm thinking of travelling next year, and the thought of having a beast desktop at home while I'm gone for a year is disturbing.
    Last edited by Vamp; 09-03-2007 at 09:50 AM.

    Ardeth In Pre-Production


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