Alienware or other gaming laptops

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Posts 90
Chris Hulshof | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Jan 11 2010 1:47 PM

I wondered if anyone is running L4 on a gaming laptop like an Alienware and if that might be the best route to go when looking for a new lappy.  I have around $1500 from Christmas gifts and auctioning my life off on eBay so I can purchase a new laptop that can handle L4.  I am looking at an Alienware laptop and curious if there are any others using Alienware (or a gaming laptop) to run logos.

CHH

"If heaven ain't a gift I ain't gettin' in." - Lecrae Moore

Posts 390
Alain Maashe | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 11 2010 2:18 PM

Chris,

This will be an overkill as far as the video card is concerned (on top of the fact that with Alienware, you pay a premium for the brand name and with a powerful graphic card, your battery is heavily penalized to the point that you get a destop replacement, not a mobile solution).

Your best bet is to go for a more mainstream laptop with the new core i3, i5, and i7 - 32 nm mobile processors from the Nehalem (Arrandale) series. they consume less power (longer battery life), produce less heat and have an new integreted graphic card that can handle blue ray and everything Logos 4 can thrown at it graphics wise.

You can choose the highest processor that your budget can afford with at least 4 GB of ram and at least a 7200 RPM Hard Drive (or a SSD if your want to push it).

This is what Anandtech says on the new offerings from Dell (for the same reasons given for Alienware offerings, you should stay away from Dell's XPS gaming laptop)

"Dell also announced a ton of new Inspiron laptops with Arrandale CPUs. Again, specifics are light right now, but we know there will be new Inspiron 14 (14.0"), Inspiron 15 (15.6"), and Inspiron 17 (17.3") models with Arrandale CPUs, and at present it looks like all of the Inspiron line will use the new Intel HD Arrandale IGP. Battery life with the optional 9-cell battery is targeting 7+ hours, which is also nice to see, though that will drop to around 4 hours with the standard 6-cell battery. Availability is set for later this month, with prices starting at just $570 with Core i3. The Core i5 models bump the cost up significantly, starting at $850.

The Studio line is basically an enhanced Inspiron laptop, with the goal being better styling and/or features… and a higher price. Like the Inspiron, there will be new Studio 14, 15, and 17 models. We would assume (although we have not seen any details at present) that the Studio line will give users a dedicated GPU in addition to the Arrandale IGP. Availability is again scheduled for later this month, with the Studio 14 starting at $700, the Studio 15 at $850, and the Studio 17 at $950. There should also be a new i3/i5 version of the Studio XPS laptops; Dell had a red Studio XPS 16 on display but no details on what was inside it. Studio XPS 16 with Core i5 and a Mobility Radeon 5750 would be tasty…."

 

Alain

Posts 90
Chris Hulshof | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 11 2010 4:05 PM

Thanks for the input.  I checked out the Anandtech page and they have the M11X listed there which is one of the laptop's I had on my short list.  Currently, I have a five year old 17" Inspiron 9300.  Some days the size bothers me but most day's I'm ok with lugging to my office at church and back.  I'm not sure if I could get used to going from 17" to 11.6" if I did the M11x laptop.

May I ask why you suggest an integrated graphics card when some of the other posts I have read tend to lean more towards a graphics card with a dedicated memory (or am I missing something).

CHH

"If heaven ain't a gift I ain't gettin' in." - Lecrae Moore

Posts 390
Alain Maashe | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 11 2010 4:48 PM

Chris, I have a 10” netbook and it is not very conducive to the way Logos 4 uses the screen’s real estate (layouts and such). If you are planning to use your laptop to only display one resource at the time, the bigger the screen, the better your experience will be. A 15” or 16” is the minimum I would go for.

 As far as the “integrated graphic card” is concerned, it is good to remember that Logos 4 is not rendering 3D graphics (which would require significantly more processing power and certainly a separate card), Logos 4 uses 2D graphics and is more concerned about memory size (512 MB recommended) than it is concerned about processing power. The new “integrated graphics solution offered by the Arrandale CPUs is a integrated graphics solution on “steroid” (unlike current offerings) and powerful enough to render Blu-Ray and play some 3D games, graphic operations much more demanding that Logos 4’s rendering of 2D queries (who can do more can surely do less).

 It is only if you plan to run other programs that are more graphics intensive that a separate graphic card will be justified Since the graphics unit in the processor uses your system memory, I would recommend at least 4 GB of memory (the faster the frequency the better but the money is better used upgrading the processor and then the hard drive in that order)

the main factors:

Processing power (CPU)

Hard drive speed (minimum 7200 RPM with good cache (32 mb)

Memory size

 

Alain

Posts 1669
SteveF | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 11 2010 7:55 PM

Alain Maashe:
Since the graphics unit in the processor uses your system memory,

Is this not one of the main reasons in support of having the graphics on the extra card?

Steve

Regards, SteveF

Posts 390
Alain Maashe | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 11 2010 11:17 PM

Stephen Filyer:

Alain Maashe:
Since the graphics unit in the processor uses your system memory,

Is this not one of the main reasons in support of having the graphics on the extra card?

Steve

Steve,

4 GB of memory is more than enough for most applications plus the operation system needs.

Logos recommends 3GB of ram  for the entire system (with 1 GB as the minimum requirement). even if they did not factor in shared memory with the graphics unit, using 3 GB still leaves you 1 GB of ram to cover the recommended 512 MB.

one should never buy a dedicated graphic card just for the memory because shared memory with the system does the job in the same competent way. only the need for 3D warrants a dedicated card in almost all cases , especially with the never processors (core i3, i5, and i7).

 

Alain

Posts 187
Anthony Etienne | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 11 2010 11:34 PM

Alain Maashe:

Stephen Filyer:

Alain Maashe:
Since the graphics unit in the processor uses your system memory,

Is this not one of the main reasons in support of having the graphics on the extra card?

Steve

Steve,

one should never buy a dedicated graphic card just for the memory because shared memory with the system does the job in the same competent way. only the need for 3D warrants a dedicated card in almost all cases , especially with the never processors (core i3, i5, and i7).

 

Alain

Well if you want to run Windows Aero in Vista or Windows 7 to the fullest capability, I've found using intergrated/shared memory video to be sub par. But then I'm a power user, and prefer dedicated 3rd party video with at least 512MB min. Even if you are not gaming on these systems, the dedicated video has the muscle to drive multi-monitors with no lag in performance. Especially when you have a ton of Logos 4 floating windows between 2-3 monitors.

 

Posts 390
Alain Maashe | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 12 2010 4:03 AM

Anthony,

The target is a notebook not a desktop than can support two or three monitors (as such, a lot of what you said does not apply in this case).

Additionally it is not appropriate to compare old and underpowered integrated solutions (Intel GMA 950 or the 4500 ) with the new offerings from Intel with the arrandale series of CPU with an integrated graphics core (Intel HD ). even with a GMA 4500, the bottleneck on my latop is my core 2 duo CPU not the integrated.  video card

From everything I read, the new integrated solution will handle aero and more demanding applications smoothly with saving battery life.

The bottom line is that for a mobile solution with a limited budged primarily designed to run Logos 4, it would be a mistake to prioritize graphics at the expense of more important elements like CPU, memory, hard drive, battery and even warranty

 

Alain

Posts 65
Dale Winters | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 12 2010 4:42 AM

Check out an HP Pavilion dv8t.  It is a lower end gaming laptop which you can find on ebay for as low as $1000 (including the bing cashback reduction). 

I just got one because my old laptop is on its last leg and I wanted something to run L4 well (I'm not a gamer).

After a week I love it, very snappy and it has a very nice 18.4' screen.  They also make a dv7t with a 17" and a dv6t with a 15.6" screen. 

Posts 2745
Bohuslav Wojnar | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 12 2010 4:55 AM

Alain Maashe:

Anthony,

The target is a notebook not a desktop than can support two or three monitors (as such, a lot of what you said does not apply in this case).

Additionally it is not appropriate to compare old and underpowered integrated solutions (Intel GMA 950 or the 4500 ) with the new offerings from Intel with the arrandale series of CPU with an integrated graphics core (Intel HD ). even with a GMA 4500, the bottleneck on my latop is my core 2 duo CPU not the integrated.  video card

From everything I read, the new integrated solution will handle aero and more demanding applications smoothly with saving battery life.

The bottom line is that for a mobile solution with a limited budged primarily designed to run Logos 4, it would be a mistake to prioritize graphics at the expense of more important elements like CPU, memory, hard drive, battery and even warranty

 

Alain

I think Alain is right. I just upgraded my HDD for 500 GB 7200 RPM, with 16 MB cash, 11ms etc. and faster memory (instead of 2GB 667MHz I got 4GB 800MHz). I have DELL XPS 1330M with Core Duo 2.0 and GeForce nVidia with just 128 MB memory. I can see a great improvement in all operations, and according to the MS test my bottleneck is of course graphic card for Aero. I got 4.1 grade. My point is that it looks to me, really CPU, RAM and HDD are the key factors.

P.S. Of course I will try to replace my graphic card Smile

Bohuslav

Posts 1749
Allen Browne | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 12 2010 5:25 AM

I wonder how much difference the memory speed makes? Is 1333MHz DDR3 going to be some 60% faster than 800MHz DDR2?

I'm guessing that the fast, multi-core processors may be I/O bound (waiting for the resources data to be fetched and output.) Does anyone have experience or informed view of this? It's an area that is not always addressed in these threads on this forum.

Posts 90
Chris Hulshof | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 12 2010 9:59 AM

Learnin' a lot here....Thanks!

I typically have Logos, WORDsearch, and Pradis open as I bounce between available resources.  Some of that could change (the Pradis part) based on what Zondervan does with their "discount" for Logos users.  That was one reason why I was aiming for something on the high end as far as computer specs go; I keep all three open when studying and bounce between them.  I can't afford to upgrade every 2 years so whatever I buy has to make 5 years like the Inspiron 9300 that I'm using now.

I am considering something with these kinds of specs

IntelCore i7 1.6GHz; 4GB of DDR3 RAM (expandable to 8); 320 GB SATA 7200 rpm Hard Drive; NVIDIA GeForce GT 240M w/ 512mb of dedicated memory.

I am assuming that this would powerful enough to toggle between the two or three programs I mentioned earlier.  Are the specs I'm considering overkill, just right, or not enough based on the experiences of those who are using L4 already?

Chris

"If heaven ain't a gift I ain't gettin' in." - Lecrae Moore

Posts 390
Alain Maashe | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 12 2010 10:44 AM

Allen Browne:

I wonder how much difference the memory speed makes? Is 1333MHz DDR3 going to be some 60% faster than 800MHz DDR2?

I'm guessing that the fast, multi-core processors may be I/O bound (waiting for the resources data to be fetched and output.) Does anyone have experience or informed view of this? It's an area that is not always addressed in these threads on this forum.

Allen,

With everything else being equal (i.e. with Intel’s P35 chipset that supports either DDR2 or DDR3),  the difference is not that great( it will have less than 20% improvement in memory bandwidth resulting in a 2 to 5% overall system speed improvement. However, those results will vary by chipset and have a lot to do with the memory controller.

DDR3 becomes a must (not that there is a choice) when you move to newer processors (core i3, i5, and i7) but faster frequency (1333 MHz or above) is not a priority. it is better to focus on CPU speed, Hard drive speed and cache, and memory size (at least 4 GB) that give you better bang for your buck . Additionally, having low memory latencies (CAS 7 or below) with lower frequencies is sometimes better than higher frequencies with higher latencies (i.e. CAS 9). In brief, memory frequency is not the whole story and is often overrated.

Alain

 

Posts 390
Alain Maashe | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 12 2010 11:13 AM

Chris Hulshof:

Learnin' a lot here....Thanks!

I typically have Logos, WORDsearch, and Pradis open as I bounce between available resources.  Some of that could change (the Pradis part) based on what Zondervan does with their "discount" for Logos users.  That was one reason why I was aiming for something on the high end as far as computer specs go; I keep all three open when studying and bounce between them.  I can't afford to upgrade every 2 years so whatever I buy has to make 5 years like the Inspiron 9300 that I'm using now.

I am considering something with these kinds of specs

IntelCore i7 1.6GHz; 4GB of DDR3 RAM (expandable to 8); 320 GB SATA 7200 rpm Hard Drive; NVIDIA GeForce GT 240M w/ 512mb of dedicated memory.

I am assuming that this would powerful enough to toggle between the two or three programs I mentioned earlier.  Are the specs I'm considering overkill, just right, or not enough based on the experiences of those who are using L4 already?

 

Chris

With Moore's law still alive, it is better to upgrade every two years at half the cost  than to build a system that is designed to last five years and maybe two operating systems.

By upgrading after two or three years, you also get to take advantage or newer technologies (SSD and USB 3.0 and so one  might be mainstream and much cheaper in two years)

This does not even take into account the fact that getting a five year warranty will be prohibitive and some of the components that might last two years will have to be replaced within the five years.

My point is that it is generally better to buy two $750 laptops two to two and a half years apart that it is to buy a $1500 laptop designed to last five years.  

 I cannot stress this enough, the five year plan when buying computer for performance is not a good idea in these times of fast pace technological changes and technology getting better and much cheaper at the same time.

Alain

Posts 187
Anthony Etienne | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 12 2010 6:13 PM

Alain Maashe:

Anthony,

The target is a notebook not a desktop than can support two or three monitors (as such, a lot of what you said does not apply in this case).

Alain

Actually I was refering to laptops; having 3rd party video from ATI and Nvidia has been pretty common place over the last 2 years or so. I ran two high resolution monitors for years at work (HP NW8240 workstation laptop with highend ATI chip). To my suprise this type of power has crept into the consumer market...and has become affordable. You are right I'm not familar with the VERY latest from intel as far as graphics chips go. But my experience with the previous 8-10yrs of being under NDA with them working for one of their major partnerships; has left me unimpressed with their continued foray into the graphics chip market.

Maybe they are going to change my mind with the latest cropping of chips. Wink

Posts 90
Chris Hulshof | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 13 2010 9:46 AM

Alain,

Thanks for the info.  Some of the tech parts of your reply are over my head but I think I get your point. I agree that the rate at which technology changes means updating every 2 years if you want to have the latest and greatest.  However, for the average person the need to have the latest and greatest every 2 years isn't really all that important.  My almost five year old Inspiron 9300 is running well enough right now and the only reason I am looking for a new laptop is that L4 demands more then her specs can handle.  I am choosing to upgrade to move to L4 but if I couldn't have come up with the finances for a new laptop I would stick with L3 until Logos no longer supports or updates it.  No other program that I am running (including stuff like Photoshop CS2 and a host of plug-ins and FX software that I use with it) have forced me to need a new laptop in nearly five years.  I believe that the average computer user (as I am) doesn't logistically "need" to get a new computer every two years.  My computer buying pattern has been more closely tied to operating systems rather then anything else (ie in the past years I bought XP, skipped Vista, will jump into 7 at some point). Unless my younger brother can convince me that Mac really is the "cat's pajama's."

Chris

"If heaven ain't a gift I ain't gettin' in." - Lecrae Moore

Posts 65
Dale Winters | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 13 2010 10:54 AM

Chris,

Actually you can get a HP pavilion dv8t with the same spec. (except:  Nvidia 230 with 1g dedicated and a 18.4" HD screen) for between $1000-$1400 depending where you get it.

Posts 8967
RIP
Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 13 2010 11:02 AM

Chris Hulshof:
 I believe that the average computer user (as I am) doesn't logistically "need" to get a new computer every two years.  My computer buying pattern has been more closely tied to operating systems rather then anything else (ie in the past years I bought XP, skipped Vista, will jump into 7 at some point).

That is why I am confused with your original post. My son-in-law is a gamer with an Alienware laptop. It is definitely overkill for software that doesn't need 3D.

Everything Alain has said is good. Still you don't need anything more than DaleWinters is considering (HP Pavilion dv8t.) I have been running an HP DV8000 with XP for years now and only upgraded (to Vista, 3GB, nVidia, AMD 64Live) to run CS4, 3DS Max,  and Logos 4 on a desktop.  How often do I really need to run them all at once? Never. The Bible software you mention can all be easily run without taxing your system. Now if you are trying to justify the gaming system purchase to your wife.... You can always buy the Logos DVD video series and run them simultaneously in multiple windows. Big Smile

“The Good Steward” Video Series [DVD-ROM] http://www.logos.com/products/details/2957
"Apologetics: Defending the Faith" Video Series [DVD-ROM] http://www.logos.com/products/details/2840
Pure Life Collection (12 Vols.) [DVD-ROM] http://www.logos.com/products/details/3585
"A Workman Approved By God" Video Series - DVD-ROM (34 Hours) http://www.logos.com/products/details/2474
“The True Christian's Love for the Unseen Christ” Video Series [DVD-ROM] http://www.logos.com/products/details/2951
"The Greatest Book" Video Series, Plus Three Bonus Titles - DVD-ROM http://www.logos.com/products/details/1908
"2 Sides of the Same Coin" Video Series [DVD-ROM] http://www.logos.com/products/details/3337
Learn to Use Biblical Greek and Hebrew with Logos Bible Software http://www.logos.com/products/prepub/details/5876

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

Posts 90
Chris Hulshof | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 13 2010 9:34 PM

I've been following the discussion in the "Why does Logos 4 have such high end computer requirements" post found here http://community.logos.com/forums/t/8620.aspx  The last poster built his own machine with an i7 and powerful parts.  That's why I was aiming for an Alienware or some sort of gaming laptop since they usually have the more powerful parts for a laptop.  I haven't "gamed" on a laptop or any PC for that matter since EA Sports NHL99.

Chris

"If heaven ain't a gift I ain't gettin' in." - Lecrae Moore

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