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Buying a new PC

Started by GalacticPirate, November 05, 2016, 01:47:55 pm

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GalacticPirate

Hello walruses and walruses,
I'm here to ask for some advice. I'm in the last year of high school (French education system bulls***) and I'll soon pass the exams for the "Bac", i.e. French equivalent for High School Diploma in the USA. Before I get to CPGE (also French thing, here you can either go to college or CPGE, the latter being the "premium" option for good students), I should get a brand new PC, and I need some tips for one that will suit my uses (is that even English ?). Anyway, here are my requirements :

  • 15-17 inches laptop
  • No Pentium/Atom/i3 bulls***, I already know this will NOT be powerful enough.

  • Programming in Python on it (best joke ever)

  • Run Android emulators at full speed (Andy, Memu, Remix OS Player)

  • Do a lot of retro gaming on it, such as running DeSmuME at 5x internal resolution

  • Windows 10 (no, really)

  • Run Linux VMs on it without f***ing up the computer's speed

  • Enough RAM (8 GB is cool, 16 GB would be perfect)

  • I do not want to play PC video game things (Halo, Overwatch, i.e. things which play on XB1/PS4)

  • Run Dolphin 5 emulator at max settings and full speed. For who who don't know, that's a GC/Wii emulator. You may think I don't need a powerful PC for this, but... Just read this from their website:
    Spoiler: ShowHide
    Which CPU should I use?

    Dolphin is a dual core application that relies upon IPC (Instructions Per Clock) for performance. Additional cores will not make Dolphin go any faster, though an "extra" core that Dolphin isn't using may help slightly by keeping background tasks from using the same cores as Dolphin.

        Intel: Newer Core i5 and i7 processors such as the i5-4670K and i5-3570K are extremely fast and very affordable considering their relative power. The K series allows for overclocking, which can further improve the performance of those CPUs. Core i7 variants yield almost no benefit in IPC over the i5s they are based on, so save the cash if you're building a Dolphin machine. For laptops, you can rely on the i7-4700MQ and i7-4930MX for the absolute best performance. Most games will run very well on any of those processors.
    Which GPU do I need?

    Compared to processors, choosing a GPU for Dolphin is a fairly simple task. The more powerful the graphics card, the more pixels and enhancements you can throw at it before you'll see slowdown. However, the biggest thing to watch for is making sure the GPU supports DirectX11.1 and OpenGL 4.4. Dolphin emulates a console that functions very differently from a traditional PC, and uses the latest D3D and OGL features to reduce overhead. If you do not have those extensions, performance will suffer.

        NVIDIA: Due to the importance of the OpenGL Extension "Buffer Storage" no NVIDIA GPU before the Geforce 4xx series can be recommended. Despite being a bit old, the Geforce GTX 460 will handle almost any game you throw at it in HD resolutions. Older NVIDIA GPUs will still be able to run the games fine, especially within the D3D backend and in OpenGL with older builds still using the "Vertex Streaming Hack."

  • Not too expensive (I mean, the max price would be €1500, so currently $1671, £1334 or CAD∞ CAD 2240



That's it :P I hope you'll have good examples of laptops which would fit my conditions :D
STV

ben_g

My laptop has a 2.6GHz dual-core i5 CPU and a 710M GPU, and it can already run Dolphin at full speed (at 1366x768 resolution, no supersampling). Since my laptop was €600, I doubt you'll be able to find a €1500 laptop that doesn't run Dolphin well.

For VMs, it depends a lot on what you do with it, but they tend to work better when more RAM is available. I'd reccomend going for 16GB rather than 8GB when possible because of this.

If you plan to bring your laptop to school regularly, then I'd suggest getting a 15inch laptop. Having a big screen is nice, but 17inch laptops don't fit in most backpacks.

Finally, I'd reccomend having an SSD. Windows 10 uses the hard drive very intensely, so an SSD increases the speed it runs at by a lot. About 100GB should be more than enough for storing the OS and frequently used programs, but if you want to have everything on an SSD then you may want to get 200 or even 500GB, depending on what you store. (Most laptops have only one drive slot, so you'll probably have to choose between either an SSD or a HDD).

I don't have any particular models of laptops in mind, but I hope you now know a bit more of what to look for.

BTW: don't get a laptop of the Toshiba brand. They have a good price/performance ratio, but they have a rather poor build quality and thus easily start having problems.

GalacticPirate

Well, I've just found the HP Omen 17, I'll read/watch some reviews :p

c4ooo

Quote from: ben_g
BTW: don't get a laptop of the Toshiba brand. They have a good price/performance ratio, but they have a rather poor build quality and thus easily start having problems.

I have had a Toshiba laptop for 5 years. At some point a USB port stopped working, but it was an easy fix. Right now,  the audio semi-doesnt work, but IDK if that's a software or hardware problem.

gameblabla

I woud consider against buying a laptop, especially for gaming purposes.
They are built very cheaply and even the most expensive of them are not very powerful.
Plus, you don't get to choose your own components.
I know someone who bought a laptop and later regretted it because it was too slow despite paying 850$ on it.
When she decided to pay for a new desktop and i recommended her some components.
She's happy with her computer ever since.

If you insist tho...
You should pick a laptop with at least a Geforce GTX 980M, as it is according to Nvidia the same as the desktop one.
Anything lower than that is bad.
This laptop might do it for you :
https://www.amazon.com/GL502VY-DS71-Gaming-Laptop-NVIDIA-GTX980M/dp/B01G1TURPG/ref=sr_1_1/167-2803107-0116255?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1478362460&sr=1-1&keywords=GTX+980M

ben_g

Quote from: gameblabla on November 05, 2016, 04:18:25 pm
You should pick a laptop with at least a Geforce GTX 980M, as it is according to Nvidia the same as the desktop one.
Anything lower than that is bad.

Quote from: STV on November 05, 2016, 01:47:55 pm

  • I do not want to play PC video game things (Halo, Overwatch, i.e. things which play on XB1/PS4)



A GTX 980M is complete overkill when you don't want to play PC games. A dedicated GPU can be helpful with Dolphin and retro gaming, but a very basic one like the 730M or such is probably good enough.

GalacticPirate

Actually a GTX 9xx is not overkill to play Dolphin in HD or even 4K at 60 fps. The ROG STRIX and the HP Omen 17 may be good choices currently, but let's see if anything better is released until newt June/July :P

ben_g

I guess it depends on the settings. My laptop can run dolphin in HD resolutions at full speed, but then I usually have stuff like AA and supersampling disabled. If you want to install fancy shaderpacks and such, then you can go for a more powerful card. If you're satisfied with just emulating games in their original look, then most dedicated cards should be sufficient.

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