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Comparison Pricing - Starting Prices Compared To Fully Maxed Prices!
Compiled and Written by +Titus Hoskins
Just imagine for a moment if you please, in some alternate universe where money is no object, wouldn't it be a lot of fun to see what the top high-end laptops would cost. In this universe you would find top brand laptops with exotic sounding names such as Alienware M17x, HP Envy 17, Falcon Fragbook DRX and Origin Eon18. These custom boutique gaming systems are on every gamers' list, at least those gamers silly enough to use a laptop rather than a more reasonable PC for computer gaming.
But in our alternate universe we will put the "laptop vs desktop pc" argument to one side, and see what kind of power and performance you can expect from a fully loaded gaming laptop like the ones listed above and the price you will have to pay for them. First, you must realize as any computer shopper will tell you, the starting price is just for starters and will not usually give you the ultimate performance levels you need for the smooth running of high-demanding computer games like Crysis, Mass Effect 2, Call of Duty, Left for Dead... at full detail - you will have to spend big bucks to reach those ultimate gaming benchmarks. How big? Just keep reading.
Now let's quickly get in the shopping mode and see what these machines will give us at the starting price COMPARED to what you would get at the maximum price. Unlike the typical shopper who is watching his or her pennies, we simply choose the highest specs possible - including the longest warranties/service plans which also add to the total price. Keep in mind, these prices are all listed in USD (United States Dollars) and are subject to change without notice.
Fastest gaming laptop in the Universe Dell Alienware M17x
Let's start with the grand daddy of gaming computers - Alienware. More specifically with one of their top of the line offering - Alienware M17x. In case you didn't know, Alienware was bought by Dell some years ago but despite this fact or perhaps because of it, Alienware prices have dropped somewhat in recent years. Unless I dreamed it up, the starting price for Alienware M17x was a mere $1199 for a lower model, but it you now check the Dell site, the base starting price for the Alienware M17x is listed at a hefty $1,799, probably the best configuration that will give you acceptable gaming benchmarks. Keep in mind, you can get a high-performance Asus or MSI gaming laptop for well below that price. Regardless, the M17x starts with the following specs: Intel i5 540M 2.53GHz with 3MB Cache and turbo boost to 3.06GHz; 1GB ATI Radeon Mobility HH 5870 GPU, 4GB of Ram, 250GB 7200 RPM hard drive, Dual DVD burner and a 17-inch 1440 x 900 (900p) display.
• Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English • Intel® Core™ i5 540M 2.53GHz (3.06GHz Turbo Mode, 3MB Cache) • 1GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon™ Mobility HD 5870 • 17-inch WideXGA+ 1440 x 900 (900p) • 4GB Dual Channel Memory (2x 2GB DDR3) • 250GB 7,200RPM SATA-II HDD • Slot-Load Dual Layer DVD Burner (DVD+-RW, CD-RW) • Wireless 1520 802.11n Half Mini-Card • 1 Year Basic Service Plan • My Software & Accessories • Lunar Silver - Anodized Aluminum • Quasar Blue • Steam and Portal™ Factory Installed • Internal High-Definition 5.1 Surround Sound Audio • Internal Wireless Bluetooth® 2.1 with EDR • Automatic Updates: On • Standard Nameplate • 150 Watt Adapter
Now fully maxed out, the Alienware M17x comes with a $6,040.99 price tag and an Intel i7 940XM Quad Core Processor, 2.13GHz with 8M Cache and turbo boost to 3.33GHz, 1GB Nvidia GeGorce GTX 285M GPU, 2 x 256Gb Samsung Solid State HDDs, 8GB of dual channel RAM, Blu-ray player and a 17-inch 1920 x 1200 RGB LED (1200p) display. A few extras such as a 4 Year Basic Service Plan and an Orion backpack thrown in for good measure.
• Genuine Windows® 7 Ultimate, 64bit, English +$150 • Intel® Core™ i7 940XM Quad Core Processor, 2.13GHz (3.33GHz Turbo Mode, 8M Cache) +$1200 • CrossfireX™ 1GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon™ Mobility HD 5870 +$375 • 17-inch WideUXGA 1920 x 1200 RGB LED (1200p) + $200 • 8GB Dual Channel Memory (2x 4GB DDR3) +$350 • 512GB Raid 0 (2x 256GB Samsung Solid State HDDs) +$1040 • Slot-Loading Dual Layer Blu-ray Reader (BR-ROM, DVD+-RW, CD-RW) + $150 • Intel® Ultimate N WiFi Link 6300 a/g/n 3x3 MIMO Technology +$60 • 4 Year Basic Service Plan +$399 • Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2010 +$119 • Nebula Red - Special Edition - Anodized Aluminum +$99 • Alienware Orion Laptop Backpack - Fits Laptop of Screen Sizes Up to 17" - Black +$99 • Steam and Portal™ Factory Installed • Internal High-Definition 5.1 Surround Sound Audio • Internal Wireless Bluetooth® 2.1 with EDR • Automatic Updates: On • Standard Nameplate • 240 watt Adapter
As you can plainly see, there is a lot of difference in price and performance expected from a fully maxed out Alienware system. If you're wondering why you would need a 512GB hard drive, just realize that one HD Blu-ray movie like Avatar would take up 7 to 10 gigs alone. And if you do heavy HD video editing than a large amount of storage will probably be needed.
Total Maxed Alienware M17x Price - $6,040.99
HP Envy 17
Now let's look at another popular gaming laptop, this one coming from HP and has a more reasonable starting price of $1,299. Keep in mind, Voodoo Envy was a very popular custom PC and laptop maker before HP bought it some years back.
HP Envy 17 starts at $1,299 and for that price you get an Intel i5-460M Dual Core Processor (2.53 GHz, 3MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz, 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 5850 Graphics, 6GB DDR3 System Memory, 500GB 7200RPM Hard Drive and a 17.3" BrightView Infinity LED (1600 x 900) Display.
• Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit • 6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm) • 500GB 7200RPM Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection • Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-460M Dual Core (2.53 GHz, 3MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz • 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 5850 Graphics [HDMI] • 17.3" diagonal HD+ HP BrightView Infinity LED Display (1600 x 900) • SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support (Slot Load) • Backlit Keyboard • Beats(TM) audio for superior sound • 2-year hardware limited warranty
Now for a fully loaded Envy 17 it would cost you $3,384 and that would upgrade your system to the following specs: i7-840QM processor (1.86GHz, 8MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz, 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 5850 Graphics, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, 800GB 7200RPM Dual Hard Drive (SSD 160GB + 640GB 7200RPM) and a Blu-ray drive which will cost you an extra $100, which is the same price you will have to pay for the Infinity LED (1920x1080) Display.
• Genuine Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit +$200 • HP 3-year Care Pack House Call Service with Accidental Damage Protection for Select Pavilion or Envy Laptop (with 2-yr warranty)+$209 • Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-840QM processor (1.86GHz, 8MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz +$600 • 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 5850 Graphics [HDMI] • 8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm) +$100 • 800GB 7200RPM Dual Hard Drive (SSD 160GB + 640GB 7200RPM) +$410 • One 6 Cell (standard) and One 9 Cell (over-sized) Lithium Ion Battery +$75 • HP 90W Smart AC/Auto/Air Combo Adapter • 17.3" diagonal Full HD HP Ultra BrightView Infinity LED Display (1920x1080) +$100 • Blu-ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support (Slot Load) +$100 • HP TrueVision HD Webcam • Intel Wireless-N Card with Bluetooth • Backlit Keyboard • HP 17" Notebook Backpack, green +$36 • Adobe(R) Photoshop(R) Elements 8 & Adobe Premiere(R) Elements 8 • HP Pavilion additional 120W AC Adapter
Total Maxed HP Envy 17 Price: $3,384
Falcon Fragbook DRX
Another popular brand of gaming machines is Falcon Northwest and one of their top models is the Falcon Fragbook DRX which has a starting of price of $4,046 which will give you the following customized DRX system configuration:
• Chassis DRX Exotix - Any Single Color • Display - 17" LCD Panel - 1920x1200 • Pixel Guarantee - Perfect Pixel Guarantee • Processor - Core i7 950 3.06GHz • Memory - 6GB (3x2GB) 1333MHz DDR3 • Video Card - GeForce GTX 285M (1GB) • Networking - Intel 5300 802.11n • Hard Drive - 320GB - 7200RPM - 3GB/s • Optical Drive - 8x DVD+-RW • 64-Bit Operating System - Windows 7 Home Premium • Battery - Li-Ion Battery - 12 Cell • Power Supply - AC Adapter • Carrying Case - Falcon Northwest Backpack • Warranty - 1 Year Warranty + Falcon Overnight
Now if you sport up your Falcon, be prepared to spend some major cash, the custom paint job alone will cost you nearly $700 bucks. Opting for the Blu-ray writer will be $273 and the 256GB Solid State Drive another $700... when you the final total is tallied up, you will be set back around 7 grand. Falcon will conveniently send you an email with final custom specs printed out:
• Chassis DRX Exotix - Flames +$660 • Display - 17" LCD Panel - 1920x1200 • Pixel Guarantee - Perfect Pixel Guarantee • Processor - Core i7 Extreme 980X 3.33GHz +$1,150 • Memory - 12GB (3x4GB) 1333MHz DDR3 +229 • Video Card - GeForce GTX 285M (1GB) • Networking - Intel 5300 802.11n • 3 Hard Drive - 256GB - SSD - 6GB/S +$703 +795 +795 • Optical Drive - 6x Blu-Ray & DVD Writer +$273 • 64-Bit Operating System - Windows 7 Ultimate +$163 • Battery - 2x Li-Ion Battery - 12 Cell +$132 • Power Supply - AC Adapter • Carrying Case - Falcon Northwest Backpack • Warranty - 3 Year Warranty + Falcon Overnight +$395
Total Maxed Falcon Fragbook DRX Price: $8,671 Config your own Falcon DRX here: build.falcon-nw.com
Origin PCs and Laptops is a relatively new maker of custom gaming laptops and was founded by several of the guys responsible for Alienware, including Kevin Wasielewski, the CEO/Co-Founder of ORIGIN PC. These machines are pricey, the starting price for the Eon18 is $2297. The starting specs include: Intel Core i7-740QM Quad Core Processor (1.73GHz), Single 1GB GDDR5 ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card, 6MB L3 Cache, 2GB Dual-Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz, 250GB 7200rpm SATA 300 Hard Drive, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit Edition, 1920 x 1080 18.4" Glossy LCD Screen, Built-in 2.0 Megapixel Video Camera, and 1 Year Part Replacement and Free Shipping Warranty with DVD image and Lifetime Support. Paint jobs will cost you $179 to $279 extra.
Now if you really want to go to town, a fully decked EON18 was cost you a mind-boggling $9,240. You can buy a cheap car for that amount. Your 9 grand will get you the following: Intel i7-940XM Quad-Core Processor Extreme Edition (2.13GHz), 8MB L3 Cache, mPGA-989, Single 1GB GDDR3 NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800M graphics, 8GB Dual-Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz, three 512GB Kingston V+ Series - Solid State Drives, 1920 x 1080 18.4" Glossy LCD Display, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit Edition, and a 6X Blu-ray Burner which will cost you $177 extra. If you need more protection, the 3 Year Part Replacement and Free Shipping Warranty will cost you $199. Of if buye such an expensive gaming laptop you might as well dish out for the Wooden Crate Armor shipping for a measly $39.
• EON18 platform with Intel Core i7 and 1920 x 1080 18.4" Glossy LCD Screen • Intel Core i7-940XM Quad-Core Processor Extreme Edition (2.13GHz), 8MB L3 Cache, mPGA-989 +821 • Single 1GB GDDR3 NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800M (1GB of Total GFX) - Professional Workstation +897 • 8GB Dual-Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 2 X 4GB +220 • 512GB Kingston V+ Series - Solid State Drive +1375 • 6X BD-R Blu-ray Burner/8X DVD+/-R/2.4X +DL Super-Multi Drive with Power DVD 7 +177 • 3 Year Part Replacement and Free Shipping Warranty with DVD image and Lifetime Support +199 • Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 Wireless dual-band module - Up to 450 Mbps +49 • Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950Q USB HDTV Tuner with Remote +85 • Genuine MS Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit Edition +95 • ORIGIN Wooden Crate Armor +39 Total Maxed Origin Eon18 Price: $9,240
While many gamers would argue the point of having 12 Gigs of RAM - can any system even use that much memory? Opting for the larger hard drive(s) is simply a matter of what kind of tasks your laptop will be doing and if you need to store a lot of data on your laptop. Even then, with portable memory flash drives so cheap, you could save money by going with a smaller hard drive, although going with a Solid State Drive is a good choice since they will be faster and probably last longer because they have no moving parts.
Another issue concerns multi-core processors, since most of today's games use dual core or single core processing - is there a really a need for quad core laptops? Yes, if you want to "future proof" your laptop and besides these extreme quad core processors will give you better overall computing performance, especially with multi-threading.
However, if you're going to upgrade, opting for the full 1080p display is probably wise if you want the best viewing experience. So too, is opting for the Blu-ray player, which will only set you back a $100 bucks or so. As for warranties, they will only be as good as the support and services of each particular laptop maker - use your own judgment here.
More Than Gaming
These maxed out machines have many more uses other than gaming, because of their ultimate power and performance, they are excellent desktop replacements. Nor do they have to be flashy or showy, many come in neutral colors which would m
ake any conservative business person proud to own it. Just think beyond gaming. Finally, this is just a small sampling of high-end rigs, you should also check those from Sager, Rockdirect and even the Toshiba Qosmio series. Regardless of which high-end gaming rig you choose, if you want one of these brand name monsters decked out in full glory, you will probably have to pay big bucks for one of these fully maxed out gaming notebooks.
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