Computer Upgrading Time!

Definitely dead nowI’ve been putting off upgrading my main PC for a while now (I’m still running Windows XP!) but I don’t think I can hold off any longer. I’ve done three “major upgrades” including new CPUs and memory by myself. I’ve also had four different video cards in there, too. The last upgrade was last year when I doubled the RAM. But it’s been on its last leg for a while. It’s time to take this poor dog out behind the shed and put it out of its misery. I’ve always prided myself on building my own rigs, but I’m just tired of the hassle. I just want it to work out of the box and have someone else deal with issues if it stops working. So I’m going for something out-of-the-box.

But, for the first time since I’ve owned with a computer, I’m thinking of making my main machine a laptop. For a while I was considering dropping two large on a 27″ iMac, but now I think I might opt for a above average gaming laptop, the gaming monitor systems for laptops have really improved (I’m torn between the cheaper M11x, the beefier M17x and the Asus ). Couple that with a nice 24-27″ monitor and I’ll be golden (this Samsung 27 incher would do nicely).

I think I want a new keyboard/mouse combo, too. My Logitech M700 is getting a little long in the tooth and my keyboard is most certainly breeding all manner of bacteria and fungi, all feasting on a buffet of organic… You know what, I don’t even want to think about it.

Thing is, part of me thinks I’ll be missing something by not having a screaming, brand new desktop.

Any advice or suggestions?


  1. I have a Dell XPS that I custom configured about 4 years ago. It is still playing current games well. It’s all about the video card and RAM.

    Since then, we went with a beefy laptop, a netbook, and an iPad. I also use a MacBook Pro for my job and some light video editing.

    The netbook now collects dust, my wife uses the laptop, and I still use the desktop for the occasional Steam game.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever purchase a desktop again. The iPad and iPhones have changed the way I game and I’ll stick with the MacBook for office use.

    • Do you use an external monitor/keyboard/mouse with your XPS? I’m seeing this two ways — using a big monitor and using the laptop as a second screen or just keeping the laptop shut and just use the main monitor. I’m thinking 27″ should be plenty 🙂

  2. Three years ago I too had decided to go with a gaming laptop. I liked the idea of a powerful, portable gaming machine. This ended up being a poor decision – it suffered from overheating problems (forcing me to underclock the GPU), the LCD has an ugly white pattern in the background, like a ghost is looking at me, and I couldn’t update any components in a meaningful way. I loved the idea of my Gateway P7811-FX, but it turned out to be a dud. I almost always kept the machine shut and connected it to my external 20″ Dell monitor or 24″ ASUS monitor.

    When I went to replace that gaming laptop this year, I decided to build my first gaming rig. I didn’t want to compromise components, I didn’t want to deal with overheating issues, and I didn’t want to be locked out of tomorrow’s games due to being stuck with an non-replaceable GPU and CPU. I built a modest i5 and 6950-based machine that can actually run BF3 on Ultra, though the framerate drops to just under 30. The nice thing is that I can always upgrade the CPU and GPU to compensate, while with the laptop I’m pretty much out of luck.

    My advice to you: if part of you is concerned that you will be missing something by not having a screaming desktop, then you may not be totally happy with a laptop’s limitations and you should consider going with a desktop build instead.

    Obviously, there are other factors. Would you play a game on the couch while watching a game?Do the games you play push the hardware enough to justify building a desktop? Do you go to LAN parties? Do you game while you travel? (Notice I’m focused on portability).

    Also, about the Mac – am I the only one who has thought about flanking a 27″ Thunderbolt iMac with a pair of 27″ Thunderbolt Displays? That would be sick.

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