Upgrade to 8800m GTX or New Alienware?

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squares
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Upgrade to 8800m GTX or New Alienware?

Post by squares » Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:18 pm

Hello all,

So I recently contacted Dell reps about this, but it seems I can not expect the same level of expertise from some of their sales reps over there as I can by asking the cute puppy next door. So I would appreciate the help on this problem.

I currently am running a Dell XPS m1730 laptop which is running on NVIDIA 8700m GT. It has treated me well so far. It runs things like Oblivion fairly well, and still keeps up with newer games too. It IS sortof getting a little old, however, and I'm facing a barrage of games with high end graphics in front of me. Since I'm always flying back and forth between U.S. and Japan, I can't build my own computer so I need my system to be a laptop.

Here is where my question starts: Should I upgrade to that fancy 8800m GTX as talked about briefly here for 1k:
http://www.ubergizmo.com/15/archives/20 ... e_kit.html

Or consider buying one of those new Alienware beasts (edit: ie: M17x) with the ATI Crossfire/GeForce GTX 260/280M

Also, I'm not as computer savvy as I hoped I was, when I was recently told I am mistaken in thinking that, for example, two 512 graphics cards means 1GB of video memory. If anyone has extra time on their hands, could I ask a brief explanation?

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Re: Upgrade to 8800m GTX or New Alienware?

Post by stopthekilling77 » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:54 am

Hey squares! Making the decision on the best upgrade path can be a bear but I'm pretty sure most people here would agree when I say it's time for a new laptop 8-[

The 8xxx series is already 2 generations old and the money spent on an upgrade could easily make a dent in a good gaming laptop. Who you go through is up for debate but I guarantee you that though you'll spend more, you'll be getting ~ 600% more bang for your buck than a small step up in older laptop tech!

A GTX 260 could easily blow the snot out of a 8800m with less power consumption
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Re: Upgrade to 8800m GTX or New Alienware?

Post by mx6er2587 » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:19 am

stopthekilling77 wrote:Hey squares! Making the decision on the best upgrade path can be a bear but I'm pretty sure most people here would agree when I say it's time for a new laptop 8-[

The 8xxx series is already 2 generations old and the money spent on an upgrade could easily make a dent in a good gaming laptop. Who you go through is up for debate but I guarantee you that though you'll spend more, you'll be getting ~ 600% more bang for your buck than a small step up in older laptop tech!

A GTX 260 could easily blow the snot out of a 8800m with less power consumption
not strictly true. We need to equate these mobile parts to their desktop counterparts and evaluate. The 8700m is based on a desktop 8600. Its slow. Time to move one (be it a new card or new laptop). Now you can upgrade to a g80 baed 8800m gtx which is about equal to an 8800gts desktop card. Not a bad card and a huge improvement over the 8700m.

The gtx 260 and gtx280 mobile parts are not actually g200 based cards. They're both g92b cards. That means they're yep twice refreshed g80 parts. They're decently faster and both have more shaders than the 8800m gtx but its not a huge generational leap. The shaders for the 3 are 96, 112, 128 for the 8800, 260, and 280 respectively.

Now of course if your looking for a laptop with sli you can add about another ~%60-75 performance on top of that.

To give any real advice we need to know the resolution of your current laptop, how much its going to cost you to get a new card vs a new laptop, and how much price is an issue

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Re: Upgrade to 8800m GTX or New Alienware?

Post by squares » Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:09 am

mx6er2587 wrote:
stopthekilling77 wrote:Hey squares! Making the decision on the best upgrade path can be a bear but I'm pretty sure most people here would agree when I say it's time for a new laptop 8-[

The 8xxx series is already 2 generations old and the money spent on an upgrade could easily make a dent in a good gaming laptop. Who you go through is up for debate but I guarantee you that though you'll spend more, you'll be getting ~ 600% more bang for your buck than a small step up in older laptop tech!

A GTX 260 could easily blow the snot out of a 8800m with less power consumption
not strictly true. We need to equate these mobile parts to their desktop counterparts and evaluate. The 8700m is based on a desktop 8600. Its slow. Time to move one (be it a new card or new laptop). Now you can upgrade to a g80 baed 8800m gtx which is about equal to an 8800gts desktop card. Not a bad card and a huge improvement over the 8700m.

The gtx 260 and gtx280 mobile parts are not actually g200 based cards. They're both g92b cards. That means they're yep twice refreshed g80 parts. They're decently faster and both have more shaders than the 8800m gtx but its not a huge generational leap. The shaders for the 3 are 96, 112, 128 for the 8800, 260, and 280 respectively.

Now of course if your looking for a laptop with sli you can add about another ~%60-75 performance on top of that.

To give any real advice we need to know the resolution of your current laptop, how much its going to cost you to get a new card vs a new laptop, and how much price is an issue
Thank you both so much for your help.

With what you're telling me, it sounds like I do not have to rely on the upgrade packages that Dell is releasing, is that true?
I was under the impression that I could only choose between keeping my 8700 or moving to the 8800, but if there are other graphics cards I can throw in here, that would please me greatly.

Because this is a laptop, I have been told various times that upgrading is impossible without kits released from the manufacturer, unlike actual desktop computers.

My current resolution is 1920x1200... that is what you're asking yes? I've done very little in the way of upgrading computers aside from replacing a graphics card or two in my old desktops back in high school due to lack of money. I'm working on de-noobing myself here while we work.

Money is a little tight, but computers are enough of a priority for me to blow a bunch of money on a new one when this one grows worthless.

This is of course a decision I am making to prevent my need for blowing crap loads of money. The way I saw it, an 8800 could at least allow me to play games at a reasonable resolution for the next couple years, thus eliminating the need for me to buy something crazy.

In the event you think it would be best to buy a new laptop, do you have a recommendation?

Sorry for all of the questions!!

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Re: Upgrade to 8800m GTX or New Alienware?

Post by DMB2000uk » Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:43 am

In the case of laptop GPU's, I'm afraid you are going to have to purchase an upgrade option made by Dell, as although some work was done to standardise the mobile graphics card format, it's still not universally implemented, and when it comes to the SLI solution it's bespoke to your laptop.

Have you found a place where you can definately purchase the 8800GTX SLI upgrade kit from? As following your link and doing a little bit of digging, I can't see anywhere that it's available from online. Might be worth calling Dell parts up and see if they still offer this as an option, as from what I can tell, it was announced in jan of 08, and had little to no availablity for at least the first half of that year.

Failing to find the upgrade kit, is going to mean you are left with no choice to get a brand new laptop.

Dan

PS. In regards to your original question about why two sli'd 512MB cards don't equal to 1GB of video RAM, it's because both cards have to store the exact same data for working on the graphics together so they're still classed as 512MB cards.
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Re: Upgrade to 8800m GTX or New Alienware?

Post by squares » Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:51 am

DMB2000uk wrote:In the case of laptop GPU's, I'm afraid you are going to have to purchase an upgrade option made by Dell, as although some work was done to standardise the mobile graphics card format, it's still not universally implemented, and when it comes to the SLI solution it's bespoke to your laptop.

Have you found a place where you can definately purchase the 8800GTX SLI upgrade kit from? As following your link and doing a little bit of digging, I can't see anywhere that it's available from online. Might be worth calling Dell parts up and see if they still offer this as an option, as from what I can tell, it was announced in jan of 08, and had little to no availablity for at least the first half of that year.

Failing to find the upgrade kit, is going to mean you are left with no choice to get a brand new laptop.

Dan

PS. In regards to your original question about why two sli'd 512MB cards don't equal to 1GB of video RAM, it's because both cards have to store the exact same data for working on the graphics together so they're still classed as 512MB cards.
Thanks a bunch! To my understanding one can purchase it by ordering it over the phone from Dell. I asked their support online if there was a link to buy it online but all they gave me was a product number XM888. The way Dell works though, since they are no longer selling XPS M1730s chances are they will soon, if they haven't, discontinue any and all upgrades in favor of forcing buyers to purchase the new models.

To be honest I'm not entirely sure I want one of those alienware beasts, because of all of the strange reviews I've read about them being more or less inoperable on arrival.

Thanks for the advice!

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Re: Upgrade to 8800m GTX or New Alienware?

Post by shamrok3 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:06 am

Someone I know got an Alienware M17x fairly recently, with (I Believe) the ~3GHz Dual core and GTX280 SLI. His boot times were abysmal. As far as I know, Alienwares are way overpriced. The only reason I would get one is for the cool keyboard backlighting and because they are (only marginally) the fastest laptops around. I would recommend getting a new laptop such as one of these: a Gateway P-7920u FX. Much cheaper and just about as powerful as an Alienware. My 7805 runs Crysis Warhead at 1440x900 on maxed graphics with no noticeable lag, and that's with a 9800GTS and 2.26C2D, these new ones have GTX260s and 2.56-2.8GHz C2Ds!
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