Of macbooks and laptops...

So my wife has agreed to let me buy a new laptop...
I know...

Anyways, my current setup is an HP Pavilion zd8000. Here are the specs so you can understand how limited I am on gaming choices;

CPU: P4 3.0ghz(desktop processor)
Memory: 2GB
Graphics: ATI X600 Mobility

As you can see, I'm limited to flash games and World of Warcraft. I've long outgrown Counterstrike and Quake 3. When I try to game, the thing heats up like a supernova and the fans start going crazy. It sounds like a jet is taking off in my room.

Anyways, the top choices are:

The Macbook Pro 17inch - $2,524.00(after student discount)
Core 2 Duo 2.8ghz
Nvidia 9600M GT (Dedicated) 512MB
Nvidia 9400M (Integrated)
1920x1200 widescreen
Comes with a free Ipod Touch 8GB - $229.00 Value

Asus W90p 18.4 inch - $2,349.00
Core 2 Quad 2.0ghz
ATI Mobility Radeon 4870 x2(crossfire) 1GB total
320GB 7200rpm HDD
1920x1200 widescreen

Now I know what you're thinking about the two Nvidias on the Macbook Pro, but sadly, no, the Macbook Pro doesn't have SLI. The Macbook must use ONE of the GPUs at a time. Apple has integrated graphics as a choice so the user can switch to a less power hungry gpu card when not running graphics intensive programs. There is also the driver issue when running Windows on the Macbook; you cannot select the 9400M(integrated gpu) to save power. But this is a non-issue for me.

The performance of the Mobility 4870x2 kicks the crap out of the 9600M any day, athough the 4870x2 is not without it's driver issues(see Tech Support section).

I'm pretty sure you all know as do I the Asus wins hands down in the graphics department.

Here is a list of gaming benchmarks;

Notebookcheck: Computer Games on Laptop Graphics Cards

Now the storage on the laptops are important for me not because of actual storage, but because of the heat created. I've been told that the SSDs put out much less heat than the HDDs, which equals greater longevity. But so far I haven't been told exactly how much less heat is generated by the SSD, whether its a significant amount or not. I am not concerned at all about the smaller storage on the Macbook because I have plenty of external HDDs, and 128gb is plenty for the OS and programs. Overall, I would say the Macbook wins in this category.

Although at first glance for me, the quad core seemed like the better performers, but after some research the answer may be a lot more complicated than I had thought. Not necessarily all programs(read: games) utilize the quad core, and essentially in that situation, the quad functions as a dual core.

Here is list of games that support dual and quad cores;
Games and Dual/Quad core support

As I gleamed the list of games, I noticed that for the most part, the games that only supported dual core were older games, and the newer games utilize the quad core, which would make sense of coure, but I just wanted to confirm.

So as it seems that as time progresses more games will support quad cores, the ASUS wins in this category, though not by a huge margin as it did in the graphics department.

Free Ipod Touch 8gb
(Offer expires September)
I know this doesn't have to do with the laptop itself, but I've always wanted an Ipod Touch or Iphone because of all the amazing apps that are available. I no longer have a mobile gaming console so this is kind of a big issue for me. Macbook wins.

Tech Support
After reading some feedback from buyers of the ASUS lapop, one issue quickly came to my attention, lack of updated drivers available. ATI/AMD does not provide drivers for their mobile line, it is on the notebook manufacturer to create and provide them. The last time ASUS released drivers for the laptop was November of last year, 9 months from the date of this blog. I saw reports of games crashing due to outdated drivers.
The Macbook on the other hand carries with it the impeccable reputation of Apple. After many years of buying Apple and non-Apple products, I've seen a huge difference in the quality control and tech support that Apple provides. The Macbook wins this battle... but on with the war.

I've checked benchmarks for both machines, and suffice to say, the ATI 4870 x2 eats the the Nvidia 9600M GT apart. I've also checked youtube videos of people running the games on various settings to see how well they perform in practice. There didn't seem to be a noticeable difference, but then again the low quality of youtube videos probably degraded both videos to similar quality.
Judging from the number of wins for the Macbook, logically, I should buy the Macbook, but that would only be true if all the categories weighed equally. And of course, me being a gamer, they don't. Graphics are god damn important, so in conclusion... I still have no fucking clue which one to buy... someone please help me.

Links to the laptops;
Macbook Pro 17 inch


Videos of actual gameplay performance;

Macbook Pro 9600M GT Gameplay Footage:
Call of Duty 5: World at War

Left 4 Dead


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