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Budget FFXIV Laptop?Follow

#1 Sep 14 2010 at 9:14 AM Rating: Decent
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Dear all-knowing computer designing gods,

I am currently "playing" the beta with this laptop: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834115806

My benchmark score is like a 750. Naturally, things are pretty laggy, however it's still "fairly" playable. The one big annoyance is that npcs and players have to "load" in, which will most certainly be a no-no once mobs start aggroing (actually I explored towards the Cactus Hills area in Ul'dah, was running around for 5 minutes wondering where all the mobs were, and just fell down dead once I approached the atherite node; right after that a bunch of dragons loaded in. :P

Anyway, this is obviously not going to work long-term. I just talked to Newegg and they are offering for me to return the laptop for a 15% restocking fee and store credit. I checked the video card benchmark list and noted that upgrading to a Mobility Radeon 5870 more than quadruples my power, and should allow me to get away with me being able to enjoy this game at low settings.

I found the following laptop on Newegg with this video card and an i5 Intel: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834152196

Perhaps there are better combos using this card, or even a better card. I would like to keep the cost at around $1,200.

Please let me know your thoughts. I have until the end of today to decide whether or not I want to do the return.

To circumvent any talks of "just get a desktop," that is not an option for me.

Thanks for your help!
#2 Sep 14 2010 at 10:01 AM Rating: Good
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First off, I think you should lean hard on Newegg to waive the restocking fee. It states in their policies that it applies to refunds in an attempt to discourage them. While this isn't a return/replacement for exactly the same product, it's definitely not a refund as they're only giving you store credit AND you're looking to give them MORE money. BS to charge a restock fee w/store credit when you want to buy something more expensive.

With all that said, I think the machine you picked should work fine. If you had a little bit more to spend ($1500) you could consider the Asus G73jh which has an I7 processor, more RAM, and a bigger hard drive. You can also get it at Bestbuy refurbished within your price range (slightly trimmed down from the newegg version), but it only has a 60 day warranty at BB and then you're stuck with your newegg credit.
#3 Sep 14 2010 at 10:21 AM Rating: Decent
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Well, I am outside of the 30-day window for a return, so they are making it sound like they are doing me a favor by even offering to authorize the return. I didn't want to push my luck, but I suppose there is no harm trying.

Thanks for the advice!
#4 Sep 14 2010 at 10:36 AM Rating: Decent
Edited by bsphil
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I run on a pretty high-end laptop (runs other games like Metro 2033 and L4D2 very well) but it struggles with FFXIV. At the aetheryte I still only average about 25 fps. I have an i7-720QM and a mobility HD 5870. The i5-430M is fairly underpowered compared to the i7-720QM (it benches about 73% of what the i7 can do), and with how the game runs for me I'd be worried about going any lower on the processor. I'm fairly certain the CPU is the bottleneck, while the GPU has ample power to run the game (running at a lower resolution tends to be much more CPU-reliant anyway). You could probably play many other games very well on that i5, but I'd expect you to still struggle somewhat with FFXIV. Either way it should still be a significant improvement over what you have.

For what it's worth, when I'm out in the field away from cities and large crowds, my performance is far better, with framerates between 30 and 50 fps. Also, oddly enough, there is almost no drop in framerate between lowest settings at 720p and highest settings at 720p. I'm not too sure what to make of that. ¯\(º_o)/¯ Would that just be another sign that the GPU is being underutilized at low settings while the CPU is the bottleneck?
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#5 Sep 14 2010 at 10:41 AM Rating: Excellent
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I'm running with 3 gtx 260's in SLI and an Q9300 and I'm positive the CPU is very important in this game. Even with all of those cards it still chugs in populated areas.
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#6 Sep 14 2010 at 10:42 AM Rating: Good
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bsphil wrote:
Also, oddly enough, there is almost no drop in framerate between lowest settings at 720p and highest settings at 720p. I'm not too sure what to make of that. ¯\(º_o)/¯ Would that just be another sign that the GPU is being underutilized at low settings while the CPU is the bottleneck?

Usually, yes. :)
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#7 Sep 14 2010 at 10:51 AM Rating: Good
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bsphil wrote:
I run on a pretty high-end laptop (runs other games like Metro 2033 and L4D2 very well) but it struggles with FFXIV. At the aetheryte I still only average about 25 fps. I have an i7-720QM and a mobility HD 5870. The i5-430M is fairly underpowered compared to the i7-720QM (it benches about 73% of what the i7 can do), and with how the game runs for me I'd be worried about going any lower on the processor. I'm fairly certain the CPU is the bottleneck, while the GPU has ample power to run the game (running at a lower resolution tends to be much more CPU-reliant anyway). You could probably play many other games very well on that i5, but I'd expect you to still struggle somewhat with FFXIV. Either way it should still be a significant improvement over what you have.

For what it's worth, when I'm out in the field away from cities and large crowds, my performance is far better, with framerates between 30 and 50 fps. Also, oddly enough, there is almost no drop in framerate between lowest settings at 720p and highest settings at 720p. I'm not too sure what to make of that. ¯\(º_o)/¯ Would that just be another sign that the GPU is being underutilized at low settings while the CPU is the bottleneck?


That's strange.

My laptop runs on a Intel Core 2 Duo Processor (T9600) and a Radeon HD 4650 and I have no problem playing FFXIV at all. The game runs smooth for most part. I did have to lower the settings slightly, but just slightly, I run on standard and high for texture.
#8 Sep 14 2010 at 10:54 AM Rating: Decent
Edited by bsphil
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MaxwellDemon wrote:
bsphil wrote:
I run on a pretty high-end laptop (runs other games like Metro 2033 and L4D2 very well) but it struggles with FFXIV. At the aetheryte I still only average about 25 fps. I have an i7-720QM and a mobility HD 5870. The i5-430M is fairly underpowered compared to the i7-720QM (it benches about 73% of what the i7 can do), and with how the game runs for me I'd be worried about going any lower on the processor. I'm fairly certain the CPU is the bottleneck, while the GPU has ample power to run the game (running at a lower resolution tends to be much more CPU-reliant anyway). You could probably play many other games very well on that i5, but I'd expect you to still struggle somewhat with FFXIV. Either way it should still be a significant improvement over what you have.

For what it's worth, when I'm out in the field away from cities and large crowds, my performance is far better, with framerates between 30 and 50 fps. Also, oddly enough, there is almost no drop in framerate between lowest settings at 720p and highest settings at 720p. I'm not too sure what to make of that. ¯\(º_o)/¯ Would that just be another sign that the GPU is being underutilized at low settings while the CPU is the bottleneck?


That's strange.

My laptop runs on a Intel Core 2 Duo Processor (T9600) and a Radeon HD 4650 and I have no problem playing FFXIV at all. The game runs smooth for most part. I did have to lower the settings slightly, but just slightly, I run on standard and high for texture.
Interesting. On paper I should be crushing you performance, but it's not happening. Wonder what's going on there.

Though of course, "smooth" is a very subjective word. What's your average fps at the first aetheryte, or in a city? What about out in the field? www.fraps.com if you don't have something to monitor fps.
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Almalieque wrote:
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#9 Sep 14 2010 at 11:15 AM Rating: Good
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bsphil wrote:
Interesting. On paper I should be crushing you performance, but it's not happening. Wonder what's going on there.

Though of course, "smooth" is a very subjective word. What's your average fps at the first aetheryte, or in a city? What about out in the field? www.fraps.com if you don't have something to monitor fps.


Went and got my numbers. I run around 35 FPS in really crowded places, and out in the field, it goes around 50 FPS.
... not as big of a difference for some really strange reason? o_O

For the sake of comparison, I'll include my game setting here as well:

Resolution: 1600 x 900 (windowed)
Multisampling: No AA
Buffer Size: Resolution
Shadow Detail: Standard

Ambient Occlusion and Depth of Field are off
Texture Quality is on standard
Texture Filtering is on high.
Character Shadow is off.
Dust Effects is off.
Extended Drawing is off.

Maybe I just have a lot of these extra functions off, that's why. :P




Edited, Sep 14th 2010 1:16pm by MaxwellDemon
#10 Sep 14 2010 at 11:26 AM Rating: Decent
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OK, so consensus seems to be, for $400 ($500 if they force the restock fee), I can upgrade my basically terrible-for-gaming laptop to something that I can actually get some mileage out of for a little while. I think that I'm actually gonna do it!
#11 Sep 14 2010 at 11:29 AM Rating: Decent
Edited by bsphil
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MaxwellDemon wrote:
bsphil wrote:
Interesting. On paper I should be crushing you performance, but it's not happening. Wonder what's going on there.

Though of course, "smooth" is a very subjective word. What's your average fps at the first aetheryte, or in a city? What about out in the field? www.fraps.com if you don't have something to monitor fps.


Went and got my numbers. I run around 35 FPS in really crowded places, and out in the field, it goes around 50 FPS.
... not as big of a difference for some really strange reason? o_O

For the sake of comparison, I'll include my game setting here as well:

Resolution: 1600 x 900 (windowed)
Multisampling: No AA
Buffer Size: Resolution
Shadow Detail: Standard

Ambient Occlusion and Depth of Field are off
Texture Quality is on standard
Texture Filtering is on high.
Character Shadow is off.
Dust Effects is off.
Extended Drawing is off.

Maybe I just have a lot of these extra functions off, that's why. :P
I have shadows and extended drawing off as well. As I said I'm only running at 1280x720 in a window, no AA, resolution buffer size, lowest shadow/texture quality/texture filtering, AO and DoF off.

Curious as to why there's a backwards performance gap there. I don't get it. _(._.)_

____________________________
His Excellency Aethien wrote:
Almalieque wrote:
If no one debated with me, then I wouldn't post here anymore.
Take the hint guys, please take the hint.
gbaji wrote:
I'm not getting my news from anywhere Joph.
#12 Sep 14 2010 at 11:34 AM Rating: Good
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54 posts
bsphil wrote:
I have shadows and extended drawing off as well. As I said I'm only running at 1280x720 in a window, no AA, resolution buffer size, lowest shadow/texture quality/texture filtering, AO and DoF off.

Curious as to why there's a backwards performance gap there. I don't get it. _(._.)_



This is really, really strange. There must be a reason to this.
How many applications are you running in the background while playing FFXIV? :o

EDIT: Here is an interesting data, I just ran the game using the same setting you used... and there was no... improvement at all.

Wut?

Edited, Sep 14th 2010 1:49pm by MaxwellDemon
#13 Sep 14 2010 at 8:08 PM Rating: Decent
Edited by bsphil
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MaxwellDemon wrote:
bsphil wrote:
I have shadows and extended drawing off as well. As I said I'm only running at 1280x720 in a window, no AA, resolution buffer size, lowest shadow/texture quality/texture filtering, AO and DoF off.

Curious as to why there's a backwards performance gap there. I don't get it. _(._.)_



This is really, really strange. There must be a reason to this.
How many applications are you running in the background while playing FFXIV? :o

EDIT: Here is an interesting data, I just ran the game using the same setting you used... and there was no... improvement at all.

Wut?
I've tried a variety of different settings (like no AA versus 4x AA), the number of open background applications, even enabling/disabling Aero. Nothing really seems to be affecting the performance. None if this really makes any sense. The only thing that seems to make a difference is the resolution. Running at 1080p is noticeably slower than running at 720p (or running at double buffer is slower than running at resolution buffer), but that should be the most obvious.
____________________________
His Excellency Aethien wrote:
Almalieque wrote:
If no one debated with me, then I wouldn't post here anymore.
Take the hint guys, please take the hint.
gbaji wrote:
I'm not getting my news from anywhere Joph.
#14 Sep 15 2010 at 2:22 PM Rating: Decent
Edited by bsphil
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21,739 posts
MaxwellDemon wrote:
bsphil wrote:
Interesting. On paper I should be crushing you performance, but it's not happening. Wonder what's going on there.

Though of course, "smooth" is a very subjective word. What's your average fps at the first aetheryte, or in a city? What about out in the field? www.fraps.com if you don't have something to monitor fps.


Went and got my numbers. I run around 35 FPS in really crowded places, and out in the field, it goes around 50 FPS.
... not as big of a difference for some really strange reason? o_O

For the sake of comparison, I'll include my game setting here as well:

Resolution: 1600 x 900 (windowed)
Multisampling: No AA
Buffer Size: Resolution
Shadow Detail: Standard

Ambient Occlusion and Depth of Field are off
Texture Quality is on standard
Texture Filtering is on high.
Character Shadow is off.
Dust Effects is off.
Extended Drawing is off.

Maybe I just have a lot of these extra functions off, that's why. :P
Update: My GPU core clock speed was at 300 Mhz instead of 700 Mhz. ¬_¬ I now get 30 fps under stress at 1080p with highest texture quality and filtering, upwards of ~55 fps in quieter areas.
____________________________
His Excellency Aethien wrote:
Almalieque wrote:
If no one debated with me, then I wouldn't post here anymore.
Take the hint guys, please take the hint.
gbaji wrote:
I'm not getting my news from anywhere Joph.
#15 Sep 16 2010 at 12:04 AM Rating: Good
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bsphil wrote:
Update: My GPU core clock speed was at 300 Mhz instead of 700 Mhz. ¬_¬ I now get 30 fps under stress at 1080p with highest texture quality and filtering, upwards of ~55 fps in quieter areas.


Glad you managed to find the reason why your computer wasn't comparing up to what it was supposed to be doing. :P
#16 Sep 16 2010 at 1:59 PM Rating: Decent
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Where do you go to view / change your GPU clock speed?
#17 Sep 16 2010 at 3:28 PM Rating: Decent
Edited by bsphil
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Maxyim wrote:
Where do you go to view / change your GPU clock speed?
Well it can get throttled automatically depending on your power plan, but you can overclock it as well. I actually just bumped the core clock speed up from 700 to 750 Mhz.

Under power options from the control panel, click on Change Plan Settings for your high performance plan, then click change advanced power settings on the next window. It will open up a list of different battery conservation methods for both battery and AC mode. At the very bottom (with an ATI card) is ATI Graphics Power Settings. Expand that and then expand the ATI powerplay settings. The plugged in setting should be set to 'Maximize Performance' (mine was on maximize battery life, which is completely useless on AC mode.

Now to change the actual clock values from the full and battery saving settings, that's a bit more involved. For my mobility radeon HD 5870 I needed GPU-Z, ATI RBE, and WinFlash. If someone wants me to explain that I can, I suppose, but it'll be specific to ATI. You need to flash the vBIOS to do it though, so there is risk involved and you're on your own if something goes wrong.

You could also use MSI Afterburner if you've unlocked overdrive, which you still need a vBIOS flash to do.

Edited, Sep 16th 2010 4:39pm by bsphil
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His Excellency Aethien wrote:
Almalieque wrote:
If no one debated with me, then I wouldn't post here anymore.
Take the hint guys, please take the hint.
gbaji wrote:
I'm not getting my news from anywhere Joph.
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