Eugene’s Guide to Choosing a Laptop for Football Manager, Part 2

In Part 1, Eugene told us what specifications to look for in a laptop to play your favourite football management simulation. He also gave us an idea what to pay depending on the experience you’re after. In part 2, he gives tips on how to narrow down your search, what makes one laptop better than another, and how to find a bargain…

Eugene Tyson (AKA Smurf)
@Euge_Tyson

Graphic Designer and Computer Enthusiast
https://community.sigames.com/topic/254890-new-laptoppc-help-needed

As I prefer www.saveonlaptops.co.uk/laptops to find laptops for lots of people, I’m going to give you an example of how I typically search and how to spot the best deal for your budget.

As I said in Part 1 – your budget could be £1,000 – it does not mean you have to spend £1,000!

Firstly, go to the website and on the search on the left-hand side, scroll to the bottom of these options and input your budget – say it’s £1000.

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Next – return to the top of the page and use the filter on the right hand side to “Sort By Price – Lowest”

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Don’t be fooled by “Star Buys”

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Always check the specs! Not the price! You’ve already sorted out your budget – it’s £1000 – don’t settle for the first bargain.

The above computer has a 10.1 inch screen

2GB RAM – barely enough to even run Windows!

32GB of storage – that’s the hard drive! Considering Windows 32 bit takes up 16GB – that’s half your storage gone already!

And most importantly the processor! http://ark.intel.com/products/87383/Intel-Atom-x5-Z8300-Processor-2M-Cache-up-to-1_84-GHz

1.44ghz processor is not nearly enough – and even on boost it’s 1.84ghz.

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Filter more!

You may want to filter down the competition a bit more – we don’t want 10-inch screens coming up. Typically, most people want 15-inch or 17-inch screens – I’m going to narrow this down to 15 inches.

On the left-hand side for refining your search, locate Screen and select 15-inch.

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Narrow the search again

Remember – the search should include 8gb RAM or more

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Ok – I’ve now got it narrowed down from 262 laptops to 80 laptops in 3 simple filters.

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But hey – there’s 15 laptops in the 17-inch range that might be of interest. Let’s include those too.

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Now comes the tricky part – finding the ONE

Based on lowest price – it’s this beauty described below. Looks great, right? Let’s investigate if it’s good enough for Football Manager!

  • Intel Pentium Quad Core N3710 Processor
  • 15.6″ HD Screen
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1000GB HDD
  • DVD Rewriter
  • Integrated Graphics
  • USB3 | HDMI | Bluetooth
  • 80T7000DUK
  • £299.97

Search for the processor! Instantly IT’S A NO GO! It’s not powerful enough. See Part 1 for more information on processors.
http://ark.intel.com/products/91830/Intel-Pentium-Processor-N3710-2M-Cache-up-to-2_56-GHz

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It also has integrated graphics – it’s not going to be any good for 3D Matches

Moving down the list we find…

Lenovo IdeaPad 305 in purple

  • Intel Core i3-5005U Dual Core Processor
  • 15.6″ HD Screen
  • Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1000GB HDD
  • DVD Rewriter
  • Integrated Graphics
  • 80NJ00FFUK
  • £329.99

It can be ignored – it won’t play 3D graphcis

However, even if you were only playing 2D graphics, check the processor out!

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This processor is below minimum spec and it doesn’t even have the Turbo Boost option!

It’s still an awful lot to get through – we need to narrow further – since we want 3D graphics we can eliminate any laptops that have integrated graphics.

REFINE YOUR SEARCH AGAIN!

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NOTE: – if you’re looking for a computer that only plays 2D matches – then tick the Dedicated Low to Medium and also select the Integrated option – and leave others unticked.

My search is now narrowed down to 64 laptops that meet my needs!

First one up is –

  • Intel Core i3-6100U Dual Core Processor
  • 15.6″ Full HD Screen
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 128GB SSD
  • DVD Rewriter
  • Dedicated GeForce GT 940M 2GB Graphics
  • USB3 | HDMI | Bluetooth | USB Type C
  • X556UB-DM262T
  • £469.97

Looks like it’s fast enough for FM – but again no turbo boost.

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Graphics card https://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-940M.138027.0.html

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On the surface this laptop looks like it will work for FM. But we can do better for our budget!

What else is on offer?!

Let’s compare two similar-priced laptops and see if we can spot the best deal.

ASUS K556UQ-DM1023T

  • Intel Core i5-7200U Dual Core Processor
  • 15.6″ Full HD Screen
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • DVD Rewriter
  • Dedicated GeForce GT 940MX 2GB Graphics
  • USB3 | HDMI | Bluetooth
  • K556UQ-DM1023T
  • £599.00

MSI GL62 7QF-1673UK

  • Intel Core i5-7300HQ Quad Core Processor
  • 15.6″ Full HD Screen
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 128GB SSD
  • DVD Rewriter
  • Dedicated GeForce GTX 960M 2GB Graphics
  • USB3 | HDMI | Bluetooth | displayPort
  • 9S7-16J562-1673
  • £599.97

On the website they are the same price – they both have i5 processors – but which is best?

i5-7200U vs i5-7300HQ

i5-7200U

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i5-7300HQ

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On the surface – they do look like they do the same job.

However, look at the letter at the end of both – U and HQ – U stands for ultra low power – and HQ stands for high performance graphics, quad core.

Let’s compare these further using https://ark.intel.com/

I5-7200U

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This is a DUAL CORE processor – denoted by # of cores 2

I5-7300HQ

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This is a QUAD CORE processor denoted by # of cores 4

Both computers are the same price – but there’s one very radical difference – the quad core processor.

Out of those 2 – which one would I pick?

  • Similar processor speed – same screen size – same Windows – same RAM – same DVD writer
  • Asus has a larger hard drive – 256 GB – twice the size of MSI
  • Graphics card – Asus is midrange and MSI is upper mid range

ASUS K556UQ-DM1023T

  • Intel Core i5-7200U Dual Core Processor
  • 15.6″ Full HD Screen
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • DVD Rewriter
  • Dedicated GeForce GT 940MX 2GB Graphics
  • USB3 | HDMI | Bluetooth
  • K556UQ-DM1023T
  • £599.00

MSI GL62 7QF-1673UK

  • Intel Core i5-7300HQ Quad Core Processor
  • 15.6″ Full HD Screen
  • Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 128GB SSD
  • DVD Rewriter
  • Dedicated GeForce GTX 960M 2GB Graphics
  • USB3 | HDMI | Bluetooth | displayPort
  • 9S7-16J562-1673
  • £599.97

I’d go for the MSI

It has a better processor and a better graphics card.

The hard drive is a little bit small – but that can be replaced at a later stage for very little – or you can use a USB stick for external storage. I picked up a 64gb USB stick for about £40.

We’ve met all the criteria for FM – we’ve come under budget – but let’s see where that £1000 takes us!

Simliar laptops – different prices! What’s going on?

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Look at the below specs carefully – and compare to the above! What’s different? That’s right – there’s an additional 1TB HDD.

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The below model seems identical to the one above,  however, it’s more expensive. It does ship with a “free” MSI gaming mouse mat and a new mouse… if you need one.

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Here’s another near identical laptop with the same specs – almost. This is a top of the range graphics card – if 3D on highest detail is important to you – then it’s worth it.

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Here’s a very identical computer that is the same spec as the last one – however, it’s now gone up by £170 – this computer has the same graphics card as the previous ones – the HP Omen would be superior. The only reason this is dearer is that it has 16gb RAM – and it has even more storage.

Is it worth it? Not in my opinion.

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£700-£800

There are SIX in this range

The next two laptops are a prime example of where people get caught out – the MSI is far superior to the Cube – to be honest, all other laptops under the £600 were better than this one.

The MSI has an even better processor than previously looked at already.

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This Cube model is also £800 – although it has a 17-inch screenit doesn’t come with an operating system and it has a much older processor. And as it’s an older processor, it has older parts, namely the graphics card which is a few years older.

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Ask yourself: why would you buy an older machine when you can get a newer one? Watch out for laptops being sold with older parts!

£800 to £900 range

As I move into this range there are TWENTY-ONE in this range

I can see lots of i5-7300HQ and lots of i5-6300HQ – but what stands out are the i7-7700 HQ. Do a comparison using Ark Intel to view the differences in these.

This is not really about one laptop being better than the other – but rather your needs.

Do you need a 15-inch or 17-inch screen? What is better for you?

If you want 3D graphics then the 15-inch is better, however the 17-inch is adequate.

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For £20 – I’d be inclined to go the bigger screen and superior hard drive (SSD is superior).

Again – keep looking. On the following page I found this – it’s the same as above, however it’s the 15-inch model with the same graphics card as the 17-inch (above).

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Out of the 21 options – there are 3 superior laptops – found by researching the processor, looking at the graphics card – screen size and other available information.

As I reach my budget limit and go to the most expensive laptop – I found this.

As per previous computers found – this one has the lesser Dual Core i5-7300HQ. It has a slightly better graphics card, it has a nice SSD, and it has a bit of extra storage. However, it’s a 15-inch screen.

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Verdict

Out of all the laptops – all 262 – narrowed down from quick searches and refined searches, this is best within my budget of £1000. You might notice that it’s the same spec as the one for £899.97 but it’s £100 cheaper.

Why? Because the one below has 8gb RAM compared to 16gb RAM.

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Now I have £200 to spend on something else!

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