Is there a minimum for a mobile video card that you'd recommend for STO (?) , above which I'd be able to play STO well ?
I would guess that pretty much any Nvidia GeForce card would be sufficent.
As posted earlier, currently playing on a HP G61 that is over two years old - will probably have to take a break from playing STO very soon, as whilst the old machine can just about manage it gets very hot (even with a cool pad underneath) and the fan has started to rattle.....
You have two distinct options you can choose from. First of all, ask yourself "What would I need a laptop for?", if you answer "Gaming!", then you are looking at some rather high end laptops designed for gaming, and saying good bye to a chunk of cash.
*IF* you truly can say you will be taking the laptop to school (bad idea), college (get a lock cable), or a LAN party then by all means spend the cash to get a decent laptop. Look for one that uses a discrete video card and stay the heck away from integrated video cards. 4gb RAM for the system's main memory is average, look to get at least 8gb, or 16gb RAM. The video card should say it has at least 756mb to 1gb RAM. For an operating system you don't need anything other than Windows 7 home, and stay away from Windows 8 period. You will need at least a 500gb hard disk, and don't shoot for the moon with a Blu-Ray DVD reader as they are expensive and drive up the price of a laptop. Screen size will depend on you, and how much you are willing to pay for a gaming laptop.
Option 2, which I highly recommend... for less than the price of a decent gaming laptop you can replace/upgrade the parts in the PC that died. You can either take the PC to a repair shop (stay away from big box stores offering PC repairs and take it to a local town PC repair shop), or if you are comfortable with getting the parts you need and building a capable rig you can save quite a bit of cash. Though depending on your PC's case dimensions you may, or may not be able to keep the current case. For most folks this is the best option, laptops may seem nice and portable, but the small dimensions of a laptop don't offer much in the way of airflow in the laptop. Even a cooler won't be able to keep up with the heat a gaming laptop generates.
For $1,100 I was able to re-build an aging gaming desktop. While I shot for an AMD Bulldozer rig that doesn't mean that everyone needs to snag all the top of the line high performance parts. I kept only three pieces from my old rig. Case, DVD drive, and sound card. I had to add an additional $150 to the overall cost with a Corsair H100 water cooler as the stock CPU fan for the AMD FX 8150 eight core chip wasn't keeping the chip cool, and sounded like a jet engine.
For $2,300 I purchased an Alienware M17x R1 laptop. Which at 17" is a near vanilla default choice system. This laptop does get hot, and no cooling solution I have found will keep this thing from getting warm to the touch over the left side keyboard.
Depending on what you want to do... buy a laptop if your heart is really set on it, or repair/upgrade your dead PC... its your choice. Just for the love of sector space... STAY AWAY FROM BUYING A LAPTOP FROM WAL-MART!! Trust me on that one.
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It has integrated graphics and runs STO just fine. The settings aren't all the way up, but I look at it running next to my gaming rig and it's not too much difference. Some of the newer integrated chips are pretty good
You don't always need to dump tons of money to get good performance. This laptop cost only about 450.00 when I picked it up about a week ago. It's on sale now for 399.00 so you can get a really good deal at Best Buy if you get it now.
For comparison, my gaming laptop cost about 2000.00, but it runs STO with ALL options maxed while listening to trekradio.net or watching netflix.
All that being said, I do want to address something you said in one of your posts. you mentioned that the desktops didn't have the power so you were considering a laptop. This is actually backwards. A desktop computer should out perform a laptop at the same price point.
Good luck to, hope you get your computer straightened out so you can get back in game
Myself I run an Alienware Mx18 Gaming Laptop
And the other one I use is a Hailstorm Desktop Pc
Which is liquid cooled to -15 degrees with 4 1TB hard drives
And 4 of the latest DDR5 Video cards and a massive
amount of ram with 4 I7 Processors,but even with my
Hailstorm Gaming Rig even I still get major lag at times
but since Cryptic has more Traffic on their servers then
It's server box can actually handle,it really doesn't
Matter How good a gaming pc or pc in general the player
actually has the Lag issues won't get better but most Likley
A lot worse until they upgrade their server box capacity.
Think I must have jinxed myself - the old HP G61 (referenced in earlier post above) gave up the ghost last night - poor old thing finally went pop.
Will likely get it repaired, as it'd be a useful second machine to keep for browsing/basics although won't run STO on it again - it's clearly a little too long in tooth to take the strain of even light gaming.
Anyway, still debating over what to get as a primary machine - the Acer Aspire Timeline U M3 581TG is still VERY tempting; well priced, and it's specs are pretty reasonable (though is an ultrabook rather than a laptop) :
Never, ever suggest buying anything when you are getting married and the wedding is upcoming, because, so far as the bride-to-be is concerned, if you are not suggesting spending money on the wedding then you shouldn't be suggesting spending money at all!
So no new laptop for me, and no STO for a while either!