My son has a 3 year old NOVATECH NSPIRE 2430 15.6" laptop with an i5 2430M processor, 4GB DDR3 memory and NVIDIA GT 555 mobile graphics. His most demanding use of the laptop by far is FM14; otherwise it is university coursework, web browsing and streaming video. In FM14 he likes to keep the amount of countries he plays on quite low - usually it's just one - and has graphics set on High. He finds performance on his laptop OK, but he finds it runs very hot and is becoming unstable even running on a "cooler-pad" with a USB driven fan.
I'd like to get him a new laptop for his 21st and have a budget of £650. It doesn't seem necessary to spend £650 do get a laptop to do the job now, but I would like to get something which will last as long as possible. It does need to be a laptop because he moves it between home and university etc, but light weight and long battery life are not priorities as it is usually at a desk and connected to the mains. He needs 500GB storage, but no more than that. From this thread I have learnt that I should get the best possible processor, and that pcspecialist offer good value, but I am uncertain about the relative priorities of other components. 13.3" screen vs 15.6" (my son does not have a preference)? 1366x768 or 1920x1080 resolution? 8GB, 12Gb or 16GB?
Above all, I'd like to choose something that minimised the chances of the new laptop overheating.
Anyway, if I maximise processor and stick to 8GB and 1366x768 I can get the spec below for £651 at pcspecialist.co.uk. I would be grateful for any views on the specs below, and on other options from pcspecialist or elsewhere. In essence, what is the best way to spend £651 (or less!) given the requirements above.
Cosmos II 15.6" Matte HD LED 16:9 Widescreen (1366x768)
8GB KINGSTON SODIMM DDR3 1600MHz (1 x 8GB)
Intel® Core™i7 Quad Core Mobile Processor i7-4710MQ (2.50GHz) 6MB
NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 840M - 2.0GB DDR3 Video RAM - DirectX® 11
500GB WD SCORPIO BLACK WD5000BPKX, SATA 6 Gb/s, 16MB CACHE (7200 rpm)
ARCTIC MX-4 EXTREME THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY COMPOUND
Adding 8GB would cost a further £88.
i5-4340M and i7-4610M which both benchmark less well than i7-4710MQ cost more. To save money on processor, I'd have to go to i5-4310M (£29 less than above if i5-4310M is swapped for i7-4710MQ) or i5-4210M (£65 less than above) but both are rated far below i7-4710MQ at notebookcheck.net (ranked 85 and 89 compared to 26 for i7-4710MQ).
Is Arctic Extreme Thermal Conductivity Compound (sounds wonderful) worth the extra £9 it costs? I am assuming it is given the comments I made about overheating, but I don't know.
Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread to date, and thanks in advance to any who can give me any further guidance on what to buy.