In which I contemplate a new acquisition

I used to travel quite a bit for my job, at least 2 weeks a month for 3 or 4 days a week. Business travel is a mixed bag for me. It is nice to see new places but I usually don’t have (or don’t make) the time to actually enjoy them. What I don’t like though, is being away. Being away from my family, being away from my bed and being away from my hobbies.The good news is, as I’ve risen through the ranks (leveled up?) I’ve gained the ability to control and limit my travel. Which leads to the topic of this blog post.

This week, I learned that I’m going to be working on some additional projects. It’s a good thing,but it will mean more travel, especially at the beginning. So as I’m sitting there with my boss, discussing this, one thought randomly enters my mind: “I’m going to need to buy a good gaming laptop.” And as this pretty important conversation goes on, my mind keeps circling back to this gaming laptop: “What kind should I get? How expensive will it be? Will my wife mind? How stupid is this? Get out of my head stupid gaming laptop!” Fortunately, I was able to push this thought back and really focus on the conversation, which turned out pretty well.

So why do I “need” a gaming laptop anyway? You see, I’ve played City of Heroes with roughly the same group of people every Wednesday night since the summer of 2007. Back when we started I was traveling more, but I had a laptop that could handle the game. Those days are long past. And I really like playing with this group. It’s probably the longest sustained geek/nerd gathering in my life. while I’ve never met any of these people in real life I consider them good friends. It’s not something I want to give up on. It’s my version of Bowling League night or the group I golf with every Saturday. And y’know, I get to pretend to be a superhero. How cool is that?

This whole situation is a great example of how bifurcated my life is. Banker by day, geek by night. When people find out what I do (banker guy) they think that’s who I am. They fit me into a neat little mold of who I should be. But I’m not that guy. Don’t get me wrong, I am very good at what I do but given infinite resources, I wouldn’t do it. What I love is games, comics and science fiction. That’s who I am and I think that explains why my thoughts wandered where they did. It’s a great opportunity for me but I’m always going to view it in terms of who I am and how it impacts my passions. I’m OK with that.

So, I’m going to wait and see how this thing plays out at work. And I guess I’m going to start pricing gaming laptops. They can’t be that expensive, can they?

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5 thoughts on “In which I contemplate a new acquisition

  1. That depends on how much you consider “expensive”.
    Also as you doubtless know, you cannot get the cheapest gaming laptop. The game engines keep “improving” which means, they need more powerful graphics and CPUs. A low-end gaming laptop will run this year’s games on ‘average to reduced’ settings, while a high end will be amazingly gorgeous and will still look good in 4-5 years.

    Sony Vaio F-series starts at $999, didn’t want to mess with their configurator. Expect a good gaming laptop to go from $1600 to 2000.
    Vaio was a very good line for a long time, but it’s Sony, and they’re, uhm, ‘business idiots’ in that they constantly treat their customers like thieves and criminals by default, so I avoid them if I can.

    HP Envy (do not get windows home anything) about $1600 which I think will be median price.
    HP is going out of the hardware business, having discovered that their management doesn’t know its fundamental from an excavation, which means their hardware will soon be sold off to someone else.

    Alienware was overpriced for a while but their prices seem about par with others now.
    Their top-line starts at $1600 and can be configured. They have a fancy logo.
    Strangely they’ve started collaborating with other vendors. For instance,
    Dell Alienware M11x Gaming Laptop Computer- Intel Core i5 2537M 1.4ghz $599
    This seems too good to be true. It’s got to be a trap.

    Acer AS8951G-9600 18.4″ Gaming Notebook is listed for $1,563 but I have no info on it.

    And finally, the Custom Job. Several places do this, notably tigerdirect.com and http://www.ibuypower.com

    I specced a gaming laptop at ibuypower as follows:

    Case 1 x Battalion 101 CZ-12 15.6″ Full HD 1920×1080 Widescreen LED TFT Laptop w/ HDMI Port, Li-Ion Battery, Universal AC Power Adapter-Original Metallic black
    Processor 1 x Intel® Core™ i7-2820QM Mobile Processor (4x 2.30GHz/8MB L3 Cache)
    Memory 1 x 8GB [4GB x 2] 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM [Laptop Memory]-Corsair or Major Brand
    Video Card 1 x NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M 2GB 3D Video
    Primary Hard Drive 1 x 120 GB Intel 510 SSD-Single Drive
    Optical Drive 1 x 8x Dual Format DVD±R/±RW + 16x CD-R/RW Combo Drive [CZ-12]
    External Hard Drives [USB 3.0/2.0/eSATA] 1 x 3.5″ External 1 TB Hard Drive-USB 3.0 / USB 2.0
    Sound Card 1 x 3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard
    Network Card 1 x Built-in 10/100/1000 Mbps LAN [Laptop]
    Operating System 1 x Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate + Office Starter 2010 (Includes basic versions of Word and Excel)-64-bit
    Warranty 1 x Standard Warranty Service-Standard One(1) Year Limited Warranty + Lifetime Technical Support
    Rush Service 1 x Rush Service Fee (not shipping fee)-No Rush Service, Estimate Ship Out in 5~10 Business Days
    USB Ports 1 x Built-in 2x USB 2.0 Ports + 1x USB 3.0 Port [Laptop]
    Video Camera 1 x Build-in 1.3 Mega Pixels Digital Web Video Camera
    Headset None
    Internal Wireless Network Adapter 1 x 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi + Bluetooth Combo [CZ-12]
    Flash Media Reader / Writer 1 x Built-in 3-in-1 Media Card Reader/Writer [Laptop]
    Extras 1 x Connectland Travel Power Adaptor
    Extras 1 x CoolerMaster SF-19 USB 3.0 Gaming Laptop Cooler-Black
    Carrying Case 1 x Free Deluxe Carrying Case
    Free Stuff 1 x [Free Game Download] – Just Cause 2-Free with Purchase of NVIDIA Video Card
    Subtotal $1,886.00

  2. First, go check out the best Alienware you can afford at Dell’s website. Then, when the shock wears off, check out both CyberPowerPC and IBuyPower for your own customizations at a decent price. We’ll order our desktop from iBuyPower in the next couple of weeks I think. I’ve had friends who have ordered from each and they are good machines!

  3. Bifurcated life. That is exactly how I feel sometimes. Yoga teacher by day, talking to older women about forgiveness and relaxation by day, killing hordes of digital baddies at night and pretending to be an orc on the weekends. I also understand what you said about being put into a niche in your earlier post. Putting people into categories makes social interactions a little bit simpler, but life isn’t simple. Most people, even fellow geeks throw me into the yoga category, but I’d much rather talk about Skyrim or Pathfinder vs. 3.5 than meditation.

    Thank you for your blog!

    • Rakshala, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. The whole bifurcated life thing really wore on me. I made the conscious decision to integrate my life so I don’t have to be one guy here and the other guy there. I get a few more odd looks but at least I’m being authentic. (Yoga, eh? I’ve done it a few times. It’s a lot harder than it looks!)

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