Finding the Right Gaming Laptop
Let’s say that you are an avid gaming fan and you just can’t bear to be apart from your desktop gaming rig. But let’s say you’re often on the move a lot and you want to be able to carry your rig everywhere you go. But carrying around a desktop tower, keyboard, monitor and mouse just isn’t in the cards. So how can you have all the gaming power you want at your fingertips without having to carry around the beast you use at home?
The solution is to invest in a gaming laptop. Just think of it as a portable gaming solution – you get to have the most powerful processors and video graphics in a package that’s easier to carry around than your gaming tower. With a laptop, you can do nearly all of the things that you would be able to do with your desktop gaming rig without having to lug a colossal tower around.
Gaming laptops come primarily in sizes ranging from 15″ to 18″. Most of the gaming laptops worth their salt are found in the 16″-17″ range, but there are 15″ laptops out there that can keep up with their larger counterparts. Keep in mind that the size of the screen usually dictates the overall dimensions of the computer, so when a 15.6″ laptop is mentioned, it is usually the screen size that is being referred to. Also keep in mind what size is comfortable for you to carry around. Many laptops in these sizes are often used as “desktop replacements”, since these laptops are used in lieu of desktop systems and aren’t expected to be moved around on a constant basis.
Processing power is a big concern when it comes to gaming laptops. In order to play the latest games at the fastest settings available, there has to be enough processing power to handle such strong demands. Processors such as Intel’s Core 2 Extreme and Mobile Core i7 are designed to address the needs of gamers and other power users, with multiple processing cores and the ability to overclock for added processing power.
Dedicated graphics cards are nearly mandatory when it comes to gaming laptops. Companies such as nVidia and ATI offer powerful graphics solutions that deliver superior performance over “integrated” graphics solutions. In fact, dedicated graphics cards are much different than their integrated counterparts. Instead of being graphics chips directly mounted on the main motherboard, dedicated cards are on their own board that is connected to the motherboard by a slot. With their own specialized memory and graphics chips, these cards perform much faster, giving gamers a better playing experience.
When it comes to system memory, gaming laptops are able to accommodate gobs of it. Most laptops are now able to hold and use up to 8GB of system memory, although some laptops can only use 6.8GB thanks to chipset limitations. Most companies will supply their gaming laptops with 2GB of RAM at the minimum, with options to upgrade during the order process.
Gaming laptops can get pretty expensive, especially if you end up checking everything on the options checklist. For $1500, you can get a decent gaming laptop that can hold its own against any other system, while $2000 or more can get you the laptop of your gaming dreams.