OK,so you have decided that its time you stop upgrading components of your PC one by one and go for a gaming laptop which will keep you satisfied for a few years at least.
Firstly, it is important to realise that gaming laptops are generally the heaviest and most expensive laptops available in the market.
They can perform only as well as a desktop PCs which cost around 60-70% of that laptop. They are generally not easily portable and ideal if you are not going to keep them on your lap for a longer period of time. That said, if you have a good amount of money available to spend on a gaming laptop and can manage with these constraints,then you will enjoy using the laptop.
What makes one gaming laptop more powerful than another?
1)Graphic card: The first and foremost specification that you must look at in a laptop if you are a gamer is the graphic card. If the graphic card is good, then the other specs are generally automatically good. If you see a laptop having Intel graphics media accelerator, then walk away. This is not a gaming laptop and is meant for other purposes.
Here is a list of laptop graphic cards sorted according to gaming performance:
(Cards labelled as better in a particular series are cards having higher model number in that series)
For a mid-range gaming laptop, if the laptop has an NVIDIA card,it must be:
1.For 8000M series cards, 8600M GT or better,
2.For 9000M series cards, 9600M GT or better,
3.For GT 100M series cards, GT 130M or better,
4.For GT 200M series cards, GT 220M or better,
5.For GT 300M series cards, GT 320M or better,
6.For the latest GT 400M series cards, any will do.
If the card an ATI mobility radeon then,
1.For series HD 3000, HD 3850 or better,
2.For series HD 4000, HD 4570 or better,
3.For series HD 5000, HD 5470 or better.
For high end gaming laptops,
1.Series 8000M: 8800M GT or better,
2.Series 9000M: 9800M GT or better,
3.Series GT 100M: GTS 160M,
4.Series GT 200M: GTS 250M or better,
5.Series GT 300M: GTS 350M or better.
1.HD 3000 series: HD 3870×2(crossfire),
2.HD 4000 series: HD 4850 or better,
3.HD 5000 series: HD 5830 or better.
For super high end gaming,
NVIDIA 8800M GT(and GTX) x2(SLI), 9800M GT(and GTX) x2, GTX 260M x1 or x2, or better.
ATI mobility radeon HD 4870 x1 or x2, 5870 x1 or x2.
Enough about graphic cards now, lets move on to the other parts.
2)Processor: For casual gaming, Intel Core2Duo or Core i3 or AMD Turionx2 will do and for high end gaming, Intel Core i5, Core i7 and AMD Phenom x4 is ideal.
3)RAM : Gaming laptops generally come with 4 GB RAM or more.
DDR3 RAM is recommended over DDR2, although not a critical factor, and clock speed of 800 Mhz or more is preferred.
4)Screen: Gaming laptops are available in screen sizes from 11.6″(courtesy Alienware M11X) to 18.4″.
If you want your laptop to act as a desktop replacement, a screen size of 17″ or higher is ideal, but if you are going to carry your laptop around often, a 15-16″ inch laptop generally is easier to carry and generally weighs lesser.
If you like playing games at high resolutions, look for a laptop having screen resolution 1920×1080 or 1920×1200.
5)Battery: You can never expect your gaming laptop to give battery backup of more than a few hours and you need to plug it in every now and then.
6)Keyboard, touchpad and Speakers: Some laptop manufacturers are infamous for giving cramped keyboards on an otherwise power-packed gaming laptop, while some have their speakers oddly positioned and not audible properly even at highest volume settings. These may be considered small things but can be deal-breakers. If you always use head-phones while gaming you can live with a bad speaker. Touchpads are not popular with gamers, who generally carry their USB mouse with them.
7)Weight: You will not find any gaming laptops among the ultra-slim or light weight laptops. They are not very slim and generally weight more than 5 pounds at least, (with the expection of the Alienware M11x).Weight generally increases with increase in screen size, so don’t get too excited if you see a 17″ screen laptop priced near a 15.6″ laptop with similar specifications. You will have a considerably heavier laptop to lug around.
As they say, there are two sides of every coin.
If you want better performance, you pay more. If you want a bigger laptop, it is also heavier.
High end gaming laptops are made by manufacturers such as Acer, Alienware(DELL), ASUS, MSI, and Toshiba. You can also find custom laptops, barebone laptops by some manufacturers.
Before purchasing,go through all these points carefully, check each of them, choose wisely and you will not regret your choice.
Post comments, ask your queries, and ask us if you are confused between two or more laptop models.