Many of us gamers who attend LANs regularly have this problem: where the hell do we put our PC in our car? How do we transport our beloved 22” LCD safely to rAge? More importantly, how do we make sure that our stuff will be kept safe? Well, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to offer a solution, one which you will have to look at from a logical point of view. Many will argue that I’m a laptop fanboy (which I happily admit to), and that my solution is rather expensive; but I think the pros outweigh the cons.
Gaming laptops: they’re out of reach for most of us, right? The majority of gamers can only drool over the Alienware range, as those systems cost more than a second-hand sedan. However, gaming laptops do exist at lower prices, disguised from view, and noticed only by those who know what to look for.
I’ll be honest here: these laptops are not cheap. My recommended starting point is the HP Pavilion dv5-1130ei. Boasting an Athlon dual core with 1MB cache, 2GB RAM, an ATI HD3450, and a 15.4” LCD, it’s perfect for a quick Call of Duty 5 zombie assault, or a few sprints in Need for Speed Undercover. You’ll have to tone down the settings a bit, but for R7500, it raises the performance standard for laptops to this basic level. You don’t want to go lower than this: it wouldn’t be fair on the gamer in you.
After this, however, things go awry. From the R7500 price bracket onwards, we see a lot of the same systems with similar specs popping up all over the place, and none of them look much better than the HP. To see a real boost, we have to jump to R9700 to reach the heights of the Toshiba Satellite A300D-17E. It boasts an Athlon dual core, 4GB RAM, an HD3650, and an awesome sound system. Crysis on medium-ish settings runs moderately well. Likewise COD5, Bioshock, World in Conflict, and just about any game you can think of runs well at medium-to-high settings.
For those who don’t have the kind of cash asked here, follow these tips to get a laptop within your budget that can game!
1) The baseline entry-level GPUs are the Intel 4500MHD, ATi HD3200, ATi HD2400, and Nvidia 7400M. Do not sink lower than this.
2) Do research on the CPU model. Load CPU-Z on a flash drive and ask to check the specs using the program. 1MB L2 Cache is the going baseline for games.
3) Try for a dual core, even if it’s a Celeron. Trust me, it works wonders.
4) Stick to the 15” screens. 12” is the smallest size that’s still comfortable.
5) Clock speeds should be at least 2Ghz for the CPU
6) Use HD Tune on a flash drive to assess hard drive performance – it can be a pain of a bottleneck, especially in a laptop.