Mine’s STILL smaller than yours!

Alot of things have happened in the gaming laptop market since we last looked at it. Thanks to the new ATI chips now appearing on portables, the prices have gone crazy, and the competition is fiercer now than it has ever been. So, without further ado, let’s see what laptops are in your reach that can be considered “gaming laptops”.

The ASUS K50IN-SX010E is remarkably good value for money, and looks great too. I could do with one!
The ASUS K50IN-SX010E is remarkably good value for money, and looks great too. I could do with one!

In the R5000 price bracket, the HP 615S is still king. It’s the successor to the HP 6735s, has a 15.6” LCD, AMD Athlon X2 CPU, full keyboard and comes standard with 1GB RAM (which you can upgrade as you see fit). You won’t be playing a lot of the latest games on this rig, but it’s safe to say games like Starcraft 2 and Need For Speed Undercover should run well at medium settings at 800*600 on the HD3200.

The next logical jump would be to the ASUS K50IN-SX010E, retailing at R7400. With an Intel Pentium Dual-Core T4200, Nvidia Geforce 102M and 4GB RAM, this notebook sails through older games at the highest settings possible, while offering more than playable framerates at lower settings and resolutions for newer games. Not surprisingly, its ability to do so wins it the title of Best Mainstream Laptop, and I highly recommend it for any purpose, be it gaming or work; it is great value for money. For an extra R600, you can upgrade to the Core 2 Duo T6400 CPU, which offers more performance.

Jumping up to the R9200 price bracket, you might remember that this was dominated by the Toshiba A300-D17E in my last column. Well, not any longer, because Asus hits again with the X61SL-6X152E, an absolute beast for the price. Make no mistake; this is a proper gaming laptop in every sense of the word. Whereas the title was previously limited to notebooks costing far more than R12000, this takes the cake, swallows it whole, and then runs through Crysis at 1024*768 in medium details at 23fps. A Core 2 Duo T6500, 4GB RAM, ATI HD4570, and a 16” LCD rounds off the best laptop under R10k this side of the equator.

The X61SL-6X152E: Simple. Elegant. Stunning.

If you remember, dear readers, the original premise of my first gaming laptop column was focused on portability. Well, it got a whole lot better with the introduction of the MSI VR220 and the SAMSUNG Q320-AS01ZA. While they are both quite expensive, at R11000 and R12000 respectively, they offer great performance in an incredibly tiny chassis (12.1” and 13.3” LCDs). Size, performance, and long battery life are the common requirements of users in this bracket, and in this regard the Samsung is the better choice.

And just for fun and drooling pleasure, the MSI GX723 beats everything here at everything. A Core 2 Duo P8600, 4GB RAM, 17.1” LCD and a Geforce 130M all adds up to gaming goodness at high settings and 1024*768 resolution for a sweltering R14,700! Selling your kidney? This would be the perfect thing to spend that dough on!