I love the idea of gaming notebooks just as much as anybody. They’re far more portable for LANs, comfortable and in most cases lighter than the full towers you’ll see at rAge (which happening this year, peeps, dont’ forget!). One of the biggest hurdles for gaming laptops is the main reason why not everyone can afford it – price. The only viable solutions cost upwards of R8500 and for the most part the cheaper options will only allow medium settings, medium resolutions and medium performance. Its all a bit lackluster and its only worth it if your price range is closer to Alienware territory.
But that’s okay, really. We can save up, buy second-hand, whatever means necessary to get it into our hands. Other people choose to have a second, lighter and lower-specced computer for LANs and some even turn to consoles. The only other big hurdle to a gaming laptop, then, is heat generation. Seriously, this is a big problem for many people. Take Dell’s Alienware M18X for example.
Its a monster of a machine. Sporting a Core i7 processor, up to dual HD6990M graphics and the most breathtaking screen on the planet, the M18X lives up to what most reviewers would expect from a gaming laptop. But while it is the best out there at the moment, the heat generation is terrific. Dell designs their Alienware range with large fan exhausts to get hot air out quickly, but that still results in temperatures approaching 50 degrees underneath. While acceptable in normal operating environments, players in countries like sunny South Africa where the air gets very hot and dry in Karoo-like areas may find that things get a little too hot for their taste.
Most players record temperatures up to 75 degrees inside the notebook when stressing out the high-end dual-GPU graphics. Water cooling solutions for laptops have been very scarce due to the monumental task of designing an efficient heat exchange system in the cramped compratment of a notebook. Most of the ones you see online are DIY kits, while others fashion something from an existing kit and using the laptop’s motherboard outside the chassis. Some even take the idea even further, like this guy who basically created the world’s first PS3 Portable Laptop system. Seriously, it even sold for $2000 on eBay last year. In light of this, Asetek revealed its new water cooling system for notebooks. While the product is still in development, Asetek demonstrates its cooling ability below in the video.[youtube]pz4a1RukOzA[/youtube]
Impressive gains, I would agree. Overclocking a mobile chip to 4.4Ghz is nothing to laugh at. But while this is a great step forward for performance notebooks, is there any chance the average Joe will see this in stores? Not likely, if the designs Asetek provides are anything to go by. Their solution is basically a single loop that has to be custom-made for each laptop model. The Alienware range gets away with this quite easily, as you can fit the same design into multiple variations of the M15x, for example, as all the parts are manufactured to be the same size physically. Yes, than can be applied for other laptop makers as well, but this kind of thing would be restricted to factory installs and high-end models. Liquid cooling isn’t necessary on most laptops. Netbooks, in fact, can get away without any air cooling at all.
But it is progress, and its something gamers can look forward to in future. Expect Asetek to be working with other partners in future to bring advanced cooling to the public. We might see it bundled in Alienware models before the year is out.