Notebooks Hardware Field Guide
The specs you
need for the ultimate gaming laptop experience.
Buy The Ultimate Gaming Notebooks
exactly what you will want to look for in a gaming laptop in order to
enjoy the best mobile gaming experience.
If you are not aware
already, gaming notebooks are growing in popularity at an alarming
rate, and the processing power in mobile gaming machines is
sheer size of the entertainment industry, ever increasing demand for
gaming & entertainment on the go, and lower than ever prices is
driving this laptop gaming revolution with a golden hammer.
While this is sweet
music to gamers ears everywhere, we advise you to not run to
your local etailer or retailer with money in hand just yet.
Gaming Gear Preperation:
we've seen individuals all too often purchase a laptop with a specific
purpose in mind like gaming, to only fall over backwards in
disappointment as they fire up their favorite first person shooter or
sports title for the first time.
goal here is to help you purchase the perfect gaming notebooks so that
you stay on your feet and have the best laptop experience period.
If you want to play in
the big leagues, you are
going to need the right
gear to compete, and we are going to show you what to look for.
Once you finally pick
hardware you will be off on your way to what we like to call gamers
delight. So let's move on,
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Hands down the most
important component in kickass gaming notebooks is a powerful graphics
Games in general are
some of the most graphic intensive
applications out there, and an integrated graphics card just won't cut
Look for a dedicated
NVIDIA or ATI graphics processor with an absolute minimum of 512MB of
dedicated onboard graphics memory. 1GB or more of
graphics memory is preferred however.
Absolutely do not
overlook a video card when looking for a gaming notebook or you will
pay the ultimate price. In the gaming world that ultimate price is the
frame rate, and without it you will get fragged.
As of this writing
we recommend you purchase an
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400 series or ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5800 series
graphics card equipped laptop computer.
On the other hand many entry-level gaming systems will have slower
chips, so if you are not an extreme gamer, you may be better off saving
some cash and buying a mid-range graphics card equipped laptop instead.
And for ultimate
performance there is nothing better
right now than an NVIDIA SLI dual-card equipped laptop. But since
laptop graphics cards are so powerful these days, an SLI rig may not be
worth the price premium, especially since a single card system will
power through many if not most of the hottest 3D games on the market.
All NVIDIA 400 series
cards and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5800 series cards are also compatible
with Microsoft Windows 7 DirectX 11 technology so you can take
advantage of all the sweet new eye candy features in the latest 3D
To narrow down the perfect gaming laptop graphics
professional and user reviews and pay special attention to real world
gaming performance references. User reviews are a very good gauge, for
often a user who bought the laptop is going to critique the real world
performance of their favorite games, games you may also play
my friend, fast as you
can afford! The processor is the second most important feature to pay
attention to when searching for the best gaming notebooks. Definitely
not overlook a fast processor for you will need it to crunch all that
in game AI.
of this writing we recommend at the minimum, a powerful Intel Core i5
or better. The Intel Core i7 processor is the most powerful laptop
processor by a long slide so if you want the best gaming performance,
look for an Intel i7 equipped laptop.
The Intel i7 currently
offers the most insane performance for games and multimedia tasks.
Remember when pricing your ultimate gaming rig to definitely put
processing speed up on your list of musts alongside the graphics card.
Intel i7 processors are stacked with features.
multiple powerful processing cores, the i7 also have built-in memory
controllers, large caches, and Turbo Boost Technology. Intel's Turbo
Boost technology maximizes speed for demanding applications by
dynamically accelerating processor clock speed. Basically the i7 is a
bad ass processor, point being.
You can't go wrong
with an i7 processor based gaming
notebook. Paired with a high-end NVIDIA or ATI graphics card, and all
your games will come to life with a new found realism.
Get as much as you can
afford. Memory is on the top list of must buys
along side the video card and processor. All are equally important for
If you want to play with the big boys, don't be left in the dust with a
gaming laptop without enough memory. Without memory
you games will come to a crawl.
recommend at the bare minimum 4GB of DDR3 memory for entry and
mid-level gaming rigs, and 6GB or more is ideal for a high-end gaming
If you can
afford more than 4GB of memory we highly
recommend you cough up the dough. Windows 7 which is bundled with
most systems these days uses by itself a large chuck of memory, so 4GB
or more will do your mobile gaming rig well.
Today's 3D games are more demanding than ever too
so you will want a
lot of memory so you can turn all the in game eye candy features up,
game textures, special effects etc.
If you have a choice
for memory speed when customizing gaming notebooks, the rule of thumb
is usually to get the fastest speed that they offer. Speed
on the other hand isn't always in your control when shopping for a
gaming notebook, but if you have the option, faster is better.
a catch though, definitely do not spend the cash if the premium for
faster chips is too high, for this extra money may be better spent on
more memory instead, or even another component upgrade such as
a faster processor.
A must for any gaming or
multimedia rig is a large fast hard drive.
Games themselves are huge and will require gigabytes of storage, and
when it comes to speed games are demanding so a hard drive with a fast
spindle speed is a must.
juggling multimedia chores such as video and audio editing a large fast
hard drive will be very beneficial to your productivity.
We recommend at the
absolute bare minimum a 7200 RPM drive, though if you have the money
and option, you may want to go for one with a solid-state drive. Solid state hard drives don't have mechanical parts
instead store information on a special type of memory.
drives are faster than a traditional hard drive but do keep in mind
that while they are faster they are also currently limited in storage
capacity and more expensive than their mechanical counterparts.
if money isn't an option and you're spending for the ultimate gaming
laptop, and multiple hard drives is an option, then you may be able to
up a solid state as a storage drive for your games. This may
not be a bad idea if ultimate performance is your ticket, and
being a second drive you won't be hindered by the solid state drives
lower storage capacity.
you are going to be buying pre-configured gaming notebooks
these days. Depending on the model these pre-configured gaming
notebooks will typically have either a 1440 x 900, 1680 x 1050, or 1920
x 1200 pixel screen resolution.
of their pre-configured nature however the screen pixel resolution is
determined by the manufacturer and thus you will have limited
flexibility. It's either one configuration or another with
pre-configured machines, and often there is in fact no choice in
notebooks a lack of flexibility is honestly just something that has to
be dealt with, though on the plus side the lack of flexibility does
normally lower the overall price of the notebook. In the end your wants
and needs will be the determining factor when going this route.
the other hand if you want ultimate flexibility, customizing a laptop
is honestly the only way to go. Price does come with this flexibility
of course, but for many of you especially all you hardcore gamers the
premium will be worth it.
not limited to pre-configured choices when customizing a laptop of
course, you have flexibility with almost every aspect of the notebook
including the screen. In fact you may be surprised to find out that a
better screen doesn't always cost a fortune either.
example we configured a custom machine online and for only $100 more we
were able to up the screen resolution on a 17-inch laptop from 1440 x
900 to 1680 x 1050 pixels. This is a good price/performance balance in
our opinion, especially for a gaming notebook. The top end screen with
the 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution was substantially more, but because we
were customizing we had this extra flexibility.
another note, be careful if you are thinking of pairing the highest
resolution screen with a lower performing graphics card. Remember, you
will need a graphics card powerful enough to drive games at higher
resolutions, and honestly the lowest performing graphics card may not
perform up to par.
you may want to look out for the highest resolution screen for it may
not be your best option. On screen elements such as text are going to
be smaller and it may be harder for you to read during routine day to
day tasks such as word processing and Internet surfing.
you guys have the option, a mid-range screen such as one with a 1680 x
1050 resolution and a mid-range graphics card may be a perfect
balance between price and performance with a gaming notebook.
course the choice is ultimately determined by what the manufacturer is
offering, but if options are available things will on the other hand be
up to you. And balance is often the Key.
capability in today's mobile world is a must, and
gaming notebooks are no exception. Having a fast wireless connection is
great if want to setup a wireless LAN party with friends, play the
latest online games, or even download huge game updates &
to keep your online gaming experience bug fee.
recommend you get the most 802.11 standards offered by the gaming
laptop you are configuring. Standards include 802.11 a/b/g/n, and all
are backwards compatible with each other. Wireless N is the newest
standard and it offers longer range and faster data rates over previous
standards. If wireless N is offered grab it, for the price increase is
negligible and it will come in handy when all networks eventually
switch over to the N standard.
also another wireless standard that is a great addition to a gaming
laptop if say you want to hook up a high-tech wireless gaming keyboard
to give you that competitive edge over your opponents.
For gaming notebooks we
currently recommend you purchase a laptop with
at least a DVD burner. DVD burners are normally the default optical
drive for most notebooks these days including gaming notebooks, but
still do not overlook your options just in case.
of this writing a next-gen Blue-Ray drive is the best option available
in gaming notebooks. Since prices have come down substantially on
Blu-Ray equipped laptops, it only makes sense to get one since your
gaming laptop is already stacked with every other high-end feature.
of now most if not
all PC games as far as we know
are still distributed on DVD media, but games in the near future will
be Blu-Ray and on top of this you can watch all your favorite Blu-Ray
movies via your laptop if you have a built-in Blu-Ray drive.
you are spending
for the ultimate gaming rig and cost isn't an issue, we personally
recommend Blue-Ray for it is the dominant next-gen standard that will
be here for years to come.
we've only touched base on gaming laptop components, we are confident
that if you follow this simple yet effective field guide you will be on
the correct path to the ultimate gaming notebooks.
a final note remember while you are shopping for gaming notebooks to
never rush into a purchase without doing a bit of research from various
sources. All to often we see people fall for the wow factor when in
fact there are better gaming laptop deals out there.
gaming and best
of luck finding the perfect gaming notebooks.
sure to check out
Laptop Ratings and
Best Laptop Guide for more important shopping advice.
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