What you need to know for the best laptop gaming experience
Check out our more recent gaming laptop guide, "The Best Gaming Laptops: Portable Muscle For Taking Your Games On The Road."
PC laptop gaming is becoming more and more popular as gamers want the ability to either play their favourite games on the move or just be able to do it without being stuck being a desktop all day or all night. If you happen to be shopping for ideal gaming laptops, the following gamer's guide to the best laptop computers should be of help.
The actual secret to getting the best gaming laptop computer is in purchasing the one that is optimised for playing games. This might sound very obvious but you have no idea how many people purchase a notebook intending to use it for game related reasons then decide later that they need to upgrade it. Needless to say, all this ends up being an expensive lesson full of hassles.
The best gaming laptops are portable computers with the following specifications (disclaimer: based on my personal views and experience with notebooks):
Gaming Laptop Specifications
- A fast and powerful processor. Games are graphics intense applications. So you need something to do the job correctly. But since we are dealing with laptops, you must keep in mind that the faster and more powerful a notebook is, the more impact it has on the battery life. So keep that secondary battery handy!
- Lots of RAM. The rule of thumb in laptop gaming circle is: the more RAM you have, the better. I would venture say that 256 KB is the absolute minimum you should settle for.
- A kick butt laptop video card. Hey, PC laptop gaming is all about the best viewing experience. If you are serious gamer, you should not settle for the cheap video cards that come standard with most laptops.
- An impressive sound card. You don't want to miss a sound. And the crisper the sound is, the better you can feel part of the whole gaming experience. Here you have a choice. You can either get an internal or an external sound card. My bet is that if you are shopping for gaming laptops, you will probably not want to haul around pieces of hardware with you. So, insist on a good internal sound card and a good pair of headphones if you want to get at it in public places for instance.
- Networking. As you know, it sucks playing games alone. So, make sure that at any given time when you feel competitive, you can painlessly hook your gaming laptop onto a network and play with or against fellow players on an internal network or better yet spread over the world via the Internet.
- Huge hard drive storage. Games are big, big, big. So, you need a more than decent hard drive to store those games. One pointer here: the faster the hard drive, the more improved the whole gaming experience is. I would say that if you can get a 7200 RPM hard drive, jump on it right away.
- A large visual area. Let me tell you something... I once wanted to be "Mr Clever" and used a 10" monitor laptop to play a game on. It sucks... Then I tried out a 17" Powerbook and was in heaven. But, a 17" screen notebook computer can be a pain to haul around. So, to compromise, do check out the standard 15" notebooks.
The bad news with getting all the necessary features to have a pleasant laptop gaming experience is that eventually, the costs add up and the final price can leave you grasping for air :-) This is where you need to make some crucial financial decisions...
Here, I can't really help you out because it's a tough one. But I am sure that you can get decent yet really cheap gaming laptop computers. Happy shopping and as usual, please do keep me posted with your choices. Below, are dealers where you can begin your shopping process. Good luck!
Where to buy gaming laptops
- I have a special page dedicated to locating the best online dealers of laptop computers. Please check it out first.
- If you are a Mac user, the obvious gaming laptop computers are the 15" or 17" MacBook Pros. You can read about them at this Apple laptops page or head straight to the Apple Store or more dealers of Apple Mac laptop computers.
- If you like Dell laptops, you should definetly check out the 8500 and 8600 models as they are really good and cheap (to a certain extent) gaming laptops.
- Alienware - Gaming PC for PC Gaming -- The ultimate notebooks for games as recognised by industry professionals are the Alienware gaming laptops (now owned by Dell). Do check them out if for you computer based gaming is life.