How To Choose A Gaming Laptop

12/04/2011 15:02

Without a doubt, the most important consideration will be the graphics card or GPU because this component will largely determine which games you can play and at what level of resolution you can play these games. So you must check out the GPU and see how much discrete memory it contains and/or also check out the amount of Video RAM, as this will give you much smoother playback.

Most gamers go with discrete or dedicated graphics cards from ATI (Radeon) and Nvidia (GeForce) and try to get the highest level they can afford. Don't skimp with it comes to choosing a high-end graphics card, one capable of at least DirectX 10 and the latest ones will have DirectX 11 which will be better able to handle 3D visuals and offer better sound. Remember, many high-end gaming laptops can have two or more GPUs, using a CrossFire configuration with AMD or SLI (Scalable Link Interface) in the case of Nvidia.

After you have considered which type of graphics you want, the next component you should check should be the processor or CPU. You must check the type and speed because this will be the processing heart of your laptop and will determine how fast your computer will run and what applications it can handle. For gaming at the present moment you should be looking for the new second generation Intel i3, i5 and i7 quad-core processors known as Sandy Bridge. These graphics intensive processors will give you 10-50% more performance with your games and applications.

Plus, another reason to get the new Sandy Bridge processors has to do with overclocking, which is a main feature of these newer processors. Many of the high-end ones come unlocked and can give gamers a major boost in performance. Most high-end gaming laptops coming from Alienware, Falcon, Sager, MSI, ASUS... will have these new Sandy Bridge processors but it is something you should check. (Please note: Intel had to recall the first i5 and i7 Sandy Bridge processors because the Motherboards could degrade over time, this issue has been settled and you should not encountered these recalled processors, but check with your seller just to make sure.)

Next you should check the amount of RAM your gaming laptop will contain and the speed/type of this RAM. This also will largely determine how fast your laptop will run and how many/quickly it can perform your applications. While there are situations where your laptop or PC can't use all the RAM and buying too much is a waste of money, many gamers like to future proof their computers just in case they need the extra RAM in the years to come.

After you have checked the RAM, other considerations you should check is the type, size and quality of the display. You should check the native resolution and many gamers look for a full HD 1080p display. Newer laptops will also have 3-D capabilities and come with a Blu-ray optical drive. Depending on your needs, you should check out the number of connections and ports you laptop contains. Most high-end laptops will come with all the needed connections but you should check, especially if you have a specific purpose in mind for your laptop - make sure it can get the job done.

After you have considered all of the above factors, you should have a good idea of what type of laptop you're looking for and considering. However, you're not finished yet! There are several other things you must check before you buy your new gaming laptop. You should check out the sound quality and especially how much fan noise you have once your machine is revved up and performing at its highest levels. Some noise is expected but will it interfere with your gaming?

Another major issue is heat or rather overheating, the processor and especially the GPU can give off a lot of heat when playing games at full throttle. Is this heat acceptable? Do a simple search in Google for your "laptop model + overheating problems" and this simple check should tell you if your considered laptop has any major overheating issues.

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Now as with purchasing any laptop, there are other considerations such as battery life, keyboard comfort and weight. Overall style and design are other considerations for some gamers, especially if the keyboard is backlit as this can be important for typing in the dark. Others also consider the price and the value you get for your money when buying the gaming laptop of your choice. Still others make it a point to check for warranties and the return policy of the merchant or laptop maker, just in case something does go wrong with your purchase. Good luck and happy gaming.