Custom Gaming Laptops – Five Things You Must Consider When Building a Gaming Laptop

Gone are the days when you would have been laughed at if you walked into an all-night LAN party carrying your trusty laptop and expecting to hang with the giant computer towers standing at everyone’s feet. The gaming laptop computers of today sport huge, crisp LCD screens, cutting-edge video cards and full-size keyboards. Not only can these gaming laptop computers hang with the standard clunky computer tower, but they can also be ordered fully custom to meet the exact specifications of any gamer.

Since there are so many customizable components in these laptops, a standard practice has been to create what some call a “system builder.” This is the page where you get to add and subtract components through drop-down menus in order to create the best gaming laptop computer for your needs and your budget. This type of page can be overwhelming to someone just starting the gaming laptop shopping process, but it is very manageable if you take it just one component at a time.

The Gaming Laptop GPU

This is the heart of a gaming laptop computer. The GPU (graphics processing unit) is a component that will make or break your gaming experience. If your GPU isn’t up to snuff, your games won’t play.

Without getting into specific models since they change all the time, the key is that the graphics card not share resources with the computer. A gaming laptop video card must have its own memory on board. Generally speaking, standard off-the-shelf laptops will not have this feature. The two current makers of laptop video cards are nVIDIA and ATI.

Without the Screen, You Don’t Have Much

What good is a gaming laptop without a screen that can actually render your games? Now certainly, you can connect an external monitor, but if you can’t actually play on your gaming laptop without that external monitor, then your laptop isn’t all that mobile.

While the technology and terminology for LCDs (liquid crystal displays) could take up an entire article in itself, there are a few key points to keep in mind when choosing from available LCD options for your new gaming laptop computer: native resolution, aspect ratio, rise and fall time, contrast, viewing angle, and size.

Native Resolution. The native resolution is simply the setting at which your screen will render the clearest images. Since games are constantly in motion, slightly soft edges may not bother most gamers, but keep in mind that while this is your gaming laptop, you will likely also use it for other things like surfing the Internet. If the resolution isn’t comfortable, you aren’t going to enjoy using it.

Aspect Ratio. As you probably know, a movie theater screen and a TV screen have different proportions. Likewise, there are widescreen format gaming laptops and there are laptops that have a standard aspect ratio — like that of a TV. A widescreen format gaming laptop (a 16:10 ratio) has advantages and disadvantages. Many games today do not have a widescreen mode. This means that the game may stretch across the screen and become distorted or you may run it with black bars that fill in the sides. There are ways to get around this, but if you want an out of the box perfect experience, the widescreen format may not be for you.

That said, a widescreen LCD does offer plenty of screen real estate for web surfing and other type of computer activities, and a game played in a wide format setting offers an expansive field of view. For this reason, there are some very loyal widescreen-loving gamers out there.

Do your best to find a balance between current and future technology and what your computer habits are beyond gaming. Even with its limitations, the widescreen format is found on most of the best gaming laptop computers.

Rise and Fall. The phrase ‘rise and fall time’ is used to describe how fast the LCD can respond to changes. In the past, LCDs have been plagued with the inability to render images as fast as computer games can spit them out. This presents a major problem for laptop gamers because if they can’t see the images properly, they can’t play the game properly. This lag can mean the difference between playing to win and barely playing.

Fortunately, gaming laptop LCDs have come a long way and they are only getting better. While once it was impossible to game on a laptop screen, the gaming laptop LCDs of today offer 25 milliseconds or less rise and fall time while generally off-the-shelf laptops have 40 milliseconds or less rise and fall time.

Contrast. If a gaming laptop LCD has poor contrast, that means that the black areas aren’t quite as black as they should be and the white areas aren’t quite as white. This is important to a laptop gamer because you have to see the game properly — as it was intended to be seen — in order to compete effectively. Look for a contrast ratio of 400:1 or higher in a custom gaming laptop computer.

Viewing Angle. This is an often-overlooked LCD feature, but it must be considered if you are building a gaming laptop computer. Many high quality LCDs on the market are difficult to see clearly at any angle other than straight on and at the right height. This can be a big drawback to gaming on a LCD screen because a screen with poor viewing angles won’t allow others to watch the screen as you play and also hurts your view when doing something as simple as adjusting your seating, which can require you to then adjust to position of your laptop screen to see it properly again.

But gaming on a laptop does not mean that you are doomed to have poor viewing angles. There are LCDs on the market that have amazing viewing angles — up to 120 degrees. These screens not only allow gaming onlookers, but they also allow you to use that giant, crisp screen to do things like play movies and even make presentations.

Size. In a gaming laptop computer, size is everything. Most gaming laptops are large, robust pieces of electronics. Having a machine of this stature means you also get to have a large screen. The best gaming laptop computer LCD screens out there are at least 15 inches. A crowd favorite is a 17 inch widescreen (even with the challenges that widescreens present). Largr 19 inch laptop screens are just starting to be talked about with consumers expecting to see 19 inch or even large models on the market in the near future.

The best way to really get a feel for what laptop LCDs are all about is to take a trip to a local box store and play with the LCDs on the display laptops while keeping in mind what you have read here. While these laptops are not custom gaming laptops, you can see what the sizes really look like, what different resolutions look like, and what the viewing angles truly are so you can start to develop your own preferences.

The RAM – What Type and How Much?

The RAM (random access memory) found in laptops is called SODIMM (small outline dual inline memory module). The RAM is responsible for your processing power. If you are shopping for a custom gaming laptop, you will generally be offered DDR2 RAM with the choice of how much you want in your computer. Most high-end games being released today need 1GB of RAM for optimum, lag-free game play. Some people are going with 2GB to ensure that they can run multiple applications along with the game and not experience any slow down in response time. This is a large investment and you want to be able to use this gaming laptop for some time in the future. Most custom laptops are user upgradeable, but this should be left up to professionals.

The CPU – Not Just Mobile Technology

The CPUs (central processing units) found in many custom gaming laptops are identical to those found in desktops. These chips require a great deal of cooling power, which in turn can make your laptop louder than light weight, lower power ultra portables when the fans kick on and it can become somewhat warm to the touch. Don’t be alarmed by this — it is normal. And with these desktop processors comes screaming power! Don’t waste your money on the latest CPU release that likely has an inflated price tag (and that price will likely come down before long). Stick with a current CPU speed that is offered by a reputable custom gaming laptop reseller, and you really can’t go wrong.

The Gaming Laptop Hard Drive

This is the final component to consider when building a gaming laptop. Laptop hard drives come in a variety of speeds and capacities ranging from 4200 to 7200 RPMs and 40 to over 100 GBs. For the most part, this is user preference. Whenever possible, go for a 7200 RPM hard drive, but if you need a capacity not offered in this speed, it’s okay to go for the 5400 RPM drive. Take a look at your current computer, and buy your capacity based on this. Also keep in mind that with many custom gaming laptop manufacturers, you have the ability to upgrade or add another hard drive at a later date.

At the end of the day, gaming laptop computers are all about power. Don’t expect a twelve-pound notebook with a desktop processor, numerous fans, a giant heatsink, and independent video card to last on battery power all that long. But do make sure to enjoy the jawdrops that you’ll get as you walk into your regular LAN party location with your new, screaming-fast gaming laptop computer. Crack that puppy open, fire it up, and stand clear of the drool as you take on your favorite game with fellow gamers gathered around to take in the action. Gaming is not just for desktops anymore!

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Alienware vs Rockdirect vs Dell : Finding the Best Gaming Laptop

So you want to buy a gaming laptop.

But not just any old gaming laptop, you want to buy the best
gaming machine on the planet, the best gaming machine money can
buy — the fastest, the most powerful, the ultimate kick-ass,
take no prisoners, meanest motherboard of all gaming laptops.

Well, there’s some good news for you, things have really changed
in the laptop world. No doubt you are probably aware there have been
some major developments in laptop construction and technology
in the last year or so. Technology that puts the gaming laptop
on par or near par with its main rival, the desktop PC.

Recent changes in technology have really brought gaming laptops
into the spotlight with a whole list of new Technologies:
PCI Express, Sonoma Chipset, SLI, Hyper-Threading, Dual Graphics,
Better RAM, and now Dual Core gaming laptops. Gaming notebooks are
just now entering the specs and performance arena which was exclusively
reserved for the bulky yet much more powerful desktop PC.

Just in case you have had your head buried in term papers and study
sheets lately — hey, it happens! Here’s a brief rundown of these
new technologies that will give you the fastest gaming laptop:

Graphics Cards: these are the real heart of any gaming machine. They
are getting faster and more powerful. We also see the use of dual
graphics cards and better transfer of data with new pipelines
and buses.

PCI Express: is a new standard for expansion cards that comes in
different versions. Presently, we have the x16 and x1 lanes, they
offer increased bandwidth. For example, x1 lane offers 500MB/sec
instead of just 133MB/sec for PCI.

NVIDIA SLI: SLI stands for Scalable Link Interface, technology
that lets you use a couple of GeForce 6800 graphics cards together
with PCI Express X16. Basically, SLI will speed up graphics on a single
monitor by deploying two graphics cards. It also lets you combine
4 GPUs in one system for the fastest graphics yet.

An alternative system would be ATI’s CrossFire which
is a SLI-like configuration using ‘Master’ and ‘Slave’
cards to combine two Radeon GPUs for improved and faster
graphics.

Hyper-Threading: Gives processors better performance
especially when combined with dual-core processors,
capable of handling four software threads which will put
a smile on any gamer’s face.

Better RAM: DDR3 SDRAM (Double Data Rate Three Synchronous
Dynamic Random Access Memory) this new DDR memory standard
will use 40% less power and run at speeds up to 800 MHz.
Don’t confuse this with GDDR3 (in Graphics Cards) which is
a totally different technology.

Dual Core: just as the name says, you put two CPUs into
a laptop for more power and faster computing. Rockdirect’s
Xtreme 64 was one of the world’s first dual core notebooks to
hit the market.

Also be on the lookout for Intel’s Dual Core Notebook
Chip dubbed Yonah, it will be somewhat different in that
this notebook chip will not only have two cores but these
cores will share a 2MB cache which will greatly boost performance.

In most cases, keeping ahead of all these developments and
improvements can be a pleasurable chore for most gamers but
it can sure eat into your gaming time. And as the notebook
technology evolves, the gaming laptop will get even more smaller
and more powerful, offering a real alternative to the gaming
desktop PC even for the most die-hard Power Junkies.

Serious gamers will also know laptop or notebook gaming technology
is constantly evolving and mutating. Therefore, most gamers will
only purchase a fully upgradeable open architecture notebook, they
look for a laptop design which can be easily upgraded with the newest
and latest technology, if at all possible.

Despite this option, as laptop gaming technology steadily improves,
gamers are still left with the choice of which gaming system to buy.
Just in case you have be hibernating for last five years — hey, it
happens. Here’s a quick rundown of the different systems on the market
…Voodoo, Alienware, Mayhem, Vigor, Sager, ASUS, Rockdirect,
M-Tech, Dell…

Despite the fancy lapels, serious gamers know that most laptops are
made by the same two or three companies in Taiwan! The same components
and mainframes are assembled under different brand names and marketed
to the public.

Not to get too cynical, but sometimes it’s the laptop with
the better paint job or the better advertising that will
win your purchasing dollar. Not that savvy gamers are easily
fooled, perish the thought, but packaging may rule the day,
performance may be the same or negligible in gaming
machines with basically all the same components and specs.

Regardless of this sober reality, gamers are still left with the
choice of which gaming manufacturer has tweaked these components
into the best gaming laptop on the market. There are numerous gaming
specialists that make high quality machines well worth your
consideration but because of limited space here we will only examine
three major gaming manufacturers, sometimes for entirely different reasons.

These three are Alienware, Rockdirect and Dell. All produce serious
contenders for the ultimate gaming laptop. Here’s a brief rundown on
all three makers and their gaming laptops which may be of some help
to anyone looking to purchase a high-end gaming monster.

Alienware Laptops

First, we will start with the most distinctive looking gaming
laptops on the market. Those coming from Alienware, a company
founded by two avid gamers, Nelson Gonzalez and Alex Aguila, in
1996. It has become one of the leading producers of revolutionary
gaming PCs and Notebooks. It has also won raves and rewards from such
top industry publications as CNET, PC Gamer, Computer Games and
many more.

Their flagship model is the Area-51m 7700. This scary monster
can be outfitted with an Intel Pentium 4 Processor with
Hyper-Threading Technology – (2.8GHz – 3.8GHz, 800MHz FSB,
1MB Cache, Socket 775) Intel 915P + ICH6 chipset with NVIDIA
GeForce GO 6800 ULTRA with 256MB DDR3. It has a 17 inch WideUXGA
1920×1200 LCD Display and 4 dedicated SO-DIMM slots for
Dual-Channel DDR2 Memory. Warranties can be purchased for up
to 4 years.

The Alienware Area-51m 7700’s base price starts at around
$2000 but if you want to max out this system, be prepared
to double that amount. High price for high performance.
Runs quiet and cool. This one is dressed to kill.

Rockdirect Laptops

Next, we go across the pond, for a company that produces some
high priced yet powerful gaming machines. Rockdirect gaming notebooks
are another group of machines that many gamers should consider.
Rockdirect, formerly known as Rock, is a British company that’s
on the cutting edge of notebook technology. They have had a long
history of making high quality laptops for business and gaming.
Rockdirect laptops are expensive, there’s no way to get around
that fact.

Rockdirect’s Xtreme 64 is one of the world’s first dual core
notebooks using AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ processors and twin
100GB 7,200RPM hard drives. With NVIDIAGeForce Go 7800 GTX
graphics and a 17 inch WSXGA+ (1680×1050) display with X-Glass
for better viewing. Around 2,300 pounds or $4,000 USD.
Three Year Collect and Return Warranty.

Dell Laptops

Hey dude, this can’t be a DEll?

Dell with the introduction of its XPS second generation gaming
laptops has to be considered by the serious gamer. Don’t laugh!
With the introduction of the XPS Gen2 laptops, Dell entered the
gaming market for real. A lot of people stood up and took notice.

Even more people stood up when Dell introduced the XPS Renegade 600
desktop gaming system with 4 NVIDIA 7800GTX GPUs at the
CES this year. Now that’s putting SLI to some good use!

Dell’s top Notebook Model is the XPS M170 powered by
Intel Pentium M Processor 780 (2.26 GHz/2MB Cache/533MHz FSB)
and 2GB1 Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz 2 Dimm Memory on
a 100GB 7200rpm Hard Drive. It uses 256MB NVIDIA GeForce
Go 7800 GTX and has a 17 inch UltraSharp Wide Screen UXGA
Display. Priced at around $3,896 with a two year warranty
and longer warranties may be purchased.

Show me the Facts!

Anyone can pick a top gaming notebook and say its the fastest
in the world. However, you have to prove it or back it up.
That’s where benchmark testing enters the picture, these are
standard tests that rate the performance level of your
gaming laptop. Hey, tests are good for something!

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Laptop For Games – How to Find Best Gaming Laptops

Who are gamers ?
There are many pc gamers looking for gaming laptops. College students use it to enjoy favorite pc games. Super gamers try to find extremely powerful gaming machines to maxout high details in the latest games. Some other people just want to find a gaming laptop to handle some specific games under their budgets. Different people have the different budgets and requirements for a gaming laptop.

What are gaming laptops ?
A gaming laptop’s performance is better than other laptops in playing pc games. Gaming laptops have better CPU, memory, GPU combination so usually costs more money.

How to find the best gaming laptops ?
Hardware technologies grow rapidly, it’s impossible to follow all the latest updates in technologies, even for a IT guru. Some people can get references from friends who know laptops well, but most people have to figure out all by themselves. Forum post, Google and review articles are great sources to find out what laptops are good for gaming.

In fact, finding a gaming laptop is very easy. If you follow the steps I’m sure you can find a good gaming laptop to fit your need, no matter you have the any knowledge about laptop before or not.

1. Budget for the gaming laptop
The price for gaming laptops varies from less than $1,000 to $4,000 or even more in different brands. So the first thing is to find out what is the affordable price for a gaming laptop. Now the minimum price for a gaming laptop is around $650. Some laptops are more expensive than others such as MAC. Generally, the more money you spend, the better performance(or service provided) a gaming laptop will have. Let’s say you have a budget of $1,400 for gaming laptop, so you can set the price range for $650 – $1,400.

2. What games you want to play with ?
It is a second important issue for buying a gaming laptop. There are 2D and 3D games. 2D games(like Starcraft, RedAlert2 …) just needs a fast CPU and some memories to run smoothly and most laptop today will do the job. 3D games(WOW,Crysis,COD …) require a powerful graphic card (GPU) to handle the complicated real-time calculations in the 3D games. Different graphic cards have different performances in playing different 3D games. There are two major GPU Giants there: Nvidia and ATI. Both of them have a serial models of graphic cards for different gaming requirements. If you are going to maxout all details in the latest FPS games such as Crysis, you have to get a top-level graphic card. If you feel that playing general games smoothly, and playing the latest games in low-medium effects are acceptable, there are also a bunch of medium-level graphic cards available for you to choose. Basically, the more powerful a GPU(graphic processing unit)is, the more money you will spend. By identifying your requirements you will save money. Not everyone need a super gaming machine. Don’t use missiles if you just want to catch a bird.

3. Specific requirements
Everyone has his/her favorite brand. Some people like Intel CPUs while others prefer AMD. Some like Nvidia GPU while others like ATI. Some like small screen size while others prefer big screen. There are also some other choices such as size of hard drive, systems pre-installed, memory, optical drive, sound card, colors and weight. But remember that gaming capacity is your first priority. Any of your choices will be fine as long as you follow the step 1 and step 2.

4. when and where to buy
Of course you can buy a laptop anytime you like. Sometimes you save money if you choose to buy in a promotion period with some good coupons. There are also some people there will say: “I would like to wait for the price to drop down…” However, every penny you spend is worth for its value. If you have a good budget and don’t want to wait too long, why not enjoying the cutting-edge technologies in latest gaming while other people are still in waiting ? There is no end answer for question “which laptop is the best for gaming?” If it is good for you, then go for it.

There are two types of laptop sellers: manufacturers(Dell,HP…) and resellers.

(Best Buy, Newegg, Circuit City, Staples…). You can buy laptops from them online or in store. Usually manufacturers provide more customization choices and resellers provide the products in ‘what you see is what you get’. If you want to customize laptop with your choices, just buy it from manufacturers directly. If you are not familiar with laptop and don’t know what laptop to choose, just tell agents from resellers what you want to do with the laptop and usually they will give some useful suggestions for you. Before any purchasing, you should have some basic ideas of what laptop you need. It will be greatly helpful if you do a little research on Internet by visiting laptop review sites.

Actually, finding a gaming laptop is a interesting process rather than a tough job. It is not as hard as we thought before. Every gamer can get the best gaming laptop for playing great games

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