Video games always push the boundaries of the hardware that runs them. To have a fast, crisp, truly immersive laptop gaming experience you have to spend money on a good machine. That doesn’t mean you need to get the very best, top-of-the-line, bleeding-edge stuff, but even the second-tier tech doesn’t come cheap. This makes a gaming laptop a major investment. Do your homework before buying anything, and be prepared to drop a bundle.
1Research Your Games:Check out the games you want to be able to play on your new laptop. Look into their system specifications and see what kind of hardware they recommend -- not the minimum requirements but the suggested recommendations. For each individual hardware spec, make a note of the highest recommend value among all the games you want to play. Then, plan to buy something close to that but comfortably above it. This ensures that those games will perform well, and you’ll also have leeway to multitask while you play games or to install more demanding games in the future.
2The Key Hardware: Processor manufacturers always have several different lines of processors selling at a time. Start with the highest-end line they have, and, within that line, get the highest functioning central processor you can afford. Matthew Elliott of PC Magazine recommends the Intel Core i7 and the most powerful graphics card you can afford. Graphics cards constitute the biggest difference between gaming laptops and other laptops. Most other laptops don’t have them. The latest cards are extraordinarily expensive. Give up restaurants and soda for a couple of months. Save money. It will be worth it. RAM also matters. Get a lot of it -- more than you think you need, especially if you want to be able to multitask on your machine.
3Other Hardware and Extras: You’ll want to buy a headset so that you can communicate clearly with your teammates online. Just get something comfortable and affordable here. For a mouse, go with a laser version rather than an optical one, as they offer more precision. Try to get a laptop with a less reflective monitor screen, as the really glossy ones mirror any light sources behind you -- a big distraction during gameplay. For the optical drive, if you want Blu-ray make sure that it comes with the machine you get. Sarah Anderson of Computer Shopper Magazine points out that Blu-ray drives don’t necessarily come standard even on a high-end gaming machine. Take that lesson to heart in general and inspect every hardware component if you are buying a preassembled laptop. You can also custom order them from the Internet and many electronics shops. Don’t forget to buy the sensible stuff too, like a battery with extra capacity, a surge protector and a proper-sized carrying case. You can easily spend as much money on a new gaming laptop as you could on a used car. Protect your investment.
4Go Big: The traditional selling points of a laptop -- such as lightweight features, a compact chassis and minimal power consumption -- stand at odds with the PC gaming archetype. For a gaming laptop you want to go big, with a wide screen of at least 17 inches for an immersive picture, a large chassis for good heat ventilation and a number keypad along with the main keyboard so that you can have an efficient gaming setup.