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Specs Needed For A Good Gaming Notebook

Jun 26, 2008
A few years ago, pc gaming on laptops and notebooks was nonexistant because they lacked the necessary hardware to play games adequately. First off, I am not talking about games like solitaire or any other simple pc game. I am talking about games like Crysis, Age of Conan, Counterstrike, Grand Theft Auto, and so forth. All these computer games require decent graphics cards and the majority of all onboard graphics cards will not suffice to play these games. So, let us get down to the specs.

CPU:
These days, you will find only dual core and quad core cpu's available for gaming notebooks. So, which do you need. The majority of all games will not use multiple cores. Actually, many do not even use two cores. However, having a fast quad core does not hurt because it can actually help with loading the game and loading the maps but the actual gameplay will still only use one or two cores. So, the best option if you consider pricing is to go with a good, fast, dual core cpu. For example, in this case, it would be better to go with a 3.0GHz Dual Core than a 2.4GHz Quad Core.

Memory:
For new computer purchases, your only option is Vista now. XP is going End of Life at the end of June so you will only be able to purchase computers with Windows Vista now. With Windows Vista, the minimum amount of ram I would recommend is 2GB. 4GB is not necessary but it does not hurt so it is up to you. But remember this, with Windows Vista 32bit, the operating system will only recognize around 3 to 3.5GB of memory. To use all 4GB of memory, you should go with a 64bit operating system.

Graphics Card:
The graphics card is the single most important hardware for a gaming computer. The majority of the hardware requirements needed for pc gaming is the graphics card. Integrated, onboard, graphics cards will not suffice for most of the pc games on the market. You need a discrete graphics card from nVidia or ATI. The best gaming notebooks on the market today use nVidia graphics cards like the 8800GT or the 8800GTX cards and with SLI configurations, which is basically two graphics cards working together to split the workload. However, with SLI configurations on a notebook, you may run into overheating issues and of course battey usage issues. Discrete graphics cards produce quite a bit of heat and with two of them in a notebook, this is something you have to watch out for.

Battery usage:
This is not a spec per say but it is more of a warning. Most notebooks have a couple of hours of usage but the harder you use your notebook, the shorter the usage time, right? Once you start a game, your notebook usage for everything, cpu, memory, graphics cards, etc., skyrocket and if you are on battery power trying to play a game, you can count on only having less than 30 minutes of usage on a full charge. So, gaming on the go is not very practical.

Weight:
The other thing is that even though you may not be gaming, gaming notebooks have a bigger battery usage right away with all the extra hardware. This actually means that you may be getting a bigger battery just to compensate so that you still get at least a couple of hours of normal usage. With all the extra hardware and a bigger battery, you may be getting a notebook that is much heavier than other regular usage notebooks.
About the Author
George Yang is a Product Engineer at a computer company that deals with custom configurations for desktops and notebooks. More information can be found at Gamers Notebooks & Laptops
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