The portable PC is a fantastic product but often it does not meet the requirements of the gamer, yet there are laptops capable of meeting all possible and imaginable uses, games included! If the 15.6-inch models present a very good compromise between power and mobility, by picking in other diagonals, it is possible to favor power or mobility!
A “classic” laptop is a compromise between weight, size, power, functionality, autonomy, and price in order to satisfy the greatest number of users. Laptops for gamers emphasize power and more specifically the graphics card, but the processor is not to be outdone. On the flip side, powerful components consume more than the average and gaming laptops do not generally stand out for their autonomy, nor for their "mobility" due to their weight and dimensions.
Choosing a "gamer" laptop is more or less the same as choosing the components of a tower built for gaming. The keystone of graphic performance, the 3D card is the most determining element in performance. There is however a direct relationship between the onboard power and the size of the laptop. Due to the heat dissipation mainly of the CPU and GPU (s), the most efficient components can only take place in larger laptops.
The high-end GeForce GTX and Radeon HD are the most relevant for this requirement. The most powerful laptops even carry an SLI or CrossFire X! These radical solutions are however reserved for large models (17 inches and more). 15.6-inch laptops are generally equipped with smaller GPUs to contain the heater in a more compact chassis. Finally, the most mobile machines, 14 inches and less have GPUs generally comparable to those of the 15.6 inches but in the “deflated” version: lower frequency to limit heat dissipation.
Currently, 1 GB (per GPU) is the union minimum for the graphics card of a portable “gamer”. In terms of memory, the GDDR5 is more efficient than DDR3 for economic purposes, but the choice is not always possible.
Always before our eyes, a quality bright screen with a mat finish (to avoid reflections) is also very important. Besides the size of the machine (as well as its weight and the integrated power), it also conditions the resolution. The 15.6-inch laptops are available in single HD or 1366x768 pixels as well as in Full HD or 1920x1080 pixels. The largest diagonals often go hand in hand with Full HD while below 15.6 inches the screen is usually in HD. If a Full HD screen allows you to get the most out of games, you obviously need a more powerful GPU than driving an HD panel. An intermediate resolution exists, 1600x900, but it is not as common as the other two.
Gaming-oriented notebooks generally have a perfectly adapted Core i7 Quad-Core processor. If budgetary imperatives impose choices, it is better to keep a powerful graphics card and fall back on a Core i5. It should be noted that in mobile processors, Core i7 is not synonymous with the Quad-Core processor! Indeed, there are Core i7 Dual-Core. Their advantage compared to a Core i5 is quite limited.
Gaming laptops are generally large, their size facilitates the integration of many components. From a diagonal of 15.6 inches, it is not uncommon to have two 2 ½ inch bays, which allows you to opt for an SSD (OS and most used games) and a hard drive (storage ). Note in passing that two 2 ½ inch bays open the way to RAID 0. A notch below in terms of performance, a hybrid or ExpressCache system consisting of a hard drive seconded by a “mini SSD of a few tens of GB” (generally in mSATA) offers a good compromise. When only one bay is available, unless you pay the price, you will have to compose between a 256 GB SSD or a large hard drive. On the optical unit side, a DVD burner is part of the standard equipment (unless you go below 14 inches). The Blu-Ray burner or the Blu-Ray DVD burner combo player are reserved for high-end models.
In terms of memory, even if the games are mostly 32-bit, 8 GB is a minimum to play in good conditions. Since many machines have 16 GB in series, you don't really have to worry about RAM.
The sound part must be treated. A big subwoofer built into the underside of the machine is a big advantage. For reasons of space, this kind of equipment exists only on machines of 15.6 inches or more. If the microphone and the webcam are part of the standard equipment, two audio jacks for connecting a gaming headset are essential. Finally, the digital (optical) audio output is interesting for people who connect their laptops to 5.1 systems.
For a portable gamer, you should not focus on the finesse of the machine. A "certain thickness" is necessary for ventilation. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that there are many air inlets, some of which also play an aesthetic role. In terms of design, manufacturers are currently agreeing on black chassis in a “soft touch” finish and a rather angular silhouette.
The general trend is towards LEDs; not only for the backlighting (sometimes customizable) of the keyboard but also to illuminate certain parts of the machine. While talking about the keyboard, the presence of a numeric keypad (widespread from 15.6-inch laptops) is almost essential for some games. Programmable function keys are a plus. A large multi-point touchpad is an ergonomic advantage even if it is automatically replaced by a mouse to play. If different profiles (game, surf, movie, silence) are always predefined in Windows, a button or a wheel to switch between these modes is very practical.
Generally, gaming laptops offer rich connectivity with the essential Gigabit Ethernet interface, several USB 3.0 ports and digital video output (HDMI or DisplayPort). Other connectors are interesting depending on the use: VGA, eSATA, S / PDIF, USB 2.0, memory card reader, etc. For the wireless part, Wifi N is still available but Bluetooth is not generalized.
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