Laptops and gaming are two terms that usually are not associated. Laptops are smaller, have less power and room for expansion than desks, which have long been the platform of choice for hardcore gamers. However, in the past 2-3 years, this perception has changed dramatically. With the emergence of fast, powerful and affordable gaming laptops, gaming has gone truly mobile. Companies like Dell, Alienware, etc. have built up massive businesses selling affordable gaming laptops to a hungry market.
Power, speed, expansion, customizability and battery life were the five key issues impeding the development of affordable gaming laptops. While desks have plenty of room to cram in powerful graphics cards, laptops have limited resources on this count. Additionally, while a desktop can draw pretty much unlimited power and use multiple fans for cooling the unit, gaming notebooks do not have such luxuries. Consequently, the development of affordable gaming notebooks was slow, stifled by the limitations of the platform.
With shrinking component sizes and lower power requirements in addition to enhanced cooling solutions, affordable gaming laptops have become a reality rather than pipe dream. Companies such as Alienware have specialized in fitting top-tier, powerful components in lightweight, durable and affordable laptops – a mean engineering feat given the size of the average laptop. Today, the average consumer has a wide variety of choices when it comes to picking an affordable gaming laptop. Nonetheless, there are a few things you should keep in mind when looking for a value for money gaming notebook:
1. Graphics Card
The graphics card is the heart of any gaming laptop that powers it through high end games. This component is also one of the most power hungry, and generates a great deal of heat. Look for something that has at least 512 MB of onboard memory. GeForce and ATI are the two major brands in this department.
The processor is the soul of any affordable gaming notebook. The faster the processor, the better the performance of the system. Make sure that your system has at least a dual core processor, if not more. Intel's new range of i3, i5 and i7 processors perform exceptionally well in laptops, although the older generation Core 2 Duo range still packs a punch.
Simply put, when it comes to RAM, the more the merrier. 2 GB of RAM should be a minimum, although you should ideally look for 4 GB.
4. Battery Life
What good is an affordable gaming laptop if it can not power your system for more than 30 minutes? Battery life is a key issue with gaming notebooks as components like graphics cards and powerful processors take up a huge amount of battery power. Make sure that your laptop battery gives you at least 1-1.5 hours of gaming on a full charge.
5. Screen Size
A 13 inch screen will never offer the same gaming experience as a 17 inch screen. Get the largest screen that you can, though this will typically mean increased weight and reduced portability. Neverheless, in any affordable gaming laptop, a 15 inch screen is a must.
With the plethora of options at your disposal, choosing an affordable gaming laptop can be a difficult task indeed. But if you focus on individual components and read up what others have to say online, you will be able to find a gaming laptop that is just right for you.