In this section, we provide you with a comprehensive outline of all the essential components in a notebook that are needed in order to be considered the best gaming laptop. We will go over hardware essentials, product designs, and innovations from some of the most dominate and well known computer hardware manufacturers in the world. We will also give you a heads up on some do’s and don’ts for performance and go over some upgrades you can make to your existing gaming laptop to help improve the PC gamer experience. This page is meant to inform those who might not necessarily know what makes one gaming laptop better than another; also to give details on crucial laptop components that are essential to any laptops performance and educate readers on the specifics of laptop hardware. Lastly, I will go over a list of my personal choices for best gaming laptop and detail why these particular gaming laptops are a cut above the rest.
Gaming Laptop Hardware Essentials
Graphics processing is quite possibly the most important component of a gaming laptop. A video card is a laptop or PC component that helps the CPU with video rendering and displays. The video card can accelerate both 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional graphics rendering. A program such as Photoshop or web browsing programs like Google chrome and Firefox, may benefit from 2D acceleration, while Computer-Aided Design programs (CAD) and video games will be able to use the video card’s 3D acceleration. The more intense PC games will require an extremely high performing video card just to be able to play said games. Early on, video cards were mainly used as video output terminals and did not really require any additional processing support. But as the technology became more and more demanding and sophisticated, addition video processing was needed just to maintain optimum performance. With the introduction of the Graphics Processing Unit(GPU), video games have been able to achieve new levels of 3d rendering. This is a quality that has become very apparent is recent years with the development of 3D rendering functions that are capable of performing millions of simultaneous images in a single 3D sequence. A high performing graphics card will make a huge difference in these types of games. The best gaming laptop equates to having the best graphics card.
Video cards are also known as: graphics cards, video adapters, display cards, graphic adapters. The best gaming laptop would include one of these high performing video cards: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 765M, NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 780M graphics card with 4GB of GDDR5 dedicated memory, GeForce GTX 760M graphics card with 2GB of GDDR5 dedicated memory or the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M.
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
The over-all data processing for your entire gaming laptop system is done by the Central Processing Unit (CPU) The CPU is associated with the General Processing Unit and Arithmetic Processing Unit of a PC, which are now configured into one chip. The CPU handles the majority of computations in a computer and also works as a task manager for which ever operating system is installed on your PC. Most CPUs are a CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computing) type with extremely vast data libraries of dedicated commands that provide more processing power, which allows more CPU features to be added to a chip. If the Hard Drive of a computer is the brain, then the CPU is the heart. You can direct relate the speed and efficiency of your gaming laptop to a few crucial components and the central processing unit is at the top of that list. CPU speeds are measured in Megahertz and Gigahertz as a result of running a certain number of cycles per second. So, if a CPU has a rating of 3.0GHz, then the processor can achieve 3000 commands per second. I would suggest being very particular when choosing the CPU on you gaming laptop for the simple fact that they are relatively difficult to upgrade. so the one you choose will have to measure up throughout the life of your gaming laptop.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
RAM is another very crucial component for a gaming laptop. RAM stands for Random Access Memory. It is used as temporary storage for programs that are actively using memory while your PC is in use. So, while a program is running and needs to execute commands, your RAM is where that information is stored. Because the information is considered “random”, the function of RAM is not to save the data after the commands are executed. Therefore, when your laptop is not in use, there is no information saved in your RAM. It is meant solely to actively facilitate running programs. The most popular type of RAM today is DDR (Double Data Rate) and is a definite must in any gaming laptop. DDR3 RAM is said to be 30% more efficient then its predecessor (DDR2) and achieve a higher output rate. Most processors today only support the DDR3 configuration, such as Intel’s i7 and the AMDs Phantom series. Without going too far into the benefits of RAM, all you really need to know is that, the more RAM you have, then the faster and more efficient your programs will run. The type and amounts of RAM you well need to have the best gaming laptop are:
Dedicated Video Memory
Dedicated Video Memory is pretty self-explanatory. It is RAM that is exclusively for your video memory. This allows the rest of your computers RAM and processing to be freed up for other applications. Having dedicated video memory is a great addition to your computer’s memory especially when it comes to PC gaming. Since PC games are very demanding on your video card and graphics system, the dedicated video memory will allow you to be able to use the appropriate amounts of RAM to execute video task that would otherwise have to share memory with the rest of your PC programs.
Cache Memory is a smaller amount of memory integrated into your computer’s motherboard and acts as faster memory than the RAM and; is used to store faster, more frequently, used memory. Cache memory is extremely involved and very particular when it comes to decided what will be store as cache. Mainly, if data is being accessed more frequently, then it will be stored as data lines in the Cache Memory. These “cache lines” of memory include a copy of the data as well as the location of the information on the hard drive. When the processor needs to access this information, it first will check the cache memory and if the data is available in the Cache memory, then the processor will immediately retrieve the information from the cache and execute the process much faster than retrieve from the hard drive memory directly. Having a good amount of Cache Memory is very beneficial in gaming applications and for everyday processes. Data transfers can be instantly accomplished and processes are much more efficient as a result of high amounts of Cache memory.
Screen Types and Sizes
The two types of screen you will typically find in any laptop are LCD (liquid Crystal Display) and LED (light Emitting Diode). First is LCD. LCD stands for LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY. They are Crystals that contain liquid and that are affected by electric current. Rather than the crystals producing light themselves, they reflect and/or transmit light form and external source. Next is LED. LED stands for LIGHT EMITTING DIODE. This type of display uses diode tubes instead of the standard cathode tubes like most liquid crystal displays. Like in the description, these types of display emit their own light. They use less energy and produce a more even and brighter display which in turn will give better clarity. Now the LED displays use an energy efficient light emitting diode for the back-lighting which is not only saves on cost of electricity, but also actively runs at a much cooler temperature than the cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL) used in traditional LCD screens. Which seems a little deceptive based on the inherent nature of the “cold” lamps. Running at around 20 to 30 percent more efficient is what makes the LED displays just an all around better choice for most, if not all, new gaming laptops. Choosing a size of laptop screen is really a personal choice by the consumer, mainly because screen resolutions remain relatively the same between the different sizes of screens. Typically the most popular size is a 17 inch screen. But if portability is a priority of yours, then you don’t really want to go any smaller than a 14 inch screen. For PC gaming, you will notice a difference in visibility between the two so, as a preference of my own, I would stick with the 17 inch.
Hard Drive Types, Different Set-Ups and Sizes
As a result of recent innovations in hard drive technology, there are a few different types of hard drives that remain efficient and viable in high performance. The HDD (Hard Disk Drive) is a data storage device that is use to write and retrieve digital information to and from your computer. An HDD uses a rotating disc that is coated with magnetic material. Unlike Random Access Memory (RAM) hard disk data is retained even when your device is powered off. But like RAM, the data is stored as Random bits of data so, it can be retrieved or stored in any order rather than sequential. Without getting too far into how a HDD works, the main thing to take away from a HDD is that the main storage unit for your computers data, and the bigger the hard drive, the more data you can store. Pretty straight forward, right? The other main type of Hard Drive is the Solid State Drive (SSD). A Solid State Drive offers a faster upload time due to the fact that the SSD does not have moving parts and can retrieve data faster than a traditional 5400rpm hard drive. This innovation in hard drives provides a much faster boot time as well as speeding up the launch time of programs and games. They are more quiet and run at a lower latency than an HDD; they also use about 30% less energy. Because SSD’s are a relatively new advancement in hard drive technology, they are quite a bit more costly than the traditional HDD, but in my opinion, make up for it with excellent performance. Any laptop that is going to be considered the best gaming laptop will most definitely be equipped with a Solid State Drive. Setting up a RAID 0 (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) is a very crucial part of any gaming laptop. You can do this when you have two or more hard drives located on one computer. This set-up increased hard drive performance by striping data through all of your hard drives. By using each individual hard drive’s data BUS, you will be able to transfer data more efficiently. RAID 0 configurations are pretty standard for high performing PC’s that demand more of their hard drives, than any typical data transfer.
Product Designs and Innovations
The Razer Switchblade UI
Product innovations are a very distinguishing characteristic of gaming laptops. It is the difference between having a good gaming laptop and the best gaming laptop. Certain innovations stand out a little more than the others and the first one of these is Razers adaptation of a LCD interface called the Switchblade UI. The Switchblade is a combination of a multi-touch LCD track-panel and 10 dynamic adaptive tactile keys. The multi-touch LCD track-panel has: a 4.05″ display size, full color LCD with 800 X 480 screen resolution, an 89.2mm X 53.6mm active touch area, equipped with 4 point multi-touch gestures and has left and right click buttons. The 10 Dynamic Adaptive Tactile Keys are: 15mm x15mm per key, are 115 X 115 pixel resolution per key, have a 2mm travel distance, are optimized for comfortable viewing and have 10+ pages of custom icons. The Switchblade comes with an application manager that lets you customize the applications that you can view. You can also browse and download different applications as well as rearrange and delete existing apps. Not only are these applications designed by Razer but there individual developers creating new and insightful apps all the time, so you are sure to get exactly what you want out of the Switchblade. The multi-touch LCD track-panel has two modes. One of the modes acts as a display for information, like a second screen for browser info or video. The other mode works as super-sensitive track pad for use as a mouse-type interface. This innovation from Razer has raised the bar for gaming laptop technology and is, in my opinion, the best design adaption for gaming laptops. The only gaming laptops or devices that are equipped with the Razer Switchblade interface are: The Razer Blade ,The Razer Blade Pro and The Razer DeathStalker Ultimate Gaming Keyboard
The Samsung Dial Configuration Mode
Samsung has entered the gaming laptop world with the introduction of the Samsung Series 7 Gamer laptop. And with their introduction, they have brought a new product innovation with the Quick mode dial. It is an easy-to-use Optimized Mode Dial located on the side panel of the Series 7. If you’re like me and use your gaming laptop for more than just gaming then you can change your laptop settings at the turn of a dial in order to get to most efficient performance. With a Balanced, Battery-Saving, Gaming and Quiet Mode, you will be prepared for any environment you find yourself in. I feel the Optimized Game Mode is the most impressive innovation from Samsung’s laptop series. While in Game Mode, the CPU is turbo cooled, the Windows key and Touch pad can be disabled so they are not activated by accident. Also the main gaming keys are highlighted in Red and there is a special wallpaper with theme controls. This simple concept of a quick change in settings is very insightful by Samsung. The only device I’m aware of that is equipped with the Samsung dial configuration mode is the Samsung Series 7 Gamer
Killer Doubleshot Configuration
The tech company KILLER has just come out with a new configuration using their Killer Wireless-N 1202 and their KillerE2200 Ethernet. The set-up is called Killer Doubleshot. Using Advanced Stream Detect technology, the Doubleshot can automatically classify and prioritize network traffic. With this configuration, the Doubleshot will give you the lowest latency connections for high quality streaming, HD video and online gaming. It will also give you up to five times the speed of a typical wireless configuration which means, faster downloads and a much smoother online gaming experience. With the Advance Stream Detect you also get complete control of your network configuration so; you will be able to monitor which programs are using the most bandwidth in order to regulate them, so your networking can continue uninterrupted. Killer has brought about new levels of wireless networking with their innovations and it makes them a definite addition to the best gaming laptop.
Keyboard and lighting
One of the more common product designs of gaming laptops is unique keyboard configurations and back-lit keys. Now as far as back-lit keyboards are concerned, there isn’t must advancement in gaming performance. Cosmetically, they are pretty cool to look at but outside of setting special color coding for your gaming, there is not much else they do. You can find them being used by most prominent gaming laptop manufacturers like: Razer, MSI, Alienware and Samsung, as well as many others. Keyboards configurations, on the other hand, have had some advancements that are worth noting, mainly the key types and shapes of the keys themselves. For instance, the Samsung Series 7 Gamer boasts a gaming keyboard that has a 2.7mm keystroke which is supposed to minimize user errors. It may not seem like a note worthy advancement but if you’ve ever played any intense matching online, then you know that every little bit helps when it comes to execution during online battles.
Upgrades for your current Gaming Laptop
Hard Drive Upgrade
A Hard Drive upgrade to your existing gaming laptop is a relatively easy modification that can improve your systems overall performance. It might seem like a little more to take on then your average gaming laptop owner may be willing to do; but with the right know how, the task can be a lot more simple than you may have previously thought. First you have to make sure you have a hard drive that is compatible with your current gaming laptop. The dimensions of the hard drive are important as well since this new hard drive will have to fit in the same spot as the previous hard drive. Next you will have to transfer an exact copy of your existing data onto the new hard drive. “Cloning” requires a specific cable to transfer the data and also requires the right software to perform the task. Once both these things are done, you are ready to remove the old hard drive and replace it with your new, faster, better upgraded hard drive. If you do decide to upgrade any part of your system, make sure you research first and be 100% sure you have the right tools and know how to perform the upgrade. Having the best gaming laptop is important for performance but having a functioning gaming laptop comes first.
Adding RAM to your existing gaming laptop is quite possibly the quickest and easiest way to improve your systems overall performance. You will be able to activate more simultaneous programs, the running programs will be able to run more efficiently and you will be able to decrease load times on running programs and applications. Faster Browsing speed will also be achieved with the addition of more RAM. I would recommend upgrading RAM first before trying any other types of performance upgrades. The most important thing to remember, when upgrading your RAM, is to make sure that your new RAM is 100% compatible with your current gaming laptop. It is easy to install, just find the location of the RAM on your gaming laptop and remove the old RAM and install the new. Not much to it but be sure to research all the installing information you can before attempting any upgrade.
Quick tip for performance
Is it a good idea to overclock your system?
Overclocking is method of manipulation on your system’s parameters that will allow you to speed up the clock frequency that has been specified by the manufacturer for your system. Almost all overclocking techniques use more power and generate more heat which, in turn, can make your system unstable. Overclocking your system can be very beneficial for some people and a real problem for others. I would not recommend overclocking if you are not 100% confident in your ability to properly make these changes to your system. The consequences of improperly clocking your system can be very disastrous, up to and including complete system failure. There are certain recoveries that you will not be able to perform so, backing up your system is always recommended when make any adjustments to you systems parameters. And always keep in mind that a slower gaming laptop is always better than a non functioning gaming laptop. There are a few companies that will overclock your system for you. Origin PC offers professional support on all their products sold and will overclock your system as part of a purchase of select merchandise. This is the route I would recommend to those who are looking to get a little more out of there system and have the best gaming laptop around.
My personal choices for Best Gaming Laptop
The MSI GT70 Dragon Edition 2
The MSI GT70 Dragon Edition 2 is maximizing performance with its new extremely impressive hardware and design. As an honoree of the prestigious CES Innovations 2013 Design and Engineering Award, MSI has represented themselves as one of the premiere technology manufacturers in the world. With so many new advancements in hardware, it will be hard for the competition to keep up with all that the MSI GT70 Dragon Edition 2 has to offer. MSI was the first company that was able to incorporate the Killer DoubleShot configuration. The Dragon Edition 2 has been ahead for the competition since day one with this lightning fast network set up. On top of that, the MSI GT70 is equipped with the latest Intel core i7 processor and one of the best video cards which is the NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 780MA with 4GB of GDDR5 dedicated memory. Another very important quality of a gaming laptop is style(in my opinion of course). MSI’s laptop design has the best look i’ve see on a gaming laptop to date. For more information see the MSI GT70 Dragon Edition 2 gaming laptop review.
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The Razer Blade Pro
The Razer Blade Pro has just been introduced and it is the thinnest laptop ever developed specifically for the PC gamer. As you may know, Razer has been the standard for the PC gamer ever since the introduction of the original Razer Blade. Boasting the most innovative designs with the Switchblade UI, and hardware specifics that deliver the best gaming performance, the Razer Blade is still one of, if not, the best gaming laptop that can be purchased to date; which is what makes The Razer Blade Pro so impressive. Setting a new standard in gaming laptops, The Blade Pro now gives you all the benefits of its predecessor, in a thinner, lighter, more portable device that will deliver extreme performance for even the most demanding PC gamer. Razer has been at the forefront of PC gaming technology since their start in 1998; producing some of the most innovative technology and designs that the community has ever seen. So when the Razer Blade Pro was introduce the expectation of it being the best gaming laptop were not only met, but exceeded. Equipped with all the latest technology that computer hardware manufacturers had to offer. The latest Intel Core i7, RAID 0 configurations, the latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M graphics processor, and more RAM and Hard Drive speed/space than ever before. For more information see the Razer Blade Pro gaming laptop review.
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The New Alienware M17X
Whenever you hear the name Alienware, it is usually in reference to PC gaming excellence. At this years E3 expo the newest additions of Alienware’s gaming laptop series were introduced. The new Alienware M17X had been equipped with the latest hardware to surpass the competition in performance and design. The 4th generation of Intel’s cor i7 processor along with an abundance of memory and efficiency is what make the M17X a top contender for best gaming laptop. With a new aluminium casing and stealthy design the M17X looks as cool as it runs. There is also the Alienware TactX, which is four programmable keys for the user which provide four distinct functions to improve in-game response and execution. The AlienAdrenaline feature also included and offers personalized shortcuts and the ability to monitor energy consumption while in game mode. For more information see the New Alienware M17X gaming laptop review.
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The Origin EON15-S
Origin has set more than set the standard for customer satisfaction, their “origin” for evolution has been retention and customer appreciation . Every Origin laptop is Hand-Built by Certified ORIGIN PC Specialists and comes with the lifetime labor, phone and online service guarantee. Origin knows how dedicated a true PC gamer is and they reassure that, once you purchase an Origin EON15-S, they will be with you whenever you need them. Customer Service is very important to me and I feel that Origin offering this promise is a great addition to an already great experience. I am confident that your experience with the Origin EON15-S will be very fulfilling and encourage everyone to check out originpc.com. For more information see the Origin EON15-S gaming laptop review.
The iBUYPOWER Valkyrie CZ-17
The iBUYPOWER Valkyrie CZ-17 is a terrific example of how PC gaming has been making its way to become completely portable while maintaining the performance and precision of any desktop. With iBUYPOWER becoming the official gaming PC of major league gaming, they have been representing the standard of high performance gaming to the community and to the everyday consumers that just loves video games. While keeping the PC gamer in mind, the Valkyrie CZ-17 is completely customizable, offering you the chance to orient your new gaming laptop to the exact specifications that will keep you ahead of the game. For more information see the iBUYPOWER Valkyrie CZ-17 gaming laptop review.
The MSi GS70 Stealth
The MSi GS70 Stealth has risen the bar in PC gaming and is now the thinnest and lightest 17″ gaming laptop ever produce by any gaming laptop manufacturer. The GS70 is .86 inches tall and narrowly beats out the Razer Blade Pro which was previously the thinnest gaming laptop at .88 inches tall. Not only is this gaming laptop the lightest and thinnest but it is also equipped with some of the newest and most innovative hardware that is out there today. If you were looking for the latest and greatest gaming laptop that is being sold today, It doesn’t get any better than this newest edition to the MSi platform. For more information, click the image.
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