A well built chassis, a few dazzling stickers, some high-powered components, and lo and behold, a great gaming laptop is ready! Sounds great, doesn’t it? Alas, if things were so easy–every Tom, Dick and Harry in campus would have been churning out the perfect gaming PC!
The fact of the matter is that for a gaming notebook to be tagged top-notch, it must be equipped with some key hardware features. First and foremost, the graphics processing unit–this is the standout specification that determines how good, or bad, your gaming rig is. The faster the GPU, the better immersive gaming experience you can expect from the notebook. And yes, it’s always better to go in for a discrete graphics card instead of an integrated GPU–if your primary requirement from the laptop is the gaming factor.
Then comes the processor–as you would be aware, the CPU determines the overall speed of your PC, irrespective of whatever activity (even non-gaming stuff) you are doing with the system. And not to forget that the true potential of a fast GPU can only be realized by a really powerful processor. You might also be interested in top 17 inch laptops in India
One should also factor in the screen resolution and quick refresh rates–after all, who doesn’t like to enjoy those fast-paced games at really big resolution? Finally, a good gaming laptop should have a minimum hard drive capacity of 320GB and RAM of between 4GB to 8GB.
So keeping these prerequisites we have compiled a list of the five best gaming notebooks currently available in India (arranged in the ascending order of prices).
What you get: This, in some ways, is regular notebook on steroids—or rather with heavy-lifting graphics card—that lets you enjoy gaming as well.
Measuring 37.85cm x 25.8cm x 3.4-4.1cm (width x depth x height) and weighing 2.94kg, the HP Pavilion DV6 2005AX is powered by a fast 2.20GHz AMD Turion II Dual-Core processor–which ensures pretty good system speed. Users will find dedicated vertical Scroll Up/Down pad and On/Off button in the touchpad, and an integrated numeric keypad in the full size keyboard.
A built-in ATI Radeon HD 3200 video graphics card (with 64MB display cache memory and 1GB video memory) and a 15.6-inch high-definition display that renders a screen resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels create an immersive gaming environment where the hot-blooded gamer in you can fully unleash himself.
Running on the Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit operating system, the HP Pavilion DV6 2005AX’s other key hardware specifications include a hard drive capacity of 320GB (7200 rpm) and a memory of 4GB which can be expanded to up to 8GB.
Wireless connectivity options include Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The laptop comes with multiple external ports including 4 USB 2.0, 1 HDMI, 1 eSATA, 1 VGA, 2 headphones-out and 1 mic-in. To give you further options for plugging in all the latest gaming video files, there is a 5-in-1 integrated Digital Media Reader for Secure Digital cards, Memory Stick, MultiMedia cards, xD Picture cards and Memory Stick Pro.
Finally, to protect your gaming kingdom from pirates, the device is equipped with a so-called ‘Integrated Fingerprint Reader’ software that secures your laptop. Are you into gaming consoles? Read Top gaming consoles in India
Our take: The HP Pavilion DV6 2005AX does have a couple of negatives–while loaded, it runs a tad hot; also, the battery life, courtesy a 6-cell Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery, isn’t that great. Still, for its Rs.44,000 price tag it carries, this laptop packs quite a punch, combining its cool looks and a rather muscular build with solid performance–particularly in gaming.
What you get: How does one define the Dell Alienware M11x (Core i5)? A feature-laden gaming laptop shoe-horned into the chassis of a portable netbook, would be an apt description. Weighing in at just under 2kg and measuring 286 x 233 x 33 mm (W x D x H), this device is powered by a 1.06GHz Intel Core i5-520UM processor (with 3MB of cache).
The M11x’s real strength lies in a preloaded discrete 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 335M GPU which is automatically turned on or off by NVIDIA’s graphics-switching Optimus graphics technology, depending on what you’re doing. So users can keep on working without interruptions, with no need to reboot the system.
The netbook features an 11.6-inch display, with an optimum resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels–allowing gaming maniacs to enjoy their Street Fighter and Dragon Age series in high-definition mode. While the screen is glossy and reflective, it gives adequate brightness to nullify bulk of the aggravating reflections.
Sounds all fine, but can the Dell Alienware M11x walk the talk when it comes to actual gaming performance on the ground, some of you might ask? Well, some web-surfing here and there suggests its scored pretty high on 3DMark06–a leading PC benchmark tool that measures the 3D gaming capabilities of a graphics card, based on wide-ranging real-time 3D graphics and processor tests–at its native resolution.
For those of you who want to enjoy gaming on an even bigger monitor and hence need a proper gaming mouse and keyboard too, the M11x offers three video-output ports (D-Sub, HDMI and DisplayPort), three USB docks, an Ethernet jack, a multi-format card reader, a four-pin FireWire socket, two 3.5mm ports for two sets of headphones, and another 3.5mm jack for a microphone. This Dell netbook, for sure, is leaving no stone unturned to become the central hub of your gaming set-up!
Based on 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium operating system, the M11x’s base model gives you a 250GB hard drive (7,200rpm)–320GB and 500GB models are available, too (be ready to pay extra). As far as memory capability goes, one can choose from 2, 3, 4 or 8GB of RAM.
Our take: What’s missing then from the party, one might wonder? Well, the lack of an optical drive in this netbook’s base model is a letdown for us. But that blip apart, the Dell Alienware M11x (Core i5), priced Rs.50,000 in India, is just about the perfect portable gaming notebook PC for you–thanks to its relatively light weight and fantastic performance.
What you get: Touted to be the world’s first notebook with NVIDIA’s GPU-switching Optimus technology, the Asus N61Jv is powered by a dual-core, 2.26GHz Intel Core i5-430M processor.
The laptop comes with two graphics cards–an integrated Intel GMA 4500MHD GPU for performing light tasks such as sending emails and editing documents, and a discrete 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 325M graphics card which takes care of loaded activities like playing the latest games or movies.
The N61Jv’s 16-inch screen renders a 1,366 x 768-pixel resolution, enabling high-definition playback. A preinstalled proprietary graphics optimization suite, called ‘Video Magic’, upscales standard DVDs to full HD (1080p) with refresh rates up to 72 frames per second. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an HDMI port.
This Asus gaming laptop features the SonicMaster audio Technology which is said to minimize audio distortion, optimize sound separation, reduce environmental interference, and fine-tune noise balance and volume. The device has 2-channel Altec Lansing speakers which deliver outputs of 2.5 watts.
You also get 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard disk drive (5400rpm), an 8xSuper Multi DL optical drive and a 2-megapixel web camera.
Our take: Boasting a really powerful CPU and two performance-rich graphics cards, the Asus N61Jv, available for Rs.52,000 in India, is a handy laptop to have some gaming fun while on the move, not to mention its excellent multimedia capabilities.
What you get: For those of who had been craving for 3D gaming on a portable PC, your prayers have been answered. The Asus G51Jx 3D is the world’s first gaming laptop that is 100% compatible with NVIDIA’s 3D Vision technology–a mixture of graphics processor units, customized 3D glasses, applications and certified displays and projectors that render most games in immersive 3D on workstations or PCs.
This Asus notebook is equipped with a NVIDIA GeForce GT 130M GPU with 1GB DDR3 VRAM, which offers decent gaming capabilities. Powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Core i7 720QM processor, the device sports a 15.6-inch screen whose fast refresh rate of 120Hz removes blur and loss of image fidelity (extent to which an electronic device can accurately reproduce the image of its input signal). The LED backlit display renders a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, ensuring HD playback.
You get a pair of battery powered 3D glasses to enjoy all your favorite games in 3D mode.
Running on Windows 7 Home Premium operating system, the Asus G51Jx 3D features a 500GB Hard Drive (7200rpm); a Blu-Ray DVD Combo Optical Drive; a 2MP web camera and expandable memory of up to 8GB.
Our take: The Asus G51Jx 3D breaks a critical barrier by being the first laptop to incorporate NVIDIA’s 3D vision technology. Plus, it gives a fast Intel Core i7 processor and pretty acceptable gaming performance.
However, all things said and done, this notebook is still a kind of a proof-of-concept system–the 3D gaming market is still in its infancy. Considering its price tag of Rs. 78,000 in India, this pricey showpiece is only for those with real deep pockets and those who are really passionate about the idea of 3D gaming.
What you get: Welcome to the king of gaming laptops–the Dell Alienware M17x, which is available in more configurations than one can possibly imagine for a notebook today, and which delivers real value (read, fantastic gaming experience) for the hefty price tag it commands.
Starting at 5.3kg and measuring 405.89mm x 321.31mm x 51.31-53.59mm (W x D x H), this Dell device is enclosed in an aggressively lined, anodized aluminum chassis which is equipped to handle thermals efficiently.
The Intel Core i7 CPU that drives the M17x’s top-notch performance comes in three variants–1.6GHz Intel CoreTM i7 720QM, 1.73GHz Intel CoreTM i7 820QM and 2GHz Intel CoreTM i7 920XM. (Interested in controller-less gaming? Read Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect in India)
For the video graphics card, one can choose from Single / Dual 1GB ATI Radeon Mobility HD 4870 GPU. And for those of you looking to maximize your games’ settings with super-fast frame rates, there is the ATI CrossFireXTM which offers up to one teraflop (a trillion floating point operations per second–the fastest parallel computing capacity) of pure graphics power.
A built-in BinaryGFX technology lets users switch between discrete or integrated graphics, while in a so-called ‘Stealth Mode’, the Dell Alienwar M17x’s discrete graphics cards are turned off and other components are moderated to realize a 65W power limit. The laptop sports a 17-inch dual CCFL and WLED back-lit LCD screen with a response time of 8ms.
External ports include 4 Hi-speed USB 2.0 docks; Center Speaker and Subwoofer Audio Out Connector / Headphone Jack; an 8-in-1 Media Card Reader; HDMI, Front Speakers Audio Out Connector / Headphone Jack; VGA – Video Output; 1 eSATA/USB 2.0 Combo with PowerShare; Rear Surround Audio Out Connector; Audio In / Microphone Jack, and two Built-In Front Speakers.
There are three operating system configurations–Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit; Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit; Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit–available for buyers to select from. An equal number of choices–DVD writer, Blu-ray Combo and Blu-ray Burner– are there for optical drive. RAM options include 4GB, 6GB and 8GB DDR3. Hard drive capacity starts at 640GB (5,400rpm). Finally, you also get a 2MP webcam.
Our take: We do have a couple of complaints against the Dell Alienware M17x, though. One, the USB sockets are placed too close for comfort–it’s really frustrating when one tries to plug in bulky peripherals, only to discover that they obscure more than one USB dock!
Secondly, the M17x’s trackpad is quite unresponsive as the device’s ‘QuickTouch’ system control pad deploys touch-capacitive sensors to access and manage Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as power and volume controls.
Overall, though, the Dell Alienware M17x is really worth its Rs,1,39,000 price tag–considering the fantastic array of customization options, a stylish chassis and mind-boggling performance it offers.