Even if you don’t roost under a rock, chances are that you will rarely gaze upon the gaming laptop genus in office. Luggable, but only just, because for most of us these notebooks belong to a different planet of computing. Gaming laptops are all about ultra-high performance, desktop-pedigree processors, beefy, dedicated high-speed graphics cards, high-resolution screens, and as much RAM and video RAM as you can plonk in. Battery life, weight—and, er, cost—are secondary issues really for this class of mobile computer.
Among the hottest mobile multimedia monsters in the business today are the Alienware Mx, the MSI GT and the Asus G series laptops. Freshest off the assembly line, the Alienware M11x features the Intel i7 processor. As is evident at first glance, you don’t modify such laptops to fit the gaming category, they are to the genre born. The overall appearance is distinctively chunky. Yet they are extremely edgy in styling. Blazing quad-core processor performance, eye-popping graphics-rendering capabilities aside, the ergonomics of these machines have large palm rest areas to allow for extended, unbroken hours at the keyboard. The keys themselves are more ruggedly built to take the exigencies of more forceful, impassioned pounding and hammering.
Then there is often some amount of “gamer bling”. Typically, this comprises customizable lighting for different sections of the keyboard, or cool glowing logos, or natty strip-light trimmings that set these laptops apart instantly from the sedateness of a regular home or business notebook even at first glance. Backlight keyboards ensure no-fumble play even in the dark.
Gaming laptops usually have magnesium and other moulded-metal enclosures. Not so that you can throw them around, but because all those powerful components inside give off a lot of heat. And these metal cases dissipate heat better than plastic ones. LED backlit displays today ensure not just lighter bodyweight but also increased power saving. A reflective coating on screens mitigates distraction. They can come with Blue-ray drives, HDMI and USB 3.0 ports, solid state hard drives, et al.
To the genre born: Alienware Mx is fresh off the assembly line.
To produce that amazing realistic imagery on the fly without a stutter, gaming rigs can’t depend on the CPU alone—however mighty it may be. These machines come with something called a dedicated graphics processing unit (GPU). This takes over the tasks of rendering (drawing) all the complicated graphics from the CPU. A GPU provides the isolated horsepower to tackle the complex algorithms that produce today’s intensely photorealistic on-screen imagery and fluidity of movement—sans choppiness, blurring, lag or drag. In fact, there are experts who believe that in the coming years, real processing power in PCs will be all about GPU muscle.
The games these laptops are designed for have a huge element of realism or video-film quality graphics, lifelike motion and all the on-screen special effects imaginable. Graphics that shun any awkward robotic, cartoon-like jerky movements and play out on the screen as realistically as if it were on camera in a real-world situation. The idea behind all this is to make game play as engaging, intense, and therefore, as lifelike as possible.
So while regular video playback requires images at 30 frames per second (FPS), games such as Unreal Tournament 3 can demand a whopping 100 FPS from the hardware.
Recent entrants such as the Asus ROG G53 3D have taken laptop gaming to the next level with 3D graphics. It means you have to don a pair of 3D glasses to eyeball the third dimension, making the game more intense and engaging.
Yes, as we said, these laptops are expensive and leave you poorer by much more than Rs 1 lakh at the minimum. But if you’re a blue-blooded gamer, with extreme prejudice for roadworthy silicon-on-steroids performance, a price tag is just an incidental wayside impediment.
And though it may be hard to believe for casual—and also regular and not so occasional—gamers like most of us, serious gamers don’t mind nuking their bank accounts to get what they want when it comes to buying hardware. Little wonder then that most high-end gaming laptops are so expensive.
Now who would want a laptop like that? Top-deck gaming aficionados and fanatics who want their regular dose, even on the go. Plus, in any case, we’re not talking about simplistic arcade games. Or those visually simplistic Duke Nukem or Need for Speed you’ve pawed on your regular desktops, or notebooks for that matter. Those look like, well, mere games!
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