Gaming laptops are ridiculous. They’re built like armoured tanks, probably weigh as much as one, and almost always feature glowing lights all over their casing.
But they’re also engineering marvels—packing in top-of-the-line components into sleek casings, and able to play even the latest video games with a smoothness alien to a portable device. Most feature powerful, dedicated graphics processing units or GPUs, which provide the horsepower most latest games require, and fast, speedy processors.
A number of speciality gaming laptops have been launched recently in India, with MSI’s GT 660 the latest among them. The 660 has a glowing white logo and a luminescent red slash across its back, like Knight Rider meets Battlestar Galactica. Its innards include a powerful Nvidia GPU (the 1 GB GTX 285M, for those curious) and proprietary cooling systems to keep the laptop temperature within manageable levels (a common concern in most high-end systems).
MSI launched the GT 660 at the BYOC Pro Gaming Championships, held on 25 June in Delhi. But it’s not just the hard-core gamers MSI is trying to lure. “This is a market with great potential. A lot of creative professionals, for example, would really want a high performance machine,” says Frank Hsu, product and marketing manager at MSI India. The company is targeting 1,000 units per quarter at this “initial stage”, but says these targets will soon be revised upwards. MSI’s GT 660 is priced at Rs1.25 lakh.
The Taiwan-based ASUS launched the G51J-3D in April, a gaming laptop that comes bundled with a “3D Vision” kit that allows you to play a library of over 200 games in stereoscopic 3D. This, of course, means greater processing power is needed, and the G51 includes a fast Intel i7 processor (which are usually seen only on desktop computers) and an Nvidia graphics processing unit as powerful as MSI’s GT 660. The G51 is priced at Rs99,000.
Other firms such as Lenovo and Samsung do not have specific laptops targeted at gamers, but push the “gaming” angle with some of their new models. “It’s definitely a focus, and our latest launches, such as the Ideapad Y560, offer serious gaming facilities,” says Amar Babu, managing director of Lenovo India. The Y560 comes packed with up to 8GB of RAM, and a dedicated ATI Radeon HD 5730 GPU. Samsung offers the similarly beefy R480, with a 14-inch LED display.
The oldest and arguably most famous laptops in the gaming line are the Alienwares. Alienware is a US-based hardware company wholly owned by Dell, and is famous for its high-end, distinctively sci-fi themed laptops (with names such as “Aurora” or ”Area 51”). Dell launched the Alienware series in India (with the m11x and m15x models) in September, and recently updated the line with beefed-up specifications. “It’s a small, nascent market at the moment, but it’s growing fast,” says Mahesh Bhalla, general manager of Dell India’s consumer business division. “With growing disposable incomes, and the youth wanting the latest in technology, we believe it will be a sizeable business in the next two years.” Bhalla says the laptops , which start at Rs70,000, might be favoured by ‘those who want a powerful, high-end rig to carry around”, but admits that the Alienware brand exists for one purpose only. “These are machines built, made and designed for gamers.”