Custom Gaming Laptops – Five Things You Must Consider When Building a Gaming Laptop
Gone are the days when you would have been laughed at if you walked into an all-night LAN party carrying your trusty laptop and expecting to hang with the giant computer towers standing at everyone’s feet. The gaming laptop computers of today sport huge, crisp LCD screens, cutting-edge PC Hardware video cards and full-size keyboards. Not only can these gaming laptop computers hang with the standard clunky computer tower, but they can also be ordered fully custom to meet the exact specifications of any gamer.
Since there are so many customizable components in these laptops, a standard practice has been to create what some call a “system builder.” This is the page where you get to add and subtract components through drop-down menus in order to create the best gaming laptop computer for your needs and your budget. This type of page can be overwhelming to someone just starting the gaming laptop shopping process, but it is very manageable if you take it just one component at a time.
The Gaming Laptop GPU
This is the heart of a gaming laptop computer. The GPU (graphics processing unit) is a component that will make or break your gaming experience. If your GPU isn’t up to snuff, your games won’t play.
Without getting into specific models since they change all the time, the key is that the graphics card not share resources with the computer. A gaming laptop video card must have its own memory on board. Generally speaking, standard off-the-shelf laptops will not have this feature. The two current makers of laptop video cards are nVIDIA and ATI.
Without the Screen, You Don’t Have Much
What good is a gaming laptop without a screen that can actually render your games? Now certainly, you can connect an external monitor, but if you can’t actually play on your gaming laptop without that external monitor, then your laptop isn’t all that mobile.
While the technology and terminology for LCDs (liquid crystal displays) could take up an entire article in itself, there are a few key points to keep in mind when choosing from available LCD options for your new gaming laptop computer: native resolution, aspect ratio, rise and fall time, contrast, viewing angle, and size.
Native Resolution. The native resolution is simply the setting at which your screen will render the clearest images. Since games are constantly in motion, slightly soft edges may not bother most gamers, but keep in mind that while this is your gaming laptop, you will likely also use it for other things like surfing the Internet. If the resolution isn’t comfortable, you aren’t going to enjoy using it.
Aspect Ratio. As you probably know, a movie theater screen and a TV screen have different proportions. Likewise, there are widescreen format gaming laptops and there are laptops that have a standard aspect ratio — like that of a TV. A widescreen format gaming laptop (a 16:10 ratio) has advantages and disadvantages. Many games today do not have a widescreen mode. This means that the game may stretch across the screen and become distorted or you may run it with black bars that fill in the sides. There are ways to get around this, but if you want an out of the box perfect experience, the widescreen format may not be for you.
That said, a widescreen LCD does offer plenty of screen real estate for web surfing and other type of computer activities, and a game played in a wide format setting offers an expansive field of view. For this reason, there are some very loyal widescreen-loving gamers out there.
Do your best to find a balance between current and future technology and what your computer habits are beyond gaming. Even with its limitations, the widescreen format is found on most of the best gaming laptop computers.
Rise and Fall. The phrase ‘rise and fall time’ is used to describe how fast the LCD can respond to changes. In the past, LCDs have been plagued with the inability to render images as fast as computer games can spit them out. This presents a major problem for laptop gamers because if they can’t see the images properly, they can’t play the game properly. This lag can mean the difference between playing to win and barely playing.