Custom Gaming Laptops – Five Things You Must Consider When Building a Gaming Laptop

by: Laura Alter

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 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.

Fortunately, gaming laptop LCDs have come a long way and they are only getting better. While once it was impossible to game on a laptop screen, the gaming laptop LCDs of today offer 25 milliseconds or less rise and fall time while generally off-the-shelf laptops have 40 milliseconds or less rise and fall time.

Contrast. If a gaming laptop LCD has poor contrast, that means that the black areas aren’t quite as black as they should be and the white areas aren’t quite as white. This is important to a laptop gamer because you have to see the game properly -– as it was intended to be seen -– in order to compete effectively. Look for a contrast ratio of 400:1 or higher in a custom gaming laptop computer.

Viewing Angle. This is an often-overlooked LCD feature, but it must be considered if you are building a gaming laptop computer. Many high quality LCDs on the market are difficult to see clearly at any angle other than straight on and at the right height. This can be a big drawback to gaming on a LCD screen because a screen with poor viewing angles won’t allow others to watch the screen as you play and also hurts your view when doing something as simple as adjusting your seating, which can require you to then adjust to position of your laptop screen to see it properly again.

But gaming on a laptop does not mean that you are doomed to have poor viewing angles. There are LCDs on the market that have amazing viewing angles –- up to 120 degrees. These screens not only allow gaming onlookers, but they also allow you to use that giant, crisp screen to do things like play movies and even make presentations.

Size. In a gaming laptop computer, size is everything. Most gaming laptops are large, robust pieces of electronics. Having a machine of this stature means you also get to have a large screen. The best gaming laptop computer LCD screens out there are at least 15 inches. A crowd favorite is a 17 inch widescreen (even with the challenges that widescreens present). Largr 19 inch laptop screens are just starting to be talked about with consumers expecting to see 19 inch or even large models on the market in the near future.

The best way to really get a feel for what laptop LCDs are all about is to take a trip to a local box store and play with the LCDs on the display laptops while keeping in mind what you have read here. While these laptops are not custom gaming laptops, you can see what the sizes really look like, what different resolutions look like, and what the viewing angles truly are so you can start to develop your own preferences.

The RAM – What Type and How Much?

The RAM (random access memory) found in laptops is called SODIMM (small outline dual inline memory module). The RAM is responsible for your processing power. If you are shopping for a custom gaming laptop, you will generally be offered DDR2 RAM with the choice of how much you want in your computer. Most high-end games being released today need 1GB of RAM for optimum, lag-free game play. Some people are going with 2GB to ensure that they can run multiple applications along with the game and not experience any slow down in response time. This is a large investment and you want to be able to use this gaming laptop for some time in the future. Most custom laptops are user upgradeable, but this should be left up to professionals.

The CPU – Not Just Mobile Technology

The CPUs (central processing units) found in many custom gaming laptops are identical to those found in desktops. These chips require a great deal of cooling power, which in turn can make your laptop louder than light weight, lower power ultra portables when the fans kick on and it can become somewhat warm to the touch. Don’t be alarmed by this -– it is normal. And with these desktop processors comes screaming power! Don’t waste your money on the latest CPU release that likely has an inflated price tag (and that price will likely come down before long). Stick with a current CPU speed that is offered by a reputable custom gaming laptop reseller, and you really can’t go wrong.

The Gaming Laptop Hard Drive

This is the final component to consider when building a gaming laptop. Laptop hard drives come in a variety of speeds and capacities ranging from 4200 to 7200 RPMs and 40 to over 100 GBs. For the most part, this is user preference. Whenever possible, go for a 7200 RPM hard drive, but if you need a capacity not offered in this speed, it’s okay to go for the 5400 RPM drive. Take a look at your current computer, and buy your capacity based on this. Also keep in mind that with many custom gaming laptop manufacturers, you have the ability to upgrade or add another hard drive at a later date.

At the end of the day, gaming laptop computers are all about power. Don’t expect a twelve-pound notebook with a desktop processor, numerous fans, a giant heatsink, and independent video card to last on battery power all that long. But do make sure to enjoy the jawdrops that you’ll get as you walk into your regular LAN party location with your new, screaming-fast gaming laptop computer. Crack that puppy open, fire it up, and stand clear of the drool as you take on your favorite game with fellow gamers gathered around to take in the action. Gaming is not just for desktops anymore!

About the author:
Visit www.PCTorque.com for the latest in custom laptop news and technology. Make sure to stop by one of our system builders to ‘virtually’ build a fully custom laptop with real time pricing updates.

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3 Simple Ways To Save A Bunch Of Money When Buying A New Computer!

by: Kris Bickell

Looking to buy a new computer?

Overwhelmed by all of the options available to you?

Stressed by the high cost of computers today?

For most people, buying a new computer does not have to be as stressful as buying a new car. Nor does it have to be as expensive. If you’re like most people, and you have a limited budget for buying a computer, then you need to try to get as much computer for your money as possible.

Here are 3 simple ways anyone can save money when buying a new computer:

1) Shop around for best deal.

Sounds pretty obvious. But many people don’t realize they don’t need the fastest, most expensive computer with the most “extras”. In fact, if you are already using an older computer, even the least expensive new computer will be a big upgrade. If you don’t know a lot about computers, you can learn a lot by shopping around. Ask lots of questions, compare prices, compare features, then find the best price. Shop at your local electronics store, and look for the best deals online. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save by shopping around!

2) Install your own “extras”

Many computers you will find in a store have a lot of extra software already installed. While this is convenient, it is not always the best way for you to save money. Also, while many of these extras sound good, you don’t always need them. You can often find better deals by shopping around separately for your own software extras (such as a word processor, anti-virus, popup blocker, spyware removal, games, etc). And some of these you can get for free. So before you buy the “fully loaded” computer, ask yourself if you really need all the extras, then shop around to see if you can buy a scaled down computer – and get the extras yourself for much less!

3) Don’t buy extended warranty

If you are not a computer “techie”, the extended warranties offered by the computer retailers often sound like a good idea. After all, who wants to be bothered paying for service on a computer after you buy it. But keep in mind that most computers come with a warranty, and most computer problems will either happen at the beginning (when you still have the warranty in effect) or much later (when it might be cheaper to buy a new computer). Technology changes very quickly these days. So consider whether or not it’s worth the inflated price of the extended warranty. And, if you really feel you need the extended warranty, then ask to purchase it at a lower price. Not all retailers will negotiate on the warranty, but some will. And whether you buy the extended warranty or not, make sure you back up all your files periodically, just in case!

If you have an unlimited budget, consider yourself lucky. And if you do business on the computer, make sure you get what you need, while trying to keep the price down. At any price, buying something that does not fit your needs is not a good deal.

Hope you find these tips helpful, and happy computer shopping!

About the author:
Kris Bickell is the owner of Hi-Speed-Internet.com, a helpful site for consumers comparing high speed internet services. For information on high speed DSL, Cable, and Wireless Internet, visit: http://www.Hi-Speed-Internet.com,and sign up for the free email course “5 Simple Ways To Increase Your Computer Speed”. © 2005 Hi-Speed-Internet.com

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Advice about the most up-to-date advice with reference to computer virus.

by: Tom

When you are trying to find the best information relating to computer virus, you will find it hard separating quality information from ill-equiped computer virus suggestions or help so it’s prudent to know how to qualify the advice you are presented with.

Avocent: Network Security Solution
Provides KVM switching and network connectivity solutions for data centers. Includes desktop, rackmount and wireless KVM connections and extenders.

Here’s a few guidelines which we think you should use when you are searching for information about computer virus. Understand that the guidance we give is only applicable to internet advice about computer virus. We are unable to offer any advice or guidance when you are also conducting research in books or magazines.

INSA: Network Security Services
Reseller of network security products, including firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention devices, anti-virus appliances, and more.

An excellent piece of advice to follow when you’re presented with help and advice regarding a computer virus web is to research who is behind the website. This may show you who owns the site computer virus authorizations The easiest way to reveal who owns the computer virus website is to look on the ‘about’ page or ‘contact’ page.

Any worthwhile website providing information on computer virus, will almost certainly provide an ‘about’ or ‘contact’ page which will record the site owner’s contact details. The details should make known some advice about the owner’s necessary expertise. This means you can conduct an appraisal about the webmaster’s depth of experience, to offer guidance about computer virus.

About the author:
Joe Brown is the webmaster for http://www.detailsspecialnews.info

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