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NYT: The New Breed of Gaming Laptops Get Serious

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the lap-burning-goodness dept.

Portables 312

securitas writes "The New York Times' Seth Schiesel writes about hardcore gamers and the growing trend toward high-performance gaming laptops. Traditional enterprise computer manufacturers like Dell and HP are entering the gaming markets dominated by VoodooPC and Alienware, with the specialty high-end PC makers going the other way and breaking into corporate markets. There are some accompanying graphics and quotes from hardcore gamers about the Alienware Area 51m, Dell Inspiron XPS, and VoodooPC Envy m:750."

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OFFTOPIC!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748354)

FP?

Re:OFFTOPIC!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748364)

2nd post?

Re:OFFTOPIC!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748417)

3rd Kellog's?

True Beauty (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748374)

You told me, I see you rise [thekremlin.net]
But, it always falls
I see you come, I see you go
You say, All things pass into the night
And I say, Oh no sir I must say you're wrong
I must disagree, oh no sir, I must say you're wrong
Won't you listen to me
You told me, I've seen it all before
Been there, I've seen my hopes and dreams
A lying on the ground
I've seen the sky just begin to fall
And you say, All things pass into the night
And I say, Oh no sir, I must say you're wrong
I must disagree, oh no sir, I must say you're wrong
Won't you listen to me
Good-bye horses I'm lying over you
Good-bye horses I'm lying over you

testicles (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748376)

testicles

Desktop... (4, Funny)

hot_Karls_bad_cavern (759797) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748377)

Repeat after me:

i will game only on the desktop.
i will game less than 20 hours per day.
i will go outside and feel the sun.
i will not game on LCD...evar.
i will not play games i cannot stop.
i will game only from the desktop.

Has_Life = False (5, Funny)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748381)

The testimonials for the products are priceless.

The Alienware model is lauded by "Daniel P. Martin, 15, High school sophomore". He crows, "My computer would be going at, like, a frame a second right now".
Like, Danny, how are your grades this year?

Dell's Inspiron inspired "Tori K. Beverly, 16, High school junior" to gush "It's easier to take to parties."
Yeah, the screen hinge is probably great for crushing tabs of X.

But this one takes the cake: "Matt A. Hendershot, 21, unemployed says of the VoodooPC, "I'll trade you my Mustang for it. I'm serious".
I'm serious too, Matt... you need to turn off the computer in your parents' basement and get a freakin' job.
And lose the hat. Jeez.

Re:Has_Life = False (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748442)

With your homepage link pointing to a Dixie-Chicks fansite, I would say you have very little room to criticize.

Re:Has_Life = False (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748578)

.. who would crush tabs of ecstacy with a laptop? hell, who would crush tabs of ecstacy at all? snorting e would hurt like hell!

Re:Has_Life = False (0, Troll)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748587)

Quite a bitter and malevolent post, wouldn't you say? Perhaps you're the one with issues to work out, or some time away from the computer.

Re:Has_Life = False (-1, Offtopic)

ChibiOne (716763) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748603)




Dell's Inspiron inspired "Tori K. Beverly, 16, High school junior" to gush "It's easier to take to parties."
Yeah, the screen hinge is probably great for crushing tabs of X.

Er, probably she meant LAN parties?.

Re:Has_Life = False (0)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748648)

It is quite true these testimonials don't seem to breath confidence in the product. Just a bunch of snotty teens and some post teens who think they are still in their teens. I rather hear something form an Independently wealthy man in his late 20s saying how good the product is. But I am sure that is hard to find because if someone is independently wealthy they can find a more worth while form of entertainment.

Gaming laptops (-1)

Donald Trump (764369) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748389)

I own all three, with the Alienware laptop being by far the best.

The other two laptops? They're FIRED!!!!!!

I don't know... (5, Insightful)

Seoulstriker (748895) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748394)

I don't know how many people really game on their laptops or if they just want that ability, but I know that the only time I would use it would be on long car trips.

But How often do you need to be in that kind of situation to buy a gaming laptop? I have a desktop PC specifically for gaming (among other things) and a laptop for remote work in the library. Is the high latency/low brightness/low color quality of the laptop screens really a good idea for gaming?

I don't know, I always keep my laptop strictly for work and my desktop for everything else. I don't know anyone who would seriously game on their laptop.

Re:I don't know... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748505)

I do mostly because I don't have a computer of my own, and take home my work laptop and play games on it. Not that bad actually, since it has a GeForce chip and 1gig of ram.

Re:I don't know... (4, Insightful)

74nova (737399) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748525)

I don't know anyone who would seriously game on their laptop.
i think that is the point of this article, that this is changing.

Re:I don't know... (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748555)

Well, my budget dictates that if I get a laptop, I'll be getting it instead of a desktop machine. Which means I'll want the laptop to do everything that desktop machine would have done.

LAN parties (4, Insightful)

malraid (592373) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748533)

Subject says it all. It isn't fun to move a desktop around

Re:LAN parties (3, Interesting)

baudilus (665036) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748598)

While still a good option (as far as system speed), if I had one of these I'd still have to bring my CRT (no LCD screen in existence can refresh at 160 Hz). The laptop would save a trip from the car though (keep it in a backpack while you carry the monitor).

Re:LAN parties (2, Funny)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748682)

Methinks you could probably strip down a decent hiking backpack (you know, with the metal frame) into being a decent way to strap on your mid-tower machine.

You'd still carry your CRT in your arms, of course.

Re:I don't know... (3, Interesting)

questamor (653018) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748542)

Gamers aren't geeks any more. That's what's changing.

I know 2 people with laptops used for nothing but gaming, and they're both the kind of guy that would, stereotypically, be said to have a life. They go out, they visit friends, they party, they don't want to geek about at home playing XBox or their PC. So they have a gaming laptop.

Having survived the 1980s it looks like the gaming laptop as I've seen it used has the place of a ghettoblaster... not everyone has them but those who do share with friends when they're out... It's just one more part of the entertainment for them.

(me, I'm a nerd. I don't game and I get off on coding. until coding is entertaining at parties I guess I'm out of luck :)

Re:I don't know... (5, Interesting)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748579)

I have a Dell 600m and I have to say, that laptop LCD displays have improved 10 fold over the last few years. A couple years ago I would never want to play a First Person Shooter on a laptop due to the horrible refresh rates.

On this laptop I can play Enemy Territory with no problems. The display is excellent and even seems clearer then my NEC MultiSync CRT. The laptop has a Radeon 9000 (64mb) which can handle RtCW:ET with no problems (and the new Linux ATi drivers are very good).

Using a USB mouse, there is not much difference in gaming on a laptop then the desktop. The big plus is that there is a lot less to lug around to a LAN party.
I haven't tried new games like UT2004 on it, and will admit I'm afraid to due it being underpowered for a game like that, but overall they do make decent gaming platforms.

But there is no way I'm paying $3000+ for one!!

Re:I don't know... (5, Informative)

kcb93x (562075) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748580)

High Latency? Nope...we play {Halo,Quake III,HL/Steam} at college, on 802.11b, with pings of 20-50, which is not noticible (except when the slow laptop hosts)

Low Brightness? Not a problem, unless I'm outside with the sun in my face or on the screen.

Low color quality? Good enough for me, I can't see the difference in my games versus a CRT, I've ditched the CRTs altogether, but then again, I'm not addicted to having 350,203,234,234^10 colors either. (Yes, I'm exaggerating)

We seriously game on our laptops because they're mobile, powerful and capable. Sure, we have slightly longer load times, but mine (eMachines 6805) gets ~3 hours normally, 1-1 1/2 gaming. And that's with a Desktop Replacement designed laptop.

Re:I don't know... (4, Insightful)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748653)

I had one. a Dell Inspiron 8200 2GHZ 512 MB RAM, Geforce 4 440 GO. Sweet rig. Unfortunately it wieghted 12lbs. Toss is a Mouse, Adpater and extra Battery, DVDs, a good pair of headphones and you got about 16lbs of wieght. Used it during my commute, between classes at school and at work while waiting for experiements to finish oR something to explode. That lasted for about a month. I'm a big believer in the bare neccesities, having the minimum amount of stuff you need for comfortable survival, and 16lb of computer equipment plus my books was just to much.

I parked it on my desktop for another 9 months and then sold it on Ebay. Got a little more than half of what I paid for it, but that was still enough to buy a decent desktop machine from Dell and a 20 inch monitor.

The only time I really missed it is on plane flights, but whats the point of buying a laptop that only leaves your desk twice a year?...

The laptop I buy has to wieght less than 5lbs, have more than 5hrs battery time (without an extra battery) and have kickass specs. So maybe in 2010...

Re:I don't know... (1)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748683)

I don't have what could be called a "gaming" laptop-- solely because the video chip is an Intel onboard-- but I've been using that as my primary gaming computer for a while now. Its only real flaw is the video, but using 3D Analyzer gets around most problems. I've been heavily playing UT2K4, FFXI, and Warcraft III.

Oh, and for those wondering, it's a Gateway something or another purchased new in October with a P4 2.8GHz, 512 MB RAM, and 15" screen. It's a thing of beauty. ^_^

Re:I don't know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748692)

You've obviously never taken a gen-ed college course.

When will NYT get serious? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748402)

When will NYT get serious and get rid of that pointless registration system? Getting tired of the Elmer Fudd at zip code 90210 entry crap.

They need to be easily upgradeable. (5, Insightful)

Trespass (225077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748413)

Laptops need to be able to have video cards that are easily upgradeable for they to really give desktops a run for their money. With a laptop, you've essentially made a commitment to a particular level of video card power for the life of the laptop. I don't like the idea of replacing a $2000 laptop every 18 months for cutting-edge gaming performance.

We really need a common standard for laptop video cards.

Re:They need to be easily upgradeable. (5, Informative)

micradigitalis (708492) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748482)

They are upgradeable-- "Upgradeable Video Modules" [alienware.com]

Re:They need to be easily upgradeable. (1)

UU7 (103653) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748495)

Dell does this now, or at least will ..

Dell Inspiron XPS Preview [anandtech.com]

show me the upgrades!! (1)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748665)

My 1998 Dell Inspiron 7000 had an upgradable video card, but AFAIK, only two cards were ever offered. The only difference was memory size, and since I had bought the bigger size to start with, I could never upgrade.

So, my stance on laptop upgrade cards is "show me the upgrades!". Even buying from a large company didn't assure me future improvements, and I wonder if that isn't part of a company's business plan - why actuall get around to selling the upgrade when you can sell a new laptop?

agreed (1)

andih8u (639841) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748511)

The biggest thing fueling my pc upgrades of recent years has always been games. Let's face it, you don't need a very impressive machine to do word processing, spreadsheets, internet browsing, etc. If you're looking to keep a bleeding edge gaming machine, you'll have to shell out a lot of money for new laptops. Recent games also have very large installs, so you'll run into harddrive space problems fairly quickly with a laptop. Laptops for gaming are great if you've got tons of cash just laying around, but otherwise, I think the desktop will be the preferred platform for quite a while.

No Guys! I mean upgradeable between makes! :) (2)

Trespass (225077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748539)

I really mean something like an AGP slot, but for portables.

Re:No Guys! I mean upgradeable between makes! :) (1)

Krondor (306666) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748558)

The Dell Solution will be upgradeable between makes if other manufacturers standardize on the dell proposal. It is not intended to be proprietary RTFA.

Re:No Guys! I mean upgradeable between makes! :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748572)

You mean the AGP that will now be obsoleted by PCI express?

Re:They need to be easily upgradeable. (1)

rosewood (99925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748594)

I have a discrete video card in my eMachines - I just need to find something better then the 9600 that is in there already!

Re:They need to be easily upgradeable. (1)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748615)

The Alienware laptops feature upgradable Video Cards.
But you are still stuck with the CPU, which is fine since (I think) 3Ghz is plenty for a few more years. Just make sure you also have room to upgrade the memory, but even 1Gig will keep you for a while

I'm running 1.4Ghz on my desktop and am still happy with it, only just now starting to think about upgrading.

Homer quote (5, Funny)

Enrico Pulatzo (536675) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748416)

"Extended warranty? How can I lose?"

That's the first thing I thought of when I read the 17 year-old's quote of the Dell.

Re:Homer quote (1, Troll)

Seth Finklestein (582901) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748537)

Always buy an extended warranty on a laptop. The screen broke on my 15" Titanium Powerbook, for which I had purchased AppleCare. That $350 investment got me a $1,000 screen replacement.

My life companion had a similar experience with his Sony VAIO laptop. Had he not purchased the extended warranty plan, he would have lost $1,000 or more by replacing a screen on a laptop that was only two years old.

Sincerely,
Seth Finklestein
Laptop Buying Authority

Re:Homer quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748626)

Very insightful. Why is this informative, underrated post at -1?!

eMachines too... (5, Informative)

kcb93x (562075) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748422)

I know some of you are going to roll your eyes and go 'eMachines? POS'

However, let me tell you...my m6805 laptop is wonderful.

AMD Athlon64 3000+ (1.8GHz)
512DDR2700 (can upgrade to max of 2x1GB, one of which voids warranty, buried in case)
60GB 4200RPM (Probably upgrade to faster HD soon, this is the only downside)
ATI Radeon 9600 Mobile 64MB (9600 standard, same speeds, only 64MB)
15.4" Widescreen
DVD/CD-RW
10/100 LAN
802.11b/g

This thing works just as well as my desktop almost, except for load times. That's got an Athlon 2800+ with 512MB and a 9600XT. Halo I just have to turn down like one more setting on the laptop.

I'm honestly contemplating selling my desktop and upgrading my laptop more, it's that powerful.

Plus, the warranty is great. Battery died two days ago (don't know why, totally failed) I called it in shortly after that, and they overnighted it for free to me. So 24 hour turnaround on battery replacement.

Re:eMachines too... (1)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748561)

"Plus, the warranty is great. Battery died two days ago (don't know why, totally failed) I called it in shortly after that, and they overnighted it for free to me. So 24 hour turnaround on battery replacement."

Hmmm... I'd prefer, you know, the battery to *not* fail and have crappy customer support than a failed battery and great customer support.

Re:eMachines too... (1)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748618)

Batteries fail *often*. I'm surprised that eMachines even replaced it - most manufacturers will tell you that the battery is a "consumable" and not covered under the warrranty.

Re:eMachines too... (1)

rosewood (99925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748627)

Laptops get abused. Think of the random, dirty power he has plugged into. It scares me to just THINK about it(!)(!)(!)

So, Im not suprised that a battery fails. Everyone has a battery that fails. He got the good support around it, tho.

Don't you think its very cool that they even were good enough to replace it?!

Why game on a PC and not a console? (1, Insightful)

amichalo (132545) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748423)

Help me understand why gaming on a PC that costs $3000-$4000 makes more sense than gaming on a $200 console?

To the topic, I can see if you want to game on an airplane you would need a laptop or some console that doesn't exist today, but isn't a great deal of excitement in games these days all about interconnected gaming with the First Person Shooters?

Re:Why game on a PC and not a console? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748484)

> why gaming on a PC that costs $3000-$4000 makes more sense than gaming on a $200 console?

One word: mouse.

Re:Why game on a PC and not a console? (1)

TwistedSquare (650445) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748492)

I'll bite. If you already have the PC anyway then its gaming on a PC I already have ($0) or buying a console ($200). Also, how do you get mods for games on console? Or shareware/freeware/open source games on consoles? What about the fact that the graphics are better quality on a PC?

Oh and btw - doesn't laptop use on planes cause problems with navigation equipment? Or is it just during take-off and landing that its problematic?

Re:Why game on a PC and not a console? (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748530)

Oh and btw - doesn't laptop use on planes cause problems with navigation equipment? Or is it just during take-off and landing that its problematic?

My step-father often has to make business trips to Korea...he takes his laptop with him and works on the software on the way there...It's a plenty long plane ride.

Re:Why game on a PC and not a console? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748619)

The graphics are better on PC's.

The games are better on consoles.

Re:Why game on a PC and not a console? (1)

TwistedSquare (650445) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748676)

Serious Sam, Deus Ex (can't remember if the original got ported after), Half-Life (and its mods), C&C: Generals, Baldur's Gate 2, X-COM, BF:1942. I would name more but I'm trying to stick to ones that where only on PC (as far as I'm aware). In return I grant you Metal Slug, Sonic, and Streets of Rage as wins for the console ;-)

Re:Why game on a PC and not a console? (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748520)

Help me understand why gaming on a PC that costs $3000-$4000 makes more sense than gaming on a $200 console?

So between games you can post on /.

Re:Why game on a PC and not a console? (1)

LabRat007 (765435) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748597)

For me personally, I really enjoy the edge in tech that PCs have over consoles. I also like many of the games that only really end up on PCs. Is it worth 3-4k? No, absolutly not. I always make my own machines and can usually build a "near" top of the line machine from all the top name (asus, antec, ATI) parts (excluding monitor) for about 1500. Now, that is a significantly lower price but it is still expensive to some(many?) folks. For many including myself this building and upgrading business is half the fun.

What I'd like to see in the future is easily upgraded or modular consoles to keep these people closers to the tech edge if they want to be. Also, console/PC games that can play against each other online. I'm not sure if any are available now (help me here if you can), but I think it could be load of fun.

thats comical (4, Insightful)

theMerovingian (722983) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748424)


Shane M. Kluskowski, 16, leaned over the row of empty caffeine drink bottles that separated him from Victor and said that he was washing dishes 20 hours a week at a nearby diner to pay off his own $2,100 laptop.

"It's the best investment ever," Shane declared. "I am going to keep it for the rest of my life, probably, because I won't be able to afford another one."


Thats what I said about my 266mhz K6 laptop I bought in 1998....

I think every geek felt that way once, when the world was shiny and new.

I'm still using a 266mhz P2 I bought in 1998 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748571)

Hey, it runs TFC and CS just fine.

CNN censorship (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748425)

"CNN sources say the network has bowed to considerable pressure on its editors. Israeli officials boast that they now have only to call a number at the network's headquarters in Atlanta to pull any story they do not like."

Read More... [guardian.co.uk]

Maybe I'm bitter... (3, Insightful)

sczimme (603413) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748427)


but if I were a teen today I don't think my parents would buy me a $3199 laptop for playing games. linky [nytimes.com]

Yeah, this is probably off-topic... (Hey, you kids! Get off my lawn! Meshugganah brats... *grumble*)

PS If your kid is saying "It works as good as a normal computer" perhaps games shouldn't be a priority. I'm just sayin'.

Monster laptop (1)

openSoar (89599) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748445)

coincidently i was looking at this [sagernotebook.com] monster yesterday - it's got a 3.4GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 256MG graphics card and a 60GB hard disk... external floppy drive though :) - almost $4K - ouch!

Recommend (5, Informative)

Kushy (225928) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748446)

When someone asks me for a good gaming machine, I suggest a custom rig... Put it together yourself and have many less problems then any thing you get from Dell...

But for those that need me to come by and install a USB mouse for them I suggest, Alienware, hell yea it cost more... but worth every penny if you can't/won't/don't want to build your own rig...

Warning!!! (5, Funny)

sameerdesai (654894) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748455)

The powerful machines may harm your genitals if you use for longer period of time on your lap!!! Use at your own risk!!

Re:Warning!!! (1)

Monsieur Canard (766354) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748693)

Are we talking heat or atrophy? MaximumPC did a laptop showdown in a recent issue and they were all ga-ga over the Dell XPS.

aren't most gamers upgrade junkies? (1)

tanguyr (468371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748456)

Will they be able to upgrade those laptops to play next year's "latest games". At @$3,000, buying a completely new machine every two years hurts, whereas spending $400 - 700 a year on your tower will keep you in the running for a while.

Why not spend the money on a tricked out mini-itx and find a decent LCD monitor with a small footprint?

Re:aren't most gamers upgrade junkies? (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748538)

Ok, so what is the state of LCD monitors for gaming? Having dropped my CRT at a LAN party last weekend, I went shopping at best buy. Most of the displays on display would show trails/fade/video lag with fast moving anything on the screen... Not what I'd like to be looking at while fragging away.

Re:aren't most gamers upgrade junkies? (1)

tanguyr (468371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748570)

well, if they can make them for laptops, i'm sure they can make them standalone as well. Call Aienware and ask them who their supplier is ;)

Re:aren't most gamers upgrade junkies? (1)

lazuli42 (219080) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748687)

Most of the displays on display would show trails/fade/video lag with fast moving anything on the screen.

One thing to keep in mind when looking at banks of LCD displays is that they're often connected through video splitters.

Affordable video splitters don't necessarily do a good job of reproducing the original image quality. I'ts kind of like making a Xerox of a Xerox.

It's tough to judge the quality of such a moniter unless it's connected directly to the video output source.

Also, for best quality, it should be digital output instead of the old fashioned VGA output.

What's the point of a gaming laptop? (1)

ajutla (720182) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748460)

No, I mean, seriously. I'm not trying to troll, I'm just wondering. I'm a gamer, and I play games on my desktop machine at home, and enjoy doing that. When I'm out travelling, I have a laptop, and I want that laptop to be thin, light, and have long battery life. These gaming laptops are none of these things. Are gamers really going to lug twenty pound monstrosities (Yes, I am exaggerating) around so that they can play NWN for 20 minutes until the battery runs out? That would be cumbersome. And I think I remember reading (in an AP story a while ago) that a Dell rep was asked the same question (what's the point of a gaming laptop) a while ago, and he said something like, "Well, these machines are mostly going to be left at home." Well, if they are, why not just buy a desktop? I just don't really see the point. If you can't carry a laptop around with you, what's the reason to have one?

Re:What's the point of a gaming laptop? (1)

Professr3 (670356) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748534)

They may run best while plugged into the wall and set on a desk just like a desktop, but they're a whole lot easier to take to LAN parties...

Mod +1 insightful, please.

Re:What's the point of a gaming laptop? (1)

seanpecor (627534) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748595)

Exactly. My ProStar 4774 has 4 speakers and a built-in subwoofer module - while travelling it serves as a dandy DVD player with better sound AND video than the typical in-hotel-room TV. And gaming on a 17" 1440x900 LCD is delightful!

Sean.

Re:What's the point of a gaming laptop? (1)

Ymiris (733964) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748661)

I have a nice gaming tower and just bought the pro-star 8674 for work, which with its 256MB video card and the 2 60gig 7200 rpm drives in raid 0 allows me to game anywhere! Why go mobile?! Lets see, sure 20 minutes on the plane, but that isn't really worth it, what IS worth it is coming back from training to my hotel room and being able to play Doom 3 or half Life 2, if I'm stuck in a hotel for a week or 2 I want my gaming rig with me.

Problem is still motion blur (3, Interesting)

RailGunner (554645) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748461)

These new laptops have impressive specs, but the problem is still the LCD displays. LCD's (and even the plasma screens) have just too much motion blur to play extremely fast-action games. And actually it's not just games, it's also TV / DVD viewing. I was at a Best Buy, thinking about getting a plasma screen, but when I saw the blur I passed on buying it. What was I watching? Hockey... So I guess I can rule out NHL 2004 on that laptop as well, and I wouldn't want to see how bad the blur was on UT2004.

That being said, is there any hope that OLED's will alleviate the motion blur problem? Because right now, as far as gaming / DVD viewing, I'm not giving up my CRT.

Re:Problem is still motion blur (1)

kcb93x (562075) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748606)

Blur? What's this blur you speak of? I don't see any on any of mine, even those that are 1-3 years old and have sold off to upgrade. Plasmas blur like a mofo, plus, how far away were you? When you're at less-than-optimal, I've noticed megablur as well.

Re:Problem is still motion blur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748638)

Well, stick with the RPGs. Like Dungeon Siege or Neverwinter Nights. I'm sure those look superb on a laptop.

In Soviet Russia (-1, Troll)

MrRuslan (767128) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748477)

The Laptops played sextris with YOU!

Its a good thing. (1)

Lewis Daggart (539805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748478)

Personally I love it. I'm constantly on the computer, whether its writing music, writing stories, lurking on Slashdot, or playing games. While a laptop would be extraordinarily useful to take with me for writing purposes, I just can't bring myself to buy a machine that won't run my games well. The day I can take a laptop to the park and play games beutifully rendered on the new counterstrike engine will be shear bliss.

WTF (1)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748479)

Are those blurbs in the NYT pics for real? They seriously look like the belong in The Onion.

Maybe it's Groundhog Day and I'm still stuck in yesterday.

That VoodooPC Envy m:750... (5, Informative)

seanpecor (627534) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748481)

is a relabeled and marked up Asian notebook that is also available from http://www.pro-star.com and at a cheaper price. I own the ProStar 4774 and it's the second ProStar I've bought. They're extremely reliable. It's ten pounds of gaming goodness! Sean.

Classic Gaming (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748487)

Along with all the moaning and groaning about how the video game industry is dying, there was an article on the news (BBC or CNN, I forget which) last night about re-releases of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, a pile of Midway and other games coming out this summer for a GBA SP, XBox and some which can be played on a PC.

Are they easily upgraded? (1, Insightful)

nizo (81281) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748490)

It would be nice if you could easily upgrade the video/ram/cpu/etc without having to rip the whole laptop apart. Memory has certainly gotten easier, but you are stuck with whatever video card (at least I have never seen one that is upgradeable) which means when the new games come out in 6 months you are wishing you had an upgradeable desktop instead of a laptop.


Which of course leads to my other rant: I wish they would design PCs so the average joe could upgrade them without having to open the case. Aside from taking away business from companys that upgrade PCs, is there any reason why CPUs, video cards/network cards/etc (except the motherboard of course) couldn't just be encased in plastic modules so that Joe Schmo could just plug them right in (something along the lines of the old video game cartridge)? (Something like the slot1 pentium cpus) This would require drastic changes to the ATX layoug, but it seems like it would be a good thing in the long run.

Re:Are they easily upgraded? (1)

ajutla (720182) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748689)

I'm pretty sure on Dell's gaming laptops you can "sort of" upgrade them, meaning that you call them and pay them to send a technician to your house and install an upgrade for you; you can't actually buy parts yourself and upgrade (that I'm aware of.) I believe, however, that Alienware gives you this option. Still, though, you'd need proprietary parts, so they're not really universally upgradable like desktops are, but at least they're better than most laptops. As for easy PC upgrades, USB is halfway there. You can't upgrade the CPU with a USB peripheral, obviously, but you can get USB sound cards and hard drives. I know a few people who bought USB hard drives simply because they are uncomfortable with the idea of opening up their PC case (and are uncomfortable with the idea of paying someone $$$ to do it.)

powerbook gamer (1)

westcourt_monk (516239) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748493)

I have enjoyed gaming on my albook and beating the crap out of people on Battlenet with it. I hate the LCD though, the game is so much nicer if I plug in the monitor and go that way.

Gaming Laptop vs. Being Economical (1)

Eberlin (570874) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748512)

Ultimately, the choice depends on whether you can afford it or not. A lot of hardware gets pushed by gamers and it'll always be about having the latest and greatest for some people. With laptops, it's a bit more difficult to upgrade.

Games are best played on the desktop, especially if you're the economical type (however economical you CAN be as a gamer, anyway). At least parts are more easily swapped out, and hardware is generally cheaper.

Of course there are people who use their computing power as status symbols, and there's nothing like an uber-powered laptop to have people oohing and aahing over...like a shiny piece of metal to someone with ADD.

Then again I'm kicking myself once in a while because I didn't fork out for a better graphics card on my laptop and thus can't play stuff like UT2004 and can only play ET on the lowest resolutions. However, games are a bonus for me, not the main reason for the laptop.

Re:Gaming Laptop vs. Being Economical (1)

KirkH (148427) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748609)

ET? So they finally ported it to something other than the Atari 2600? Nice!

Hands down best laptop is ... (3, Interesting)

rosewood (99925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748513)

The eMachines m6807 [e4me.com] or if you want to shave off $100 cause you don't care to do DVD burning, the M6805 [e4me.com] .

These laptops kick ASS. Ive had an m6805 since launch and I fucking love it. First, the display is like sex on LCD. The keyboard has a great feel to it, better then some crap desktop keyboards Ive been on. Obviously, you can't game with a touchpad but it works just fine in RTSes. With the 4 USB ports, pluging in a nice optical mouse is no big deal.

This machine rocks. When I use AutoGK I normally get 24+FPS on my encodes to XviD. I can play UT2k4, BF:Nam, Far Cry and more on my "ATI(R) RADEON(TM) 9600 Discrete Graphics with built in 64MB Video RAM." 802.11g means Im killing your ass naked while in bed.

But its an eMachines? Well, before 2002 I would have stopped at the name too. However, being a true tech gadget nerd, I don't let a brand name determine my picks. I let the features and #s speak for themselves. I did a review [elrosewood.com] back when I got it and I still love it love it love it. AND FOR UNDER $1500! I received $250 in rebates and spent $189 on the 3 year warrenty.

Speaking of which, that was the final straw that sold me this thing. Dell, HP, Compaq, WHATEVER -- Laptops BREAK. Maybe the screen, maybe the hard drive, modem, network card, etc. Something is BOUND to happen to a portable system in normal day to day use no matter WHO makes it. This laptop is VERY sturdy so I don't worry about that. However, I know that taking it to class and going from full to E on the battery day in and day out is going to cause some loss of charge on that thing. Guess what? My battery is covered. So is my screen, hard drive, modem, network card, etc. All for $189. The only warrenty that comes close is HP's and according to the fine print, you even install a program that wasn't there OEM, you are in technical violation. It is also considerably more expensive.

If you want a kick ASS laptop, then seriously, pick this bad boy up.

Re:Hands down best laptop is ... (3, Interesting)

kcb93x (562075) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748677)

Preaching to the choir...I posted below the specs of mine as well.

KICK ASS MACHINE.

Went back to return the warranty from BB, the manager said 'oh, the warranty covers more than whats listed' I said, write it down.

So now I have it covered including:
1 pixel
Battery for 3 years
Anything normally covered by eMachines is now covered by BB...(Glad that manager was kinda dumb/really nice)

I had the battery fail 3 days ago, sadly. Called it in, they overnighted a replacement to me. Let's see you beat that for warranty support!

True true about gaming from bed, when I'm done, I just hit the blue-glowing button to have it hibernate, roll over and go to sleep. Doesn't get any better than that.

However, I heard that they've discontinued this model, the next one (supposedly) will have a 9700 and a 3200+ CPU. So if you can find it, the m6805 has DVD/CD-RW, which apparently only BB caries anymore, and Circuit City had the m6807, which was identical except it had a DVD Burner and cost another $100.

Good machine...grab it before it's gone:)

heavy and thick (1)

viniosity (592905) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748529)

The problem with all of these, IMHO, is that they're heavy and/or thick. I'm sticking with my PowerBook G4 precisely because I can get 64MB VRAM and decent processing power under 6# and about 1.1" thick.

Voodoo has one (I think it was the 460) that was great on paper with the exception of missing bluetooth and having questionable battery life..

Re:heavy and thick (2, Informative)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748608)

Two Words: IBM T-Series.

Less than an inch thick, some come with 64MB VRam, most have battery life of 4 hours + (higher end with better batteries are 9 hr +).

Eh... (2, Interesting)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748551)

I don't know, it might catch as a niche, but I don't think gaming laptops are going to be the next big thing. Gaming on a laptop is uncomfortable, you need a seperate keyboard and mouse to get really comfortable, and laptops are limited in terms of resolutions.

What I think would be a much more viable market is pizzabox formfactor computers. Towers are too bulky to lug arround, and laptops are too limited, but something in a pizzabox format (a la Mac LC II / III or sun sparcs) would be more portable without sacrificing much in the way of expandability or upgrades

Re:Eh... (1)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748679)

My laptop is limited to a 1400x1050 resolution with a 85Mhz refresh rate...ya, that just sucks.

Easy to steal too (1, Funny)

jeephistorian (746362) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748584)

"At less than 10 pounds and worth twice as much as a similiar desktop, I can steal these all day and make some serious cash" -- (name with-held) age 17.

Anyone think of battery life? (3, Insightful)

Advan (761361) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748585)

Did anyone notice if battery life is mentioned in that article? Because if it is, I couldn't find it. While a laptop is nice and portable, is a laptop with a one hour battery life really practical? Unless you're hardcore for the LAN parties, I don't think this is really useful. For the $2000+ you spend on a gaming notebook that, with the exception of the Alienware (I think you can upgrade the video chipset), you're stuck with what you buy. At least with a $2000 desktop, you can change out parts in three years when it becomes obsolete.

Pentium IV in a laptop. What a brilliant idea. (4, Interesting)

Sivar (316343) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748590)

Athlon64 laptops with ATI Radeon 9600m video chips have been available since November of 2003. Why would anyone want a desktop Pentium IV chip in their laptop?
You do realize that they can go for all of an hour before needing to be recharged?
How about that the systems aren't really "laptops" at all, unless you like your pants melting to your medium-rare flesh.
The Athlon64 is a better gaming chip and allows for decent battery life (3+ hours) because of "Cool'n'quiet". In the Intel camp, the Pentium-M is an extremely capable processor and uses even less power than the Athlon64. IBM and VoodooPC both have Pentium-M laptops with game-worthy video capabilities.
What's next? Dual Xeon laptops with a car battery backpack accessory? :)

Re:Pentium IV in a laptop. What a brilliant idea. (1)

kcb93x (562075) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748697)

check out the eMachines m6805/m6807. Couple of us already posted about it, see below.

This *is* exactly what you're talking about, and it KICKS ASS.

Re:Pentium IV in a laptop. What a brilliant idea. (2, Informative)

Nuclear Elephant (700938) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748708)

My Pentium-4M laptop runs at 2Ghz, an gives me about 2 1/2 hours of battery life.

Progress (1)

Lewis Daggart (539805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748592)

The important thing here isnt that a group of gamers can get laptops that'll run their games. But the fact that theres a proven market for this means that companies can spend more money on developing higherend portable computers with the knowledge that they'll make a profit. Anything that results in more market driven technology research is a good thing.

C'mon c (1)

LothDaddy (169765) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748604)

Dave Rosonowski.

Will this stimulate upgradability of laptops? (4, Insightful)

genixia (220387) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748630)

Ever since their inception laptops have been marketed to the business sector where the purchasing price is less relevant than the total cost of ownership. In a nutshell, most companies would rather pay more to buy a laptop that has solid hardware support than pay to hire someone who was capable of doing that job. Upgrades for laptops have typically been either proprietory and limited - memory and network, or via pccard which is still limited.

Many personal users, especially gamers, have held the opposing view - buying the best machine that their cash can buy and supporting the machine themselves. Many machines have been given new leases of life through CPU, memory, sound- and graphics- card upgrades. Desktop PCs architecture is incredibly open.

I wonder if the manufacturers will cater to this new breeed of laptop buyers. Will we see upgradable graphics cards? How about an upgradeable motherboard? Will there eventually be a range of components from different manufacturers that could be used to build a completely custom laptop?

I guess that it's time for a new standard. Desktop PCs have had the AT and ATX standards to help ensure physical interoperability between components. Newer standards (FlexATX, MicroATX etc) have helped spawn smaller desktops.

AFAIK, no such standard exists for laptops. Yet.

For Alienwares, do your research (5, Interesting)

Morganth (137341) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748635)

They used to sell one of Sager's [sagernotebook.com] notebooks for $500-600 more and call it their own simply because they spraypainted it grey and inserted an "Alienware" label where it used to say "Sager."

One of my friends spent $2600 on that Alienware and my other one spent $1999 on the equivalent Sager. Both of them ended up having problems after a year because the Sager has a badly designed cooling system.

The bottom line is, Alienware doesn't even pick good models to resell at high prices. I wouldn't trust their notebook. They need to find shitty manufacturers who will let them resell their notebook for a profit by putting a rubberized stupid-looking cover on the top of the LCD screen.

Not to mention that when I bought an Alienware desktop (this was like 5 years ago--that computer definitely didn't last me for life, kiddo), AW was a small company that actually had real tech support (i.e. my GeForce overheated and died, and when I called them they overnighted me a new one, no charge). Nowadays, they are just like every other tech support troupe--probably based out of India, but if not, just as bad.

Stay away... and please do your research.

Shared Memory on onboard video cards? (1)

AcquaCow (56720) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748641)

I have noticed that all of these laptops feature "mobile" versions of the graphics cards. These cards all utilize shared memory as well.

Is there a reason that the cards don't come with their own separate memory?

build your own laptop. (1)

Anubis333 (103791) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748654)

I dunno, I decided to get 'serious' a while ago, and just converted an old laptop [Kaypro II] into a luggable desktop [chrisevans3d.com] . It has everything I need, including a 10K RPM SCSI RAID, etc.. Also this finally put to rest the squabbles we used to get into at SIGGRAPH [siggraph.org] over who's laptop could render the fastest. OK, the solid steel reinforced frame puts it in at over 50 pounds, but I'm happy when I get where I'm goin. I know it's not for everyone, but I am not the 'I want to watch my own inflight movie, mew, mew, mew' type anyhow. It's great for going to conventions and being able to get some serious work done, not to mntion a great tribute to a great machine, long live Darth Vader's Lunchbox!

Favortie song? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8748659)

I bet Dave with the Alienware has the song "Feel the Vibration" by Marky Mark as his Windows startup.

Something is seriously wrong here. (0, Offtopic)

blair1q (305137) | more than 10 years ago | (#8748694)

How long has the NYT been putting periods in the acronym "C.P.U.", and if it's not standard practice then how did it ever get past the eds?
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