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John Gaudiosi

Professional Video Game Expert

Best Gaming PC Laptops & Best Notebooks for Video Games

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When it comes to gaming on the go, new technology from chip makers like Nvidia and AMD have allowed gaming laptops to become smaller, lighter, and more powerful. Most importantly, many of today’s gaming laptops also last much longer on a charge, which is a must for those long flights. The following is a rundown of some of the best gaming laptops money can buy, followed by a list of some of the best buys for your money.

Find the best gaming PC laptops from Dell, Gateway, Asus, Apple MacBook Pro and others with our help. We suggest the best notebooks for video games with the power to play your favorite games with ease.

Best Gaming PC Laptops by John Gaudiosi

The Best You Can Get

  • Alienware Area-51 m17x

    John says: Although now owned by Dell, the Alienware brand remains its own separate entity based in Miami. One of the first companies to start creating high-end, customized gaming PCs, Alienware is known for its glowing alien head logo, which has blue LEDs for eyes. It also has a reputation for very expensive machines that don’t have the best battery life. Although there are laptops available across the price spectrum, this is one of the ultimate high end portable PC gaming experiences available.

    This laptop sports a 17-inch Clearview LCD screen, a Blu-ray disc writer, a blistering fast Intel Core 2 Extreme CPU, 4GB RAM, built-in Wi-Fi, Vista Home Premium, and high definition audio surround sound. This powerful monster will play the latest high-end games like Call of Duty: World at War and Need for Speed: Underground for those who have unlimited cash flow.

    • 17-inch Clearview LCD screen
    • Blu-ray disc writer; built-in Wi-Fi
    • Intel Core 2 Extreme CPU
    • 4GB RAM; Vista Home Premium
    • High definition audio surround sound
  • Dell Metabox D901C

    John says: Dell continues to make its own gaming laptops to keep its foothold in the very lucrative extreme gaming category. This laptop uses a desktop PC quad core processor, which means it’s going to run the most advanced PC games at the highest resolution in a snap. This type of power on-the-go does have its toll in reduced battery life, but picking up a spare will allow for cross-country and international flights filled with PC gaming.

    The Metabox features a 17-inch LCD screen and comes with a Blu-ray Disc burner that allows high definition movie viewing. For gaming, Nvidia’s latest video graphics card (8800M GTX) features all of the new in-game offerings like PhysX for super fast gameplay. Storage won’t be an issue with the 1.5TB hard disc drive, plenty of space to store games and HD movies. This laptop also runs Vista Home Premium.

    • 17-inch LCD screen
    • Blu-ray disc burner and high definition movie viewing
    • 8800M GTX video graphics card
    • 1.5TB hard drive; Vista Home Premium
    • NVIDIA® PhysX™ for accelerated game play
  • Dell XPS M1730

    John says: Similar in design to Alienware’s laptops, the powerful and durable Dell XPS comes in red or black with a glowing XPS logo. This behemoth comes with a Blu-ray Disc drive burner, an UltraSharp 17” widescreen display. Two Nvidia GeForce 8800M video cards ensure the latest games will run super fast on this laptop with absolutely no frame rate lag. I have to point out that this laptop’s display (1920x1200 resolution) is one of the best I’ve seen. Games like Call of Duty: World at War really come to life with this TrueLife technology.

    • UltraSharp 17” widescreen: 1920 x 1200 resolution
    • Two Nvidia GeForce 8800M video cards
    • Blu-ray disc drive burner
  • Gateway P-6831

    John says: This gaming laptop was designed to get people’s attention. From the customizable ambient lighting features, which has a Halloween flavor of lighting, to its 15.4-inch high-resolution display. This device was made to handle the best shooters on the market today, while offering all the processing power for on-the-go computing. This sleek laptop sports a full-size, copper-bordered keyboard and number pad, a large touchpad and a touch-button volume control. Games like Call of Duty 4 looked awesome thanks to Nvidia’s 8800M GTS video card, which gives gamers a lot of power for the money. Gamers will get a solid three hours of battery life for fragging enemies non-stop.

    • 15.4-inch high-resolution display; Nvidia 8800M GTS video card
    • Made to handle the best shooters
    • A full-size, copper-bordered keyboard and number pad
    • Large touchpad and a touch-button volume control
    • Three hours of battery life
  • Vigor Artorius Pro Design

    John says: This mainstream gaming laptop packs Intel’s Turbo Memory and DirectX 10 for solid performance, especially at this price. This 8.4-pound black notebook with red-stripe trim is available in additional colors (red, gray, blue and yellow) for $139. Games look great on the WUXGA 1920 x 1200- pixel widescreen display, as do DVDs. The Artorius utilizes Nvidia’s GeForce Go 8700M GT card. One drawback was that some games didn’t run as well on DirectX 10, but were fine on DirectX9. Frame rate issues occurred in detail-oriented games like Company of Heroes. All of the action sounds great as the 2.1 channel speaker system emulates 7.1 surround sound output. Unreal Tournament 3 sounds great on this laptop. Like most gaming laptops, this one clocked in at just under two hours of battery life.

    • 8.4-pound notebook
    • Comes in Black (or Red, Grey, Blue, or Yellow for an additional cost)
    • WUXGA 1920 x 1200 pixel widescreen display
    • Nvidia’s GeForce Go 8700M GT card
    • Just under 2 hours of gaming battery life

You will be happy with any of these

  • Asus G50V-A1

    John says: This is one of the best gaming laptops for those with realistic budgets. It packs a lot of gaming power for a fraction of the cost of other brands (It’s $1,500 less than a comparable Alienware Area-51 M15x laptop.) With its gamer-friendly design, which includes glowing LEDs on the lid and orange metallic accents on the keyboard deck, this 15.4-inch laptop is what I use on the road. It has an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, an Nvidia video card and a Blu-ray Disc player. Express Gate software lets you access media and the Web without booting Windows, which is nice. The high resolution display is near 1080p resolution, which is perfect for today’s high definition games and movies.

    • Gamer-friendly design
    • 15.4-inch screen
    • Intel Core 2 Duo processor
    • NVIDIA GeForce 9700M GT
  • Gateway P-7811FX

    John says: Gateway's budget-minded gaming rig offers a 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo P8400, Nvidia’s GeForce 9800M GTS graphics card and a high definition 17-inch screen (1920 x 1200 resolution). Games like Epic’s intense shooter, Unreal Tournament 3, blazed on this laptop with 117 frames per second. In fact, the quality of gaming on this laptop is comparable to the much more expensive Alienware Area-51 m17x, which uses the same graphics card. When it comes to bang for your buck, this gaming laptop will keep on going. Its batteries lasted nearly three hours of shooting action.

  • Asus M51SN

    John says: Another option from Asus is the M51SN, which has an Intel Core 2 Duo T8300 processor, an Nvidia GeForce 9500M GS graphics card and a 15.4-inch WXGA color shine glare LCD screen (1280 x 800). While this is a slightly older model, it does the job when it comes to gaming on a budget. The Nvidia graphics card can run demanding games like F.E.A.R. and Unreal Tournament 3 with respectable frame rates. Your money goes a long way with this multimedia laptop, which also comes with a rewritable DVD player for movie viewing. As a result of the lower-end specs, the battery life gets a boost.

  • Dell M1330

    John says: Although not as good overall as the Asus M51SN, this Dell offers a solid gaming experience for a minimum amount of investment. It packs an Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 processor and a GeForce 8400M GS video card, which delivers solid gaming on the go. This is an older laptop and the 8400 video card doesn’t run as cool or as fast as the 9500. That said, this laptop has a respectable speed of 667 MHz. The screen features a sharp, crisp picture that brings all of the top games to life in vibrant color. If you can’t find the Asus M51SN, this one is a great gaming option.

  • Apple MacBook Pro

    John says: The word Apple has never been synonymous with gaming, but then again, before the iPod, Apple and music didn’t exactly go together either. While PC gaming has been a staple of Windows-based machines forever, Apple has finally committed to Mac gaming. The company is putting Nvidia 9400M video cards in its MacBook Pro. Coupled with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 320GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM, this is a beefy gaming laptop, as well as a great overall multimedia device. The 13.3-inch LED backlit screen will run any of the recent Mac games like Unreal Tournament 3, Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat, and Quake IV with vibrant graphics and clarity. While there aren’t as many Mac games on the market as PC games, that should change moving forward with this Nvidia partnership.

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