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Graphic designs: Six speedy 17-inch gaming laptops

Lee D Silver badge


But I tend to look upon these not as "gaming laptops" but "this is the only PC I'll need for the next few years".

I've used "gaming" laptops (some with WASD marked out in dots so you can feel them when gaming etc.) as my exclusive machines for years. Buy once, pay over the odds, still load all your games on Steam for years to come and still functions as your primary machine. Mine goes to work every day, all my evening stuff every day, all my gaming stuff every day, away with me on planes to watch DVD's etc. on holiday, and it's the only machine I use for work, play and just browsing. That, and a smartphone for connectivity if I'm out in the sticks.

I've used both MSI and Samsung laptops intended for gaming like this for the last 8 years at least, and it's great. No bulky desktop but gaming power. No huge screen and speaker setup but can plug into any HDMI TV wherever I am with all my games. No great battery life but enough to last a flight and power enough to do ANYTHING (movie transcoding etc. are greatly helped by powerful GPU's and to have a huge beast of a processor in a laptop just shows up all the Macbook Pro crowd).

If you buy one of these, you're going to be using it for everything you do. It's not going to be like the gaming machine in the basement that get 100fps but which you can't Google from comfortably and don't want to drag round people's houses for gaming nights. As such, the cost is reflective. £1000 for a laptop seems like the prices of 20 years ago, but the capability to have a gaming rig capable of anything that you can take anywhere, and not even have to sign out of your work account for, is great.

My MSI gaming laptop lasted 5 years before I broke the hinges. But that was 5 years of morning browsing, then travel to work in the car / on the train, then 8 hours of work, then travel back home, then 6-8 hours of TV, browsing, streaming, downloading, work, gaming (including an over-clock button that voids your warranty and 80 degree temperatures coming out of the graphics card), going on holiday with me, etc. That's a lot to ask of a machine and a £200 Acer just won't cut it for long under that kind of stress. Hell, I used to score the local cross-country runs and swimming galas on it, so it spent a good portion of its life wet and/or muddy. I could do that AND still work on stuff for the schools I worked for.

I replaced it with an overpowered Samsung that I've still got and which just recently laughed at the Steam version of GTA V - so it's still good going several years after I bought it. And it's got something ridiculous like 12 cores - my compile times are phenomenal compared to what I'd get on a "must slow down because of battery life" laptop.

Gaming laptop = best of every possible world. Get me a gaming laptop that I can convert to a tablet-size and I'll pay as much again. Sadly, batteries to support that amount of power are never light, nor small. And, notice, these laptops have several hard drives. One of them 2 SSD's and a spinning disk! My Samsung has twin 1Tb drives. That's enough to separate work/games, run RAID, etc. on which is not a normal laptop feature. And proper 1080p. And serious amounts of connectivity. And power enough to do SLI (!) or when you plug into a 36" TV at home.

Cheap laptops can't get close to this. I've seen laptops costing £400 that can barely run Age of Empires II HD on Steam, and that's a remake of a 15 year old game that doesn't use the 3D card for anything but blitting. To have RAID, SLI, etc. in a battery-backed unit costs - and £1000 is barely the price of a decent laptop from that "other" manufacturer that doesn't have those features.

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