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The Best Gaming Netbooks

written by: M.S. Smith•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 2/22/2010

Netbooks are great, but mobile computers of their size are rarely considered gaming machines. There are some outstanding exceptions to the rule, however. Playing your favorite games on a netbook is one dream that you can achieve.

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    ASUS Eee PC 1201N

    Gaming netbook The number of Eee PCs available today borders on the absurd, but above them all is the Eee PC 1201N, the undeclared king of all Eee PCs. Featuring a 12.1 inch screen, this large netbook packs some impressive specifications. Not happy to settle for a single Atom, the 1201N has the rarer dual-core Atom 330. The 1201N also boasts a screen with a resolution of 1366 x 768 and Nvidia ION graphics to drive it. This gives the Eee PC 1201N a fair amount of graphical punch, allowing it to play many modern games.

    What's best about the Asus Eee PC 1201N, however, is that it is an Eee PC. It has a great design, sleek but relatively understated, as well as a good keyboard and trackpad. It is also fairly light and has battery life of around six hours. In other words, it will serve you just as well when it isn't gaming as well it is. If you're looking for a netbook which can be used for gaming but will serve primarily as a day-to-day netbook, this is a good choice.

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    Portable Gaming

    Netbooks and gaming. The two don't exactly go hand and hand, but there is a lot of potential. Gaming on the go is always an attractive idea, but traditional gaming laptops are big and bulky, making them less then ideal for traveling.

    This problem can be circumvented by using a netbook for your gaming needs. While most netbooks lack the graphical power for games, the best gaming netbooks available today are surprisingly capable machines and perfect for a gaming road-warrior.

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    Alienware M11X

    The Alienware M11X - Best Gaming Netbook? Despite being owned by Dell, which is often scoffed at by enthusiasts, Alienware has made some very solid gaming laptops in the recent past. The Alienware M11X is another excellent offering, but it has a twist - it is the size of a netbook.

    Despite the small screen size of 11.6 inches, the Alienware M11X crams in a ton of power including a 1.3Ghz Intel processor, Nvidia GT335M graphics, and two gigabytes of RAM. As a result of this power, the Alienware is capable of playing any game out today, and most of them at high detail settings. The starting price of $799 is higher than normally expected from a netbook, but one should expect to pay a lot for this kind of power in such a small package.

    Also outstanding is the M11X's battery life, which can reach up to eight hours in spite of its powerful GPU. This is because the GPU can be switched on or off as needed. The only real complaints which can be aimed at the M11X concern its weight and heat, and yes the price is hard to get over. At four pounds it is heavy for its size, and it can become uncomfortably hot for lap use when playing intense games.

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    Acer Ferrari One

    Best Netbook for Gaming If it's subtle that you're looking for, then the Acer Ferrari One isn't what you should buy. If you're looking for something eye-catching, however, this Ferrari-branded netbook is a good choice. Its design is like none other, and although it won't sit well with everyone it is certainly of the highest quality.

    Beneath the Ferrari One's form, there is function. A dual-core AMD processor teams up with Radeon 3200 graphics to provide impressive gaming performance. The Ferrari one isn't as fast as the M11X, but will be fast enough to run any game out today, although very intensive games like Crysis or Arma II would only be possible at low detail settings. The Ferrari One backs up the performance with an amazing keyboard and good trackpad, as well.

    On the downside, the Ferrari one won't let you abandon a wall socket for more than five hours, and even that might be pushing it. The Ferrari One also can become quite hot, like the M11X, so a laptop cooler is a required investment. The price of $579.99 is a bit rich, but still far below the M11X.