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The Top 5 Laptops for Gamers

written by: tanik•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 7/26/2011

Looking for gaming laptops? You're on the right page. Here is a list of the top five gaming laptops. It includes few affordable options that are pricey but will provide the ultimate gaming experience on the best possible hardware.

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    Gaming laptops generally require a much more powerful hardware configuration than normal laptops. There are three very important hardware components in a gaming laptop: graphics processing chip, the processor and RAM. Even a good display with good picture quality, adequate brightness and contrast is recommended. A fast hard drive, preferably a 10000-RPM one, or a fast SSD would also be great.

    It is necessary to have the best graphic card in gaming laptops, as well as a very fast processor and an ample amount of RAM in order to be able to play the latest games with ease. Most of the games launched recently have been very demanding when it comes to hardware. The laptops listed here offer the best options in laptop hardware and can handle any game you throw at it.

    Also, do note that the hardware configurations listed for each laptop are the best available and can be quite expensive. However, you can customize most of these laptops with your own hardware choices in order to reduce the costs.

    Following is a list of the best gaming laptops that money can buy.

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    Alienware M17X

    Alienware M17X 

    Alienware has been the ultimate brand for gamers, be it for PCs or laptops. Dell acquired Alienware quite some time ago, but to the relief of gaming enthusiasts worldwide it has not diluted the brand or reduced its awesomeness in any way.

    The Alienware M17X offers the best hardware options in a very stylish form factor and design. It is probably the best gaming laptop money can buy.

    Here is the recommended hardware configuration for the Alienware M17X:

    • Processor: Intel Core i7 720QM 1.6GHz (2.8 GHz Turbo Mode, 6 MB Cache)
    • Graphic Card: Dual 1GB ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5870 in Crossfire X
    • RAM: 8 GB Dual Channel Memory (2x 4 GB DDR3) RAM
    • Hard Drive: 1 TB Raid 0 (2x 500 GB, 7,200 RPM HDDs)
    • Display: 17-inch WideXGA+ LCD display, 1440 x 900 pixels
    • Optical Drive: Slot-Load Dual Layer DVD Burner (DVD+/- RW, CD-RW)
    • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate, 64 bit OS

    These are the main options. Select what you want in the other options like wireless card, warranty, office software, security software, audio options, gaming controllers etc.

    The total cost comes to $2974 without the additional components.

    Notes:

    You could also choose the Core i7 820QM or the Core i7 920XM processor but they increase the cost of the machine by a lot without a comparable increase in performance.

    In the RAM option, you could get the 4 GB or 6 GB option to cut the cost by $350 and $150 respectively.

    In the hard drive option, the 256 GB SSD would be the best option, but will increase the price by $420.

    Image credit: dell.com

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    iBuyPower Battalion 101 X8100

    iBuyPower Battalion 101 X8100 

    The iBuyPower Battalion 101 X8100 is another excellent option for a gaming laptop. Despite being a lesser-known brand, it does not disappoint when it comes to hardware. It offers good specifications that are even better than the Alienware M17X at a lesser price.

    Here is the recommended configuration:

    • Display: 18.4 inch Full HD Widescreen LCD TFT display, 1920 X 1080 pixels
    • Processor: Intel Core i7-820QM Mobile Processor (4x 1.73GHz / 8 MB L3 Cache)
    • RAM: 8 GB [4 GB x 2] 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM
    • Graphic card: 2 X Mobility DDR3 1GB NVIDIA GTX 285M PCI Express 3D Video in SLI
    • Hard Drive: 500 GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA Super Slim Laptop Hard Drive
    • Optical Drive: 8X Dual Format DVD ± R/ ± RW + 16x CD-R/RW Combo Drive
    • OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate + Office Starter 2010

    Keep all the other options like sound card, network card, gaming mice, warranty etc. at the default values.

    The sum total comes to $2617 without the extra frills.

    Notes:

    You could also choose the 256 GB Kingston SSDNow V+ Series MLC SSD Single Drive as the hard drive option for an additional $669.

    If you want a budget gaming laptop, try the iBuyPower Battalion 101 CZ-11 Ultra

    Image credit: ibuypower.com

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    Alienware M15X

    Alienware M15X 

    This list includes another Alienware option because it is too compelling an option to ignore.

    It is the smaller version of the Alienware M17X at the top and offers some good gaming grade hardware. You should get this one if you want a smaller laptop than the M17X or if you want to save a few bucks.

    Here is the list of recommended components:

    • Processor: Intel Core i7 840QM Quad Core Processor, 1.86GHz (3.20GHz Turbo Mode, 6M Cache)
    • Graphic Card: 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M
    • RAM: 6 GB Memory (1x 2 GB, 1x 4 GB DDR3) RAM
    • Display: 15.6-inch Wide FHD (1080p) WLED display, 1920 x 1080 pixels
    • Hard Drive: 500 GB SATA 2, 7200 RPM
    • Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate, 64 bit

    Leave the other options to their default values. The final configuration with the selected values comes to $2574.

    Notes:

    You could select the Intel Core i7 740 QM Quad Core Processor too to save $300.

    Select the 8 GB DDR3 memory option for an extra $150 if you can.

    Get the 128 GB SSD for $145 extra.

    Image credit: dell.com

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    Dell Studio XPS 16

    Dell Studio XPS 16 

    The Dell Studio XPS 16 is one of the best gaming laptop computers. The new Studio XPS range is great for media consumption as well as gaming. It also has a very stylish design. Dell has kept the Alienware and XPS brands different for now, which is a good thing for fans of both.

    Here are the recommended components for the Dell Studio XPS 16:

    • Processor: Intel Core i7-840QM Quad Core Processor 1.86GHz (3.2 GHz Turbo Mode, 8MB Cache)
    • RAM: 8 GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 at 1333 MHz
    • Hard Drive: 500 GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
    • Optical Drive: 8X Slot Load CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)
    • Display: Edge-to-Edge FHD Widescreen 15.6 inch WLED LCD (1920 x 1080 pixels) with 2.0 MP webcam
    • Graphic Card: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730 - 1GB
    • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate, 64 bit

    Keeping all the other options like warranty, office software, security software, backup options at their default values, the price comes to $2025.

    Notes:

    You could also get a 128 GB SSD as your primary hard drive for an extra $154

    The Inspire T12 Stereo Speaker System for $49.99 is highly recommended, as well.

    Image credit: dell.com

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    Toshiba Qosmio X505 Q890

    The last one in my list of best ranked gaming laptops is the Toshiba Qosmio X505 Q890 is a relativelyToshiba Qosmio X505 Q890  affordable gaming option. It offers very nice hardware specifications and a stylish design in a slim form factor. It isn't as powerful compared to the other laptops in the list, but can definitely handle the latest games with ease.

    Hardware Specifications

    • Processor: Intel Core i7 740 QM processor
    • Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
    • Display: 18.4 inch widescreen FHD TruBrite TFT LCD Display, 1920 x 1080 pixels
    • RAM: 6 GB DDR3 1066 MHz RAM
    • Hard Drive: 564GB - 64 GB SSD (Serial ATA) + 500 GB (7200rpm, Serial ATA)
    • Graphic Card: 1 GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTS 360M

    It's a very capable machine which starts at $1899.

    image credit: toshiba.com

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    Reference

    Author's own experience