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The Needs Of Gaming
It is generally known that if you are going to get a laptop to game on, you are going to have to put out some serious bank. A new generation of laptops are looking to change all of that. The question is whether these budget friendly machines really meet with the needs of gamers. A gaming laptop is a unique creature. Unlike a desktop, it has to be able to adapt to a wide range of situations, since it will be played everywhere from your house to your college campus to a local coffee shop. In has to be able to adapt to a wide range of wireless signals, both in terms of quality and security. Unlike a desktop, users in search of a gaming laptop also have to be concerned with battery life. No one wants to get to the boss fight only to have the battery cut out just before you make the kill.
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Overview of The Hardware
The cost: $799
The processor: AMD 2 GHz Turionx2 Ultra Dual-core
RAM: 2 GB DDR2-800
Video: GEForce 9600 mGT 512 MB
Drive: DVD, DVDRom, CD
Wirless: Intel Wifi and Bluetooth
Operating System: Vista Home Premium
Display resolution: 1280x800
Ports: USB (2) Firewire, eSATA, audio jacks (2)
Speakers: 7.1 surround sound Dolby certified.
Weight: 5.6 pounds
Dimensions: 14.73" x 9.69" x 1.05-1.40"
Warrantee and Support: You get a very limited 18 month warranty. Phone support is available Mon–Thu 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Fri 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m, with no weekend support.
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Aside from the obvious advantage of the low costs of this laptop, there are a few things that you should know about this model before you set out to buy. The 15 inch screen is more than ample for viewing even the most sophisticated of MMO’s. The only downside to the monitor is that the screen can be a bit dim at times, so you need to be careful where you play. That favorite sunny spot by the bay window of your livingroom could present some serious challenges to your eyes. If however, you prefer to play hidden away in your bedroom, at your favorite coffee shop, or generally away from large windows you should be fine. The graphics card will get the job done in most cases, but if you choose to play more advanced games graphically-speaking, you may find this machine to be lacking. Most gamers however, will find it more than satisfactory.
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The operating system is also a serious issue if you want to play a game made before the last year or two. New models will only be coming out with Windows Vista as the operating system, so if you are in search of a faster and more efficient gaming machine loaded with Windows XP, this will probably not be the one for you. In reality, this could be a major problem for a wide variety of gamers as it is well known that you may encounter some performance issues when gaming on your laptop with certain versions of Vista.
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Power and Overclocking
Battery life will leave you more than happy, and with a full charge you can game for about 4 hours before you have to consider switching to the cord. These models are also tailor-made to be overclocked, which provides a significant amount of extra processing power to your gaming. This can be a lifesaver if you have something that is running so slowly you are considering throwing your machine out of the window. The only disappointing thing about the overclock feature is that you can’t overclock the device unless you are attached to AC Power. Well you can, but you will lose out thanks to a significant power drain.
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While this reviewer tested this laptop on an open public wireless connection - and it performed well - you can use this model with a wired connection if you want to. You won't necessarily need to however, even when you play an online game. The laptop can sustain more than sufficient speeds without a physical connection. Just beware in low signal areas. If you only have one bar on your wireless monitor, you may lose your MMO at an inconvenient moment.
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Summary of The Good
- Easy overclocking for great performance.
- Strong battery life for normal use.
- Budget friendly price.
- Strong wireless connection for online gaming.
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The Bad Points
- A weak choice of operating systems makes this laptop slower than it could have been with Windows XP.
- A poorly visible screen that prohibits you from using it in very sunny areas.
- Could use some extra USB ports.