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Laptop gaming the next trend?
Most hardcore gamers will have a very sophisticated and highly advanced system sitting at home; decked out with crazy cooling systems and enough LEDs to light up the whole room. Add in some increased sensitivity with a state of the art gaming mouse and increased tactile response with a gaming keyboard and what you have is an awesome gaming machine. Enough to be at the very limits of computing, at least at the consumer level.
Then what happens is you leave your house and drag your laptop with you. All of a sudden you are no longer that pwning machine you were when bunked up in your sanctuary back at your home base. Given that you don't carry a 17" gaming beast weighing a full 15lbs on your hump-back, it's not likely that you'll be pwning anything on the road. Sure there are a bunch of decent business and elite notebooks that give you an edge when it comes to the video route, but there is still something preventing you from changing the settings to the maximum level of detail. Plus, your keyboard and mouse back home seem so much more sexy compared to the cramped little type pad and cruddy little touch pad or the tamed bluetooth mouse.
Well sorry to say that keyboards will always stay that way simply due the size of the laptop. Less weight means less function somewhere along the way. At the very least though you have your sexy mouse with you ever since the convenience of USB came around to power every gadget you can possibly plug into your multiple hubs. So, what's missing? Video. The all-mighty video performance is the thing that is most lacking in the area of portability. It is a sacrifice that has always came with the price of laptops.
Not to fret. It seems that AMD was bold enough to gamble on the gaming community as well as doubling its efforts on the whole HD movement flooding in. With their new chipset named Puma they have created a dynamic integrated graphics system that also doubles as a discreet GPU when necessary in order to maximize performance and still save battery life. What the Puma system created was a new standard in which the GPU is a necessary companion to the CPU - no more of those integrated Intel systems that can barely run Vista.
Instead you have the power of HD through AMD's graphic route, ATI. Could you imagine if all laptops eventually took this lead? HD graphics as a standard! Now does this mean additional pricing? Sure. It's more than the run-of-the-mill student laptop costing 500 dollars and can run Word and iTunes, but it's not ridiculously pricey. This was the goal of AMD: make HD standard, and make HD affordable. The latest companies offering the Puma system are Toshiba and HP; each with laptops just barely braking the $1000 mark. Doesn't seem to shabby. On top of that they are pushing that Blu-Ray comes attached as well.
So what you get is a complete HD entertainment system at an affordable average consumer pricing.
Will this catch on and become the trend? It may for those who already know about AMD's ambitions, but otherwise when you turn over to your latest flyer from Circuit City or Best Buy, what you see is Intel splashed over every page. AMD may have an edge when it comes to their latest efforts in predicting the market trend of HD, but they still seem to lack the marketing power that Intel carries. Everybody knows Intel just like everybody knows Windows. Apple has gained a lot of ground with their portable market but in terms of computer sales it still doesn't appeal much to the average consumer comparing $500-1000 dollar PC notebooks to the minimum 4-digit prices of Macbooks.
Despite this Apple has a great company image. This is something maybe AMD can take and learn from. They need some advertisements on primetime media to appeal to all the gaming hungry kids and all the HD hungry business workers. Right now kids see AMD and think it's something lesser than the mighty Intel technology. Something of a no-name brand to the Nike's of footware.
From the looks of things AMD will appeal to a specific market for now though it has great potential to move forward and make laptop gaming a standard. If anything, the hope will be that Intel will take this aggressive move by AMD and compete with them directly. Then there will be a happy world of HD for all. After that they can start tackling the issue of battery life. It's not so fun running on a quest only to know you have 5 minutes to finish it forcing you to find an outlet before either you die or your battery does.
Here's to AMD. Thanks for pushing the envelope.