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Best Laptop for 3D Gaming

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July 9, 2002 5:40:41 PM

What is the best Laptop available currently for 3D gaming? I want a machine I can bring with me to LAN parties without lugging a huge monitor and box around. Price is no object.

What components should I be looking for, or better yet, what company/model best fits the above criteria? I want to be able to smoothly play any 3D game currently on the market, as well as whatever comes out in the next 2-3 years (within reason).

Thanks.

More about : laptop gaming

July 9, 2002 9:25:48 PM

The best mobile Graphics solution for mobile gaming is the Geforce 4Go from NVidia and the 7500 mobility Radeon from ATI is a very close second. Aside from that get the laptop with the features you like the most. Since you said price is no object, I would caution you from getting a laptop with desktop CPU. According to PC magazine a desktop Pentium 4 won't perform as well in a laptop as it will in a desktop computer.

"Today, our preliminary testing indicates that 2.2-GHz processors in laptops perform similarly to and maybe slightly better than the fastest mobile chips. Let's be clear, however: You still get only 1.6- or 1.8-GHz performance out of a 2.2-GHz desktop processor when it's placed in a laptop."
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,90980,00.asp

Since a desktop CPU uses more power and doesn't provide that much more speed than a mobile CPU I would say get a mobile CPU for the extra battery life and heat considerations.

I would also say do some research on both the Geforce4Go and the Mobility Radeon 7500 and check out which vendors are carrying their GPU's on their respective sites.

Right now I would say choose between Dell or Alienware. Dell will deliver your laptop faster and has the Geforce4Go.

Alienware just came out with those cool colors for their laptops and have very good reviews as a gaming computer company. They use the slightly slower ATI 7500 mobility Radeon and will take longer than Dell to deliver your laptop.

If you look around you might find better deals elsewhere but those two are the most well known vendors.

Expect to pay at least 3 grand. You can configur the Dell laptop with a larger than 40 Gig HD and Alienware largest HD is 40 Gigs, so that might influence your choice.

Price being no object I would suggest

CPU -----------> 2.0 Ghz mobile P4
Memory --------> at least 512 MB DDR RAM
HD ------------> at least 40 Gigs, 5400 RPM speed preferred

if you can, go to a store that sells laptops and ask to look at laptops with SVGA+, XGA, and Ultra XGA LCDs because the ultra XGA screen at 15 inches might display its fonts at a size that is irritatingly small. You can almost certainly tweak them though in the GPU's display settings though.


Hope these suggestions help.

~Skully



<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Skull_Angel on 07/09/02 06:04 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
July 9, 2002 9:43:40 PM

Oh yeah as for playing games that will come out for the next 2 or 3 years that might not be possible depending on which games you want to play.

I was told that NVidia will release a Video card that is to the Geforce 3 what a Geforce 3 was to the Geforce 2. In other words the new 3d card will support features not in the Geforce 3. The Geforce 4 can be considered a faster version of the Geforce 3. The Geforce 3 can do just about everything a Geforce 4 can do, just not as fast.
Matrox is making an effort to get back into the 3D gaming market with their upcoming card as well.

Doom is an example of a game coming out soon that will have features not supported by even the best 3D colutions available for a laptop right now. I'm not saying you won't be able to play it. Just that it won't look as good on a laptop as it would on a desktop.

I think a reasonable expectation would be to play games that come out 1 year to 18 months from today with the laptops out now unfortunately. Depending on which type of games you like to play. FPS's are going to have features not supported by the Geforce4Go or the 7500 mobility RADEON rather shortly, but if you're into RTS games or RPG's then a gaming high-end laptop would be good for games that come out in the next two years would probably do well for you.

On another note an AMD based laptop is not a viable solution right now because there are no mobile motherboards for it that support either the Geforce4Go or the 7500 Mobility Radeon right now.

~Skully



<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Skull_Angel on 07/09/02 05:50 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
Related resources
July 10, 2002 3:15:12 AM

I recently purchased a Dell Inspiron 8200 (I should have it by friday) with the following specs:
2.0 GHz P4m proc
512mb DDR
15.0" Ultra-sharp UXGA display
40gb 5400rpm performance HD
64mb nvidia geforce go440
winxp pro

Give me a week or two to play with it and update drivers, and I'll let you know how it performs in gaming (I expect decent performance, just not the best).
July 10, 2002 10:49:52 AM

I'm with Skulldude. The graphics card is the biggest factor in 3d gaming and the g4go is the best followed closely by the 7500 Radeon. I've got a p4 2G desktop cpu Sager with a mobile 7500 and I get around 4500 3dmarks. My supervisor has a p4 1.5G mobile and a S3 savage video card and scored between 500 and 600 3d marks. My Friend Bill has a p3 1G with an ATI 128 and he scored over 600. Another friend has a p4 1.6G and scored around 1600 3d marks. Notice that the 1G p3 beats the 1.5G p4 because of the better video card. Also notice that I stomp them all into the ground because of the 7500. The Dells with the g4togo are posting around 5600 3dmarks. Whatever you get make sure it has the g4togo or the Radeon 7500.

Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire.
July 14, 2002 3:08:50 AM

I just got the comp a couple of days ago, and it seems to be able to run most current games more than smoothly. I get around a 5183 benchmark using 3Dmark2001SE build 330.
July 18, 2002 6:47:58 PM

My local gaming friends & I are big into LanParties and we travel all over the state going to them, This is the domain of the laptop. I have the AlienWare Area51-M and it runs circles around my friends Inspiron 8200, as well as every other laptop and most of the desktops at every Lanparty I have been to since I got it!. Except for the CPU & GPU(My friend has the Geforce4 440 Go & P4-M 1.8Ghz) our hardware is Identical and mine will still get over 1500 more 3D marks in 3dMark2001SE than his can muster on it's best day & he paid about $800 more for his Dell than I spent on the Area51-M. As far as performance goes I can tell you right now there is no comparison, I run JediKnight2 in 1600x1200x32 with the detail setting set to maximum when he can only run it in 1280x1024x32 at the lowest possible detail settings and all that while Im running 2 displays and he is only running one. No matter what game we play I usually have a 40 to 50 FPS advantage over him and his video card the Geforce4 440 Go doesn't even have half the features or look nearly as nice as my Mobility Radeon7500. If the AlienWare Area51-M is too expensive for you then you can always buy it from one of the OEM companies since AlienWare isn't even the one that makes that laptop. It is actually made by a company called CLEAVO and can be purchased from many companies, www.extremenotebooks.com is just one of many that sells that exact same laptop and they will ship one to you for a little over $2,300! All this taken into consideration you would be very foolish going with anything else...
July 19, 2002 2:33:35 AM

I would look at the review of the GeForce4Go on anandtech.com. In two fairly even systems, the geforce always matches or beats the radeon 7500. Also, going by Jedi Knight is a bad way to compare GPU's, as its performance is more CPU bound than GPU.
July 19, 2002 3:05:05 AM

I agree with you totally that JK2 isn't good for comparing systems that have different CPU speeds but the point I wanted to make is that in every modern 3D game he and I play I see better performance than he does as well as much better overall quality which is just as important as raw FPS, Im sure the CPU advantage does make a big difference as I am running a Desktop P4 2.4Ghz and he is running a P4-M 1.7Ghz, I was just more or less trying to compare them by price and value, In that respect the AlienWare Area51-M provides much more bang for the buck than the inspiron does. One thing that is worth noting at this point is the fact that the majority of notebook producers are using the Ati video cards in their systems instead of the Nvidia GPUz, Go ahead and compare the number of companies that are selling ATI equiped systems to the number that are selling Nvidia equiped systems, Even the big names brand guys, only a few of them sell or deal with mobile Nvidia GPUz and Im sure there is a good reason for that...
July 19, 2002 4:53:01 AM

The radeon 7500 definitely has the best performance/price ratio
July 19, 2002 5:45:32 AM

Not to mention the features, The Mobility Radeon7500 is far more feature rich than the Geforce4 440 Go, It does tons of stuff the other doesn't, The Geforce4 440 Go may handle games just as well but what happens when you want to do something besides play games?, Like run multiple displays or work with profesional graphics programs, Things like that make it even a better value in comparison since your not just getting a good game card. IBM chose an ATI solution over the current Nvidia solution for it's high end mobile graphics workstation(Thinkpad A31-P)for this very reason. And since the majority of notebook PC's out there are equiped with the Mobility Radeon you can pretty much bet software support will be better and updated more often. ATI has been doing notebook video cards alot longer than Nvidia and as such has provided a much more rounded & mature product that fits the needs of just about any user and not just the gamer...
July 21, 2002 7:21:55 PM

The g4go and the radeon are almost exactly the same. Similar clock speeds, similar hardware. The highest 3dmark score i've seen in a notebook is 6300 (some crazy mofo overclocked his laptop to get that [-peep-]). I'm waiting for a DirectX 8 gfx laptop b4 i buy my next one.

iLL
July 22, 2002 4:02:19 AM

Many laptops with a geforce4 can run multiple displays (I know an inspiron 8200 has s-video out and a monitor connector), and they can handle professional graphics programs well.
August 2, 2002 12:58:38 AM

To CaligulAZ...Which configuration have you on your Area51m?? What is the noise level on it?? Do you have to be aware where you turn it on considering the heat it produces??
August 2, 2002 4:34:12 AM

i just got the same thing from work. how is it? i got the 24x cdrw and dvd too. are you using xp? could i wipe it out and go with 2k? xp kinda hurts my eyes for some reason.... maybe im just crazy. anyway, any details you can give me about yours would be great. ive never used a laptop before. i got the ultra sharp display too.... how is it outside? (im thinkin playing games at the beach you see.... lol)

....the birds seemed to be calling him, thought caw....
August 2, 2002 8:42:12 AM

It can get pretty warm after a few hours of playing games when the CPU & GPU are both running with a full load but not too warm to where it would ever pose a problem since the case they put it in has a very efficient air cooling system with 3 fans and tons of air holes in the sides and bottom of the case to get rid of heat, When your not playing games and just running standard windows apps and such it hardly produces any heat at all. Due to it's a design and the fact that it is a desktop replacement notebook running a standard desktop P4 CPU Im sure it runs hotter than one that falls into the thin & light catagory or even one that has a mobile P4 but the performance gain that you recieve from it is more than worth whatever extra heat it produces. As far as the noise is concerned, well, there is none, it runs quiet as a whisper...

Tha config...

Intel Pentium 4 Processor 2.4GHz 400MHz FSB w/ 512KB Cache

Intel 845MP+ICH3M Chipset - FC-PGA 478PIN DDR

512MB DDR PC-2100 CL2 - Two SO-DIMMs

40GB IBM Travelstar 5400 RPM ATA100 HD

ATI Mobility RADEON 7500 64MB DDR - M7 GPU Operating at 270 MHz - 64MB 128-bit DDR Video Ram Operating at 210 MHz

(AC97)Sound-Blaster Compatible 3D Audio

3.5 3-Mode Floppy Disk Drive

8X DVD / 8x4x24 CD-RW w/Software MPEG2 Decoder

Integrated 10/100Mb Ethernet NIC

56K Modem with V.92 Technology

15" UXGA+ 1600x1200 TFT Display

Read on my friend...
http://www.alienware.com/main/system_pages/area51-m.asp

But if thats too expensive you can also get the exact same notebook here for a lot less money since AlienWare is in fact not the one that manufactures it, This notebook is actually made by a company called CLEVO and is resold by multiple companies...

Like this one...
http://www.extremenotebooks.com/index.php?section=specs...

This is the company that actually makes the notebook...
http://www.clevo.com.tw/




What has been said here needs no ending...
August 2, 2002 7:19:58 PM

Got a Sager 5620 2GHz and wonder if it is EXACTLY the same as the Clevo 5600p. Been having trouble with Wolfenstein locking in a loop and new drivers were suggested. Sager, Prostar, and Mobile Peripherals have new driver versions for winxp but not 98. Clevo has a new video driver for 98/ME. If it were just the video drivers I would just go for it and if it didn't work I would just restore the system from an image. Unfortunately the new vid driver requires new bios as well. It looks like the 2 go together as the bios requires the new vid driver. This freaks me out. Since they are codependant (according to Clevo) which goes on first? Clevo has horrible support info to go along with their drivers but at least they have the drivers where the others do not.

Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by LAKEDUDE on 08/02/02 05:36 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
August 3, 2002 5:57:04 PM

Which video card is this thats giving you problems LakeDude?

What has been said here needs no ending...
August 3, 2002 7:21:16 PM

I've got the Sager 5620 with a 2G p4, ATI Radeon 7500/64M video, 256MB DDR (got 512 more comming), 15" 1400 by 1024 screen SVGA, intel 845 mobile chip set, dual opticals, and Avance av97 sound.

The laptop works fine for everything but Wolfenstein. Wolfenstein works fine on my desktop. I've tried 2 different copies of Wolfenstein and both lock up about 3 hours into the game around the first sighting of a weapon call the panzerfaust. I have tried playing with gl extentions off, blowing away the entire C: partition and reloading the game from 2 different disks, trying to get past the point by replaying the entire game from the start and using saved games from my desktop. I've called ati, the folks who made the game and the folks who sold me the laptop. ATI will not support me cause it is a laptop and they are supported by whoever make the laptop. The Wolfenstein folks say I need updated drivers. The Mobile P people got me past the first sticking point with game cheats but then later the game locks in a loop again. When it locks the video freezes and about one second of sound loops over and over. 3 finger salute will not work, nor will any other combination of keys, a hard powerdown is needed. Love to have some help.

Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire.
August 4, 2002 3:30:40 AM

I'd say install the new catalyst drivers that just came out for the 7500 Radeon. The mobility is the same Hardware as the desktop version. Just be sure to uninstall the old ones, run a registry cleaner, and create a system restore point before installing the new ones. I haven't had any problems with Wolfenstien. Runs well @ 1024x768 with all details on.
the updated drivers may be the ticket. I haven't installed them yet but I will soon. Most likely they'll put my 3DM2k1 above 5000 from what I read. Crucial doesn't offer a 512 stick yet, at least not on their website. Maybe I'll call em.
August 5, 2002 3:18:30 PM

The new version of the ATI driver will not install. Setup won't run because it says it can't detect a valid card.
August 17, 2002 3:33:46 AM

Update

I hate xp so I decided to take a rather huge chance on the Clevo win98 radeon 7500 drivers and system BIOS. Good News! The systems are in fact the same enough that the bios is the same. My system now runs:

4886 3dmarks

with the new clevo bios/drivers and does not lock up on Wolfenstein anymore (so far).

Color me happy!!

Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire.
August 18, 2002 4:46:23 AM

what would you all say if i directed your attention to www.eurocom.ca amd said that Eurocom is top dog of such computers as the area 51-m and the Clevo computers. yep! thats right.... Clevo is a reseller as well. interesting eh?
August 21, 2002 10:40:47 AM

I found a clevo sticker covered up on my sager. That made me feel a lot better about using their bios.

Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire.
March 17, 2011 10:22:24 PM

please email about the dell inspiron 8200 i just bought it and i am getting it soon is it a good laptop for online video games please email me at kingnader500@aol.com
a b D Laptop
March 20, 2011 12:29:20 AM

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