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Gaming On A Netbook? 13 Great Titles Playable At 720p

Gaming On A Netbook? 13 Great Titles Playable At 720p
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Can Your Netbook Serve Up Playable Performance?

Sure, that little netbook you bought might offer admirable battery life, and it might be the perfect size for your carry-on luggage. But what if you want to play a game? Is there anything that such entry-level hardware can handle smoothly at the full 1280x720 resolution typical of many netbook form factors?

We were curious ourselves, so we tried out a number of our favorite games known for their low system requirements, both old and new, on an Acer Aspire One 522 with AMD’s C-50 APU running at 1 GHz, armed with 2 GB of RAM, and equipped with a 250 GB hard disk. You might be surprised by the performance this machine can deliver at 720p. You might also be surprised how many games it can’t handle, and we'll cover all of those titles on the last page of this piece. Of course, because netbooks are too small to include built-in optical drives, external storage is necessary for many of these games.

Your netbook might not be as powerful as ours when it comes to gaming. But if it sports a C-50-or-better APU and at least 2 GB of memory, you should see similar results. Stronger APUs like the E-350 should perform even better, while Intel Atoms with integrated video will perform poorly in comparison. This list is also useful for folks with older desktop hardware.

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Top Comments
  • 22 Hide
    superflykicks03 , May 17, 2012 6:58 AM
    There are a lot of older FPS titles that play well on netbooks as well, although ive never tested to see if they support 720p. The ones that come to mind off hand are Max Payne (1&2), Half-Life, Unreal Tournament, etc. I played through Diablo II on my netbook and of course it ran great as well.

    Plants vs Zombies is always great as well :) 
  • 12 Hide
    acerace , May 17, 2012 9:26 AM
    Quote:
    PC>all :p 


    No s h i t?
  • 12 Hide
    tacoslave , May 17, 2012 7:35 AM
    *cough* emulators *cough*
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    amuffin , May 17, 2012 6:07 AM
    How much does this little thing cost?
  • 9 Hide
    esrever , May 17, 2012 6:21 AM
    I can't wait to see how AMD's low power hondo platform will perform.
  • 22 Hide
    superflykicks03 , May 17, 2012 6:58 AM
    There are a lot of older FPS titles that play well on netbooks as well, although ive never tested to see if they support 720p. The ones that come to mind off hand are Max Payne (1&2), Half-Life, Unreal Tournament, etc. I played through Diablo II on my netbook and of course it ran great as well.

    Plants vs Zombies is always great as well :) 
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , May 17, 2012 7:03 AM
    I play Guild Wars on a C-50 based Toshiba netbook - plays well. Will try other titles after reading this article. I chose the C-50 netbook after reading another great article on Tom's comparing the C-50 and E-350. Looking fwd to Trinity ultrathin for the mobile space.
  • 4 Hide
    ben850 , May 17, 2012 7:32 AM
    Not sure why so many people have issues with SW:TOR 1 or 2 and Win7.

    Has always worked right out of the box for me after installing the latest official patch.
  • 12 Hide
    tacoslave , May 17, 2012 7:35 AM
    *cough* emulators *cough*
  • -8 Hide
    Luscious , May 17, 2012 7:52 AM
    "Intel Atoms with integrated video will perform poorly in comparison"

    You, sir, have not tried hard enough:

    http://lgponthemove.blogspot.com/2011/08/tech-tips-gaming-on-atom-n570.html

    The N570 is better than you suggest, never mind a Cedar Trail N2800. All rather moot though, as upcoming 11.6" ULV Ivy Bridge flavors will form a new class of netbook in 2012.
  • 6 Hide
    nitrium , May 17, 2012 8:05 AM
    720p? My netbook (EEE PC 901) is 1024x600. I thought that was the "standard resolution" for netbooks... well I guess it was 3 years ago.
  • 6 Hide
    jdwii , May 17, 2012 8:43 AM
    Halo 1 will have no issue as well
  • 3 Hide
    digitalwitchcraft , May 17, 2012 9:05 AM
    there is a widescreen fix for KotOR 1 & 2:
    http://www.wsgf.org/software/star-wars-knights-old-republic
    http://www.wsgf.org/dr/star-wars-knights-old-republic-ii-sith-lords

    not sure 'bout laptops, but i played the game on my desktop on win 7
  • 8 Hide
    K-beam , May 17, 2012 9:05 AM
    other great suggestions:
    - the original ghost recon+the 2 expansions+numerous mods
    - rainbow six raven shield+the 2 expansions
    - unreal
    - deux-ex
    - swat 3
    - serious sam
    - prince of persia - sands of time
    - GTR2
    - C&C generals+zero hour
    - empire earth
    - Far cry (?)
  • 4 Hide
    hellfire24 , May 17, 2012 9:19 AM
    PC>all :p 
  • 12 Hide
    acerace , May 17, 2012 9:26 AM
    Quote:
    PC>all :p 


    No s h i t?
  • -4 Hide
    hardcore_gamer , May 17, 2012 9:59 AM
    Where is HL2, rise of nations , counterstrike , portal 1 ?
  • 0 Hide
    Onus , May 17, 2012 10:13 AM
    I'm not sure why you wouldn't be able to play Diablo II on such a system. It will be stretched, but playable, and runs in Win7 if you set compatibility to WinXP.
  • 1 Hide
    Memnarchon , May 17, 2012 10:18 AM
    Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 runs perfect @1680x1050 on my old P4 @3Ghz with HT, 1GB DDR400 RAM, and 7600GS 256MB gpu... xD
    Also + 1 to jtt283's comment. I was playing Diablo 2 on my quadcore system with GTX570 lol the game is amazing it should be on this list (I stopped playing cause of Diablo 3 :D ).
  • 11 Hide
    Onus , May 17, 2012 10:24 AM
    ...and if Torchlight runs well, pretty obviously then so will Fate. How about TitanQuest, or Fable?
  • -4 Hide
    refillable , May 17, 2012 10:49 AM
    How about minecraft? They might run too and I don't know why you didn't include it.
  • 0 Hide
    xtreme5 , May 17, 2012 11:02 AM
    good budget gaming lap.
  • 2 Hide
    s3anister , May 17, 2012 11:16 AM
    superflykicks03There are a lot of older FPS titles that play well on netbooks as well, although ive never tested to see if they support 720p. The ones that come to mind off hand are Max Payne (1&2), Half-Life, Unreal Tournament, etc. I played through Diablo II on my netbook and of course it ran great as well. Plants vs Zombies is always great as well

    You could get Unreal Tournament 2004 to run on a netbook. I know I got that game to run on some seriously low end hardware back in 05'

    Great list, though. First one of these articles that I've read in a while that was agreeable. Oh and NSF Hot pursuit, now that is a game I miss playing.
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