It’s no secret that gaming laptops are often looked down upon by PC gaming purists. Mobile graphics cards tend to be less powerful than their desktop counterparts, since they have to generate less heat in the confines of a laptop chassis. Furthermore, a large part of the appeal of a gaming PC is its modularity. When parts become obsolete or damaged, they can easily be swapped out for newer ones. Since mobile components tend to be soldered onto the motherboard, replacing them tends to be harder.
But even as bulky as they tend to be, gaming laptops have that one edge that gaming desktops don’t: portability. Even the smallest of small-form-factor gaming PCs will never be as small as a gaming laptop. And mobile cards have come a long way: the latest graphics card offerings from Nvidia and AMD are neck-and-neck with their desktop versions.
Still not convinced? Let our guide show you what gaming laptops can do.
Acer Predator 17
Image: Ultrabook Review
A relative newcomer to the gaming laptop market, Acer is better known for its productivity and thin-and-light notebooks. However, its Predator gaming line has recently expanded into notebooks, offering two flavours in the 15-inch Predator 15 and the larger Predator 17.
And what an expansion it is. The Predator 17 can be customized with up to a GTX 980M graphics card, and features an optical drive that can be hot-swapped with a Cooler Master cooling fan, called the FrostCore. Furthermore, unlike the rest of the laptops on this list, the Predator 17 has five dedicated macro keys on the left side. Let it be known that Acer can hold its ground amongst the big boys.
Razer Blade 2016
The Razer Blade may not look very different from last year’s iteration, but some key differences make it worth the upgrade. For one, it packs Nvidia’s latest mobile chip, the GTX 970M, in its tiny 14-inch frame. Furthermore, its keyboard backlighting now sports Razer’s signature Chroma RGB lighting, giving you a choice of 16.8 million colours.
Weighing in at a scant 2.0kg, the Razer Blade is the perfect marriage of style and substance, like a MacBook Pro in matte black and green. It wouldn’t look out of place in the workplace, but the power that lurks inside belies its sleek frame.
Aftershock Titan 2016
Image: Aftershock PC
The Aftershock Titan is very aptly named. Everything about it is titanic: its 17.3-inch screen, its 4.8kg heft, and most importantly, the power that comes from the lethal combination of its i7-6700K processor and GTX 980 desktop graphics card. Yes, you read that right – this year’s iteration of the Titan packs a full-power desktop CPU, GPU and motherboard.
While Aftershock offers more conventional gaming laptops in its lineup, the Titan truly straddles the line between desktop and laptop. Its colossal weight means you won’t be carrying it anywhere, but the Titan is the weapon of choice for those who want performance at any cost.
MSI GT80 Titan
Image: B&H Photo Video
While this Titan may not come equipped with the same GTX 980 desktop GPU as its Aftershock namesake, it’s no slouch in the graphical department either. Running not one, but two GTX 980M graphics cards in SLI configuration, it easily matches – and sometimes outperforms – desktop equivalents.
But the real draw of this monster is the full-size mechanical keyboard it boasts. Designed by renowned Danish gaming peripheral manufacturer SteelSeries, it uses Cherry MX Brown switches to give gamers and typists alike incredibly satisfying tactile feedback with each key press.
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