Gaming Laptop Recommendations (Part 1) - Acer Aspire 5560G, HP Pavilion G6-1331EA, Lenovo IdeaPad Y570, Asus N53SV-SX858V, Dell XPS L702x

8/5/2012 8:58:40 AM

To help anyone who is considering purchasing a gaming laptop, here are a few possibilities that won’t break the bank.

Acer Aspire 5560G - $900

Description: Acer Aspire 5560G

For the money, this is a really nice design, built around the quad-core AMD A6-3400M processor, and its HD 6470M GPU. You get 6GB of RAM, 500GB of hard drive space and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit edition.

The display is a 15.6” HD Acer CineCrystal LED panel, which has a natural resolution of 1366x768, and it comes with a DVD-RW drive and a six-cell battery.

Acer’s speakers are a little weedy, however, so you might want to consider getting some external ones to go with this system.

HP Pavilion G6-1331EA - $630

Description: HP Pavilion G6-1331EA

When I first saw the price of this, I wondered if it was a mistake, though I’ve since seen it even cheaper. It uses the powerful A8-3520M APU, which has an integrated 6620G GPU, but the Pavillion doesn’t rely on it alone. HP has added in a 7450M (a rebranded 6490M) with 1GB of dedicated GDDR3 for some dual-GPU fun. Add 6GB of RAM, 750GB of hard drive space and the excellent HP Brightview display, and this starts to look quite desirable.

In GPU performance terms, this is probably at the low end of what’s acceptable, but the price is excellent for what’s on offer.

Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 - $1,125

Description: Lenovo IdeaPad Y570

This isn’t especially cheap, but it gives you an idea of what a proper mobile gaming platform is likely to cost you. The IdeaPad Y570 uses the Intel Core i5 2450M, but thankfully Lenovo didn’t use the Intel GMA, choosing instead to use the NVidia GT555 GPU, giving this system some proper 3D video poke. Included in the price is a very slick aluminium shell, a Blu-ray reader/DVD writer, 1GB of video RAM, 750GB of storage and 8GB of main memory. What’s amazing about this PC is that even with the power it has, Lenovo managed to squeeze four hours of battery life out of it.

Asus N53SV-SX858V - $990

Description: Asus N53SV-SX858V

This is another Intel platform, and with a name like Asus behind it, it was never going to be that cheap. Then again, when you look at the specification, this is actually a really good deal. It has Core i5 2430M dual-core CPU (2.4GHz), Blu-ray reader, 4GB of RAM and a 640GB hard drive. However, the real selling point is the NVidia GeForce GT 540M, which takes over from the entirely duff Intel HD Graphics 3000 that the processor came along with. The GT 540M has 260 gigaflops of processing power, and a bandwidth of 28.8GB/s – very close to the GT 630M on the current series. Asus styling and some sharp pricing makes this an attractive option.

Dell XPS L702x (Refurbished) - $900

Description: Dell XPS L702x

I’m not usually in the business of promoting Dell, as its Alienware gaming systems are outrageously expensive when new. However, if you’re looking for some cheap gaming hardware, then it might be worth giving its Factory Outlet a look.

I was able to find this Dell XPS L702x, which uses the powerful Intel Core i7-2670QM. It’s addressed the inherent GPU weakness with an NVidia GT 555M, with 3GB of its own video memory, along with 8GB of main memory RAM. This would make a very capable gaming system.

If you have a little more money, in the same location I also found an Alienware M17x R3, which Dell is offering for $1,320. It has the AMD Radeon HD 6970M on board, for some serious 3D gaming performance. Obviously, these items come with a limited warranty, and what they have available at any time is highly variable, but some good deals can be found.

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