Posts Tagged ‘laptops’

Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming review: cheapish portable power

My ongoing quest to find the perfect gaming laptop – at the conclusion of which I shall buy my favourite – continues. I should note at this point that ‘perfect’ can mean several different things in this case. Clearly, attractiveness, features and performance are the main draws, but this is by no means a money no object deal. If a decent lappie is cheap enough, the fact that I won’t spend months trying and failing to justify the cost to myself means it might tick the ‘perfect’ box despite falling short in other areas.

And so to Dell’s £1000 Inspiron 15 Gaming, aka the Inspiron 7567. A diamond in the rough, or a get-what-you-pay-for folly?
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Razer Blade Stealth + Razer Core review: the external laptop graphics card dream

you get kitchen chairs instead of a dusty floor this time

Consider this a slight tangent from my ongoing quest to decide which gaming laptop to buy by reviewing a bunch of them. The Razer Blade Stealth is not a gaming laptop, despite coming from a company most known for aggressively ‘gamer’-orientated technology. It’s an ultrabook, which is to say very thin and light, which means no discrete graphics card and a low-power processor. The Macbook Air would be the most obvious point of comparison.

The situation changes when it’s hooked up to a speaker-sized black metal box known officially as the Razer Core. This is an external graphics card enclosure, which, with a single cable connected to a port on its outside edge, enables the Stealth to run a desktop GPU. Too good to be true? As it happens, no. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Alienware’s latest gaming laptop is a monster

A monster in good ways and in bad ways, but we’ll get to that shortly. First, here’s the plan. Over the coming few weeks and months, I’m going to review a number of gaming laptops from a variety of manufacturers. Each will be its own standalone review, but as well as the fact that each new review can involve greater comparison to the other systems, at the end of the whole boogaloo, I will buy the laptop I like best. Hardware reviews with a narrative arc. I’m like the Joss Whedon of computer journalism, me.

We kick off with Alienware’s latest 15″ machine (US and UK store link; exact specs and prices differ per territory), toting an NVIDIA GTX 1070 and an Intel Kaby Lake i7 CPU.
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Week in Tech: Wearable VR, Photo-Realistic Fleeces And So Much More

With the profound logistical complexities of orchestrating the arrival of two 3D cards in the same place at roughly the same time apparently beyond me, my planned graphics-off between the latest budget video boards has been punted two weeks hence (hopefully, anyway). So, it’s time for another installment of the somewhat tenuously-titled Week in Tech. This week’s muses include a preposterous looking VR backpack PC from Zotac, an even more preposterous gaming laptop from Asus and the PC’s journey towards rendering photo-realistic graphics in games. Read the rest of this entry »

Hardware Hotness: AMD’s Zen CPU, Gaming Monitors, More VR And The Silliest Laptop Ever

What with the sober-suited Euro foil to CES that is the IFA consumer electronics show, Intel’s IDF shindig, a new console or two from Sony and new version of the smartphone that dare not speak its name, it’s been a busy week or two in tech. But has there been any joy for the good old PC? You know, that dessicated old thing that just so happens to be by far the best gaming platform, period? There’s certainly been some startling new PC-gaming kit, including surely the most preposterous gaming laptop ever. But also some newness of genuine relevance, including an update on AMD’s new Zen CPU, some very interesting screens, plus a few further potentially PC-related oddities that are hard to gauge for now.

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Will Virtual Reality Work On Gaming Laptops?

The majority of gamers play on desktops. It’s the most cost-effective, modular way of building a system. As such, advice on specifications from VR manufacturers like Oculus (the Rift) and HTC (the Vive) has focused on desktop hardware. Over the last few years, though, the relative cost of portable gaming components has decreased while their performance increased. Gaming laptops are now a realistic option for people who want to play even the most demanding games.

Virtual reality is different, however. Excitement about VR transcends platforms, but if you run a portable rig, whether it’s up to the task is a much harder question. I went looking for answers.

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Week in Tech: Desktop Vs Laptop, Kinda

Sometimes, the numbers aren’t enough. When you compare what the new Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M looks like on paper with what it will actually do stuffed into a laptop PC, grudgingly you concede this is one of those times. Nvidia’s latest graphics chip for laptops looked good at launch, but a few weeks later I’ve now had a play and it’s burst right through my cynical, dessicated, world-weary attitude to the technology refresh cycle. This thing takes laptop gaming to a new level. Great. But here’s the real question. Is it good enough to finally put that desktop vs laptop debate to bed? Time to find out… Read the rest of this entry »

Week in Tech: Mobile Gaming Update

Embrace the brick

Long ago, in an age when PC magazines ruled the land, the internet had barely achieved broadband and being a tech journalist really meant something (OK, that last bit was probably never true), I used to be a laptop gaming junky. This, I’d largely forgotten until Nvidia’s new mobile GPUs launched the other day and were accompanied by some conspicuously OTT hyperbole from wet-behind-the-ears padawans in the tech press. How quickly they forget the great mobile GPUs of yesteryear. Thus, for a serious dissertation on the delights and, let’s be honest, drastic downsides of laptop gaming along with a grudging admission that the new GeForce GTX 970M and 980M do actually look pretty damn fine, you know what to do.

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Week in Tech: Faster, Cheaper SSDs, Nvidia’s Driver Bomb

Want it cheaper? Want it faster? This week, I can offer both. But not quite at the same time. I speak of SSDs and the first part of the puzzle is Crucial’s upcoming MX100. It replaces the existing M500 as Crucial’s value SSD. And may I remind you the 240GB M500 can currently be had for a preposterous £80/$110? The MX100 sports 16nm NAND memory, doesn’t replace the higher performing M550 and I can only assume its raison d’etre is to be even cheaper. Meanwhile, the first looks at quad-channel SATA Express are popping up (cue 1GB/s SSDs), Nvidia has a new driver out that promises to make your graphics card eleventy-two times faster. Ish. And some other stuff including yet more cheap 4K panels, including one with G-Sync support, and a hot looking gaming lappie from Gigabyte. Read the rest of this entry »

Week in Tech: Nvidia Laptop Graphics Update

Yes, we’ve done the Nvidia Maxwell graphics thing already. As a desktop GPU, the new GeForce GTXs 750 and 750 Ti aren’t all that exciting. But the same Nvidia GM107 chip rebadged Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M and stuffed into a laptop? Suddenly, things get a whole lot more interesting. The specifics aren’t official yet. But it looks like GM107 might just deliver twice the performance for the same power budget as its predecessor and that’s pretty exciting for thin-and-light gaming lappies. And remember, this is just the beginning for Maxwell – the arrival of second-gen 20nm Maxwell mobile GPUs could be spectacular. While we’re here, I thought a beginners guide to mobile GPUs would be useful for some of you. What with all the branding shenanigans both Nvidia and AMD get up to in the mobile space, keeping track of what’s actually on offer isn’t always easy. Read the rest of this entry »

Week In Tech: Haswell Mobile, AMD Goes GHz Gaga

Some of you were a teensy bit miffed by my unceremonious defenestration of Intel’s new Haswell CPUs as desktop chips. In fairness, when you’ve only played with the desktop iterations, that’s going to influence your outlook. And Intel really was asking for it. Anyway, while I mentioned Haswell has some serious mobile chops, it’s worth having a closer look at what it all means for mobile gaming and what you should be looking out for when bagging a laptop. In other news, AMD has annouced a 5GHz processor. Surely this can’t be the beginning of a new GHz war…? Read the rest of this entry »

Hard Choices: Gaming Laptops, Part Two


As promised, we’re back again with part two of our deep dive into gaming portables. {Part one} This time around we’re going to dig into the tricky choice between whitebooks and branded bricks, ponder the dark art of graphics upgrades, have a think about screens, and take a closer look at the budget options. And some other stuff. Like CPUs. So, lots to discuss. Let’s get cracking!
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Hard choices: Gaming laptops, Part One

It’s time to talk portable gaming. Not idiotic Angry-Birds-on-your-iPhone action, addictive as that may be, but proper performance laptops. Portable gaming PCs for real RPSers. Why? Some of you have asked for it. More importantly, it’s got to be the trickiest PC-related purchase and one where there’s little going back if you get it wrong. You’re stuck with an ill-specified, largely non-upgradeable brick.

In fact, the whole thing is so very befuddling, we’re going to split it into two parts. So, here’s part one of everything you need to know about buying a gaming laptop.

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Travels Without A GeForce

I’m a nightmare on holidays and press trips. Beforehand I’m plunged into panic – what if I get bored? However shall I cope with an idle moment? I suspect it’s a side-effect of that curiously modern condition Jim comments on – I spend so much of my every day so connected to this constant flow of information and entertainment that the idea of going without it for even a few hours is distressing.

So, on any trip, my hand-luggage is stuffed with more entertainment than I could possibly require – thee or four books, a magazine, an iPod heavy with music and video, a DS, a PSP and a laptop. Just barely enough to survive the flight – but what if it doesn’t get me through a week in a fascinating foreign city? For Chrissakes Meer, just go outside. What’s really ludicrous is that I don’t need this sack of technology. I just need the laptop.
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