Hey, i am going to college soon and i am looking to buy a laptop that is fairly priced, is mobile enough to bring class to class- (long battery life), and is powerful enough to play games like the upcoming Half-life2 and d3... i need help.. usually i buy the parts i need and build myself a desktop but i have no idea what to do for a laptop... i am looking at dells, vaios, sagers, alienware, and voodoopcs but i am having trouble... wireless internet is a must with a internal 802.11b Wireless LAN mod ... i am leaning toward Sagers at them moment but i need help... anything would be greatly appreciated on these laptops or what you think the best would be for a gaming student.. thnx
as in previous posts, gaming laptops and battery life/portability are most often contradictory. you may need to make compromises, trade offs to get the laptop you want.
if you want the best gaming laptops, sager, voodoopc, and alienware are tops with alienware rated highest. hl2, doom3 and any future dx9 game will run fine on these beasts except you'll pay a hefty price tag. however, due to the pentium 4 chip, battery life goes WAY DOWN. you could use a pentium m processor for these games but i think pentium 4s are better off for gaming.
since you also want mobility (not heavy, long battery life), you will need to make compromises. the gaming performance of thin and lights doesn't compare with the desktop replacements (sager). you won't have the highest fps for hl2, but they should be good enough if you buy a thin and light with the ati 9600 card. so, anyway, those comps with the pentium m processor (and thin and light and with the 9600) include the dell 8600 (which isn't TOO heavy, but relatively heavy nevertheless), and the gateway m505x. i'm definitely missing something else, but anyway, in your case, you can only go for these because the desktop replacements are too heavy to carry around campus. besides, they are too big and clunky for lecture room desks. and unattractive in most cases.
keep in mind that using laptops in lecture rooms can be an annoyance to others especially if the fan keeps blowing. that's why you need a centrino/pentium m laptop since the fan only turns on when it's needed.
keep in mind that the screen also consumes a great deal of battery life. if you want a bright large screen, it's going to cut into the battery. (you could always turn down the brightness).
btw, for games, you need FAST hard drives. these can greatly increase performance, but as with all things in life, there are drawbacks. fast hard drives are loud and run hot.
the other thing is widescreen laptops tend to have a funny playing experience. if you play fixed aspect ratio games i.e. warcraft 3, the screen will stretch (unless you want to have black bars on the side), and characters will look squashed. most games out there don't have true widescreen format, so you may need to do some hacking for that.
I find a decent compromise to be the Inspiron 8600. But you would want to max out the processor, get at least a gig of RAM, 128 MB ATI Mobility 9600 is a must, and I would highly recommend a 7200 rpm hard drive for intense gaming.
The Inspiron 8600 can offer all of this with a weight of about 7.5 lbs. Not the lightest, but not the heaviest. As Zhukeeper mentions this is a Pentium M, and I do also believe P4 are better for gaming.
So if you want to be able to play games but maybe not at the highest res., but good performance and decent mobility, take a look at the Inspiron 8600.
Caution...Dell seems to have some quality issues at times...I highly recommmend an extended warranty for them.
Hope that helps. It will be very difficult to find a stacked gaming notebook that is light and has good battery life.