Top Laptop Brands To Avoid For Gaming

By William Usher 2010-08-31 12:49:27 discussion comments
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A lot of gamers are probably keen on purchasing a mobile rig to sometimes accommodate their traveling schedule or on-the-go lifestyle. It’s common that when you’re not at home and you have some time to burn, why not do so with a little bit of gaming? Well, if you plan on upgrading anytime soon here are a few laptops you definitely DO NOT want to consider buying for your gaming needs.

Take note, however, this list is not a bunch of off-brand, no-name laptops from companies you might find in the backwater parts of Louisiana where the shop owner has more warts than teeth and seems to have more knowledge of moving a toothpick around his mouth than actually constructing legible sentences. Oh no, these are laptops that you see quite often… maybe even on certain commercials that praise their viability for functionality. I've had experience with variations of the following laptops, running into many problems you won't find on reviews from sites that are oftentimes paid to say nice things about the products, but based on my experiences with them here’s what I’ve found.

HP Pavilion dv7 Entertainment Series
Given the name of this laptop one would automatically assume one of two things in regards to this product: 1) It’s an entertainment laptop that does all things entertainment (including gaming). 2) It’s purely there to look good and play movies. If you were one of the unlucky saps to assume that HP cared enough to make a product that’s remotely functional outside of looking pretty, well, you’re sorely mistaken. Despite positive review scores from most major tech sites, this series of laptops run into serious issues for gaming. Playing HD movies and looking at photos of HD games are completely doable on this machine…but playing HD games that look as good as those HD movies? Well, keep dreaming there folks…it’s not going to happen. With little or no support from HP and useless drivers from ATI, you’ll end up with a lot of pink screens of death or frame rates with numbers low enough to make George W. Bush’s final approval rating before leaving office look like an accomplishment. This laptop is like Paris Hilton: all looks and a brain that overheats when put to use.

Dell Inspiron Home Series
If you use a Dell Inspiron for anything other than scoping out grandma’s spring break vacation pics to Cancun during her second mid-life crisis, then you’ll probably spend that remaining time watching boot-up screens, toggling a faulty adapter around or replacing the battery every month or two… if you’re lucky. While Dell may be the parent of the always impressive Alienware series, this company is also known for being rather wasteful in the eyes of Green Peace and did I happen to mention that I’ve found their Inspiron home laptop line to be a complete waste of time for anything gaming related? Yeah, well it is and even most common reviews from large sites such as CNET reflect this. But all that junk aside, most gamers who buy a laptop are expecting some sort of decent performance, but any Dell Inspiron powered by an ATI Radeon HD X series will leave you pissed, bored and stuck watching grandma in that new micro-mini bikini for that Cancun trip. Ugh.

Acer Aspire AS55 Series
There’s a trendy pattern on this list… it usually includes a company that makes a laptop brand that features two things that you should avoid by now on your checklist of “features worth having when buying a gaming laptop” and those two include an AMD processor and anything ATI Radeon related. So of course, without further ado, here’s another tragic case of poor-performance-meets-cheap-parts concept, with a laptop that’s probably about as reliable as a CEO’s claim of cleaning up an oil-ridden ocean while under oath. This poor machine didn’t stand much of a chance with its ATI Radeon HD card (which by now you all should note for being a complete waste of circuits, bits and bytes for anything with the word ‘gaming’ in it) AMD processor and Windows 7. If you’re looking for a cheap gaming laptop -- and while the price of many laptops within the Acer Aspire AS55 series may seem promising -- I’ve found this brand to be nothing but a cheap ploy to get you to spend money and then spend your time on the phone with tech support. Better work on your enunciation skills if you plan on adding this bad boy to your shopping list.

Toshiba Satellite AMD ATI Series
Wow, can you say ‘Epic fail’? Anyone with this laptop who tried gaming has probably already said that ten times over while looking at the “ATI device driver has stopped responding” error that pops out of the middle of nowhere. I suppose it’s not completely fair to toss the Toshiba Satellite laptop series on this list if you can manage to steer clear of any AMD/ATI combination…then again, the Intel dual-core with that pathetic excuse for a GMA graphics card brand is almost as bad as the AMD/ATI buddy-up combo. In fact, it’s like a bad buddy-up cop movie all over again, except you’re replacing the one-liners with blue screens of death and cheesy action sequences with the high anticipation of whether or not the framerate will hold steady enough to actually land a headshot sometime this century in Combat Arms. If you stopped to ponder on this particular brand of laptop at your local Best Buy to play any game released in the last decade…well, you may as well go check out a laptop sized coffin, too, because that’s where the Toshiba Satellite ATI/AMD combo will end up shortly after embarking on its hardcore video game venture.

Keep in mind that just because a laptop is new doesn’t mean it’s at all reliable or good for all things gaming. While the HP Pavilion series is probably one of the best entertainment brands for watching HD movies, it sucks as a gaming laptop. And while Dell Inspiron’s brand is perfect for most college students who need something that’s great for getting documents done and sent over a network effortlessly and efficiently, it too, also sucks as a gaming laptop.

If you’re looking for a cheap alternative for gaming on the go, some of the better laptops to scope out are the Micron Transport laptops, which can actually run a lot of the newer games on pretty high settings, with the only downside being the high heat consumption. Of course, there’s the very reliable and high-powered Alienware Mx11, or the Dell Precision line with the Nvidia GeForce chipset.
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