The desktop graphics space hasn't been that exciting in recent years, but all the improvements in power optimisation, fabrication processes and performance have not gone to waste. Now more than ever, lightweight, yet powerful gaming notebooks are becoming commonplace (and affordable) and while there's still a way to go, getting grunt without sacrificing on portability is very realistic.
Tagged With notebooks
CES 2015 may not have any huge wow moments -- at least so far -- but it's proving to be a good place to see the world's biggest tech brands giving their product ranges a solid refresh and reboot. Along with new Alienware gaming machines and Dell will have the world's thinnest tablet on sale in Australia by the end of the month, with a beautiful screen to boot.
Continually improving thermal performance from laptops' CPU and GPU chips means that they can get thinner, and you can do more interesting things with less internal space. AORUS has applied its unique, space-age design language to a 15-inch chassis, and has shoe-horned not one but two mid-range Nvidia graphics chips into the new X5.
Need some place to keep track of all the cargo you're smuggling? This Chewbacca-themed 160-page notebook is not only covered in a luxurious coat of fur, it also makes actual Wookiee sounds whenever you open the cover. It doesn't have a lock, but it doesn't need one because everybody knows not to mess with a Wookiee, right?
Time and time again, I see a big delineation in the gaming laptop market. You can get small and portable and relatively lightweight gaming machines, or you can get big desktop bruisers that are portable only if you really need them to be. As the new GTX 900M series of Nvidia's laptop graphics chips start to appear in new laptops, though, we're seeing relatively thin devices that can still handle a fair bit of 3D graphics performance.
One of those new laptops is the Aorus X7 Pro, which boasts a gutsy Core i7 CPU and two GTX 970M graphics cards in SLI. The X7 Pro takes all the smarts of the lesser X3 Plus, settles them in a slightly larger and more desktop-esque chassis, and ups the power by a pretty massive margin.
Laptops just made a quantum leap. Intel's new Broadwell chips make it possible for notebook makers to create incredibly thin devices with fanless designs, and these notebooks are finally starting to hit the market. Lenovo's new Yoga 3 Pro runs brand new top of the line hardware, and has an amazing hinge that lets it flip from laptop into tablet mode, or anything in between, at a moment's notice.
We're seeing more and more laptops that want to run dual duty as note-taking tablets or as entertainment machines. They're rarely as good as the current standout Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, but occasionally there's a special standout that gets the job done admirably without trying to reinvent the wheel. Dell's Inspiron 13 7000 Series 2-in-1, as the name might clue you in to, can transform from a general-purpose laptop to a tablet at the flick of a hinge.
Laptops are so passe. These days, you want something that you can use standing up on the train into work, or on a long-haul international flight -- and that means you need the versatility of a tablet.
How do you pick the right tablet, though, whether it's for work or play or a mix of both? It's a little bit of a guessing game until you actually have one in your hands to try it out, but there are a few guiding rules you can follow to help pick out a few front-runners from the crowd.
Gaming laptops are great, but they're generally pretty expensive and you're usually restricted to the components chosen for you. You don't have to buy a laptop from a big brand-name manufacturer, though -- there are companies out there that specialise in building you a notebook from scratch, using a prebuilt chassis, adding the components that you select and customising both the hardware and that laptop's design to suit you. Metabox is one of those companies, and the Alpha WA50SJ is one of its entry-level notebooks.
The Asus Transformer Book Flip, one of the more-interesting-but-still-conventionally-attractive laptops announced at Computex in Taiwan this year, is finally out in Australia. Thankfully, Asus has expanded the lineup from the original two 15.6-inch variants it confirmed for local stores, with a variety of 13- and 15-inch laptops at different specs and price points already on sale.
Gaming notebooks are a funny niche. They're not especially thin nor light, and they generally don't have excellent battery life. They're also not as speedy as a similarly priced desktop. What they are is a great compromise between portability and power, though, and the brand new ASUS G550JK stays true to that trend.
There's only one way to properly celebrate Tetris' recent 30th birthday, and it doesn't involve breaking out your original Game Boy. Instead, wherever possible, you should replace anything and everything you own with Tetris-themed alternatives, starting with swapping your Moleskine notebook for this tetromino-ic alternative.
Introduced quietly at Computex 2014 yesterday, ASUS's new Transformer Book Flip uses the same 360-degree hinge as the new Dell Inspiron 11 and 13; you can use it as a notebook, but if you want a compact tablet, you'll be able to use the Windows 8.1 touch interface as well.
Toshiba isn't the first company I usually think of when it comes to performance laptops. The Satellite series has consistently been a strong performer in terms of value for money, but you haven't always been able to rely on them for outright computing grunt. But times are changing. The new Satellite P50t is a slickly designed, but super-powerful, 15-inch business and home notebook.
Despite hundreds of keyboard and stylus accessories for your phone or tablet, a pen and paper is still the easiest way to take notes at work. And in their continued effort to bridge your gadgets and notebooks, Evernote and Moleskine are introducing a business-oriented notebook that gives you space for jotting private notes not meant for coworkers' eyes.
In recent years, notebook PCs have become much smaller, slimmer and more energy-efficient. Intel's strong Ultrabook push means that big, chunky, powerful laptops are mostly a relic of the past; they're dinosaurs from a forgotten era. MSI's GT70 is one of those dinosaurs -- it's big, it's heavy, and it's just about the most powerful notebook I've ever used.