Why Do Laptops Matter?

It never fails that whenever the subject of gaming notebooks comes up, someone asks: why should we bother? Won't we always get better performance in a desktop, and at a more reasonable price? That has always been the case, and we see no reason why this should ever change. Size and power requirements invariably dictate that it is easier to put more powerful components in a desktop system. That does not mean that everyone needs or even wants a desktop.

One of the most common examples that we've encountered is people serving in the military; lugging around a full-size desktop can be more than just inconvenient for such a user. College students are another good example of people that might get more use out of a notebook. Many businesses are also finding that notebooks are better than desktop computers, and plenty of home users find the ability to surf the Internet throughout the house to be desirable. To the earlier question, we counter: why do we need to have a large desktop taking up space if we can do everything we want from an easily transportable notebook? Market research indicates this sentiment is growing in popularity, as seen in the following slide.


We are fast reaching the point where the need for improved performance is no longer a driving concern for most users. We can see many areas where dual-core processors are extremely useful, but quad-core is absolutely overkill for the average person surfing the net, writing documents, managing spreadsheets, and even playing games. We will eventually see the point where quad-core becomes ubiquitous, but plenty of users and businesses continue to function with no difficulties on computers that are several years old. When those groups are finally ready to upgrade their aging desktops, stepping up to a moderate laptop makes a lot of sense.

The time of "one-size-fits-all" computers is long past, and having a good idea of what you plan to do with your computer helps tremendously when it comes time to upgrade. While there will always be people that prefer desktops for certain uses - 30" displays and workstations doing serious number crunching for example - for most others mobile computers are now worth considering. Laptops continue to cost more, but decent laptops start at less than $1000, at the very least making them worth a second look. How does graphics performance fit into the equation? Let's turn our attention to the star of today's article for the answer.

Index GeForce 8800M GTS and GTX
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  • xantha - Monday, March 17, 2008 - link

    Just to add what was already mentioned in the article - gaming notebooks in Australia are more affordable than many may realise if you are using salary sacrifice. This is where the cost of the laptop is taken out of your pay prior to tax being calculated - effectively reducing the cost of the laptop by 40%.

    In addition you dont have to pay the GST portion so thats another 10%.

    So the $4000 laptop now becomes $3636 without the GST - of which you were going to be losing $1454 to the government even if you didn't buy anything. Making the laptop only $2184...god I love our tax laws sometimes :D
    Reply
  • Stas - Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - link

    More improvements for $4K laptops... Too bad I couldn't care less. Reply
  • SilthDraeth - Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - link

    Why don't you compare this head to head against a ATI mobility 2600XT? Instead you compare it only to other Nvidia mobile cards, and then tell us it's better than ATI. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - link

    Probably because I don't have one to compare it against? I don't even have the 8800M laptop right now - I tried to make it clear that those preliminary results are straight from NVIDIA; I'm waiting for a laptop still.

    That said, X2600 XT and 8600 GTS are relatively close in performance on the desktop, and there's no reason placing should change on laptops. Similarly, there's a huge gulf in performance between 8600 GTS / 2600 XT and the 8800 GT, which we should also see on the mobile side.
    Reply
  • SilthDraeth - Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - link

    Sorry Jared. I went and posted without fully reading the article.

    Reply
  • Inkjammer - Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - link

    The 15.4" laptop is the Alienware m15X that's been leaked from Alienware's newest ad campaign. The estimated date of release was supposed to be November 19th, but they didn't get up yesterday.

    Alienware announced a new 15.4 and 17" gaming laptop, one with the 8800m, the other an SLI Santa Rosa update for the m9750. Initial news of it broke out on www.notebookreview.com.
    Reply
  • her34 - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link

    quote:

    we were told the 8800M GTX sitting idle at the Windows desktop consumes 4.7W... While the idle power consumption isn't particularly high, the fact of the matter is that battery life is extremely important for many laptop users, and battery life will still suffer compared to IGP laptop offerings.



    what is the idle power consumption of igp like intel?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 19, 2007 - link

    As it's part of the NB, it's not really possibly to pull out a separate power figure. Generally, the IGP Northbridge chips don't use much more power at idle than the regular non-IGP NB chips, so IGP at idle is almost "free" graphics. I'd guess that total IGP power use at idle is around 1W, maybe. Reply
  • Lonyo - Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - link

    Is there any news of new ATi mobile chips? I would assume with the move to 55nm they c ould get reasonable performance in a mobile package.

    Also, as asked earlier, how do you post a new comment instead of a reply?
    Reply
  • fus3d - Saturday, November 24, 2007 - link

    ATI probably will release a rv670 mobile equivalent. Reply

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