How can you turn your laptop into a gaming laptop? It’s one of the easiest questions even but it does have a very long answer. It’s easy because it’s basically a matter of upgrading certain components. But you have to know exactly which part to upgrade and why it needs upgrading. We are going to go through the basics of gaming notebook components and in this article we will try to explain how to turn your laptop into a gaming laptop.
Before you start doing any upgrading there are 2 things that you need to pay attention to. First, you have to make sure that the parts you want to change are not soldered to the motherboard. In some cases, components like processors are attached to the motherboard and replacing them basically means you have to replace two components instead of just one. Second, before you open up the unit, you have to make sure that you do not void the warranty if your laptop is still in the warranty period. There is usually a sticker that covers one of the screws that you normally need to remove in order to upgrade and once you remove that sticker, the warranty is no longer available. Also keep in mind that buying new laptop components means there is some investment to be done. Laptop components are more expensive that desktop computer parts.
Now that we have cleared that, let’s start with what you need to buy to turn your laptop into a gaming laptop. A good gaming laptop should have at least 2 GB of RAM. In our days, manufacturers put some 3 or 4 GB into a mainstream laptop. Pay attention because some laptops have a limit of RAM that they can accept. You may have noticed that lots of laptop reviews write ’2 GB upgradeable to a maximum 4 GB’. The basic idea is that the more RAM you have, the more applications you can run simultaneously. The next important thing is the processor. Today, laptops usually come with dual core processors. Dual core means twice the speed so the better you processor is, the faster your games and other applications will run. Top of the line gaming laptop have quad processor and they also use the new Intel i7 CPUs which are currently the best on the market. These processor are very expensive, so an Intel Core 2 Duo T8300 let’s say should to the trick for some serious game play.
The available disk space is also an important part of gaming computers. Since new games can occupy even 10 GB of space, you should have at least 160 GB of available storage. Laptops usually come with 250 GB or 320 GB (of course, there are laptops with 500 GB of HDD) of free space and this is better because you don’t have to make back up copes of your files on DVDs all the time to free some space on your laptop.
And here comes the most important part of all: the video card. Changing the graphics card on your laptop is a very difficult process that takes a lot of time and you may have to dissemble most of your laptop. If you are not careful enough, you may damage certain laptop parts when taking them out or putting them back together. On new laptop models, you can get access to the graphics card by simply removing one of the bottom panels that reveals most upgradeable laptop components. Older laptops require more steps in order to complete the upgrading process. The first thing you have to do is remove the hinge covers by prying them up and pulling them away from the chassis. Remember to check if your laptop supports the graphics card that you want to install. This information is found in the laptop’s manual, usually available for download from the manufacturer’s website.
The next step would be detaching the keyboard by removing some screws. Be careful where you put the screws because in the end, when you have to put everything back together, you are supposed to know exactly where each screw came from. Then you have to remove the entire display by gently removing the screws which are located on the bottom and on the back of the laptop. Then you have to unplug the video plus the wireless antenna cables which will be revealed. After that, remove the optical drive (there is a latch located at the bottom of the notebook which lets you slide the drive out).
Then you must remove the shell by getting rid of the screws. You will find that there are usually about a couple of screws that keep the video card attached to the unit so just remove those, put in the new card and then reverse the entire process that we described in this article and you should be able to get a new and improved graphics system. The ATI Radeon HD 5970 is the fastest and therefore the best graphics card in the world. It’s big and bad, not to mention powerful but probably most of you can’t afford it since it costs about $950 which is the price of a good mainstream laptop. I think you really have to be a gaming maniac in order to spend that much money on a graphics card.
It would be nice if your video card had at least 256 MB of video memory (512 MB would be even nicer). It is recommended that the memory is dedicated because integrated video memory means that those cards are part of the motherboard and they take out from the total RAM. You will notice that the best gaming laptop have 512 MB of memory and Alienware even has 1 GB. This improves the quality and the frame rate of the game play and it provides you with high quality gaming experience. Remember to make sure that whatever part you wish to replace is indeed upgradeable before you go around and disassembly your laptop. Be careful where you put the screw and detached parts because you are going to have to put this laptop back together once you are done.
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