10 Big-Rig Laptops for Serious Gamers

Not everyone wants a sleek, svelte laptop--some of us want power. Here are some options.

Everything's Bigger...If You're a Gamer

The trend toward small, svelte laptops isn't for everyone. That's especially true for gamers, whose mission is more about being immersed in massive virtual worlds and winning battles than word processing. Make no mistake about it: Gaming laptops are typically big, hulking machines that push the limits of computer hardware (and, perhaps, your budget).

The ten "big rig" laptops featured here, in order of overall size, are built to accommodate your most epic adventures.

Alienware M18x

Screen: 18.4 inches

Price: Starting at $1999

If the typical gaming laptop display size of 17 inches isn't enough screen real estate for you, check out this supersized, 12-pound beast. The Alienware M18x boasts a full 1080p HD 18.4-inch display, as well as your choice of dual graphics (the Nvidia SLI or the AMD CrossFireX).

You can also choose to have the M18x's Intel Core i7 Extreme processor factory-overclocked. To boost performance, you can pick a hybrid SSD and HDD arrangement, or you can opt for the dual RAID 0 drive configuration.

Other features that make the M18x a tantalizing choice for gamers include customizable color and transition effects on the keyboard, programmable macro keys, and the ability to wirelessly stream 3D and HD to TVs.

Sager NP8180

Screen: 18.4 inches

Price: Starting at $1769

Custom gaming laptop manufacturer Sager, which is highly regarded among gaming enthusiasts, has pulled out all the stops for its 18.4-inch NP8180.

The NP8180 has, not one, but two Nvidia GeForce GTX 560M graphics cards with SLI technology, as well as an Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition mobile processor.

You can also pack up to three hard drives in a RAID configuration into this laptop, plus up to 12GB of system memory. The NP8180 also has eight programmable gaming buttons to help give you an edge when competing against friends or foes.

Origin EON17

Screen: 17.3 inches

Price: Starts at $2327

The custom-built EON17 just may be the most powerful gaming laptop available, thanks to its desktop processor (you can choose up to the six-core Intel Core i7 990X). The EON17 also has up to two Nvidia GeForce GTX 580M graphics cards, up to 24GB of RAM, and up to three hard drives (over 2TB of possible storage space).

If you want the laptop's case to stand out as much as its inner parts do, never fear: You can have the EON17 hand-painted. This 17.3-inch rig weighs in at a whopping 12 pounds, but it's worth it.

Sager NP7280 and NP7282

Screen: 17.3 inches

Price: Starts at $1999

Sager's 17-inch gaming laptops come in two models: the NP7280 with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 580M graphics card (upgradable to dual cards), and the NP7282 with an AMD Radeon HD 6990M graphics card (also upgradable to dual cards).

Both of these 12-pound laptops run on an Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition processor, come with up to 12GB of RAM, and support up to 2.2TB of storage via three hard drives. With five built-in speakers and one subwoofer, plus Dolby Home Theater sound, you can also expect a quality gaming experience.

Asus G74SX

Screen: 17.3 inches

Price: Starts at $1549

Like many of the other laptops in this roundup, the Asus G74SX is powered by a Sandy Bridge Intel Core i7 processor (2630QM) and packs an Nvidia GTX 560M graphics card. The G74SX's video RAM is an impressive 3GB, which will undoubtedly help gamers who want to game in 3D--and they can, thanks to the G74SX's Nvidia 3D Vision.

Finally, little touches such as a 5 percent keyboard incline and a unique cooling design that pulls air underneath the notebook make gaming sessions more comfortable. At only 9.4 pounds, this 17-inch laptop is one of the more portable high-end gaming rigs.

Alienware M17x R3

Screen: 17.3 inches

Price: Starts at $1499

The successor to the original (and popular) Alienware M17x, the M17x R3 adds (optional) 3D capability with a 120Hz 3D panel and Nvidia 3D Vision. The high-end video card options on this glowing-red laptop are the Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 and the AMD Radeon HD 6990M, both with 2GB of GDDR5 video memory.

Naturally an Intel Core i7 processor is inside (up to 2860QM). Like its big brother, the M18x, this 17-inch model can be outfitted with up to 24GB of memory. Dell offers audio powered by Klipsch and integrated 7.1 surround-sound support for delivering powerful audio effects.

Origin EON17-S

Screen: 17.3 inches

Price: Starts at $1675

The Origin EON17-S features a mobile processor, unlike the EON17, which boasts a desktop processor. Still, this doesn't mean the EON17-S is a slouch.

The 17-S comes with a second-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and a wide choice of video-card options, including the Nvidia GeForce GTX 580M (2GB of VRAM) and the Quadro 5010M (4GB of VRAM). The 17.3-inch full HD display comes with an optional 3D version, for those of you who like things popping out at you.

Also included are a few other touches gamers will love: 7.1 surroud-sound audio, up to 32GB of RAM, up to 750GB of hard-drive space, and a 6X Blu-ray disc burner. Plus, this one only weighs 8.6 pounds.


Screen: 17.3 inches

Price: Starts at $1699

The main highlight of the MSI GT780DX is undoubtedly its show-stopping keyboard, which was specially designed by teelSeries for gamers. This flashy keyboard has five different backlighting modes, as well as emphasis on the Ctrl, A, W, S, and D keys.

Otherwise, this magnesium-alloy-clad laptop tries to evoke thoughts of commanding a starship cruiser. MSI has outfitted the GT780DX with an Intel Core i7-2630QM quad-core processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 570M graphics card. You also get dedicated keys for accessing MSI drive-boosting and rapid cooling technologies, just in case.

The GT780DX can hold up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1.5TB of hard drive space. Uniquely angled speakers (and a subwoofer sound hole at the bottom of the laptop) deliver surround sound in this 8.6-pound machine.

Toshiba Qosmio X770

Screen: 17.3 inches

Price: Starts at $1200

Toshiba's Qosmio X770 is a flashy multimedia machine, featuring stereoscopic 3D on its 17.3-inch full HD display. The Qosmio comes with a choice of a dual- or a quad-core Intel processor (up to the Core i7-2630QM), as well as an Nvidia GeForce GTX 560M graphics card, which should be up for most gaming challenges.

Other entertainment-focused features include a bottom-mounted subwoofer, an optional Blu-ray disc player, and even a 3D webcam. The budget-friendly Qosmio X770 maxes out at 8GB of RAM and 1.25TB of storage in its high-end $1900 version, but you can configure a much more affordable machine, starting at $1200.

Razer Blade

Screen: 17.3 inches

Price: $2800

The Razer Blade is our one exception here to the usual rule that gaming laptops are big and heavy, as it breaks the clunky mold and turns heads by proving that gaming laptops can be thin and light(er).

This 17.3-inch laptop is, shockingly, just 0.88 inch thin and 6.9 pounds. It nevertheless packs the components that hardcore gamers require--such as an Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GT 555M graphics card. Also in its aluminum chassis is 8GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive--both of which are decent, but hardly revolutionary.

What is revolutionary, however, is the Blade's "Switchblade User Interface": a multitouch LCD panel and ten hard keys that are beside the full-size keyboard and that add another level to gaming, by providing more in-game info and customizable controls. The Razer Blade debuts in the fourth quarter of 2011.

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