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Portable PC Powerhouse

Trying to find a balance between portability and performance is as old as the laptop computer. With the help of innovative technologies, this is now more possible than ever. There are still some difficult choices to make. The answers will depend on how you plan to use your laptop PC. Are you interested in a desktop replacement that will be used at home or in the office? Do you need ultra portability that will last for hours without having to plug in? We will discuss some of the tradeoffs and technological breakthroughs that have eliminated the need to sacrifice performance for portability.

Here are the logos of the processors to compare when deciding to but a laptop.

AMD TurionIntel Core 2 DuoAMD AthlonNVIDIA GeForce Go

No one wants to have to carry around a supposedly portable PC that is excessively bulky. Mobile technology has made significant advances in the last 2 years that have made ultra-portable powerful computing possible. Both AMD and Intel have developed specific chips that draw less power and thus lengthen the battery life. Intel's Centrino chips are able to extend battery life longer than than AMD's comparable Turion. So if battery life is your main criteria, then an Intel Centrino is the processor to look out for. Alienware offers three desktops with Centrino technology. If the battery life is your main concern then look for one of the laptops with Intel Centrino chips like the Alienware Sentia m3200, the Sentia m3450 or the Area-51 m5550.

But Alienware knows that these low voltage chips do not offer the best performance, so they also offer a notebook computer that has an Intel desktop processor, offering top performance in a laptop computer. If you want the best all around processor for a laptop, I would recommend AMD's Athlon chips. They offer the performance of a desktop without using too much power. While it takes almost 100 watts to run a Pentium 4 at 3.0 GHz, it only takes about 75 watts to run a comparable Athlon. That makes AMD's Athlon chips a perfect balance between performance needed in a gaming pc, with the long battery life needed in a laptop computer.

Now that Intel has released it's new generation of Core 2 Duo chips this has all changed. Intel is now able to outperform AMD and still draw less power than their previous generation of chips. Intel's latest Core 2 Duo processors unquestionably provide the performance necessary for today's gaming PC's along with the efficiency of low voltage chips. While AMD used to be my recommendation here, I am now inclined to recommend Intel's latest chips for both laptop and desktop gaming.

There is another major processor choice that has to be made. Which graphics technology will give you the most performance with limited power usage. NVIDIA has developed a graphics card specifically for laptop computers that need performance but do not have power to waste. This is the NVIDIA GeForce Go 6800. This is the graphics card of choice for any laptop configuration as it offers high performance and it does not use a lot of power.

Here are some off the shelf Alienware laptop configurations.

Alienware Aurora Configurations Processor Memory Graphics Card
Aurora m9700
Aurora m7700
Aurora mALX
AMD Turion™ 64 Mobile 1.8GHz 800MHz FSB 1MB Cache
AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 4200+ w/ HyperTransport and Dual Core Technology
AMD Turion™ 64 Mobile 2.4GHz 800MHz FSB 1MB Cache
512MB Single Channel DDR SO-DIMM at 400MHz
1GB Dual Channel DDR SO-DIMM at 400MHz
1GB Dual Channel DDR SO-DIMM at 400MHz
256MB NVIDIA® GeForce™ Go 7900 GS
256MB NVIDIA® GeForce™ Go 7900 GTX
Dual 256MB NVIDIA® GeForce™ Go 7900 GTX

 

Alienware Sentia & Area-51 Configurations Processor Memory Graphics Card
Area-51 m5550
Area-51 m5750
Area-51 m7700
Superman Returns Edition Laptop
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor T5500 1.66GHz 2MB Cache 667MHz FSB
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor T5500 1.66GHz 2MB Cache 667MHz FSB
Intel® Pentium® 4 630 w/ HT Technology 3.0GHz 800MHz FSB 2MB
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T5500 1.66GHz 2MB Cache 667MHz FSB
512MB Single Channel DDR2 SO-DIMM at 667MHz
512MB Single Channel DDR2 SO-DIMM at 667MHz
1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SO-DIMM at 533MHz
512MB Single Channel DDR2 SO-DIMM at 667MHz
128MB ATI Mobility™ Radeon® X1400
256MB ATI Mobility™ Radeon® X1800
256MB NVIDIA® GeForce™ Go 6800
256MB ATI Mobility™ Radeon® X1800 w/ Avivo™ Technology

Alienware Area-51 m5500 - Intel Centrino Mobile Technology
 

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