View Full Version : LAN gaming and Laptops
I'm thinking of buying a laptop. One of the reasons is that I like to go to LAN parties when my friends have one, but I hate unhooking and transporting all my stuff, not to mention that I've lost a monitor and 2 hard drives in the last few years and I have a feeling that moving my stuff around probably contributed to that.
Does anyone have any experience with LAN gaming, or gaming in general, on a labtop? I'd use an external mouse, of course, it'd be impossible to play games with a touchpad or that little button.
Also, I'd like to hear comments on what are good and bad brands for laptops, preferrably with some good reasons to back your opinions up. Right now I'm looking at Dell, Toshiba, Sony, and IBM by reputation.
04-29-02, 12:29 PM
Well in my systems arsenal I have a PII 400Mhz Gateway Solo laptop, it's not bad about 96Mb RAM, touchpad, Large LCD screen, PCIMCIA slots x2, USB ports x2, Infra Red port, External monitor and even SCSI ports.. etc etc etc...
It's indeed a good system. When I first got it it was like this:
Previous owner: "I've got this laptop you can have, I've had it for about a year and nobody could get it working."
Me: "Okay I'll give it ago"
So I set there twiddle a screwdriver around, wiggle some things like I know what I'm doing and eventually I find out that the 3D graphics processor had not be pressed into it's slot far enough because of some bolt-screws. (You know screws that have a screw hole in the top for another screw to screw into.)
Now the laptop is good, but with laptops you have to be careful of OVERHEATING, because they don't have the space that a normal PC has.
So these are the things I mention to aid you:
When using a laptop, ALWAYS pull the little legs down and place it on a table top, keeping any FAN clear of anything you have laying around. This will lower the chances of it over heating by removing things that can insulate it from below.
Never stand your laptops power supply box on a carpet, the suckers get real hot and can burn out, meaning you have to wiat for or find a replacement. Which can be Months.
Laptop batteries eventually degrade through usage, so don't expect them to be of use when using a windows OS and playing games on. (Batteries are better off with a *nix system, not so much drain on power)
I placed a XIRCOM PCIMCIA card into mine which has modem/LAN capacity, very useful, but it does take the space up for both PCIMCIA slots.
In most of my systems I try to create a few partitions, about 2Gb Windows OS, 1GB windows swap drive, and rest for what I need.
This is useful as it stops you having to sit there and wait for the whole thing to go through scandisk if there is an error. And it's easy to cover faults in the system.
My laptop did manage to play Diablo II although there was a few lag bits, and it does have a DVD drive so I can watch DVD's on it.
(Although I need to find the software to go with my hardware to allow me to pump it through SCSI to a telly.)
By the way it's a HARDWARE DVD player, not a SOFTWARE one. keep your eye out for that if you want to place films on it.
05-13-02, 09:02 AM
My friends and I have been LAN gaming for quite a while now and all use laptops.
I use a seriously under-specced Tiny laptop, which I inherited. It runs Win98SE, has only 64Mb RAM and has a 700MHz PIII. Other units frequently connected include an old Advent, with a 500MHz Athlon and 128Mb RAM and a brand spanking new Dell Inspiron 8100 with XP, 256Mb RAM and 1Ghz+ (I forget exactly).
The network comfrtably copes with strategy-style games such as Homeworld, the AOE series, SettlersIV etc and has more recently been used to play Silent Hunter and Destroyer Command. SFCII-Empires at War is another favourite. As FPS go, my machine will not (sadly) cope with Medal of Honour, but we have had successful evenings playing Aliens vs Predator (Gold Edition- which we got for £10!) and Jedi Knight.
The restrictions are usually caused by the (by current standards) low-spec graphics cards that are found in most laptops, and the extreme difficulties that you will have trying to upgrade laptop components. Mine has an old 16Mb ATI Rage card, which allows for wonderful 1024x768 resolutions on all the games noted above, but will not entertain current releases. The bottom line is that you will have to have a 64Mb card to handle cutting edge games.
Now that the mobile versions of the GeForce4 cards, and their competitors, are shipping I have spent the last few weeks searching for the right machine. As it stands the newer Dell Machines (both Latitude and Inspiron) are acceptable, but are very expensive. The Gateway 600XL looks very good value, at $2400 (about £1700), and comes with a Radeon7500 card, but I cannot find any reviews of it and, with Gateway no longer operating out of Ireland, I would have to source one from further afield.
Any further comments would be appreciated as it is a major outlay and I would hate to end up with the laptop equivelant of a Betamax VCR.
05-13-02, 09:07 AM
Oh, and as for the touchpad, I find that the sensitivity of the pad can be tweaked in such a way that games become a joy to play with it. In fact, I have now got to the stage that I hate using a big, clunky mouse when by using my 'pad I can get to any part of the keyboard without any hassle. In any case, playing on a laptop means reclining with your feet up whilst your friends sit hunched at desks- magic!
If you are going to buy a laptop, I'd recommend 'biting the bullet' , so to speak, and buying one of the best possible.
Go IBM or SONY... and buy a cheap security device if you are taking it in public a lot.
The reason to spend so much ... laptops aren't very upgradable!! So it would suck to have to buy another. Get one with a cpu of over 1000 Mhz, probably an Athlon because they are cheaper. Make sure it have the maximum amount of ram. And get one that comes with a good video card, like a geforce.
Video cards are what laptops lack the most, but a geforce will help quite a bit.
Laptops are so damned comfortable too!
Oh, and buy a USB optical mouse for when the laptop is at a desk, or near any surface (gotta love that optical mouse!). I personally can't stand those laptop touchpads for gaming.