'Tis the season to be gaming. With all the blockbuster games arriving this holiday season, the gamer in your life is going to need a souped-up rig to play them all. But which laptop to get? Do you go for extreme portability, face-melting power or find that ever-elusive best-of-both-worlds machine? To help with your gifting decisions -- and what to get for yourself -- here are our top picks for gaming laptops this holiday season.
You'll need to make your purchases soon, however, as the last guaranteed holiday shipping days are fast approaching. Amazon is giving all you last-minute shoppers until Dec. 19 to take advantage of free shipping for products over $35, while Newegg.com has Dec. 17 marked as the large-item delivery deadline. You have all the more reason to hit those online (or offline) stores as soon as possible -- just don't forget your ugly sweater.
It's now more powerful and just as beautiful. Alienware's gaming beast has received some significant upgrades, including a faster Core i7 processor and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M GPU. The laptop's gorgeous 1080p display and bevy of keyboard lighting effects continue to wow, as well as the excellent audio system. Overall, the Alienware 17 offers the best combination of design, audio oomph and power among all gaming laptops.
The Razer Blade is the laptop that launched a thousand copycats. The latest iteration of the Blade continues to do what it does best: deliver powerful specs (including an Intel Core i7 CPU and Nvidia graphics) in an impossibly slim aluminum chassis. Razer also crammed a 3200 x 1800 touchscreen into this 14-inch stunner. For smoking hot performance with a chassis to match, accept no substitutes.
This yellow is anything but mellow. Gigabyte's P25X v2's cheerful marigold frame belies the beast beneath. Packing a Core i7 processor and a top-of-the-line Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M GPU, the P25X will play even the most taxing games as smooth as butter. Throw in more than seven hours of battery life -- during web surfing -- and a crisp 1080p display and you've got a force to be reckoned with.
MSI GT72 Dominator Pro. Prepare to be dominated. MSI's latest gaming badass ups the ante for the competition, adding the world's most powerful notebook GPU -- the Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M -- to an already-formidable cache of weapons. If that wasn't enough, the laptop packs a total of 4 SSDs and crisp, room-filling graphics, creating a rig with blistering speed and power to spare. It's a gaming tour de force to be reckoned with.
At 4.5 pounds, 12.9 x 9.3 x 1.0~1.1 inches, the Alienware 13 is the thinnest, lightest notebook the company has ever released. Despite its svelte figure, the Alienware 13 can still power through some of the most graphically taxing games on the market, thanks to its Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M GPU. But if you want even better performance, hook the laptop up to its optional Graphics Amplifier. Harnessing the power of a desktop GPU, even the monstrous Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M card, the Alienware 13 transforms from formidable to beastly.
A true gaming beast, the MSI GT80 Titan SLI made an appearance at CES 2015, complete with dual Nvidia 980M cards and four 128GB SSDs. It also happens to be the first in its class to feature a mechanical keyboard. While the keyboard lacks a normal digital number pad, we were further intrigued when we watched the laptop's touchpad transforms into a number pad with a simple touch. If that weren't enough, MSI is instituting an upgrade program for this $3,200 machine, allowing gamers to swap out their GPUs when Nvidia inevitably rolls out its next graphics powerhouse. With so many powerful specs and novel features, it will be nigh impossible to slay this titan. We can't wait to put this puppy through its paces in the lab.