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Plugged In

Five great laptops for gaming

Plugged In

When it comes to playing PC games, portability is often sacrificed. The true monster machines are almost always burly desktops.

But that doesn't mean all is lost for gamers who want to be able to take their systems on the road. While mobile graphics chips aren't quite as advanced as their desktop counterparts, some can still push polygons at an incredible pace.

That power comes at a premium, though. If you want a gaming laptop that's going to handle a Crysis or Far Cry with ease, it's going to cost you. For a variety of budgets, here are five worth considering.

Budget Options

Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3830TG-6431

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Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3830TG-643

The name's a nightmare, but this is one of the most powerful thin laptops on the market -- and one of the best choices if you plan to do a lot of gaming on the go.

It's packed with a speedy i5 processor and weights less than 5 pounds. The screen size is a bit smaller than most, coming in at just over 13 inches, but with a fantastic price of under $800, that could be a compromise you can live with. [Buy | Search]

Dell Inspiron

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Dell Inspiron

Seriously? Seriously. If you're on a tight budget, grabbing an Inspiron is one of your most affordable options.

Though Dell's popular laptop model isn't specifically made for gaming, it's equipped with second generation Intel Core processors, giving it plenty of speed. Screen size goes up to a roomy 17 inches, but also have 14- and 15-inch options if you're looking for something that's a little more portable. They even come with customizable outer shells, letting you put your own stamp on your rig.

But the real reason to care? The price. They start as low as $499, though you'll need to spend a bit more than that to make it a viable gaming rig. Still, for under $850, you can get a fast machine with a big screen that can handle today's most demanding games. [Buy| Search]

Pricey Options

Origin PC EON17-S

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Origin PC EON17-S

Boasting great graphics and easy overclocking, Origin's flagship laptop is extremely customizable and lets gamers tweak things to the tiniest detail. And seeing as people who own screamingly fast gaming desktop rigs often like to build them themselves, that's a big bonus.

Origin systems are often compared to Alienware -- that's understandable, as former Alienware employees founded the company. Like that brand, though, you'll pay dearly for the speed. The EON 17-S starts at nearly $1,700 and can run as high as $3,600. [Search]

Alienware M18X

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Alienware M18X

Alienware has long been one of the biggest names in gaming PCs, so it's not surprising that the company knows how to make a blazingly fast gaming laptop, too. The M18X boasts an 18-inch screen, an Intel Core i7 chip (the fastest on the market today) and oodles of configuration options, letting you decide exactly what you want in your system.

The downside? It's bulky, chunky and isn't exactly sleek in its aesthetic design. Plus, the M18X will cost you a few months rent. Prices start at $1,999 and can range all the way up to more than $5,000. [Buy | Search]

'Coming Soon' Option

Razer Blade

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Razer Blade

Certainly the coolest named gaming laptop in this bunch, the Blade has yet to hit shelves, but it has plenty of people curious.

Razer, generally known as a maker of gaming peripherals and mice, announced its first laptop last August, then went silent. The device was on display at CES this year, though, and the company was giving demos to select media outlets. Razer has replaced the touchpad with a screen and eight LED keys, which can be configured however a gamer wants (and can even be used as a small second screen). The system lacks an optical drive, though it does have a hefty 256 GB SSD hard drive. It also comes with a price tag of over $2,700. [Search]

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