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Editor: Julio Franco

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It's not a secret, nor a surprise that laptop sales are soaring. People are constantly on the move and there is an ever increasing demand for their PCs to be equally mobile.

Just as purchasing a new desktop can feel overwhelming to the untrained eye, buying a new laptop tailored to your specific needs whilst remaining cost effective can seem virtually impossible with the sea of potential component combinations. Realizing this, we have analyzed the market and assembled a number of specification tables outlining the ideal components for the most in demand system types:


Desktop Replacement

Mobile technology has seen such leaps in progression, with the coin to back your desires. It is more than feasible to kiss your clunky desktop good-bye and run your intensive games and multimedia applications anywhere your lap may be.

Unsurprisingly we have picked some of the fastest Core 2 Duo mobile processors to power our desktop replacement system that can double as a moderately fast gaming system. As we found out in our latest Alienware gaming laptop review, it's still hard for a portable system to match a well equipped desktop in terms of performance, though the mobility advantages are undeniable.

Component
Desktop Replacement / Gaming Basic
Desktop Replacement / Gaming Advanced
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 2.8GHz
RAM: 2GB DDR2 667MHz 4GB DDR2 667MHz (optional upgrade to 800MHz)
Video: Nvidia 8600M GT / ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3850 or better Nvidia 8700M GT / Nvidia 8800M GTX / ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3870 or better
Audio: Integrated audio with microphone and line input/output support
HDD: 320GB 7200RPM SATA 320GB 7200RPM SATA / optional secondary HDD
Optical: Internal DVD+/-RW Internal DVD+/-RW / Blu-ray optional
Network: Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet
Wireless: Internal 802.11 g/n and Bluetooth
Display: 15" - 17" 15" - 17"+ LED backlit panel*
Battery: 6 - 9 Cell Lithium Ion 6 - 12 Cell Lithium Ion

Interfaces you may require:

Express Card slot, 4+ USB 2.0 ports, IEEE 1394 port(s), DVI/HDMI/VGA/S-Video port(s), Cable lock slot, Docking station support, Media bay

*As market availability permits - not all manufacturers offer LED backlit panels of 15" and up.

Depending on your needs, a 15" to 17" sized panel is advisable if you will use this as your primary PC. Also, if you can afford the extra cost a LED backlit LCD screen will translate into richer colors, improved contrast and even improved battery life. Our choices of graphics cards go along with the market's availability of high-end graphics processing.

In terms of expansion, it will be important to consider if you will be connecting to an external monitor and full-sized keyboard/mouse often, in which case we recommend you look for a model that supports a docking station accessory. For a desktop replacement system we don't recommend anything less than 3 USB ports to be built in the laptop casing.