Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Can I Play Battlefield 3 On My Laptop?

I sometimes post on Yahoo Answers, and frequent some gaming forums too. A question I have seen raised quite often is:

Can I play Battlefield 3 on my laptop?

A lot of us, especially college students or those living in more cramped abodes don't have the room (nor the cash) to spend up large on a gaming desktop. Good luck fitting a full tower and 27 inch monitor with computer desk into your dorm room is all I can say.

So can you play Battlefield 3 on your laptop?

It really depends on what kind of laptop you have. Once upon a time laptop gaming was all but impossible; only 2d isometric games like Age of Empires 2 were able to be played on laptops because of their lack of graphics processing hardware (and slower processors)

Things have changed a lot, and now there are many laptops that promise good gaming performance. Probably the most well-known gaming laptop brand is Alienware- they make some great quality gear. Unfortunately most gaming laptops are very expensive and quite bulky. Lugging a fully-fledged gaming laptop around all day is going to get tiring.

That's not to say that gaming laptops are rubbish. I, in fact, own one myself and really like it. It's an Asus Republic of Gamers model with an i7 processor, 8gb of ram, and 1gb Nvidia GTS 460M graphics (along with Blu-Ray and 3d vision)

Now I know I'll probably get flamed for saying I own such a machine by player-haters saying 'aww bro you should have built a desktop yourself for a third the price' - I do not care. I bought it because I am pressed for space, and was on holiday and the thing was on special.

This laptop plays new games very well. Battlefield 3 runs smoothly on all but the highest graphics settings, and it plays other favorites of mine like Medieval 2 Total War flawlessly.

Can you play Battlefield 3 on your laptop?

If your laptop has a Core 2 Duo, i3 or anything lower than a fast i5 (or AMD equivalent) I probably wouldn't bother. You are going to get crummy framerate even on lower settings and not really enjoy the game. Turbo boost available on some newer mobile Intel laptops is very useful for ramping up framerates though.

The biggest limiting factor for mobile gaming is always going to be the graphics hardware though. A lot of laptops come with very average onbard graphics that splits system memory with video memory. Fine for browsing the web etc and tasks that most laptop users perform, but not for gaming. To play BF3 on your laptop you really need at least 1gb of dedicated video memory, because laptop graphic chips tend to run at a lower clock speed than desktop cards.

You can get some performance boosts by updating your drivers- when I updated my laptop chip to the latest Nvidia drivers I noticed quite handsome performance increases in some games.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that unless you have a gaming specific laptop, don't bother with BF3. You won't enjoy it and would be better served buying the console version instead.

Or, save your pennies and get one of these:
3gb of video RAM in a GTX 560M chip? Sounds good to me.

The price? Click here to find out, because I don't want to give you a heart attack.

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