This model also comes with a decent-sized SSD that works alongside a 500GB hybrid hard drive with flash memory that kicks in for fast access to Windows 8.

Solidly built yet sleek and lightweight, the Precision M3800 earns its money and is capable of running many types of 3D software and intensive tasks that are part of a designer's day.

Read the full Dell Precision M3800 review

Gigabyte Aorus X7 - £1,600 / US$2,666 / AUS$2,978

Gigabyte Aorus X7

Top laptops: 25 best laptops in the world

Twin-GPUs in an inch-thick gaming laptop? That's the kind of thing liable to induce a frenzy among most serious gamers, akin to spraying blood into a shark pool.

Gigabyte has two Nvidia 765M GPUs running in SLI mode in the Aorus X7, which putting it into perspective is the same graphics GPU in the Alienware 14 – but twice over.

It would appear that physics has, apparently, been sidestepped somehow. But the notion is simple enough: use two decent graphics GPUs and spread the heat around the chassis and you can achieve a smaller form factor than with a better single graphics unit. As you'll note from the review's product shots, you also need vents – lots of them.

Real-world gaming performance, as you might expect, is stellar – how about BioShock Infinite on max graphics settings at 55fps through a 1080p screen? Not bad, to put it mildly.

The downside of all that performance is the noise from the fans and the air blasting through the vents (on the plus side you could dry your hair mid-game). Battery life isn't great either, but something had to be sacrificed to the gods of gaming for this kind of performance.

That graphical muscle is matched up with a Core i7-4700HQ, a great processor for video editing and creative work as well as gaming. To swing for home, the Aorus X7 even has 1TB of hard drive space for all your games and a small SSD for fast booting.

Read our Gigabyte Aorus X7 review

MSI GS70 Stealth - £1,600 / US$2,000 / AU$2,300

MSI Stealth

The MSI GS70 Stealth breaks away from familiar desktop replacement conventions: instead of being bulky, heavy and ugly, it's little thicker than an Ultrabook and half the weight of some rivals - and it's one of the best-looking laptops we've seen for quite some time.

The GS70's vital statistics are backed up by great quality. It's mostly made from brushed aluminium, and the gunmetal-grey finish is paired with slick design. The MSI's lid and base gently contour toward subtle curves at each edge, and we like the little details: milled speaker grilles and air vents, discreet status LEDs on the front edge, and the total absence of garish stickers that usually disturb wrist-rests.

Build quality is excellent, too - impressive when the GS70's dimensions are considered. The base is sturdy and, while there's a little flex in the lid, it's what we expect from machines with a 17-inch screen.

Read our MSI GS70 Stealth review

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch - £1,779 / US$2,139 / AUS$2,538

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch

The original 2012 Lenovo X1 Carbon was the best ThinkPad money could buy, but now Lenovo has added a touchscreen panel and changed Windows 7 Professional for Windows 8, bringing last year's model right up to date.

The result is a formidable machine that not only offers the best usability and performance, but also a fantastic Windows 8 experience. However, the eye-watering price tag means this experience doesn't come cheap.

Read our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch review

Razer Blade - £1,802 / US$2,994 / AUS$3,339

Razer Blade

The Razer Blade with it's matte-black aluminium finish is all about gaming with style.

Razer has chosen a 14-inch chassis with a lower-res screen (1,600x900 pixels) for a design purpose: achieving the best gaming results possible with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M graphics and an Intel Core i7 4702HQ processor.

In a sense the Razer Blade achieves this goal with some admirable results on current 3D games, such as Metro Last Light. But the achievement isn't one that yields a portable gaming machine that will replace your desktop PC. Less demanding titles, such as the Call of Duty: Black Ops will run just fine, which suggests that Titanfall (which uses the less demanding Source Engine) may run smoothly as well.

The question is how much you're prepared to pay for a beautifully designed gaming laptop that's not going to be powerful enough to deliver all the current crop of high performance games with everything turned on and the graphics cranked up to Ultra.

Read our full Razer Blade review