Six months back, laptops were encircling desktop territory - we were seeing more and more portable machines with desktop-grade CPUs and graphics cards. Take Intel's Centrino Duo and the GeForce 7900GO as your pudding-proof providers.
Things actually reached a stage where the desktop replacement philosophy made a lot of sense, and we've spoken with many of you who've embraced the idea, and bought such machines. Now, we have quad-core from Intel and the 8800 series from Nvidia. There is no way you'll squeeze such spiffingly fast components into a notebook chassis. You don't see fission reactors shoehorned into Fiat Puntos, do you?
And so we come to this most-powerful-gaming-laptop-ever (promise). This lappy's a cracker on vellum - A Centrino Duo T2700 (2.33GHZ), 2GB DDR2 667 and an NVIDIA 7950 GO GPU all combine to promise pixel perfection, and performance doesn't disappoint.
Skip past the lacklustre 4,582 3DMarks (3DMark 06), and the CTX 7950 is a good bet for games. At its native res of 1680 x 1050, with full HDR, 4 x AA and 16 x AF, it manages a creamy 75.2 FPS in Half Life 2: Episode One. Company of Heroes also runs at a wholly playable 49FPS on above-average settings. Crank everything up to 11, and this is reduced to 27FPS, which is still playable, if not stellar.
On the whole, it's a decent gaming machine, but it will chug a tad with any modern game at maximum graphics settings. Looks are pretty standard, as the machine is housed in the current generation Clevo chassis, a popular standard with independent system builders, and it does get hot - the 7950 is a cracking GPU but it does enjoy molecular agitation. Nice in a cold snap, but from day to day, you won't want it on your lap.
The clincher is whether you feel you need a DX10 GPU. The 8800GO is surely in the pipeline... as nice as this machine is, our advice would be to hang on a bit until the Vista-launch dust has settled.