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BUYING GUIDE rate and G-Sync (or FreeSync if you can find a laptop that supports it with a Radeon GPU). If you tend to also push pixels in Photoshop or do any colour-critical work, skip variable refresh for an IPS panel. Keyboard and trackpad A new trend in gaming laptops is the offset trackpad, which is more conducive to gaming than a deadcentre trackpad. The concept is sound but anyone who actually cares about PC gaming will just plug in a mouse. The worst thing about that offset trackpad is when you try to use it for non-gaming purposes. As far as keyboards go, the most important gaming feature is n-key rollover. This means the keyboard physically scans each key separately. If you wanted to, you could press 20 keys and they’d all register as each is independently wired. That probably sounds Razer was the first manufacturer that we know of to use an offset trackpad as an ad hoc gaming ‘mouse’ 82 TECH ADVISOR • MAY 2018

excessive but keyboards that lack this feature can suffer missed keystrokes, which not only ruins gameplay but also hurts in everyday tasks. Anyone who has used an Adobe product that might require a left-Alt, left-Shift, left-Ctrl, plus two more keys to do something may have run into the limitations of non-n-key keyboards. Other keyboard considerations include LED backlighting (which adds ambiance but does nothing for gameplay) and mechanical keys versus membrane. Mechanical keys are excellent – but are available on only handful of laptops that usually weigh a ton. BUYING GUIDE Storage Having your games load from a solid-state drive (SSD) instead of a hard drive significantly cuts down on load times. But beyond that, we haven’t found it to matter much whether it’s a fast NVMe PCIe drive or a slower SATA SSD. What does matter more today is the size of the SSD rather than the interface it uses. With games now topping 50GB/s and some touching 100GB/s, a once spacious 256GB SSD will feel too small with just four games installed. So when speccing out that gaming laptop, be mindful of just how much total storage you have. If you go for laptop with a small SSD and large hard drive combo, expect to install your games to the hard drive. If the laptop will have an SSD only, choose a minimum of 512GB with 1TB preferred. RAM When laptop makers spec out gaming laptops, one of the levers they use to try to convince you to buy their MAY 2018 • TECH ADVISOR 83

Samsung Series 3 15.6" Laptop - NP305E5A-A01US - User Manual (Windows 8) ver. 1.6 (KOREAN,15.78 MB)
Samsung Series 3 15.6" Laptop - NP305E5A-A04US - User Manual (Windows 8) ver. 1.6 (KOREAN,15.78 MB)
Samsung Series 3 15.6" Laptop - NP300E5A-A01UB - User Manual (Windows 8) ver. 1.6 (KOREAN,15.78 MB)
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