It was only a matter of time before it happened. Five years ago many would have guessed that it would be impossible to do, but the latest generation of mobile products have proved the naysayers wrong. Laptop computer are now becoming viable options for those shopping for a gaming system. It was the advancement of two parts of the notebook system that played the largest role in facilitating this processes.

The first technology to take off was that of the CPU. While previously portable computers used extremely slow or old versions of desktop chips, current generation notebooks are outfitted with processors that rival the speed of their desktop relatives. Intel and AMD both have unique laptop chip lines where speed is no longer measured in megahertz but rather gigahertz. Including a faster processor certainly helped increase overall system speed in the majority of areas, but one area of computing still performed much worse on laptops than on desktops due to a limitation. This area was 3D applications and gaming and the limiting factor was the video processor.

Until about about 2 years ago, 3D acceleration on laptops was pathetic at best. Some graphics chips incorporated into laptops offered minimal 3D support while others offered none at all. All in all, notebooks were not an option for those wanting or needing 3D support. Things changed, however.

Much like the transition that the mobile CPU went through, mobile graphics chips are beginning to vary less and less from their desktop counterparts. The latest mobile graphics chips are now based heavily off of high end desktop GPUs and contain almost as much power. For those not planning on doing any advanced 3D on their notebook, this may not be such a big deal. But for others out there this can mean the difference between buying two computers or just one. These notebooks, outfitted with not only a fast processor but also a powerful video part, could prove to be true desktop replacements.

We recently got a chance to take a look at one such desktop replacement notebook. Our test unit was a Compaq Presario 2800T outfitted with a Mobile Pentium 4-M 1.7GHz CPU and an ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 graphics processor. Let's find out if the Presario 2800T can really fill the shoes of a full fledged desktop.

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