There's nothing like a spot of hardcore gaming. If the thought of texture-mapped polygons, tri-linear mip-map interpolated worlds and parallax occlusion-mapped surfaces stirs your soul, then you need one of these gaming rigs.
We've even taken the unusual step of comparing laptops with their desktop counterparts -- the advances in portable graphics systems mean the performance delta between the two has closed dramatically in recent years, so why the heck not?
The first machine in our roundup is the utterly mental Alienware Area-51 7500. It uses the Predator 2 chassis, which is nicer looking and feels more solid than previous Alienware enclosures, but the major advancements come from the internal components.
The £2,000 model, which is actually part of Alienware's mid range, uses a nippy Core 2 Duo E6700 CPU and 1GB of RAM, which may not sound like much until you learn the graphics card is an Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX -- currently the Formula 1 car of the graphics world. When only the very best 3D horsepower will do, this is the machine to go for. It ran the highly demanding F.E.A.R. at 114 frames per second (fps) and even got a higher 3DMark 2006 score than the old Alienware Aurora 7500, which used two graphics cards in tandem.
If big, bulky black boxes aren't your bag, you should check out the Shuttle XPC P2 3700G -- a small desktop PC which, despite its size, can still kick some serious backside. This mighty gaming dwarf will cost you about £400 more than the Alienware, but it has the fastest CPU you can get in the Core 2 Duo range -- a 2.94GHz X6800 -- and a whopping 4GB of RAM. Its Nvidia GeForce 7950 GX2 'only' scored 8,196 in 3DMark 2006, but that's really not far off the pace.
The first laptop in our roundup is the Dell XPS M1710, which uses a high-end GeForce Go 7950 GTX -- among the best you can get for a laptop PC. It's not as quick as the fastest desktop PCs, but it clocked up 54fps in F.E.A.R., disproving the myth that portable computers are rubbish for games. The unit weighs 3.9kg, so it isn't exactly light, but you do get a fast 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo T7400 CPU, 2GB of RAM and an ample 120GB of disk space.
Our final contender is the Asus G2P, which also happens to be the cheapest in our round-up. It doesn't look as stylish as the Dell, but it has big red lights at the side that pulse with increasing intensity as your gaming action hots up. Great, if you like that sort of thing. The G2P scored a relatively modest 4,722 in 3DMark 2006. It isn't as high as the rest of the machines in this group but it's ample for running any of today's games. If you're on a budget, this is the pick of the bunch.