Netbooks are very useful for productivity while traveling – I’ve used a number of them to write my books, and they also come in handy when doing IT work. An iPad doesn’t have an Ethernet port for testing network jacks, after all. But are netbooks any good for gaming?
The answer, surprisingly, is yes…but only for certain games.
We were curious ourselves, so we tried out a number of our favorite games known for their low system requirements, both old and new, on an Acer Aspire One 522 with AMD’s C-50 APU running at 1 GHz, armed with 2 GB of RAM, and equipped with a 250 GB hard disk. You might be surprised by the performance this machine can deliver at 720p. You might also be surprised how many games it can’t handle, and we’ll cover all of those titles on the last page of this piece. Of course, because netbooks are too small to include built-in optical drives, external storage is necessary for many of these games.
Your netbook might not be as powerful as ours when it comes to gaming. But if it sports a C-50-or-better APU and at least 2 GB of memory, you should see similar results. Stronger APUs like the E-350 should perform even better, while Intel Atoms with integrated video will perform poorly in comparison. This list is also useful for folks with older desktop hardware.
I have that model of netbook myself (I’m writing my current book on it), and I was surprised to see that The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion plays just fine on that model of netbook, though with the detail settings on low. I expected that Torchlight would work fine (it has a netbook mode, after all), but not Oblivion.