Video Power: These Slim and Light Laptops Are High-Def Champs

Evolved graphics processing makes laptops HD-friendly

The trend: Slim, light laptops that can play back high-definition video—and edit it—30 percent faster than before.

Why Now?

Video is becoming harder to manage. The popularity of Blu-ray discs, 3-D video, and high-def camcorders and cellphones means PC users need portable power. So Intel and AMD are cramming graphics processors into the space that normally houses only the CPU. Each 1.5-inch chip can hold nearly a billion transistors, which move and render video data quickly, while a dedicated area handles more demanding tasks, such as editing high-def footage.

How You’ll Benefit

Without a graphics processor hogging space and battery power, low-cost laptops, netbooks, all-in-one desktops and even tablets can process high-def video and 3-D while still clocking up to 10 hours of battery life.

Click to launch three of the best HD-chugging laptops

Acer Aspire 7745G: Media Mogul

Even without a separate graphics processor, this Aspire can quickly edit all the high-def video you can fit on its 750-gigabyte hard drive–and then smoothly play it back on its 17.3-inch screen. Acer Aspire 7745G (with Intel Core i7-2630QM): $1,250,

Asus K53W: Text Twister

The K53W puts its Intel Core I-series processor to the test with a unique graphics task. Its 16-by-9-aspect-ratio touchpad converts handwriting into editable text. Asus K53W (with Intel Core i3, i5, or i7): from $650,

HP Pavilion dm1: Portable Powerhouse

The Pavilion is less than an inch thick and weighs just 3.2 pounds. Its AMD dual-core processor with built-in graphics support easily streams and plays video on its 11.6-inch LCD, a task that used to cripple machines its size. HP Pavilion dm1 (with AMD Fusion): from $450,