Ultimate Guide How to Choose Gaming Laptops: The purchase of a laptop is an enormous decision with many possibilities to take into consideration. This guide will take you through the fundamentals, and guide you to the ideal gaming laptop.
It’s difficult to figure out where to begin when it comes to choosing a gaming laptop. There are a variety of aspects to take into consideration, such as the display, design as well as battery life, and obviously, of course, the hardware that powers the entire thing.
Upgrading your gaming laptop with new equipment isn’t always feasible and therefore, it’s crucial to think ahead and consider the way you’d like to use the system. The order in which you prioritize the features that are the most essential to your needs is an excellent initial step.
We’ll cover the entire subject in greater detail, however, first, let’s review some of the fundamentals.
Ultimate Guide: How to Choose Gaming Laptops: Key Features
The best display can make a huge difference to the gaming experience, however, there are more things to take into consideration than the size of the display.
Laptop Display: Key Features
- Resolution: The larger the resolution, the more pixels will be displayed on the screen, and this could be a better image. Modern laptops might have 1440p or 4K displays instead of 1080p however the hardware required to run games with these resolutions could increase the cost.
- Refresh Rate: A display with a higher refresh rate can make the screen action appear smoother and easy to follow. It does this by drawing the image at a higher rate per second. A lot of gaming laptops utilize this technology, and some even have either 120Hz or even 144Hz (or even greater) refresh rates.
- Screen Size: Form factor for laptops and screen sizes differ in size, with 13-15 17 inches’ screen sizes being among the more commonly used configurations. Bezels that are smaller (the border of the screens) could allow for bigger screens, but smaller sizes.
- OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode): It is available on certain gaming laptops. These screens utilize pixels that create their own light, instead of relying on an external backlight. They can therefore achieve higher black levels and greater contrast than the majority of laptop displays, that are typically illuminated by LEDs.
An easy way to improve the user experience on a portable computer is to connect your notebook to an external display. This will allow you to make use of a laptop having an ultra-portable design for use on the go and returning home to a display with a 4K resolution and a 240Hz refresh rate and an ultra-wide aspect ratio.
If you’re thinking about an external display that comes with the highest resolution or refresh rate, make sure you’re using a CPU and graphics card that is capable to take advantage of these capabilities. Check the components on the laptop you’re looking at against the specifications recommended by the games you’re planning to play. Then, make your selection based on.
Also Read: Best Gaming Laptops Under $500 in 2021
While certain games utilize the CPU however, the vast majority of the games GPU-based, which is one of the major options you have when you purchase gaming notebooks. As of now most gaming notebooks have Nvidia GeForce GTX or RTX GPUs.
The latest graphics cards from the Nvidia series are the latest RTX 30 series cards, which range from RTX 3060 Max-Q to the RTX 3080. In the AMD front we have the Radeon RX 5000M series, which includes the RX 5500M, which is a budget-friendly option and it also includes the RX 5600M as well as the RX 5700M to boost performance. However, we are anticipating a new line of AMD discrete GPUs to arrive on laptops in the coming months.
Note on Max-Q: It’s often not obvious on the first RTX 30 series laptops if they’re running a Max-Q GPU until you purchase it.
- Entry-level gaming: If don’t require the most powerful settings, you might want to consider an GTX 1650 or RX 5500M and play almost all games with moderate settings. A GTX 1660 Ti will give you more performance, and we consider it to be noticeable and worth the cost. A laptop equipped with these cards is likely to cost somewhere between $800 or $1100.
- Mainstream Gaming: Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 is a solid middle-of-the-road device that allows you to play the majority of games at high settings, but as the year progresses, the RTX 3060 and 3070 will join it in the middle of the range. It’s also considered to be the minimum level for virtual reality, which means it’s the minimum you need to consider to get your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. For the AMD side the RX 5600M may not be as robust as a performer, however it can do the job. The laptops that come with these cards are expected to be priced in the range of $1100 or $1,500.
- VR and the Highest Settings: An RTX 2070 lets you experience almost any game at high settings. The RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti will be the strongest cards in the 20-series that are available, and will enable smoother VR as well as special effects. As time passes the RTX 3070 or RTX 3080 can be pushing maximum pixels. The cards allow you to begin boosting effects such as Nvidia Gameworks. Laptops with this type of configuration can begin at the top of the K $ and, depending on the other specifications you require you can go up to $3000. However, with the latest RTX series, you’ll be able to play Ray-traced video games as well as get higher frame rates. A RTX 2070, or RTX 2080 could be sufficient for games that play in full HD.
Also Read: Best Gaming Laptops Under $800 in 2021
The CPU, also known as the central processor, serves in the role of your laptop’s “brain” of your laptop. It relays messages to other components of your system, and it processes the instructions that are sent out by the various software programs running on your laptop.
The CPU you choose to use will have an impact on your activities in everything from the frame rate you encounter in games, to the time it takes to respond to applications, to the battery life of your laptop.
The most frequently used CPU specifications are the both clock and core counts but there are many other factors that can be considered, including its ability to overclock3. The features of your CPU that are most important to you depend on the way you utilize your laptop, so it’s important to understand the fundamentals.
CPU: Key Features
- Clock Speed: Clock speed refers to the number of CPU cycles each minute (measured by GHz). In general, a faster clock speeds indicate a faster CPU, but a variety of other factors play into.
- Core Count: Multiple cores enable a CPU to multitask by acting as an individual unit of processing which can run in parallel to accomplish more tasks. CPUs that utilize Intel(r) Hyper-Threading Technology are able to operate more than one thread of software per hardware core, resulting in higher performance.
- CPU Options: There are specific CPUs made for nearly every case, and it’s worthwhile to pick the one that’s most compatible with the way you’ll utilize your system. If you’re looking to increase numbers of cores and faster clock speeds and higher performance, you might want to consider the Intel(r) Core(tm) H processor series is an ideal match. In fact, unlocked CPUs (like those in the Intel(r) Core(tm) I9-10980HK processor) can be overclocked3 to provide extra performance boost. If you’re looking to improve portability, CPUs that are energy efficient such as Intel’s U series can assist in prolonging the battery’s longevity.
For consistent performance when streaming or recording games, we suggest at the very least this: An Intel(r) Core(tm) 7 processor. The higher clock speeds and core counts are especially important when you’re planning to stream streaming live games, since recording software typically requires significant processor power for encoding video.
Random Access Memory, or RAM is a memory which temporarily stores data to allow rapid retrieval by the CPU. Contrary to SSD or HDD It doesn’t keep data in storage, and it resets when it loses power, however, it makes frequently used data accessible faster than an HDD or storage drive.
A computer with more RAM can to run multiple processes at the same time and allows a computer to switch more quickly between programs, while simultaneously running background applications.
The amount of RAM you will need in your laptop is contingent on the way you intend to utilize the system.
- 4GB to 2-4GB of RAM is sufficient to browse the internet or for light work applications and older games.
- 8GB of RAM could be enough for mid-range gaming, and the majority of work-related applications. Most modern PC games require 8GB or more of RAM as a minimum system requirement.
- 16GB of RAM enables an operating system to run the latest and more resource-intensive games with higher settings as well as multiple background applications (like video highlight recording and video highlights recording) as well as streaming software.
- 32GB memory is the ideal size for multitasking that requires a lot of resources like games, content creation or anyone who uses intensive memory-consuming processes such as video edits or rendering.
Although the quantity of RAM that is available to your system may be the most crucial metric for users but there are many other RAM options worth looking into too.
RAM: Key Features:
- Speed: It is measured in the MHz (or thousands of cycles every second) RAM frequency measures the speed that your RAM is able to access memory after receiving a CPU-related request.
- Upgradeability: Some laptops for gaming let you access the internal SO-DIMM slots, where the RAM can be installed. This is not the norm however, so you should consider the amount of RAM required to enjoy your favorite gaming experience. Expanding later might not be feasible.
- SO-DIMM: It is important to note that laptop and desktop RAM cannot be interchangeable. Laptop RAM is usually smaller and comes with distinct pin configurations and can be fitted inside SO-DIMM (small outline dual-in-line memory module) slots, not the DIMM slots you’d find on the majority of desktop motherboards.
SSD or hard drive? Why can’t both? Certain gaming laptops with a budget will include just one hard drive (usually 1TB) However, most gaming notebooks come with the tiny SSD for use as the boot drive. It’s not uncommon to find an 128GB SSD as well as a 1TB HDD working together. If you have an even larger SSD you could see a decrease in loading times, however that could cost you significantly more. Be sure to get a higher-speed HDD, with 7,200 rpm, instead of an HDD with 5,400 rpm.
Laptop Storage: Key Features
- NVMe SSD: These drives utilize an extremely fast PCIe bus instead of the old SATA interface, which provides relatively fast random read/write speeds and more throughput.
- SATA SSD: These drives are equipped with identical SATA connectors used by traditional HDDs. They are typically more durable and faster than an HDD however they’re slower than the latest NVMe drives.
- Intel(r) Optane(tm) Memory Technology: Intel(r) Optane(tm) memory can be described as a small NVMe technology that combines modern storage technology with intelligent memory that can store frequently used files and programs to make it easy to retrieve them. It is specifically designed for loading important applications and files quickly and efficiently, which makes it a great alternative for an boot drive.
- External Storage: If you’re struggling with limited storage onboard additional hard disk drives, or SSDs offer affordable extra storage.
Similar to memory, storage is usually upgraded with gaming notebooks. Therefore, if you want to have more space, add an additional 2TB or bigger HDD.
Gaming laptops are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. The entry-level models may try to strike a balance between portability and performance, whereas more powerful gaming laptops traditionally take up more space. However, in recent years the tradeoff between portability and performance has been less common. High-end laptops that have sophisticated thermal designs are extremely thin and light, while using high-performance components.
Consider the tradeoff between power, price, portability, as well as available ports and performance-enhancing extras when thinking about laptop design.
Design: Key Features
- Quality Build: Aluminum casing can be used to create sleeker and robust designs than plastic.
- Bezels: You should look for bezels with thin edges to reduce the overall dimensions of the laptop. By cutting down on your screen’s edges, the manufacturer can reduce the size of the laptop and still retain the same size screen.
- Weight: A slimmer and lighter design allows for more mobility. However, heavier and denser gaming laptops — often known as musclebooks usually include features useful for a stationary home setup, like greater input and output options (I/O) and, in particular, efficient cooling options.
- Aesthetics: The most expensive laptops can sport an abrasive metal finish and controlled by the user RGB lighting, as well as other attractive design features that merit consideration.
- Extras that are Luxurious: Although not as common, premium gaming laptops could have several screens and ultrawide aspect ratios. They may also have upgrades to hardware, overclockable designs or keyboards with mechanical switches.
- Wireless Connectivity: The majority of laptops have wireless cards that connect to hotspots as well as home routers that operate on either the 2.4GHz as well as 5GHz frequencies. To get the most efficient broadband speeds on the internet, search for devices that support Wi-Fi 6. Another popular wireless feature to be on the lookout for is Bluetooth which utilizes it’s 2.4GHz band for connecting peripherals such as controllers or headsets to the system.
In terms of gaming equipment there are various degrees of portability. They range in the range of “lift with your knees” to “regular laptop.” In general, the more powerful the laptop, the more mobile it is.
- Minimal portability (17 18 inches) If you are planning for your laptop to be kept at your house and leave it at your desk, or simply move it from room to room it is recommended to get an 18-inch or 17-inch display such as that of the Alienware 17 should be fine. Laptops of this size typically have the highest power as they provide ample space for heating components. They’re however weighty to carry around which makes them a difficult fit in the majority of bags, and are too energy-hungry to be left unplugged for long periods of time.
- Medium-sized portability (15 inches) Medium Portability (15 inches): If you’d like to put a gaming notebook in your lap, and then carry around often, think about using a notebook with a 15-inch size, like the OriginPC Eon15-S. These models weigh between 4.6 to 7.2 pounds, and last five hours on average and 50 minutes of battery life.
- The best portability (13 14 inches) If you’re always moving around then you should think about 13 – or 14-inch laptops such as Razer Blade. Notebooks that are this size typically weigh less than 5 pounds and provide longer battery lives, with an average duration that is 7 hours 38 mins. However, 13 – and 14-inch gaming laptops generally do not have the most powerful GPU or CPU as they do not have enough room to let the heat out.
When you purchase a gaming notebook, choose one that can last for several years. If you have the money go for a mid-range or top-end GPU. However, higher-end cards will provide more performance.
This is more important than RAM or the CPU, however you must be aware of the other options too. Storage is the first to be upgraded, however greater is better, since games can take up lots of space.
Consider whether you would prefer higher resolutions or more speedy displays and think about what software would benefit you, but remember that you’ll not have the longest battery performance.