The new games just keep coming don’t they. The latest AAA titles boast the most ludicrous and unrealistic weapons. But before you can play, you need a good Gaming Laptop, don’t you?
Today’s gaming laptops come with some serious power to meet those high-end demands on performance. But how do you know which set of components will best help you play those promising indie games?
There are many factors to consider. To help you take the first step, here are the top 10 specifications required for a good gaming laptop.
(We took the liberty of listing them for you in order of most important to least important.)
Good Gaming Laptop
Graphics Cards (GPU)
Since gaming is a visually intense activity, this is where you want to spend most of your money. The GPU is responsible for delivering images to the display by processing data, and transmitting the signal to you visually via your screen.
The demands on a graphics card is so great when running games, that you and your system will be much happier with a dedicated graphics card.
Also referred to as a discrete graphics card, the benefit of this type of GPU over an integrated graphics card is that it has its own RAM. Which means it doesn’t need to share memory with the system.
The benefit for your system is that more RAM is available to accomplish more tasks. The benefit to you is that you won’t experience severe slow-downs during the most critical moments of game play.
If you want a good gaming laptop, NVIDIA makes the best graphics cards for the money and performance of anyone around. Head on over to Notebook Check where you’ll get an overview of the top GPU options, with benchmarks from various sources. It will help you find out what’s most important to you.
The next component you want to focus your attention on to get a good gaming laptop is the system memory. 8GB of RAM is enough to ensure you don’t run into problems with the majority of games out there.
If you plan to stream games, or you just want to future-proof your laptop, 12GB to 16GB of RAM will help you play games into the near future. Anything more is unnecessary for gaming.
When you get your gaming rig, set the RAM up to run dual-channel mode. It offers greater RAM bandwidth, though it might make it costlier to upgrade in the future.
And on that note, don’t feel compelled to buy the gaming laptop with the most amount of RAM as this will likely inflate the cost. Instead, buy a system that will allow you to upgrade memory when you’re ready.
A good gaming laptop will come with a Quad-Core processor from Intel. The best gaming laptop will have the latest i7 CPU.
AMD is good on the cheap, and getting closer to delivering Intel performance for the money. But nothing touches Intel’s top offerings. The Core i7 is the top of the line, i5 delivers good gaming performance, and even the latest i3 can outperform and AMD series CPU.
We recommend that if you don’t have a lot of money to spend, you shouldn’t waste a lot of it on the processor, which is why it comes 3rd on our list. Since modern games are better optimized, they hyper-threading and turbo boosting ability that a larger CPU offers largely goes to waste. Here’s another reason why you don’t need to spend so much on the CPU.
Drive (HDD or SDD)
Given the choice between a hard-disk drive and a solid-state drive, always always go for the SSD. A good gaming laptop will have both an SSD, and a supplemental HDD. You can load games into the HDD while the SSD speeds up the system.
While SSD is great for speed, it’s not so great when it comes to space. The cost per GB of space still favors hard-disk drives (some big games require as much as 20GB to 30GB of space). But an SSD is tougher than an HDD. Since there are no mechanical parts, there’s less chance of a breakdown. And it’s more likely to survive a fall.
There are many flavors of solid-state drives you should consider for your gaming laptop. Check them out here.
A bigger screen will be more fun to play on. The trade-off will be a bulkier laptop that’s more power-hungry. But since the size of the screen is related to the overall size of the laptop. A gaming laptop with 17- or 18-inch display will most likely have more powerful components.
If you’re anything like us, you’ll notice that video game developers are producing more 4K content. Although there are some gaming laptops equipped to push 4K displays, this resolution is still really taxing on the hardware. Which is why we’re recommending a panel that’s 1920 x 1080p, or Full-HD.
A good gaming laptop will also come equipped with IPS (in-plane switching) technology.
A good gaming laptop will also offer a keyboard with an actuation force that feels like the mechanical keyboard on a desktop computer; the SteelSeries keyboards on MSI laptops is a good example of this.
The keys on a bad keyboard will feel mushy, and make you second guess whether you actually depressed it or not. Needless to say, this is not ideal for a gaming laptop.
More gaming laptop manufacturers are equipping their keyboards with backlighting. It’s not super important. But if you ever need to game in the dark, it comes in handy. Some offer customizable RGB lighting.
Even though you’ll most likely use a gaming mouse when gaming. A smooth trackpad is still paramount to your gaming experience. The trackpad on a good gaming laptop will allow two-finger scrolling, pinch-to-zoom, and have all the buttons you need for those critical levels (some trackpads can even glow in the dark).
Does the gaming laptop you’re considering have all the ports you need? At the very least, a good gaming laptop will have an HDMI or Thunderbolt ports so that you can plug your laptop into a larger monitor. Here is a list of ports you should consider for your gaming laptop
Gaming laptops aren’t known for the longevity of their battery away from an outlet. Even a laptop with a bigger battery will give up the ghost after only an hour with all the setting pushed up.
To squeeze in some extra game time without need for a power outlet, consider getting a rechargeable power pack for your gaming laptop.
A few high-end gaming laptops come equipped with good, built-in speakers. But, for the best quality sound, the speakers on a laptop probably won’t cut it. To satisfy your need for Michael Bay-level explosions, you’ll need a decent pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
Here’s a bonus just for you as a thank you for sticking with us until the very end.
It might sound counter-intuitive to everything else you probably heard about laptops. But when it comes to gaming laptops, thinner isn’t better. That’s not to say that a thin laptop doesn’t have its place when it comes to the world of gaming.
If you’re playing non-taxing titles like Dota 2, or Minecraft, an Ultrabook size laptop could be ideal. But if you want to play the biggest PC series and beafier titles, a thinner laptop will succumb to overheating and performance throttling.
A good gaming laptop is able to support a dual fan setup to keep things cool. And its big enough to house features that are important to your game play, like a bigger graphics card, more RAM, and a full keyboard and trackpad.
Check out the best Gaming Laptops for you. What are you looking for when you buy a gaming laptop? We mentioned MSI, Gigabyte, and Schenker, but what are your favorite gaming laptops? Let us know in the comment section below.