Guide to Buy a Gaming Laptop
Contemporary gaming laptops have no shortcomings if you want to play Unreal Tournament or Half-Life. The graphics of popular games such as World of Warcraft were once stunning but laptops have evolved and state of the art specs make it convenient to play any of the traditional favorites. The real challenge is to play some of the latest games without any glitches.
League of Legends and Minecraft, Apex Legends, Counter-Strike, Grand Theft Auto V or Overwatch are demanding games but wait till you play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Battlefield V, Forza Horizon 4 and Crysis 3.
These games can test the metal of any brand and if you are on a budget then you have to shop extensively to find a suitable gaming laptop.
Ordinary laptops, whether they are meant for personal use and for students or the business variants, are not developed for gaming. There are distinct specs you require to have a satiating gaming experience. Bearing in mind the various needs, here is a comprehensive guide to help you choose the best gaming laptop.
What to Look for:
Begin with the graphics processing unit or GPU. It is commonly referred to as the graphics card. This is as important as the central processing unit or CPU.
When you are buying a laptop for personal or professional use, you should prioritize the CPU spec but a gaming laptop requires prioritizing the GPU.
Almost all laptops have integrated graphics these days but the strength can be too weak for powerful and demanding games.
You need dedicated graphics.
The video memory or VRAM should be sufficient for the games you intend to play. A 4GB graphics card may be sufficient for many but if you want to play the most demanding games, then notching up the VRAM by a few gigabytes becomes a necessity.
Check the minimum graphics requirements of the games you want to play and choose the GPU accordingly.
If your budget will stretch far enough try and get a latest generation RTX GPU from Nvidia. The 2070 models are good value for money and you can find the best RTX 2070 models here.
You should have a compatible CPU for the chosen GPU.
It is impractical to expect a gaming laptop to function efficiently simply because it has enough memory and support for graphics if the processor is dated.
You will notice that some games come with clear recommendations that you must have a 4.0GHz processor. The core matters as well.
The i3 and i5 generations may not be perfect for every latest game. The quad cores of other brands may also fall short.
You may need octa core processor for some games. For most gamers though, a quad core processor is sufficient. Here again, you should check the CPU recommendations of the developers of the games you want to play and accordingly zero in on a suitable processor.
Memory – RAM
You must have sufficient memory in the gaming laptop.
This is not the graphics memory we have already discussed in the first point regarding GPU.
This is the RAM that any computer requires. A gaming laptop should have 8GB of RAM.
Many gamers think 6GB is sufficient. It is not.
Your gaming laptop will run an operating system. There will be other software and files loaded as well. 4GB will fail to support most games.
6GB will struggle to support the graphics of the latest games. There may be latency or glitches. You should also try to go for a gaming laptop that has extra slots for RAM, at least one.
This will allow you to add more memory in the near future if the need arises. Do not go for a gaming laptop that has only one slot or the RAM soldered into the motherboard.
Hard drive is a relatively simpler spec and you should not have any trouble calculating how much space you need for storage.
1TB is the least you should go for. Anything less and you will run out of space at some point in time. A gaming laptop will not only have heavy games that take up a lot of space.
You will have other files too, perhaps videos and movies. Choose 1TB or more. Mechanical hard drive is more affordable than solid state drive or SSD but the latter is much quicker.
If you want a robust hard drive, go for SSD. 1TB SSD will be expensive so you can climb down to 500GB. A 500GB SSD hard drive is much better than a 1TB mechanical hard drive.
You can always use an external hard drive or some cloud storage for more space.
A gaming laptop should be large enough for an engaging experience and the resolution should be optimum.
Anything less than fifteen inches will mean you have a smaller screen than necessary.
You should definitely go for FHD or full high definition, which is 1080p. You can also choose UHD or ultra-high definition.
UHD gaming laptop will cost more but it will be worthwhile, especially if you want to play the latest games.
Finally, you must focus on portability and battery life. Since you have to go for a fifteen-inch gaming laptop or a model with larger screen, you will not get a lightweight option.
Even among these larger gaming laptops, some are unusually heavier than others. Try to find the right balance between size and weight.
Get a battery that will last at least a few hours. A gaming laptop should not have the same two to three cell battery that other models come with.
The battery has to be more potent because the graphics, video and audio play of latest games will draw much more power than typical software and applications.
Always compare half a dozen models or more before you choose a gaming laptop.
It is unlikely for anyone to get more options given a budget and a set of specifications.
The spectrum of gaming laptops is not as vast as personal and business laptops.
Since a gaming laptop with state of the art specs will cost a hefty sum of money, look out for discounts or some offers that can slash the price substantially.