Gaming on laptops is far more accessible now than it ever has been. Components that go into the average gaming laptops are getting more powerful with every iteration that allow a laptop to stand up to the performance of a desktop PC. The main issue with gaming laptops these days is getting the balance right between performance and cost.
On paper, a laptop might have all the specs you need to play a game. What people don’t often consider are the more detailed specs that games don’t specify. Most gamers appreciate the performance that comes with an SSD over a standard hard disk drive. Another thing to consider is the clock speed of the GPU and the speed of the RAM. These two things aren’t just about GBs.
Budget gaming laptops are something we see a lot more of lately. With games like Fortnite and Minecraft being incredibly popular with younger audiences, hardware manufacturers have found a way to capitalize on this. Seeing a “gaming laptop” at the local supermarket for $899 or $999 isn’t out of the ordinary.
The definition of a gaming laptop is not set in stone. A hardcore gamer would expect something that could play AAA games without having to sacrifice on resolution, frame rate and be able to set most settings to high or above. The supermarkets selling laptops to innocent mothers who need gaming laptops for their children, will provide the absolute minimum to be able to play a game at medium to high settings.
What to look for in a good gaming laptop
The first thing to look for is the GPU, you want to be going for an i7 as this is the highest tier. Since there are new revisions released regularly, you will need to check for the latest model in order to see if the laptop you are buying has the latest tech or one that is a few years old. It might have an i7 but if it is 5 years old, you are getting screwed.
The next is the GPU. Don’t focus on the amount of memory too much. Yes it is very important to have a few GB in there, but if it has a slow processor, then you are wasting your time. Much like CPUs, GPU tech is evolving incredibly fast. The GeForce line of GPUs has a constantly increasing model number. The higher the number generally means it is the better model. For example, in the current line up, the GeForce RTX 2080 is better than the GeForce RTX 2060.
RAM is another thing often advertised poorly. 16gb of RAM sounds great, but if it is cheap it will be slow. Always check for the speed of the memory. This is measured in MHz. The higher the better.
Storage is cheap these days and it might not seem like it matters, but it does. Games will load faster and perform better if they can read data from the disk faster. SSDs are the latest technology in storage and they are incredibly fast. They are also quite expensive compared to traditional HDDs. A 280GB SSD will cost you more than a 2TB HDD. Don’t get caught up in GBs and TBs. SSDs will make your games perform way better, they are well worth the money.
Expect to pay for a high quality gaming laptop
High end gaming laptops are not cheap, but they aren’t meant to be. If you want to have a high end, PC level gaming experience on the go, then you need to be prepared to pay a little more than what you would pay for a gaming PC of a similar spec. A $999 laptop from Walmart is not going to compete with a $2000 liquid cooled desktop PC.
Before you go shopping for a new laptop, you need to know what to expect from the price. If you want to play 8-bit indie games and nothing more, that cheap gaming laptop might be all you need. If you want to play high end 3D games, then you will need to put the money toward a high spec laptop that can support your needs.