How to Choose the Best Gaming Laptop
A gaming laptop is an ideal choice for professional gamers who don’t want to be trapped in one place with a desktop computer. If you’re a student, frequent traveler, or want to take your games with you to meetups and competitions, a gaming laptop will provide you with the portability you desire. While a regular laptop also provides portability, there are subtle, unique differences in the design of gaming laptops that make them preferential to the laptop you’re used to doing homework and watching Netflix on. Gaming laptops are designed to withstand higher heat levels associated with playing action-packed games, offer a keyboard that is more responsive and has better travel distance, and include the best technology to run games smoothly. All of these advanced features come, of course, with a price, but is it worth it? Avid gamers say yes! Here’s what they recommend when searching for the best gaming laptop to meet your needs.
A CPU is the laptop’s core processor. It almost acts like the computer’s brain and, among other things, runs programs like your favorite games. If you can afford it, you may want to consider a Core i7 CPU, otherwise, you’ll most likely be able to get by on a Core i5 CPU.
Graphics Card (GPU)
This is perhaps the most important aspect of your gaming laptop. A good graphics card will be a deciding factor in how well your games run. It is behind the quality of the images, video, and animation processing of your games. The most powerful card is the GTX 1080, which provides smooth special effects and virtual reality features. Gaming laptops that feature the GTX 1080 or even the GTX 1070, which is almost as good, start at over $1,000 and can skyrocket from there. These laptops are for the most serious of gamers.
If you don’t need to play games on the highest settings, consider a lower quality GPU. The lowest quality you should consider for a graphics card is the GTX 1050 Ti. If you can afford a little more, consider the GTX 1060 which will noticeably upgrade your gaming experience. Gaming laptops with low to mid-quality graphics processing units typically sell for $800 to $1,500.
RAM, which stands for random access memory, is a form of computer memory that contributes to its speed. Whatever gaming laptop you decide on, make sure it has at least 8GB of RAM though if possible, experts recommend going for 16GB. Some gaming laptops allow you to upgrade the memory, so you always start with 8GB of RAM and increase to 16GB at a later time.
Storage is available in the form of the laptop’s hard drive and solid-state drive. Some budget gaming laptops only offer hard drive storage. Typically, gaming laptops come with a 1 TB hard drive. The desirable choice is to invest in a gaming laptop that also offers SSD. The higher the SSD, the faster the load times you’ll experience while gaming.
One thing avid gamers hate is when their gaming laptops start burning and fans begin nonstop whirring, making it impossible to comfortably play. Between the powerful graphics card and core processor, gaming laptops simply heat up more than traditional laptops. When the laptop overheats, in addition to burning your hands and making an annoying sound, it also slows down your game considerably. Thus, it’s crucial that your gaming laptop has a good-quality cooling system.
There are a lot of considerations just to factor into when analyzing a gaming laptop’s keyboard. The keys should ideally offer 1.5 mm to 2 mm depth for travel, with 65 to 70 grams of actuation (how hard you have to press). Anti-ghosting is something that gamers look for that does not really matter for a regular laptop. Anti-ghosting refers to the ability to press multiple keys at once (for particular commands/moves) and have them all register. You may also want the ability to customize your keyboard’s backlighting.
Your gaming laptop should have at least a 1920 x 1080 resolution display. With a higher quality graphics card, you should really consider a display with 2560 x 1440 resolution. We’re also starting to see displays with 4K resolution if you want even more of an upgrade. Screen sizes for gaming laptops generally are 15 or 17-inches, though sometimes you can find larger. Keep in mind, however, that the larger the screen, the heavier and bulkier your laptop will be.
More than likely, you’ll be using a headset while gaming. If you choose to use your laptop’s speakers, however, you’ll want the audio to be high-quality enough to provide an immersive experience.
If you’re a gamer who likes the idea of portability, you should invest in a gaming laptop. A regular laptop simply won’t do the trick if you want to have a good gaming experience and a competitive advantage. The graphics card is the most important aspect when choosing a gaming laptop, but you should also consider the CPU, display resolution and size, memory and storage, heat management system, and keyboard. Make sure you get a laptop with a good warranty. A gaming laptop is an investment, but for avid gamers, they are worth it!