With their powerful components matched by their premium price range, gaming laptops are a beast of a machine when compared to mainstream laptops. They have to be if you want to enjoy high frame rates and smooth gameplay.
Your budget, the games you want to play, and your lifestyle will all determine the type and price range of the laptop you will eventually choose. Here are a few important things you need to look for when purchasing a new gaming laptop.
Before we get into too much detail here are a few quick tips and considerations:
- Don’t buy a gaming laptop for low-end titles – you can play candy crush perfectly fine on a normal laptop
- Avoid touch screens – They drain your battery
- 17- or 18-inch laptops are usually more powerful, but the least portable
- Make sure the keyboard is comfortable
- Avoid laptops with a display of less than 1920 x 1080
- Get Solid State Storage (SSD)
- Get a laptop with at least an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor
Alright, not that we’ve gone over the basics let’s go into a little more detail.
The graphics card or GPU is one of the most important components of a gaming laptop. It is responsible for the image quality you see on your laptops for gaming’s display. It processes the data from your game and transmits it to the monitor in a clean and crisp quality. This can put a lot of stress on your laptop, which is why it is important that you have a GPU, with its own dedicated memory, called VRAM. Nvidia is the most common GPU option today.
It is completely pointless having silky-smooth frame rates and beautiful graphics if you have a poor-quality display. Here are a few important points you need to consider when finding the ideal display:
- Resolution: Your minimum resolution is 1920 x 1080. Any lower and you will have poor quality, hazy gameplay. QHD (2560 x 1440) and 4K (3840 x 2160) are becoming increasingly popular as they have striking detail and color.
- Touch Screens: This is completely unnecessary and is just a trend. It makes absolutely no difference to gameplay unless you’re playing Cut the Rope. If that is your preference, you don’t need a gaming laptop.
- Matte or Glossy: This is a personal preference more than anything else. People say that glossy screens have more vibrant color displays, but a shiny surface is more susceptible to dirt and unwanted glares. With a matte display, you don’t have distracting reflections, but your display might seem more washed out.
- OLED: Described as the display of the future. It is thinner, more power-efficient, and delivers incredible color and contrast. The Alienware 13 R3 OLED is currently the only laptop with this technology.
Sound is just as important as visuals. You’ll probably use a headset most of the time, but sometimes you might want to let your speakers work.
Keyboards and Touchpads
It is important that you don’t forget about your keyboard quality. It is easy to get hung up on other specs. You’ll be using the keys every time you play or use your laptop, so you want them to be comfortable, look good and work well.
CPU and RAM
If the GPU is the heart of a device, then the CPU and RAM are the brains. Your CPU handles everything your computer does that isn’t to do with graphics. This includes performing your game’s physics calculations and taking control of a game’s non-playable characters. It also affects the performance of all of your applications, including your browsers, operating systems, and various productivity apps.
When it comes to a gaming laptop, faster is always better. It is for this reason that so many people love and are making the switch to SSD, especially the new PCIe cards, which deliver lightning-fast file-transfer speed. That little extra boost of speed means that you will have faster game load times. It will also reduce any hitching or glitching you might experience, which is a direct result of your drive struggling to produce assets fast enough to keep up with a game.
Once you have settled on your budget and you have figured out your baseline idea of what you’re looking for in a gaming laptop, there’s one last thing you need to consider – the brand you are going to choose. This really comes down to personal preference and budget at the end of the day.
Now that you have an idea of what the qualities are that you need to look for in a gaming laptop you are better equipped to go out shopping for one. Try to find something that is sort of midrange if you are just a beginner and your budget will allow it.