Editorial

What to Look Out for When Buying a Gaming Laptop

PCs remain the top choice for most players because of how powerful they can be, but gaming laptops are very popular as well. Gaming laptops have been getting more attention lately as manufacturers can pack more power into them and they’re a great option for players who like to stay mobile. With that being said, picking a great gaming laptop takes a bit more work as there are more features to think about, such as portability or battery life, for instance. But, for the most part, you should be looking for the same things in a gaming laptop as you would in a gaming PC. Let’s take a look at some of the things you should look out for when buying a gaming laptop.

The GPU

When it comes to gaming laptops, the GPU will pretty much dictate how good the machine will be. You won’t see a top-level GPU in a laptop with a bad processor, and the processor does not play that much of a role on a gaming PC, even though it’s still important to have a decent one. This is because most of the heavy lifting will be done by the GPU and even the heaviest games tend to be very light on the CPU.

Here, you have to know that two brands rule the GPU world and that is AMD and Nvidia. NVIDIA makes more powerful cards on average and AMD cards are the most affordable. So, if you see a cheap gaming laptop, this will usually mean that it will have an AMD card.That’s not a bad thing, however, as AMD cards are known for their robustness and reliability. You just have to be careful not to pick a model that is too outdated. NVIDIA holds the biggest share of gaming laptop GPUs, and most laptops today will have one of their RTX or GTX GPUs. AMD is known for their RX cards.

Choosing the Right GPU for Your Gaming Type

You don’t necessarily have to go with the most powerful GPU on the planet, however. If all you want to do is play casino games, for instance, then a smaller machine with a lower-end RX 5500M or GTX 1650 graphics card should do.

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If you’re more into FPS games with high framerates, MMORPGs, or racing games, however, then you will need to look for something a bit more powerful. Here, we suggest that you go for something with an RTX GeForce 2060 card or better, or an RX 5600M card if you go on the AMD side.

The CPU

The GPU will do most of the work, but you still need to have to pick a CPU that has good performance, especially if you want to do things outside of gaming with your laptop. Anything with a Core i7 CPU should do the trick here. You could easily get by with something like a Core i5 CPU too. Or you could go with a model that allows for overclocking like a Core i9-9980 HK if you need something a bit more powerful.

RAM

Many games rely heavily on RAM, so you cannot neglect it. The machine you pick should have 8GB of RAM at the very least, but there’s nothing that stops you from getting something with 16GB or even 32GB of RAM. The more RAM you have, the better, and since RAM is very cheap, there will be a very small price difference between a PC with 8GB of RAM and one with a bigger RAM stick, so don’t skimp here.

Keyboard

Pick a gaming laptop with a good keyboard as it will have a huge impact on gameplay, and you won’t be able to change it later on. One of the first things you should look at is key travel. This represents how far a key will go when you push it down. Go with a keyboard that offers at least 1.5mm of travel, though 2mm would be better.

Also, look for a keyboard with macro keys and additional features like n-key rollover or anti-ghosting. An RGB backlit keyboard is a nice feature to have too, but you’re not likely to find it on a mid-range laptop and it’s not a necessity, so don’t be too picky here.

Battery Life

Battery life is last on our list because most gaming laptops underperform in this area. You can’t expect battery life to blow you away with gaming machines because of the massive workload they have to handle, and you’ll be lucky if you can find a machine that allows you to play for more than three hours before plugging it in.

With that being said, there are some features on laptops that can make them more energy hungry. A backlit keyboard, for instance, will demand a lot of energy from the battery. The same goes with touchscreens. While many people consider a backlit keyboard to be a must, a touch screen definitely isn’t.

A touch screen might seem like a neat feature to have on a gaming PC, but it’s largely useless. PC games are not made with touchscreens in mind and there’s almost zero chance that you’ll find a game that requires one, so avoid any machine that has a touchscreen and don’t go for the option if it’s offered as an upgrade.

These are all things you have to pay close attention to when picking a gaming laptop. Pick a machine that will last long with a great GPU, great RAM, and nice features.

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