While many PC gamers still prefer the desktop, there are times when you just need something a little bit more portable. A gaming laptop is a portable gaming setup that combines portability with gaming capabilities. But you don't only look at stats when you purchase a gaming laptop. You are viewing an entire computer, complete with an integrated keyboard and display. Here, we go over every choice you'll have to make when purchasing a gaming laptop so you can choose the best option for your requirements and price range.
Get a good GPU because most games depend on them and laptops cannot be upgraded for them. Your laptop will play games at high settings for a long time if it has a good GPU.
Think about updating later: Many gaming laptops, though not all, allow you to upgrade your RAM and storage.
Pick either resolution or speed: A 4K screen will be slower because the fastest screens now available only support 1920 x 1080 resolution at up to 360 Hz.
Buy a reliable keyboard: You shouldn't play your games on mushy or stiff surfaces.
Battery life is likely to be poor: Few gaming laptops can run for eight hours or longer before needing a recharge, and the optimum performance requires a power supply anyhow.
This is one of the most important selections you make when purchasing a gaming notebook since even while some games utilize the CPU, the bulk are still GPU-reliant.
The RTX 30-series cards, which range in price from the RTX 3050 to the RTX 3080 Ti, are the most recent graphics cards in the Nvidia series. The Radeon RX 6000M series from AMD includes the RX 6300M for low-cost systems, the RX 6700M and RX 6800M for midrange and high-end systems, as well as the top-of-the-line RX 6850M XT for increased performance. But later this year, we anticipate a fresh lineup of AMD discrete GPUs to arrive in laptops.
A word on Max-Q: Until you purchase an RTX 30-series laptop, it may not be obvious if it uses a Max-Q GPU. Find out how to identify RTX 30-series laptops with Max-Q GPUs.
The easiest approach to determine if an Nvidia GPU will satisfy your needs is to review the specifications, which more and more manufacturers are now providing in full.
The RTX models are more expensive. In the interim, keep an eye on our Best Tech Deals page if you're searching for a discount on a current-generation gaming laptop.
Entry-level gaming: A GTX 3050 or RX 5500M will let you play the majority of games, but on mediocre settings, if you don't need to play on the highest settings. You'll have a little bit more power with a GTX 3060, and we believe it's visible and well worth the money. You may expect to pay between $800 and $1,100 for a laptop with these cards, however recently we've seen them being a little more expensive, probably because of the component shortage.
RTX 3070 or 3070 Ti will give you a considerable boost in performance, but Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060 is a fine middle-of-the-road card that will let you play most games on high settings. The RX 6700M from AMD isn't the best performer, but it will do the job. Although the component shortage is still present, expect laptops with these cards to cost between $1,100 and $1,500.
The most powerful 30-series cards available, the RTX 3080 or RTX 3080 Ti, will enable smoother VR and special effects. An RTX 3070 will allow you to play through almost anything on high settings. You may start boosting effects like Nvidia Gameworks with these cards. These laptops can cost as little as $2,000 and as much as $3,000, depending on the additional specifications you require. However, you can play ray-traced video games and obtain higher frame rates with the new RTX series. Depending on the settings you utilize, an RTX 3070 or RTX 3080 Ti may even be sufficient for you to play games in 4K.
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While the GPU is vital, you should also search for a strong CPU, enough RAM, and a lot of storage.
Depending on your price range, you can purchase an extremely powerful Core i7 CPU or even an overclockable model like the Intel Core i9-12900HK. There are also laptops available with desktop CPUs. However, a good GPU rather than a powerful CPU is what most games benefit from, thus a Core i5 processor will work just fine.
Consider making a small amount of savings if you find something that is less powerful or older than the most recent Intel 12th Gen Core (model numbers start with 12). Since CPUs are typically not upgradeable, this decision must be made just once.
Gaming can be memory-intensive, therefore we advise 8GB for even routine work tasks. If you can, choose a gaming PC with 16GB of memory. Typically, a laptop with a GTX 3050 or 3050 Ti has 8GB of memory. Some graphics cards with a GTX 3060 or higher will have 16GB of RAM. If you can't acquire a laptop with 16GB of RAM right away, think about upgrading it soon. If you're skilled with a screwdriver, you can consider upgrading the memory on many gaming laptops in the future.
Storage: SSD or hard drive? Why not neither? Most gaming notebooks additionally feature a tiny SSD to act as a boot drive, while some affordable gaming laptops will simply have a hard drive (often 1TB). A 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD functioning together is commonplace. The loading times might be faster if you can obtain a larger SSD, but that will also cost you a lot more money. Make sure to choose a faster HDD with 7,200 rpm rather than 5,400 rpm. Storage in gaming notebooks is frequently upgradeable, just like memory. Therefore, you can insert a 2TB or larger HDD if you need more space.
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