Last Updated on September 14, 2020 by Scott Krager
There was a time (not too long ago) when PC gaming was meant to be desktop-only, and laptops were only meant to play relatively light games such as World of Warcraft.
But that time is gone now.
Gaming performance on laptops has increased a lot, and thanks to brands like Razer and MSI, PC gaming is also being played on laptops now, at large scale.
Sure, you should play a game on PC every time possible; but if you’re on a trip and have no access to your desktop, there’s nothing better than playing your favorite game on a laptop.
Even if you’re not into gaming, there are still many reasons for you to buy a gaming laptop, such as video editing, and graphics-handling on-the-go, etc.
But just as the number of gaming laptops in the market has increased over the years, people seem to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options.
To help those people, we have compiled the list of most important things to check while buying a gaming laptop
What To Look For In A Gaming Laptop
Whether you’re on a laptop or a desktop, the graphics card is the single most important factor that decides your gaming performance. There are two manufacturers behind all the graphics cards in the market: Nvidia and AMD.
Below is the performance sheet of the Nvidia laptop’ GPUs, via PCWorld.com
As you can see from the above sheet, to have a decent performance, you should go for a laptop with GTX 960M or better. The same process goes with AMD GPUs.
One thing you need to know is that the laptops having a more powerful GPU will be more expensive. So you’ll need to have a balance between your budget and the required performance level.
Like in the GPU area, two main brands make CPUs: Intel and AMD. Unlike in GPUs, where the gap between the Nvidia and AMD is pretty close, Intel CPUs are found to be way faster than those of AMD. That’s why you should always go for a laptop with an Intel CPU.
Within Intel CPUs too, there are a lot of generations. The current, and fastest is 10th Generation, but having an 8th/9th Gen CPU will also do the job.
Related Post: Best AMD Processors For Gaming
Although new games can run decently on 8 GB RAMs, I think you should do some future-proofing and go for 12 GB RAM or better. This way you can make sure that your laptop can run games that’ll be released even after a year or two.
Storage-wise, there are two options for you: Hard Drives and SSDs (Solid State Drives).
SSDs are a lot faster than the traditional hard drives – which makes the games load faster – but they are more expensive than the regular hard drives as well. Most gaming laptops come with either a single SSD or an SSD + HDD combination.
In my opinion, if a laptop has both HDD and SSD options, then you should installed all your games in the SSD portion, and store all the other stuff in your hard drive.
5. Screen Size And Resolution
Screen size is inversely proportional to the portability in the case of gaming laptops, which means the laptops with bigger screens will be less portable than laptops with smaller screens.
Bigger screens (more than 15-inch) have usually better resolution than the smaller screens like 13-inches. I think you shouldn’t go for either extreme and choose a gaming laptop which has decent screen-size without being bulky and less portable.
6. Keyboard and Mousepad
These are two main ways to navigate in the games – keyboard and mouse. Although having a good mousepad is not critical because there’s a high chance of you getting a gaming mouse, the same can’t be said about the keyboard.
New gaming laptops have many extra features in their keyboards, such as backlighting, extra keys for macros, and anti-ghosting, etc.
On average, laptops don’t have powerful speakers when compared to dedicated speaker systems.
On top of that, the placement of speakers also determines their loudness. If a laptop has speakers on the bottom side, then it won’t be loud enough. That’s why always look for laptops that have speakers on the top-side.
One more thing you can do is to look at the specs sheet. Many companies brag about their speakers if they’re made by a reputable audio manufacturer, such as Dolby.
Connectivity options are the ones that make desktops truly customizable.
In gaming laptops, you should always go for the ones that have more than 2 USB ports (and one of them is 3.1), at the least.
If you want a smaller gaming laptop, the chances are very high that you’ll want to connect an external monitor with it. If that’s the case, then make sure that that gaming laptop has a Mini DisplayPort or HDMI port.
Other ports like SD card and VGA-out slots are pretty much optional.
9. Battery Life
Battery life is a concern in most gaming laptops, and in our blog post related to laptop’s gaming performance, we recommended to play gaming while connected to a power outlet.
Why is it so?
Well, this way you can fully utilize your laptop’s power.
In case you don’t want the above scenario, always go for a laptop with extra battery life. Needless to say, an extra battery will likely make your laptop a little heavy, and this lowers down the portability factor of that laptop.