If you are a gaming developer or a student of gaming design, you will require a capable and sturdy laptop for game development. Check out the cost, the CPU, RAM, battery life, the dimensions, and portability factor while considering one. For a notebook, the minimum you will need is an Intel Mobile Core i5 7th Gen CPU combined with an NVIDIA GTX 965M, AMD RX 460M equivalent or greater. As for the display, it can be 4K or FHD. It is also worth to have an SSD, as programs load faster and you can perform tasks much faster than in a conventional hard drive. If considering a traditional hard drive, an RPM of 7200 is better for loading data. Here are the top best laptops for game development.
See also: Best desktops for students
You would have come across gaming laptops in which you play all kinds of video games. Some laptops are used for developing these games. Laptops for game development have to have some important specifications for the developers to work on them seamlessly. While large game development studios may use a mix of desktops and laptops, there are thousands of students involved in learning game development. They will also be looking for good laptops for game development. What are those extra specifications required on these laptops?
- Processor: You need a powerful processor for the laptop meant for the development of video games. It would be ideal to have the latest generation Intel processor, possibly an i7 CPU. The game development work involves handling huge quantities of data and the processor must be equipped to bear the traffic.
- Graphics Unit or GPU: You need powerful graphics support for the processor. Usually, game developers insist on an NVIDIA graphics card. Look for the best in the range so that you have no difficulty while developing games on the laptop.
- RAM: RAM is another important component in a game development laptop. You should look for a minimum of 16 GB and anything more than that would be the icing on the cake. The RAM quality should be good like the latest DDR4 rated one. You could look for a laptop with 16 GB RAM but with the provision to expand it later depending on your needs.
- Extra Cooling Fans: Like gaming laptops, the ones for developing the games will also get heated very fast. The laptops for game development usually come with extra cooling fans with higher RPM to help circulate more air. Game development activity will draw excessive power to handle the activities on the screen and that is the reason for the machine getting heated.
- Audio: Games involve some high decibel sounds too. Action games will require them even more. The laptop for game development must come fitted with better sound delivery. There are special Dolby Audio systems added to the laptops. Check on this while placing the order.
- VR Ready: Game development will include testing the games in a real-time environment which means the ability to use VR headsets. Go through the specifications to see if there is mention of this feature.
- Display Size: There are laptops for game development that come with dual displays. Even if you do not go for these, you would be better served with a large 17-inch display screen. It will make the game development process easier.
Mid-Tier Laptop for Gaming Developers
Lenovo legion Y720, 15.6 inches
It is powered by the 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700 processor clocking at 2.8 GHz combined with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 dedicated graphics card and hybrid storage. The graphics card is powered by the NVIDIA Pascal capable of three times the performance compared to previous versions so that it can handle the more intense tasks of game developers. The RAM is 16 GB with 128 GB SSD and the memory speed is 2400 MHz with a 1000 GB Hard Drive having a rotational speed of 5400 RPM. It runs on the Windows 10 Home 64 bits OS.
As for the audio, it is the first Dolby Atmos notebook offering Next-Gen audio all around, even without headphones. It is efficient for game development, as you have all the tools necessary for the VR world. The graphics are powerful; it offers support for VR and has HDMI/USB 3.0 ports. The keyboard is backlit with multi-colors. The dimensions are 15 x 1.1 x 10.9 inches and the weight is 7.04 pounds. It is available in black color. As for ports, there is one USB Type C Thunderbolt 3.0 port, one mini DisplayPort, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and one HDMI 2.0. The display is 15.6 inches with a resolution of 1080 pixels.
It also comes with a built-in wireless adapter for Xbox, which is useful for game developers. The battery life is around 6 hours and it stays cool under normal conditions.
Who Should Buy This?
- It is for those who want a laptop for game development, which has all the tools necessary for the VR world.
- For those who want a gaming laptop that can be used to play games on high settings and in VR mode.
Stunning Dual Screen for Game Development
Asus Zenbook Pro Duo, 15.6 inches
The aesthetics of this laptop are brilliant – with its top-quality design and the multi-purpose extra screen. It is a laptop that is meant for productivity and multitasking. The large second screen is flexible, which means that you can customize it. The main display size is 15.6 inches of 4K UHD OLED touchscreen with HDR support. The secondary screen pad plus is a matte touchscreen, 14 inches, 4K with a resolution of 3840 x 1100 pixels, which is also a 4K panel. You can use it as an additional screen estate or an additional screen for multitasking. This helps improve productivity, as you can use the extra screen for accessing settings and editing whereas game programmers can use it for viewing long coding lines while tweaking the game they are working on.
It is powered by the latest 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H quad-core processor with a 12M cache. It clocks a maximum of 4.5 GHz, combined with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card. The palm rest is detachable and it comes with an active stylus pen. The RAM is 16 GB DDR4 with a memory of 1TB PCleNVMe SSD. It comes with a built-in IR camera with facial recognition abilities. The cooling system is optimized and it has an excellent audio performance. As for connectivity, it has one HDMI port and one USB Type C with Thunderbolt. The dimensions are 14.1 x 9.7 x 0.94 inches and it weighs 5.5 lbs. It operates on Windows 10 Pro OS.
Who Should Buy This?
- Game developers and professionals who want a stunning, capable, and interesting laptop that can tackle tasks efficiently.
- For professional game developers who want to do multitasking, multi-layer photo and video editing, rendering of 3D graphics, and live streaming of games.
Lavish and Opulent Laptop for Game Development
ASUS ZenBook Pro, 15,6 inches
It is opulent and lavish on the outside and powerful on the inside. The display is bright, the design is stunning, and the graphics performance is solid. It comes with two displays, one in 15.6 inches with UHD 4K touchscreen with a screen to body ratio of 83% and a Nano
Edge bezel, sporting a screen resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. The second display is the Asus ScreenPad of 5.5 inches screen seen in the touchpad, Super IPS+ with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The dimensions are 14.4 x 9.9 x 0.7 inches and it weighs 4.2 lbs. There are many preinstalled apps available on the ScreenPad, such as Calendar, Calculator, Spotify, launcher for Windows 10, and so on,
It is powered by the 8th Gen Core i7-8750HK chipset with 8M Cache and clocking at 2.2 GHz with a maximum of 4.8 GHz. The processor is combined with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX1050Ti graphics card for a seamless 4K video playback, photo editing work and a lot more. The RAM capacity is 16 GB LPDDR42133 MHz and it has an SSD storage of 512 GB PCleNVMe. It also comes with a quick charging feature of 60% in 49 minutes. It is supported by the Windows 10 Pro OS.
It has a high-capacity 71Wh lithium-polymer battery with thermal engineering, offering around 9.5 hours of battery life.
Who Should Buy This?
- It is suitable for most games and the graphics card is specifically suitable for facilitating creative apps, such as Adobe Photoshop.
Strong Graphics Performance for Game Development
Dell XP S9570-5632SLV-PUS, 15.6 inches
It is powered by the 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8300H chipset, with a cache of 8M and 4 cores, clocking to a maximum of 4.0 GHz. The screen is a 15.6 inches FHD with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, sporting InfinityEdge and anti-glare. It has a RAM of 8 GB 2666 MHs DDR4 with 2 cores of 4 GB and a memory of 256 GB M.2 2280, PCle, SSD. The hard drive rotational speed is 5400 RPM. It is supported by a dedicated graphics card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4 GB GDDR5. As for ports, there is one Thunderbolt 3.0, 2 USB 3.0 having Power Share, one headset jack, and one SD card reader.
The InfinityEdge display is virtually borderless with a bezel of just 5.7 mm. The processor and graphics card combination can help users blaze through intensive tasks easily. The memory is fast and enables quick access to content. Storage is plentiful and apps run quickly. The powerful graphics card offers great gaming development and gaming opportunities. This laptop is truly a great gaming rig loaded with NVIDIA’s innovative technologies that are game ready.
The dimensions are 9.27 x 14.06 x 0.66 inches and it weighs 4.5 lbs. It is supported by the Windows 10 Home OS.
Who Should Buy This?
- Those who want a sturdy laptop with good power, excellent graphics performance, and a vibrant screen though in a dated design.
- For gamers who want to experience all the latest gaming titles in their full glory and for game developers.
Show-Stopping OLED Display for Game Development
Alienware 13 inches
It is powered by the 7th Gen Intel Kaby Lake Processor and paired with NVIDIA 10 series GPU, making the Alienware laptop the smallest laptop that is VR ready. Also, it has a captivating OLED display of 13.3 inches FHD, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and an anti-glare finish.
The dimensions are 10.59 x 12.99 x 0.95 inches and it is 5.8 lbs in weight. The display is mesmerizing with a vibrant output. It is powered by the Intel Core i7-7700HQ, quad-core processor with a cache of 6 MB, clocking at a speed of 3.8 GHz with Turbo Boost. The RAM is 16 GB DDR4 at 2400 MHz, 2 x 8 GB and the hard drive memory is 512 GB PCle SSD. The graphics card is an NVIDIA GTX 1060.
The system is VR ready, having passed certifications of Oculus and Vive Optimized. All the tools necessary for gamers and game development are present, with killer wireless, a Thunderbolt Type C port, support for Graphics amplification, and an SSD that enables faster loading of games. Audio output has been improved with an impressive speaker box, offering a dramatic experience for gamers and developers. It is supported by the Windows 10 Home HighEnd 64 bits OS.
Who Should Buy This?
- For those who want a portable and powerful gaming laptop that is VR ready, at a reasonable price.
- It is for those who want to experience unstoppable, immersive gaming while on the go.
Budget Laptop for Game Development
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series Gaming Edition, 15.6 inches
The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 series is slim and light with a 15.6 inches Full HD screen having a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, being both anti-glare and LED-backlit using IPS technology, HDMI. The dimensions are 10.8 x 15.2 x 1 inches and it weighs 5.78 lbs.
All the standard ports are present with 3 USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI connection, one Ethernet jack, one headphone jack, SD card reader, and a Kensington lock slot. It is powered by the 7th Gen Intel Quad-Core i5-7300HQ 2.50 GHz having a turbo boost technology up to 3.50 GHz. The RAM is 8 GB DDR4, 2400 MHz memory, and it has a hard disk size of 1 TB, 5400 RPM with a cache of 8 GB. This is combined with a graphics card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050, 4 GB GDDR5 having a RAM size of 8, but there is no Optical Drive included. The laptop is supported by the Windows 10 Home, 64 bits. As for the ports, there are 8 USB 2.0 ports and 8 USB 3.0 ports.
The Intel core processor ensures effective playing of action-heavy game titles and the graphics card and the anti-glare display also ensures immersive visual aspects during gaming development and gaming. The NVIDIA GeForce GTx 1050 Ti’s discrete graphics comes with its independent video memory, so it is possible to play games on high settings. The cooling design is excellent, without leaving any room for hot spots being formed. The battery life is excellent too with a 74 Wh battery.
Who Should Buy This?
- Those who want a well-designed, reasonably priced laptop with an all-round aptitude for game development and gaming.
- Those wanting a combination of top build quality with performance and good battery life on a budget.
Popular, Powerful and Reasonably Priced Game Development Laptop
Acer Predator Helios 300, 15.6 inches
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is powered by the Intel Core i7-8750H, which is a 6 core processor clocking at a maximum speed of 4.1 GHz. It is supported by the Windows 10 Home 64 bits OS. The graphics card is a dedicated GDDR5 VRAM of 6 GB, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, which is driven by the latest NVIDIA Pascal architecture.
It comes with a Full HD LED-backlit IPS display screen of 15.6 inches having a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a refresh rate of 144 Hz with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The RAM size is 16 GB DDR4 2666 MHz DRAM memory and the hard drive is 256 GB PCleNVMe SSD, with an additional and optional slot for an SSD or a 2.5 inches hard drive. The battery capacity is 3320 mAh and it offers up to 7 hours of battery life. For audio, it has two built-in stereo speakers featuring an optimized Dolby Audio Premium for an enhanced sound system and uses the Acer True Harmony Plus technology. It has one USB 3.1 port Type C, one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, and one HDMI 2.0 port.
It features two metal AeroBlade 3D fans and excellent audio capabilities for intense gaming and game development sessions. The gaming control panel offers customization options for features like system temperature, fan speed, etc. The dimensions of the laptop are 10.47 x 15.35 x 1.05 inches and it weighs 5.51 lbs.
Who Should Buy This?
- Those who want a powerful yet affordable laptop for game development and gaming.
- Those who would like a laptop with upgradeable storage and memory.
Stunning Display and Solid Audio for Game Development
Asus ROG Zephyrus S, 17.3 inches
It offers incredibly powerful performance in a slim, lithe, premium package with an innovative build. It is powered by the 8th Gen Core i7 chipset, the Intel Core i7-9750H Hexa Core processor combined with a dedicated graphics card, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8 GB GDDR6 graphics card. The RAM is 32 GB DDR SDRAM and the processor clocks at a speed of 2.6 GHz capable of going up to 4.1 GHz when required. The hard disk size is 1 TB PCleNVMe SSD. It operates on the Windows 10 Pro OS. The screen size is 17.3 inches with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9. The screen is also Pantone validated and boasts of a refresh rate of 144 Hz in an FHD IPS display screen.
It is an ultra-slim laptop with a narrow bezel and 18.7 mm thin, for game development. Its dimensions are 15.7 x 10.7 x 0.7 inches and it weighs 5.95 lbs. It has 2 USB 3.1 Type C ports, 3 USB 3.0 ports, 1 HDMI 2.0b port, and one headset jack. The portable game power offered is so powerful that users can play the most demanding games on it, as the system can run it on the best settings. However, it comes at a price!
Who Should Buy This?
- Those who want a well-designed laptop with a stunning display, powerful performance, strong graphics, and immersive audio for game development and gaming.
- Those who want a powerful laptop with a slim design. But this highly portable laptop comes at a heavy price.
Fast, Smooth and Productive for Game Development
Asus ROG Strix G, 15.6 inches
It is powered by the latest 9th Generation Intel Core i7-9750h Hexa core chipset. This is combined with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, 4GB GDDR5 with a base of 1395 MHz and a boost of 1560 MHz. The Ram size of the Graphics card is 4GB.
The display screen is a full HD 15.6 inches IPS type with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a high refresh rate of 60 Hz offering smooth, crisp, and responsive images. The bezel is slim and it has a screen body ratio of 79.6%, resulting in a deeply immersive experience. The RAM is 16GB DDR4 with a memory speed of 2666MHz clocking at a speed of up to 4.5 GHz with a hard drive of 1 TB PCle SSD. It is supported by the Windows 10 Home OS. The dimensions of the Asus ROG Strix G are 14.2 x 10.8 x 1 inches and it weighs 5.28 lbs.
Who Should Buy This?
- For game developers and gamers who want smooth frame rates and excellent graphics for content creation and regular multitasking purposes.
Strong, Long-Lasting Laptop for Game Development
Razer Blade 14 inches
It is a laptop for game developers and gaming and is powered by the 7th Generation Quad-Core, Intel Core i7-7700HQ, a Quad-Core processor clocking at a speed of 2.8 GHz and going up to 3.8 GHz with Turbo Boost. The chipset is combined with the graphics card, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, 6 GB GDDR5 VRAM, Intel HD 630, with the graphics being VR ready. The RAM is 16 GB DDR4 with dual channel and a memory speed of 2133 MHz.
The display screen is 14 inches FHD matte, LED-backlit, with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels ana d 16:9 ratio. The hard drive storage is 512 GB PCle SSD. It has one USB-C Thunderbolt 3, 3 USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI out 1.4, and one 3.5 mm port for headphone and microphone jack.
It is ultra-thin at 0.70 inches and the dimensions of the Razer Blade laptop are 9.3 x 13.6 x 0.7 inches, with the weight being 4.25 lbs. The gaming keyboard can be fully customized and it is powered by the Razer Chroma. The laptop is supported by the Microsoft Windows 10 Home OS. Online gaming is much smoother using the Killer Wireless AC 1535. It is ready for immersive VR Ready gaming, which is 3x times faster than earlier generation GPUs.
Who Should Buy This?
- Game developers who give importance to longevity and the build quality of a laptop.
- It is for those who want the perfect balance between power and portability with a streamlined performance, fast and smooth gameplay, and powerful graphics.
- For work, play, and creativity purposes with a desktop-grade performance.
Light and Powerful for Game Development
Gigabyte Aero 15x, 15.6 inches
It is a lightweight gaming laptop offering the perfect combination of performance with portability and great battery life. This is a 15.6 inches laptop with a thin bezel of 5 mm and an FHD 144Hz refresh rate, Pantone X Rite LCD IPS display, and having a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with anti-glare features. Gigabyte Aero 15x features the new 8th Gen Intel 6 core processor.
It is powered by the Intel Core i7-8750H, clocking at a speed of 2.2 GHz and with a maximum speed of 4.1 GHz. This is combined with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GDDR5 graphics card of 8 GB Max Q, using the NVIDIA Optimus technology for graphics. The RAM is 16 GB DDR4 2666 MHz and the memory is 512 GB M.2 NVME PCle Gen3 x 4 SSD. It is supported by the Windows 10 Home OS. The battery is 94.24 Wh that supports 10 hours of battery life. It also features various charging modes such as Express, Quality, and Customize for personalization.
The dimensions are 14 x 9.8 x 0.78 inches and it weighs 4.62 lbs. Its GPU delivers the most immersive VR experience combined with efficiency and smooth gameplay at high resolution. Visuals and graphics are captivating on this laptop. In short, it strikes the perfect balance offering both portability and power in a classic lightweight design.
Who Should Buy This?
- Those who want a lightweight laptop with high-end graphics for game development, gaming, and graphics work.
- Suitable for professionals who want to focus on creativity on the go. Also suitable for the ultimate gaming, creating content and for premium VR.
Super-Fast Outstanding Performance for Game Development
Microsoft Surface Book, 13.5 inches, Multi-Touch 2 in 1
The Microsoft Surface Book sports a 13.5 inches LCD screen of PixelSense touchscreen with a resolution of 3000 x 2000 pixels. The display is a detachable type. It is supported by the Windows 10 Pro OS. The screen has a high-resolution and low-glare calibrated to offer true-to-life colors. The touch screen enables multi-touch gestures. You can use it as a laptop as well as a tablet.
It can be used for both work and play, packing in top-notch hardware under the hood. The keyboard part of the laptop has an optional secondary NVIDIA GeForce graphics card, which is triggered when users dock the tablet part to the keyboard. When undocked, it uses the lower-powered Intel HD graphics for running. It comes including the Surface Pen that affords a natural writing experience.
The Surface Book is powered by the 6th Generation Skylake, Intel Core i7-6600U processor. The dual cores can clock at a speed of 2.6 GHz and with the Intel Turbo Boost, it can reach a single maximum core speed of 3.4 GHz and a dual-core speed of 3.2 GHz. There is a dedicated cache of L3 with 16 GB RAM, so it is capable of offering efficient multitasking features. This is combined with a dedicated NVIDIA GPU and a hard drive with 1TB SSD. The hard disk size is 128 GB SSD.
The dimensions are 10.95 x 16.46 x 1.93 inches and it weighs just 3.48 lbs. As for ports, there are 2 USB 3.0 ports, a headphone jack, one Mini DisplayPort and one SD card slot, and a proprietary charging socket.
Who Should Buy This?
- It is portable and can be used for both work and play, by professionals, game developers, and for gaming as well.
- Useful for those who would like a stylus for marking up presentations and for art apps.
Frequently Asked Questions
How important is the battery in a laptop for game development?
It may not be advisable to rely too much on the battery power for game development activities. These are high power-consuming activities and leaving the laptop connected to the mains is the right way to go about.
What about the software required for developing games on a laptop for game development?
The laptop maker may not load any additional software beyond the basic operating system. You will have to load the required programs to work on the game development activities on the laptop. The hardware specifications and features are there to enable the software to function seamlessly.
Since the laptops for game development have larger fans, are they also noisier?
Yes, the fans fitted on the laptops for game development do create more noise than the ones in your normal laptops. If you are into game developing work, the sounds there may keep the noise from the fans down. If you are doing other work, the noise of the fan can at times be a distraction. The fans tend to pick up momentum when the laptop gets heated. You have to understand this principle.
Are renewed laptops reliable for regular use?
It depends on why you are investing in a renewed laptop. If it is for some light work and you don’t wish to invest more ina new machine, it can be done. Similarly, some parents start their kids off on a renewed laptop before buying them a brand new one. If you research carefully, sometimes, you could buy a decent new laptop for the dollars you are paying for a renewed one.
Is the camera important on a laptop?
Unlike a mobile phone where the cameras have become a major USP for the brands, the camera in a laptop does not hold the same significance. However, the lockdown and work-from-home developments of recent months have created a situation where the camera plays a key role during video conferences. This is equally important whether for official or social virtual gatherings. Manufacturers may start giving it due importance in their future models.
More and more game developers are using laptops for creating professional-level games. In case you are into creating casual 2D games, you can buy a laptop with lower settings. But if you want a premium range laptop for game development, it is a good idea to invest in a high-end laptop. This will assist even amateurs to develop games without much hassle. Check out all aspects of the laptop, including the CPU, memory, the graphics card, and the storage available, to ensure there is no lag. It is important to select a processor that can tackle all these tasks efficiently.