Another year has passed, your life became increasingly dynamic and you spend less time at home or at the office. You need a laptop and looking for a system to help you do your job well, that will not break your back and that will allow you to play once in awhile your favorite games.
“How do I choose a gaming laptop to satisfy my needs?” Five important criteria you need to follow.
The first criteria, and perhaps most obvious, is a bit complicated to address. We can’t talk about a gaming laptop without taking really seriously the experience during gaming, and this depends on many factors – including budget, claims, experience and others. The persons who are after a cheap gaming laptop should remember that everything that is cheap has sacrificed something. So let’s start with the most important criteria – performance.
A gaming laptop is not powerful if it can’t fluently run any modern game in native resolution – even if the details medium or low.
Notice the emphasis on the word fluently. Now, let’s be a little honest. We all want to play Witcher 3 or Far Cry 3 Star Wars: Battlefront on a lightweight machine with a somewhat nice screen, that moves more suave than the bride on their wedding night dance. But this is not easy.
The good thing is that the players are the ones who pick the games, and except hard-core players, most gamers have several popular titles they spend most of the time, being either MOBA genre like LoL and DotA 2 or a shooter game like CS: Go or any other title. Often, these games are not very demanding.
If your budget is limited – is not end of the world. Without obsession to make the system more future-proof, there are plenty of configurations and designs in a wide range of prices that can provide the performance you need. In this regard, to determine what needs must be fulfilled, here are some simple steps to follow, but you can start with one of two options.
The first option – and our recommendation – check the enormous list of laptop video cards tested on NotebookCheck while running the most popular games. The website allows filtering by multiple options and it will also inform you how different models are behaving at various resolutions. This will enable greater precision in choosing the laptop model, screen size, and video card.
With high performance, there is another aspect that you need to keep in mind, namely bottlenecks. You should opt for a faster and smaller SSD over a big and slow HDD, for instance. If you keep multiple applications open and alternate between them frequently, it may be more relevant to have more memory than a faster processor or video card. If you play a strategy game, a faster processor is the way to go.
So keep your eyes open after a Quad-Core processor, preferably from Intel, a fast SSD, quality memory and in sufficient quantity, and a good video chip. Not every GeForce or Radeon is good for gaming. The desktop rule applies even more for laptops: At least a GeForce GTX or Radeon R7, even R9.
The second important criterion by which we are guided in choosing a laptop – and not just gaming – is comfort.
Ergonomic deficiencies are some of the things that can be easily overlooked. It may be an uninspired angle decision or housing sharpness, the angle at which the screen opens, the distance between keys, a button placed without inspiration or a lot of other bugs. Before you choose a laptop, make sure you acknowledge all aspects of comfort in use.
And as I just mentioned, another important criterion in choosing a gaming laptop is the weight.
The more advanced the hardware is, the heavier the notebook becomes, and when we buy a new laptop, we don’t go by the idea to keep it on a desk. So weight is the third most important factor in choosing a gaming laptop.
A massive and heavy laptop could be very convenient for someone who travels by car, but not for someone who uses any form of transportation. Before buying a new laptop, carefully consider the following questions:
How much time you spend with this laptop, together with its accessories, in the backpack and what weight causes me discomfort or challenge my health problems?
As for the fourth criteria, is time to mention the cooling system.
If it seems unimportant, it means you didn’t experience the pleasure of a whistling vacuum cleaner sound for several hours. When choosing a laptop, its ability to cool the core components during a gaming session – processor and video card – is highly important. If the cooling system is not well designed, will be noisy, jerky and hot and can, if it heats up too much, will start to throttle.
Thus, the cooling system is the fourth criteria by which we guide you in choosing any laptop for gaming.
Fifth and final major factor in the decision to purchase a modern gaming laptop is the warranty.
A laptop used for gaming is always subjected to levels of stress that only portable workstations are subjected to. Higher consumption and high temperatures, besides the occasional punch in the keypad when losing a match, can be factors that result in damage to the system and the need to perform an intervention.
Because a gaming laptop is naturally more expensive than the mainstream models, a good warranty is even more necessary. Make sure your laptop has a more generous warranty, and that the manufacturer has a reputation for honoring warranties on the market in good condition.
Now I mentioned about the main criteria based on which we choose a gaming laptop or another, let’s look at the most common and recital serves as a deciding factor, namely the price.
There are cheap gaming laptops, if you know how to look for them but remember: In the best case, you get what you pay for. But usually, you get less. For us, gamers, when we choose a laptop the price should not be a criteria, but a restriction.
A gaming laptop is more than a piece of plastic with an nVidia or AMD chip in it. If you build a desktop for gaming, just the naive with dry pockets will complain about the price. Even a cheap gaming PC built from used parts and components that make sacrifices such as housing, power, motherboard and peripherals, all can reach a big price.
Even with a Quad-Core processor, a solid state drive, a 3 generations old graphics card, 8GB of DDR3 memory and other components added and you quickly get to $1000, $1200 or more – and that using second-hand hardware.
But when it comes to laptops, laptops the price is much more difficult to calculate, and a good offer is more difficult to assess. So, for the price, we recommend this:
Make sure you carefully evaluated the available offers based on five criteria – performance, comfort, weight, cooling and warranty.