A lot of gamers out there tend to be very conservative when it comes to choosing their gaming rigs and they decide to stick with desktop computers for all their gaming needs. While this may have been a reasonable attitude once, gaming laptops have come such a long way that by now they’ve become worthy competitors to their desktop counterparts. Plus, they have an obvious and important advantage which makes them the preferable choice in certain scenarios, and that is portability. They can also be more affordable in some instances as well.
In this article we’ll try to give you some useful advice on what to bear in mind when you decide to buy a gaming laptop. We’ll go through the most important parts of every computer and see what kind of compromises should or should not be made.
1. You do not need to go too far with the CPU
Processing power is probably the most important aspect to bear in mind. After all, your computer will be only as fast as your processor is, right? Well, when it comes to gaming laptops, the answer is both yes and no. It’s true - buying a 1.5GHz processor will get you nowhere in terms of setting your computer up to play AAA titles. But if you buy a reasonably priced fast processor, somewhere in 2.6GHz to 3GHz range (make sure it is a 64-bit model), and if it’s from a trusted manufacturer, like Intel’s i7, you don’t have to obsess about spending your last dollar on additional speed. This will also leave you with a bit of cash left over. Read the next tip to see where you should invest your spare money.
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2. GPU should be your priority
Yes, get a good graphics card. While a good CPU will be a priority on your media device, games are hungry for GPU. It probably goes without saying, but don’t even think about integrated graphics if you are planning to play any of the games in the top tier. If you have enough money at your disposal, aim for a dual-GPU setup. If you have already decided to go with an Intel CPU, then our recommendation would be to see what Nvidia has to offer, because their graphics cards work really well in combination with i5’s and i7’s. They are also a great value for money, and can save you a lot of trouble in the future.
3.Think about RAM
Before 64-bit processors became the standard, RAM used to be a neglected part of every configuration. 4GB was all you could use anyway, so there was little reason to buy more. Now, however, 64-bit configurations allow for up to 128GB of RAM and you should use this opportunity to create a configuration that can “breathe”. This is not to say you should spend all your money on this part of your configuration. 8GB will already satisfy almost all your needs, 16GB will make sure you never suffer from lack of memory problems, while 32GB will get you covered for life. The choice is up to you, and depends on the types of games you are planning to play.
4. Faster loading with a solid state drive
People tend to make the common mistake of blaming their CPU for loading times, not knowing that their hard drive is the one that should take most of the blame. If you are one of those people whose nerves suffer most while they wait for the bar at the bottom of the screen to fill up, you should consider purchasing an SSD. Solid state drives are much faster, but come with a little drawback - they are as expensive as they are fast. This is why you should buy a laptop which comes with a relatively small SSD which serves as its primary, system drive and a secondary HDD for storage.
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5. Choosing a screen size
There are two important aspects to pay attention to when choosing the right screen for you the first one is size. Deciding on the size of the screen for desktop configurations is easy - the larger, the better. However, when laptops are concerned, portability is as important as screen real-estate, so you need to decide what you need more. A larger screen on a laptop means you are stuck with the larger, bulkier laptop which is more difficult to carry around. A smaller screen means better portability, but also a less immersive gaming experience. The choice is yours.
The other aspect worth thinking about is the resolution. Having a crisp clear picture on your laptop is a beautiful thing, but you need to bear in mind that the more pixels your GPU needs to calculate, the less power will be left to maintain good frame rates. Again, you need to see where your priorities lie.
6. Buying accessories
Buying accessories for your gaming laptop is the final thing to consider. In order to make your gaming sessions as comfortable as possible, you will certainly need a capable mouse with an ergonomically designed body and as many buttons as possible. If you are planning to carry your laptop with you a lot, you might consider buying a good quality headset which will make sure you can enjoy good quality sound anywhere you are. Lastly, you should buy a backpack which will protect your precious machine from possible damage. Many laptop manufacturers offer backpacks which fit perfectly around their popular models.
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7. Choose the best you can afford
The last tip should give you the final bit of help on the day you decide to purchase your new laptop. Do not count on upgrading it later. Buy the best machine you can afford at that moment and know that what you buy is what you will use until you decide to make the next laptop purchase. Yes, it’s possible to upgrade your RAM at some point, but upgrading pretty much anything else is an expensive and difficult undertaking.
To sum up, here are the things to bear in mind when deciding to buy a new gaming laptop:
- Processing power is important, but not the most important thing for a gaming laptop
- Graphics card is where your money should go, forget about integrated graphics
- A lot of RAM significantly improves the performance, but do not be fooled into buying too much
- SSDs will save you a lot of time you would waste waiting for the game to load
- Go for a large screen if you are not planning to move too much and get ready to make a compromise between the resolution and the performance
- Accessories can significantly improve your gaming experience and you should give them a try.
- Significant upgrades to your laptop are not worth the effort. When you buy, think about whether you will be satisfied with your purchase in two years time.