Things to consider when buying a gaming laptop
Buying that perfectly portable gaming PC can seem like a pipe dream, especially when most hardcore gamers opt for customized desktops so they can easily be upgraded to run the latest graphics. Modern laptops, however, are built to run games at 1080p resolution and higher without any limitations on the game’s performance. This makes it easier than ever to find the right gaming laptop, allowing you to take your favorite gaming experience with you no matter where you end up.
If you’re in the market for a new gaming laptop, here are some things to consider:
1. Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
While most people immediately think the CPU is the most important feature of a laptop, it’s actually the GPU if you’re more interested in gaming. Otherwise known as the graphics card, the GPU will make the most impact on any gaming experience, so it’s important to have one that’s top-notch. The two GPU manufacturers you should be looking at are NVIDIA and AMD. These GPUs are separate from the laptop’s CPU, which means they’re more powerful. Most gaming laptops from top brands like Lenovo feature AMD and NVIDIA graphics. The bottom line is, before opting for increased RAM or a larger hard drive, make sure the graphics card is the best you can buy.
2. Central Processing Unit (CPU)
Once you’ve figured out which graphics card works best for your gaming needs, consider the laptop’s CPU. Certain games like the latest Assassins Creed and Watchdogs rely more on processing power to function properly than previous generation games. Especially when it comes to multiplayer and MMORPG gaming, you need a solid CPU to reduce lag and keep track of other players. Consider investing in a laptop that has a fourth- or fifth-generation Intel Core i7 processor. AMD processors tend to be the gamers’ choice for their desktops, but it’s rare to find a modern notebook using an AMD CPU.
The best gaming laptops feature backlit keyboards that make it easier to see the keys while gaming. Some even offer reinforced WASD-style keys for a more solid feel. Since laptop keys tend to be flatter and less responsive than those on desktop keyboards, you’ll need to make sure the laptop you’re buying was designed with WASD directional gaming in mind. If not, you can buy an external gaming keyboard. Not only is the key quality better, but you can’t beat the improved ergonomics, which automatically enhances your gaming experience.
4. Screen Resolution
A great graphics card will go to waste if your laptop doesn’t have great resolution. 1080p has long been the norm, but many modern laptops go beyond that, making realistic games truly pop. You’ll come across resolution written as a set of numbers, such as 1920 x 1080. This indicates the number of lines on the screen both horizontally and vertically. Ensure that the lowest number is 1080 or higher, and you can be confident that you’re purchasing a high-resolution gaming laptop.
While buying external speakers is always an option, you want to keep your gaming notebook portable, so having a solid integrated sound system is of the utmost importance. Even modern laptops have a bad rap for subpar speakers, so unless you’re willing to use headphones every time you play, invest in a laptop with advanced audio features. JBL speakers with Dolby Advanced Audio V2 is just one example that provides clear, crisp sound with improved laptop audio technology, further enhancing your gaming experience.
6. Heat Dissipation
This is the one of the most difficult features to shop for since there’s really no tech spec that indicates how hot your laptop will get under extreme gaming conditions. Gaming laptops tend to be a lot larger than your typical notebook, so most manufacturers address the overheating issue by installing larger fans and heat pipes. The thinnest gaming laptops have the most problems with overheating, so don’t be afraid of buying one that’s a bit hefty.
Finding the right balance between functional features and price is key, so keep the above information in mind to get the best gaming laptop you can afford.