Buying a new gaming laptop: What to look for  

 

The usual choice for many serious gamers is between desktop and console, but laptops and notebooks have much to recommend them as gaming hubs. They’re portable for a start, meaning you can play games on the go wherever you happen to be. They don’t take up as much space as a desktop PC or a console with a TV screen, and many of them are powerful enough to let you play the best PC games with ease.

Graphics processing

Alongside access to high-speed internet, a gaming laptop’s most important feature is its graphic processing unit (GPU). Most games are GPU dependent, though some use the CPU(central processing unit) instead. Unlike with some devices, the GPU on a laptop can’t be upgraded later. Since every new generation of games will likely require a more powerful GPU to play on a high or even medium setting, it’s worth paying a bit more to have a good GPU from the start.

Most gaming notebooks use Nvidia GeForce GTX or RTX GPUs, but your laptop might also use AMD’s Radeon RX 5000M series. The minimum entry-level would be an RX5500M or GTX 1650, which will let you play most games on average settings. It’s worth paying a bit more for the GTX 1660 Ti, however. Expect to pay between $800 and $1100 for a laptop with these graphics cards.

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 or AMD’s RX5600 will let you play most games at a high setting and is also the minimum standard for virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. At this level,you’ll be spending up to $1500. Serious gamers prepared to pay $3000 or more for a high-end gaming laptop should look for the RTX 2070 or better. The highest level of graphics cards, the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti will let you play ray-traced games at fast frame rates and even enable 4K screens.

Screen size

Whether you’re playing video games on the cloud or visiting the best NJ online casinos, screen size makes all the difference. The bigger, the better, but the trade-off is that this makes your laptop less portable, thus going against one of the device’s main selling points. In terms of screen resolution, never go for less than 1920 x 1080, with a 60HZ refresh rate. Higher resolutions often still only give you the same refresh rate, so may not be worth it unless you’re running a top-level graphics processor.

CPU and RAM

The minimum spec in terms of CPU should be a Core i5 processor, but you can go up to a Core i7 for real power. With RAM, look for 8GB and up, and make sure that you can upgrade RAM and storage when you need to. A laptop running GTX 2060 or higher may come with 16GB of RAM, which is excellent. In terms of your hard drive, go for the faster 7200 rpm HD rather than a slower 5400 rpm one – it’ll be worth it.

In short, the main thing to look for is a high spec GPU, as the component cannot be upgraded later. Make sure you’ve got an excellent robust keyboard that will stand up to plenty of use and avoid touch screen models. With a bit of investment, your gaming laptop should see you through several years of high-quality play.