With a number of processor options, screen sizes and other elements, buying a new laptop is hard already, and when you’re out looking for a gaming laptop, things get harder. Should you focus on the processor, the GPU, the cooling system or the keyboard? Here are some important pointers to keep in mind when you’re out to buy your own gaming laptop.
CPU and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)
Needless to say, your CPU and GPU are the performance drivers of your new gaming machine and the most important parts of the laptop for you. The better the CPU and GPU, the better the overall performance your gaming laptop will be able to dish out. Currently, look for at least a 10th or 11th Gen Intel Core-i7 processor. You can even consider an i9 processor.
For the GPU, the Nvidia GeForce GTX or RTX GPUs are some of the best ones to look at right now, with the RTX 30-series being your latest options. On the AMD side of things, you have the AMD Radeon RX 5000M series and the RX 5500M, 5600M and 5700M.
Whether you are able to upgrade your RAM in the future will be a key factor as gaming can be heavy on your machine’s RAM. An ideal gaming desktop should have at least 16GB RAM. However, if you are looking for a laptop, you could get by with an 8GB RAM variant, but it will be ideal if you can swap that out for 16GB tomorrow.
A keyboard could be your primary input method on gaming laptops, especially if you plan on playing a lot of shooting or strategy-based games. It is hence, important to look at key elements like key travel, actuation, and support for features like anti-ghosting and n-key rollover (allowing you to press multiple buttons at once for combos and not miss out on any).
The ideal key travel distance should be between 1.5mm and 2mm. Meanwhile, look for keys that are not too soft or too hard to press. Coming to backlighting, most gaming laptops will have backlighting of some kind on the keys. While most will feature a single red/white/ backlight, some will have RGB lighting that can be configurable on a per-section or a per-key basis. These not only look cooler but can also quickly help you find the right keys when gaming.
Higher resolution, or faster refresh rate displays
Gaming laptop displays will come with various configurations of displays. Some displays will be lower resolution panels at only 1080p but will support higher refresh rates of 144Hz, 240Hz or even 360Hz. A great GPU will also be required to make full use of these high refresh rate panels.
Alternatively, you can opt for high-resolution panels that will stick to 60Hz refresh rate. These include display options that go up to 4K panels.
Try not to focus too much on battery life when going for a gaming laptop. Gaming machines are resource-heavy and will often deplete battery quicker when in action. A decent gaming laptop will be able to give you 8 hours of juice off the plug and anything more could be too much to ask. However, this shouldn’t matter a lot because, during most gaming sessions, you will be continuously connected to a power source anyway to run your gaming laptop in its performance or turbo mode.