Katie Smith, Negosentro | That’s it! That’s the last time I get fragged! Enough molasses slow frame rates, enough chunky textures staring back at me while my ferneries run around my digital corpse laughing. It’s time to get a new gaming laptop! Well, if you’re like me, and tired of face planting into poor frame rates and you’re looking for that perfect portable machine that can melt pixels either in a death match arena or in a city-building sandbox, your search is over. This site is for you. I was in the same boat not too long ago and decided it was time to find a new gaming laptop. But do you know how many options there are for gaming laptops? Overwhelming amounts of options!
Technology is always improving. It’s the nature of the business. Game makers make better, faster, more realistic games with amazing visuals and physics engines that accurately recreate reality and even blow it beautifully way out of proportion. Yet, all those creations take energy and power and an upgrade if you are going to experience them. One of the wonders of today is that you can carry the power to imagine these worlds in a bag slung over your back and take it anywhere. You can be Batman in a coffee shop, or a woodland archer elf while sitting on the homebound train, and you can be in the comfort of your home moving from room to room while fragging away. Still, if you want to experience the game as the creators intended, it’s time to go on a quest to find good laptops for gaming. I’ve done that here, and since you’re here you’ve found an excellent resource.
I’ve vetted forums and review sites and contrasted and compared countless models so I could distill the best of the best into the short list below. Ranging from decent gaming laptop below $800 all the way up to a beastly 18 inch fully upgradeable desktop-destroying model, you’ll have an easy time whittling down the aspects of a good gaming laptop that are essential for you.
- What is a Gaming Laptop?
This term you’ll hear lobbed about all the time, but what does it mean? The basic build of a gaming laptop focuses on playing modern games. Gaming is one of the most demanding uses for a computer and as such a gaming computer is powerful. If you take a look at the good portion of laptops not built for gaming, they have integrated video cards. Integrated video cards use the system memory and architecture to control video output. This is like a crayon drawing done by a toddler. A gaming laptop uses a dedicated video card. Dedicated video cards contain their own processor and graphics chip and fan and architecture for the sole purpose of outputting crisp, precise high-end 2d and 3d graphics. This is like DaVinci painting the Mona Lisa 60 times per second, in full 3d with stars exploding around her as she flies off on a Japanese dragon rocket ship. In general, gaming laptops have dedicated graphics cards and insane amounts of processing and memory. That’s what modern games and modern gamers demand. They typically don’t have SD card slots or disc players or the like, since most the manufacturers know that their primary function will be gaming.
- What makes a Good Gaming Laptop?
For the most part, this is a personal choice. Maybe you want a lighter model that can easily fit in your backpack and not add too much weight, but that will still kill pixels at crazy speeds. Maybe you want a behemoth that can easily replace a desktop in sheer force, not planning on taking it everywhere, but in which you still enjoy the portability it supplies. Maybe battery life is important because you have long stretches of time between outlets. One thing is for certain: you want to play the latest games, and the latest games demand solid processors, plenty of memory, a screaming video card, plenty of HD space and respectable sound. Let’s look at some of these components in detail.
- Basic Components of a Gaming Laptop, and why they’re important:
Processor/Memory: I’ve lumped these into one element because it seems obvious to me that one helps the other whether you have 8 to 24 gb of memory is really just circumstational. Anything over 12gb right now is overkill. BUT, anything under 8 is a shame, a red flag. Upgrading memory in a laptop is typically a painless process that producers make sure to make easier (excluding Apple that is.) The processor is important; it’s the brain, the number cruncher, and central unit of logic. If it chokes, your whole system chokes. Anything below a dual core is considered sub-par nowadays and won’t even get you past the opening credits of any major title. i-7 are ideal, but you need to save a little cash, or want a little more time without plugging in, and i-5 is a decent and acceptable choice.
Brand Name: Creating Good Gaming Laptops is a highly competitive field, and as such, you as the customer win out. The companies above each make a solid product that’s over the years to be user friendly, fast, sturdy and just cool to look at. If you have brand loyalty, which I’m sure is not misplaced, go with who you trust, or branch out and see if another brand has improved to your standards this time around.
Screen Size/Resolution: This is a huge range as far as laptops go. Nowadays, 15, 17, 18 and even 20+ inch displays are available. The bigger the display, the better gaming experience it can provide.
Audio/Video – It is important that your laptop’s video control provides a dynamic display that will make gaming more fun and realistic. 1GB video cards are common in gaming laptops. This can even outperform dual video cards
Price: The sky is the limit. There are laptops that go for $4000 easily, but what are you paying for? This is a personal challenge. Reaching that happy medium where you can buy something that’s just in the sweet spot of price and contemporary technology. I think the above examples fall right in that category. Spending a little more money on quality parts now will ensure a longer time before you need to upgrade again.
Battery Life: How long of stints before you have to find an outlet. Long plane flights, or even just lugging the laptop around without having to worry about sitting next to strangers just to get your juice might be a concern. As a general rule, more processor and gpu power and screen size and rez account for a shorter battery life. Some of the models above have found a good balance between power and power consumption. Some just plan to be plugged in most of the time.
Hard Drive: Nowadays there are two schools of hard drives. The spindle very evolved large capacity versions that can carry a massive amount of data, but are slow to access that storage. And then there are the SSD which are like giant ram disks and so make retrieving the information faster. You don’t really notice what role your choice plays until you see the difference in starting a program, restarting your computer, or loading a level in a game. Then it’s a world of difference. My first experience was when I had switched my startup disk from an 500gb 7200rpm drive to a 128gb ssd. The cost at first shocked me, but then when I went to restart my computer, a process that usually takes a minute and a half, it only took 16 seconds!!!! Same with opening Photoshop, or WOW, or anything else that usually needs to gather a massive amount of information from the hard drive. Still, the price is wild as of first writing this article, a 1tb ssd is 6 times more expensive than a 1tb 7200rpm hard drive. The best solution of cost and effectiveness is combining the two, like in the following models above. A smaller ssd that holds your main programs and startup disk, and then a larger capacity slower drive to store media. This is good marriage of price and function where you get the benefits of both worlds. Still this adds more bulk to the computer, which is a compromise in this situation.
Weight: This is a personal preference. But you can see a wide range of size and speed options. It really matter how far and how often you’ll be throwing it in your bag, and if you’ll be standing around with it for long. Believe, 8 pounds doesn’t seem like much at first, but over time and after a long days work, and waiting in lines, it will start to feel heavier and heavier, so take into consideration your back when purchasing, and anticipate how often you’ll be transporting it.
How upgradable is it? This is a serious concern for your pocketbook and the future of gaming. Most models allow for easy updating of memory, some models allow for easy updating of hard drive, and then a select few allow you to easily upgrade the video card. Though the later seems to be more expensive and it is heavier. But this is a valid consideration since gaming tech changes so fast.
Good Gaming Laptops come in a variety of brands, models, and specs. Before buying any type of gaming laptop, check reviews online to see what others have to say about the laptop. Following the above tips you should now be able to easily decide what type of gaming laptop best suit your needs.
Author Bio: Katie Smith is the enthusiastic woman. She loves writing about life and technology on Reviewmoon.