Buyer’s Guide, What to Look for in a Gaming Laptop
When it’s time for a new gaming laptop, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what to look for. The following buyers guide will simplify and facilitate your shopping experience. Not all products are created equal, and if gaming is your goal, there are certain things a computer must have in order to provide magnificent, easy, and quality visual display and performance.
Even though desktops deliver optimal performance, laptops are preferred for their portability and space efficiency. However, the benefits of a laptop are nothing if it is not packed with the correct hardware that most games require in this modern age. Cost aside, the following parts below are what turn a normal laptop into a gaming beast, you’ll need to pay close attention to each component before you invest!
Do not expect too much in terms of battery performance. The use of gaming hardware, from startup to finish, creates power-hungry components that will suck battery life quite quickly. Power saving mode and using the Intel graphics card when your not in a game will help you out massively.
Finding a device that can last two to three hours on a single charge with the highest of settings will be the most you can hope for with today’s battery technology. It should be noted that most gamers will typically play when connected to AC power, don’t expect to be playing far from a power outlet for longer than an hour or so.
The level of portability depends entirely on bulk and weight, as well as how much you plan on traveling.
- Minimal portability: If you seek minimal portability, meaning that your gaming laptop will most likely sit on your desk at home, you can look for a system with a 17 or 18 inch display. Bigger laptops usually mean better, faster, and more powerful components also. On the other hands, it will also mean heaviness and short use while unplugged. Finding a bag that fits 17-18 inch screens can be a hassle.
- Medium portability: This the perfect balance for those who will take their laptop places often but not every day of the year. A 15 inch notebook will weigh anywhere from 4.3 to 7.2 pounds and can last an average of 5 hours on a charge with light gaming. You will sacrifice a bit of performance for greater portability but it is a well-balanced choice for most.
- Optimal portability: Computers with 13 or 14 inch displays are built for constant movement. The size is perfect for all bags and they weigh less than larger laptops. However, they are not the most powerful notebooks and the small displays do not provide visual greatness to most games. They have the highest average of battery life and are a good fit for less hardware-consuming games.
CPU & RAM
The CPU and RAM will handle everything that does not involve graphic management. CPU wise, the war rages between AMD and Intel. We are here to tell you that Intel is our choice out of the two. The later the generation of Intel, the better.
As a general rule, do not choose below a Core i5 processor and in 2019 we recommend an i7 CPU. The recommendation is the Intel 8thgeneration core processors and above. The latest available Intel generation is at 8 with their Coffee Lake series. Also, quad-core is going to help you out on games that make use of the CPU & GPU such as the Battlefield series.
RAM is typically an up gradable component that most manufacturer´s often charge a lot at buying time. For 2019 we recommend a minimum of 8GB and recommend buying 16GB of RAM. Generally speaking more than 16GB of RAM is overkill for gaming, however for other tasks such as editing or running virtual machines you could consider upgrading to 32GB.
GPU (Graphics Card)
The war is still on between AMD and NVIDIA, with more gamers still choosing NVIDIA (go team green!?). There is a wide range of cards to choose from and Nvidia’s RTX series has not yet made it’s way into laptops (so no Ray Tracing for now). If you’re on a budget you’ll want to get at least a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 as the bare minimum; with ideally an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070. Real gamers who want the best graphics card should look for a GTX 1080, which will handle virtual reality (VR) and AAA games with ease.
Keyboard / Trackpad
Your keyboard should at the least be comfortable to use for an extended period of time. Any extras such as mechanical-styled pressing, programmable keys, and multi-colored RGB back lighting is a plus that is solely based on preferences.
You get what you pay for. Your budget will ultimately decide how much power, quality, and performance you will receive. Any of the products reviewed above are capable of playing the latest AAA titles, and three thousand dollars + will give you high-end hardware and a range of customizable features.
Gaming Laptop vs Desktop
A constant thought on the mind of gamers –is “Are gaming laptops worth it?” With such a diverse variety of products on the market and new ones popping up all the time, it’s tough to figure out if these often pricey computers are worthwhile. If you’re in doubt, here are a few key components to consider on your search for the perfect laptop.
While desktop systems generally have stronger capabilities, they lack portability. However, desktop processors will always be faster, but it’s possible to find fast modern generation mobile chips and GPU’s. And even though the latest tech is usually released for desktop first, there are great options with incredible mobile CPUs, so you don’t have to settle for subpar graphics.
We hope you found this guide useful when assessing the market for the best cheap gaming laptops 2019 has to offer.