7 Tips for Buying a Gaming Laptop

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We live in a time where you don’t have to buy an expensive gaming PC or console to have the best gaming experience; you can buy a gaming laptop.

However, buying a gaming laptop doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice performance. 

The future of online gaming is bright, and the hardware you can use to enjoy it isn’t locked in place. Here are some things to consider when buying a gaming laptop. 

How to choose a gaming laptop?

1. GPU

Your GPU and CPU choice will make or break your gaming experience. Most laptops are built with integrated GPUs, meaning they are built into the motherboard, and you can’t change them out or upgrade them. 

Integrated GPUs are great if you plan to use your laptop for work, watch movies and listen to music, or play a few light games. They are also much cheaper than their removable counterparts and are therefore more appealing. 

However, they can’t keep up with the newest games or with advanced video editing and graphic design software. You should be looking for a laptop that has a discrete GPU. They are more expensive, but they give you far more versatility and upgrade potential. 

2. CPU

There are only two manufacturers you should be looking at for CPUs – Intel and AMD. However, that is only half the battle, as more people will pick up a laptop, look at the CPU specs, and meet with a line of numbers and letters that are hard to decipher. 

With regards to Intel, they have four central processors, the Core i3, i5, i7, and i9. The i3 is the weakest, with the i9 being the strongest.

The name of an Intel chip would be Core i9-10510U, for instance. The first number, the 10, refers to the generation of the chip. The “510” refers to performance; the higher the number, the faster the chip, and the “U” is just the chip name. 

AMD also has a tricky naming process. In the chip name Ryzen 5 3600X, the 3 refers to the generation, the 6 refers to the performance (6 being medium-range), the following two numbers don’t mean anything, and the X means high performance. They also use a U at the end to denote Ultra-Low Power. 

3. RAM

When it comes to storage, the more you have, the better. RAM is needed to store data for your processor to work with. If RAM is a bucket and water is your data, the bigger the bucket, the more water you and there’s less chance of you spilling and losing any. 

Most laptops will have 8 gigabytes of RAM, and this will be enough to do everyday tasks and be more than enough for work, light gaming, streaming, etc. However, for a gaming laptop, you will want to go for 16 gigs of RAM. If you can afford it, 32GB is an option as well. 

4. Display

There is no use in spending big bucks on a graphics card if your display is below par. It is often an overlooked aspect, but it makes a massive difference and deserves some time and consideration. 

You should first look at the size; you want a big screen. Regarding resolution, you don’t want to get anything less than 1920 x 1080; that should be the absolute minimum. The next important factor is the refresh rate. 

1080p at 60Hz is widely considered more than enough for most casual gamers; it is more than enough for most pros. Higher resolution displays are prettier, yes, but they top out at 60Hz, and you end up spending more money on a display you don’t get to enjoy fully. Side note, avoid touchscreens; you don’t want one of those. 

5. Battery life

Battery life is a massive consideration when it comes to laptops. You have bought the best CPU, the best GPU, you have a fantastic screen, your laptop is fast and efficient, and you find out 30 minutes later that it eats through battery life like nothing you’ve seen before. 

The one thing you have to accept pretty early on is that you won’t be taking this laptop everywhere and playing on the go. You will likely spend most of the time plugged in, as the battery just won’t keep up. 

Unlike the other aspects of your build, you are limited concerning battery choices, limited down to the fact that you can only buy batteries that fit your laptop. More often than not, that means just buying replacements instead of upgrades. 

6. Keyboard

When it comes to the keyboard, some people may not be too concerned about what the keyboard can do and how it feels, but there are a couple of things to consider. The first is key travel, or how far down you can push a key before it bottoms out. You don’t want it to be shallow, as this will avoid the keys slamming into the frame constantly. 

Actuation refers to how much force you must apply to activate the key. You don’t want to be smashing your keys just to make them work, so find a balance between too little and too much pressure. Backlighting is also a must; this is an obvious point; you want to see your keys in the dark. 

7. Versatility

The final thing to consider is versatility:

Does your laptop have numerous ports such as USB and HDMI?

Does it have an optical disk drive? (Yes, people are still buying them!)

Can you plug in multiple external devices such as a keyboard or mouse if needed? 

You also need to ensure that it has a headphone and microphone jack if you need it.

All you have to do is think about how connected this laptop has to be to external hardware and then make sure it has all the ports to handle that. 

Alex Berg

Founder, writer, editor-in-chief at LaptopTalks. Starting LaptopTalks is like a dream come true, combining two of his passions – writing and technology. Even in his free time, you can often find him by his gaming laptop playing the latest video games.

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