Best Laptops for Game Development: 7 picks

You can actually take a gaming laptop to work

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If you’re developing a game, you want to have the right hardware. This is especially true if you’re developing in 3D. That’s because game development involves running performance-demanding graphics software and game engines like Blender, Unity, Unreal Engine, etc.

While it won’t be able to match the performance of a desktop, a high-performance laptop can offer the flexibility of working from anywhere. And nowadays, there are many capable laptops for resource-intensive applications. Especially gaming laptops – they’ve come a long way in terms of performance and portability.

In this post, we’ll explore some of the best laptops for designing and developing 2D and 3D games.

Can you do game design on a laptop?

The short answer is yes. These days there are a lot of high-performance gaming laptops in the market. While they won’t match the speed of desktops, they work just fine for most demanding tasks. As long as a laptop has at least a 4-core processor, a decent GPU, 8GB RAM, and a fast SSD, you can design and develop games on it.

Unity3D running on a laptop.

One downside of laptops is slower rendering speed. A laptop’s GPU isn’t as fast as a desktop’s, so rendering usually takes longer on laptops.

PC or laptop: which is best?

As with any development, a desktop is always the best choice. Desktops are a lot faster than laptops, so rendering will take less time. You can also always change components of a desktop depending on your needs, which is a huge plus.

But a laptop gives you portability, you can take your work with you anywhere. You can work in a cafe, or maybe in a hotel room while traveling. This can be a huge plus if you tend to go places.

Which processor to choose?

A processor is the most important piece of hardware when it comes to game development. While GPUs are important for fast rendering, you’ll need a solid, multi-core processor to run game engines and other graphics software smoothly.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter much whether you choose an Intel or AMD processor. What matters is that the processor has multiple cores (preferably 6 or more) with high clock speeds.

Our recommendation is to choose a laptop with at least an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor. For best performance, we’d recommend an Intel Core i9 or AMD Ryzen 9 processor – even though they are very expensive.

You’ll need a solid GPU

After CPU, GPU is also an important factor in game development. This is especially true if you’re a graphics designer. Designing characters and scenes with pixel-perfect details isn’t possible without having a decent graphics card.

Besides, the rendering speed of scenes also depends on the GPU. Without a fast GPU, you may need to take a coffee break every time you render a scene.

How much RAM is required?

Most 3D graphics software and game engines are memory hogs. Applications like Blender and Unity require a lot of free memory to run smoothly. So ideally, you want to have at least 16GB of RAM on your laptop.

How much free space will I need?

Game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine can eat up a large amount of space. So you want to have enough free space on your laptop. We recommend that you get an SSD with a minimum capacity of 256GB.

Is a MacBook good for game development?

Although MacBooks offer excellent performance, they aren’t the best choice for 3D game development. That’s because they don’t feature a strong dedicated graphics unit, which is important for designing developing 3D games. Without a dedicated GPU, rendering could even take hours on a MacBook.

Best laptops for Game Development

Now let’s look at our list of laptops for designing and developing games. All the entries here have a powerful CPU and GPU so they will offer excellent performance which is essential for developing games.

1. Eluktronics Max 15 – All-rounder

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Screen: 15.6″ QHD 165Hz
  • Storage: Up to 2TB SSD
  • Battery: 8+ Hours
  • Weight: 3.84 lbs
Eluktronics Max 15 - a perfect portable workstation for game developers.
Image from Jarrod’s Tech

Pros:

  • Sturdy and premium build.
  • Neutral Design.
  • Solid performance.
  • Lots of ports.
  • lightweight.

Cons:

  • Average Battery life.
  • Chassis gets quite hot under stress.

Product Description

  • Mobility In Mind: Crafted from magnesium alloy, the MAX 15 weighs only 3.84lbs. Power to performance ratio is uncomparable to any other thin and light gaming laptop on the market!
  • Extreme Performance: Crush the competition with the impressive power and speed of the latest AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor, featuring 8 cores and 16 threads to divide and conquer multiple tasks at once.
  • RTX, It’s On: The latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (16GB dedicated GDDR6 VRAM) is powered by award-winning Ampere architecture with new Ray Tracing Cores, Tensor Cores, and streaming multiprocessors supports up to 150 watts of power for the ultimate gaming performance.
  • Blazing-Fast & Color Accurate Display: This 15.6″ Quad HD (2560 x 1440) IPS-Type LED-backlit display with 16:9 aspect ratio features an incredibly fast 165Hz refresh rate for gamers and content creators who demand the best visual experiences.
  • Prioritize Your Way: The Eluktronics control center provides customization to tailor exactly to your needs. Need an office friendly laptop? Office Mode and NVIDIA WhisperMode technology is one click away. Ready to unleash performance? Beast Mode & overclocking capabilities awaits you.
  • Memory & Storage: 32GB DDR4 3200MHz dual channel RAM helps you open multiple tabs and applications at once. A 1TB PCIe Gen 3 SSD handles your operating system for fast boot times, loading games, transferring work, school projects and more. Plus, there is one additional M.2 SSD bay internally for future expansion if you need extra storage space.
  • Let’s Get Connected: A USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C Port delivers high-speed data transfer or DisplayPort connectivity. An HDMI 2.1 port is tied directly to the NVIDIA graphics card for maximum performance. Intel WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 and a 2,500GB Ethernet LAN let’s you connect wirelessly or wired.
  • Covert Gamer Design: PC brands typically slap stickers and logos all over laptops, but not here. There is no external branding or logos on the MAX 15 for a clean look. For those looking to accessorize, a Black Swarm dbrand skin is included for a unique muted appearance of our icon. We’re happy to let the quality of our product and hardware speak for iself.

The Eluktronics Max 15 is a high-performance laptop, but it’s not just designed for gaming. The Max series is aimed at professionals who require extra performance at work. Its clean, notebook-ish design looks perfectly professional. And there are no external branding or stickers on the laptop, no intel or Nvidia logos anywhere.

The laptop is designed with mobility in mind. Crafted from magnesium alloy, the MAX 15 weighs only 3.84 pounds. That’s really impressive for a 15-inch laptop. To put into comparison, the 14-inch Zephyrus G14 weighs about 3.5 lbs, which is probably the lightest of all gaming laptops. The display is also top-notch, with its bright colors and a fast refresh rate.

The combo of the latest AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and a powerful RTX3080 GPU delivers an impressive performance in Blender. It also comes with 32GB of RAM which should be enough for most professional 3D works.

The laptop can also be put into Office mode, which throttles performance and minimizes fan noise. This is especially useful because gaming laptops can suddenly start making noise when under stress. The battery life is average though, but it should be enough for typical work hours.

2. ASUS ROG Strix G17 – An affordable Beast

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
  • GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 3070
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Screen: 17.3″ FHD 300Hz
  • Storage: Up to 1TB SSD
  • Battery: 8 Hours
  • Weight: 6 lbs
ROG Strix G17 is perfect for resoruce intensitive tasks like gaming and game development

Pros:

  • Top-notch performance.
  • Bright and fast 17-inch display.
  • quieter fans.
  • excellent battery backup.

Cons:

  • Slightly expensive.
  • No webcam.
  • No card reader, Thunderbolt port.
  • Chassis gets hot under heavy load.

Product Description

  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB GDDR6 with ROG Boost up to 1802MHz at 115W (130W with Dynamic Boost 2.0).
  • Latest AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX Processor (16M Cache, up to 4.6 GHz).
  • 300Hz 17.3” Full HD 1920×1080 IPS-Type Display.
  • 16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM | 512GB PCIe SSD.
  • ROG Intelligent Cooling thermal system with Thermal Grizzly Liquid Metal Thermal Compound.
  • Comes with Windows 10 Home and a FREE upgrade to Windows 11.

Now here’s a beastly machine. The Strix G17 is designed to get max performance out of its powerful CPU and GPU. And like other portable machines, this one doesn’t limit performance, thanks to the more efficient cooling system.

The ROG Strix G17 embodies streamlined design, offering a formidable core experience for serious gaming and multitasking. Featuring up to the latest 5th Gen AMD Ryzen CPU and an NVIDIA GeForce GPU, it offers high-FPS power that takes full advantage of up to a blazing fast display.

The display is bright, crisp, and color-accurate. And an ultrafast 165Hz 3ms refresh rate makes the flow of fast-paced action look impeccably smooth. Illuminate your environment with Aura Sync accents that shine from the metallic ROG logo, across the backlit keyboard, to the wraparound light bar.

With a big 90Wh battery, the Strix G17 can last up to 10 hours at low brightness and a moderate workload. But the major downside is its weight. At 6 pounds, you may not want to carry it on your back.

3. MSI GE76 Raider – Desktop-level Performance

  • CPU: Intel Core i9-11980HK
  • GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080 16GB
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Screen: 17.3″ FHD 300Hz
  • Storage: Up to 1TB SSD
  • Battery: 8 Hours
  • Weight: 6 lbs
MSI GE76 - a Blazing fast. premium choice for game development

Pros:

  • Excellent performance.
  • Quiet fans.
  • 1080p webcam
  • Good audio Quality.
  • Lots of ports.

Cons:

  • Steep price for the performance.
  • Dim screen.
  • Heavy.

Product Description

  • Visual Prowess: The 17.3” 360Hz FHD display delivers true-to-life images with a high refresh rate so you can see every frame of the game.
  • Redefined Power: The 11th Gen. Intel Core i9 processor, delivers high performance to take on any games and applications with ease.
  • Supercharged Graphics: The MSI GE76 Raider is powered by NVIDIA GeForce RTX, take on today’s most popular games with these performance graphics.
  • On the Go Gaming: Designed to be the ultimate portable gaming station with immense power and a 99.9WHr battery to keep you gaming for longer.
  • Cool and Powerful: MSI’s exclusive Cooler Boost Technology ensures optimal thermal dissipation. Featuring state of the art fans and heat pipes, get the airflow you need for gaming.
  • Customized Keys: Customize each key to your liking and receive real-time in-game status through keyboard lighting, or even watch the lights dance to your favorite tune.

The flagship GE76 is MSI’s take on the premium gaming laptop market. at three and half grand, you get a blazing-fast, market-leading Intel Core i9 processor. As for graphics, the mobile RTX3080 GPU is capable of pulling three digit framerates on most modern titles.

With a metal chassis and edged design, the laptop looks classy while keeping the gaming signature. The fast, 17-inch display delivers excellent color quality, but it could have been brighter. The keyboard is is confortable, and the trackpad is accurate to touch.

Though it sports a 99-WHr battery, the backup is poor. That’s understandable in high performance laptops, since the components are highly optimized for speed rather than efficiency. But battery life should improve with more BIOS and driver updates in the future.

4. Razer Blade 15 RTX3080 – The Elegant Beast

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-11800H
  • GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080
  • Cooling: Vapor Chamber
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Screen: 15.6″ QHD 1440p 165Hz
  • Storage: Up to 1TB SSD
  • Battery: 5 Hours
  • Weight: 4.63 lbs
The Latest Razer Blade 15 features a vapor chamber cooling system, perfect for game designers.

Pros:

  • Advanced vapor chamber cooling system.
  • Sleek, non-gaming design.
  • Premium build quality.
  • Solid gaming performance.
  • Wide range of CPU/GPU combo available.

Cons:

  • Trackpad could have been better.
  • Expensive compared to the specs.
  • On the heavy Side.
  • Average Battery life.

Product Description

  • GeForce RTX 3080: NVIDIA’s 2nd gen RTX—with new RT Cores, Tensor Cores, and streaming multiprocessors to give the most realistic ray-traced graphics and improved performance.
  • More Power: The 11th Gen Intel Core i7-118000H processor provides the ultimate level of performance with up to 5.0GHz Max Turbo and 8 cores.
  • QHD 165Hz: Incredible performance paired with the fast 165Hz 15.6″ Quad HD thin-bezel display helps edge out the win.
  • Thin and Compact: The CNC aluminum unibody frame houses incredible performance in the most compact footprint possible, while remaining remarkably durable and just 0.78″ thin.
  • Ready To Connect: Fully loaded with Wi-Fi 6, Gigabit Ethernet, Thunderbolt 3, USB Type-A and Type-C ports, and HDMI, for a desktop-class experience.
  • Make It Yours: Customize the backlight color of the keyboard with Razer Chroma, and expand the memory and storage, making the Razer Blade 15 uniquely yours.

The updated version of Razer Blade 15 has been around for just a few months. And already it’s become one of the best gaming laptops around. It’s relatively thin and light compared to older bulky beasts, while also providing decent battery backup.

The laptop’s minimal look and sleek design are perfect for work and business, it doesn’t scream for unwanted attention. but make sure to turn the RGBs off.

The Blade 15 is designed with gaming experience in mind. Its 11th gen core i7 processor and the RTX 3060 GPU can easily produce three-digit frame rates. You can also buy the RTX3080 model if you’re really serious about its performance.

It also stays cooler thanks to the vapor chamber cooling system – which efficiently dissipates heat, to keep the chassis cool. We recorded a maximum keyboard and chassis temperature of 44°C.

The premium 165Hz display is smooth enough for hardcore gamers and the 1440p resolution will be good enough for doing work as well.

5. Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 RTX3070 – The workhorse

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Screen: 15.6” IPS QHD 165Hz
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Battery: 9 Hours
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is powerful and slim, one of the best laptop for game development

Pros:

  • Super-fast AMD Ryzen 9 processor.
  • Excellent RTX performance.
  • Outstanding battery life.
  • Smooth 165Hz Display.
  • Classy Design.
  • Great speakers.

Cons:

  • No Webcam.
  • Tenkeyless keyboard.

Product Description

  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070, With ROG Boost up to 1290MHz at 80W (85W with Dynamic Boost), Backed by 8GB GDDR6 dedicated video memory for an ultrafast, advanced GPU to fuel your games.
  • 15.6-inch,QWHD (2560 x 1440) 16:9,300-nits, 1000:1 Contrast, 100% DCI-P3, Refresh Rate:165Hz, 3ms response time, IPS-level.
  • AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS 8 Core – 16 Thread Processor, 3.0 GHz (Max Turbo Frequency 4.6 GHz), 16 MB Smart Cache.
  • This computer has the required specs to run Virtual Reality hardware and software and is compatible with Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality Ultra.
  • 【Weighs 4.21 lbs. and measures 0.79″ thin】Thin and light for maximum portability, featuring a 15.6″ screen size and omitting the DVD/CD drive to achieve the compact form factor. 4-cell lithium-ion battery.

Solid Performance, outstanding battery life, and compact design – this is ROG Zephyrus G15 in short. It’s a laptop designed not just for gaming, but for anyone who needs a capable laptop for office or work.

We also loved the classy, non-kiddo design. It doesn’t scream for attraction, but you can say it’s a gaming rig from one look. Its compact form factor is great for carrying in the backpack. And it only weighs 4.2 pounds, less than most gaming rigs with an RTX3070 chip.

The ROG Zephyrus G15 has a 90WHr battery with fast-charging support. Under normal workload, the laptop ran for almost 9 hours. So you can easily spend a day without looking for an outlet.

6. Acer Predator Helios 300

  • CPU: Intel i7-11800H
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Screen: 15.6″ Full HD 144Hz 3ms
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Battery: 7 Hours
  • Weight: 5.07 lbs
Acer Predator Helios 300 - An all-round gaming laptop with high performance and decent battery backup.
Image from Jarrod’s Tech

Pros:

  • Solid Performance.
  • Decent Battery Life.
  • Attractive design.
  • Quiet Fans.
  • Overclockable GPU.

Cons:

  • Expensive for the specs.
  • Sharp-edged Chassis corners.

Product Description

  • Extreme Performance: Crush the competition with the impressive power and speed of the 11th Generation Intel Core i7-11800H processor, featuring 8 cores and 16 threads to divide and conquer any task or run your most intensive games
  • RTX, It’s On: The latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 (6GB dedicated GDDR6 VRAM) is powered by award-winning Ampere architecture with new Ray Tracing Cores, Tensor Cores, and streaming multiprocessors supporting DirectX 12 Ultimate for the ultimate gaming performance
  • Blazing-Fast Display: This 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS LED-backlit display with 16:9 aspect ratio features an incredibly fast 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms Overdrive response time for the gamers who demand the best visual experiences
  • Internal Specifications: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz memory (2 DDR4 Slots Total, Maximum 32GB); 512GB PCIe Gen 4 SSD (2 x PCIe M.2 Slots/1 x 2.5″ Hard Drive Bay Available)
  • Prioritize Your Gameplay: Intel Killer DoubleShot Pro with Ethernet E2600 and Wi-Fi 6 AX1650i lets you use Wi-Fi and Ethernet at the same time, and have total control over priority traffic to maximize speed, throughput, and control
  • Cooling Perfected: Acer Helios 300 uses a 5th Generation AeroBlade Fan with 89 blades designed to increase air intake and keeps your system at a nice, cool temp. Also, allowing you to maximize your performance by reducing throttling for better sustained performance.
  • With Alexa Show Mode, you can use your PC as a full-screen interactive experience that features rich visuals and lets you talk to Alexa from across the room.
  • Superior Sound: DTS:X Ultra enhances your favorite games, movies, and music with high-end surround sound through the dual speakers, and an authentic audio experience when you use your favorite headphones
  • Ports For All Accessories: USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (Thunderbolt 4 and USB Charging), 2 USB 3.2 Gen 1, USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Power-off Charging), HDMI 2.1 with HDCP support, Mini DisplayPort 1.4, Headphone/Speaker/Line-out Jack, Ethernet (RJ-45), DC-in for AC Adapter
  • The Right Fit: 14.31″ W x 10.04″ D x 0.90″ H; 5.07 lbs; One-Year International Travelers Limited Warranty (ITW); Up to 6 hours Lithium-Ion Battery Life (Battery life was tested using video playback)

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a well-designed laptop for gaming. With a conventional edged chassis and muscular design, it just screams its purpose. But it’s well-designed hardware that can deliver high levels of performance for tasks like graphics designing and game development.

The laptop sports a powerful Intel Core i7 and an overclockable RTX 3060 Chip. In benchmarks, the performance is almost on par with its Alienware and ROG rivals.

The laptop has a 15.6 inch full HD IPS screen. With a refresh rate of 144Hz and an overdrive response time of just 3ms, you can play any major titles in 100+ fps.

With its 59 Whr battery, the laptop can provide 6-7 hours of backup under moderate load. Not the best we’ve seen, but still above the average.

7. Lenovo Legion 7 – Stylish & Powerful

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
  • GPU: Nvidia RTX 3060 Max-Q
  • Cooling: Vapor Chamber
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Screen: 15.6″ FHD 1080p 165Hz
  • Storage: Up to 1TB SSD
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs
Lenovo Legion 7 - Vapor chamber tech ensures your laptop will never overheat.

Pros:

  • Advanced vapor chamber cooling system.
  • Sturdy and premium build.
  • Classy Design.
  • Solid Gaming performance.

Cons:

  • No Thunderbolt port.
  • Poor battery backup.
  • Heavy.

Product Description

  • 【Vapor Chamber Cooling】 Latest Vapor Chamber Coolong technology for a colder sensation on touch.
  • 【Enhanced Features】 15.6″ Full HD (1920×1080) 165Hz IPS Display; Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 Wifi, Bluetooth 5.1, 720p HD Webcam, RGB Backlit Keyboard, .
  • 【Powerful Performance with AMD Ryzen 7 5800H Octa Core】 5th Gen AMD Ryzen 7 5800H 3.2GHz Processor (upto 4.4 GHz, 16MB Cache, 8-Cores) ; NVIDIA RTX 3060 Max-Q 6GB GDDR6 Dedicated Graphics, VR Ready .
  • 【High Speed and Multitasking】 16GB DDR4 RAM (8GB Onboard + 8GB SODIMM); 230W Power Supply, 4-Cell 71 WHr Battery; Shadow Black Color, .
  • 【Enormous Storage】 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD; 2 USB 3.2 Type-C Gen2, SD Reader, Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack., Windows 10 Home-64., 1 Year Manufacturer warranty from GreatPriceTech (Professionally upgraded by GreatPriceTech)

The Lenovo Legion 7 is a fantastic laptop that offers all-around performance while looking classy. If you want to upgrade your gaming setup and are looking for everything in a single machine, this is the one you’ll seriously want to consider.

Its sleek design and bright, vibrant display, combined with the colorful RGB lighting deliver an excellent gaming experience. You can also take it to an office, thanks to its neutral, non-gaming chassis design.

Under the hood, The combo of RTX 3060 GPU and AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU can achieve impressive framerates in most recent titles. And thanks to the latest vapor chamber cooling technology, the keyboard and chassis stays always cool.

The Biggest downside would be the battery life. We’ve seen many performance machines like the G15 Advantage edition last more than 8 hours in some tests. But the Legion 7 can barely pass the 4 hours mark.

At 4.2 pounds, the weight is on the heavier side. But we’ve seen heavier machines so this one should be relatively easy to carry.

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