Buying a Gaming Laptop? Here’s What You Should Know
So you’re considering a gaming laptop. While these machines are excellent performers, they also have many drawbacks over ultrabooks or business notebooks. So before you make a purchase, make sure you perfectly know what you need.
Generally speaking, a gaming laptop is a high-performance machine specially designed for gaming. But apart from gaming, these notebooks are also a good choice for anyone looking for a highly capable machine for business or work.
Many undergrad students in Tech and IT faculties buy gaming laptops for college. This is because many of them live in dorms and hostels, where laptops are more suited than desktops. Besides, many CSE and IT professionals (e.g: game devs, ML engineers) prefer gaming laptops because no ultrabooks can match their performance levels.
While it won’t be able to match the performance of a desktop, a high-performance gaming laptop can offer the flexibility of working from anywhere.
The major difference between a gaming laptop and a normal laptop is that a gaming laptop has a dedicated graphics card (GPU) – which helps process graphics-related operations fast. Much faster than a standard graphics card inside a normal laptop. This allows a gaming laptop to render 3D graphics at a rate several times faster than that of a conventional laptop with an integrated GPU.
Apart from that, Most Gaming laptops tend to have a top-of-the-line CPU and a larger, faster RAM for smooth multitasking. A gaming laptop also features a fast SSD with more storage space to hold all your favorite games.
Built for gaming
Gaming laptops aren’t just performance beasts. They are designed to provide an all-round gaming experience to the user. Most gaming laptops are decorated with bright colors, metallic finishes, large icons, and prominent ridges which give them a high-tech look.
Gaming notebooks also feature a bright and high-res display with a high refresh rate. The higher your refresh rate, the more FPS your GPU will need to supply, and the more benefit you’ll receive from higher performance hardware.
Besides, these laptops also feature a comfortable keyboard as well as fast wifi for smooth online gaming.
Perfect for Game development and design
For 3D development, Laptops were never a good choice. Because you need capable hardware, especially a powerful Graphics processor to work in 3D.
But 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 powerful GPU, 8GB RAM, and a fast SSD, you can design and develop games on it.
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.
Great choice for CS and IT students
While not the best fit for an average college student, a gaming laptop should do just fine. Well, apart from the fact that they could distract you from studies.
A gaming laptop is especially a good choice if you’re in a tech-related or an engineering faculty. For example, 3D designing applications like AutoCAD needs decent hardware to run smoothly. Performance is also an important factor if you’re into graphic design or 3D animation.
A gaming laptop can also be a good fit for science majors. If you’re in data science, for example, you’ll have to study Machine Learning, and you’ll need a decent graphics card to run ML algorithms. Or maybe you’re a Cybersecurity student and you may need virtualization frequently. A gaming laptop is very suitable for these kinds of resource-heavy tasks.
Excellent for Machine Learning
Compared to CPUs, GPUs are way better at handling machine learning tasks, thanks to their several thousand cores. Using a CPU to perform ML tasks is fine for studying. But as your datasets become larger, you’ll need a good-quality GPU or wait days to finish training.
Because at its core, machine learning is all about crunching numbers and solving matrices. Training an ML algorithm involves a lot of matrix operations, especially if you have a large dataset. That’s where parallelizing computations can make things a lot faster.
All gaming laptops feature a dedicated graphics unit with thousands of small cores that can carry out parallel computations. This makes them perfect for ML engineers or data scientists.
How do you choose a good gaming laptop?
Well, it mostly depends on your use-cases. Different gaming laptops offer different sets of advantages and drawbacks. You have to find the right one that suits your needs perfectly.
A good GPU is a must
One of the most common reasons for buying gaming laptops is the powerful dedicated GPU. But which GPU should you choose?
RTX3060 is great for amateurs
For amateur gamers and budget buyers, the RTX3050 and the GTX 1650 GPU is a good choices. Entry-level gaming laptops with those chips usually cost less than a thousand bucks. But their performance isn’t too good compared to the price.
RTX3060 laptops are excellent cost-cutters. You can get a premium RTX3060 Gaming rig for as low as 1200 bucks. They are also capable of churning out 100+ frames in many modern titles, so you can expect a fluid gaming experience.
RTX3080 is the fastest
If you aren’t worried about price, buy a laptop with an RTX3080 GPU. The 80 series is Nvidia’s fastest line of chips, you can’t get a mobile GPU faster than this. But keep in mind that an RTX3080 gaming laptop will cost you a minimum of 2000 Bucks. Not very smart to spend an extra thousand bucks for a few more frames per second, or is it?
Gaming laptops are heavy. That’s no news. And even in 2022, where most notebooks have gotten ultra-slim and lightweight, most gaming laptops are still as bulky and heavy as they used to be in 2015.
For college students and professionals, the weight and size of the laptop is crucial. So if you fall in one of those categories find a comparatively lighter and sleeker gamer rig. After all, you don’t wanna carry a heavy laptop every day, it can seriously hurt the back.
Nevertheless, there are a few note-worthy laptops that are both capable and portable.
Display Size and resolution
The size of your laptop’ display is related to its portability, as well as computing experience. While a larger screen helps provide a desktop-like feel, laptops with larger screens tend to be heavier and bulkier. So they might not be the best suit for you.
17″ laptops are heavy
A 17-inch display isn’t too big when it comes to gaming. Most gamers prefer bigger monitors when building their rigs. A larger, 17-inch display can also help in multitasking as well as working with professional software like Photoshop or the Premiere Pro. If you also love watching movies, a large 17″ monitor is going to be a good choice. Movies look great on bigger screens, especially if your laptop has a 4k OLED display.
But despite all their pros, 17-inch gaming laptops have one major drawback: they’re darn heavy! A typical 17″ gaming notebook weighs at least 5 pounds. They also take up more space, so you’ll need a much larger backpack to carry it. If you have to regularly carry your laptop, you may want to reconsider before purchasing a 17″ gaming rig.
15″ gaming laptops are perfect
Many people think that a 15″ screen is too small for gaming, but that’s not simply true. Of course, a bigger display provides a more immersive experience, but a 15.6″ screen with the same resolution looks almost identical.
Plus, a smaller screen means that you don’t have to move your head very often, as the whole screen will be in your field of vision. Many people think that a smaller screen enhanced their reaction speed, but it’s probably more of a personal choice.
Resolution and refresh rate matters
When it comes to gaming, the resolution and refresh rate of the display is actually more important than its size. A higher-resolution screen provides more details, and a high refresh rate enables you to sense the slightest of changes. These specs are especially important for fast-paced FPS titles, where you have to react in a split of a second.
Another thing to consider is the maximum brightness of the display. If you want to play games in the daytime, you want to have a brighter screen.
Gaming laptops are infamous for their poor battery life. Even when you’re not gaming, they usually last a few hours. But things have improved a lot and nowadays, there are many gaming laptops that can provide backup for as long as 10 hours!
If you frequently take your laptop outdoor, you might wanna consider the battery backup.
The optimus feature
The Advanced Optimus feature in Nvidia cards enables a user to switch between the integrated graphics and the dedicated GPU. This feature can help save power when the GPU is idle, simply just shutting it down.
Serious about Battery backup? Get a gaming laptop with advanced Optimus.