How to Buy the Right Gaming Laptop (The Complete Guide)

Gaming has become a mainstream root of entertainment for almost every millennial and people of higher age groups, thanks to the companies like MSI, RazerBlade, Acer, etc which made it possible for people to have a movable gaming machine. Initially, people use to favor a desktop for playing games, but the evolution of laptops with sturdy configuration has made it impossible for people to ostracize laptops for playing games.

But the main impediment faced by almost all the enthusiasts is to find a perfect laptop which is worth the price and gives them the ultimate fulfillment that they are looking for. So, to make it easier for you, we have come up with this comprehensive guide which will assists you in finding the perfect gem for your hard earned bucks. So, let’s straight dive into the guide-

Topics Covered in Gaming Laptop Buying Guide

Budget

When it comes to buying a new gaming laptop, budget is the foremost thing to be considered. Since gaming laptops range from $500 to $10000, it’s important to first decide the money you  would like to invest into your gaming machine.

GPU (Graphics Card)

The GPU or the Graphics card is the hardware part responsible for producing the images on the screen. The better GPU your laptop has, the better visuals appears on the screen. Click the button below to jump to GPU section

Portability

Portability is the function of both the weight and the battery life of the laptop. Gaming laptops are likely less portable because of their heavy weight and low battery backups. Click the button below to know more about the portability of gaming laptops.

CPU & RAM

CPU or (Central Processing Unit) is the brain of your computer/laptop and is responsible for controlling all the processes occurring in the system. Whereas the RAM act as a temporary storage for storing information needed while processing a particular process.  

Display

Display is one of the most crucial element of superior gaming experience on a laptop. A sturdy configuration will never give you the ultimate experience until and unless you have a display which produces beautiful colors.

Keyboard

Keyboard is a part of gaming laptop which you use the most while playing games, so undoubtedly it has to be comfortable and stylish. Click the button below to know more about what type of keyboard is best for you.

Storage Type

Storage and it’s type impact the overall system speed of your laptop. This section will clear all your doubts about whether to choose HDD or SSD? Check out the button below to know more about the storage types and select the one that suits you best

Connectivity

While buying a laptop, most of the people give all their attention in choosing the processor, the GPU, and the display. Connectivity is something that is often taken for granted. To know about every port for connectivity jump to the connectivity section by clicking below

1. First Thing First: Budget

Budget is one of the most crucial element while choosing a decent gaming laptop. You would never embrace a laptop that empties all your savings. For a gaming laptop, you can assume the price range to be from $400 to $4000. Deciding the budget is an individual choice but always keep in mind that you should look for the best value for money products. A laptop which costs you around $500 will surely not be able to handle high-end games which demand more processing and graphics capabilities.

From a gaming laptop under $1000, you can easily expect to run titles like Dota 2, Sims 4 etc with medium settings. In order to play on higher fps, you would have to go a little higher with your budget. Below you’ll find the list of laptops under a variety of budget. It’ll surely help you if you haven’t decided your budget till yet:

  • When you are on a really low budget and still want’s to try your hands on some casual games, then this list of gaming laptops under $300 might satisfy your requirements.
  • If you have a budget under $400, you can check out the post where we’ve mentioned the best gaming laptops under 400 dollar price range.
  • For enthusiasts who are comfortable to spend a little more can take a look at these models mentioned on our post about gaming laptop that comes under $600 budget.
  • For gaming enthusiasts with budget near about $800, this blog post is for you.
  • If you are a high-end gamer and play want to play games at higher fps settings, then you must read this post on best gaming laptops under $1500 price range.
  • And if you have a decent budget to spend on your next gaming laptop, then take a look at these gaming laptops under $2000 price range. You’ll be amazed by the performance.
Note: We keep on updating the list of laptops under the specified budget, in order to meet the demands of modern gamers. We do this in order to provide you with the best information about the most recent best-selling laptops in the industry.

2. GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)

GPU or the Graphics card is a specialized electronic circuit designed to deliver visuals and transmit signals to the monitor. It’s one of the most looked elements by all gaming enthusiasts. If you are serious about gaming, then buying a dedicated graphics card with at least 4GB of VRAM or video memory is a good idea. In order to run games like CG GO at 60 fps a laptop with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 would be sufficient but you cannot expect a laptop to run PUBG at 60 fps with the same GPU.

Similarly, to achieve a 100+ fps with most of the games, you need GTX 1080. Although GTX 1070 would be able to run games at 100+ fps, it fails when it comes to games like GTA V and PUBG. Below, you’ll find a table which represents the rate at which different games can run on various graphics cards.

GameGTX 1050GTX 1050TiGTX 1060GTX 1070GTX 1080
CS GO115 fps120 fps161 fps200 fps237 fps
PUBG36 fps45 fps69 fps80 fps88 fps
GTA V39 fps43 fps61 fps79 fps95 fps
FORTNITE64 fps70 fps101 fps`120 fps132 fps
LEAGUE OF LEGENDS132 fps137 fps`187 fps218 fps223 fps
OVERWATCH63 fps74 fps101 fps115 fps123 fps
BATTLEFIELD 143 fps45 fps70 fps96 fps112 fps
THE WITCHER 338 fps38 fps58 fps82 fps95 fps
DOTA 280 fps106 fps136 fps146 fps165 fps
WORLD OF WARCRAFT45 fps56 fps77 fps91 fps95 fps
WORLD OF TANKS66 fps69 fps106 fps125 fps131 fps
BATTLEFIELD 449 fps55 fps99 fps127 fps142 fps

Integrated vs. dedicated: Which one to Choose for Gaming?

The primary line of difference among integrated and dedicated graphics is that the later one has its independent source of memory. The integrated processing unit doesn’t use its own memory space instead employs the system’s memory. So if you have a system with 8 GB RAM, you can expect the graphics card to take around one to five percent of the RAM space for graphics processing. On the other hand, the dedicated (also referred to as discrete) graphics has its own memory space leaving the system’s memory untouched.

The integrated ones are cheaper and also generate less heat compared to dedicated video cards. But the integrated video cards can only handle general word processing, 2D gaming, and small video editing. To play 3D games at high graphics settings and good FPS, a dedicated graphics card can only take you far.

Take a look at: 

3. Portability

Portability of the laptop is a function of both the weight and the battery life it offers. From a gaming laptop, you cannot expect a long battery backup while playing games. Also, in order to extract the full performance of the CPU and GPU, it is advised to play games with charger plugged-in. Gaming laptops tend to be quite heavy than the usual daily use laptops and this is pretty self-explanatory. The robust combination of GPU, CPU and hybrid storage drives fills up the chamber completely making the overall chassis heavy.

The screen size of the laptop is another important aspect which powers the portability of the laptop. A laptop with 13.3 screen size would be easy to carry but surely will not possess the config required by a gaming laptop. Whereas, a laptop with screen 15.6″ and 17.3″ would be a little tough to carry since it possesses all the heavy elements a gaming laptop needs. So now the question comes, which laptop you should buy?

At LaptopDiscovery, we focus on simplifying your buying process. Firstly, we would say that choosing between 13.3″, 15.6″ or 17.3″ is a personal preference. Secondly, if you are serious about gaming then going below 15.6″ would not be a good idea. Also, if you are a fan of large screen sizes, then 17.3″ laptops can always be your choice.

Regarding the weight, you cannot expect a gaming laptop to be less than 3lbs. Although some gaming laptops even weigh more than 5 lbs, surely there are some models which come below 5lbs. Therefore, think before you invest in your gaming rig because it’s not a thing which you can change every day like clothes.

4. CPU & RAM

CPU and RAM in combination control the overall processing capabilities of the system. RAM store all the information needed temporarily by the CPU for processing any data. Recently, Intel has announced the i9 series of processors which is a great deal for gaming enthusiasts but since everyone cannot afford the costly i9 processors, let’s find out what’s best for the budget.

Note: There are different series of processors available in the market like U-series or the H-series. For gaming purpose, we recommend buying a laptop which packs in H-series processors. The H-series processors are specifically designed to meet the gaming demands.

In order to play games like Minecraft and Fortnite, a laptop below Intel i5 6th generation would not be a good choice. In fact, you’ll face many difficulties even if you are running games at just 30fps. We would recommend you go with at least 7th generation of Intel i5 processor for playing games at medium or low settings. For higher fps, you should go with at least 7th gen of Intel i7 processor. Although it also depends on the budget you are willing to spend for your gaming rig, the processor is not a thing you can change daily.

Coming on to the RAM, it’s something which you can also upgrade in the future according to your needs. If you look a laptop with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, you’ll mostly get 8GB DDR4 RAM. Going beyond 1050, you’ll need extra RAM to handle all the processing and multitasking of applications. For intense gaming, a 16GB DDR4 RAM from HyperX is recommended.

5. Display

What’s the use of a robust hardware configuration, if your laptop doesn’t have a good display. There are a variety of laptops which comes with numerous display options. From diagonal HD to FHD with anti-glare to displays which have 144Hz refresh rates. Again, firstly it depends on your budget. If you are looking to buy a laptop which costs you around 600-700 bucks, then you can easily expect 15.6″ FHD IPS anti-glare display, but for a display which has a refresh rate of around 144Hz like in ASUS ROG Zephyrus S, then you would have to spend around $1700-$2000.

Avoid buying a laptop with a touch screen since they consume more battery power. Obviously, you are not investing a huge amount of your savings into a laptop to play games like Candy Crush or Cut the Rope.

For most gamers, 15.6″ FHD IPS anti-glare display seems to be a good option. But for intense gaming, you would definitely need a display with good refresh rates. Read more about refresh rates below

What does Refresh Rate refers to?

The refresh rate refers to the frequency with which the images on the screen refreshes per second. The unit of measurement of refresh rate Hertz (or Hz). For instance, the 60Hz refresh rate means that the display is redrawn 60 times per second. Changing or upgrading the refresh rate in old CRT monitors was essential, as the low refresh rate would result in visual flickering. The higher refresh rate results in a smoother picture and drops visible flickering. But on contemporary LCD monitors, you won’t experience any flickering even with a lower refresh rate. So when buying a laptop for gaming look for the one with a high refresh rate like 144Hz or higher. Apart from the refresh rate, there are other significant factors like the color accuracy, response time and the viewing angle. 

6. Keyboard

It is something where you’ll be spending most of your time pounding on the keys. Whether you are playing games or just completing an important task, the keyboard of your laptop has to be comfortable in order to provide you with a good experience. Most professional gamers use an external mechanical keyboard for playing games, credit goes to the perfect feedback and key travel distance it offers.

Ideally, a key travel distance of 1.5 to 2 millimeter is considered good for gaming purpose. Laptops nowadays also offer keyboards with a variety of backlighting which easily let you play games in even low light conditions. You can choose from white, red and complete RBG color backlighting keyboard depending upon how much you are investing on your laptop. For example, you get a red backlit keyboard in ASUS TUF FX504 which seems to be pretty elegant and at the same time, it’s comfortable too. In ASUS ROG Strix Scar GL703GE, you get a customizable RGB gaming keyboard.

Take a look at: Top 9 Best Laptops With Backlit Keyboard – 2019

7. Storage Type

Storage capacity and its type is not only responsible for filling and retrieving data onto the system, but it also impacts on the overall system speed. When browsing for gaming laptops, you’ll come across 4 common storage options:

  • (a) 1TB HDD with 5400RPM
  • (b) 1TB HDD with 7200RPM
  • (c) 128GB/256GB/512GB SSD
  • (d) 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD Storage Combo

Let’s understand every option in detail. Starting from the option (a) 1TB HDD with 5400RPM – This storage type is recommended for those who mostly use their laptop for browsing the web or watching movies because the HDD drive with 5400RPM doesn’t provide blazing fast speed for processing data onto the drive. 

The HDD storage with 7200 RPM and SSD storage are considered as a good option for gamers. A laptop with SSD always stays far ahead than the laptop which comes with HDD. So make SSD your first preference while buying a new laptop. For those who need the power of SSD and the capacity of HDD, the storage combo seems to be the best choice.

8. Connectivity

While buying a laptop, most of the people give all their attention in choosing the processor, the GPU, and the display. Connectivity is something that is often taken for granted. Its until you use the laptop you realize that the laptop is not supporting specific connectivity. Here are the connection options you must consider before buying the gaming laptop.

USB Type-C / Thunderbolt 3

The USB Type-C port offers a bunch of functionality, with the single standard cable one can power the laptop, copy files and output the videos to external display devices. Also, the USB Type-C cables can be plugged in anyway, as both the faces of the connectors are the same. Some higher-end laptops even comprise of Thunderbolt 3, that utilizes the same USB Type C connector but supports even faster Thunderbolt peripherals.

802.11ac WiFi

Most of the modern day’s laptops come with 802.11ac WiFi, that affords three to ten times more speed compared to the older version. It offers theoretical data rates up to 1 gigabyte per second. The high data rates are achieved by wireless signaling enhancements which includes
(1)adopting a large number of MIMO Radios and antennas for more simultaneous transmissions
(2)introducing channels that employ a vast expanse of signal frequencies.

Another worth noting down feature of 802.11ac is “beamforming” that boosts the reliability of WiFi connections in crowded areas. For online streaming of gameplay, the secure and fast wireless connection is advantageous.

Ethernet

Ethernet is losing its existence since the commencement of Wi-Fi technology. If you carry your laptop to places and need a faster and more secure wireless connection, then the ethernet (RJ45) port is worth considering.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth is another type of wireless connectivity that your laptop must support. Bluetooth technology can be used to set wireless connection with many peripherals devices such as wireless keyboard, mouse and speakers. Many devices nowadays use Bluetooth 4.0 to communicate wirelessly.

Video Connectivity

If you are a serious gamer and want to enjoy gaming at a bigger screen, then you need to look for video out port. Current generation laptops do include HDMI, DVI, VGA, and DisplayPort. But amongst these the HDMI port offers widespread support.

Conclusion

So this was the complete guide on buying a gaming laptop. If you have any query about a specific laptop, you can always reach out to us and we’ll try out best to guide you on your purchase. This guide keeps on updating every week. So if you have anything to add up, you can always suggest us by emailing at founder@laptopdiscovery.com

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