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Gaming laptops buying guide: are they worth spending money on?

Are gaming laptops worth spending money on? Most people who are into gaming would say yes. Why wouldn’t they?

best gaming laptops in 2021
Image: KnowTechie

Do you want to game on the move? Then a gaming laptop is an essential companion for you.

If you look at the statistics, gaming notebooks saw a 26.9% growth in 2020 as customers value their versatility for both work and play. 

With a gaming laptop, you can game seriously even if you travel a lot. But with so many models competing for your business, though, it can be hard to know which one to zero in on.

So if you’re new to gaming laptops or are looking to purchase one, this guide will help you decide on the right one based on the key parameters. In the end, you’ll know if they’re worth spending your hard-earned money on.

GPU

amd navi gpu chip in future samsung phones
Image: AMD

If you’re on the lookout for a new gaming laptop, be sure to take a close look at the graphics card that comes with it. It’s one of the most important elements in your bid to produce smooth gameplay, so make sure you get a machine boasting a decent graphics processor unit (GPU). 

If you’re more of a casual gamer, you won’t need to play on the highest settings. Go for a GTX 1650 or RX 5500M. You can play most games in moderate settings. Or, if you have the budget, invest in a GTX 1660 Ti

For serious gamers looking for some real punch, Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 will allow you to play most games on high settings. Also, it is the minimum standard for VR.

With an RTX 2070, you can play any game on high settings. Or, if you want to go for the most potent 20-series cards for smoother VR and special effects, there is the RTX 2080 or RTX 2080 Ti.

CPU 

ryzen 3400g cpu processor
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

A high-quality CPU should be able to handle most tasks including playing games, editing videos, and even running virtual machines. 

That said, a good quality GPU is more beneficial than a CPU when it comes to playing laptop games. So, a Core i5 processor is often enough. However, if you want a powerful CPU, go for the Core i7 CPU or the Intel Core i9-9980HK, which you can overclock.

More RAM for more processing

motherboard with ram installed
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

You need more RAM for more processing power which will allow for higher frame rates and smoother gameplay. 

Since gaming laptops are more multitasking, you need to look for a gaming laptop with at least 16GB of DDR4 RAM. For playing heavy-duty games, it is best to upgrade it to a level like 32GB. 

On a side note, make sure you are buying from genuine sellers in your region and that your laptop has a warranty. For example, if you’re in the middle-east, you can follow the link to buy a laptop online (UAE).

Storage

gift-guide Wd_black sn850 nvme ssd with heatsink
Image: KnowTechie

Budget gaming laptops, more often than not, have only a hard drive (usually 1TB). However, most gaming notebooks come with a small SSD that serves as a boot drive. 

A larger SSD will give you a fast loading speed. See that you get a faster, 7,200-rpm HDD. You can upgrade the storage in gaming notebooks. 

What to look for in a display?

When you go on the market to buy a gaming laptop, you want your money to go toward a good screen for a powerful gaming experience. 

  • Size: Gaming laptops can range from 14-inch to 18-inch. You can go for any size according to your preference. But remember, if your screen size is large, your laptop will be heavy.
  • Resolution: The minimum resolution you should get is a 1920 x 1080 display. Even if there are 4K (3840 x 2160) screens, you will need to turn off some settings while playing, especially if you allow ray tracing.
  • Refresh rate: Laptops with 1080p resolution and a 60Hz display are enough for many gamers. But for smoother gaming, you can also go for FHD displays with a 144 Hz, 240 Hz, or even 360 Hz refresh rate. 
  • Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync: Some high-end gaming notebooks support techs that sync the display with the graphics cards. With such devices, you won’t see screen tearing and ghosting.
  • Don’t go for touch screens: Touch screens are pointless for gaming, and they kill battery life. They can also result in excessively glossy displays.
  • Design – For portability, you will want to choose lighter laptops. However, more powerful hardware is recommended for playing demanding games, and they tend to be heavier.

Ports and inputs

Ports and Inputs are the backbones of any gaming laptop. You need to know what device you want to connect to your laptop before you buy it. 

Know beforehand how many peripherals you will be using, including external storage and audio. You might also want to consider whether you require more space, more flexibility, or very high-speed ports.

Keyboard

hyperx alloy fps keyboard
Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

For entry-level gaming, chiclet keys with LED backlighting are enough. However, there’s more to consider:

  • Key Travel: you want keys with more than 1.5 millimeters of key travel. It is even better if it hits 2mm. Some high-end laptops even have mechanical keys.
  • Actuation: Actuation should be between 65 and 70 grams.
  • Macro Keys: though not easy to find on gaming notebooks, macro keys will let you effortlessly complete the most common game tasks.
  • Anti-ghosting and n-key rollover: These two features will help you to perform your best in games. 
  • Backlighting: Budget gaming laptops do have a backlighting feature, but it’s either red or white. The best keyboards come with RGB backlighting. 

Are Gaming Laptops Worth Spending Money On?

Are gaming laptops worth spending money on? Most people who are into gaming would say yes. Why wouldn’t they? A high-end laptop offers more performance and still provides the portability that’s missing from desktop computers.

In the end, as long as the gaming laptop you buy aligns with your usage goals, it is definitely a worthy investment. These laptops have high-quality graphics, processors, and sound systems built into them. And you can take them anywhere you want.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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