Well, most of the Pc gamers always prefer to have a custom-built desktop for gaming purposes. However, sometimes you look for portability, as you just don’t want to sit at a single place for several hours. A gaming laptop works perfectly in this situation. It lets you enjoy your favorite games anywhere and anytime.
Buying a new affordable gaming laptop in 2020 is not an easy task as you are investing a lot of money. You look for multiple features such as specs, display, and keyboard as well.
In this write-up, we will explain to you all the primary factors to check before buying a laptop. This will be quite helpful for you in choosing the best gaming laptop as per your requirements.
Before going deeper into each detail, here are some Quick Tips to keep in mind:
Go for a powerful GPU:
Almost all the new games need a powerful dedicated GPU to run games efficiently. A good GPU makes sure that you find any issue while playing games even in high settings.
Consider upgrading later:
It would be good for a gaming laptop, which allows you to upgrade specs later. This feature increases the age of your laptop.
Resolution: 144 Hz display with 1080p resolution would be perfect for idealistic gaming experience as 4k display doesn’t come with a 144Hz refresh rate.
Get a comfortable keyboard:
Choose a laptop with a smooth keyboard without any stiffness.
You would never like to get up and plug-in the charger in between intensive gaming. So, choose a laptop that offers a bigger battery.
Now, we will cover all the key parts of a gaming laptop and suggest you best as per your needs.
What GPU you should prefer?
GPU is no doubt the most important element of any gaming laptop. All the new games, including famous FPS, TPS shooting games need a high-end GPU to run your favorite games in high settings.
Most of the gaming laptops come with dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX or RTX GPUs. These graphics provide the best visual experience.
The latest graphics from the NVIDIA series are the newest RTX 20-series, which includes the 2070 and 2080.
Apart from them, there is another GPU brand, AMD. AMD is offering Radeon RX 5000M series with 3 variants; RX 5500M for budget systems, and the RX 5600M and RX 5700M for more performance.
If you’re planning to play some extreme games, then the NVIDIA RTX20 series will be best for you.
Low-end Gaming: If you’re okay to play on low settings, and looking to have an affordable gaming laptop, you can go for a laptop that comes with an NVIDIA GTX 1650 or AMD RADEON RX 5500M dedicated graphics. It will let you play all your favorite games but most probably on low settings.
A GTX 1660 Ti can offer you a much better experience. A laptop with these cards will roughly cost you between $800 and $1,100.
Mid-level Gaming: if you’re not obsessed with playing games on extreme settings then Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060,2070 and RX 5600M are good choices for you. These cards will let you play your favorite games on high settings with some exemptions.
If you’re also interested in some virtual reality stuff, then these above-mentioned options are the minimum standard for that.
So, they are the lowest you should go for your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. Laptops with these specs can cost you around $1,100 to $1,500.
High-end gaming: if you’re obsessed with extreme graphics experience and can spend more amount, then RTX 2080 or RTX 2080 Ti are what that can offer you over the top visual experience with their pro-realistic graphics. These dedicated graphics are recommended for VR and offer a smoother experience.
Laptops with these cards offer features such as 4K and ray-tracing. It can cost you around 3000$.
If you even want more than that and spend a hefty amount, then the all-new recently introduced GeForce RTX 3080 is the ultimate choice that ensures ultra-performance that gamers crave.
What other specs should I focus on?
Apart from GPU, other important parts to check out before buying is performance-oriented CPU, enough storage, and sufficient memory (RAM).
CPU: CPU’s aren’t usually upgradeable, so you should do your study before buying. You can easily get an Intel 9th Generation Core i7 CPU with 4 to 6 cores. This combination offers a top-notch experience at a reasonable price. Even a Corei5 CPU will work fine because gaming is more GPU dependent as compared to the CPU.
You have to spend more for an extra bit of performance and lightning speed as it comes with an Intel 10 Generation Corei9 processor.
Well, 8GB of Ram can be enough for low-end gaming with routine working. However, for a high-end gaming experience in high settings, 16 GB of Ram is the minimum standard, 32 GB of Ram is recommended though. NVIDIA GTX series laptops usually come with 8GB Ram.
On the other side, RTX is mostly equipped with 16 or 32GB of Ram.
You can even go for an 8GB Of Ram If your budget is tight because most of the gaming laptops offer the option of a memory upgrade. So, you can avail that whenever you’re up for.
You need a large storage space to keep all of your favorite games at a time. A single game usually takes more than 100GB in 2020. Alongside this, a faster boot-up time is also imminent, so you don’t have to wait long. SSD offers you the speed you’re looking for.
However, it costs much higher than a traditional HDD. In this dilemma, a laptop with dual storage option fits best. Using HDD for storage purposes along with SSD to run the OS makes the gaming laptop affordable. A dual storage combination of 1TB HDD with 7200 RPM speed and 256/512 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD is ideal.
However, if you want a noiseless experience, then go for a single 1TB SSD. Storage is often upgradeable in gaming notebooks.
So if you need more space, you can upgrade to 2TB.
What should I go for in a display?
Displays are as important as the other key parts. They have significant importance if you are not using a secondary display with your laptop. The key things on display before buying are:
15 or 17-inch displays are mostly offered in gaming laptops. Few brands even offer a huge 18″ display, but they swiftly drain the charging percentage. Gamers usually prefer a 15″ or bigger display as it provides a more detailed gaming experience.
However, another disadvantage of bigger displays besides the battery drainage is their heavyweights.
So, it’s really up to you which thing you prefer the most and which thing you can compromise on.
Gaming laptops usually come with 1920*1080 resolutions. It is the minimum you should have for the ultimate gaming experience. A screen resolution of more than 1920*1080 would be a plus. 2160*3840 4K nevertheless offers the best watching experience but it sometimes becomes problematic due to enabled ray-tracing.
Many vendors offer a 1080P FHD+ display with a 144Hz refresh rate in 2020. You also need the latest dedicated graphics with them for smooth gaming. Anything less than these specs won’t offer you a premium experience. GTX 1650 Ti with 144Hz display can be an affordable combination to go for
Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync:
These state-of-the-art technologies abolish defects such as screen ghosting and tearing by synchronizing graphics card with the display.
However, you can only get this feature on high-end gaming laptops.
Having a touch screen on a gaming laptop just cost you some extra bucks, and also increase battery drainage. So, if you want something affordable, it’s better to avoid a touch screen.
What should I look for in a keyboard?
Gaming is notably keyboard dependent. An ideal keyboard boosts your overall gaming skills. All the things to be considered while looking at keyboard specs are:
Laptops often come with 1.5mm key travel. But, 2mm key travel is more suitable for gamers. Key travel is how far down you can press a key. Mechanical keyboards are of the line, but they cost a lot.
Actuation between 65 to 70 grams is enough to deliver perfect stickiness. Actuation is how much force you need to apply to a key to press it down.
Laptop’s vendors don’t generally offer Macro Keys on laptops. Macro keys are shortcut key sequence to bring convenience. Having Macro Keys in a laptop is always a plus point.
Anti-ghosting and n-key rollover:
These are two features that offer additional performance while gaming. Anti-ghosting ensures the simultaneous key pressing order while n-key rollover confirms that each pressed key will be registered no matter which other keys are being pressed.
Backlights give gaming laptops their distinctive feel. Almost all the gaming laptops in 2020 provide RGB backlighting. Some of them give a 4-zone option in which the lightning is divided into 4 patterns while others come with full customization on a per-key basis or every game basis.
What do specific brands offer?
Every brand has its special features that vary from hardware to software. Here are a few notable to mention:
Alienware – Alienware has m17, which offers a minimalistic, ultra-thin, sleek design that gamers prefer in 2020. Dell’s Alienware Area-51m is packed with some heavy-duty specs for high-end gaming.
Asus Rog – When it’s come to gaming, Asus offers some out the box stuff that makes their gaming series appealing. Asus’s ROG Gaming Center software shares device information such as temperature, storage, and RAM usage while the Armoury Crate program allows you to customize RGB backlighting. They deliver some outstanding laptops with AMD processors including Zephyrus G14.
Acer Predator – Acer’s state of the art premium innovation Predator 21X comes with features like a curved display and mechanical keyboard that provides proficiency in gaming.
HP Omen – HP’s Omen is the best yet most expensive gaming series by any brand. It offers classy design with pro-level specs for elite gaming. Omen Command Center shows details like GPU and CPU usage, RAM utilization, and a network booster that lets you prioritize bandwidth.
Lenovo Legion – Lenovo’s gaming lineup Legion has been recently redesigned. Their new look is much thinner than the previous installments. Instead of creating new software, the company modified its Vantage app to show real-time info of CPU, GPU, and RAM.
MSI – MSI’s usually offers bulky gaming laptops in red and black contrast. However, they recently introduced a couple of lighter and thinner laptops as well. Their dragon logo always grabs the attention because of its uniqueness. MSI recently made some changes in its Dragon Center software, which now allows system monitoring, multiple performance profiles, controlling the fans, and customizing keyboard backlighting.
Razer Blade – Razer’s laptops are famous for their exclusive designs and RGB lightings. Besides this, Razer also offers macro keys in some of their recently launched laptops. It lets you customize RGB on their laptops.
How About Battery Life?
The battery life of gaming laptops has always remained an unsolved issue. If you’re a pro gamer and give consecutive hours to gaming on daily basis, then you’re going to face the hassle of plugin-in the charger again and again. Gaming laptops don’t usually last long on a single charge because of their intensive usage. Some of them do but with applying things such as low brightness, which you would never like being a gamer.
Keeping a laptop on a continuous charge is the only solution if you want ultimate performance from your machine.
However, that can reduce the overall life span of the device. In short, this is something you have to compromise on while buying a gaming laptop.
The most vital part of any gaming laptop is its GPU. Try to get the latest GPU if you can afford it. Other things such as CPU, memory, and storage also have their significance.
However, GPU is the core of it. Storage and memory are most likely to be upgraded, so can compromise on them a little bit if you are tight on budget.