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What gaming laptop? We choose a gaming laptop

What gaming laptop? We choose a gaming laptop
What gaming laptop? We choose a gaming laptop

Many of us, players, want to be able to sink into our favorite production not only at home, but also in any other place where we are currently located. That is why more and more fans of electronic entertainment choose gaming laptop. They offer high performance, allowing you to play new titles, but above all, they are mobile.

The question then arises – how to choose a gaming laptop? What should a good gaming laptop look like? We have also prepared a general guide on how to choose a laptop, regardless of its purpose.

This article covers the highlights of a gaming laptop:

  • What graphics card, processor and how much RAM?
  • A drive in a gaming laptop – HDD or SSD?
  • Good laptop cooling, which is what?
  • What screen on a gaming laptop?
  • What keyboard in a laptop for players?
  • How many and which connectors are needed?
  • Is an optical drive necessary?
  • Gaming laptop case – what size and weight?
  • Accessories for gaming laptops
  • Recommended gaming laptops

The most frequently chosen gaming laptops

  1. What components in a laptop for players?

The most important elements that a gaming laptop must have are a very efficient graphics system and a fast processor that works with it. We will discuss them in turn.

Dedicated graphics card

While it is perfectly sufficient for browsing the Internet, unfortunately not for playing.

When choosing a gaming laptop, it is necessary to choose a model equipped with a dedicated graphics chip – from Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 or GTX 1650 and up.

The most widespread and popular are graphics cards made by Nvidia. Which one to choose? It all depends on how much we are able to spend and what performance we expect. The cheapest laptop models with Geforce MX330 systems can be purchased for less than PLN 3,000. However, it offers a fairly basic performance, so it’s better to look for more powerful systems – at least the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 or GTX 1650.

How much RAM in a gaming graphics card?

However, make sure that the dedicated graphics card that your gaming laptop has on board also has an adequate amount of RAM. Without it, even the most efficient equipment will not be able to effectively use the applied solutions, which will result in a decrease in performance.

Simply put – the more memory, the better. To play smoothly in Full HD resolution, a minimum of 4 GB of graphics card memory is necessary.

Here’s a handy list of what to expect from your graphics card:

  • HD resolution should be based on the Nvidia Geforce MX250, Nvidia MX330 or MX350 card
  • Smooth animation in Full HD at 30 fps. – this is where gaming laptops really start. You should choose at least GeForce GTX 1050 or GeForce GTX 1650. Each of these cards will allow for smooth animation, but not always in the highest graphics settings
  • Playing Full HD in medium settings – more demanding players should choose a laptop with GeForce GTX 1660Ti, Geforce RTX 2060, i.e. newer generation systems
  • Playing Full HD in the highest settings – to fully enjoy smooth graphics in the highest details, it is worth investing in laptops with the GTX 2070, RTX 2080. By buying such a laptop, we get equipment that can handle any current title, sometimes even in higher resolutions than FHD
  • Playing in 4K – if you want to play in UHD resolution, you will need to reach for the latest RTX 3070 and RTX 3080. They will also allow you to play in Full HD to get more than 60 frames per second. The new Nvidia RTX graphics cards also support Ray Tracing and Nvidia DLSS technologies, increasing the smoothness of animation. More and more titles support these solutions.

Nvidia G-Sync technology

As an example of a technology that can significantly affect the quality of the game, we can mention Nvidia G-Sync. Its task is to provide better animation fluidity in games. This effect is achieved by synchronizing the image generated by the graphics card with that displayed on the screen.

Must Read: 7 tricks to limit children’s time in front of screens

This solution eliminates one hundred percent animation slowdowns and jerking, and thus – allows you to achieve a higher number of frames per second than on a laptop without Nvidia G-Sync technology.

Strong processor

A powerful processor is, next to a graphics card, the most important element that determines the capabilities of a gaming laptop. Only a sufficiently strong chip will be able to take full advantage of the graphics card. What does it mean?

  • Number of cores – the processor in a gaming laptop should have at least four cores
  • Clock speed – efficient processors are characterized by a high clock frequency both in the base mode (above 2000 MHz) and Turbo mode (approx. 4000 MHz)
  • Designations of efficient processors – it is worth paying attention to Intel processors from the Core i5, Core i7 and even Core i9 series. The strongest hands are marked with the letters H or HQ. Processors with the letter K at the end indicate units with an unlocked multiplier. They give the possibility to overclock the processor clock frequency, and thus increase its performance
  • Processors for general applications – processors marked with the letter U and Y are energy-saving systems and are used in universal laptops and ultrabooks. They are much less efficient, so it is not recommended to choose them for gaming
  • Alternative to Intel – AMD Ryzen chips are another option. The latest generation of AMD processors offers really good performance and price / performance ratio, making them an attractive proposition.

RAM

A gaming laptop, as we mentioned before, must also have an adequate amount of RAM. It is necessary for the proper and efficient functioning of the device, therefore the memory should be as much as possible.

  • Amount of RAM – 8 GB RAM is the absolute minimum at present, but you should consider buying a laptop with 12 GB or more
  • Memory type – in addition to the amount of RAM, it is worth paying attention to the type of memory. The best choice is DDR4 memory with a clock speed of 2133 MHz or higher (2400 MHz or 2666 MHz).
  • laptop upgrade – it is worth remembering that virtually every gaming laptop allows you to later increase the amount of RAM, using free slots or, if all are already taken, replacing the RAM with a new one with a larger capacity.

The maximum amount of RAM supported by modern laptops is 64 GB.

This operation is not overly complicated, so you can do it yourself, but if someone does not feel up to doing it, it is worth contacting a professional service.

Gaming laptops with min. 8 GB of RAM

  1. Disk in a gaming laptop – HDD or SSD?

The fastest graphics and a super-efficient CPU will be useless if the game data is read from the hard drive too slowly. A very efficient graphics card can provide a high framerate, i.e. a high number of frames per second (e.g. 45 fps, 60 fps and more). However, when reading data from the disk, slowdowns and even animation jams may appear.

Therefore, it is best to get a modern SSD carrier, which will guarantee fast reading and writing of data.

A gaming laptop with an SSD will be much more efficient compared to the design equipped with traditional media.

The differences in operation are so big that many users, after changing their old notebook with a hard disk into a laptop with an SSD disk, are able to notice a significantly faster loading of the operating system, transfer of files or loading of subsequent missions in their favorite game without replacing the basic components.

You can learn more from the guides:

  • What laptop drive? SSD, HDD or SSHD?
  • Laptop with SSD drive – how to choose and is it worth it?

The disadvantage of SSD drives is their significantly higher price than classic HDDs. So an alternative solution is to use two disks. The first is SSD with a capacity of 128 or 240/256 GB, on which the operating system is installed, which guarantees fast startup and work of the laptop. The second drive is the HDD for data storage.

What SSD drive interface?

SSDs used in gaming laptops most often use one of two interfaces: M.2 or Serial ATA III. However, it is difficult to indicate a significant difference between these technologies, as it practically does not exist. The only difference between a drive using M.2 and SATA III is the format. Media having the second type of connector are physically smaller, but read and write speeds can be similar in both cases.

Gaming laptops with SSD

  1. Good laptop cooling, which is what?

Higher component temperatures go hand in hand with high performance. Even powerful components can be slowed down due to overheating of the laptop. Therefore, for electronic entertainment, we recommend buying a gaming laptop with good cooling.

low temperature of components – an effective cooling system should maintain the temperature of the processor and graphics card at a level that guarantees their stable operation and full use of capabilities, even under a long, full load. Otherwise, the phenomenon of throttling, i.e. automatic lowering of the clock frequency, will occur. This prevents component damage (overheating), but the side effect is a significant drop in performance

Cool casing – if the laptop casing gets too hot, gaming will become uncomfortable, and sometimes even impossible (if, for example, we want to hold the laptop on our lap)

Quiet operation – the more fans, the more annoying the hum and noise generated by them will be

To achieve this, manufacturers use various solutions – they install additional fans with greater efficiency, special heat absorbing plates, or copper ducts that discharge them away from key components.

Each manufacturer strongly promotes its solutions, they are in most cases thoroughly presented, among others in the description of the laptop in the store’s offer – so it is worth reading them before making the final choice.

It is also worth adding that the thinner the laptop case, the more difficult it is to cool down its interior and dissipate excess heat generated by the processor and graphics card. Larger laptops usually handle it much better.

Cooling pads

A good solution supporting cooling is a laptop cooling pad, which will not only protect it from overheating, but also allow you to comfortably hold the notebook on your lap. However, it should be remembered that this solution will not work for devices with ventilation openings in the bottom part of the housing.

  1. What screen on a gaming laptop?

When going to the display on a gaming laptop, three issues are important: diagonal, resolution, matrix type and maximum brightness.

FHD or higher resolution – high resolution provides more detailed image and better graphics quality. However, it does affect the performance of the laptop. However, it is worth being moderate, because the more detail we get in the game, the more data the laptop will have to analyze, which may result in lower frames per second (i.e. worse liquidity). At the moment, Full HD is still the optimal resolution for most laptops, but the premiere of the new generation of graphics cards from the Nvidia RTX series meant that the most efficient laptops can easily handle 4K / UltraHD resolution.

  • Diagonal of at least 15.6 inches – a larger screen provides better gaming comfort, but reduces the mobility of the laptop. So if we play mainly at home, we can choose a screen size of 17.3 inches or larger. If, on the other hand, we intend to travel with the laptop often and carry it often, then a 15.6-inch matrix will be a better solution.
  • Matte matrix – this type of matrix is ​​better suited to laptops for players. The matte surface of the display will prevent the surrounding environment from being reflected on its surface and will not create distracting light reflections
  • High brightness – the higher the maximum brightness of the screen, the better readability it will provide, even in strong sunlight and a very bright room. The recommended value is above 300 cd / m2
  • Nvidia G-Sync – we have already written about this technology. It allows for smoother animation, so it is worth choosing a laptop with a screen that supports this solution
  • Image refresh rate – the standard is 60 Hz, but top gaming laptops have displays refreshed at 120 Hz and 144 Hz. These types of screens work especially well in the most dynamic games, e.g. shooters or racing
  1. What keyboard on a gaming laptop?

The keyboard in a gaming laptop is significantly different from that found in a classic notebook. It is properly profiled and equipped with a number of additional functions. The most important features:

  • Programmable keys – they can be assigned the so-called macros, i.e. the button combinations most often used in games. This makes the game much easier
  • Durable and resistant to damage – this is especially important, because during intense gameplay players press the keys with great force, which could even damage them. Splash resistance is welcome
  • Key backlight – increases the readability of the keys, facilitates the game. The key backlight should be able to adjust its intensity and assign different colors to particular zones
  • Mechanical keys – some players appreciate them because of their greater precision and durability

In short, a gaming laptop with a backlit keyboard that is both robust and programmable should satisfy many of the needs of the modern gamer.

  1. How many and which connectors are needed in a gaming laptop?

A good, functional gaming laptop should be equipped with a wide set of connectors and ports. Due to the large size of the casing, this condition is usually met, but it is worth checking carefully if it has everything we need. The most important connectors on a gaming laptop:

USB 3.0 – is used to connect external peripherals (keyboards, mice, pendrives, but also a cooling stand or, for example, gaming headphones). It is worth checking if USB is in the 3.0 or 3.1 standard, because it offers a much faster data transfer than the previous generation connector, i.e. USB 2.0

USB type C – symmetrical tip facilitates its connection. USB-C is used in modern smartphones and drives. You can also use it to charge your laptop (some models)

Thunderbolt 3 – uses the USB-C standard (except that it is marked with a lightning icon), the fastest data transfer standard that also supports image transmission in 4K resolution and 60 Hz refreshing, also allows you to connect external graphics.

HDMI, Display Port – they can be used to connect the laptop to a monitor, TV or projector. For 4K resolution and 60Hz refresh rate, you need HDMI 2.0 (version 1.4 only supports 30Hz refresh in UltraHD). In turn, to use the Nvidia G-Sync technology on an external monitor, we must use the Display Port 1.2 standard (HDMI does not support G-Sync technology)

RJ45 / Ethernet – thanks to it, we will connect the laptop to the network permanently, thanks to which the connection in network games will be more stable, and also faster downloading games from the network. If your laptop is not equipped with them, you will need to use a USB-RJ45 adapter

SD / microSD memory card reader – makes it easy to copy photos from your phone and camera

Headphone / microphone socket – as separate connectors or one universal. Essential for network players, but also allows you to connect speakers.

  1. Is the drive in a gaming laptop necessary?

A few years ago, the drive in a gaming laptop was absolutely necessary. Currently, however, it is used less and less. The main reason for this is the digital distribution of games. It is much more convenient and faster to buy and download a game from the web than to install it from a disc.

On the other hand, the reason for the existence of a gaming laptop with a drive is the fact that productions recorded on DVD or Blu-ray can be collected, and many people still choose this solution.

Since the optical drive takes up a lot of space in the laptop casing, manufacturers do not install it. So if we really want to have it, the optimal solution is to buy an external optical drive and connect it to the laptop if necessary.

  1. Gaming laptop case – what size and weight?

Although gaming laptops are basically mobile devices, due to the fact that they have to accommodate efficient components and an effective cooling system, they are clearly larger than traditional laptops or ultrabooks. Therefore, the size of the housing is less important in their case, as mobility is of secondary importance.

  • Weight – two trends can be distinguished in the design of laptops for players. At one extreme, there are classically large gaming notebooks, the weight of which exceeds 4 kg, and the thickness of the housing reaches almost 5 cm. On the second, slim gaming laptops weighing less than 3 kg. It is the latter that will be much easier to carry and travel with, but in most cases they will be characterized by slightly less efficient components and an increased risk of noisy operation and / or heating of the housing
  • Display diagonal – when it comes to the size of the housing, most models are equipped with a screen diagonal of 15.6 inches, which is an optimal compromise between the dimensions of the notebook and its mobility. On larger laptops with a diagonal of 17.3 inches, gaming will be more convenient, more comfortable, but at the expense of the computer’s mobility
  • Design – Another characteristic of gaming laptops is the design of the case. It is often quite original and means the presence of colorful elements, logos or ornaments emphasizing the gaming purpose of the computer
  • Quality of workmanship – when it comes to the materials from which the casings are made, the most commonly used materials are plastic and aluminum. Since a gaming laptop is usually used quite intensively, it is worth paying attention to whether the housing structure is sufficiently solid and durable. Especially it concerns the screen cover and keyboard.
  1. The most popular laptop accessories:

In addition to buying the laptop itself, you should consider supplementing the set with practical and useful accessories. They will facilitate the use of the computer and increase its capabilities.

  • Keyboard for gamers
  • Gaming mice
  • Gaming steering wheels
  • Computer speakers
  • Headphones for gamers
  • Microphones
  • Monitors for gamers
  • Gaming chairs
  • Cooling pad
  • External drive
  • Backpack, case, bag
  • Safety cable
  • Docking Station
  • External optical drive