Top 5 Considerations When Buying a Gaming Laptop
If you love playing video games but don’t have the budget or space for a professional-level set-up, a gaming laptop is your next best option. The good thing is that thanks to technology, a lot of gaming laptops nowadays can go toe to toe with PCs. In fact, the gap between desktops and laptops when it comes to gaming performance isn’t as big as it used to be.
The problem is that finding the best gaming laptop for your needs isn’t as easy as firing up your search engine and typing “buy laptops Philippines.” You also have to consider a few key factors to get the most value. Aside from your budget, you should think about the games you want to play. If they’re not resource-intensive (e.g., 2D games with simple animation), even non-gaming laptops can accommodate them.
For top-tier gaming performance, however, the criteria below should be your top considerations for a laptop:
The Graphics Card
If you want buttery smooth frame rates and high-resolution visuals, you need a gaming laptop with a capable graphics processing unit (GPU). Also commonly called the video card, the GPU creates the pixels on the screen. Thus, if you want to play games at the highest graphics settings, you need a laptop with a fast, dedicated GPU.
You should also take a look at the frame rate and resolution, as well as the display refresh rate—essentially, the GPU’s FPS should be able to match the screen’s refresh rate (in Hz). For games that support ray tracing and other visual rendering technologies, make sure that the GPU can keep up. (If you feel like your level of tech savviness isn’t enough, ask a friend who’s knowledgeable about computers or read reviews from trusted websites.)
The CPU is the part that interprets the instructions from the software and programs running on your computer. Therefore, if you have a slow CPU, your game may not load properly; you may even experience the dreaded lag. This is definitely not ideal, especially if you’re playing competitive games.
Some of the things you need to look at include the number of the CPU’s cores. The simplest way to put it is that higher is better. Most gaming laptops have at least four cores, although you can also find models with eight. You should also take a look at the clock speed, which is measured in GHz. The higher the clock speed, the faster the CPU. Some CPUs can also be overclocked, just in case you need a boost in performance.
It’s practically required for all gaming laptops to have ample storage space, so you can play and save a variety of games. However, the kind of storage matters more. Ideally, you want a gaming laptop with a solid-state drive (SSD). They have a higher read/write speed, which means that your games will load faster. SSDs also have longer lifespans compared to traditional mechanical drives (HDDs).
Do note that SSDs are more expensive per gigabyte than HDDs. As such, some laptop manufacturers compromise by installing both a high-capacity HDD and a lower-capacity SSD in a single laptop. You also have the option to purchase a gaming laptop with an HDD and then upgrade its storage to SSD in the future.
The computer’s RAM or random access memory is a temporary storage system, which the CPU uses to access data faster. Just like the CPU’s cores and the hard drive’s storage capacity, higher is better when it comes to RAM.
Most games nowadays require at least 8GB of RAM to work properly, so most gaming laptop manufacturers also provide this in many of their entry-level and even mid-tier models. However, if you want to run games at higher settings, stream your gameplay, and record your screen, it’s best to spring for at least 16GB RAM. There are also laptops that allow you to add more RAM.
For a gaming laptop, the minimum display resolution should be 1920 x 1080. There are also 3840 x 2160 (4K) resolutions available, but they’re going to be more expensive. For the refresh rate, 60Hz is more than enough for casual gaming. You can also find screens with up to 360Hz but again, you need a GPU that can keep up.
For the actual size of the screen, most gaming laptops you’ll find in the market have 15- to 17-inch screens. This ultimately doesn’t affect the gaming experience that much, although bigger screens are heavier so it can be a concern with regards to portability.
Another thing you need to think about is the quality of the keyboard. Key travel is important (how far down you can press a key), as well as the space between each key so you don’t make accidental presses. If possible, you should get a laptop with keyboard anti-ghosting. This is when you press on several keys and all the actions “register” so you get the desired results. RGB backlighting is also a nice bonus.
Happy shopping and happy gaming!