Tips for Buying a Gaming Laptop
Gaming laptops are expensive, so you should think very carefully before buying one. There are a number of competing brands for gaming laptops nowadays. As the competition is stiff, marketing claims are highly exaggerated. It’s up to the consumer to tell the hyperbole apart from the truth.
If you are seriously considering buying a gaming laptop, here are several tips to ponder before you make a final decision:
All Games Do Not Require Special Laptops
You don’t need to buy one of the best gaming laptops to play Candy Crush Saga or even World of Warcraft. These games employee low-res graphics and consume less memory. Low-end games like this are designed to run smoothly on the average laptop. So, if you have a laptop purchased around $500 and is only about two or three years old, it should be sufficient for most gaming needs. Gaming laptops are purchased by hardcore gamers who want to play graphics-intensive games like Battlefield and Grand Theft Auto. Your computer will need significant processing power and a killer graphics card to play these games.
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Screen Size Affects Portability
When buying a gaming laptop, consider how portable you want it to be. A 17 or 18-inch screen laptop will have a big enough screen to provide an excellent gaming experience. However, these laptops are often large and difficult to carry. Some won’t even fit in regular laptop bags. On the other hand, a 13 to 15-inch screen gaming laptop will be slightly smaller, but much easier to carry. If portability is important for you, go with a slightly smaller screen.
Stay Away from the Touch Screen Trap
Touch screens sound cool in advertisements. But in reality, they drain the battery. Also, a touch screen feature can add about a $100 to a laptop’s price tag. Touchscreens are not at all necessary to play games, so there’s no point in paying extra money for those. Instead, spend extra money on the graphics card.
Screen Resolution is Important
Screen resolution is very important for getting the top-notch graphics quality all gamers desire. The higher the screen resolution is, the better the graphics will be. If you are willing to invest in a gaming laptop, simply avoid low-res products. As a general rule of thumb, don’t buy laptops with a screen res that is less than 1920 x 1080.
Pay Attention to Keyboard Comfort
PC and Mac versions of games depend on the keyboard for controls. So, the support and comfort provided by the laptop keyboard is important. Sure, you can buy a gaming keyboard separately. But it will be a hassle to plug it in and carry it everywhere. It’s simply more convenient to make sure that the laptop keyboard is ergonomically designed to support gamers’ wrists and hands. Spend some browsing for products with the best keyboard. It will be helpful to go to a store and try the keyboards, even if you are ordering online.
Nvidia 960M Graphics Card is Suitable for the Latest Titles
Most recent titles come with a 30 FPS frame rate. Graphics cards like Nvidia 960M and equivalent is enough to support these games without image or speed issues. Of course, if you want better resolution, like 4K, you will need a more powerful graphics card, like 980M. Needless to say, the more powerful the graphics card is, the better the gaming experience will be. However, you do not need to spend thousands of dollars extra if your gaming needs don’t exceed the usual 30 FPS. While it will be tempting to go for the biggest and the fastest, you can save more money by getting what you really need instead.
Go for Solid State Storage
If you need a lag-free, fast gaming experience, you will need a gaming laptop with solid state storage. SSS drives can retrieve data faster because they use electronic transmission instead of the magnetic transmission you see in the usual spindled hard disk drives. Laptops with SSS have faster installs and load times than disk storage. So, break with convention and try a gaming laptop with SSS.
Make Sure the Processor is Powerful
A powerful processor is necessary to support a powerful graphics card to deliver the ultimate gaming experience. Right now, the best gaming processor is the Intel Core i7-6820HK. When you spend money, you might as well spend money on the best available. Also, if you have the best processor in the market, you can easily upgrade the graphics card later if needed. A gaming laptop with Core i7 and Nvidia 980 GPU really is all you need for a fast and vivid gaming experience. Buy a laptop with an HDMI 1.3 port to plug in VR headsets to enjoy 3-D and virtual reality games as well.
G-Sync vs. V-Sync
Nvidia has G-Sync and AMD developed V-Synch tech to eliminate graphical distortions like tears and ghosting when gaming. It’s really a tossup between the two. Both serve the same purpose, and both technologies require screen resolutions higher than 1920 x 1080 to actually work. G-Sync has a reputation for being smoother overall. However, the differences between the two are really minute, especially when playing a game like Diablo III. So, do not make these features a choice between Nvidia and AMD. Either will work fine.
Don’t Ignore the Sound System
Of course, the audio quality is just as important for gaming as visual quality. It’s easy to buy a gaming laptop with a good audio to let the built-in speakers do the work. MSI-exclusive and Nahimic audio software have good reputation for delivering quality audio for gaming. Dell Audio is not bad either. Even if you are using a gaming headset, it’s important to make sure the audio quality is respectable. However, don’t make audio a big deal. When it comes to graphics against audio, always choose the better graphics.
Getting your priorities straight will help you buy the gaming laptop that best suits your needs. You may also want to keep options open for customization later. Even if you are on a budget, you will be able to get yourself a solid gaming laptop by following the above tips.