Most important things to know when buying a gaming laptop

On the quest for higher frame rates without compromising portability? Keep all this in mind when shopping for a gaming laptop.

Published Date
14 - Nov - 2014
| Last Updated
14 - Nov - 2014
 
Most important things to know when buying a gaming laptop

There’s a heightened interest in people wanting to buy a gaming laptop, and everyone wants us to make recommendations on gaming laptop at different budgets. So for the benefit of everyone grappling with this inner turmoil, wedecided to write this ready reckoner.

A gaming laptop – a really good one – is a complicated mixture of engineering and industrial design to pull off successfully. That’s why the really good ones are always so expensive – Dell’s Alienware, MSI Ghost, ASUS ROG, etc. But they still struggle to match up to a desktop gaming PC’s performance, at a similar price. So our first advice to anyone who wants to entertain even the thought of purchasing a gaming laptop: don’t get carried away with emotions and thrill, and coldly assess the pros and cons of what you’re about to do. If you want a gaming laptop, the only thing that should drive that decision is the requirement of portability – because a gaming laptop can be taken to LAN parties, from your couch to your bed, and so on. If portability isn’t the single biggest criteria of your buying decision around gaming laptops, you’ve lost the plot on priorities completely, and doing a great disservice to yourself and your gaming experience, where a gaming PC can serve you MUCH better. Hands down.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, the assumption here is that everyone who’s reading at this point desperately wants a gaming laptop. There are two things that matter, something that you should look at far more attentively than anything else. A gaming laptop’s GPU and its VRAM. The CPU and RAM are important, too, but whether or not the gaming cookie does crumble squarely depends on the GPU and its VRAM. We’ve taken a long look at the offerings and AMD’s Radeon GPU-based laptop offerings are few and far in between, while the market is flooded with NVIDIA GeForce graphics equipped gaming notebooks. You should look at buying laptops with NVIDIA GeForce “GTX” 700M or 800M GPUs, and not just settle for the “GT” ones, if you can. The VRAM of choice should be GDDR5 over GDDR3, and the higher its capacity is obviously better – since it will hold a greater number of textures and other graphics-related data to generate the required frame rate. A minimum of 2GB of VRAM is the most basic qualification of a worthwhile GPU to drive most recent games, while 4GB of the same gives you enough headroom to pump out frames at higher settings.

Having a 1080p screen is an absolute must for any serious gamer worth their salt, but for lower-configuration GPUs, driving a game at 1366x768 pixel resolution can be managed pretty well. Another thing not to be overlooked while buying a gaming laptop is the notebook’s keyboard layout. Any self-respecting gaming laptop has to have a full keyboard with dedicated number pad, and I strongly urge you to try your hand at them before purchase. Also, definitely think of investing in a laptop cooling pad, because these machines will  generate quite a bit of heat. All the good ones we’ve encountered are from Cooler Master – check out their Notepal series.

As to which gaming laptops to buy, we’ve compiled a list of Top 10 Gaming Laptops. We’ve got machines for every budget. Keep fragging!

Agent 001Agent 001

I have a keyboard and I'm not afraid to use it, because I have a license to quill.