This is the last guide to gaming laptop you’ll ever need in 2021.
If you’re a gamer and looking to get your new gaming laptop, this is a go to guidebook for you.
We’ve done all the research to make your purchase easier and hassle free.
Let’s dive in.
- The Goal of this Article
- Choosing The Best Gaming Laptop | What’s Best For You?
- Our Recommendations For Various Price Ranges (Budget, Midrange, and High-End)
- Choosing A CPU | The Brains Of Your Laptop
- How Much Graphics Horsepower Do You Need?
- Choosing A Display | Size Isn’t Everything
- Memory And Storage
- Why Build Quality Matters
- Gaming Laptop Battery Life
- What About The Features?
- Form Factor And Weight
- Connectivity And I/O
- Other Factors To Consider
- NVIDIA G-Sync and AMD Freesync
The Goal of this Article
While the gaming desktop is still our weapon of choice when it comes to hardcore gaming at maxed out settings, there is an argument to be made in favor of a slightly more portable gaming machine.
Not everyone has the desk space in their room to store a large full- tower gaming desktop with custom liquid cooling and a dual/ triple monitor setup.
And if you’re a college student or frequent traveler, a laptop is the only choice you’ve got. Besides, gaming laptops have evolved significantly since the old days.
Now we have mobile GPUs which use the same die as their desktop counterparts, and extremely advanced cooling solutions that facilitate the packaging of such power within a thin and light chassis.
Compared to conventional laptops, gaming laptops are a totally different beast. They feature sharp body lines, RGB lighting, customizable key bindings through software, and support for overclocking.
A lot of the newer models come with high refresh rate displays which support 120Hz gaming for that extra smoothness which will give you a tactical edge in competitive multiplayer games such as CS: GO, Overwatch, Dota 2, etc.
A gaming laptop doesn’t necessarily mean one with flashy lights and bold styling. Even regular laptops without the “gamer” aesthetics can function as gaming machines if you get the configuration right.
And if you’re a casual gamer, i.e. you only play stuff like Minecraft and Plants vs Zombies, you don’t need a gaming laptop. Any decent 400 to 500 dollar laptop with an integrated GPU will do the job.
Choosing The Best Gaming Laptop | What’s Best For You?
So, which gaming laptop is THE best? More importantly, which gaming laptop is the best choice within your budget?
This section aims to answer these questions.
As we know, everyone has their own unique preferences when it comes to gaming. Some like to play competitive online games such as Fortnite, PUBG, Rainbow 6: Siege, etc.
Others are interested in cinematic, single- player story based titles such as Tomb Raider and Resident Evil. Now, different types of games will have varying hardware requirements.
And depending on the type of game you play, you might prefer one of two things- smooth gameplay at the expense of graphical fidelity, or maxed out details at cinematic framerates.
And then you have the people who mainly create content like videos, music, etc. on their laptops but also do some gaming on the side. Basically, you need to choose the best configuration for your specific needs.
Ask yourself exactly what you’ll be doing with the laptop.
Make a list of the games you intend to play NOW, and any upcoming games you want to play in the future.
That way, you can watch online benchmarks and decide exactly how much you need to spend in order to get a satisfactory experience at the resolution of your choice (1080p, 1440p, etc.)
If you’re interested in 3D modelling, VFX video production, etc. get a laptop with the best CPU and as much RAM as you can reasonably afford.
The “Sweet Spot” and Why You Should Care
There is no such thing as “Best Gaming Laptop” if you really think about it. One model might be perfect for Jack, but a terrible choice for John. And then there is the consideration of budget.
Generally speaking- the more you spend, the better hardware you get. But this isn’t something that scales linearly. There is a sweet spot around the 1100 to 1500 dollar mark, after which you begin to get diminishing returns in exchange for every extra dollar you spend.
Sure, the RTX 2080 is an amazing graphics card. But is it worth spending an extra 300 to 400 dollars over the RTX 2070, which already performs within 15 percent of the next best GPU? That’s for you to decide.
Processors are a whole different story. How many cores do you need? We recommend 4 as the minimum for gaming laptops in 2021. Anything beyond that is great to have, but you must also consider cooling performance and clock speeds.
Which CPU platform to choose at a given price range- Intel or AMD? How to overclock your processor for more performance in esports titles such as Dota 2? We shall answer these questions in more detail afterwards.
For now, all you need to know is that gaming performance will be determined primarily by the processor and graphics card.
As a general rule of thumb, you should try to get the laptop with the most powerful graphics card within your budget.
Games these days are primarily GPU dependent, and as long as you’ve a “decent” processor things should be fine.
For example, if you see two laptops at a similar price range- one with a GTX 1660 and the other with a GTX 1660ti, get the latter.
What’s Your Budget?
Well, budget is still THE determining factor when it comes to purchasing a laptop. This should come as no surprise, but don’t get worried- you can get a pretty decent gaming setup these days without emptying your pockets.
There are great gaming laptops under 1000 dollars, and if you’re the bang for buck type we suggest something in the 1500 to 2000 dollar range. If you aren’t limited by budget, then there are certainly ultra-high-end options if you look at gaming laptops below 3000 dollars range.
A 6- core Intel 8th generation processor and NVIDIA RTX series Max- Q graphics card can be had for under 2 grand. Which gives you some breathing room for the next 2 to 3 years, since even the RTX 2060 Max- Q will enable you to play at 1080p maxed out graphics while maintaining a silky- smooth 60fps in every AAA game.
A top-end gaming laptop won’t boost your gaming skills. If you’re primarily interested in competitive games such as Fortnite, PUBG, Rainbow 6 Siege, COD, etc. we recommend getting a midrange laptop and spending the leftover cash on a set of high quality gaming peripherals.
Upgrade your headphones for better special awareness in FPS games, purchase a better mouse to improve your aim, etc.
Our Recommendations For Various Price Ranges (Budget, Midrange, and High-End)
In this section, we make it easy for you to decide on your gaming machine based on how much you’re willing to invest.
Budget range means anywhere between 600 to 800 dollars mark. These are entry level gaming laptops which can run indie and esports titles.
Midrange is around 1000 to 1500 bucks and this is the real sweet spot.
And, high-end gaming laptops start at $1500 and beyond.
Looking for something under 800 bucks? Check out the Acer Nitro 5 series of laptops. These budget oriented gaming machines pack Intel’s Coffee Lake mobile CPUs along with NVIDIA GTX 1050ti graphics for a balanced 1080p 60fps gaming experience on medium settings.
They include LED backlit keyboards for easier typing in low light conditions, and have a rather well built chassis with a decent cooling solution packed in to keep the temps under control.
Got some extra money in your wallet? For the 1000- dollar price point, we recommend an Acer Predator Helios 300. It packs the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660ti graphics card which is more than enough to run the latest AAA games such as Ghost Recon Breakpoint and Gears 5 on high settings at 1080p.
And, you get a 144Hz IPS display which is awesome for competitive games such as Overwatch or Dota 2.
Fancy a more “gamer” aesthetic? Check out the MSI GL63 9SDK which boasts specs similar to the Predator Helios 300. But it has an excellent cooling system and an RGB keyboard made in collaboration with SteelSeries.
To gamers looking for high-end systems, we recommend HP’s Omen series of gaming laptops. For around 1500 bucks, you can score yourself an RTX 2070 Max- Q and hexacore Intel 9th gen CPU (model 15-dc1047nr).
Spend even more and you’ll get ultra light gaming laptops with machined aluminum chassis and high quality keyboards, like the Razer Blade 15.
And if money isn’t a concern but you want the absolute best of the best, we suggest the ASUS ROG G703GX which packs an Intel Core i9 9980HK quad core unlocked processor, along with an overclockable RTX 2080 (not the slow Max-Q version, but one with a higher TDP).
A more powerful graphics card will allow you to run higher visual settings and give you some headroom for the future before you have to upgrade.
Are you into modding? You might want a top-tier GPU if you play with dozens of mods in Skyrim and GTA V. Something like an RTX 2070 perhaps.
For esports games, you want a fast CPU to get the most FPS and a high refresh rate monitor to see all those frames.
Choosing A CPU | The Brains Of Your Laptop
A good processor is crucial if you want to enjoy esports titles and open-world games with tons of characters and physics (GTA V for example).
There are mainly two CPU manufacturing companies, AMD and Intel. This section aims to answer which CPU is right for you based on your gaming requirements.
A processor handles pretty much everything within a game that is non- graphics related, such as the Artificial Intelligence for NPCs (non playable characters), physics, etc.
It also processes game logic, i.e. how much damage you dealt with your character, the amount of resources you collect in an RTS game, etc.
Then there’s netcode, input/ output operations, transfer of data between the RAM, storage drive, graphics card, etc. and various complex calculations involving audio and scripted events.
So, it should be clear by now that a good CPU = better game performance. Pretty simple, right? Not so fast, because there are quite a few things to consider when you’re deciding on what CPU to get.
First, you need to choose a platform- AMD or Intel. With AMD, you get slightly less single core performance but will be able to do multithreaded tasks such as 3D rendering and video production more effectively at a given price.
AMD gives you more cores for the same price, and their APUs offer incredibly powerful iGPUs which regularly outperform Intel’s HD integrated graphics. We recommend a Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7 series processor for gaming.
With Intel, you get more on the high- end. More Cores (hexacore and octacore options with hyperthreading), higher clock speeds, and slightly better IPC (instructions processed per clock cycle). But you also pay more.
We recommend a minimum of 4 cores with hyperthreading for AAA gaming in 2021, especially if you also do some content creation the side (Adobe, Blender, etc.).
Look for Intel’s 8th and 9th gen Core i5 and above processors or AMD’s Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 series processors.
Ultra Low Power vs High Performance
Both Intel and AMD distinguish between their CPUs through “U” and “H” designations. U stands for ultra low power, and these chips have a TDP (Thermal Design Power) of around 15 watts. They are the most power- efficient, but also suffer from reduced base and turbo clock speeds.
The “H” variants of a chip are rated for nearly twice as much TDP and sport higher base + boost frequencies, and will sustain a higher clock speed while gaming. But they will also chew through battery life at a faster rate, and require beefier cooling solutions.
If you’re into esports titles such as Overwatch and Dota 2, we recommend the Ryzen 7 3750H quad- core processor from AMD and the Core i7 9750H from Intel.
The i7 9750H is more expensive, as it has an extra 2 cores and 4 threads compared to the Ryzen 7 3750H. It also has higher IPC along with better base and boost clocks.
For gaming and multitasking on a budget, the Ryzen 5 3550H with Vega 8 graphics is a brilliant choice. If you want something from Intel’s side that can game and do content creation for cheap, check out laptops equipped with the i5 9300H.
Avoid purchasing laptops with 7th gen Intel processors, they have fewer cores and threads compared to their 8th and 9th gen counterparts but cost the same.
Similarly, don’t purchase an AMD laptop with A-series APUs inside. Those are based on the outdated Excavator CPU microarchitecture from half a decade ago and are extremely inefficient, not to mention severely lacking IPC and clock speeds.
How Much Graphics Horsepower Do You Need?
Also known as the GPU or “graphics processing unit”, this is the part of your laptop which is responsible for handling all the 3D and 2D visuals.
It calculates, stores, renders, and outputs images + video along with in game text, audio, etc.
There are two kinds of graphics solutions you’ll find in laptops- Discrete and Onboard (also know as the iGPU). More about this below.
Make sure you check the driver for stability, the latest drivers don’t guarantee more performance. Especially if you have an older GPU model or an entry level graphics card.
Choose the graphics driver that is relatively recent, and provides the best balance between stability in games and performance.
Integrated vs Discrete Graphics
Integrated graphics or Onboard graphics is the weaker of the two, and is built into the processor itself. It contains fewer compute cores, ROPS, TMUs, etc. compared to a discrete solution and has no memory of its own.
Instead, it relies upon system memory (RAM) to store data for processing and outputting to the display. As of now, AMD’s Vega integrated graphics found on Ryzen mobile CPUs are the best.
These Vega graphics come in various versions- Vega 3, Vega 8, and Vega 10. The number tells you how many Vega CUs it has (more CUs = higher graphics processing power).
A discrete graphics card consumes more power and is located at a different spot on the motherboard (since it is a separate chip from the CPU), it also gets its own VRAM (Video RAM) which is separate from system memory.
This allows for faster graphics processing without straining system memory, and also higher resolution gaming at better details with more visual effects enabled.
But a discrete graphics card also consumes more power and generates more heat compared to an iGPU. Right now, NVIDIA is pretty much the only choice you have when it comes to discrete laptop graphics.
For an entry- level gaming laptop in 2021, we recommend the GTX 1650 which is equipped with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. This GPU can handle 1080p 60fps gaming on most AAA titles at medium settings.
Sometimes, you might have to take the laptop apart and repaste your discrete GPU if it starts throttling.
Low end GPUs like the GTX 1050 can start performing worse than something like an Intel HD 620 if they hit thermal limits. We recommend Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut or IC Diamond.
What Are Your Options?
For mid- range laptops in the 1000 to 1500 dollar price range, a GTX 1660 or 1660ti is ideal as you can turn up the settings or play esports games such as Overwatch at 120fps.
Things get slightly more complicated at the high end, where you’ve got 3 different GPUs- the RTX 2060, RTX 2070, and RTX 2080. Most of the time, you’ll find the “Max Q” variants of these GPUs in gaming laptops.
Max Q is optimized for quietness and low power consumption, which means the clock speeds are significantly lower compared to their desktop counterparts even though both the laptop and desktop RTX cards use the exact same die with the same CUDA core count, VRAM, memory bandwidth, etc.
Even within the Max-Q designation, there can be two different models- a low power and a high power version.
For example, there is an 80W RTX 2080 Max Q and a 90W RTX 2080 Max Q which runs higher base and boost clocks compared to its lower wattage cousin.
Choosing A Display | Size Isn’t Everything
Having all the graphics and processing power in the world is of no use when your display still looks like it belongs in 2012. It will be like taking a 600hp Ford Mustang and slapping Honda Civic wheels on it.
All that power will go to waste since none of it is actually transferred to the road. Similarly, the display is where you see the results of all that awesome processing going on within your GPU.
If your display has a high enough resolution, you’ll be able to enjoy games and movies with lifelike levels of detail. Cinematic story- driven AAA games look amazing on 4k HDR displays.
On the other hand, you want something fast for twitch reaction shooter games such as CS: GO and COD. Perhaps a 120Hz or 144Hz refresh rate TN panel with 1ms GTG pixel response times.
Yeah, the viewing angles and color accuracy will take a hit. But are you really stopping to look at color depth in the middle of an intense teamfight? No, because you’re focused on unloading your spells or checking your character’s position on the map. Which is why TN panels are still the go- to choice for pro gamers in tournaments, where 240Hz monitors aren’t an uncommon sight.
TN panels have the worst viewing angles and colors, but the highest refresh rates and lowest pixel response times.
IPS panels offer the best colors of any LCD, along with great viewing angles. But they tend to suffer from ghosting and backlight bleed.
VA panels are a nice in- between, offering amazing black levels and good colors minus the backlight bleed which is observed on budget IPS panels.
OLED is the latest in laptop display tech, and is only found on a select few high- end models as of now. It is extremely good at color accuracy and contrast (even superior to IPS), has the lowest pixel response time (even lower than TN), and the best black levels (comparable to or better than VA).
Some displays can be overclocked via the graphics driver settings. And if you’re running a high refresh rate display (100Hz or greater), make sure you’ve selected the proper refresh rate in your Windows display settings.
Memory And Storage
For gaming, we suggest up to 16GB of RAM. Even 8GB will be sufficient as long as you aren’t running certain games like Shadow of The Tomb Raider which is a known RAM hog.
But if you’re running programs in the background while gaming, for example a bunch of Chrome tabs, Discord, game launchers, Twitch, etc. you’ll need the 16GB because that’s optimal for gaming and light to medium multitasking.
Faster RAM doesn’t always help with performance in games, unless you’re running a Ryzen processor. Most laptop DDR4 RAM kits run at 2666Mhz, although you can overclock the memory via BIOS settings (provided your laptop BIOS supports memory overclocking).
As for storage, make sure you purchase a laptop equipped with an SSD because that will make the system feel much snappier. Load times go down exponentially with an SSD compared to a slow 5400rpm HDD, and even browsing the web feels faster with an SSD since cached data can be accessed much quicker.
Random I/O operations on a decent SATA III SSD will be much quicker compared to even a good 7200rpm spinning mechanical drive. A lot of premium (and even some entry- level) gaming laptops come with M.2 PCIe SSDs these days, which are up to 4 times faster than your regular SATA based 2.5” SSDs.
Check the manufacturer’s specifications to see how many memory slots there are on your laptop’s motherboard, and if the RAM is user upgradeable.
Sometimes, half the memory will be soldered to the mainboard while the other half is replaceable.
Also check if you can add additional storage to your laptop in the form of 2.5″ internal drives.
Why Build Quality Matters
For most of you reading this article, the budget for a gaming laptop is going to be somewhere between 600 to 1000 dollars. Which means a plastic chassis, sub- par trackpad, creaking joints, and low quality webcams.
Spend over 1500 dollars though, and you might get yourself a thin & light gaming laptop with an aluminum chassis and proper onboard audio. Razer’s Blade 15 series of gaming notebooks have set the bar in terms of build quality, even though they are extremely slim and light. These are some tough laptops, capable of taking a fall or two without giving up on you.
HP’s Omen series of gaming laptops also boast stellar build quality, as does Dell’s Alienware lineup of gaming laptops. Acer has the Nitro and Predator series, with the former being their more “budget” oriented line of gaming laptops.
ASUS’s ROG Zephyrus S laptop takes things a step further by using a magnesium alloy body which is even lighter than aluminum. The ROG Zephyrus S model (GX531GW-AB76) is only 0.62” thick, and weighs under 5lbs despite packing some serious muscle under the hood- an Intel Core i7 9750H and NVIDIA RTX 2070.
Plastic construction doesn’t mean a laptop is bad or cheaply made. Some of the best laptops use plastic shells, and are still very durable. For example, two of the toughest laptops out there- the Panasonic Toughbook and Dell Latitude Rugged use plastic construction.
It all comes down to the type of plastic, thickness of plastic, and overall structure of the laptop.
Look for laptops with SSD storage, since your data is less likely to be lost when the laptop falls or suffers a sudden physical impact while turned on.
Accidental damage protection policies ensure that the manufacturer will replace or repair your laptop in the case of a spill or accidental drop.
Gaming Laptop Battery Life
One of the reasons you purchase a gaming laptop instead of a desktop is so you can take it around with you and play your favorite games on the go.
Whether it be the college campus, a friends house, an intercontinental flight, or a simple road trip, a gaming laptop needs to run your AAA games, background programs, movies, etc. for a reasonable amount of time before it requires recharging.
So, how do you know if a gaming laptop (or any laptop for that matter) has enough juice in the tank to keep it going for a full day? Well, you can take a guess by looking at the Watt- hour rating of its battery. One watt- hour means the battery pack will run a 1- watt device for one hour, or supply 1 joule of energy per second for 1 hour.
Most gaming laptops have batteries in the 50 to 60 Wh range, which should be just about enough for 2 to 2.5hrs of heavy gaming. And if you’re using it with moderate loads such as office applications, web browsing, Youtube, etc. even a mid tier gaming laptop will easily last 5 to 6 hours unplugged.
A gaming laptop isn’t the best choice for students or businessmen, since it is equipped with more powerful hardware compared to normal laptops. Which means, it will chew through battery life relatively fast.
Owning a gaming laptop with a less powerful GPU has its upsides. For instance, a GTX 1660 will consume less energy than an RTX 2060. So even though you aren’t playing with all the details turned up, at least you can play longer.
And if you’ve got a laptop with a “U” series CPU from AMD or Intel, it is going to ensure long battery life as long as you turn down screen brightness and in- game graphics settings while gaming.
TO extend laptop battery life, you can replace the default thermal paste with something better like IC Diamond. Which means the fans won’t have to spin as hard, and your battery won’t be drained as fast.
Make sure you’re using the “balanced” power plan in Windows, and turn off keyboard backlighting when you don’t need it.
What About The Features?
This section compares features among similar laptops from different brands as well as distinguishable features unique to a certain brand.
Specifications are often quite similar between gaming laptops within the same price bracket from different manufacturer.
A 2000 dollar gaming laptop from Acer and a 2000 dollar gaming laptop from MSI will have similar specifications. But there are going to be certain distinguishing features unique to a certain brand or lineup of products, these special features are what make or break the deal.
For instance, the MSI laptop might have an RGB SteelSeries gaming keyboard which suits your style more compared to the regular red LED backlit keyboard on other manufacturers.
Or it could be the unique design aspects of a certain gaming laptop which makes it stand out from the rest of the pack. Like the ultra- slim yet extremely powerful ASUS ROG Zephyrus lineup of laptops.
These laptops have a special deck design in which the keyboard is located towards the bottom with all the important components such as CPU and GPU located right above. It allows ASUS to pack in a tremendous amount of power within a relatively small form factor, while not compromising on cooling performance.
The giant ROG eye logo stands out as a unique part of the laptop’s design, and gives it that special vibe you won’t get from a conventional gaming laptop. It also has a detachable 1080p webcam and Pantone- validated IPS panel.
And due to the unconventional keyboard location, ASUS had to go with a unique trackpad design. The GX701 has a special touchpad with a built-in display for the numpad, integrating two key components of the keyboard into one single unit which results in less area consumed.
And there are even more unique design aspects to ASUS’s lineup of premium laptops. Take their ZenBook 15 Ultra- Slim for example- it has an interactive 5.65” touchscreen trackpad which acts as a secondary display.
On this trackpad you can jot down quick notes, make drawings by hand, access MS Office functions, navigate between windows and open apps, and do pretty much anything. There is also a built-in IR camera for facial recognition through Windows Hello.
The ZenBook Pro Duo takes this concept to the next level by giving you two screens within a single laptop. Even though it isn’t a “gaming laptop”, the ZenBook Pro Duo packs a Core i7 9750H and RTX 2060 graphics card which means it is a monster of a portable gaming machine which also doubles up as a portable workstation for video production and animators.
Special features don’t always have to be as radical as a touchscreen trackpad or secondary display. They can be simple things like an ultra-slim bezel, top-firing speakers, 4k display, 144hz refresh rate, or even USB Type-C charging.
Decide which feature you value the most based on your specific requirements and personal preferences.
Form Factor And Weight
How much your gaming laptop weighs will have a significant impact on its portability, and your ability to carry it around wherever you go.
Yeah, 7 or 8lbs isn’t exactly a “heavy” weight. But try carrying it around for 8 hours a day by hand, and you’ll begin to understand why thin and light laptops are so popular these days.
A bulky gaming laptop is going to be more powerful, but it will also look ridiculous wherever you take it and unless you really need to workout those arms, you’re better off getting something thin like the MSI GS65 Stealth.
The Razer Blade 15 is also a great choice for people who want a thin and light form factor gaming laptop, and we also recommend you check out the ASUS Zephyrus lineup.
Another thing you’ve got to consider with bulky gaming laptops is the fact that they won’t fit inside small backpacks or sling bags. So if you’re a student with a bunch of books and stationary in that bag, maybe you should hold off on purchasing a ROG G703GX and get a Zephyrus S instead.
Oh, and remember that a bulky laptop will require a bulky power brick. With a slim gaming laptop, you’ll manage to squeeze by without carrying a power brick if you’re judicious with your battery usage through the day.
Thin doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got to compromise on power, as RTX 2080 graphics cards can be found in ultra slim notebooks alongside Intel “H” series i7 processors.
Just make sure you’ve got a laptop cooling pad to keep things chill while gaming.
Connectivity And I/O
Since optical disk drives aren’t all that popular these days, you’ll need some way to load your games into the laptop. And that is most commonly Wi-Fi or Ethernet, since the latest AAA games are all available on online distribution platforms such as Steam and GOG.
So make sure the laptop you purchase is equipped with dual- band 802.11 ac Wi Fi. Dual band (2.4GHz/ 5GHz) Wi Fi ensures faster speeds and less network congestion.
We prefer Intel networking over Killer LAN, since the drivers are more stable and cause less issues. If you see yourself playing at a lot of LAN parties, make sure your laptop has an ethernet port for a RJ-45 connector.
Even today, despite all the advances in wireless tech, ethernet is the most reliable way of transferring network data for multiplayer games.
If your laptop has USB 3.2 Type- C ports, you can use those to connect with portable power banks, external displays, phones, etc. and some laptops even support charging through type C from portable power banks.
If you own an ultra-slim gaming laptop like the ROG Zephyrus S GX701, you’ll need a USB to Ethernet adapter.
Other Factors To Consider
So far, we’ve discussed performance, build quality, features, and connectivity. But there are some more things you need to consider before making the purchase. Such as security, which can be a really big deal if you also use your ultra- slim gaming laptop at the office for work.
You don’t want any sensitive company records to fall into the wrong hands, so you might want to consider a laptop with 2- factor authentication.
Most gaming laptops don’t come with fingerprint sensors or facial recognition systems. Which is why, you might want a professional laptop that has all the power of a gaming laptop, minus the visual shenanigans such as RGB lighting and sharp body lines.
Take the ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 for example- it packs a 6-core 9th gen Intel CPU along with 16 GB of RAM and an RTX 2060 graphics card. But it also has an IR camera for Windows Hello facial recognition. This is a bonus for content creators and professionals who want to keep their work private and secure, no matter where they go.
Another thing you might want to consider in your gaming laptop is a detachable keyboard or touchscreen. Stuff you only find on 2-in1s, which are designed to transition seamlessly between the convenience of a tablet and the power of a full sized notebook.
The Microsoft Surface Pro is a nice example, and even though you won’t be able to run the latest AAA games on it the Surface Pro will be able to play lightweight esports titles such as CS: GO, Dota 2, etc. without any issues.
We’ve mentioned this before, a notebook doesn’t have to look like a spaceship and pack the latest RTX graphics card from NVIDIA in order to be considered a “true” gaming laptop.
If you only play indie games and retro games, there is no need to invest in a laptop with a dedicated graphics card or Intel Core i7 processor.
It can be something like a 2-in-1 or “office” laptop which runs all the games you play, but also suits your other needs such as portability, security or convenience.
Graphics designers will want a laptop with a touchscreen and stylus, which can also run some Overwatch.
Data scientists working in harsh environments such as snowy terrain and oil rigs will want a rugged laptop with facial recognition, resistive touch display, water resistance, dust protection, etc. which also plays a game or two.
NVIDIA G-Sync and AMD Freesync
Image credit: msi.com
Adaptive sync technology has been around for a few years now, and is loved by many gamers who would otherwise experience nasty screen tearing while playing their favorite video games.
What is screen tearing you might ask? Simply put, it is the broken image created on your screen when the graphics card pushes out a new frame before the screen has finished refreshing from the last one. Basically, you see two different frames at the same time which can be disorienting and extremely confusing.
To fix this problem, adaptive sync tries to change your monitors refresh rate on the fly based on when your graphics card is about to generate a new frame.
G-sync displays contain a proprietary NVIDIA logic module which communicates with the graphics card to know exactly when it will push out a new frame, and refreshes the display accordingly.
In order to be validated for G-Sync, a panel must have the ability to vary its refresh rate across a wide range of frequencies (40Hz to 75Hz, 40Hz to 120Hz, etc.)
Screen tearing normally occurs when your graphics card pushes out frames at a rate higher than your screen can refresh, but it also happens when the framerate is significantly below the native refresh rate of the display.
If you’ve got a powerful graphics card, you can try locking down the maximum FPS to your monitor’s native refresh rate in the case your laptop doesn’t have any form of adaptive sync technology. This can be done in -game or through Riva Tuner Statistics Server.
We hope this guide helped you find the perfect gaming laptop for your requirement.
Are you specifically looking for a general purpose laptop? Then you may want to see our laptop buying guide article.