Gaming Laptop Buying Guide

Buying a gaming laptop can often be an intimidating process, particularly as many laptops, gaming brands in particular, are notorious for their inability to update, making it easy to suffer paralysis by analysis when trying to make sure you’re buying the exact thing you’ll need to be taking your game on the go.

Gaming Laptop Buying Guide

While the process does take a lot of thought, fortunately we have a few guidelines to follow here to make sure that you pick the exact laptop that will fit your needs, in this easy to follow list here!

Consideration One: Processing Power

A gaming laptop is often thought of as being incapable of matching a desktop, giving up some of its strength in exchange for its mobility. While that is not untrue, as many laptops tend to benchmark under a truly tricked out desktop, a laptop need not be relegated to second-class citizenship.

So long as your laptop is sporting an Intel i7 series under the hood, you’ll have the same power you expect from a desktop. The biggest names in gaming laptops, Alienware and Razer, tend to favor the Intel platform, so Intel is what you’re most likely to see, and a 7 series is ideal for gaming, as it performs better under the stress of modern gaming, and, depending on the model, can have up to six cores, for extra oopmh.

When on a budget, an i5 series will get the job done, and is generally cheaper, but you will feel the performance hit in demanding games, so it is usually best to spring for the better processor if you can to improve your overall laptop gaming experience, but ultimately you should not lag behind.

RAM has become less and less of a stumbling block recently, as most laptops will cram in anywhere from 8 to 16 gigs, which will be more than sufficient for most gaming needs. It is usually not possible to upgrade RAM once you have the laptop in hand, so make sure you have at least a minimum of 4 to 8 gigs for optimal performance.

Consideration Two: Graphics

The graphics card that your laptop comes with is something very important to look at. You see some brands go all out on everything else, and saddle you with an on board or low tier graphics card. In a computer, this would be a minor annoyance, offsetting overall cost with another graphics card expenditure, but not being particularly annoying.

However, the terrain changes in a laptop, as many laptops will not make it easy (or possible at all) to upgrade the graphics card, so it is vitally important to be aware of what’s under the hood.

A good Nvidia or ATI card typically will be what drives up the price of a gaming laptop most, so it is important to check what is under the hood before purchasing, as sometimes the great deals you find come at the cost of graphics, which are a death knell for a gaming laptop.

Consideration Three: Heat and Power

Despite being for ‘on the go’, a good maxim to follow is this: A gaming laptop must always be plugged in for best performance. In battery mode, for example, it is not uncommon for most laptops to throttle performance to preserve its longevity, because they usually switch over to the on board graphics, which tend to be far inferior to the graphics card, which, you can appreciate, is not going to get us very far if we’re tying to game. Battery life therefore isn’t a major thing to consider, as you’re best served being plugged in unless you want to a less than ideal gaming experience.

Heat is the much larger consideration; laptops, especially with a recommended i5 or i7 per above, are going to run hot. What is most important is to ensure you are monitoring your internal temperature, and making sure to know when to stop, even during a binge gaming session.

A cooling pad would be the most beneficial investment you can make, as it will help cool your system, and keep the often searing metal away from your sensitive body parts.

There are a lot of good freeware programs out there to help monitor your internal temperature and make sure you’re staying out of dangerous waters, and using and taking the proper cooling precautions are essential for ensuring good performance on a gaming laptop.


While the dream of being able to game anywhere without paying the same big bucks as you would on a desk top are not necessarily 100% achievable, with some concessions, and the willingness to make sure to pay for what is most important, a gaming laptop can be a fine addition to your gaming arsenal, and, even with the need to make sure we’re not cutting any corners, a gaming laptop isn’t going to have to break your budget.

So long as you read the specifications, and make sure you’ve got the power under the hood that you need to game, the dream of gaming on the go is one that is very attainable with the right preparation.

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