Gaming laptops, as the name implies, are not designed for everyday use. Most gaming laptops are going to offer more power and higher specs than what a person needs for working at an office or simply streaming videos from Netflix. When you look at the gaming laptop options that are available, it can be overwhelming. Gaming laptops are made by companies that have a stellar reputation, including Asus, MSI, HP, and Dell. Most of these companies do a great job in designing their laptops so that they are visually appealing and stuffed full of tech that gives them impressive specs.

Since gaming laptops are made with high-end parts and use state-of-the-art technology, they are going to be considerably more expensive than what you would pay for a laptop designed for general use. Therefore, it's critical to compare different kinds of gaming laptops before splurging and spending all of your money on the first shiny system you find. This guide will outline four things that you should consider before purchasing a gaming laptop.

1. Make Sure It Has the Right Hardware

When we are talking about hardware, we are focusing primarily on the CPU and the GPU. You need both of these components to be high-end if you’re going to play high intensity games. High-intensity games, like Assassins Creed, are going to use a lot of power. We recommend that your gaming laptop has at least a core i7 quad processor. Anything less than that and you’re going to start to experience lag.

If an Intel core i7 processor is outside of your price range, then you may want to get a dual core i5 processor. Anything less than that is going to leave you frustrated.

If the CPU is important, the GPU is even more important. The GPU that you select is going to vary depending on what type of gamer you are. If you’re just looking at entry-level gaming, the GTX 1650 is going to be okay. If you’re looking at a more intense gaming experience, then you might look at laptops that have the Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060. This is not high end, but it’s also not at the bottom of the barrel. However, if you are looking to play games at the highest level and the highest setting and include VR, then we recommend the RTX 2070. A laptop with this GPU is going to let you play just about anything.

2. What to Look for from RAM and Storage

Gaming is RAM intensive. The more RAM you have, the better. If your gaming PC has 8 GB of RAM, you are using the bare minimum for most games. We recommend that you go for 16 GB or if possible 32 GB. If you cannot afford to purchase a gaming laptop right now that has those specs, then we recommend you plan to upgrade in the near future. The nice thing about gaming laptops is that they are designed to be customizable. All you need is a small screwdriver and you can easily upgrade the RAM later.

When it comes to storage, you used to have to decide between a traditional hard drive or SSD. However, new gaming laptops will usually come with both. You’ll get a terabyte hard drive as well as a 128 GB SSD drive. The SSD drive usually serves as a boot drive. You can usually increase the size of the SSD drive and have it work in tandem with your hard drive. It is going to be a little bit more expensive, but we recommend that you get the 7200 RPM hard drive as opposed to one that simply has 5400 RPM.

SSD vs HDD benchmark

The great thing about gaming laptops is that it is just as easy to upgrade your hard drive as it is to upgrade the RAM. If you get more money in the future, you can easily go out and buy that two terabyte hard drive you want. If you aren’t sure about your RAM/gaming requirements check out User Benchmark.

3. Think about Portability

How portable do you want your laptop to be? If you are going to leave it at home, then you may want a laptop that has a 17 or 18 inch display, like those offered by Alienware. Larger laptops are going to be more powerful because they have extra room for heat generating components as well as components to keep them cool. The downside is that they are going to be heavy, they are going to be difficult to carry, and if you unplug them, they are power-hungry.

Many opt to go for a laptop that offers medium portability. We are talking about something that’s around the 15 inch range. These are going to weigh as little as 4.6 pounds up to 7.2 pounds. They will not have the same power level as a larger laptop, but they compensate for that by offering battery life of five hours or more.

We don’t really recommend purchasing a laptop that is under 15 inches for gaming. There may be some companies that market their smaller laptops as gaming laptops, but the truth is that they do not have the CPU power or the GPU power because they just don’t have the space needed to dissipate the heat created by these components.

4. Display

There’s no point in having an expensive graphics card or a powerful CPU if your laptop display looks like garbage. We recommend the minimum display for gaming laptops to be 1920 x 1080. Anything less than that and your graphics are going to be muddy. Some gamers say that 1366 x 768 resolution is the best because of the increased frame rates. However, experience tells us that this is just not the case.

There are some gaming laptops that offer touchscreens. This is more gimmick than function. We recommend staying away from them.

There you have it. Here are four tips for what to consider before purchasing a gaming laptop. We recommend that you take the time to do your due diligence. Do not be swayed by brand names or shiny designs. Think about the games that you’re going to play and then look for a laptop that matches those specifications.

As always, we look forward to hearing from you. What tips do you think are important when choosing a gaming laptop? Let us know in the comments section below.