It feels as though, for many years now, the desktop has stolen the show in the world of PC gaming. Of course, there is no denying that it offers a num
It feels as though, for many years now, the desktop has stolen the show in the world of PC gaming. Of course, there is no denying that it offers a number of benefits to players. For one thing, it is highly customisable – much more so than any other popular platform on the market today, from mobiles to bulky consoles – and, for another, it supports a much more flexible approach to gameplay itself, supporting both keyboard and controller-based gameplay.
There are, however, plenty of downsides that gamers need to weigh up when choosing whether or not to commit themselves to the desktop (and, along with it, the desk). The versatility and convenience offered by the gaming laptop is hard to ignore, and many gamers continue to choose to sacrifice a little power and speed in favour of a device that supports their habits on the go, as well as when they are relaxing at home.
As with any investment, though, finding the right device worthy of your hard earned cash isn’t always a walk in the park. To avoid disappointment, read more below about five features to look for in a new gaming laptop.
When you’re at home, you can always hook your laptop up to an external monitor in your home-office and blow up the display to cater to a more immersive and intensive experience but, on the go, you will be limited to what the built-in screen can offer.
Of course, the ideal screen size is largely subjective. The Switch – Nintendo’s second best-selling console of all time – boasts a 6.2 inch screen, while the average TV is more than 45 inches. You won’t be as far away from your laptop as the average console gamer is from their TV, and you (hopefully) won’t be as close to it as you would a handheld console like the Switch, or your phone.
As a result, settling somewhere in the middle and option for a screen between 15 and 18 inches will ensure that you get the most out of the graphics, without going overboard. Part of the beauty of the gaming laptop is its portability, and opting for an oversized screen makes it much more difficult – and much riskier – to move it from place to place.
What really is RAM? In longhand, it’s known as random-access memory, and essentially refers to the device’s ability to store and access information. And, if there is one thing a laptop uses a lot of, it’s RAM.
This video offers an excellent explainer on what RAM means for gamers, and how increased RAM supports better gameplay.
You may have seen or heard plenty of talk about upgrading RAM in laptops. This is because, as far as personalisation goes, upgrading your RAM is often one of the simplest – and most effective – customisations you can opt for. This is great news if you feel your gaming is starting to suffer from limited memory.
Resolution is another way of referring to the number of pixels available for producing the images on screen. While the average workaday PC might feature just 1366 x 768, the recommended resolution for a laptop used to play games is around 1920 x 1080. This will ensure that graphics are clean and crisp, whether you are playing the slots online or attempting to load up a vast open-world like World of Warcraft.
It is becoming increasingly rare for a laptop to offer a resolution below what is recommended for gamers, but you may still run across one – particularly in the bargain section – so keep an eye out, and avoid a low res PC.
We all head out into the world of gaming laptops with different budgets in mind, and balancing our expectations with our wallets takes plenty of trial and error. TechRadar recently put together a great list of budget gaming laptops in 2020, taking into account plenty of factors such as GPU, RAM and display.
Bear in mind that there are plenty of opportunities for upgrades, too. While the laptop doesn’t lend itself to customisation to quite the extent that the desktop does, there is still room for manoeuvre in terms of your RAM and external graphics card.
GPU and CPU
Unlike your RAM, you won’t be able to upgrade your GPU and CPU – otherwise known as your graphics and computer processing units – at a later date, so it is important that you choose wisely at the outset. The strength of the GPU you choose will hold a great deal of sway over the actual performance of games on your laptop, so this should be a priority for any searching for a new device.
Nowadays, the general consensus is that we should focus more on the GPU offered by a potential gaming laptop than on the CPU. You can find a more in-depth guide to the difference between the two from Nvidia’s own blog here.
Consider these five features when you are next on the hunt for a new gaming laptop. Remember to keep in mind the factors that can be edited or altered at a later date, and those that will remain the same for as long as you keep your laptop.