Although we cover gaming news first and foremost, choosing the right gaming PC can be a real pain, especially when considering a gaming laptop.
We have put together a BnB Gaming exclusive guide on how to choose a gaming laptop to make sure you get the best gaming laptop for your needs and your budget. Remember not to take any shortcuts and to all your options before making a final decision.
How to Choose a Gaming Laptop Graphics Cards
Obviously the number one consideration for any gaming laptop or gaming PC, your graphics card will be your first priority pick when it comes to maximizing your gaming laptops gaming performance.
Unfortunately, laptop hardware is usually a bit more pricey than its deskop counterparts which makes choosing the right option that much more of a pain.
When deciding on the best graphics card for your laptop you could spend a ton of time researching all the latest technology jargon and cutting edge technology – or you can simply go to Notebookcheck and view the exact framerates for popular games on the mobile graphics card you are looking at. This is by far the easiest and most effective method as you can quite easily see whether the games you want to play will be playable on the graphics card you are looking at.
That said, to help you out we have included the list below which are our top picks at the time of writing:
- Budget of $500 or less >> AMD Radeon RX Vega 3 OR Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650
- Budget of $600 or less >> AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
- Budget of $1000 or less >> Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650
- Budget of $1500 or less >> Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660
- Budget of more than $1500 >> Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080
AMD Vega 3 Graphics: On the ultra budget end of the spectrum, you can find gaming laptops under $300 that have AMD Vega 3 graphics with a bit of effort. Although not good enough to play most of the games on this list, these laptops will still allow you to play many older games without too much hassle.
AMD Vega 8 Graphics: If you are looking at a gaming laptop under $500 in 2020, the top graphics you should be looking out for is the AMD Vega 8 integrated graphics. It is available on quite a few laptops under $500 if you look hard enough, though it’s not as common as you might think so if you see a deal come up go for it.
GeForce GTX 1650: If you can afford it, the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 is the top card to look out for in a gaming laptop under $1000 at the time of writing. It offers a huge performance increase over integrated graphics and will allow to to play virtually all of the games on this list without too much hassle. At worst, you may need to take a few settings down from highest, but all in all a gaming laptop with a card like this is a great investment for current and future space games.
Remember that as a general rule, you should spend the bulk of your cash on a gaming PC on your graphics card. Obviously, with laptops, it doesn’t quite translate 100%, but the principle remains. Your gaming performance is directly related to the power of your graphics card, and to a much lesser extent your CPU and RAM.
In fact, your CPU and RAM will only negatively affect gaming performance if they “bottleneck” the system, meaning they slow the game down independent of your graphics card. Conversely, adding additional RAM and CPU power past a certain point won’t help gaming performance at all – it’s all the in the GPU!
Hopefully these guidelines will help you choose right. If the graphics at the price you’re looking at is any worse than the ones above, consider continuing your search to find a gaming laptop that offers better value for money.
How to Choose a Gaming Laptop CPU
Although less important than the graphics card, the right CPU will still play a huge role in day to day performance or worst case scenario could even bottleneck your GPU’s performance.
Choosing a CPU the easiest way to compare performance is by using CPU Benchmark sites such as CPUBenchmark.net.
As mentioned above, your CPU only needs to be fast enough to not bottleneck your CPU for raw gaming performance. That doesn’t mean that it won’t make a big difference to day to day performance and possibly things like game loading times. While faster is better, we wouldn’t usually recommended hunting the latest greatest CPU’s – save it for your graphics card.
Below are our top recommendations for various budgets to help get you started as a reference point:
- Budget of $500 or less >> AMD Ryzen 3 3200U
- Budget of $1000 or less >> Intel Core i5-9300H
- Budget of $1500 or less >> Intel Core i7-9750H
- Budget of more than $1500 >> Intel Core i7-9750H
Best High End Gaming Laptop Resources
Below are a couple of market leading laptop guides that might be worth considering for your next gaming laptop purchase. Fortunately the coverage for high-end gaming laptops if extremely in-depth and there are tons of reviews available from some of the best publishers on the web.
Best Budget Gaming Laptop Resources
Unfortunately, if you are on a budget, reviews from major publications are A LOT less limited. This doesn’t make much sense if you ask us (seeing as a ton more people need budget gaming laptops) but it is what it is. To help we are busy working on a couple of budget gaming laptop guides which we will update this article with soon!
- Gaming Laptops Under $500 Guide
- Gaming Laptops Under $1000 Guide – Coming Soon
Overall though the thing to keep in mind with budget gaming laptops is that you won’t be able to play many newer games. This might sound obvious, but if you are a gamer who enjoys next-gen graphics even coming from a gaming console, then a budget gaming laptop probably won’t give you the experience you are used to. Luckily there a TON of amazing older PC games for you to explore if you have the time and the patience.
Heat & Noise
One side effect of cramming a ton of extremely powerful hardware into a tiny package is that your hardware will struggle to keep cool without the ventilation of a normal desktop enclosure. This leads us to the final part of our gaming laptops guide – the nasty underbelly of gaming laptops, heat, and noise.
The obsession with making laptops smaller and more portable has infiltrated into gaming laptops too. What this means for you is that your gaming laptop is likely to run hot and make a ton of noise from its fans when under load and gaming. If you are sensitive to noise, like I am, this can be a huge deterrent. There are a few small things you can do that might help, but generally, your options are pretty limited.
The only way around this is to double down on your research to try and find laptops that users and critics have rated as having a low noise profile and good heat dispersion technology. The bigger, thicker laptops usually do best, though with the trend for thinner laptops you might struggle.
Despite the numerous options out there, putting in the extra effort when choosing a gaming laptop can make our break your gaming experience and a little bit of effort now could save a whole lot of effort down the line.
We hope this list has given you some food for thought on your journey to a new gaming laptop and wish you well on your gaming laptop hunt.