PC gaming has been quickly emerging as one of the top methods for gaming. One of the massive upsides to using a computer to game, is that you can use a laptop. You can easily bring your laptop around anywhere, meaning you are never far away from the games that you want to play. When it comes to purchasing a laptop however, people are unsure about what they need and what all the specifications mean. Understanding what your laptop has to offer and what it is capable of is very important to ensure that you are getting the best gaming experience possible. The last thing you want is to buy yourself a computer and find out it cannot run the games you are looking for. Here is everything you need to know about gaming laptops from budgeting for the right laptop, towards the specifications and what is inside.
They Vary Greatly In Price
When it comes to picking out a gaming laptop, the first thing that you are going to have to consider is price. Laptops can range from several thousands of dollars to a few hundred dollars. Depending on what you want to do with it and what your budget is will determine which laptop you get. For example, if you are planning on only playing small and simple games such as Minecraft and League of Legends, a blog post from https://laptopschamp.com/cheapest-gaming-laptops-under-300/ gives recommendations about the types of laptops that would work for you. This helps you save some money while also getting the performance that you are looking for. Laptops on the higher end will be able to run games such as Call of Duty Warzone with ease, meaning you will definitely want to target those for a more intensive gaming experience. Before you go about buying a laptop, take a look at what you plan on playing as it will indicate how much you should be spending.
The central processing unit or CPU is the most important part in the computer. It is what gives instructions to everything else in your laptop, allowing things to run. When it comes to looking at a laptop, you will most likely be given a ton of different pre-build options to choose from. The first thing that they are going to list on the website is what type of CPU the laptop is running. There are three major specifications you should be looking at here, the speed of the CPU, the amount of cores, and thread performance.
In terms of speed it is measured in gigahertz or GHz. Obviously, the more GHz a computer can run at the faster it can go. This is not the only thing to consider however. Some CPUs are susceptible to overclocking, meaning you can push them above their speed threshold at the cost of it producing extra heat. If you enjoy overclocking, you should look to find a CPU that is great for overclocking. While most give you the ability to do so, they might be limited in some shape or form.
The next specification to look at with your CPU is the amount of cores that it has. Explained very simply, cores as your CPUs ability to multitask and perform several different things. A laptop CPU that has more cores is going to be able to multitask that much better than a computer with less cores. Increasing the amount of cores does come at a cost though. Typically within CPUs the more cores a computer has, the less powerful the threads within the cores are. This is because the CPU has to spread the resources out. This does not mean a computer with multiple cores will be slow, as the difference is often miniscule, but it is still something that you should be aware of.
The final thing to look at in regards to the CPU is the thread speeds. These speeds generally indicate how well your games are going to run. Programs on your laptop can use multiple threads to run or can be run by a single thread. Games for example almost always run on a single thread. Therefore, you are going to want to target a CPU that has a high single thread speed if you want to get the most out of your laptop. When comparing two CPUs, if they have the same clock speed and amount of cores, the one with better single thread performance is going to beat out the other. If you elect to purchase a high end CPU, you are typically going to get many years of solid performance out of it, making it a great choice for a gaming laptop.
The Video Card
When it comes to gaming, the video card or GPU is the most important piece of equipment within your laptop. While the CPU is mandatory for basic functions, a video card will determine how smooth your game actually runs. GPUs are graded based on the amount of VRAM they have, and their ability to render and process objects. The more VRAM a GPU has, the more powerful it is going to be. In terms of processing and rendering however, certain GPUs are able to perform at much higher levels through the technology inside of them.
Take a look at the recent GPU launch regarding AMD and NVIDIA. AMDs GPUs tend to possess much more raw power than an NVIDIA card, meaning if you are just planning on rendering games without adding any special effects, you are going to get the most bang for your buck. However, if you are looking to use ray tracing, or upscale your resolution, NVIDIA has superior technology in this department.
Video cards are not cheap, and your gaming laptop’s price will be heavily dictated by what card is in it. The newest NVIDIA series and AMD series due to shortages have seen massive increases in price, and they were not that cheap to begin with. This is where it is extremely important for you to determine what games you are going to be playing and how much power you are going to need from your GPU. There is no need to get a top of the line GPU if you don’t plan on utilizing all of its features and the power behind it. Your laptop will run perfectly fine with a lower end GPU depending on the games that you are going to be running.
RAM or Random Access Memory
In terms of basic performance, RAM is what you will want to be targeting. RAM stands for random access memory and will be used as a short-term memory storage space for your computer. How does this work? If your computer is working on a task or playing a game, it will load up information onto the RAM so that it can very easily be accessed. The larger your RAM, the more information that can be stored on your RAM for fast access. When your computer is finished with the task, it will clear the information from the RAM, opening it up to be used by other applications on the computer.
Within the RAM itself, there is a speed at which it accesses the information. This is known as the clock speed of the RAM. Modern day RAM has a wide range of different clock speeds available, and while they will help to speed up your laptop, it is better to have more RAM at a lower speed than less RAM at a higher clock speed. The other thing to look at with your gaming laptop is customizability. The amazing thing about desktops is that they can easily be upgraded and customized by removing the side panel and doing what you need to do. Laptops on the other hand generally can not be upgraded. In recent years this has changed with the user being able to easily add more RAM into the back of the laptop just by removing a small compartment. This allows you to upgrade your computer and keep it running for a few years longer down the road. RAM is another important tool needed to properly run your games.
Hard Drives and Solid State Drives
There has been a recent push in the gaming community towards putting as many of your games as possible onto a solid state drive or SSDs. Hard drives or HDDs are older technology and while they have a longer life span in terms of writing and reading memory, they are much slower. If you want your games and laptop to load up extremely quickly, you are going to want to ensure your gaming laptop has an SSD on it. The difference is incredibly noticeable as well when comparing an SSD to an HDD. A laptop with the operating system on an SSD can generally be started up and ready for use in about ten seconds, while an HDD can take several minutes. The same goes for games, although the difference is not quite as large.
Within the drives themselves, you have to look at their read and write speeds as well. There are two major areas in which a drive is measured in speed, sequential read and write and random read and write. Sequential is used when your computer is opening large files on your computer in which there is a specific order. If you are moving a large folder of pictures for example from one area to another, this would be known as a sequential read and write. Random reading and writing on the other hand is used in regards to gaming. The computer does not know what is going to be coming next in a situation like this and therefore has to be able to recognize what it needs, and then call it. This will drastically improve load times in your games and you should be targeting an SSD with a high random read for your gaming laptop if this is something you are looking for. Don’t underestimate what a good SSD can do for your gaming laptop.
Screen Resolution and Refresh Rate
Another thing to consider with your gaming laptop is the screen resolution. Nowadays, all laptops are going to be able to support 1080p gaming, however you might want to push things a little bit higher for a much better experience. 1440p is a step above 1080p and is a noticeable visual upgrade. If you want to go all out, you can pick up a 4K laptop and have one of the best viewing experiences possible. That being said, the higher the screen resolution of your laptop, the more expensive it is going to be. Not only is the type of screen more expensive, but you will also need a stronger video card to keep up with the amount of pixels.
The other thing to look at with the screen on your laptop is the refresh rate. The refresh rate indicates how often the monitor updates with new information. Standard screens have a refresh rate of about 60Hz, while higher end models can push up to 240Hz. The difference is extremely noticeable as well, and is strongly recommended if you are going to be gaming on a competitive level. The faster your monitor can update, the quicker you can react to what is happening. Although it might equate to be milliseconds, at a high level, a few milliseconds can make a huge difference.
Finally, you will want to look at the panel type within your gaming laptop. TN or twisted nematic was one of the most popular panels for gaming due to its high refresh rates and low latencies. The colours and sharpness of the screen were not the best, but the fast speeds were mandatory. With recent technological developments, IPS panels or in-plane switching, are now just as fast as TN panels but provide a much better viewing experience. This does come at the cost of price, but your screen will never look better.
These are some of the important things that you need to know about when it comes to gaming laptops. Understanding the specifications and what they mean can help you make a decision on what you want. Don’t go buying a top of the line gaming laptop if you plan on only playing basic games, and don’t cheap out if you want to use your laptop for the next five years or so. What features are you looking to get in your gaming laptop?