When it comes to gaming set-ups, most people go all out creating a great desktop experience, decking out their machines with the best kind of lighting and gizmos possible, while stacking up the graphics cards to get the most out of their performance.
However, there are those precious few that do their gaming on the go, preferring to take their action with them in a handy laptop. That’s not to say they can’t hold their own, though; several developers have made some impressive models over the years, and they just keep getting better, even though they eventually run out of juice without the AC cord nearby.
So what factors should you look for if you’re in the market for your first gaming laptop? Here are five items you need to consider:
A Good Processor Goes a Long Way
Most laptop models these days have an adequate processor, but “adequate” doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to gaming. For instance, laptops with lower-end processors may be just fine for office jobs or the occasional session of Solitaire, but when it comes to games, they’ll run really hot, really quickly.
In that regard, you’ll want to keep an eye open for an Intel processor. That’s because these are built for gaming, although you want to opt for one of the more powerful models. The i5 is okay, but probably won’t get you past most casual games. The i7, however, is the best yet, although that doesn’t always guarantee everything will run at 60 FPS, depending on what the game needs. Still, when it comes to getting a good start, you can’t go wrong with the i7.
Keep a Good Graphics Card On Hand
“Why do I need a good graphics card when I have a great processor?” you may be asking. Well, the processor can only do so much of the work if it doesn’t have a solid graphics card to lean on, especially with more horsepower-enabled games like Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Star Wars: Battlefront. These bad boys require a little something extra.
So where to begin? Look for computers that come with some form of high-end card. It’ll cost you a little more, but it’ll be worth it when it comes to making your gaming sessions shine. One example is the NVIDIA GEForce GTX, a high-marks graphics card that can process pretty well. AMD cards aren’t bad either, provided you stick with 7730M or above. It’ll really pay off, especially when you see Bioshock Infinite running like a beauty.
Don’t Forget the RAM
RAM plays just as important a part as the processor and graphics card. Think of them performing together like a symphony, making sure your game machine is up to speed when it comes to the software at hand. Some people think that 4GB of RAM will be suitable, and in some cases, it is. However, if you want utmost performance from your laptop, you’ll want to go 8GB.
And this will be easy to shop for, because most laptops come custom-built with 8GB of RAM these days, save for the budget models where some people prefer to start. It’s up to you, but if you go with 4GB, you’re likely going to upgrade eventually, so you might as well get something high-end right off the bat.
Hard Drives and Solid State Drives
You need a hard drive in order to back up your information and download games. You want to make sure you have a good hard drive built into the system; something that can store a good amount of data not just for your games, but also any potential music and/or video libraries. You want more from your machine, right?
Most machines come built in with a 1TB, which is fairly suitable when it comes to beginning a strong game library and keeping it in place. However, it never hurts to look into an upgrade option to 2TB, which will assure plenty of room when it comes to higher-end stuff. After all, games like Call of Duty: Black Ops III take about 40-50GB. When it comes to hard drive space, the more the merrier.
Also, if you can find a laptop with a solid state drive, go for it. It runs more efficiently than a regular hard drive, with nothing spinning inside the machine. This means faster load times and less wear and tear on the drive overall. It’s a bit more expensive, but way worth it.
Make Sure You’re Covered With Back-Up
Finally, it never hurts to have a warranty in place. You never know when something might go “pop” with a high-running laptop. Fortunately, a lot of companies have policies in place where you can return a laptop for repair if something goes wrong, within an allotted time frame.
Make sure to check the available options when it comes to buying a laptop. Check for extended warranties, just to be on the safe side, as well as any gear that could keep it safe, like a carrying bag that protects it from drops. It sounds a little unnecessary, but keeping your machine safe between gaming runs may be the best thing you can do. It sure beats having to buy a new one if it drops.
Bought a new gaming laptop recently? Use a gaming laptop as your primary machine? Let us know about it in the comments.
Cover Image Source: T3.com