What to look for when buying a gaming laptop

Modern gaming laptops are incredibly powerful and suitable for high-end gaming.

Thanks to improved power efficiency and performance, many high-end gaming laptops now rival desktop PCs in terms of performance.

Performance is not the only factor to consider when choosing a gaming notebook, however.

We’ve summarised the most important things to look out for when buying a gaming laptop – listed below.


Newest generation

The first step is to look out for notebooks with the latest generation of hardware.

Laptops using the latest graphics chips from AMD and Nvidia boast increased performance and power efficiency over older laptops.

For example, take a laptop with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 over the GTX 970M, as Nvidia’s GTX 10-series cards are comparable to their desktop counterparts.

Processor generation is also important, and while there is only a minor step up between Intel’s 6th and 7th-gen mobile chips, its 8th-gen Coffee Lake CPUs boast additional cores and improved performance.

AMD’s Ryzen mobile chips also feature high core counts for notebook CPUs.


Slim design

While a thick 17-inch laptop was previously required to handle your GeForce GTX 980 mobile GPU, newer devices feature slim cases.

This is especially true for laptops with Nvidia Max-Q designs, which focus on a balance between power, performance, and portability.

Max-Q laptops boast the power of a decent desktop gaming PC in a form factor similar to an ultrabook.

As the purpose of a laptop is portability, look out for newer laptops with Max-Q support.

Asus ROG Zephyrus


Battery and Interface

You will occasionally need to use your laptop without being tethered to a plug socket.

Take a look at the battery specifications and projected battery life of the device you are considering. A gaming laptop which dies 30 minutes into a game will not make a great travel companion.

It is also important to ensure your device’s I/O and design is future-proof.

Look out for Bluetooth support, Thunderbolt 3 ports, USB 3.1 ports, and HDMI or DisplayPort interfaces.

As a note: you no longer need a DVD drive for gaming.


Display

Display size, quality, and type are important to consider when choosing your device.

As laptops are often used when travelling, you will need a display that suits your usage and is not too power-hungry.

While a 4K laptop display is great when at your desk, it could eat into your battery life when on the move.

As laptops are exposed to more glare and obscure viewing angles than desktop monitors, you may want to look for devices with an IPS LED panel to ensure the best visual quality across numerous scenarios.

Gigabyte Aero 15


Now read: Massive PlayStation 4 specials in South Africa

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What to look for when buying a gaming laptop