Gaming Laptops – Things You Must Consider Before Buying

Gaming laptops have improved in quality in recent times. Since the advent of the computer, there was always the need to offer more powerful and portable systems for consumers. The desktop computer ruled the business and gaming world for a long time. However with continued development of computer technology, laptops and various mobile devices including smartphones and tablets were born.  Today manufacturers including HP, Dell, Acer, Lenovo, Microsoft, Asus and Toshiba among others, all have gaming laptops of various configurations on the market.

Early laptops did not have the processing power to rival desktop computers and because of this, computer gamers relied heavily on the desktop pc. Today, the world is different and there are laptops with enough processing power that rival desktop computers in a number of ways.

Gaming laptops have evolved as a must have mobile platform for serious games. Some not so serious gamers have sought to buy these systems because of the advantages associated with mobility. Developments in technology especially with the laptop format encouraged the advancement and likeability of gaming laptops.

This is seen in them having crisp HD or better screens, cutting-edge video cards whether stand-alone, or integrated, full-size keyboards, as well as very powerful processors.  Not only do these gaming laptops rival the standard desktop pc in processing power, they can also be ordered fully custom built to meet the exact specifications of any gamer.

What to Look For

So what do you look for when you need to buy a gaming laptop? I run the risk here of being taken to task by serious gamers. The information that appears below is not meant for the experienced gamer. This is general information that can be used by the individual who is interested in finding out about gaming laptops in general. Also, the information can be used for further research if you are trying to find a decent gaming laptop.

Each person will have his or her own components and specification for system build. However, the information appearing below contains general suggestions to take into consideration before purchasing.

Gaming Laptops GPU

This is the heart of a gaming laptop computer. The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is a component that will make or break your gaming experience. This component is programmable and many computers with a GPU offer advanced 3D rendering along with efficient mathematical processing relevant to modern industry.

In the recent past, graphics rendering was all done in the CPU or processor. Over time, other components such as the chipset in the PC or other circuits were tasked with graphics rendering. Today there is a separate unit that does graphics rendering – the GPU

You must know that any GPU that is worth mentioning is optimized for working efficiently with huge swaths of data while performing the same operation over and over in parallel very quickly, unlike a PC microprocessor.

Gaming Laptops CPU – Not Just Mobile Technology

So this brings up the topic of the CPU or processor. The CPU (central processing unit) is the brain of the gaming laptop as the GPU is the heart. The processor is designed to handle all processing outside of graphics. Some of the processing that may take place includes mathematical calculations. It also controls those software programs not necessarily directly associated with gaming. These include the operating system, internet browsers, and other applications.gaming laptops - amd ryzen 7

Modern gaming laptops are sold using processors mainly manufactured by Intel and AMD. When choosing to buy your gaming laptop you may want to buy the latest and most powerful processor you can afford. Your selection could be from Intel or AMD.

Intel has 7th generation processors – some names may be familiar – Intel Core i7 7820HK; Intel Core i7 7700HQ; Intel Core i5 7300Q.  With Intel, you will want to start from the i5 and go up in model rather than go down. You will get more processing power for your money.

AMD

Although not known for their processors for gaming laptops, AMD’s line of Ryzen processors have been getting good reviews. You will want to take a look at gaming laptops with the Ryzen 7 processor. Currently, there is the ROG Strix GL702ZC with the Ryzen 7 1700 CPU with 3.2 GHz.

How About RAM for Gaming Laptops

As a general rule, in a Windows based laptop, you need at least 4GB of RAM for the system to work. However, for gaming laptops, it is recommend to not go below 8GB. Some gaming and computer experts will tell you that 16GB of RAM is adequate to run modern games.

gaming laptops - kingston value ramYou must be aware however that there are other system components that work in tandem with each other for a gaming laptop to run efficiently. Therefore, if there are performance isssues being experienced, the problem may very well be attributable to some other component. Again, you should buy a gaming laptop with as much RAM as you can afford.

The Screen is Everything

Buying a gaming laptop means you should also be looking at the quality of the screen. What good would your gaming laptop be if the screen cannot render your games? Many laptops have attachments for an external screen. This is one way to make sure that your gaming experience falls within the category of luxury. However, if your game screen is not of good quality and you must attach an external monitor, then your laptop isn’t all that mobile.

While the technology and terminology for LCDs (liquid crystal displays) could take up an entire article in itself, you need to be aware that there are different technologies available that are used.
Laptop screens are based on TN and IPS technology. TN is cheaper and is widely used. IPS cost more and is used in mostly high-end systems. Both technologies differ in how items are viewed on screen – from viewing angles to color gamut and a range of other technical stuff that often confuses consumers. Just bear in mind that there are different technologies that go into screen manufacturing. One other technology that is also important is OLED (Organic Light-emitting Diode). OLED is also used in high-end cell phones.

There are a few key points to keep in mind when choosing from available monitor options for your new gaming laptop computer: native resolution, aspect ratio, rise and fall time, contrast, viewing angle, and size.

Native Resolution.

The native resolution is simply the setting at which your screen will render the clearest images. Since games are constantly in motion, slightly soft edges may not bother most gamers, but keep in mind that while this is your gaming laptop, you will likely also use it for other things like surfing the Internet. If the resolution isn’t comfortable, you aren’t going to enjoy using it.

Aspect Ratio.

As you probably know, a movie theater screen and a TV screen have different proportions. Likewise, there are widescreen format gaming laptops and there are laptops that have a standard aspect ratio — like that of a TV. A widescreen format gaming laptop (a 16:10 ratio) has advantages and disadvantages. Many games today do not have a widescreen mode. This means that the game may stretch across the screen and become distorted or you may run it with black bars that fill in the sides. There are ways to get around this, but if you want an out of the box perfect experience, the widescreen format may not be for you.

That said, a widescreen LCD does offer plenty of screen real estate for web surfing and other type of computer activities, and a game played in a wide format setting offers an expansive field of view. For this reason, there are some very loyal widescreen-loving gamers out there.

Do your best to find a balance between current and future technology and what your computer habits are beyond gaming. Even with its limitations, the widescreen format is found on most of the best gaming laptop computers.

Rise and Fall.

The phrase ‘rise and fall time’ is used to describe how fast the LCD can respond to changes. In the past, LCDs have been plagued with the inability to render images as fast as computer games can spit them out. This presents a major problem for laptop gamers because if they can’t see the images properly, they can’t play the game properly. This lag can mean the difference between playing to win and barely playing.

Fortunately, gaming laptop LCDs have come a long way and they are only getting better. While once it was impossible to game on a laptop screen, the gaming laptop LCDs of today offer 25 milliseconds or less rise and fall time while generally off-the-shelf laptops have 40 milliseconds or less rise and fall time.

Contrast.

If a gaming laptop LCD has poor contrast, that means that the black areas aren’t quite as black as they should be and the white areas aren’t quite as white. This is important to a laptop gamer because you have to see the game properly — as it was intended to be seen — in order to compete effectively. Look for a contrast ratio of 400:1 or higher in a custom gaming laptop computer.

Viewing Angle.

This is an often-overlooked LCD feature, but it must be considered if you are building a gaming laptop computer. Many high quality LCDs on the market are difficult to see clearly at any angle other than straight on and at the right height. This can be a big drawback to gaming on a LCD screen because a screen with poor viewing angles won’t allow others to watch the screen as you play and also hurts your view when doing something as simple as adjusting your seating, which can require you to then adjust to position of your laptop screen to see it properly again.

But gaming on a laptop does not mean that you are doomed to have poor viewing angles. There are LCDs on the market that have amazing viewing angles — up to 120 degrees. These screens not only allow gaming onlookers, but they also allow you to use that giant, crisp screen to do things like play movies and even make presentations.

Size.

In a gaming laptop computer, size is everything. Most gaming laptops are large, robust pieces of electronics. Having a machine of this stature means you also get to have a large screen. The best gaming laptop computer LCD screens out there are at least 15 inches. A crowd favorite is a 17 inch widescreen (even with the challenges that widescreens present). Largr 19 inch laptop screens are just starting to be talked about with consumers expecting to see 19 inch or even large models on the market in the near future.

The best way to really get a feel for what laptop LCDs are all about is to take a trip to a local box store and play with the LCDs on the display laptops while keeping in mind what you have read here. While these laptops are not custom gaming laptops, you can see what the sizes really look like, what different resolutions look like, and what the viewing angles truly are so you can start to develop your own preferences.

Gaming Laptops Hard Drive

This is the final component to consider when building a gaming laptop. Laptop hard drives come in a variety of speeds and capacities. There are also two competing form factors – the traditional hard drive and the more modern solid state drive (SSD).

The regular hard drive is still good for gaming however you will need to get a hard drive rated at 7200 RPM. While the regular hard drive will not be so bad if included in your system, the real deal in terms of load time for your computer is the SSD. SSDs do not have any moving parts and tend to be more durable. Without moving parts, this means that programs load faster.  SSD drives are also more energy efficient, and do not produce as much heat as the traditional hard drive. If you intend to play a lot of games with your gaming laptop, you may want to consider getting one that has an SSD.

At the end of the day, gaming laptop computers are all about power. Don’t expect a twelve-pound notebook with a desktop processor, numerous fans, a giant heatsink, and independent video card to last on battery power all that long. But do make sure to enjoy the surprise looks that you’ll get as you walk into your regular LAN party location with your new, screaming-fast gaming laptop computer. Crack that beast open, fire it up, and stand clear of the drool as you take on your favorite game with fellow gamers gathered around to take in the action. Gaming is not just for  desktops anymore!

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