How to Choose the Best Gaming Laptop

The computer is the king of gaming tools. There’s nothing more important than the gaming computer you choose if you’re looking to game at a high level. 

That said, there are a lot of factors involved in a good gaming computer. Understanding how those pieces fit together will allow you to purchase a much better computer for yourself. We’re going to look at things to prioritize when you’re trying to find the best computer for gaming. 

Hopefully, the information below will give you some insight that you can use before you make your next purchase. Let’s get started. 

Choosing The Right Gaming Computer 

Before you start thinking about different computers to buy, get a feel for your budget. Note that there are gaming computers at almost all price ranges, and they’ll all allow you to play games effectively. 

It’s very easy to start justifying jumps in the budget that you can’t afford. As you’ll see, there are a lot of aspects of computer technology that you can invest in. Each one adds some kind of benefit, and the idea of the benefit might brainwash you for a minute or two. 

Anybody with a hobby can relate to this. You know you don’t need something, but you’re interested in the subject matter, and, somehow, you fall for the marketing. You wind up spending hundreds of more dollars than you wanted to, and you’re late on rent. 

Don’t let that happen! Set a very clear budget for yourself on the front end and stick to it. 

Our hope is to give you a decent idea of what each computer component does. We’ll break down important features, then look at how important each one is in the context of gaming. 

That way, you can reference those ideas against your budget and see what kind of computers are available to you. If you’re struggling to muster a decent budget, look at some of these deals on laptops that might be in your price range. 

Display Considerations

The average gamer should put the screen resolution at high priority. By “average,” we mean someone that’s not gaming professionally, doesn’t require an excessive amount of processing power and wants to enjoy aesthetics. 

In these instances, the processing power of most laptops is good enough for your gaming needs. You won’t be lagging, so you’ll want to put some focus on the screen resolution. 

Resolution is just another way of referring to the number of pixels on the screen. The more pixels, the better the image quality you’ll have. The standard number of pixels is 1080. 

When you hear “1080p,” that just means there are 1080 pixels. You can go up to around 4000 pixels, though, and that level of quality is a lot different.  Great image quality costs a lot more, but it’s worth it if you’ll spend a lot of time gaming. 

Size, Refresh Rate, and Color

Screen size is another aesthetic factor to consider. Many people will tell you that screen size doesn’t matter in comparison to processing power. That’s true in some instances. 

That said, those who game on their laptops need a significant screen to visualize everything they’re doing. If you find that large screens are out of your budget, note that you can always hook your computer up to an external screen. 

Another thing to look at is what’s called the “refresh rate.” A screen can have a lot of pixels, but those pixels don’t mean much if the images move slowly or glitch. 

The refresh rate refers to the speed at which the screen populates the next set of imagery. On a microscale, you can think of it as the speed of a reel of film. The faster it goes, the less likely you are to see the snippets in the film. 

A higher refresh rate leads to smoother images. At certain speeds, it’s hard to tell the difference between the screen and the real world. 

Further, there’s something called an OLED to think about. An Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) is a light source that produces deeper hues. The contrast gets improved and produces a better gaming experience. 

Factors In Processing Power

Don’t let the sections above fool you into thinking that processing power isn’t important. It’s always important, as the strength of your computer determines how well your games work. 

The point made above was that most computers have a solid baseline processing power. Beginner and average gamers won’t need too much more than that for simple games. 

Once you start to get invested in gaming, though, processing power outshines screen resolution by a great deal. There are three main things to think about when it comes to processing power; CPU, GPU, and RAM. 

These are features of all computers that determine the speed and quality with which you game. It gets tricky, though, because each one of those things has its own specifications to think about. 

We’ll explore each of those things, then talk about which to prioritize when you’re in a pinch. 

Central Processing Units

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) is referred to as the brain of the computer. Without a good CPU, your computer won’t be able to function well and produce the results that you’re looking for. 

The process is rooted in the existence of a massive number of transistors. These are little circuits that adjust and direct electrical signals. While the function of each transistor is simple, the result is beautiful when they’re put together. 

Imagine that each transistor is a person holding a flashlight. Each person can either click that flashlight on or off. That is their only function. 

Now, imagine that there are 100,000,000 people with that same function. If you were out at a far enough distance, those people could produce almost any image imaginable. Further, the image would be in high resolution. 

The same idea applies to CPU transistors. There are about 100,000,000 of them in a computer. They’re more versatile than “on and off” switches, though, so they can do a great deal. 

The valuable thing to look for in CPUs is the number of cores that they have. You’ll often hear terms like “dual-core” or “quad-core.” 

Choosing The Number of Cores

Each core that your computer has is like an internal brain. More specifically, the core is like the potential for your computer to work on something. Within each core, the computer is able to work on a specific project. 

When you add another core, the computer then has the potential to work on two projects. As you add more and more, the computer’s potential increases a great deal. Some computers on the market offer up to 32 cores, while most only have around 4. 

The more cores available, the smaller the strain that each project takes on the overall productivity of the computer. In other words, the more cores, the smoother the computer will run. 

Things get faster, you can do more at once, and the toll of a high-powered game doesn’t even phase the computer. That said, more cores mean more money. 

There’s no need to invest in 32 cores if your gaming needs require just 6 or 8 cores. You could even get by with 4 cores in most cases. 

In a lot of instances, gamers find that 6 to 8 cores meet their needs well. Beyond that point, the gameplay isn’t improved all that much. You don’t need to invest in more than 8 cores unless you’re running a lot of programming at once. 

Graphics Processing Units

Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) are the counterpart to CPUs. They deal with the visual side of things, which tends to be a very significant chunk when it comes to gaming. 

Graphics processing is the way in which the computer can deconstruct code to produce the dazzling imagery we see in video games. There are simple image quality factors to consider, while the bulk of the work comes from 3D renderings. 

Further, note that you’re using an interactive 3D rendering of an imaginary world composed of very high-resolution imagery. That’s a lot of information for a computer to deal with. When you step back and think about that, it’s very futuristic. 

The GPU is a futuristic component, though. That’s why it’s so important in gaming. If you invest in a great GPU, the quality of your game experience will improve. 

There’s no denying that. 

Discrete vs Integrated GPUs

The two options you have for GPUs are discrete and integrated. Discrete options are those that exist outside of the computer. You can buy them and incorporate them into the system. 

This gives you a lot of opportunities to expand and improve your computer as time goes on. So, if a solid GPU is outside of your budget, know that you can invest later and get one that works for you. 

Integrated GPUs are those that come within the computer and work in tandem with the CPU. In most cases, computers come with a GPU that’s included. 

You can almost always add or modify the graphics card or unit after the computer is in your possession. That said, it’s challenging to do that. 

It’s also more expensive to buy an aftermarket GPU than it is to just buy the computer intact. So, invest in a solid GPU if you plan to play a lot of visually-engaging games. Most modern games require decent GPUs to function at their full capacities. 

Random Access Memory

Random Access Memory (RAM) is a component that speeds the entire process up a lot. 

RAM allows the computer to get to disparate pieces of information almost instantaneously. The computer’s memory hosts a vast ocean of information, and particular programs like games stuff a whole lot more into the equation. 

It seems like nothing now, but a gigabyte is a massive amount of data. Scale that up about 100 times, and you’ve got a complex game running at full speed. 

In order for the game to function well, the computer has to access different pieces of that information with very little warning. You might be playing the game normally, need to access a particular pool of information to complete a task, then shift over to an entirely new update package to continue on. 

Throughout that process, the computer has to locate those chunks of information, then identify the particular pieces that apply to what you’re doing. Then, it needs to produce a 3D rendering of that information in the form of your character and gameplay environment. 

How RAM Works

Random Access Memory is a bank of memory that’s independent of your hard drive. The hard drive contains all of the static information of the computer. That information gets used often as well, but it requires more time and energy to access than RAM memory does. 

RAM lifts the information relevant to the project you’re working on and makes it accessible to the computer. So, while you’re working on a particular project or playing a game, the computer has easy access to the things you might need. 

It’s like keeping a folder in your hand while you’re giving a speech. You might not need all of the papers in that folder, but you might need the information depending on how the speech goes. 

The more gigabytes of RAM you have, the better able your computer is to work smoothly. You’ll notice that more RAM produces gameplay with fewer lags and smoother operations. 

What to Prioritize

What you prioritize depends on the type of games you play. If you’re someone who plays MMORPGs that have existed for a decade, you don’t need to invest too much into a nice GPU setup. 

On the other hand, those that are engaging with new games and a lot of other users online might need to get a nice GPU. In any case, you should try to get at least 6 cores in your CPU. 

That level of processing will be handy. On top of those things, round out the computer with as much RAM as your budget allows. 

Interested in More Gaming Tools? 

Hopefully, the gaming computer information above was useful as you make your choice. Once you hit the gaming room, the computer you choose will make all of the difference in how good your experience is. 

We’re here to help you learn more, though. Explore our site for more gaming tips, ideas on gaming gadgets, and insight into all of the gaming tools that you need.