You have it clear, for reasons of space and mobility you want to buy a gaming laptop. You must be clear, first of all, that it is a significant investment, because if you want to play with all the guarantees and make sure it will have a long useful life you should forget about low-cost models.
I know it may sound contradictory to unite gaming notebooks and low-cost models in the same sentence, but the truth is that it is very easy to understand. Due to the enormous popularity that this type of equipment has acquired, most manufacturers have expanded their catalogs to include, at least, an economic line that includes several models with which to reach the user who is looking for a gaming laptop, but who has a reduced budget.
Within this category we could include almost all models that have a price (without offers or promotions) of between 600 and 700 euros. All those grouped around this category have things in common:
- Count on 8 GB RAM, a very tight figure that will end up being insufficient in the short term.
- They have processors four cores and eight threads. As in the previous case, they are enough today, but when the arrival of the new generation consoles occurs, there will be a transition whose end is clear, and that is that we will need a greater number of cores and threads.
- Mount low-mid-range graphics cards, whose performance is already starting to be insufficient to play in 1080p with guarantees. The GTX 1050 is one of the best examples.
- They use small SSD drives (256 GB). The tendency of current games to occupy large amounts of space is more than evident, so having an SSD with little space will not bring you more than problems.
- The cooling system mounted on this type of equipment is obviously not at the same level as that of other superior models. It is true that they normally need to dissipate less heat, but this It does not mean that you should not meet minimums.
Choosing a cheap 600 euro gaming laptop, equipped with a quad-core and eight-thread processor, 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD and a GTX 1050 will allow us to play, today, in 1080p with medium qualities to almost everything, but its useful life is going to be very limited.
Since a gaming laptop represents a very important investment, and that normally its expandability is very limited (and very expensive), We must refine the choice to the maximum to ensure that we can take advantage of it for a minimum of three or four years, and for this we must look for a team that meets, as of today, the following requirements:
1.-A good gaming laptop must have a CPU with six cores and twelve threads
It is the minimum that we must look for if we want to make sure that the gaming laptop that we are going to buy it will have a long service life.
With the arrival of the next-generation consoles, scheduled for later this year, there will be an exponential increase in the minimum and recommended requirements to play. It may not happen during the first year, but we will start to notice it considerably from the second year of life, when intergenerational developments are less and less.
If we have a quad-core and eight-thread processor we can play, but not optimally. Remember what happened to the transition from two cores and four threads to four cores and eight threads. The first stage was present during much of the intergenerational transition to PS4 and Xbox One, and the second during the final stage of both. Well, that is what we are going to live again with Xbox Series X and PS5.
What processors should you look for? Luckily we do not have to go to the most expensive, from a Ryzen 4 4600H or a Core i7 10750H We will move at an optimal level when choosing a gaming laptop, since both processors have a high IPC and add six cores and twelve threads. Remember that the Core i5 10 series for laptops have four cores and eight threads.
2.-16 GB of RAM is the new standard
I know what you are thinking, that today almost everything can be played perfectly with 8 GB of RAM, and yes, it is true, but again we return to the issue of intergenerational transition that will mark Xbox Series X and PS5, and we explain it in detail by reviewing what happened in the last transition.
On the Xbox 360 and PS3 stage we could play perfectly with 2 GB of RAM, and in fact, when PS4 and Xbox One arrived, there was a stage where we could play without problems with 4 GB of RAM, but little by little there was an increase in requirements to 6 GB and finally to 8 GB.
Some current games already consume more than 8 GB of RAM, and they only work really well when we have 12 GB of RAM. Well, that same situation is what we are going to experience with Xbox Series X and PS5. We will not see a radical increase in RAM requirements in all games, but it will occur gradually and it will end up standardizing the 16 GB.
What Should I Look For? Well, it is very simple, a gaming laptop that has at least 16 GB of RAM. The cheapest models usually mount memories with quite limited speeds (between 2,400 MHz and 2,666 MHz), but in the mid-range models the most normal thing is to find frequencies of 3,200 MHz.
3.-Graphics card: where is the recommended level?
It is a complicated answer, as it depends on the resolution you want to play at. Today most gaming laptops use 1080p screens of different qualities with refresh rates that can go from 60 Hz to 300 Hz. Curiously, it has been chosen to prioritize the resolution-refresh ratio, rather than to carry out a gross increase in resolution.
It goes without saying that a gaming laptop with a more powerful graphics card will be able to take better advantage of a 144 Hz 1080p panel, as it will be able to achieve higher FPS rates that will better match that high refresh rate. For example, an RTX 2070 Super Mobile It is a good choice if we want to play in 1080p and take advantage of a monitor of 144 Hz.
Since most gaming laptops ship with panels that use 1080p resolution let’s stick to that level When it comes to leaving you a couple of specific recommendations that will serve as a reference. Please note that these recommendations are intended to ensure a good user experience and a long service life.
- We must not get off one GTX 1660 Ti for 1080p gaming. AMD does not have a direct match. Lower models such as the GTX 1650 Ti and RX 5500 Mobile perform well in most cases, but are not powerful enough to guarantee that long life we referenced.
- If we are going to use a 120 Hz panel with 1080p resolution, it is advisable to look for a RTX 2070 Super Mobile. AMD has nothing equivalent right now.
4.-Storage: HDD, SSD and minimum capacities in a gaming laptop
The storage unit is a point that generates many doubts when choosing a gaming laptop, and it is perfectly understandable, since it is a fundamental component that can affect the overall performance of the computer, and greatly limit its possibilities and its useful life.
Today most low-end and mid-to-low-end gaming laptops use 256GB SSDs, a capacity that is clearly insufficient to meet the needs of any character who plays minimally seriously. I am not exaggerating, a current game easily takes up 60 GB, there are titles, such as Call of Duty Warzone, that occupy more than 200 GB. Do the math, the numbers don’t lie.
Some manufacturers solve this problem combining a 256GB SSD with a 1TB HDDA good solution as long as the second drive runs at 7,200 RPM. We can leave the space on the SSD reserved for our favorite game, and use the HDD for the rest. It is a good option in a gaming laptop, and quite inexpensive.
In the mid-range and high-end models, the most normal thing is to find yourself directly with high-performance SSD units with a capacity of between 512 GB and 1 TB. To be honest, 512 GB We may fall “short” ahead of schedule, so I recommend that you look for a minimum capacity of 1 TB.
So what should I look for? The truth is that there are two good options, opt for a gaming laptop with an SSD of at least 256 GB that is supported by a 1 TB HDD at 7,200 RPM or buy a model that has an SSD of at least 1 TB.
5.-Gaming laptop and cooling system: why is it so important?
A gaming laptop has high-performance components, and it is clear that these they generate considerable heat. If we consider how tight the internal space is in this type of equipment we will instantly realize how important a good cooling system is.
If we buy a gaming laptop that produces high heat and does not have a cooling system capable of keeping temperatures under control, we may not have problems in the short term, beyond small drops in performance due to the thermal throttling, but it is likely that in the medium or long term some of the components will end up suffering irreversible damage. In case this happens, we will have to face a very expensive repair, or perhaps it will be more cost-effective to buy a new laptop directly.
As I have indicated above, heat also affects the performance of the computer. The vast majority of processors and graphics cards today use dynamic frequencies that are supported in a turbo mode that increases the working speed if the temperatures and the feeding are at optimum levels. Hence, a gaming laptop with the same hardware as another can perform more or less than that depending on your cooling system.
What Should I Look For? It is very difficult to assess the cooling of a laptop without testing it, but generally most of the major manufacturers offer details of the cooling systems they use, and that can help you get a rough idea. When you buy your laptop, doing a stress test that takes it to the limit will help you see if it is really capable of keeping temperatures under control.
If you have been wanting more Do not miss this guide with five tips to get the right purchase of your new gaming laptop.