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Best Gaming Laptop Buying Guide (Updated!!!)

Not long ago, a friend asked me for help choosing a gaming laptop. Precisely because he was in this situation, he had saved money and wanted to buy one, but he was lost, and indecisive on which model to choose. In fact, he didn’t even know where to start since many models with different components had very similar prices, which he found extremely confusing.

Unfortunately, choosing a gaming laptop is very complicated, as there are always a number of items that require a good knowledge base and for you to be completely up to date on what comes out in the market, because otherwise you risk making a bad purchase.

His situation led us to publish this guide that will give you the most important information you should consider when shopping for a gaming laptop, so you can correctly choose the one that best fits your needs and budget. It will even help you avoid being ripped off.

Preliminary considerations

You must understand a gaming laptop is not like conventional notebooks. Depending on the manufacturer and your price range, they clearly have differentiating factors among them, such as more powerful and efficient cooling systems, as well as a higher build quality to withstand long gaming sessions.

On the other hand, the price of these devices is usually much higher than that of utility models, and also higher than what it would cost you to assemble a desktop with similar power. So before you buy one, it is important to thoroughly consider whether you really need a portable gaming system. Maybe it would be wiser to opt for a PC for your gaming needs.

Mobility is another aspect you must be willing to sacrifice with these computers, since more powerful components mean their autonomy is very low when they are at full capacity and they are much less efficient than other laptops, like ultrabooks, for example.

Finally, it is vital to understand that to really play on a laptop at a similar level to what you would enjoy on a desktop, you must be willing to spend a minimum of of around 800 dollars, approximately. Still, the computer you buy for that price will be much less powerful than its desktop equivalent at the same budget.

The Processor: The heart of the computer

On gaming portables, compare to AMD, Intel has a clear domain, which is unfortunate for the consumer. So for obvious reasons we will focus on solutions from this manufacturer.

Processor Generation:

You can find Haswell based processors, identified as the series 4000, and Broadwell, which are recognized by the 5000 series.

The difference between them is limited essentially to the manufacturing process. The first ones come in 22nm and the second in 14nm, but this detail does not make a real big impact, since most models that interest us — the high performance ones — have an identical TDP in almost all versions.

By this we mean you should not obsess about spending more money on a computer with a Core 5000 series, as one with a Core 4000 series processor is just as perfect for gaming.

Processor range:

Since your goal is to play, we are just going to focus on the larger models, i.e. the Core i5 and Core i7, as they are the ones used in these types of portables.

  • Core i5: Unlike a desktop model, the Core i5 has two cores and four threads, not four real cores. This means they can divide the burden of those four threads between the two cores, which generally provides good results. However, it doesn’t give good results in games that really take advantage of more than two cores. They integrate Turbo Boost technology that increases work frequency when necessary.
  • Core i7: The Core i7 has four real cores and eight threads, just as a standard desktop version. They are preferable because, when used with games that can properly exploit their potential, they clearly mark a difference, especially at minimum FPS levels and overall stability. They also have better guaranteed “aging”. Turbo Boost technology is an added feature that increases the working frequencies and can even turn off cores that are not used, further increasing the speed of the nuclei that are still active, so that even those games that only use two cores will be greatly benefited by the presence of Core i7.
  • Core i7 extreme range: These are versions that maintain the above specifications, but come at higher frequencies. Normally, they greatly increase the price of the computer but don’t compensate, so when it comes to price-value relation, they’re best avoided.We discarded low-energy solutions, identified with the letter “U”, as they sacrifice performance in order to increase the battery life(the Core i7 U series, for example, only has 2 cores and four threads).

The graphics card is an essential component, as it determines the resolution and graphics quality you can play on, as well as the life of the portable and its price.

You should note that its performance does not match the desktop offering of those with whom they share the same name, and usually they’ll always be lower . As an example, we can mention the GTX 960M, which does not yield a performance even remotely like a GTX 960, but rather like a GTX 750 Ti.

And just as in the previous case, the presence of AMD is very limited, so we will focus on NVIDIA solutions.

To make everything easier to understand, what follows is a summary of base models grouped into three broad ranges, a classification that must be understood within the context of gaming solutions.

  • Recommended minimum to play at 1080p: The 2GB GTX GTX 860M- 960M are the recommended minimum to play. The second is a renamed model of the first and both have a lower performance than the GTX 750 Ti, but we can compare them so you’ll have a better idea. Always seek computers mounted with GDDR5 memory, avoiding the DDR3 versions, keeping in mind that the GTX 860M and GTX 960M are identical to the GTX 850M and GTX 950M, the only differences are the working frequencies.  (Read More: Gaming Laptop under 1000)
  • Optimal level to play in 1080P: The GTX 1060 is our goal. It’s not a rebranded solution, but rather it mounts a new GPU based on Pascal architecture, which marks a significant leap over previous models. The 6GB GDDR5 models have no real performance improvement compared to the 3 GB ones in many games. If you’ll play some high-end games needing more VRAM, more VRAM is necessary.
  • High performance in 1080P without excesses: If you want to play at Full HD with ultra quality and without choking with virtually no game, the GTX 980M is the best choice for your money. Yes, the GTX 1070 is more powerful, but increases the price of the computer and it’s not worth much. If you want to play VR gaming, you should a laptop with GTX 1060, GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 graphics card.You must not forget that the most expensive is not necessarily the best. When you overcome the medium-high range barrier of graphics cards, the performance-per dollars spent goes down to levels not advisable in most cases.

RAM Memory and storage

You can play with guarantees if you have 4 GB of RAM in most cases, but it is best to choose laptop models with 8 GB of RAM, since it makes a difference in some current games, such as Battlefield Hardline, and the trend to higher RAM consumption in upcoming games is clear.

But overcoming the recommendation of 8 GB of RAM and buying computers with 32 GB of RAM is not a good idea, as more RAM does not mean better performance. Instead, it increases the overall cost of the computer, so it is best to spend that extra money on a computer with a better graphics card.

Regarding storage, a SSD is recommended – but not essential – and it usually increases the cost of the computer. So, if you have a limited budget, you should opt for enhancing the processor and graphics card, even if it means to conform to a mechanical hard drive, and the combo CPU + GPU + RAM will ultimately determine your user experience in games. In any case, you always have the time to change the HDD for an SSD quickly and easily.

As intermediate option, there are computers that mount a hybrid HDD with a certain amount of flash memory acting as a cache. They are not the panacea, so you should only take them into account when the price increase is not so absurd.

Practical examples

Generally, an affordable gaming laptop will consist of a Core i5, a GTX 850M-GTX 950M 2GB GDDR5, 8 GB of RAM, and a mechanical 1TB 5400 RPM HDD. Its price should be around 800 dollars, approximately.

With a computer of these features, you could play almost everything that exists today in the market at 1080p, and at medium to high quality — ultra even in very specific cases. In GTA V, you could play to said resolution and high quality at an average of 29 FPS.

In contrast, an upper-middle range model would be one with a Core i7, 8GB of RAM, a GTX 960M or 965M with 2GB DDR5 VRAM, 1TB 7200 RPM HDD and a 128GB SSD. However, the cost would exceed 1,300 dollars.

With it you could play almost all current games in 1080p and at a high quality, even on ultra-quality in many of them. Continuing the above example, GTA V would run on this computer at 55 FPS on average in Full HD and high quality.

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Best Gaming Laptops under 1000 Dollars

A gaming laptop tends to have high-end processors, graphics cards, cooling systems, and displays which often result in its high price, but with the development of hardware, the current mid-range and high-end graphics are good enough for us to play some mid-range games smoothly. If you do not pursue the ultimate gaming experience, these mid-range graphics cards can even allow you to play some demanding games smoothly at lower resolutions. $1000 is a watershed of the gaming laptop, most of which, with midrange graphics, are distributed around this price. What follows is a recommendation of several popular gaming laptops within the $1,000 range and with a high performance-cost ratio.

Currently, the NVIDIA remains the mainstream in the market share of mid-range and high-end graphics cards. The AMD graphics mainly focus on the low-end laptops in the market share (most of them are integrated graphics). So, if you want to buy a laptop around $500, the AMD graphics card is your first choice. The APU platform has a very good gaming performance, and secondly, there are virtually no laptops equipped with the NVIDIA graphics within this price range.

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Seven warning signals that you need to buy a new PC

Using obsolete computers until they “can’t go on”, stretching the useful life of a device beyond what is reasonable, can result in errors or slowness in the execution of the system or resulting applications, is a torture and can test the patience of any user.

Much more so for a professional or a business, because a computer park made up mostly of obsolete equipment interferes in the daily labor of the employees and ends up resulting in lower productivity with a direct relation between the acquisition of devices with high computing power and the efficiency of operations on general.

Taking into account the increased cost of maintaining obsolete equipment, the total cost of ownership of the new equipment is easily redeemable by the increase in productivity, connectivity or mobility offered by the latest generations of devices.

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Comparison: SATA 3 SSD vs PCI-Express (PCIe) SSD, is it worth the investment?

As you know, for some time now the performance of SATA3 SSDs reached its peak due to interface limitation, and for that reason nowadays the SSDs with PCI-Express interface –whichever format they may be- and especially those with NVMe, for their high performance, are booming. Today we want to show you a performance comparison, but not in our usual analysis level, but a closer inspection, using real life tests and daily use of the computer, to see if it’s worth or not to update our SATA3 SSD to a PCI-Express.

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PlayStation VR: Ultimate Tips and Tricks

PlayStation VR just hit the market this week and has become many people’s introduction to the world of virtual reality. The following list of tips and tricks is supposed to improve your PlayStation VR experience. If any of the terminology sounds unfamiliar to you, we recommend you check out our virtual reality glossary. If you want to know how to set up PlayStation VR just have a look at this article.

http://pc4u.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/PlayStation-VR.jpg

Optimizing the Tracking

Playstation VR uses a camera in combination with LEDs on your headset and the PlayStation Move controller (Dual Shock 4 controllers can also be recognized). This method is of course less than subtle and these bright lights reflecting of off shiny surfaces can become a little irritating. That’s why we recommend darkening your room for PS VR. If you don’t need to have the Social Screen displayed on your TV you can just turn it off.

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Google Daydream View vs. Samsung Gear VR, which is Better?

With its Daydream View VR-kit Google has put out a serious competitor in the race against Samsung’s Galaxy VR. In this article, we will pit the Google’s new Daydream VR against the current version of the Samsung Gear VR. Who come out in the pole position?

Comfort and Handling

Google Daydream View vs. Samsung Gear VR

Right away, the Google Daydream View feels much more comfortable and lighter on your head than the Samsung Gear VR. The fabric used on Googles headset also gives it a higher quality feel compared to the Samsung. Mounting your smartphone is also an easier process with the Daydream because you only need to loosen a bit of rubber and slide your phone in. With the Gear VR however, you’ll always need to plug it into the USB connector on the phone and push it in till it clips in firmly.

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First RYZEN 7 1700X performance tests beat the Core i7 6850K

The VideoCardz guys have made a complete round of performance tests of the RYZEN 7 1700X, a processor that will make place just under the AMD series, that as we know will be the RYZEN 7 1800X.

Such processor counts with eight cores and sixteen threads at a base frequency of 3,4 GHz and 3,8 GHz in turbo mode, which can be increase if combined with a motherboard with a B350, X370 o X300 chipset. Its price has been leaked and it will be $389.

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Apple suspends the LG UltraFine 5K, “the best monitor” for MacBook Pro

Apple began to sell last October the LG UltraFine 5K, which itself proclaimed as “the best monitor” for users that want to work with external displays from the MacBook Pro 2016.

LG UltraFine 5K

Is extremely weird for Apple to recommend and sell a product that isn’t part of its brand, but it has an explanation. In the last hardware conference, there was only room for the MacBook Pro 2016. Apple didn’t introduce any updates for the Mac Mini, Mac Pro or MacBook Air and neither a monitor of their own to reopen its Cinema Display series as it was rumored.

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Best Thermal paste for CPU 2017: Which to buy?

Thermal paste is a very important compound; it improves the conduction of heat from the CPU to the heat sink, so that none of the heat generated by the computer remains trapped within it. Thermal paste that’s dry or otherwise insufficient won’t adequately conduct thermal energy, meaning that the CPU’s temperature will be higher than it should. In general, thermal paste is very cheap and is available at a broad range of prices and quality. Here, we’ll talk about the best brands of thermal paste on the market. This document will be updated each time a new type of thermal paste comes on the market.

Types of thermal paste

With ceramic components: This type of thermal paste is usually made of quartz sand (silicon oxide) and/or zinc oxide in additional to other components and is usually white. One example of this kind of paste is the Arctic Silver Ceramique 2, which is made mainly of quartz sand.

Best Thermal paste for CPU

With metallic components: These are made of aluminum and/or silver, yield better results than ceramic pastes, are more expensive, and usually are silver or dark grey. An example is the famous Arctic Silver 5, which is made almost exclusively of silver, aluminum oxide, zinc oxide, and ceramic particles.

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The ultra thin Razer Blade 14 has been upgraded with Kaby Lake processors and 4K display

The Razer Blade 14 is one of the thinnest gaming laptops on the market and yet it is capable of hosting high performance components to play anywhere.

Now updated with the new Intel Kaby Lake processors with the Intel Core i7-7700HQ as one of the most powerful options that will accompany its NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card and the 16 GB of DDR4 memory it contains.

In addition to the new processors, the Razer Blade 14 receives a new panel for its 14″ touch screen with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, ie UltraHD or 4K. The FullHD IPS screen option is still available for those who prefer this panel or want to save a few dollars.

Razer Blade 

This new model, with FullHD screen, starts at about 1,899 Dollars with a 256GB SSD. The cheapest model with 4K screen includes a SSD of 512 GB and is priced at 2,399 Dollars.