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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).

Graphics Card

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.
    Recently, the latest Pascal GTX 100x series graphics card has came out, you can see the latest GTX 1050Ti and GTX 1050 graphics cards be built-in many laptops at a price tag of 1000 dollars. Compare to the same level graphics cards of the old GTX960M, their performance has a big boost, the GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop) shows more than 60% (up to 86%) better performance than GTX 960M! The new chip of GTX 1050 Ti left behind even the higher tier GTX 970M.
  • 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.


Cheap Gaming Monitor 2017 Recommendation (144 Hz, Low input Lag, 4K)

Arguably the most important peripheral, a good monitor is supposed to provide a good immersive experience for gaming and productivity. There are myriads of factor to be considered here, first and foremost being the resolution and the color reproduction. Next and equally important factor, especially for gamers, is the refresh rate of the monitor and the availability of FreeSync or G-sync for smoother gaming experience. The unknown factors are of course backlight bleed and dead pixels, especially, if you are going for esoteric Korean panels which have flooded the market these days.

Our review however is concerned with the most well-established manufacturers with relatively uniform production quality and better customer support. If you want to take the risk, go ahead and experiment with a Korean panel.

Your personal workload is also an important factor in deciding the kind of panel you may want to use. Want higher response time and really low latency for your fast-paced Counter-Strike then you may want a TN panel. Most people prefer using an IPS panel, because of better viewing angle and higher color saturation. This is good for content creators and people who watch movies with their friends and family using their monitor.


Best SSD 2017 (SATA, mSATA, M.2)

In the world of hardware, if you want to improve your computer performance, everything goes through choosing a good solid state drive, characterized by a high speed data transfer (up to 10x more than mechanical drives) and minimum information accessing times.

What is an SSD?

SSD stands for Solid State Drive. These are devices that use memories such as flash drives or USB drives, but of a higher quality. They can come in different formats, from typical portable hard drives to small cards that plug into special ports (mSATA or PCIe).

The difference between a hard drive and an SSD is the time it takes to access information and data transfer. On hard drives, the discs are turning all the time and only read information when the head passes through the point where the information is. With SSD memories, it directly accesses the information at any time it wants. The transfer speed of the hard drive depends on the speed of the disc, but is something that can’t be increased lightly, especially in the case of hard drives destined for home users.


Best Monitor for Photo Editing and Photography Comparison (May 2017)

If you want to capture images with the highest possible quality then each and every one of the elements, which become part of the photographer’s digital lab, has to be in top notch form or at least, of the highest quality we could afford. The monitor is one of the devices that we should examine most closely.

When we buy a computer to use it to edit pictures, we should always be looking for the best processor with RAM overflow and all kinds of ports. With some luck, if it comes with a free monitor, we often thank the seller for the unbelievable fortune that we have just come upon. It may also come with lots of inches…

Well, I dare to say that we were wrong. We should not settle for any monitor! It’s no use to have the best camera in the world if your monitor can’t rise to the occasion. Monitor is equally as important as the optical camera. I always say, it’s better to spend less on a camera while investing more on the best lens and monitor we could afford.


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.


The comparison of Firefox vs. Chrome 2017 – Which is better

We looked under the hood of the popular browsers Firefox and Chrome and now it’s time to find out which one comes out first in a duel.

Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are among the most popular web browsers used on the PC and are thus also the most widespread ones. Both apps also have phone and mobile (tablet) versions making it easy to keep your data and bookmarks synched across multiple devices. This way you can synchronize settings, favorites, etc. among your devices without using additional software.

Firefox vs. Chrome

Since Microsoft have said goodbye to Internet Explorer and, in Windows 10, released a new browser called Microsoft Edge, more users are looking for an alternative. The popular choice are Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.


Best Laptop under 400 Dollars 2017

In our previous article we reviewed four of the most loaded laptops around the $500 tag. We have lowered it further to $400 to see what the market segmentation is like at that price point. The point of high end laptops was to provide performance and we cared little about weight and battery life. Surely, at this budget if we are not asking for gaming, we can get good laptops for lightweight productivity and casual use. Can’t We?

Well the market is segmented differently from the perspective of a few manufacturers. Somehow, they want to convince consumers that at $400 they can provide everything just as well as those high end products. As a result, we end up with products that aren’t good for power users or the casual ones. These are the products which you would want to avoid. Also considering your personal needs is important while deciding what you might prefer. For example, if you are a blogger who likes to travel to different places and write about them then reliable battery performance is going to matter more than CPU performance or the RAM size. Similarly, a corporate executive can appreciate a faster SSD which would make boot time extremely small and programs like Microsoft Office would load quickly.

Notice that we are considering products that can be regarded as laptops and are not convertible tablets or Chromebooks. The main reason for doing this is not so much the form factor but the CPU inside it. Anything with an Intel Core M from any generation is something we are intentionally avoiding just to stick to laptop department alone. There is an entire range of Macbooks and Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Book, but those things cost north of a $1000 price tag. Something a budget conscious person would avoid.


Best Gaming Laptop under 700 dollars 2017

The PC gaming market is flooded with newer and more efficient hardware which has the gaming community psyched since the Nvidia Pascal release in 2016. Given all of this, it is curious to see how many budget gaming laptops still use the older GPUs, mostly GTX 950M and 960M. We will see as we look closely at individual laptops, how good of a performance they pack for the aforementioned budget. The most crucial deciding factor other than the GPU, will be high speed storage, CPU and of course, the display.


Best Gaming Laptop under 800 dollars 2017

While in the last posts we reviewed some top of the class gaming laptops, now we will consider some affordable options for the ones who are thinking about a laptop with modest portable gaming experience, however you don’t expect the highest frame rate, or the extreme graphic settings.

We decided to lower the price range from 1000 dollars down to 800 dollars, and find the best gaming laptop solution in this price range. Didn’t come as a shock finding that we have found there are tons of options in this price group, some even surprisingly good for the money you’ll spare.

In our manner, by dong a massive research and analysis, and limiting the playing range even more, we have managed to make a list of top five gaming laptops in the range of 800 dollars on the market momentarily. Although not looking as pretty as high end laptop, the performance of these laptops is surprisingly good, so they can freely be named “mid-high end”.


Best Budget and Cheap Gaming Laptop 2017 Comparison

When looking for gaming laptops, if your budget is flexible then you should definitely look at our review of a diverse range of laptops that might interest you. The price range is set from $400 to $800 and each model has something unique to offer.

There are models which can play almost any modern AAA game titles, and there are low budgets build which will play most of the MMO games and less demanding games without any stutter. It depends on what your budget is, as well as the type of games you may want to play.

At the upper end we have the $800 configuration with the latest i5-7300HQ or i7-6700HQ both of which would ensure that the CPU is never a bottleneck while you are fighting the hardest boss fight of Dark Souls 3, for example. Also the most common GPU, the GTX 1050 and the 1050Ti, makes sure all the details are rendered at the highest setting when playing at the 1080p resolution. Ideal for all genres of gaming and also productivity tasks, these are definitely worth the price.

On the flip side, if you want to just have fun playing with your friends you know fully well that most games like DOTA2, League of Legends, Counter Strike or Overwatch don’t require you to have the best hardware to get the job done. This is where the low end options will come into picture. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money and if you still want to have fun play the less demanding titles this is the perfect sweet spot for you.

It largely depends on your needs and preferences while picking any of the models listed below. However, no matter which one you pick, you are guaranteed to have fun gaming without having the regret of having spent more than what was necessary.——-

Cheap Gaming Laptops recommendation:

1, MSI GL62M 7RE-407 15.6”

MSI GL62M 7RE-407 15.6”

This is a product which we have reviewed before and in quite a bit of depth too, needless to say it catches every gamer’s attention and gets complemented a lot. At $900 this is not surprising but rather something you’d expect. Often laptops even at the mid-to-high range market suffer a lot of design flaws being overly verbose and vibrant. MSI fortunately knows how to design with perfect aesthetics and appeal.