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Gaming Laptops: You Should Know These 9 Buying Tips






If you are looking for a new gaming laptop – then you have come to the right place: 9 tips for buying a gaming notebook!

It can be pretty confusing when you look around the market for gaming laptops – you not only have to pay attention to the CPU, GPU, RAM and all that, but also the display, battery life, weight, keyboard and so on. ..And if you google a model, you will find umpteen different versions, so you can quickly lose track of it.

We give 9 important tips so that you can find the right model for you and not buy a cucumber.

Tip 1: What can and do you want to spend?

If you want a laptop for gaming, you have to expect at least 900 euros – you get very good models with an RTX 3050, 3050 Ti or 3060 for gaming in Full HD (1080p). For example that


ASUS TUF Gaming F15

for 888 euros or that


DELL G15 5515

for 929 euros – both with RTX 3050. If you want to spend more, you get the next performance level with an RTX 3070 from 1500 euros, for example the


HP Omen 16

for 1499 euros or that


MSI Katana GF66

for 1599 euros. From 2000 euros, the absolute high-end level begins with RTX 3080 GPU and everything that a gamer could wish for – such as that


Acer Predator Helios 300

for 2199 euros or that


MSI GP66 Leopard

– also for 2199 euros.

Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming

Tip 2: You need this graphics card

And that brings us almost to the most important point: the graphics card, on which game performance depends to a large extent. And here’s some good news: The supply situation with mobile graphics chips is not nearly as bad as it is with desktop graphics cards – because scalpers are hard to tear out and sell individually.

Comparison test:

The best gaming laptops

You can of course look around for older devices with RTX 2000 cards – but the price differences to the current generation are relatively small. So look for a notebook with an RTX 3000 card right away – they not only offer better performance, but also some improvements over the RTX predecessors:

The main argument for gamers is of course ray tracing – in combination with DLSS 2.0, this can also be played quite well on a 3050 (Ti). In addition, there are functions such as Dynamic Boost 2.0 – this feature regulates the energy management of the graphics card, graphics memory and CPU dynamically via AI and thus brings more performance. Or Resizable Bar – this allows the CPU to access the video memory of the graphics card directly via PCI Express. Or Whisper Mode 2.0 – with this you define the maximum fan volume – and an AI ensures that this is not exceeded while the performance remains as high as possible.

Colorful: Many gaming notebooks come with an RGB illuminated keyboard.

Enlarge

Colorful: Many gaming notebooks come with an RGB illuminated keyboard.

© Acer

And what kind of GPU do we recommend for gamers now? Of course, that depends a lot on the games and the resolution. In Full HD, a 3050 or 3050 Ti is sufficient – especially if you play older games such as CS: GO, Fortnite and Co. If you want to play triple-A games with the highest details or competitive games at 165 Hertz in 1080p, then you better get a notebook with RTX 3060 right away – it brings 30 percent more FPS than a 3050 Ti. If you want to play in WQHD , he then has to dig deeper into his pocket, because you need at least an RTX 3070 or ideally an RTX 3080.

Tip 3: You can save yourself 4K / UHD

Save yourself laptops with UHD displays for gaming. In all honesty: Even on a 17 inch device it doesn’t make much sense, you practically don’t see any difference and it just costs unnecessary computing power. Better to use a WQHD display with a resolution of 2560 × 1440 pixels at 165 Hertz. As a gamer, you have a lot more of it.

Tip 4: Pay attention to the TGP information

Pay attention to the TGP (Thermal Graphics Power), i.e. the maximum thermal power loss of the entire graphics unit. Because the higher the TGP, the more gaming performance is possible, but also the more power consumption and waste heat are generated. In some cases, the TGP even has a greater impact on performance than the GPU model series. Incidentally, the TGP should not be confused with the TDP, i.e. the thermal power loss of the pure GPU.

Tip 5: You need this CPU

Four processor cores are usually sufficient for gaming, six are optimal. For gaming notebooks, look for the suffix H in the CPU name. This stands for high performance and means a higher TDP and thus more performance. Incidentally, this applies to Intel and AMD. And now the ultimate question when buying a processor: AMD or Intel? And the shocking answer: it doesn’t matter in principle.

Many gaming notebooks come in a restrained design.

Enlarge

Many gaming notebooks come in a restrained design.

© HP

Both have very good mobile CPUs on offer – at Intel, however, we definitely recommend a model from the current 11th generation, such as the 11400H with 6 cores or the 11800H with 8 cores. The older CPUs of the 10th generation are behind AMD in terms of performance. If you are Team AMD, use a Ryzen 4000 or Ryzen 5000, such as the 5600H with 6 or the 5800H with 8 cores. We would no longer recommend a Ryzen 3000 – they are based on the desktop architecture of the Ryzen 2000 and are therefore pretty out of date.

Tip 6: make your laptop quieter and cooler

If you regulate your graphics card down by a few watts, it usually costs little performance, but it brings a lot in terms of waste heat and volume. We have described in detail how this is done in this article. Ultimately, all you have to do is reduce the voltage of the GPU or the CPU. However, proceed in small steps of around 5 to 10 mV and test the device for stability after each step – and whether the gaming performance is still sufficient for you.

Tip 7: This is how much RAM and memory your laptop needs

We recommend at least 16 GB of RAM, less is actually no longer useful these days. For gamers, however, more usually doesn’t make sense either. An SSD of at least 512 GB is required for data storage. If you can afford more, you can use a 1 TB SSD right away. Or you pay attention to upgrade options:

Especially if you currently cannot spend that much money, you better get a decent CPU / GPU combo and save a little on RAM and storage. You can hardly ever upgrade the graphics card and processor in laptops, but a RAM bar or an SSD can usually be quickly plugged in or replaced. Whether the memory of a notebook can be upgraded can usually be found in the data sheet or the product description.

Tip 8: Your laptop needs this display

Our recommendation: For gaming at least 144 Hz with Full HD – or if you want to spend more money – in WQHD with 165 Hz. Speaking of display size: 17 inches are actually best for gaming. On the other hand, the devices are of course heavier and more difficult to transport, precisely because many bags and backpacks are only designed for 15.6 ”. You should weigh that in your purchase decision: large display or compact dimensions.

That leaves the display technology and we recommend an IPS panel. TN or VA displays are basically out of date and no longer recommended. An IPS screen scores with high color fidelity, a large color space and good brightness.

For 1080p gaming: A display with at least 144 Hertz

Enlarge

For 1080p gaming: A display with at least 144 Hertz

© MSI

Tip 9: Pay attention to weight and battery life

One thing should be clear: the weight and the battery life depend on the hardware installed – crass hardware means more heat, so you need more space for cooling – and that increases the weight. Light gaming notebooks weigh less than two kilograms, while heavy desktop replacements tend towards three kilograms.

In gaming notebooks, the battery life is usually specified for video playback and that should be at least 6.5 hours. But let’s be completely honest: video playback has nothing to do with gaming and most notebooks go to their knees after a maximum of 2 hours when gaming. You have to be clear about that.

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