Being a PC gamer is all about choice. Whether we’re talking about resolution, aesthetics, or performance, you can choose to customize your own build as much as possible. That choice also extends if you want to go mobile. Gaming laptops are becoming more and more popular in the PC gaming community, and the best gaming laptop will have performance that’s comparable with that of a desktop’s.

Let’s talk about the do’s and dont’s of gaming laptops and determine which are some of the best ways to pick a machine that best suits your needs.

Set a Budget

As with desktop machines, gaming laptops come in all shapes and sizes. Before deciding on what brand and what features you want to bag, you should first set out a budget. That’s going to give you a nice outline of what features you can afford and if you need to make a compromise.

In terms of gaming laptops, 1,000 US dollars should give you an entry model. You can start seeing more performance at the 1,700 mark, with models that exceed 2,000 being very powerful machines. Once you set out a budget, try to get as much performance for the money, and avoid features like mechanical keyboards or RGB unless money’s no issue. If you’re trying to shop on a budget, then try to get as powerful a GPU as possible.

Decide On a Brand

Gaming laptops come from a lot of different manufacturers. When shopping for your next mobile battle station, you should think about what each brand brings to the table. Alienware, ROG, Origin, Legion, these are all gaming-oriented brands from the biggest PC hardware manufacturers.

MSI, for instance, is one of the bigger, more value-oriented manufacturers in the gaming laptop industry. One entry model from them is priced at around 1,000 US dollars and will get you a quad-core 9th gen i7, 8 gigs of DDR4 RAM, and a GTX 1660 Ti. You won’t be shredding through triple A 2020 games using this laptop, but you can play less demanding games like Fortnite, Rocket League, DOTA2, League of Legends, Overwatch, at high settings, constantly hitting 60 fps.

An ASUS ROG mid-level gaming laptop will set you back about 1,800 US dollars and will come with a hexacore processor, 16 gigs of DDR4 RAM, and a GTX 1070 GPU, which can run any current AAA game at high settings with no issues. You’ll also be getting premium stuff, like 144 Hz screens, RGB keyboards, little upgrades that will make your experience much more enjoyable.

Overall, it’s good to stick to a gaming brand when shopping for a gaming-capable laptop. There are other laptops that come with gaming hardware, but gaming-designated machines have tweaked CPUs, better cooling, and software that’s going to help you squeeze every bit of power out of your machine.

Decide On Screen Size

Screen size is something that’s going to be affected by your budget. Lower-end gaming laptops typically come with a 15.6-inch screen, something that’s good enough for playing games but not ideal. More expensive models come with a 17-inch screen, something that bodes well for a more enjoyable gaming experience.

If you’re on the market for something more compact, then 14-inch models are available, although they don’t come with very impressive specs. Lastly, if 17 inches isn’t enough to satisfy your gaming needs, then there are a few high-end laptops that stray away from this standard, but they’re very expensive.

Shop Older Models

The gaming laptop market is very competitive. Pair that with the competitivity found in the PC component market and you’ll soon realize that major gaming laptop releases come every odd month or so. This means that prices drop fast, and you’ll be able to save a lot of money if you wait a few months after a model’s release for the prices to lower.

MSI 30th Anniversary Gaming Notebook News (1)

If you want save even more money, then previous-generation models are actually good bargains. The hardware is still really good, and you can run any games on a GTX 1000 series GPU. The 1070, 1080, and 1080 Ti can really shred through the fire and frames, so grabbing an older model that rocks previous-gen hardware is definitely a way to save money and gain a lot more value in the process.

Conclusion

Gaming laptops are a great way to enjoy gaming while staying on the move. You can LAN party with your nerd friends or clock in a few hours while you’re traveling for work or school. When picking a gaming laptop, it’s important to pick a budget, then try to get as much hardware as you can for the money. And remember, a great way to get more value is to shop for “outdated” models.