If you are a gamer, you may have considered buying a gaming laptop. While desktops are still the most powerful option, gaming laptops offer convenience. You can carry one to work, office, or vacation if needed. If you live in a dorm or an apartment, you may prefer to own a gaming laptop anyway. Besides, gaming laptops are kind of cool to own.
Typically, a good gaming laptop costs close to $2,000. Well-known brands like Alienware cost close to $3,000. That’s a lot of money to spend on a laptop. So should you really spend thousands of dollars buying a gaming laptop? Understandably, no one wants to overspend buying something really expensive and precious. Here are several things to ponder about so you don’t spend more than you need to buy a gaming laptop:
Make Sure You Really Need a Gaming Laptop
Most modern laptops are quite advanced and can play a certain number of gaming titles. You don’t need to buy a gaming laptop to play casual games like Candy Crush. The integrated graphics cards that come with most laptops are more than enough to play casual games well without no lag. If you are an ardent Word of Warcraft or Minecraft fan, you don’t really need a gaming laptop either. These games don’t have super demanding graphics and most laptops can play them relatively well.
You only need to buy a gaming laptop if you are really into hardcore games. Titles like Witcher, Battlefield, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Gears of War, and Tomb Raider have high graphics demands. So you will need a laptop with specs to handle that if you plan on playing these games on a computer.
The point is, you need to really think hard about whether the titles you pay really do require gaming laptop specs before you spend money buying one.
Decide on the Specs You Need
The price of the gaming laptop you buy will depend on the specs. Usually, it’s the processor, screen size and graphics card that largely determine how expensive a gaming laptop will be. If you are aiming for a high-end processor like Core i7, you will need to be willing to spend over $900. Also, the larger the screen size is, the more expensive the laptop will be.
The graphics card is really the most important spec you need to look for in a gaming laptop. Unlike with a desktop, you won’t be able to change the graphics card in a laptop. Therefore, this is where you should put your money. The latest gen graphics cards will cost more.
Instead of going straight for the laptop with the most powerful processor and the graphics card, you should decide on the ideal set of specs you need. Gamers are recommended to buy laptops with quad-core Intel Core i7 laptops. But you may be able to get away with an Intel Core i5 if you are only a casual to moderate level gamer. To estimate graphics card requirements, check the titles you intend to play. What type of card and computer specs does the game designers recommend? You should buy a laptop accordingly.
You can go for higher-end specs to future-proof your laptop. Even so, this may not be necessary if your gaming habits won’t change for the coming five years.
Avoid the Brand Trap
There’s no law saying you need to buy an Alienware gaming laptop. You could easily end up overspending when you chase brands. You should rather focus on your needs and ideal specs when buying a gaming laptop, not the brand name. You may be able to buy a generic laptop with the same set of specs as a high-end brand that costs thousands of dollars. So, take care not to fall into the brand trap. Look for quality, not the superficial sheen when shopping for the ideal laptop.
Consider Budget Options
There are, of course, budget gaming laptops that you should really consider buying if you don’t want to spend too much. You can buy a good budget gaming laptop priced between $600 and $1,000, and a really good budget gaming laptop between $1,000 and $1,600. Budget laptops are not inexpensive because they are of low quality. Some brands, like MSI, don’t have much recognition so these laptops can cost less.
Budget laptops also tend to have screen sizes less than 20 inches so the overall price is contained. Specs with budget options can vary. You can buy cheap laptops with high-end processors like Intel Core i7. However, RAM is usually limited to 8GB, so you may have to manually expand later. Budget laptops also offer both SSD and HDD options. But SSD options are rather limited. You can check out the best gaming laptops under $1000 to get an idea of the sort of specs you can expect from budget products.
Mind the Accessories
You can easily end up overspending when you buy laptops that come with loads of accessories. Some sellers overhype certain features like the keyboard and mouse. While these parts are indeed an important part of the gaming experience, there’s no sense in paying hundreds of dollars more just because a gaming laptop comes with a really cool-looking keyboard. You can easily purchase gaming keyboards and mice separately for far cheaper. Spend money mainly on the important specs: processor, RAM, drive, graphics card and screen resolution.
Be mindful of marketing fluff when you go about buying a gaming laptop. Take time to do your research and be aware of all the options available out there for you. Pay attention to the above suggestion. First, understand what you need, and then you will be able to make a good buying decision. As mentioned above, make a list of specs you need and what titles you expect to play. Then you will be less likely to fall victim to various marketing claims with little to no backing.
Once you have narrowed down a list of products you’d like to buy, make sure you read customer reviews for the laptops. Go to reputable tech blogs and review sites to read expert takes on the laptop as well. Know what the laptop is truly capable of before you spend your money on it. Purchase only from sellers that offer warranties to get the best value for your money.