Things to consider before buying a gaming laptop

From powerful chipsets to cutting-edge graphics and a sleek chassis, we look at the key aspects that you must consider before buying your next gaming laptop.

With gaming steadily becoming much more than a nerdy hobby, the time is ripe for users to get their hands on laptops that have what it takes. True to this is the advent of the latest generation laptop processors, which bring with them generational upgrades on every front. Take the latest AMD Ryzen™ 6000 series offerings, for instance, and you instantly see the impact these new processors make in the field of gaming laptops. From upgraded performance to slimmer laptop bodies and a massive jump in the overall battery life that gaming laptops have been traditionally known to offer, the AMD Ryzen™ 6000 series processors for laptops are at the cutting edge of what laptops can offer today.

But, is performance the only thing you should focus on when buying a laptop, or do other elements play key roles as well? Here’s our comprehensive guide.

Performance: Look for the perfect blend of power and efficiency

Processor: The first factor to focus on is, of course, the processor. With laptop chips improving steadily, the latest gaming laptops are capable of running even the most demanding games. However, such performance doesn’t have to come at the cost of power efficiency, since you might want to use your gaming laptop for work as well.

It is this aspect that the new AMD Ryzen™ 6000 generation of CPUs absolutely ace. With a new Zen 3+ core architecture using the 6nm manufacturing standard, the AMD Ryzen™ 6000 processors are significantly more efficient than before. In terms of performance, the AMD Ryzen™ 6000 offers a 1.3x performance jump and a 2.1x upgrade in its GPU performance in comparison to the older AMD Ryzen™ 5000 series. This makes it twice as good at gaming as the previous generation processors.

AMD Ryzen 2

The range of AMD Ryzen™ 6000 series processors starts from the six-core, 12-thread AMD Ryzen™ 5 6600U, which is ideal for entry-level gaming laptops that switch between work and gaming loads – thanks to its frugal 15W power consumption. At the top of the pile is the venerable AMD Ryzen™ 9 6980HX, which comes with eight cores, 45W power consumption, 12-core AMD Radeon 600M graphics, and up to 5GHz boost clock speed.

SSD storage: Apart from the processor, you also need to make sure that your laptop has SSD storage for smooth performance. With blazing-fast loading times and transfer speeds, SSD storage has become quite a popular choice, especially when it comes to gaming laptops. While it was not common to see SSD storage in mid-range laptops just a few years ago, thankfully, now the situation is quite different and you can easily get a laptop that offers a solid state drive at a reasonable price point. In terms of capacity, you can go for a combo of SSD and HDD for a large game library but make sure you have at least 1TB of storage at your disposal for your media files and games.

You also need to look at the type of SSD that you get with your laptop. We would recommend you to go for NVMe SSDs over SATA, as the former offer more bandwidth and better transfer speeds.

RAM: As games are getting more and more demanding with each passing year, you need to make sure that your laptop has ample RAM for enough bandwidth. At the very least, we would recommend a laptop with 16GB RAM. Laptops that let you upgrade the RAM later on (this feature is available on very few devices) should be preferred. You also need to figure out the type of RAM that you need in your gaming laptop. If you want top-of-the-line DDR5 RAM, which will indeed offer incredible performance, you will have to shell out more, but for most users with regular requirements, DDR4 RAM should do the job.

Graphics: Enough for the most demanding games

Apart from choosing the right CPU, it is equally, if not more, important to pick the right GPU as well. Discrete graphics solutions come at the cost of weight and portability but offer the best gaming experience. Integrated graphics solutions have traditionally not been the best for gaming, but some of the industry’s latest offerings have changed this notion.

AMD Ryzen 3

For instance, the AMD Ryzen™ 6000’s integrated graphics come with GDDR5 memory, thanks to the AMD Radeon 600M integrated GPU. With 12 cores and the new RDNA 2 architecture, the AMD Radeon 600M promises a whopping 70 percent faster gaming performance over the AMD Ryzen™ 5000. You also get support for Dynamic HDR and AMD FreeSync display technologies, which bring professional display support and high frame rate panels.

This can essentially allow you to play any game available on Windows at FHD resolution with high and stable frame rates. All this, despite offering the benefit of a slim laptop body. When you buy a new gaming laptop, look for such an offering to ensure that you can carry your laptop to work and use it for long gaming hours as well.

Display: Size, type, resolution, and refresh rate

The laptop display is essentially a window to your gaming world and it needs to show a crisp and clear view. One of the first things you will have to decide on when it comes to display is the screen size. Most gaming laptops offer 15-inch displays, with some going up to 17-inches as well. While the 15-inch display adds to the portability of the laptop, the larger display offers a higher level of immersion. You will have to make this choice on the basis of your requirements. Next, you need to look at the display type. While OLED panels offer the most vibrant visuals, for high refresh rates, you will have to opt for LCD panels for high refresh rates. You will also have to make a choice whether you want to go for a touchscreen display or not, as that can allow you to explore different types of games as well.

Modern gaming laptops offer up to 4K display resolution, but we would recommend that you pay more attention to the screen refresh rates. For many gamers, FHD resolution with either 120Hz or 144Hz refresh rate could prove to be a good combination. In first person shooter games, the refresh rate is definitely a key factor and this is why we would recommend you to opt for refresh rate over the screen resolution.

Keyboard: More than meets the eye

While buying a gaming laptop, it is important to check out certain aspects of the keyboard. If the keyboard is not up to par, you will eventually have to use an external keyboard to play games or even for long typing sessions, which is not an ideal situation. To make sure that you get a good gaming experience, ensure that the keyboard on the laptop offers good key travel, and features like actuation (force applied for a press), anti-ghosting and n-key rollover. With anti-ghosting, you will be able to press multiple keys in games and all of them will register, while the n-key rollover ensures all keys are registered independently. You should also look for a laptop that has backlit keys to make sure your late-night gaming sessions are not hindered. You can also go for keyboards that offer RGB lighting if you want your laptop to stand out.

Battery life: Optimisation is the key

High-performance gaming laptops aren’t usually known for their battery life. However, with recent improvements in the chipset architecture, gaming laptops can deliver improved battery life than before. For example, the AMD Ryzen™ 6000 series processors can offer significantly better power consumption efficiency from the CPU core itself. This means that if you are not using the laptop for gaming, the battery life offered by the laptop will be pretty decent.

AMD Ryzen 4

Design: Slim designs go a long way

Gaming laptops have been getting thinner over the years, but even today, competent gaming devices can get fairly bulky. While it’d depend on your specific requirements, a slimmer option would work out better if portability is something you’re looking for.

AMD Ryzen 5

Thanks to the 6nm standard and a discrete GPU, AMD’s latest offerings ensure that you get slimmer laptop bodies than ever before. For instance, ASUS’ ZenBook S13 OLED, powered by the AMD Ryzen™ 7 6800U, measures only 14.9mm in thickness. The Dell G15 AMD Edition, which comes with the AMD Ryzen™ 7 6800H and 6GB GDDR6 discrete GPU, still weighs within 2.5kg – impressive for a high-performance gaming laptop.

Luckily, now you also have more flexible form factors for gaming laptops in the market. Look for new convertible design options that could suit work, gaming and entertainment use cases. Another aspect to look for is thermal efficiency. As gaming laptops tend to get really hot at times, make sure that your laptop comes with proper ventilation to ensure its performance is not throttled.

Security and connectivity: Underrated yet crucial factors

Through all of this, do not forget to look into the security credentials of the laptop that you buy, and the connectivity ports it has. The latest chips make the most of new security standards that are built into them by design, which is also what you must opt for.

AMD Ryzen™ 6000, for instance, is the world’s first x86 processor that offers the full stack of Windows 11’s safety features – which is the kind of secure by design feature set that you must opt for in today’s cyber security scenario.

This is further aided by support for USB 4.0 and PCIe 4 ports and slots, which is also compulsory to consider in your new gaming laptop. This can ensure that you can connect with the latest accessories and expand SSD for storage at a later date. In terms of wireless connectivity, look for laptops with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth LE 5.2 support – all of which AMD’s latest generation laptops will get you in a gaming laptop.

Conclusion

Now that you know the most important aspects to look for in a gaming laptop, you can set your priorities straight fairly easily. Another important factor in your choice would be your budget. As AMD-powered laptops are now available across price ranges, you would have no issues finding the perfect laptop for you that checks all the right boxes. To know more about AMD-powered gaming laptops, head here.