The rise of the gaming laptop
Modern gaming laptops are challenging traditional desktops. Find out how these laptops got serious game…
Gaming laptops of old were beaten hands-down by desktop PCs in every department – from physical size to graphics and processing oomph. But that’s no longer the case.
Clever and innovative design now means latest gaming laptops boast much more power and performance – even at 14 and 13-inch laptop sizes.
Why choose a gaming laptop?
Because not everyone wants to be chained to their desktop. Take gaming and travel vlogger George Benson.
‘When it comes to gaming on the go, you cannot carry your PC, your desk, mouse and keyboard around with you in a backpack,’ says George.
‘Using a laptop to game means that even on the go or when going on holiday, you can play games without needing a removal lorry to bring your gear with you.’
4 major improvements to today’s gaming laptops
1. High-tech graphics cards
To run demanding PC games you need a decent amount of dedicated graphics – it’s what delivers the images to your screen. They’re called dedicated because graphics cards have their own memory and do not rely on your computer’s main processor. This video memory is measured in gigabytes (GB).
NVIDIA is one of the biggest makers of graphics cards and it has spent a lot of time and money developing laptop graphics cards that offer excellent performance. Better graphics cards allow games to run at faster frame rates, known as frames per second or fps, and at higher resolutions. You’re also able to turn up special effects to see even more detail in the graphics. NVIDIA’s latest GTX M cards massively improve your laptop gaming sessions.
You can enjoy full-blown 1080p gaming at 30fps with a laptop that uses the GTX 960M chip, such as the Dell Inspiron 15 7000.
For the smoothest in laptop gaming, look at the GTX 980M – which boasts three-quarters of the power of NVIDIA’s desktop equivalent card. With the 980M you can turn special effect settings and resolution to the max on the most demanding games.
Find this with the Asus GX700 – part of its Republic of Gamers Line
2. Cooling technology
When you’re playing demanding games you’re pushing your laptop to its limits. This means its components get hot, causing games to crash and performance to become sluggish. Desktop PCs have high-tech cooling systems to offset this, but gaming laptops – particularly ones with thin designs – were left to suffer.
But the latest gaming laptops are much better prepared for overheating with sophisticated cooling systems of their own. Take the Asus GL502, it features a twin exhaust system that pushes out hot air. Inside the laptop the processors and graphics card are kept cool by copper heat pipes.
3. Super-sharp screen technology
To see stunning graphics you of course need a stunning screen. Again this was an area in which laptops failed to compete with desktops. But latest display technology means many laptops boast screens as sharp as your HD TV. Games will look great on the Full HD (1080p) screen of the Asus GL502, which also uses LED backlighting for more accurate colours.
Want to get into 4K gaming? Look for a laptop with a 4K resolution screen to do it justice. You’ll need some serious graphics power though – such as the Asus GX700.
4. Faster loading with SSD
Waiting for games and levels to load is much quicker today than back in the day of Mega Drives and cartridges, but it can still get annoying, right? The latest laptops feature a new type of storage called SSD. It stands for solid state drive, and its much slimmer, smaller and – most importantly – faster than a traditional hard drive.
For gamers, this means much, much faster load times. This happens because SSDs transfer data much more quickly than regular hard drives.
PC Gamer calls SSD an ‘essential component of a modern gaming PC’.