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Best Laptops For Gaming
Surely, these most gaming laptops are not for everyone as some of them carry a hefty price-tag.
With that said, one thing can be said for sure, these budget gaming laptops are good enough to make it to our list of the top best Laptop for Gaming.
Laptops For Gaming Reviews
ASUS ROG G752VS OC Edition Gaming Laptop
Let’s start with the positives:
– Although it has many plastic components, the build quality of the components and finishes is high, as it should be at this price. There is absolutely no chassis flex whatsoever, and only minimal screen flex. The screen offers smooth but firm resistance when opened and doesn’t jiggle back and forth once set.
– While the design is more understated than earlier Asus ROG designs, even non-techy people recognize it as something special. A mildly tech-savvy co-worker commented on how “sweet” my new laptop was. Without knowing the price, he also said “It looks expensive, probably too expensive for me”, and estimated it’s cost at “many thousands” of dollars.
– The performance is excellent. I won’t rehash all the specs and performance benchmarks here, but suffice to say, if you are looking for a laptop capable of driving a 4k screen, virtual reality glasses, high end gaming, or video editing this is an excellent machine.
– It has REAL mouse buttons. None of that “virtual-button” or “clickable touch pad” silliness.
– It is equipped with a USB -C port.
– The keyboard is glorious! Among the best laptop keyboards I have used. The keys have excellent feedback, plenty of travel and an good spacing and layout between keys. There are also built-in macro keys. A joy to type on!
So by now your probably wondering why I gave it two stars. Here’s why:
– It is not adequately cooled. I cannot over-stress this point. It is absolutely unacceptable for a modern computer being marketed as a high performance machine to have inadequate cooling. On this point, I believe my particular unit may be defective. I am seeing CPU temperatures over 100c while web browsing. That is not normal. The problem is so pronounced that it causes the computer to randomly shut down. This renders the computer unusable for important work, because you never know when it’s going to shut down on you.
– ASUS “VIP” (LOL, yeah right!) customer support can’t be bothered to respond to e-mails regarding the issue stated above. 4 days after contacting ASUS… still no response.
– The “Sonic Bass Woofer” was completely dead on arrival. It never worked, not even a single time. The problem appears to be hardware related.
– Battery is not user replaceable, so you can’t swap in freshly charged batteries. (technically you can replace it, but it requires tools and major disassembly)
– While on battery power, graphics performance falls off a cliff. I had very realistic expectations. I didn’t expect it to handle even light games while on battery power, but I did expect it to present a PowerPoint presentation smoothly. Even with the power plan set at “high performance” and with no other programs running, it still struggled to smoothly render simple transitions. I was honestly shocked at how poor the performance became. Perhaps this is also a one off problem with my particular unit. Disappointing, to say the least.
– I knew this going in, but it bears repeating… This is a heavy hulking laptop. at nearly 10 pounds, this isn’t something your going to fling around like a tablet. If you want to travel with it, it will take planning. Nothing sleek or slim about it. It’s designed to live on a desk.
So overall, A competent machine with a few issues. Admittedly, my unit may be defective. So, either the design is deficient or the quality control and internal assembly process is shoddy. With no response from ASUS, I’m left with little choice… It’s going back. However, I have lost confidence in this model. Sure, I could get a replacement, but there is no guarantee that it won’t have the same issues. Sad, I really expected better from ASUS and the ROG line.
Update: I finally received an e-mail from Asus CS. It was like the agent didn’t even read my description of the problem. The agent suggested that I update the Intel drivers. However in my initial description of the problem, I specifically stated that I had already updated to both the Intel drivers and the BIOS firmware before contacting Asus. The Nvidia drivers were up to date.
The sad thing is that before this I was very pleased with ASUS in general and had only good things to say about the ASUS ROG Swift Curved PG348Q Gaming Monitor and prior ROG laptops I have purchased.
Alienware AW13R2-8900SLV 13 Inch FHD Laptop
So far so good.
With the number of less than stellar reviews on the product here, I was concerned about making an order, but I did, and it so far seems well worth it. I have an Alienware 17, and this Alienware 13 lives up to the gorgeous design and impressive build quality that is standard across Alienware products. One reviewer here mentioned trackpad issues, at first I noticed some trackpad trouble as well – but quickly realized the problem wasn’t the laptop, it was Windows 10. There are some settings you will want to change if you find the trackpad getting stuck or not responding.
The laptop is totally quiet, it doesn’t make any sound whatsoever under normal use. When playing a game, for instance CS:GO, it does make a faint (and I mean very faint) buzzing sound which I suppose are the fans running – but that’s about it. I would *not* use this laptop for any seriously hardcore gaming. I got the QHD+ Touchscreen monitor, it’s very glossy and reflective, not very good for gaming compared to my Alienware 17’s matte and much brighter monitor. It also feels generally less suited to gaming, the Core i7 is mostly an i7 in name only, and the graphics card isn’t terribly impressive.
The speakers do not compare whatsoever to those on the Alienware 17. Whereas the latter has some that will make a song sound like a live concert, the 13’s are awful when the volume is maxed out – but the plus side is they can get very loud, so you wouldn’t be setting the volume at 100 anyway. Around 75% volume and lower, they’re decent.
I have no trouble connecting extra monitors with HDMI either. I plugged my TV to it and it was recognized immediately and started broadcasting the display instantly without me having to change any settings.
All things considered, there is no better laptop in this price range and size that can do as much as this one can.
Update: I’ve been using it for over a month now, playing all sorts of games, using Photoshop, on power and battery, no problems at all. This has been a pleasant experience. The laptop is very lovely to use when resting in bed and doing some casual work.
MSI GT83VR TITAN SLI-212 18.4″ Hardcore Gaming Laptop
This laptop is gargantuan!! I’ll be short and concise about the pros and cons of the device.
1. Video game wise it can handle anything you throw at it. You are rocking two GTX 1080’s which with just one alone you’re able to handle most games on the market today, but with two you just flattened the playing field. Come at me bro!
2. Screen is huge so you can watch movies or games with enjoyment.
3. The backpack it came with is really spacious with a lot of compartments.
1. The laptop is heavy!
2. Two power bricks with two plug prongs to plug in to the outlet. This one surprised me most because what we are usually used to with computers today we use only one plug prong, but this one requires two! Not even the most powerful desktop gaming PC uses two plug prongs. So that is a major let down with this laptop here. Not only will it take up more space it will add extra weight. Another thing I want to mention is that the adapter the power bricks connect to to the laptop is very rigid. You don’t have much flexibility with the cable to the computer which makes it tough to position the laptop the way you want. You need adequate room in the back so that the adapter is flat out horizontal.
3. Windows 10. Personally I never did like windows 10. I was always a windows 7 guy, so with this change I was not 100% glad. There are hardware in this laptop that only works with windows 10 drivers so with that you kind of have no choice. Windows 7 is no longer being supported especially for DirectX 12 future wise.
4. The numpad. As much as I understand that the usual mouse track pad had to be put somewhere because of the design of the keyboard and everything I almost feel that this laptop could have done without it. I would have rather had the numpad be like the rest of the keyboard with depression buttons I can actually feel with my fingers instead of some digital flat surface.
All in all the laptop is great. I mostly bought this for gaming. I am mostly on the go with the job I am working and needed something that I can take with me and satisfy my gaming urge when the need arises, plus i needed an upgrade from my previous Lenovo Y580. The laptop will handle whatever you throw at it. If you can handle the weight, and the two prong large power supplies plus whatever I mentioned in cons and love the fact that you can handle any game on the market with over 60 FPS on a large screen then by all means purchase this monstrosity of a Desk-laptop computer and put all your fears behind you because you won’t need another gaming computer for the next 20 years!
Razer Blade 14″ QHD+ Touchscreen Gaming Laptop
The Razer Blade 2015 by far is the best that the company has ever made.
After owning the previous generation Blade, which apparently was frustrating, this 2015 version is superb. It lives up the promise of a gaming laptop in a thin form factor. The hardware works completely well. Mine came in with preloaded Windows 10 so the experience was better.
I didn’t experience the frustrating issues I had with my 2014 Blade where battery, gpu, and RAM were really lacking. This laptop is the best laptop I have ever used. I know there might be other gaming laptops that will overshadow the specs of the Razer Blade 2015, but the specs and engineering in this laptop is definitely unique and promising.
The GTX 970M will run most games out in the market and most likely support well future titles that will come out this 2016-2017. It is truly powerful that rendering the details in your game will blow out your mind. The laptop do get HOT in a room temperature while playing hardcore intensive games that eats a lot of graphics. Fan would spin fast and loud when this happens, put on those headphones and you’ll be fine.
Razer also did something called localized heat. Compared to the 2014 Blade, the common keys such as WASD are not scorching anymore with the 2015.
All in all, the blade won’t disappoint for gaming.
I’m a photographer who owns a Nikon D810, a camera that needs a lot processing power when handling RAW files that it produces. It handles well heavy loads of work in Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC. Renders and exports my files significantly faster than my previous Razer Blade 2014. the 16GB RAM really helps well (versus the 8GB RAM on the 2014). I also do basic 3D and Architecture jobs, AutoCAD & SketchUp smoothly performs in this machine. Video editing softwares like Premiere Pro CC runs well and same goes to Adobe Audition and FL Studio.
MOBILE / BATTERY:
To play games on battery would definitely drain the juice fast. The Nvidia Experience battery boost can offer good settings for optimal 30FPS gameplay. Work also drains the battery bit faster, but not as much when you are gaming.
Battery can last long up to 5-6 hours with your usual browsing, watching clips and writing e-mails. I do have a specific setting where I can make the Razer Blade alive for 9-10 hours (without any gaming).
If you have the cash and prefer a true gaming laptop, the Razer Blade won’t disappoint you. People complain about the price as the specs can be found on other brands with a cheaper tag. But you need to understand, this is a engineering marvel of Razer, only a few manufacturers can design such thin and powerful notebook.
MSI GE62 Apache Pro-004 15.6″ Gaming Laptop Notebook
I bought this laptop mainly for music creation via FL Studio and For some gaming. I’m actually very impressed with it and it exceeded my expectations. There are a few problems but i’ll get into those later. Anyways the build quality on this thing is excellent with metal on the lid and inside where you will lay your hands while typing. the bottom of the laptop is plastic, but it doesn’t really feel that bad, would be better if it was all metal though. The i7 in this thing is a beast and is perfect for music creation, video editing, and anything else that is very CPU intensive.
The GPU is also quite good, but don’t expect to max out everything with it. It games very well in 1080p but if you want to get 60 fps you may need to lower the settings in some games. I’ve been playing fallout 4 on this thing at 1080p 60fps on a mix of low and medium settings, which is fine for me. The screen on this laptop is also very impressive. It has very wide viewing angles, and the colors look great. Now I did encounter a few problems with it, but they were all relatively easy to fix. first problem was that multi touch was not enabled on the track pad by default.
To fix this, go to your mouse settings>additional mouse settings>device settings and then click the settings button. after that you should see scrolling on the list of things to configure. click on one finger or two finger scrolling and then click enable vertical scrolling and horizontal scrolling. Problem solved. Some other issues I’ve experienced were the keyboard lights would stay on red rather than what ever you programmed it to be. I think this was a windows 10 issue though because after an update this stopped happening. So make sure you update all your drivers and stuff. Once you do all that though this laptop works great and is definitely the best in this price range. My biggest complaint is that the space bar on the keyboard sometimes wont register towards the far right or far left, but this is only if you hit it at the very very edge. Other than that the keyboard is amazing. So yeah overall this is a great laptop and you wont be disappointed.
Dell Inspiron i7559-7512GRY 15.6 Inch UHD Touchscreen Laptop
I purchased the I7559-7512GRY model with the 4k UHD screen, Core i7, 16GB RAM, and 128GB SDD + 1TB HDD combo and I like it so far, but can’t say I absolutely love it. I purchased mine specifically to be a desktop replacement/mobile workstation. I do not do much gaming, but rather, I run a lot of CPU intensive VMs and networking programs, with occasional Photoshop work. So far, it’s been incredible value for money. Performance with this laptop is great, the SSD is fast enough for the kind of work that I do and having the 1TB secondary storage is nice, but I think eventually I will swap both drives out in favor of a single SSD. The graphics card on this laptop is a beast and handles Photoshop exceptionally well, and the 4k screen has great color and depth to it, but IMO is too contrast-y.
Things to like about the laptop:
– The combination of i7 quad core, SSD, 16GB RAM, and 4GB discrete graphics makes this laptop blazing fast for the money. It’s definitely up there with other laptops that would cost easily twice as much.
– 4k touchscreen is gorgeous for everyday use. Not exactly the brightest screen, but it will do. I have compared it side-to-side with the matte 1080p version, and the 4k simply blows the 1080p version out the water in terms of overall image quality and color reproduction. Touchscreen feature is nice and responsive for the most part. It handles touches very accurately, which surprised me to say the least. Although I hardly use the touchscreen since the glossy texture shows fingerprints very easily.
– Keyboard is nice and quiet, perfect for typing, not so sure about gaming. The keys are decently sized, nicely spaced apart, but the key actuation is very low. There is little to no feedback with each press of the key. Backlit feature is a very nice touch, but there is a lot of light bleed out the sides of the keys and the space bar + the trackpad are not lit. Numberpad is also nice to have as well. Saves me a lot of time in my line of work.
– Speakers are great for a laptop. Subwoofer (if you want to call it that) adds a bit more depth to the sound, but not so much detail. Don’t expect too much from it as it is weak at best. I listen to a lot of music and it still sounds very flat on the bottom end. Still very hard to distinguish a lot of different bass notes, but at least the sound isn’t as flat or tinny. They do get very loud very easily.
– All 3 USB ports are USB 3.0, 1 of them (the one on the right side) also doubles as a USB charging port as well. This means that any device you plug in gets more than the typical 0.5A of regular USB ports. I’m not sure exactly how much output it has, but it’s enough to charge my phone just like my normal wall charger would. It also works when the computer is off, which is pretty sweet.
– Overall construction is fairly nice. The laptop is very sleek looking in all black with the grey accents. Very professional look IMO. The hinges are nice and stiff for the screen. It closes with a nice soft thud. The construction is all plastic, but it still manages to feel very sturdy. Bottom cover to access all internals comes off with just 1 screw, making upgrading the laptop extremely easy and user-friendly.
– Laptop doesn’t get extremely hot with all the power it has packed into it. With the two fans and all of the ventilation, the laptop stays fairly nice and cool, as well as quiet. The fans only got loud on me during my Win8.1 downgrade, and boy were they loud. Other than that, working for 3hrs of Photoshop did not even kick the fans up. The underside of the laptop does get slightly warm, but not to the point where it gets uncomfortable.
Things not to like:
– Trackpad is a little disappointing. The size is nice and scrolling is fine, but it gives a very hollow thud with each click and just feels cheap overall. After downgrading to Win8.1 from the stock Win10 OS, I lost a lot of functionality with the trackpad as Dell does not have any trackpad drivers available for this laptop. I had to install Dell ELAN drivers from a different model in order to regain the trackpad functions. Took me a long time searching for the right driver, but I eventually found one that works.
– Battery life is average, definitely not winning any points here though. I can usually get about 5ish hours with normal everyday tasks like web browsing, a bit of music listening, and using Microsoft Office products. Anything intensive such as Photoshop or VMWare will bring down battery life to 3.5-4hrs. Given the size of this laptop, you would think they could stuff a much beefier battery, but oh well.
– Soft-touch plastic construction is an absolute fingerprint magnet. No matter how clean your hands are, this laptop attracts all sorts of greasy fingerprints on it. They’re not as obvious due to the matte look, but given the right angle you can see all the fingerprints.
– Although the grey model has grey accents around the Dell logo on the lid and on the trackpad, it still has red accents on the speaker grilles, heatsink fins, and the rubber feet. IMO I think the red looks very tacky and just doesn’t flow very well with the overall design. Not something serious, but still bugs me a bit.
– The laptop weighs quite a bit. It isn’t advertised as being an ultralight laptop, but at 6lbs for the laptop alone, it is on the heavier side. Throw in the huge brick of a charger and you’re looking at around 8lbs. Not exactly the most mobile workstation, but again, it isn’t advertised as being an ultralight laptop.
– Does not utilize DDR4 RAM or PCIe x3.0 SSD technology, which is understandable given how new the technology is, but would still be nice to have for future upgrades. At this moment, Dell reserves this technology for their higher end models such as the XPS 15.
These setbacks are minor at most. Don’t let them sway you from choosing this laptop because it is still a great laptop overall. It does everything I need it to do without a hitch and it looks awesome. Personally for me though, price is a big deciding factor for this laptop. I paid just under $1200 with tax and shipping for mine because of a discount I received. If I was purchasing this at full price, I think I would have been a bit more biased towards the higher priced XPS 15 model with the sames specs because of the DDR4 and PCIe SSD. If those two factors don’t matter to you, then definitely go with this laptop.
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop
This computer is a beast. I bought it after a very extensive search of laptops in a similar price range ($1000-1500). I looked at other Acer, Asus, MSI, and Gigabyte gaming laptops before settling on this one. I’ve had it for about two weeks now and everything about it that’s bad is super minor.
+The hardware in this computer will allow you to run brand new games on ultra graphics easily, while running other applications at the same time
+THE SCREEN! Ohhhh yes the screen, it’s so nice. It’s sharp, the viewing angles are spectacular (definitely an IPS screen), and the picture always looks amazing.
+The audio is pretty great for a laptop. It can get pretty loud and sounds good. Don’t expect a lot of bass or anything like that, it’s a laptop.
+Keyboard and touchpad are what they need to be. The keyboard is very responsive, nothing super weird going on with it, the keys feel nice. The touchpad is the same way.
+My old laptop used to plug in from the rear of the computer, and it caused so many problems. It was also very loose all the time. This laptop does not have that problem, it plugs in firmly from the left side of the computer.
+This laptop is COOL. Not looks wise. I mean, it is cool looks wise, but I haven’t really had it get hot yet while playing Shadow of Mordor, League of Legends, Rust, PUB, Dark Souls III… I don’t know if it’s possible for it to get hot. Buy a cooling pad if that becomes a problem for you I suppose. The ventilation is configured in an awesome way.
+SSD for essentials and HDD for space. Basically a must for a gamer. SSD writes at about 200MB/s per NOVABench. Starts up before your toast will finish.
+Thunderbolt port for all you hyper-nerds out there.
+Too much RAM for it’s own good.
+Battery life is stellar for a gaming laptop. A solid 3-4 hours when not gaming. When you are gaming, it should be plugged in anyway to properly supply the hardware with the power it needs.
+The laptop in general just feels good. A bit heavier than the other laptops I looked at, but it had better hardware too. It feels solid though. Not flimsy, and still not too heavy. Monitor doesn’t flex when opening at all, and the hinges hold it well in any position.
+Basically, in games like League with my frames uncapped and graphics all turned up, I get 200 FPS, 38ms ping, and everything is super responsive. Literally all of the hardware inside this computer is stellar.
+The screen isn’t perfect. I noticed some slight tearing for a few seconds along the top of the monitor when in a cinematic in Shadow of Mordor once. It went away, but a little disconcerting.
+The screen also doesn’t do blacks well. Most of the time instead of black you can very plainly notice yellow splotches on a solid 50% of the surface of the screen. As soon as it is lit (heh) with color this goes away though.
+My biggest complaint about the laptop is something I can probably fix with macros and keybinding, but it is suuuuper annoying. There’s no keybound volume control! I mean, there is, but it only works when you’re on the desktop and recently opened the volume mixer on the bottom right taskbar. As soon as you open a game, or any other application, you can no longer use the keyboard to change your volume. I can probably fix this myself, but it’s just annoying to even have to deal with. There are four options function keys on the top row that could’ve easily been set to control volume, but nope. Instead it’s on the number pad, and like I said only works if very specific conditions are met.
+Some of the bloatware was messing with my programs. Dolby audio would keep changing my volume randomly before I turned it off. BUT, for the most part the software that comes with the computer is somewhat helpful and nice.
+No CD/DVD drive, so if you ever have serious issues, like blue screens, have a bootable/repairable USB drive ready to fix it with.
Overall, after looking at all the other laptops in the market, they all seemed like they had some major downsides. More so than the ones I pointed out. The only thing that cannot be fixed is the screen issues, but they are so minor they will not detract from your experience with this laptop. All the other laptops I looked at had lesser hardware, cooling issues, cheap structures/keyboards, worse screens, or some other pretty major problem. Not this one. Get it.
This is a great computer. Quick pros and cons:
– bright and beautiful IPS 4K monitor. I read an article that you can’t tell the difference in resolution between 4K and 1080P on a screen this size. So not true!
– fast. Blows through my 4K video with no problems. – – Good gaming performance, but not Fantastic at higher resolution
– thin, sleek, and well built
Cons: ( All minor)
– so so battery life, it’s really around 4-5 hours
– heavy, relative term but considering how thin it is, it’s heavy.
– can get a little loud under heavy load
– as mentioned before, so so gaming performance at max settings. By all means usable, but don’t expect to be blown away.
About Laptop For Gaming
A gaming computer is a personal computer designed for playing computationally demanding video games. Due to the integration of common hardware components onto the motherboard since the 1990s, a modern gaming computer is comparable to a mainstream computer with the addition of a performance-oriented video card. Gaming computers are often associated with enthusiast computing due to an overlap in interests; however, while a gaming PC is built to achieve performance for actual gameplay, enthusiast PCs are built to maximize performance, using games as a real application benchmark. Whereas enthusiast PCs are high-end by definition, gaming PCs can be subdivided into low-end, mid-range, and high-end markets: video card manufacturers earn the bulk of their revenue from their low-end and mid-range offerings.
Because of the large variety of parts that can go into a computer built to play video games, gaming computers are frequently custom-assembled, rather than pre-assembled, either by gaming and hardware enthusiasts or by companies that specialize in producing custom gaming machines. In order to generate interest, gaming computer manufacturers that sell complete systems often produce boutique models, allowing them to compete on aesthetic design in addition to the hardware inside.
Custom built gaming computers
By 2012, it had become increasingly popular for gamers to custom-build their own PC, allowing for more budget control and easier upgradability. More often than not, it is possible to maximize performance for the best value when building a gaming rig. There are several components that must be considered when building a gaming rig, which include CPUs, memory, a motherboard, video cards, solid-state drives, power supplies, and cases.
When building a custom built gaming PC, builders usually turn to independent benchmarks to help make their hardware selection. Organizations such as AnandTech and Tom’s Hardware Guide provide such benchmarks and hardware reviews. The benchmarks include ratings for PC components that are necessary to build a gaming PC. It is also crucial to consider computer cooling, as this is required to remove the waste heat produced by gaming computer components.
A graphics card, or GPU, is essential to any gaming PC, and connects to a motherboard using the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCI Express or PCI-E). There are two major manufacturers when it comes to selecting a GPU for a gaming PC, AMD and NVIDIA. These companies provide GPU’s which other companies, such as MSI and ASUS, then design circuit boards and cooling shrouds for.Most graphics cards cost from $200 to $2000. However, AMD and Intel alike have offered Integrated Graphics on their CPUs, however, no matter how powerful a CPU, it’s integrated graphics can’t compete with a discrete graphics card.
A major component of a gaming computer is the processor, or CPU (Central Processing Unit). There are two major brands that manufacture CPUs, AMD and Intel. As of 2017, most gaming PCs were built with Kaby Lake or Ryzen CPUs. While buying a powerful CPU is important to avoid bottlenecks, after a certain level of CPU power, diminishing returns become evident if the PC is not being used for other, more CPU-intensive purposes.
Gaming motherboards are differentiated from their normal counterparts by being created with case windows in mind; having more visually appealing designs, sturdier materials, and, in some models, built-in LED lighting. They also have the capability to overclock certain models of CPUs, and an increased number of various connection ports.
RAM (Random-access memory) is one of the most important component for a Gaming Computer. For gaming PC minimum 8GB RAM is recommended.
DDR (Double Data Rate) Memory is essential for any computer system. Adding more memory allows the CPU to address more data for it to quickly access instead of reading off a comparatively slow disk drive or solid sate storage device. DDR RAM also has much lower latency than its GDDR counterpart and much lower bandwidth as the CPU relies on being able to change small amounts of data quickly. The latest standard of DDR memory is DDR4L.
GDDR (Graphical Double Data Rate) memory is a type of memory required for the operation of any PCIe graphics card and is built directly onto the card itself. The amount of RAM built onto a graphic card allows the GPU to quickly access data such as textures instead of reading off of a much slower storage device. Having more GDDR memory allows the system to handle higher levels of Anti-Aliasing and more complex textures. GDDR memory has a much higher latency when compared to DDR memory but also has a much larger bandwidth thus allowing the GPU to deal with larger amounts of data at a slower rate when compared to a CPU. The latest revision of GDDR memory is GDDR5x.
High bandwidth memory (HBM)
HBM is a type of memory required for the operation of any PCIe graphics card, and is placed directly beside the GPU itself on the graphics card. This is different to standard GDDR as standard GDDR memory sits on the PCB of the graphics card. The main advantages of having the memory mounted so close to the GPU itself are as follows; reduced latency due to signals travelling a shorter distance, more bandwidth due to more space for data lanes, and decreased power consumption due to inherent differences to GDDR on the microscopic level. The latest revision of HBM is HBM2, HBM2 is currently only found on AMD Radeon Vega™ series graphics cards.
Solid state drives
Solid-state drives (SSD) are a newer form of data storage which is gaining in popularity. The more common and traditional hard disk drive (HDD) is still the more widely used, but many gaming enthusiasts are turning to SSDs in favor of the advantages they offer over HDDs. Unlike HDDs, SSDs have no moving mechanical parts, meaning they are less susceptible to shock and also run silently. SSDs also offer faster access time, as HDDs require time in order for the moving parts to speed up to operating specifications. An SSD drive can be 4 or 5 times faster than a traditional HDD drive. For an SSD drive, files open almost instantly. This means with an SSD, booting up a system and launching programs take less time. SSDs will increase the performance of a system by how often the game accesses the drive in order to load items from the game such as levels and textures. However, SSDs cost much more than HDDs do per gigabyte, meaning in terms of pure capacity, they are not as cost effective. They also currently offer a lower common maximum capacity than HDDs.
Power supply units
Although occasionally overlooked, the power supply unit (PSU) is still an important component to consider. The wattage needed to run a system is dependent on the hardware, so often a PSU calculator is used to determine the wattage needed. In addition, future upgrades to a gaming rig will possibly require more power, and PSUs lose power as they age, so it is often a good idea to buy a PSU that has the capability of lasting through several years and upgrades. The PSU must also be compatible with the other hardware pieces.
There are two types of PSUs, modular PSUs (MPSU) and non-modular PSUs. Non-modular PSUs come with fixed cables, meaning unused ones will be left unconnected.Modular power supplies have cables that are detachable so unused cables do not create excess clutter but are often more expensive than their non-modular counterparts. Both fulfill the same purpose, but often Modular PSUs are preferred because they allow for better cable management, as they remove the issue of unused cable clutter that non-modular PSUs often have. Semi modular power supplies come with only the necessary cables fixed, while cables that are not necessarily needed are able to be detached.
Many gamers and computer enthusiasts choose to overclock their CPU(s) and GPU(s) in order to gain extra performance. The added power draw needed to overclock either processing unit often requires additional cooling to what the original equipment manufacturer shipped their product with, most notably in the case of CPUs. Two types of mainstream cooling exist, air cooling and water cooling. Air cooling, the more common of the two, uses a heat sink often in conjunction with heat pipes or vapor chambers to move heat away from the component and dissipate it into the air. Water cooling is somewhat more complex, it makes use of water blocks, radiators, pumps, tubing and optionally a reservoir. Water removes heat by running water through a block affixed to the component and then allowing the water time in the radiator in order to cool off. Fans are often used to increase a radiator’s rate of heat dissipation.
Choosing a computer case involves several considerations. For one, there is a large range of sizes. A larger gaming rig will allow for future upgrades. The case must also be compatible with the motherboard’s form factor. Because games are oftentimes demanding on a system, one of the most important factors of choosing a case is cooling. In order to avoid the risk of overheating hardware, a computer case with good airflow and a quality fan will go a long way in ensuring proper cooling. Other additional features such as fan speed controllers, filters for dust management, and clear side panels are all useful as well. Custom-building allows a builder to personalize their case if they so desire for aesthetic purposes. There are many designs for computer cases so the builder can choose to their liking.
Prebuilt gaming computers
While many “advanced” gamers build their gaming PCs themselves, some choose to go with pre-built or custom-built gaming PCs. These PCs can often be more expensive than building one’s own, with higher premiums attached to high-end brands with varying levels of customer service.
Different companies offer varying degrees of customization. While established gaming computers such as Alienware offer unique case designs and little customisation from the user prior to purchase, other smaller firms allow a greater degree of customisation and better value-for-money, often to the same extent as if the user were to build the computer themselves.
There are however, drawbacks to building ones own computer. Assembling a computer means being personally responsible for any problems that may arise, both during the assembly phase, and after it is in regular use. Instead of using a single technical support hotline to cover the entire system, often one will have to deal with individual component manufacturers.
Due to the wide inconsistencies in after-purchase support from component manufacturers, trying to get support can be a daunting task. Customer support is a major reason why even extreme gaming enthusiasts may look to a system integrator for their custom PC builds. There are many positive aspects in choosing to build ones own system, such as no longer being tied to specific configurations. Pricing on individual components is often better, and thus can save quite a lot of money on a comparable pre-built system. Warranties are often included with the price of each individual piece of hardware when building a PC, whereas a prebuilt PC’s warranty may cost an additional fee or may be as little as 1 or 2 years for the entire system. Those who choose to build their own PC often seek help from an online community or forum in the absence of a consumer helpline.
One major drawback of buying a prebuilt gaming PC aside from the extra cost is that they are often built with a very powerful CPU, but with a relatively weak graphics card. This results in a “gaming” PC that performs poorly in gaming for the price paid. Most games today do not benefit much from having a very powerful CPU with more than 4 core and hyper-threading, but benefits greatly with a more powerful graphics card.
Gaming laptop computers
Gaming laptops are the mobile equivalent of gaming desktops and are usually more expensive than their desktop counterparts. Currently, most gaming laptops feature more power efficient versions of high end desktop graphics cards, which nevertheless still significantly drain the battery, and necessitate more advanced systems. One recent development by Nvidia is SLI for laptops. Generally, gaming laptops are not considered “rigs” as the term can also refer to the physical size of the system. Modern gaming laptops can achieve respectable game performance, but never quite match desktops in a class to class comparison, and most do not feature upgradeable graphics cards.
Due to the relatively small size that the hardware has to fit in, cooling the heat intensive components is a major problem affecting the performance of such laptops, usually causing degraded value for money performance wise. Attempts at using the same performance hardware as desktops usually end in a decreased clock frequency of graphics chips to reduce heat, causing the poor value for money.
One can find many value recommendations across the Internet on sites like TechRadar or Tom’s Hardware.
The introduction of the Nvidia GTX 900M series of mobile GPUs in late 2014 represented a significant advancement from the previous 800M series, lessening the gap with desktop systems and making gaming laptops a more viable alternative to desktop PCs.
A newer approach in the gaming PC industry is to create small form factor desktops that are more compact and easier to transport than a normal full sized system.