When we look at gaming laptops, there is one major defining factor: Does the machine have an independent graphics chipset? What are its effects? And how much does it cost?
In gaming machines, there are a lot of factors to consider such as CPU cores, ram, hard drive space and speed, screen size, and the graphics card. Some laptops have an integrated chip that gives minimal graphic response. Many of these chips are simply unable to handle 3D graphics, Open GL, or most other video gaming needs. As result of this, a lot of times our primary considera6tion is deciding what kind of graphics card we need. Having a decent video card will allow for much more enjoyable game play.
Having a separate chipset for graphics, especially if there is a vram (video ram) chip integrated into the card, allows for a much smoother video experience. Many of the video cards with vram will come in either 1 or 2GB option. If you are looking at intensive rendering tasks, with such programs as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier and After Effects, 3D Studio, AutoCad or Maya, then you should consider a card with 2GB vram. If you are going to be gaming, then a 1GB vram video card should fit the bill and save you a significant amount on your purchase.
Now when we talk about video cards there are two bad boys on the block – Nvidia and ATI Radeon. Each brand has its devotees. Nvidia tends to cost a more and gives a bit better performance than Radeon. ATI Radeon, however, tends to give a much better bang for your buck. So if we are looking for a lower end gaming laptop, something under $1000, we might consider starting with the graphics cards. If it is your goal to have a solid gaming experience without emptying your wallet, you should consider a Toshiba Satellite, an Acer Aspire, HP Probook or Pavillion, or a Lovato Ideapad. They all feature an ATI Radeon graphics card and produce some very solid machines.
Another factor to consider is the amount of ram memory. All of these laptop lines come with 4 to 8GB of ram. That should be plenty for most games and could make up for some of the traditionally slower CPU’s on laptops.
We always need to remember that games tend to be very much on the cutting edge of programming. Look at what you are playing now and the requirements of that game. Then look at what you might want to play in the next 6 months. When switching from “World of Warcraft” to “Age of Conan” to “No Man’s Sky” or “Elder Scrolls Online” you will continually create additional stress on your system. Investing in a laptop that is a little better than what you currently need may save you some heartache down the line.
Here is a great video to help get you started: