Game On: What Are the Ideal and Minimum Specs for a Gaming Laptop

By Juliet D'cruz

Planning to buy a gaming laptop?

They can cost a lot, especially if you aim to buy something like the Alienware X15. However, being expensive doesn’t automatically mean you’re getting something powerful and valuable. 

Start by learning the minimum specs for gaming laptop products. These basic specs should be enough to run most modern video games at their normal settings, if not in high or ultra-high. From there, you can continue to upgrade. 

Don’t fret; we’re here to guide you through the process. Check out this definitive list below and learn about the basic specs you need for a reliable gaming laptop:

Start With the CPU

When it comes to gaming laptop specs, you need to start by choosing a powerful CPU, also called a processor. The CPU handles the majority of the processing load, so you’ll need a high-end one if you plan to game on your laptop.

An Intel i3 isn’t a good choice. It’s a cheaper alternative meant for office work or school work. If you’re on a tight budget, aim for an Intel i5.

Got extra cash on hand? You should then look for a laptop equipped with an Intel i7 or i9.

Also, make sure it’s a 9th to 11th generation processor. Anything older is too weak.

If you’re not a fan of Intel processors, aim for an AMD Ryzen 3 3250U or the Ryzen 3 Pro 2300U. These are processors built specifically for laptop gaming. 

Graphics Card

While the processor will do much of the heavy lifting, your graphics card and RAM also matter. 

If you’re shooting for the minimum or standard gaming laptop specs, you should aim for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile. It’s not as powerful as other graphic cards on this list, but it gets the job. It will run games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on high settings.

The AMD Radeon RX 6600M is a good mid-range alternative. 

For people with a bigger budget, get a laptop equipped with the AMD Radeon Pro W6800 or the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080. These are the most powerful graphics cards in the market today.

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How Much RAM?

The ideal specs for a gaming laptop include 32 GB RAM or higher. However, not a lot of mid-range laptops have that much RAM built into them. Those that do have expandable slots, meaning you can continue adding more. 

For the bare minimum specs, aim for a laptop with at least 8 GB RAM. 4 GB RAM simply doesn’t cut it anymore, especially with most modern games demanding a lot more processing power and speed. 

Remember that the more RAM your laptop has, the more it can multitask if you plan to stream while gaming, you’ll need a lot of RAM. After all, you need enough RAM to run the game but also more speed to simultaneously run the recording/streaming software and the app you use to communicate with viewers.

Your Monitor Matters

When shopping for a laptop, make sure to check two features: the maximum resolution and its refresh rate. 

Most games output at 1080p, but you will find a lot of PC games capable of 4K UHD or even 8K UHD resolutions. So if you want to get the most out of a game’s visuals, make sure your laptop can support those resolution ranges.

The refresh rate ensures you see things in real-time. A slow refresh rate means there is a slight delay between what’s happening and what you see on the screen. A 30 Hz refresh rate for movies is fine, but it won’t be enough for professional gaming.

Instead, aim for a minimum of 60 Hz. If you have the budget, aim for a laptop screen that offers 120 Hz refresh rates.

Solid State Drive for Storage

A gaming laptop needs a ton of storage. Gone are the days where 128 GB of storage will get you by. Speaking of outdated, don’t get a laptop with an old HDD.

Instead, look for one with a solid-state drive (SSD). This is faster and more capable for high-end gaming. 

How much storage do you need? For starters, get a laptop with at least 2 TB storage space. That might sound like a lot until you realize how big video games are these days.

Call of Duty: Warzone, for example, initially required 175 GB of space. This changed over the following months due to updates and patches. That said, it’s still a lot to ask for only one game.

You’ll need much more if you plan on installing even more AAA games, such as Cyberpunk 2077 or Resident Evil Village.

Necessary Ports

Your gaming laptop should have enough ports for some of the accessories you’ll need. To start with, it should come with a few USB 3.1 ports. You’ll need these to connect a gaming mouse and keyboard.

If you game with multiple screens, you’ll need an HDMI port or a USB variant with DVI support. Make sure to check if the laptop also comes with a built-in slot for SD cards/micro SD cards with adapters. 

What About MacBooks?

Do you plan on using a MacBook for gaming? Unlike Linux or Windows, Apple products are under a closed network. This means you can’t simply go out and replace or upgrade parts.

You have to stick with what you get out of the box.

This doesn’t mean MacBook for gaming is a bad idea. It’s simply a matter of knowing which MacBooks are better suited for gaming and which ones are for office or schoolwork.

Now You Know the Minimum Specs for Gaming Laptop Products

Don’t hesitate to revisit this list if you’re aiming for the minimum specs for gaming laptop products. We’ve also listed the best specs, ensuring this is your one-stop spot for all your laptop gaming needs.

Of course, finding a laptop with the right specs is only the start.

If you liked this guide and want even more tech tips and tricks, we’ve got you covered. Feel free to continue going through more of our guides to discover all the technology, marketing, business, and advertising tips you need! 

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