Gaming laptops are traditionally full of compromises. They can pack so much power but chassis become oversized and unwieldy, generating so much heat, meaning performance gets throttled to facilitate cooling. When these issues are not mitigated, you can be faced with a laptop which is just not very good when gaming.
Indeed, it’s difficult to craft the perfect gaming laptop. Marrying the latest and greatest components from NVIDIA, Intel and Microsoft requires serious expertise. The good news is the latest generation of processors, GPUs, and components means it is possible to experience the perfect gaming laptop. Here’s what to look for:
1. Latest and greatest NVIDIA GPUs
NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ GPUs bring transformative performance to both high-end and low-end gaming laptops. The new Turing architecture adds A.I. to the mix, enabling higher performance at lower power consumption than ever before. A major benefit of this is the ability to calculate real-time ray tracing – the Holy Grail of graphics processing – which creates lighting effects that make graphics appear hyper-realistic. Another is Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), which trains the GPU to render crisper images using enhanced anti-aliasing techniques. The Turing architecture improves upon its previous Pascal architecture in many ways, so whether you want to play the best-looking games at maximum settings on a top-end notebook, or buy a budget model that can achieve maximum framerates for competitive shooters at a local LAN, be sure your next gaming laptop is based upon NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 20 Series platform.
The days of the giant, 'bread-basket' gaming laptop are over. If you want top-level gaming performance, it's now fair to expect a laptop to be less-than one-inch thick - the new, fully-loaded, AORUS 15, for instance, measures just 24mm when closed. This lack of bulk also means less weight and in today's market you should be looking for a 15 inch gaming laptop that weighs under 3kg (the new AORUS 15 tips the scale at just 2.4kg). This increased portability opens the door to both high-performance mobile gaming while potentially using the same laptop for day-to-day work.
3. Cooling system
With so much power under the bonnet, it’s essential to purchase a gaming laptop with a top-quality cooling system. Failing to do so means performance can plummet, because when thermal thresholds are breached, usage can be blighted by annoying, high-pitched whining from fans. Cooling systems like AORUS 15’s WINDFORCE are specially designed for cooling powerful processors in small chassis. The combination of six heatpipes, nine intake/exhaust vents, and two extra-large 12V fans ensures components are cooled and hot air is evacuated without compromising performance or irritating those within earshot.
4. Use the best components
A great gaming laptop is only as strong as its weakest link; you don’t want a great performer blighted by poor usability or prone to lag. As such, be sure to look for killer networking technology and a physical Ethernet port for assured network performance.
Having a full-complement of video ports will banish connectivity limitations, so look for mini-DP and full-size HDMI ports – the latter can also help with VR connectivity. An array-microphone and HD webcam will ensure you look and sound crisp and clear when streaming or conferencing, while the latest NAHIMIC 3 audio will help pinpoint the exact location of a shot on the battlefield (while enhancing music and movies).
Finally, choose a full-size, gaming-oriented keyboard (with number pad) to maximise precision. Don’t discount having a high-quality, Windows Precision touchpad either – you’ll be using it when there’s no mouse connected and a poor-quality equivalent makes basic laptop usage infuriating!
5. 144Hz and 240Hz screens
Once you’ve tried a fast gaming display, there’s no going back: you need a screen devoid of ghosting and other technical display issues. The fast-and-frantic nature of modern gaming means it’s all too easy to miss a key shot if the refresh rate is below 144Hz. If this is not enough, the smoothness afforded by AORUS 15’s Sharp IGZO 240Hz display can further enhance performance and realism, especially for racing games with lag-free gaming experience.
6. 9th Generation Intel processor
The latest 9th generation of mobile Intel processors is finally here. You won’t want an unnecessarily-expensive CPU that also provides additional heat, nor one that can’t keep up with the punishing requirements of the latest games. It should also be able to handle streaming and gaming simultaneously. Intel’s i7-9750 represents the perfect balance of power and performance with its six cores, 12 threads, and speed range from 2.6GHz to 4.5GHz. It provides significantly improved performance over the previous generation, while maintaining low power consumption.
One of the great PC bottlenecks, the hard drive, is now one of the most important performance components of them all. If you’re slow to load, you can be dead before you arrive. Don’t give your opponents (or teammates) the first shot or the opportunity to grab the best kit, so ensure you have access to two M.2 NVMe SSD with Intel 760P SSD to load the important games as fast as possible. Also, check for drive capacity, as modern games frequently push 50GB – you won’t want to run out of space. Having an extra, high-capacity 2.5-inch HDD can be great for installing games with less performance-priority and recording large media files. A top, modern gaming laptop should be able to hit 6TB of combined storage to avoid all limitations.
8. Intelligent power management
With so many components in such a small chassis, it’s essential power management be fully optimised. Manually switching between performance modes is the old, clunky and inefficient way of doing this, but Microsoft’s Azure technology is revolutionising gaming. Born of the Enterprise, Azure is now available to gamers and enables smart, dynamic management of all components to ensure power is efficiently routed where it needs to go, and only when required. What’s more, it learns as it goes and will continually optimise both day-to-day battery life and plugged-in gaming performance.
The ideal gaming laptop will both fit in to work and gaming environments. An ostentatious device can prove distracting in sober workplace, but a boring, boxy machine will attract ridicule from rivals at gaming events. A great gaming laptop is sharp enough to attract admiration from enthusiasts, while simultaneously oozing sophistication and class in an office. It should also offer awesome lighting effects that can sync with those in your gaming den when on your own.
When buying a perfect gaming laptop it’s essential to have peace of mind, so buying from a reputable brand offering a warranty worthy of the investment is essential. It’s important to know, in the unlikely event things do go wrong, you can get everything fixed with a minimum of fuss. As such, a two-year, international warranty should be a minimum requirement.
Gigabyte’s brand new AORUS 15 gaming laptops offers all the above. Whether you want a top-end gaming machine with all the bells and whistles, or an affordable, highly portable powerhouse that can provide competitive performance with no compromises, AORUS 15 has it covered.
To find out more visit Gigabyte's site.
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