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High-End Gaming Laptops - What To Look For

When portable performance and reliability matters, a high-end gaming laptop needs to tick a few boxes. Here's what you need to know.

 

High-End Gaming Laptops - What To Look For

 

When it comes to gaming — the better the hardware, the better your experience is going to be.

That’s why, if you want the top performance and quality from your games, you’ll need to look towards the high-end to achieve what you want.

There are a lot of high-end gaming rigs to choose from — most commonly custom-build PCs, with large desktop towers — but if you haven’t got the space for a full PC tower, want the added portability, or even just prefer playing games from the comfort of your couch, a gaming laptop is best for you.

With so many gaming laptops, however, it can be hard to choose. That’s why in this article, we’re going to take you through exactly what to look for when choosing the best gaming laptop for you.

High-end gaming performance

Firstly, the most important thing when choosing a high-end gaming laptop is buying a laptop that will be able to play the games that you want at the highest levels of quality and performance.

There are lots of expensive laptops out there made for different things, so ensuring that every penny that you’ve spent is going towards the quality that you want is crucial. Of course, a higher-spec laptop will yield better performance and quality, but ensuring that you have the performance that you need when buying your gaming laptop is far more important than with a PC, due to the difficulty of upgrading and customising your build.

There are a few specific things to consider when looking for gaming performance:

GPU

Your graphics card is integral for the visual quality and performance of your gaming laptop. Without a good graphics card, your high-end gaming laptop will have to either sacrifice the visual quality of your games, or the overall performance.

This means that you either lose the beauty of the game, or you lose FPS when playing (or sometimes even both).

Here’s an example of where GPU really matters — a large, new AAA+ game (Elden Ring) at 4K on PC:

 

Elden Ring benchmarks

 

However, rather than the generational difference — which has an impact, but is not as huge as you’d think — the more important thing here is the actual power of the GPU.

It can be easy to get lost in the generational differences between the RTX 3080 and the RTX 4080, for example, but the 3080 is still a powerhouse GPU as well as a great value proposition. In fact, the 3080 even has more cores all-round than its 40-series successor, as well as the same amount of VRAM.

While it’s inarguable that the 40-series GPUs are vastly more powerful than any other GPU on the market, the 30-series still provides an insane amount of value and performance. There’s no question as to why it’s an incredibly popular GPU — with a vastly higher market share and popularity.

Here’s our top pick of RTX 3080 Gaming Laptops:

  • Good
    MSI Raider GE66 15.6" i7 32GB 1TB GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop
  • Better
    MSI Vector GP77 Core i7 16GB 1TB GeForce RTX 4070 17.3" Laptop
  • Best
    Chillblast Phantom 16" i7 32GB 2TB GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop

CPU

While it may seem like your GPU is by far the most important thing — which it may be, but not as much as you’d think — your CPU is also incredibly important when it comes to gaming.

Your CPU carries out all of the non-graphical functions within the game you’re playing. From AI and NPCs to generating worlds and everything in between, a lot of your gaming experience will rely on your CPU.

Also, a bad CPU will bottleneck your GPU’s performance, so ensuring that you pick a good-quality CPU and GPU together is better than buying a great GPU and an outdated CPU, expecting the best performance.

RAM

While RAM isn’t necessarily the most important factor when it comes to gaming, it’s still integral to ensure that you can play the games you want to play.

Most games have a minimum requirement of between 8GB and 16GB of RAM, so you’ll want a laptop that offers at least 16GB for a good experience.

However, if you want to stream, have multiple applications open, or even just chat in Discord at the same time, having more RAM will mean that your computer won’t be sluggish and frustrating when trying to trash talk an opposing team with your friends and reign victorious in the heat of battle.

Monitor Refresh Rate

Unlike with PCs, the refresh rate of your laptop monitor is a part of the computer unit. This means that you can’t upgrade to a higher refresh rate monitor in the future, as many people do with PCs.

This is more subjective than the other picks here, but for a lot of games, a higher refresh rate is essential. For any competitive game — whether it be a shooter like Valorant, a MOBA like League of Legends, or even just any game with a competitive multiplayer element — a higher refresh rate will mean that your screen will update with information far more quickly.

A lot of players simply just hate going back to 60HZ refresh rate monitors after playing with 144HZ+ monitors, and the high refresh rate does help you react faster to a situation. But, if you’re looking to just enjoy a single-player world and story, this is not as important at all.

Luckily, a lot of high-end gaming laptops come with high refresh rate monitors anyway, meaning that you don’t have to worry about this too much. But, it’s still important to keep an eye out for.

Utilising creative tools

A gaming laptop is also a great choice for creatives who also need added portability or to save space for their setup. Much like for gaming, higher-spec gaming PCs are crucial for ensuring that your computer can enable your creativity.

Similar to playing AAA+ games on your laptop, utilising the best and newest creative tools to their full potential requires a high-performance rig.

For example, for video creators and editors, more GPU power will make your renders faster and utilise the newer, more powerful tools offered by Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve without performance issues.

 

Creator Benchmarks Gaming Laptop

 

This will save time on important processes such as rendering, saving, and other key processes, while also ensuring that you can utilise the newest innovations — that may require a higher spec to actually use.

Similarly, for simultaneous streaming and gaming, a high-spec gaming laptop will mean that streaming will be more stable and that you won’t experience frame drops and other issues throughout your broadcast. A high amount of GPU, CPU and RAM will ensure that broadcasting tools such as OBS will have the resources that it needs to carry out your stream without issues arising. Naturally a dedicated streaming PC will always win out on specification, reliability and performance, but gaming laptops are really not far behind.

Final Word

For gaming and content creation alike, a gaming laptop is a great choice for those who don’t want a full PC tower and want the additional portability of a laptop. The 30-Series GPUs will do you well for most modern games, and are much more affordable than their newer counterparts.

If you’re looking for more of a detailed comparison, we've been covering this in some depth in other articles like our comparison between the RTX-30 series and RTX-40 series gaming laptops.

If you’re still unsure about which specific components you need to look out for, our buying guides have you covered. From RAM to CPU, to motherboards and beyond, our buying guides have all of the essential information that you need to make a choice for whatever components you’re unsure about.