Gaming laptop FAQs
How much should I expect to spend on a gaming laptop?
A “budget” gaming laptop will retail for around $1,000 to $1,400, but you should expect a lower amount of storage space, less powerful CPUs, and dimmer screens. A gaming laptop that excels in all areas — graphics, display, processing power, storage, and more — will likely range from $2,000 to $3,000 in price. And a gaming laptop that goes above and beyond, with a massive amount of storage and cutting edge hardware, will cost even more than that.
Budget gaming laptops will be powerful enough for most users, and a standard gaming laptop — like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, for example — should be perfect for pretty much anyone, with hardware powerful enough to last for years. You’ll see diminishing returns past that point.
On the whole, gaming laptops tend to be more expensive than regular laptops, but less expensive than the best gaming PC desktops.
Is it better to buy a gaming laptop with Nvidia or AMD graphics?
When it comes to graphics cards, the two titans are Nvidia and AMD. Most gaming laptops — especially the more expensive ones — only offer Nvidia RTX graphics. But it’s not uncommon to find models with AMD Radeon GPUs.
Both brands have their upsides. Nvidia GPUs tend to be more powerful, and can better handle advanced graphical features like raytracing. AMD GPUs aren’t as strong, but tend to be less expensive.
The laptops in this guide all use Nvidia RTX graphics. In general, we recommend sticking with Nvidia RTX graphics. They perform better, and if you’re just buying a pre-built laptop (like any of the laptops in this guide), you likely won’t notice the price increase.
What does refresh rate mean?
Every computer monitor has a specific refresh rate, measured in hertz (Hz). This is a measure of how many times per second the screen “refreshes,” or displays an entirely new image. This means that the higher a monitor’s refresh rate, the faster it can update to show you the next frame of a game, movie, or even just your mouse moving.
The industry standard for refresh rates on high quality gaming monitors is 165Hz, meaning that the screen will update 165 times per second. But if you shell out some money, it’s not hard to find monitors at 360Hz or higher.
Just note that even if you have a high refresh rate, games and movies you play still won’t move any faster than their individual frame rate. So even on a 165Hz monitor, a game running at 60 frames per second will still only update 60 times every second.
Can I build my own gaming laptop?
With enough effort, you can build anything. But compared to building a gaming desktop, trying to build a laptop is almost certainly a waste of time and money.
It’s relatively simple to build a gaming desktop since desktop parts are easy to buy online, and it doesn’t take much effort to slot them into the right place. But laptops have their own specially designed components that are more difficult and expensive to buy, let alone check for compatibility issues.
If you want a gaming laptop, buy it prebuilt. You’re guaranteed to get great (or at least stable) performance, and it’ll save you a world of frustration.
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