Using a laptop for gaming wasn’t a popular idea several years ago. In reality, it was actually true given the limited space, compact and lightweight design, portability and heat dissipation. But now, it is completely the opposite. In fact, there are monstrous gaming laptops closer to or even on par with its PC counterparts. In any computer, there are two key players above all. Those are the Processor (CPU) and the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU).
At present, gaming laptops are upgradable but it is still limited to extreme gaming laptops. That means if you purchase most economical gaming laptops you do not get the freedom of dumping parts but the whole. In this case, you have to think long and hard before going for the best and financially fit CPU/GPU gaming laptop combo that is also future-proof.
8th, 9th or 10th Gen?
Most gaming-grade laptops now equip 8th or 9th generation Core i processors. In fact, it is either an H or a K processor. Here H stands for High-Performance Graphics while K means Unlocked. Actually, with 8th gen processors, it’s just a K.
If it is the bleeding-edge 10th gen or 9th gen, it can be HK or HF (F stands for Requires Discrete Graphics). But it is too early to compare 10th gen processors so we will leave it for the future.
Now, if you compare 9980HK mobile processor to the best of its class, against 8950HK, there is a drop of 500MHz (9980HK has a range of 2400 – 5000MHz while 8950HK has 2900 – 4800MHz) while gaining two more cores and a bit of boots frequency.
Conversely, if you compare 9850H against 8850H, there is no difference. In fact, there is a positive boost at this point and it continues when you go below the line.
At this point, you can see there is a tradeoff between the number of cores versus the frequency at the top.
Read more: How To Keep Your Laptop Cool While Gaming
How Many Cores?
Although there is a battle between AMD and Intel, this article focuses on Intel as it has the highest demand. Intel 9th gen offers up to 8 cores while 8th gen offering up to 6 cores. But do you really need to go higher?
Frankly, for a regular gamer, a quad-core budget CPU will be pretty sufficient. They even prefer to go with a Core i5 processor. However, if you have some extra bucks, a 5-core is more than enough. In fact, with the Hyperthreading technology combined, it will provide a fine gaming experience.
If you are a pro gamer, you can go up to 8 cores with unlocked super-power CPUs. The dealbreaker with the lower end CPUs is that the manufacturer goes with other low budget components. With these, it is not easier to reach a top-notch experience and longevity.
How About the GPU?
Undeniably, the GPU is the main player above all and in contrast to AMD, Nvidia is still the titan here.
It is extremely difficult to match requirements with a powerful and affordable GPU. In reality, if the GPU is high-end, the laptop will be larger and bulkier due to the extra cooling and related components.
If you decide to go with 1080p, the best bet is a GTX 1050 or 1650. However, you may not be able to deal with Ultra-high settings when it comes to some games. As you see that maybe a dealbreaker.
If you want to leap to 1080p in 60FPS, you can go for RTX 2060 or even a GTX 1660Ti. In addition, if your screen is capable of 144Hz or higher, it is better to go for RTX2070 or higher. Finally, if you get the math here, UHD or FUDH requires more and more power and you have to spend more money to keep up.
What about Nvidia Max-Q and Ray Tracing?
The new Ray Tracing creates more realistic graphics during the gameplay. It, in fact, brings more realistic lights and shadows. The new RTX series is capable of accelerating the Microsoft DirectX Ray Tracing. Frankly speaking, it is not a must to have as only a few games use this technology. If you really want to play games like Control by Remedy Entertainment.
Nvidia Max-Q is another bleeding-edge technology. In fact, it is the same GPU with certain optimization or tuning to save power and reduce the thermal output. Of course, as you may have guessed, it does not come with a performance penalty. However, if you have a matching requirement here, you can go for Max-Q with a higher budget.