Monday, June 22, 2020

Gaming Laptops

Gaming laptops. Such great hardware, so portable, right? Well, not really. There’s not much difference between a “gaming laptop” and a “normal laptop”. I have a gaming laptop, but it’s an actually just an ultrabook with a GTX 1650 Max-Q. The Razer Blade Stealth is a great computer, lightweight and compact coming in at just about the size of a MacBook Pro 13 inch, and a bit heavier. The build is amazing. There is no body flex or deck flex. The body is made out of anodized aluminum. Other than the fact the it’s a fingerprint magnet, it’s great. However, this is because Razer actually has the ability to manufacture such a product. Many companies advertise their “gaming laptops” as super fast and best graphics in the world. Yes. It is true. However, they never tell you about the dark side of getting a “gaming laptop”. Sure, it runs Fortnite at 120 FPS on high settings. But it weights heavier than a block of lead. Not to mention how thick the computer gets. My Razer Blade, you might say, is just around the same as a MacBook Pro 13 inch. That’s because it has only an i7-1065G7 and a GTX 1650 Max-Q. I can get around 8 hours of light use. But that’s because the CPU and GPU are low power consumption mobile parts. There isn’t a whole RTX 2080 Ti and a AMD Threadripper in there. It runs Fortnite at 90 FPS on medium. That is the tradeoff between portability and performance. It is necessary (hopefully Apple Silicon can break that chain) for the manufacturer to choose whether to prioritize performance or portability.

Honestly, don’t go for “gaming laptops” just because they are marketed as gaming. Look into CPU specs and GPU specs. Learn lots about laptops and desktops. I did not choose my Razer Blade because it is a “gaming laptop” from a “gaming company” (I did choose it because, you know, Razer). I chose it for its portability to performance ratio and its reputation for high build quality. I could have chosen a 15’’ Blade, but I never really liked 15’’ computers. If you want high performance, go for 17’’+. If you want portability, go for 13’’ or less. I’m not saying that 15’’ laptops are horrid by any means. I just feel that it is like the middle seat on an airplane (however you want to take that statement).

So, what do you do if you DON’T want a “gaming laptop”? Well, if you don’t care about the marketing, there’s whole galaxies of selections to choose from. For example, a Dell XPS 13 with an eGPU would do great. You get the battery life when you need it, and get the performance (extra oomph) when you need that. Cool, right? Yeah. I thought so. I have never had an eGPU, or build a PC (I have built my own phone). This is all views from tech YouTubers like LTT, MKBHD and Austin Evans. Like with every mature market (quote MKBHD), there’s a “go to” product. For eGPUS, that would the Razer’s offerings. They are priced well and is very compact/compatible.

I have talked a lot about the bad sides of getting a “gaming computer”, but let’s talk about the good side. Most gaming laptops have TONS of robust cooling to keep the laptop from thermal throttling. Manufacturers also throw in the best parts they can find with expensive systems. A couple even have full on RTX 2080s. These result in best-in-class performance. An example of this would the the ROG Zephyrus G14. Ryzen 9 4000 series means probably the best performance ever in a laptop in general. In LTT’s video, it even out ran the ludicrously large Acer Predator with an Intel i9 chip.

In conclusion, gaming laptops, like everything else in tech, is worth it if you know your parts and you know what you are looking for.

P.S. Please don’t game with a MacBook. Please.