Six mistakes when buying a gaming laptop

Buying a gaming laptop represents a very important investment, and for this reason we must be very careful when making a decision, since a mistake could lead us directly to make a bad purchase, and in the end we would have to deal with that mistake for a few years, unless we are lucky enough to be able to return the equipment and purchase another model that better suits our real needs.

Many believe that when it comes to choosing a gaming laptop only power mattersthe truth is that behind this generic idea and with a part of truth there are a number of important keys that we must clarify, and that we must take into account if we do not want to make serious mistakes in the purchase of our new gaming laptop.

I am aware that not everyone is clear about these keysso I have decided to share with you this guide, in which we are going to discover six important mistakes that we must avoid at all costs if we want to get it right when choosing our new gaming laptop. I will go straight to the point in each of these six points to make this guide useful and easy to consult, but if you have any questions you can leave them in the comments and we will help you to solve them. Without further ado, let�s get started.

1.-Do not take into account the weight and size of the equipment

This is one of the most common mistakes because we tend to think that weight and size are secondary aspects in a gaming laptop, since it will be almost always connected to the power and in a fixed place. The truth is that this idea has also a part of truthbut we must keep in mind that buying a very large and heavy piece of equipment will make our life much more difficult, and will limit us quite a lot when using the laptop.

Think, for example, of what would happen if you had to move a very heavy gaming notebookor if you wanted to use it occasionally in different locations, or even if you needed to place it on your lap for short periods of use. It is true that weight and size are not that important in a gaming laptop, but this does not mean that we should not give it a minimum of importance because, in the end, if we are going to buy a  “monster” of 3 kilograms or more it would almost be better to opt directly for a desktop PC.

Generally speaking the ideal is to look for a gaming laptop that does not weigh more than 2.5 kilogramsalthough it all depends on the specifications of the laptop and how important power is to us. Personally, I prefer the gaming laptops that have a weight of about 2 kilograms, such as for example the ASUS TUF Dash F15 that I had the opportunity to test at the time.

2.-Processor matters, but not more than graphics

I have seen many cases of people who have bought a gaming laptop giving absolute priority to the processor, which is a very serious mistake. When we buy a laptop of this type our goal is to play, and do it in the best possible way. Today’s games are more dependent on the GPU and do not need an extremely powerful CPU to deliver good performance, which means that even with lower-mid-range processors we can enjoy a good experience.

With this in mind it is easy to understand why buying a gaming laptop with a high-end GPU and a mid-range CPU is a good idea, and why buying a gaming laptop with a mid-range GPU and a high-end CPU is a mistake. To see it better, let me give you an example. An acquaintance of mine recently bought a laptop equipped with a GeForce RTX 3050 Mobile 4GB and a Core i7-12700H processorand paid more than 1.300 euros for this equipment. I think it is obvious where the mistake is, and that is that this GPU is  “small” compared to the CPU.

By contrast, the ASUS TUF Dash F15 that a friend of mine bought on my recommendation when it was available for just 899 euros performs much better in games despite the fact that it has a Intel Core i7-11370H, as it has a 6GB GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile  This graphics card is much more powerful and makes a huge difference in games, while the processor is enough to move any current title with guarantees. The conclusion to be drawn from this point is simple, we must prioritize the graphics card when we have reached the minimum recommended CPU level.

3.-The amount of RAM is key, but also its configuration

Yes, the amount matters, but so does the configuration. Buying a gaming laptop with 16 GB of RAM is undoubtedly the most recommended today, since that figure will allow us to play with all the guarantees to any present and future titles, but we must also take into account other important aspects, such as the speed of it and if it is configured in dual channel or if, on the contrary, it is mounted in single channel.

Most notebook assemblers use RAM memory at a good enough speed as so that the processor can run at full speedso in this respect we have nothing to worry about. However, where a problem may arise is the dual-channel issue, as many computers still come with a single RAM module, even in their 16GB configurations.

Ideally, look for models that have 16 GB of RAM configured in dual-channel, since this mode activates a 128-bit buswhich allows doubling the bandwidth. In this way the communications between the CPU and RAM will be faster, and this will improve performance In contrast, when configured in single channel the bus is reduced to 64 bits.

4.-Not all graphics cards are equal or perform at the same level

This is a topic that still generates many doubts, and we are going to clarify it in the simplest possible way to avoid generating more uncertainty. The performance of a graphics card for gaming laptops is determined by its architecture, its number of shaders, the amount of graphics memory it integrates and its maximum operating frequencies.

The maximum operating frequencies can vary greatly depending on the turbo mode, and this depends directly on the maximum power consumption of each graphics card. Within the same series of graphics cards, there may be several models with different power consumption and therefore very different operating speeds. It is obvious that a graphics card that operates at a lower frequency than another in order to consume less power and generate less heat will also have lower performance.

For all that, the same graphics card configured with two different consumptions will have different performance. For example, a GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile configured with a power consumption of 85 watts will perform less well than a GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile configured with a power consumption of 125 watts. The difference can be substantial, and this can also cause lower-end but higher-powered graphics cards to perform better than higher-powered but lower-powered ones.

Graphics cards with a higher power consumption, identified as TGP for NVIDIA solutions and TBP for AMD models, will be more powerful, but will will consume more power and generate more heatwhich limits their integration to larger and heavier gaming notebooks. Obviously they will also require more expensive, bulky and noisy cooling systems.

5.-Underestimating the importance of display quality

This is another of the most common mistakes many users make when buying a gaming laptop. They get blinded and they do not see beyond the CPU and GPU settingsthey think they�ve made a good purchase, but when they get home and see the quality of the screen, they get a huge disappointment.

The quality of the screen is associated with the type of panel mounted on each computer, but even if we are clear that a laptop comes with a VA or IPS panelpanel, it is important to check other things such as the color spaces it can cover and whether it has key technologies such as Adaptive Sync. A VA or IPS display offers very good viewing angles at 178 degrees, but is not always by itself an absolute guarantee.

Color space is also very important, and for your reference I�m going back to the ASUS TUF Dash F15, a laptop that has an IPS-grade panel, but which has a color reproduction that can be improved because it is limited to 45% coverage in the NTSC space, 62.50% in the sRGB 62.50% space and 47.34% in the Adobe space. However, it makes up for it with its 144 Hz refresh rate and the inclusion of Adaptive Sync, which allows us to to get rid of tearing and stuttering.

Adaptive Sync technology makes a big difference in any gaming laptop, even if we don’t have enough power to reach the panel’s maximum refresh rate, as it helps to generate a clean image, without image tearing and free of micro-scratches generated by irregular and unsynchronized frame generation, even when moving below 60 FPS.

6.-Do not check if it comes with pre-installed operating system

This has become a mistake that happens quite often, and it brings about a tendency of OEMs to market gaming laptops at a slightly lower price in exchange for removing the operating system. This usually saves approximately 100 to 200 eurosbut can give us more than one headachenot all users are aware of this, and it is not always easy to install Windows 10 or Windows 11 on a gaming laptop, especially if it includes specific features that require specific drivers.

By this I do not mean that it is essential to buy a gaming laptop with the operating system preinstalled, in fact I have done the opposite in my last renovation, but it is important to take this into account because if we are not aware that our new laptop will arrive without operating system is likely to take a scare, and we will have to spend time to carry out the installation of itand any necessary drivers.

If you are a user with minimal knowledge you will have no problem, but if you have no experience you may feel lost and at the slightest problem at the level of drivers you have to resort to a professional, which will make that savings may become blurred completely. Remember that it is usually possible to find all the drivers on the manufacturer’s website dedicated to your computer. Having them downloaded to a USB drive will save you time.

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