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Gaming Laptops – your recommendations?

The current vacation is hard on me, because I hardly get to use my own computer – the best wife of all and the Schnuppel both compete for time on my machine in order to play Transport Fever and Cities: Skylines. That’s an annoyance not only because I can’t get the keyboard, but also because a MacBook pro apparently sucks as a gaming machine.

So this website lists a bunch of relatively recent laptops with proper graphics cards, and household peace seems to require a premade machine and a transportable device (not a desktop device).

What would be your recommendation (see above, and maybe Elite Dangerous and No Man’s Sky), and why?

Published inPerformance

16 Comments

  1. H

    I find gaming laptops awful. Usually too hot, too bulky and too loud where I want silent and light. Bought a NUC for casual gaming with Steam some time ago. Light and small enough to take it with us on a holiday if necessary. Graphics card of the higher-end models is ok-ish for my purposes (flight sim), even Elite runs ok. Intel’s internal graphics has improved a lot over the last years. Today, I would probably build a small Mini-ITX thing or get an Alienware Alpha for this purpose.

    That said, every old gamer geek around me has moved on to consoles. Even those who obsessed over their PC hardware specs back in their day now say that they just don’t care about it, they just want a device that instantly works.

    • kris kris

      Yep, I get that. A desktop machine would be cheaper, thermally nicer and probably perform better. The WAF is zero, though, so something that can be easily moved around the house is required.

      • Which WAF? http://acronyms.thefreedictionary.com/WAF

        Gaming on laptops sucks^w has a very bad UX.

        Basically games evolve so quickly that laptops cannot keep up with the hardware changes required.

        PC hardware is hard to optimise for gaming anyway: they are general purpose machines where you can only tweak portions of.

        If the laptop is most often used within the house, then build quality doesn’t matter much, so any Asus model (or manufacturer in that league) should be fine. Otherwise go for more robust hardware.

        What you should do is try to estimate what kind of games the family will be playing in the next 3 years (that’s the maximum a laptop will keep up with new games). Choose from that requirement.

  2. I like the recent lineup at Razer. Have you looked there already? Ze Preis-Leistung is gut.

  3. Martin

    What is the WAF of a NUC PC attached to the VESA mount of a display? That can be moved as easily as a notebook.

    My experiences with Gaming Notebooks can be summarised easily as “never again” (though my last experiences are some years past). They are expensive money sinks, are very sensible and age quickly.

    • Andre

      I was about to write about the same :)

      There are even machines in a NUC form factor that pack gaming-ready hardware…

      My problem with gaming on laptop(I own a Xiaomi Mi Air 13″) is the noise… and that you have to sit right in front of that annoying fan…

      Running a desktop somewhere else and using Steam’s in-home-streaming to an Intel NUC in the living room, connected to a projector was a much better experience :)

  4. Alphager

    All gaming laptops suck. I had three over the course of six years because I was a travelling consultant and rejoiced when i finally stopped travelling and bought a good stationary computer.

    Having said that, you’ve got three categories:

    – premium laptops like Dell Alienware or Asus ROG: very stylish, very expensive, but actually not that bad
    -emulations of the premium laptops like Acer: a bit more LED, a bit more chrome, a bit more noise, a bit more plastic. IMHO the worst of the bunch
    -Resellers of Clevo-Barebones like MySN: not as in-your-face gaming-br0 culture as the rest, a bit heavier than the rest.

    I gravitaded towards the MySN.

  5. towo

    WAF compatible and also “regular life” compatible if you don’t enforce a strict separation of work and personal computers, or have a decent personal computer lying around: eGPUs.

    Examples include:
    * Razer: https://www.razerzone.com/de-de/store/razer-core
    * DIY: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2984716/laptop-computers/how-to-transform-your-laptop-into-a-gaming-powerhouse-with-an-external-graphics-card.html?page=2
    * More DIY: http://imgur.com/a/mkbOd
    * Random roundup: https://gpunerd.com/

    Plug-in graphics card via TB3; I don’t know anyone having one, so I can only gather information from the interwebs. Disposable income doesn’t allow tinkering with that sort of thing at the moment, sadly.

    Big issue with those things is that desktop-equivalent GPU power needs a desktop-equivalent PSU, and … well, just look at the DIY stuff. It’s something that’s on my “investigate if you’re being too much of a roadwarrior again” list.

    And there’s also http://www.avadirect.com/custom-gaming-laptops

  6. I had an MSi for a couple of years and was rather happy with it until it got a bit long in the tooth after three or four years. I now have a miniITX box so I can use desktop instead of laptop components, and replace them more easily, but if I were shopping for laptops, MSi would be my first stop (Alienware didn’t have configurations that impressed me, only prices — bit of a shame, you can imagine how I’d have loved to get that Dell next day service again —, and I’ve seen Asus’ RoG reviewed as “less powerful than the components might lead you believe, to wit, less than the sum of its parts” on several occasions, to name but a few). Spouse is also on an MSi laptop with no complaints.
    Semi-relatedly, we have both steamlink and whatever nVidia’s tech is called this season, and on wifi, neither seem ready for prime-time (for action-rich games or for watching video; something slow like point-and-click or turn-based strategy may give better results).

    • Addendum: My MSi burned out once, like computers might under heavy daily (and often 24/7) use, and was fixed free of charge/hassle. They don’t repair on site (alas), and I’m no great fan of having people mess with my box where I can’t see it (and not having use of it for upwards of a week), but I guess if you can make peace with that with regard to AppleCare, you can make peace with it wrt MSi, and at least it was picked up on location and returned ibid.

  7. Gwen

    Got an Asus G74S like 5 years ago. Was mildly disappointed doing a recent search. Yeah, the SSDs and HDs are fatter, the processors marginally, and I suppose some improvement as far as the graphcis boards are concerned. Matching the price, the development is moderate.

    Nothing that really got me going. Will stick with this workstation replacement for a while.

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