In the last couple of months PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds have become my new favorite game great due to its sandbox approach to a shooter survival game. Sadly, I’m rocking a 5-year-old laptop that does match well with PUBG. Only after the last few patches and after playing around with some engine.ini settings, I’ve reached a “playable” 25 FPS. Right now, PUBG is the only game pushing me into buying a new laptop.
I have looked over 250 modern laptops, most with 10th generation Nvidia graphics (Pascal and Max-Q) and boiled it down to top 6 laptops. On top of that, I’ve included the complete spreadsheet of all laptops, their specs and their benchmarks. More on it down below.
What are we looking for?
First of all, we need to start off with the key requirements for PUBG. And I am not talking about minimum system requirements because as we all know it, they tell close to nothing, especially for laptop users. I am talking about benchmark-based requirements.
Since we’re still waiting for AMD to enter the laptop upper-range market with their Ryzen processors, I’ll focus entirely on Intel processors. But as a note, if the leaked benchmarks are true, then AMD Ryzen 5 2500U might be a little bit too slow for smooth PUBG gameplay, but something around 2700U might be just right for it.
With that in mind, here’s the list of recommended processors for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, where higher is better:
I have played PUBG with i7-6700HQ and i7-3630QM (which is just below i5-7300HQ when gaming). The difference was significant. But even then, i7-6700HQ was just short of reaching high temperatures that start throttling it. That’s why you shouldn’t go for anything below i5-7300HQ and whenever possible, go for the top 3 CPUs on this list.
The second side of the gaming performance comes down to a graphics card. In this regard, you’ll also need to spend some sheckles.
Luckily enough, Nvidia’s 10th gen GPUs are good enough to handle PUBG on Very High settings at 1920×1080 resolution. Though, whenever playing at Ultra settings, you still might experience some annoying dips in FPS.
As for VRAM size, 3 GB is an absolute minimum with 4 GB being my recommendation and 6 GB being ideal.
So, the recommended GPUs are:
- GTX 1060
- GTX 1070
- GTX 1080
I know, underwhelming. You could play PUBG on low/medium settings with GTX 960M-980M but that’s already pushing it.
Worth noting, Nvidia GPUs now come in 2 flavors: regular Pascal (standard) and Max-Q. In short, Max-Q means that the GPU is slightly slower (~15%), consumes less power and produces less heat & noise. But even with that in mind, GTX 1060 Max-Q is similarly capable of running PUBG as the vanilla 1060. Look out for Max-Q GPUs if you want a thin gaming laptop.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds can bloat quite a lot of memory. So unless you want to restart PUBG every hour, you’ll need at least 16 GB. Getting more than that is definitely nice to have but that’s not essential.
Without a doubt, I recommend getting a laptop with an SSD but if you’re going for a budget notebook, you just might need to settle for an HDD.
If you’ll get all the requirements above right, then you’re almost guaranteed to get a 15″-17″ laptop with all the essential ports: HDMI, USB 3 and 3.1 Type C.
Gaming laptops are not only closing the gap between them and gaming desktops, they’re also getting progressively thinner. And that’s commendable considering a lot of people are using their gaming laptops for work.
In our particular case, it might be quite hard to find a very lean and lightweight laptop that delivers the performance we need without overheating in the middle of a gaming session.
Of course, we’ll not get a MacBook-thin laptop but some models from MSI and Asus seem to have made the right compromises to achieve sufficient gaming experience and thinner than average chassis.
These days, gaming laptops are within the 4 – 10 lbs range (1.8 – 4.5 kg). For comparison, MacBook Pro 15″ weighs 4.5 lbs/2 kg. That might be unreachable if you’re going for the very best gaming laptop as there is a need for more room for the cooling system capable of handling 1070 and 1080 GPUs.
Long battery life
If you’re going to play PUBG unplugged, I’ve some bad news for you – no matter the battery, they all fall apart when on full load. But if you want a longer battery life when browsing the internet or working on office-like tasks, then you could get a decent battery life even in a gaming laptop. Though, gaming laptops do not offer an all-day or even a whole working-day batteries. That’s just not feasible with their power-hungry components.
Gigabit ethernet/Wi-Fi card
Most laptops I’m about to list come with either a gigabit ethernet port or a Wi-Fi card capable of reaching 1 Gbps up/down. That should be enough for gaming and streaming.
Best laptops for PUBG
The first laptop on the list is the cheapest laptop for PUBG that I can recommend. With it, you can expect to reach 40 FPS on average with medium settings at 1920×1080 resolution. Of course, during engagements that might drop down to ~25 but that’s still playable. And you can always lower down your settings to a low/very low preset if you want higher framerates.
The i5 HQ processor is very well-suited for gamers on a budget – it has higher clock rates than other i5 (and some i7) processors have. At the same time, it has fewer cores which can limit its performance if you’ll be using it for parallel processing (for example, audio/video rendering).
If you want a laptop designed specifically for gaming and you can’t go above $1k – then MSI has one great option. MSI GP62 comes with an all-popular i7-6700HQ and a mid-range GTX 1060 GPU with which you could go up to 80 FPS on medium settings. As always, you will need to remove bloatware and to optimize the game settings to reach this level of performance in real-life.
If you want a mid-range mix of performance and affordable pricing, you should look for ASUS FX502VM. Compared with the MSI GP62 model above, it comes with a slightly faster processor, twice the RAM and a 128 GB SSD for faster boot times. While playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, it might not be much faster than the MSI model, but it will feel much more responsive for your more casual day-to-day work.
A better set of CPU+RAM+SSD will match well with anyone looking for a multi-purpose machine that can play PUBG.
In the past year, Eluktronics has released a long series of top-notch gaming laptops and their latest P650HP6 model is no exception. It offers a large 512 GB SSD and high-quality color-accurate IPS panel display. It is easy to upgrade and there are multiple different configurations if you have a flexible budget.
Though, even this laptop is bittersweet – it has a short battery life (~4 hours of internet browsing) and an old-school large bevel making it a bit larger than your average modern 15.6″ laptop. It does not want to be a jack of all trades – it simply delivers great performance at a great price with no asterisks attached.
Time to showcase the only 4K laptop on this list. It comes with a significant jump in performance and storage. First off, it has Nvidia’s GTX 1070 graphics chip with whopping 8 GB VRAM (which is more than enough). And that’s not the only area where HP has a double the regular memory amount – it also comes with 32 GB RAM. TL;DR; you won’t need to upgrade this laptop anytime soon.
On top of that, HP Omen 17 has a 500 GB SSD and a 2 TB HDD by its side to make sure you’re not running out of space for years to come.
If you like what you hear, but you’d like to stay under $2000 – there’s another very similar HP Omen 17 4K model that comes with GTX 1060 and 16 GB RAM.
If you want the very best money can buy – look no further than Asus ROG Zephyrus.
First of all, you just have to be impressed with its massive 2 TB Solid State Drive. Though at the same time, many would be disappointed to have anything less than that in a laptop that costs $4k.
The rest of its build is rather predictable – i7-7700HQ CPU (though i7-7820HK would be slightly faster), latest Nvidia GTX 1080 (Max-Q) to match its lean frame and a G-Sync enabled 120Hz display.
To build this laptop, Asus made a few compromises. First of all, there is no room for a second hard drive. Secondly, the keyboard is pushed forward to give enough room for the CPU, GPU, and their cooling system. Lastly, the display is not as bright as you’d expect from a $4k laptop which makes less suitable for visual work.
If you’re OK with a 512 GB SSD, you can also go for this laptop variation and save yourself a nice chunk of money.
Comparison spreadsheet (BONUS)
As a bonus, I’m providing a PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds laptop comparison sheet with 250 laptops, their specs and benchmarks. Here’s the link to the comparison spreadsheet.
To reach a decent framerate you’ll need to keep your drivers up to date, uninstall bloatware (unneccessary apps that come with a laptop) and possibly tweak your game options.