I still remember playing the player-created Defense of the Ancients mod map in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, and back then, it was a novelty that breathed a bit of life back into Blizzard’s real-time strategy game. Today, there have been a wide variety of MOBA games that feel very similar; you start out with a hero, push lanes against either computer controlled opponents or an enemy team, and eventually secure a victory. A few years ago, Valve decided to release the spiritual successor to Defense of the Ancients: Dota 2, but for those who enjoy laptop gaming, which are the best laptops for Dota 2? Let’s take a look.
Finally, the next big step in gaming has arrived. Virtual reality, or VR, has been tried a few times in the past, but the technology simply wasn’t there yet. Now, we’ve finally reached the point where enough people are playing games, enough companies are supporting new technology, and advances in portable tech have progressed enough to where true virtual reality is feasible. With the onset of this new technology comes the need for more powerful computers to accommodate VR peripherals, so laptop manufacturers have begun releasing models that can meet these needs.
I’ve written this guide to help you determine what laptop you will need to take advantage of this astounding new gaming tech. I’ve selected five of the best laptops for virtual reality, based on specific criteria: how powerful their processors are, how strong their graphical processing ability is, how well they handle heat and airflow, the battery life, and their portability. These factors are all important in determining the best portable gaming computer for VR gaming.
If you’re new to game development and are only interested in small 2d or casual games, it’s possible to get by with less, but if you want one of the best game development laptops, you’ll want to spend more than for your usual budget machine. Even if you are just starting out, investing in a good laptop up front can help you avoid some of the frustrations that arise in game development.
Anyone who grew up in the 90s era where films like Lawnmower Man were popular, couldn’t wait for virtual reality to really start to take off. With the advent of gaming machines that can almost reproduce near photo-realistic games, there’s been a sudden emergence of virtual reality gaming headsets like the Oculus Rift, the PS4 VR, and the Samsung VR. Recently, smartphone manufacturer HTC and Steam backers Valve tossed their collective hats into the VR arena and released their astoundingly powerful HTC Vive. The chief drawback of the system is you need a computer that can support it, which is why I created this article so that you can learn which is the best laptop for HTC Vive.
It’s amazing; the advances in laptop computing have placed what used to be a diminished computing experience into a position where portable computers often perform as well as most desktops. As a result, many folks like me are completely eschewing the desktop experience in favor of the laptop one. This change up has completely revolutionized my computing. As a person who finds himself in need of a more powerful experience, I know that there are perspective buyers like myself who need a feature-rich laptop, which is why I decided to create this guide on the best high-performance laptops.
You may have spent days researching for the ideal gaming laptop. You might have found some promising machines, but you may have also found them to be just beyond your budget.
The goal of this post is to let you know which corners you can cut and what should be your top priorities when looking for a gaming laptop under $1000. And at the end, I’ll identify the best laptops just under 1K, that offer what you could expect from a $1100 – $1500 laptop. If I’ll manage to shave off a few hundred dollars off your next laptop, I’ll consider my job done.
But first things first. I will go through the essential features of a gaming laptop. I’ll look at which features you can afford to compromise on and, more importantly, which features you shouldn’t do without.
I’ll start off with a guide and specific tips on how to identify a good gaming laptop within our budget. At the end, I’ll list out the best laptops under $1K right now.
Balancing gaming and work is not an easy feat. The same can be said if you’re trying to get a laptop that suits both. Though, if you’re OK with a heavy laptop – balancing gets a lot easier.
I won’t beat around the bush. This post is split into 2 parts – a guide to a great gaming/work laptop step by step and a list of recommended laptops.
Let’s begin with the requirements for the perfect laptop for gaming and work. I think I won’t surprise you by saying that finding the best laptop for gaming requires identifying what you need for working hard and playing hard.
Finding the best World of Warcraft laptop depends on your budget and on the visual settings you’re willing to tolerate. Luckily, the core game engine is so old that there’s no need to get top-of-the-line hardware. That should be great news if you’re searching for a WoW laptop under $500.
How am I going to find the best laptops for WoW?
Update November 13th, 2016.
I’ve updated this post multiple times in October and now I’m rolling out the November update. This time, I’m including a lot of new laptops as more and more laptops come with Intel 7th generation processors or/and Nvidia GTX 10xx graphics.
First, I’ll show you what are the exact requirements for a laptop instead of the generic stationary PC-oriented requirements. Then I’ll guide through each of them so you’ll know where you can cut corners and what is an absolute must. Finally, I’ll list out 6 best World of Warcraft laptops in their price ranges starting from $350 and ending with $3. Got it?
I’ll begin with Blizzard’s official requirements for Legion. Of course, we could use requirements for Warlords of Draenor but to make matters simple, I’ll assume you’re targeting for your laptop to run well with the latest expansion and with new expansions in the future.
- Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E8500
- NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 440 / Intel® HD Graphics 5000
- Intel® Core™ i5-3330
- NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 750 Ti (5400 3DMark’11) / NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 775M (6000 3DMark’11)
World of Warcraft laptop requirements:
|Minimum Requirements||Recommended Specifications|
|Processor|| Any 4th-7th gen i3, i5 or i7 processor;|
AMD A6-5200 or up;
any 4th-7th gen i7 Q-series processor (i7-4720HQ, i7-5700HQ, i7-6700HQ…);
(this does NOT include i7-*500U CPUs)
|Video|| Any integrated graphics in 5th-7th processor (except generic HD Graphics and HD Graphics 510);|
Any dedicated Nvidia graphics card;
AMD Radeon R7/R9 M300 series
| Nvidia GTX 960M;|
Nvidia GTX 970M/1060 for high frames above Full HD resolution
|Memory||4 GB||8 GB|
These requirements are NOT official – I used the official requirements to match their recommended components to equivalent laptop parts. I used 3rd party benchmarks including 3DMark and PassMark tests.
Sims 4 does not necessarily need a very fast laptop. In fact, it is one of the easiest games to pick a laptop for. Of course, if you want to get the best deal, which is exactly tailored to what you’ll need to run Sims 4 – it helps to know what exactly you should be looking for.
To find the best Sims 4 laptop, I went through PC requirements, converted them to equivalent laptop components and what are the precise processors and video cards you should look for. Finally, I’ve picked out 5 best laptops for Sims 4 depending on your budget and the graphics settings you want to play the game on.
To begin with, let’s examine what is important for a Sims 4 laptop.
What are we looking for in a Sims 4 laptop?
First of all, let’s check the official requirements for Sims 4:
- Processor: 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, AMD Athlon 64 Dual-Core 4000+
- Video card: NVIDIA GeForce 6600 or better
- Memory: At least 2 GB RAM
- DVD drive for installations using DVD
- OS, Sound Card, Hard Drive, DirectX and other requirements are easily met by any modern laptop
- Processor: Intel Core i5-750
- Video card: Nvidia GTX 650
- Memory: At least 4 GB RAM
These system requirements are targeted towards stationary personal computers and not laptops. Now, I’ll adapt these requirements to laptops one-by-one.
Also, we don’t need to worry about Sims 4 expansion packs (Get to Work, Get Together), game packs, stuff packs and other DLC.
The Sims 4 Laptop Mode
Just before we start, I need to address The Sims 4 Laptop Mode. It allows running Sims 4 with very old and weak machines, including some of the cheapest laptops out there. That’s why if you just want to run Sims 4 on the cheap – even the most basic laptop will be enough (more on that in recommendation section).
One of the best things about League of Legends is how well optimized it is for cheap laptops. That’s why you don’t have to break a bank if you just want a notebook for casually playing LoL. Apart from that, League scales pretty well into better hardware (except for multi-core usage, but that’s a problem for many games with lock-step engine). But if we want to find the best laptop for League of Legends, there’s some research to be done.
Quick update. Last guide update: November 15. I’ve decided to refresh the guide with the latest laptops with the new Intel Core 7th gen processors and Nvidia GTX Pascal video cards.
In short, expect to spend under $800 for a basic laptop for League, powerful laptop – under $1300 and around $1500 for some of the best laptops for League of Legends. The latter will be able to handle gaming way beyond LoL.
So what are we looking for?
League of legends has ridicoulously low minimum and recommended requirements. That’s why even most entry-level laptops will be sufficient to play LoL.
At the same time, there are plenty of reasons to get a more expensive laptop for LoL if you’ve got the budget for it.
Obviously, you might need a laptop with better specs for other games. Few PC games are as accessible as League is, so you’ll need to spend some cash on latest hardware if you like to keep on top on the latest releases. But since you’re getting a laptop for LoL now, I guess you’re sticking with it for a while and I won’t assume that you need a laptop with a top-notch graphics card.
But even if you only see yourself playing League of Legends for the next few years, you might need a better rig if you’re considering streaming. Even if you’re not dreaming about going pro, having an occasional stream for a couple of your best mates can be fun.
Now I’ll break down all main requirements one-by-one.