I have to say, I don’t know how Rocket League became one of the best PC games of all time but it did. I mean, it’s essentially soccer with cars and rocket-powered boosters. If that doesn’t get you going, then I don’t know what will.
The biggest plus of Rocket League is the game is simple to pick up yet hard to master. And it’s not like other games where you need to grind to progress. Whether you’re trying to learn your dribble or you’re playing in a tournament – you’re always growing, always moving forward. You’re not going to feel like you’re at the top until you actually reach it – and even then, there’s going to be someone better. This is where the addiction comes from.
So, let’s find out what are the prerequisites for a laptop that’ll make your game shine.
Requirements and Specifications for a Rocket League laptop
One of the things I like about Rocket League is how accessible it is. All you need is a console or a decent PC, an internet connection, and a controller (or keyboard, yikes). I’ll go one-by-one through the requirements, so you know what’s essential and what’s not.
I could go on and on about how some games benefit from having a top-notch processor. Rocket League isn’t one of them. While it’s not as hardware-intensive as most other games, it still requires a decent processor to run at the highest framerates—the more, the merrier, as they say.
If you want to play Rocket League at a high resolution (QHD or 4K) or with a high refresh rate display (120Hz or more), you’ll need at least a Core i5/Ryzen 5 processor. And if you don’t care about resolution or refresh rate, an i3/Ryzen 3 is a good entry-point.
Here are the recommended processors for Rocket League:
- i7-10875H – best for QHD or 4K displays with high refresh rates (~$2000+)
- Ryzen 7 4800H – best in its price range (~$1000-$1600)
- i7-1065G7 – good mid-range option (~$1000)
- i5-1035G1 – solid entry-level CPU ($500-$800)
- Ryzen 3 3250U – bare minimum (under $500)
For a complete list of possible CPUs, here’s the benchmark chart:
Graphics card for gaming
I remember when Rocket League was just released. I played it on a potato PC, to be honest. But now, I’ve jumped back into the fun with a brand new rig. To get to that, I’d to spend quite some time researching the best graphics cards for Rocket League.
For an old game, it still runs reasonably well on integrated graphics. You can expect around 25-100 FPS on medium settings (FHD). I know this range is enormous, but integrated graphics come in many flavors – some pretty good, some better not tasted. This sounds OK for the bottom-rung notebooks, but I guess you won’t stop there. In that case, my budget recommendation – GeForce GTX 1650 – delivers around 130 FPS on high settings. Yes, it’s a dated GPU, but it does the trick without spending a pretty penny.
To get the best, let’s look into the freshest graphics cards in 2021. For starters, I have in mind RTX 3050 and RTX 3060. Both cards can be used in laptops with 4K displays or high refresh rates. For this reason, they’re ideal for 144Hz panels and the like. With these bad boys, expect to bump your head into the Rocket League FPS ceiling – a whopping 250 on FHD or a straight 100 on 4K. There’s no reason to go beyond that.
Nvidia card variations
A keen eye for graphics card naming conventions would’ve noticed that I didn’t delve deep into all the GPU variations. That’s because there’s not much of a difference between Nvidia’s Max-Q, Ti, and Super series, so I’ll be brief:
- Max-Q cards are ~15% slower (except for RTX 30s which are all over the place)
- Ti and Super are ~15% faster than base models
For the geeks out there (just like me), I’ve added a comparison chart of all the popular graphics cards and what FPS can you expect under ideal conditions:
Rocket League isn’t memory-hungry. If you’re on a tight budget, you can get away with 8GB. But if you’re looking for a long-term investment, I’d go for at least 16GB.
Minimum (8 GB)
If you’re on a tight budget, 8GB is enough to play Rocket League at any frame rate. However, you might need to keep tabs on background processes and shut down any unneeded applications. As a result, you’ll likely turn down some of the game’s settings to avoid this hassle. That would be a shame – these days, even an entry-level laptop shouldn’t make these compromises to play Rocket League.
Recommended (16 GB)
I’d say that 16GB is just the right amount of RAM to comfortably play Rocket League while having all the regular day-to-day applications stay open in the background. In other words, with 16GB, you can play RL maxed out and still have a bunch of browser tabs open in Chrome without bother.
Best (32 GB)
If you can afford it – 32GB is the best choice for a long-term gaming laptop. You can easily play while streaming, with ten applications open, rendering video, and virtualizing Linux. Ok, maybe, that’s a bit much, but you get the point.
Nice to see you all here. I’m professor S. S. Drive, and I’ll be your host for today’s lecture on laptop storage. But please, call me Solid; I won’t mind.
Is HDD an option?
I’m not going to blabber on about SSD vs. HDD. It’s clear as day that an SSD is the superior choice. HDDs are like old men in a nursing home – slow, making lots of noise, fragile to shocks, and in need of defragmentation. You might have picked up that I’m not great with analogies.
In short, we will only consider SSD laptops because they come with an in-game performance boost, not to mention a load of other benefits.
How much space do I need?
The very least – 250 GB, but 500 GB is the sweet spot for casual gaming, but even that won’t be enough for many. I don’t know about you, but I’m always running out of space. If you’re not just into Rocket League – 1 TB will give enough clearance for a more extensive Steam library. A large hard drive might be useful if you’re also planning on using your laptop for non-gaming purposes.
The good news is that laptop storage is easy to upgrade (usually). Just take out a few screws, pop the old drive out, and put the new one. It’s as simple as that. However, some manufacturers will void your warranty if you mess with the internals. These days, the situation is getting better but make sure to check the fine print first. And if you’re not too sure about what you’re doing – leave it to the professionals.
We’ve made sure to prefer models with NVMe support in our recommendations. These are considerably faster than SATA drives, and these days NVMe is the new norm.
All right, enough talk about SSDs. Class dismissed.
It’s not that Rocket League requires a high-end laptop display. But it’s a competitive game, and you want to play it at a high framerate – why else would you play it on PC? Because you wanted to play with a keyboard?
Without further ado, here are the most critical display specifications for a first-class Rocket League experience.
I would never recommend a gaming laptop without at least Full HD resolution. Even FHD is getting old, but it’s still more enough for Rocket League. Some might disagree, but I wouldn’t even recommend going for QHD or 4K – maxing out frames on FHD is still king for competitive games. Of course, if you’d rather see grass extra-crispy on 4K – who am I to judge?
If you’re playing casually – high refresh rate displays are not a necessity. But if you’re looking for the best laptop for Rocket League – they are an option I’d highly recommend. They help to reduce overall latency and stuttering, and they just feel pleasant to use. It’s also worth noting that they’re more likely to come with a TN panel, which means they’re less likely to have wide viewing angles.
Response time is not as crucial as it was in the past. Even IPS panels have reasonable response times nowadays. Unless you’re going for the cheapest laptop possible – response time isn’t worth a second glance.
Adaptive sync can be a splendid addition for games that require low latency and high framerates. And Rocket League is one of them. So if you’re looking for the best laptop for Rocket League – adaptive sync is something to consider, but I wouldn’t sweat it – it’s an extra, not a requirement.
Panel & image quality
Panel type is usually not a massive deal for games like Rocket League. But if you have to balance gaming with visual work or you simply want a gorgeous display, I’ll share some guidelines:
- TN panels have fast response time, but everything else is… meh;
- IPS/PLS are better in most ways and so, a bit costly;
- OLED/AMOLED is the very best in panel technology. Exceptional color accuracy, often paired with HDR. Sometimes found in next-gen top-of-the-line models.
I recommend going for a “fast” IPS panel – combining visual quality and a high refresh rate into a single display. These are available for as little as ~$750.
5 Best laptops for Rocket League
Table of Best Laptops for Rocket League
|Acer Nitro 5||$730|
|ASUS TUF TUF506IU-ES74||$1,000|
|ASUS ROG Zephyrus M15||$1,550|
|ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15||$1,800|
|MSI GS66 Stealth 10SE-442||$2,400|