Gaming Laptop Shopping

Hello nerdy friends.

I am shopping for a gaming laptop to replace my desktop. Planning to purchase in the next few months. I built a gaming desktop back in 2016 that has served me very very well. (I work from home full time, remote IT work) I was prepping to update the graphics card in it when it hit me that my wife and I would be doing a lot of traveling over the next few years(for her PhD work) and getting a desktop to and from Europe and bouncing from place to place with the whole setup just doesn't sound like a great plan. This brings me to shopping for a gaming laptop instead, which I have actually never done, and it's awful.

Does anyone have any tips for cutting through all of the noise? It's infuriating to find a list that seems like a good breakdown of "the 5 best for April '21" or whatever, as a place to at least start to get an idea of what's out/coming out/etc, but then the link in the article will send you to an Amazon page for last years model of that device. The manufactures sites are barely better. Oh, this looks nice, where is it sold? Yup, that link takes me to best buy but not the build I want. (I'm not trying to find a list and just buy the one they tell me, just use those lists to figure out what models/brands to go look at further, then I can check some reviews and benchmarks on youtube/etc)

Partially, I feel it's the timing. In a couple of months, it might be better as stocks (maybe) start to sure up and the retailers update all their listings. I guess I am just looking for any tips from anyone who's played this game before. I know about what I want, I know about what I want to spend, but as of yet have not found a good way to sort through all that is available. I know I will have to make compromises due to it being a laptop, I just didn't expect finding the products themselves, their spec options, and what they cost to be as tedious as it has turned out to be.

Thanks

I know about what I want, I know about what I want to spend, but as of yet have not found a good way to sort through all that is available.

We haven't had a lot of chatter about laptops here lately, and I haven't bought one for myself in a long time, so my opinion will probably not be very useful. However, others here likely have shopped recently. Maybe you should tell us your budget and what you roughly want, and then folks can make recommendations? An idea of the kinds of games you want to play would really help, too.

From past threads, Sager was reasonably well thought of; they make laptops for many other "manufacturers" (which just take the Sager lappy and paste their own stickers on it.) IIRC, they're typically bigger and heavier than most, but in exchange are cheaper, and usually have decent cooling.

I can also tell you that you probably want an AMD chip in any laptop you buy now. The Intel chips are much hotter or much slower. AMD 4000-series chips are really efficient, and they have some new 5000-series laptop chips that look seriously killer. The onboard graphics are still not as good as a discrete chip, but if you stick to 1080p for your gaming resolution, they can do a pretty good job. The CPUs themselves are dynamite, just amazingly quick, and run super cool for the amount of power on offer. Pair a Ryzen 3-based laptop CPU with a discrete video chip of some kind, and you will probably be very happy.

If you don't mind paying a premium price, you could look at Alienware laptops. They're typically aimed at gamers and specced well. But you might not like the design, and you definitely won't like the price.

Malor wrote:
I know about what I want, I know about what I want to spend, but as of yet have not found a good way to sort through all that is available.

We haven't had a lot of chatter about laptops here lately, and I haven't bought one for myself in a long time, so my opinion will probably not be very useful. However, others here likely have shopped recently. Maybe you should tell us your budget and what you roughly want, and then folks can make recommendations? An idea of the kinds of games you want to play would really help, too.

Thanks for the reply. Mostly looking for tips on how to sift through all the options over suggestions for specific devices. I hesitated stating that more clearly out of fear of sounding pompous or something. I don't really need so much help determining what I need. Partially because I know enough, by no means expert-level knowledge, but enough to determine the minimums for what I want to accomplish, and then also I didn't really want to try to get a bunch of people shopping and deal-hunting for me. I'm just finding the whole process terrible. Frustrations with marketing BS of this laptop has a 3070, but really it's more like "X" because it's only getting 85w of power. (which is why I'm checking so many benchmarks) (Also, I know that nvidia is sorta kinda trying to help with some of that clarity)

So like, if someone knows a specific site that lists/ranks them well and they trust.
If someone knows of a site that helps you see what products are listed where.

BUT crowdsourced knowledge does help so I'll throw this in also:
looking to spend about $2k on it. (I'm basically just going to get the highest spec, most well-reviewed device I can at this range with the goal being to overshoot what I NEED so that I can be happy with it for the next 3-5 years while having limited upgrade options due to it being a laptop)
preferably 15 inch
AMD 5000 series CPU.
either 3070 or 3080. (many seam really close in benchmarks for both based on power limitations)
16GB RAM min with the option to upgrade later(seen some with weird soldered on slots so they are limited in upgrade choices so that is fun)
Really not picky on looks. 100% specs first, looks last.

Play a little of everything, from Loop Hero to Control, including VR, currently have a Rift S. Also do some Blender 3D, less so recently but want to get back to it.

You definitely need to dig because there are a few ways to be had. One is that some laptops with 3070's are actually some special laptop variant that is moderately better than a 2060.

The high end AMD 5000 series (H, HS) are by all accounts good enough to game at 1080p without a discrete GPU. (They look comparable to a RX 580 if a bit better)

AMD's or Microsoft's equivalent to DLSS (hopefully by 6 months from now) will only make this better and will allow you to not sacrifice so much battery life for game performance.

And then there is the elephant in the room, availability. CPUs have typically been much better than GPUs in this regard but laptops may follow other pre-builts with better availability of GPU options. However, AMD's 4000 series laptops have been scarce so will AMD fair better with the 5000's? Everyone hopes so

fangblackbone wrote:

You definitely need to dig because there are a few ways to be had. One is that some laptops with 3070's are actually some special laptop variant that is moderately better than a 2060.

The high end AMD 5000 series (H, HS) are by all accounts good enough to game at 1080p without a discrete GPU. (They look comparable to a RX 580 if a bit better)

AMD's or Microsoft's equivalent to DLSS (hopefully by 6 months from now) will only make this better and will allow you to not sacrifice so much battery life for game performance.

And then there is the elephant in the room, availability. CPUs have typically been much better than GPUs in this regard but laptops may follow other pre-builts with better availability of GPU options. However, AMD's 4000 series laptops have been scarce so will AMD fair better with the 5000's? Everyone hopes so :)

Yeah, the CPU graphics are really getting pretty impressive. My goal is to be able to plug into a larger 1440 monitor when I have the opportunity back at home base and some of the stuff I play will require the umph of the discrete. I think they need to regulate the branding in some way for the cards. I don't know what the right answer is, but the chip type alone shouldn't make it a 3070/80. There should be some minimum spec score attached maybe? Maybe that means you can't buy a laptop with a 3080 AT ALL because they simply can't meet that spec due to power limitations/etc. But it would be much more consumer friendly.

https://www.notebookcheck.net/ should be the first stop to check.

You can search by graphics card and look at their reviews. They also aggregate some other sites' reviews, but their own are more thorough.

I don't think there going to be much out yet with 3070/80 and AMD 5000s. Laptops typically lag behind desktops by at least a few months in getting the next gen of parts. If you wait six months there will be more options.

LeapingGnome wrote:

https://www.notebookcheck.net/ should be the first stop to check.

You can search by graphics card and look at their reviews. They also aggregate some other sites' reviews, but their own are more thorough.

I don't think there going to be much out yet with 3070/80 and AMD 5000s. Laptops typically lag behind desktops by at least a few months in getting the next gen of parts. If you wait six months there will be more options.

NICE, thanks!