Top 10 gaming laptops 2018: current model, the performance in modern games and future prospects
Ends in 2018, but nothing is better than laptop when it comes to the computer that you want to constantly carry with them, mankind still has not invented. However, if you compare with what it was last year, gaming laptops have greatly changed. This is largely due to the advent of mobile processor family Coffee Lake. And let NVIDIA still has not introduced a new notebook GPU, but since that time, there were many interesting models.
Let’s just define: in this article the phrase “gaming
Main parameters: video card, processor, RAM, cooling
Gaming laptop, like any other mobile PC has a large number of parameters. However, given the fact that the processor and graphics chip in the laptop is not so easy to replace, the choice of a specific model should be approached thoroughly and immediately to answer the most important question: will there be enough performance notebook for my favorite games, as well as future projects?
It so happened that now the gaming laptops in the market dominated by two companies: NVIDIA and Intel. Based on modern AMD and graphics Radeon offers very little, and most of these models do not fit the definition of a gaming laptop, which I gave in the beginning of the article. As time has shown, the situation has not changed even with the advent of chips Ryzen. For example, ASUS ROG Strix GL702ZC remained exotic. At the time of writing this article is selling laptops with fast graphics chips Ryzen RX Vega is simply not there.
Therefore, when choosing a CPU orientirueshsya on the range Intel.
|Core i5-8300H||Core i5-7300HQ||Core i7-8750H||Core i7-7700HQ||Core i9-8950HK||Core i7-7820HK|
|Generation||Coffee Lake||Kaby Lake||Coffee Lake||Kaby Lake||Coffee Lake||Kaby Lake|
|Production technology, nm||14||14||14||14||14||14|
|Base frequency, GHz||2,3||2,5||2,2||2,8||2,9||2,9|
|Max Turbo Boost 2.0 frequency, GHz||4||3,5||4,1||3,8||4,8||3,9|
|L3 cache MB||8||6||9||6||12||8|
|Memory support||DDR4-2666, DDR3-2133||DDR4-2400, LPDDR3-2133, DDR3L-1600||DDR4-2666, DDR3-2133||DDR4-2400, LPDDR3-2133, DDR3L-1600||DDR4-2666, DDR3-2133||DDR4-2400, LPDDR3-2133, DDR3L-1600|
|Integrated graphics||UHD Graphics 630||UHD Graphics 630||UHD Graphics 630||UHD Graphics 630||UHD Graphics 630||UHD Graphics 630|
|Max. the graphics core frequency, GHz||1||1||1,1||1,1||1,2||1,1|
|PCI Express 3.0||16||16||16||16||16||16|
|Official price $||250||250||395||378||583||378|
In the fall of 2018 relevant are CPUs Kaby Lake and the Coffee Lake. In early April Intel unveiled seven “coffee” CPU. Among them, two “Zeon” — Xeon E-2176M and Xeon E-2186M, which are going portable workstations. For the first time among notebooks “stones” there was a family of Intel Core i9 — at the moment it includes only one model.
While there is nothing fundamentally new in processors Coffee Lake not: the main thing in this generation, of course, increasing the number of cores and threads. Series Core i5 generation Coffee Lake now supports Hyper-Threading technology, that is now chips have eight threads. We see that mobile CPUs are developing differently than the desktop counterparts of the same generation. Core i5 desktop, as we know, does not support Hyper-Threading, but have a full six cores. However, for laptops until it released only a few models Coffee Lake, and gaming devices we did meet only three chips their detailed specifications are indicated in the table.
Last year all manufacturers used, in fact, only three processor Kaby Lake. Laptops budget graphics came with a Core i5-or Core i7 7300HQ-7700HQ. Expensive devices with graphics of GeForce GTX and GeForce GTX 1070 1080 was used mostly Core i7-7700HQ. In a very “monsters”, sometimes equipped with SLI-GPU arrays, met Core i7-7820HK with an unlocked multiplier. In a few cases was used the processor Core i7-7920HQ. The choice of CPUs was over.
With the advent of chip generation Coffee Lake situation has not fundamentally changed. To replace Core i5-7300HQ and Core i7-7700HQ came Core i5-8300H and Core i7-8750H respectively, and the Core i7-7820HK was superseded by the Core i9-8950HK. Model Core i5-8400H and Core i7-8850H working at higher frequencies and supporting the Intel vPro technology in gaming devices, we are unlikely to meet.
If you compare the processors in the “then and now”, the strongest of all, in my opinion, stands out the model Core i5-8300H. Compared to the Core i5-7300HQ she not only doubled the number of threads, and significantly increased the volume cache of the third level and clock frequency in Boost mode. It does not change the cost of the processor. Other mobile Coffee Lake, as seen, are more than their predecessors, especially models of the Core i9. Gaming notebooks based on Core i7-7820HK was never available, but a version with a Core i9-8950HK will be even more expensive. But now the difference between “coffee” Core i9 and Core i7 is visible, that is, to the naked eye.
|Intel Core i5-7300HQ (HP Omen 17)||Intel Core i5-8300H (ASUS ROG Strix GL703GM)||Intel Core i7-7700HQ (ASUS ROG Strix GL502VM)||Intel Core i7-8750H (ASUS ROG Zephyrus M)|
|Corona 1.3, with (less — better)||452||270||280||182|
|WinRAR 5.40, with (less — better)||693||470||537||400|
|Blender 2.79, with (less — better)||493||242||317||164|
|x265 HD Benchmark, FPS (higher is better)||12,2||15,04||15||21,1|
|CINEBENCH R15, scores (more is better)||511||781||733||1216|
In the end, now on sale, mostly there are gaming notebooks, which are installed one of the six models: Core i5-7300HQ, Core i5-8300H, Core i7-7700HQ, Core i7-8750H, Core i7 and Core i9 7820HK-8950HK. Most often we will deal with the first four — level performance of those CPU listed in the table above.
The difference in performance between families Core i5 and Core i7 processors of different generations is enormous. Especially brightly it is manifested in multithreaded applications. In the sale you can find models with pre-installed 6-core Core i7-8750H, but with graphics GeForce GTX 1050. This laptop is perfect for those who not only plays undemanding games, but it works.
I forgot to tell you that you can meet conditionally gaming notebooks, which together with graphics GeForce GTX 1050 processor Kaby Lake Refresh. The test results show that this combination of CPU+GPU has a right to exist, but the systems with the Core i5-7300HQ still seem preferable. Therefore, these processors we consider.
Cooling system listed in the list of main settings gaming laptops not just. From its effectiveness depends on the frequency, which will operate the CPU and GPU, and this moment was particularly important with the emergence of 6-core processors Coffee Lake. Trottling in gaming laptops — a frequent occurrence, but I think all users want in their system and the processor and graphics chip to work at his maximum. Unfortunately, any external signs or the grid characteristics to determine how effectively functioning cooling system is a particular model, it is impossible. In this case, you will help reviews, reviews and more reviews.
And another important point: I haven’t seen gaming laptops, which under load would work reasonably quiet. In the test lab was visited by many models, but they are considerably noisy in games. This applies both to inexpensive laptops with processor Core i5-7300HQ and is not a budget gaming notebook with Core i7-8750H and GeForce GTX 1080. If the noise level is critical for you, I recommend immediately getting a nice headphone.
Note: the settings in the games here.
The market today available in six versions suitable for games mobile graphics: GeForce GTX 1050, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, GeForce GTX 1060 3 GB GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB, GeForce GTX GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080. In addition, you will find versions of the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB, GeForce GTX GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080 in Max-Q-design, GPU in such solutions operate at a lower frequency. In the sale there are still laptops with graphics GeForce MX150, but the level of performance this chip is not enough for modern games in Full HD resolution even on medium graphic settings.
When choosing a gaming laptop, note our following comments:
- Mobile version of the GeForce GTX 1050 suitable for modern games with the use of medium graphics quality settings at Full HD resolution.
- Mobile version of the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is suitable for modern games with the use of medium and high graphics quality settings in Full HD resolution.
- Mobile version of the GeForce GTX 1060 suitable for modern games with high and maximum graphics quality settings in Full HD resolution.
- Mobile version of the GeForce GTX 1070 suitable for the modern game at its maximum graphics quality settings in Full HD resolution and high settings with resolution of WQHD.
- Mobile version of the GeForce GTX 1080 is suitable for the modern game at its maximum graphics quality settings in the resolutions of Full HD and WQHD resolution and high graphic settings in Ultra HD.
In the market you can find laptops with SLI. GeForce GTX GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080, however in today’s article I these devices I will not recommend.
Note: the settings in the games here.
I’m not going to recommend laptops that have graphics is less than 4 GB of VRAM. For example, a 6-Gigabyte version of the GeForce GTX 1060 in Full HD resolution when used in games with the maximum quality graphics is capable in nine out of ten applications, which cannot be said about the GeForce GTX 1060 3 GB. The difference in the potential of 3D-accelerator, in my opinion, noticeable.
Note: the settings in the games here.
As I said, laptops with graphics GeForce GTX 1050, 1050 GeForce GTX Ti and GeForce GTX 1060 are equipped with processors like Core i5-7300HQ and Core i7-7700HQ and chips Core i5-8300H and Core i7-8750H. Testing shows that such a GPU is quite enough of a performance 4-core Core i5-7300HQ. That is, to pay more for faster CPU, if we are talking exclusively about computer games, there is no need.
Note: more information is here.
At the same time for graphics of GeForce GTX GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080 are fine processors Core i7-7700HQ and Core i5-8300H — we can save money, if you do not chase after buy 6-nuclear Coffee Lake. Another thing is that new models with those GPUs mostly are equipped with a chip Core i7-8750H. However, the sale can still be found a version with a processor Core i7-7700HQ and graphics GeForce GTX 1070/1080.
When choosing a gaming laptop, note our following comments:
- To graphics GeForce GTX 1050, 1050 GeForce GTX Ti and GeForce GTX 1060 take the Intel Core i5-7300HQ or Core i5-8300H.
- To graphics GeForce GTX 1070 GTX 1080 and GeForce take processor Core i7-7700HQ or Core i5-8300H.
Can not hurt the gaming laptop and 16 GB of RAM. In 2018 in most cases just sell models with 8 or 16 GB of RAM, at least — with 24, 32 and even 64 GB. Our experiment showed that the use of only 8 GB may lead under certain circumstances to the performance drop during a game, as many modern projects require high graphics quality settings more than 8 GB of RAM. Data that does not fit in the memory, are recorded in the cells of the system memory of the laptop. And even when insufficient RAM is enabled the page file is used to store pages of virtual memory. The use of a Swap file on the hard disk will lead to a significant drawdown FPS. The play will be uncomfortable, although the average number of frames per second displayed in a particular game can be quite acceptable. It turns out that the ideal amount at the moment is 16GB, this amount of RAM enough for all games. To save money and take the laptop with 8 GB in one case: if it allows yourself time to add more system memory. In modern systems with processors Kaby Lake use modules DDR4-2400 running with delays 17-17-17-39, and in systems with Coffee Lake — kits DDR4-2666 (19-19-19-43).
Important settings: display, storage, input devices
Parameters that affect the performance of laptops in games, understood. Now consider the characteristics that determine the usability of the laptop. For me personally, in the first place is the SSD. It significantly speeds up the loading of the operating system and written in all memory cells of the SSD programs. Including and games.
The chart above shows the download speed games for laptop ASUS ROG Strix GL553VE to the upgrade and after it. First laptop was one of 2.5-inch hard disk drive with a spindle speed of 5400 rpm. Then I installed in this laptop is a SATA drive Kingston SM2280S3G2/480G.
Observations show that in cheap gaming laptops with graphics of GeForce GTX 1050, 1050 GeForce GTX Ti and GeForce GTX 1060 set is not the most productive OEM SSDs. Unfortunately, to keep track of this point when buying is very difficult, as generally in the specifications simply indicate that the system has an SSD of such a volume. As a rule, models 128 and 256 GB have a low speed entry. Mainly used device with SATA interface. However, laptops with Skylake chips and Kaby Lake support the installation of SSD with PCI Express 3.0 x4 — these drives are mainly used in top devices for 100+ thousand rubles.
When you select a laptop tip I have is simple: take the model, which eventually will allow you to replace the drive is more capacious and faster analogue. Now many of the games weigh 50, 60 or even 70 GB, so the drive is 128 GB enough for only the location of the operating system, drivers, and one (max two) games.
Note: read more about this here.
Diagonal laptop everything is clear. If the laptop must be constantly transferred from one place to another, it is better to take model with a diagonal of 15.6 inches. Now the gaming device weigh around 2.2-2.8 kg (plus power supply for a pound) that men (and women) in the Prime of life shouldn’t become too heavy a load. If the laptop will be used mainly as a stationary PC, that is sense to pay more attention to the 17.3-inch model. To play on the big screen is more convenient. In most cases in the gaming models used a matte display with anti-reflective coating.
Pro notebooks with a matrix resolution of 1366 × 768 pixels got together and forgot — only Full HD-only… hardcore? Just as hardcore (read — Ultra HD) gaming laptops, in my opinion, do not need. Because graphics performance of GeForce GTX and GeForce GTX 1070 1080 not enough to play in 4K resolution at maximum or close to them graphics quality settings. In addition, the NVIDIA technology DSR — if someone still wants a 15 – or 17-inch screen to obtain a clearer picture. Interestingly, the WQHD gaming in laptops is almost never used: either Full HD or Ultra HD.
Regarding the choice of the matrix in the laptop, it is better to look for a model with IPS. Budget laptops typically uses a very cheap TN-displays. Live and play with the screen, of course, possible, but not necessary. IPS often have a higher level of brightness, more contrast, better viewing angles and more accurate color reproduction. Usually the manufacturer specifies the characteristics of the only type of display and the screen quality can be found only in reviews or in the personal acquaintance with the device. Is not without its pitfalls — sometimes the same laptop model is equipped with a matrix of the same type but from different manufacturers. So choose a laptop with a good display is not always possible. Even the price of a laptop does not guarantee the availability of truly high-quality matrix.
Support frequency sweep 120/144 Hz and G-SYNC — “chips” in the gaming laptop is pleasant enough, but I wouldn’t call these technologies the Essentials. Budget laptops it is normally felt without them.
In reviews laptops are the hardest to write about the keyboard, because you have to share with the reader a purely subjective opinion. You can read hundreds of reviews where the authors will tell you that the keystroke from the keyboard of a laptop is smooth, crisp, fast, responsive, tight, loud, quiet, pleasant and so forth, but there is no better way than to try the keyboard to “taste”. So I recommend to go in any conventional Eldorado even if the model that you have taken note on the stand will be, you can always learn the keyboard is another model from the same manufacturer. Usually, they provide the laptops similar input devices.
On the touchpad to pay attention do not see the point. In addition to the gaming laptop you need to buy a good mouse.
Additional options: battery, interfaces, sound, wireless connection
Do not expect a gaming laptop to record levels of battery life although some models can operate without a mains connection for 4 hours and even longer when watching videos or surfing the web. If you need a gaming system with a long battery life, look for a model with long battery life — 60 W·h. Just keep in mind that in offline mode, the GPU performance is reduced dynamically, limiting rendering 30 frames per second. In this mode, play is not always comfortable, but in any case will not take long — an hour and a half tops.
Other parameters of a gaming laptop is the sound, wireless connection interfaces — I boldly called secondary. If the sides of the laptop there are several USB ports A-type, HDMI output, an Ethernet Jack and a 3.5 mm mini-jacks for connection of headset, this set is quite enough for a comfortable pastime for the device. Newfangled USB 3.1 Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 — this is a very nice additional option, but certainly not the interfaces of the first necessity. The sound quality of most laptops is usually below average. Just because, for good audio you need a spacious case.
Opportunities to upgrade and configure
Separately mention about the possibility to upgrade a gaming laptop. This topic on our website dedicated to the detailed article. Usually we can install into the laptop extra memory or replace existing drives faster and more capacious counterparts. This upgrade is quite enough to noticeably speed up laptop.
With that said, it is better to buy a laptop that will work without any problems independently upgrade. Especially if you take not the top-end modification — for example, without SSD or with only 8 GB of RAM. If the laptop is poorly upgrade (hard or impossible to disassemble), it is better a model to purchase, that is, maximally stuffed with SSD 256-512 GB and 16 GB of RAM.