Taking the plunge on a high-end machine is enough to make any gamer wary. You've always got to make sure that you're getting your money's worth, and that what you're buying suits your specific needs, as it's most likely going to cost you. Let's talk about what you should consider when you're thinking about pulling the trigger on a gaming laptop.
When it comes to gaming laptops, size really does matter. The main trade off here when considering this is screen quality versus weight. You want to be able to enjoy your favorite games in HD, but you've also got to be able to carry this thing round with you. It's all about your mindset. If you travel around often, and perhaps have a desktop at home, you may want to consider a 15" mid range screen. This is the middle ground. A 13" screen in my opinion feels like a waste when buying a gaming laptop. The screen size you're losing is too much when you're buying this to play AAA games at the highest graphic fidelity.
Gaming laptops are packed full of hardware and cooling devices and can be a strain to carry around in a leisurely fashion! If this is going to be your main rig though, you probably want to go for gaming laptops in the 17" range. This will mean you don't sacrifice screen size and can experience games at the highest level of graphical quality. Sure, it'll be a bit of a pain to carry around (depending on the model you choose) but I'd say it's worth it. You're buying this to play games, so you may as well have the best screen possible.
Of course, it's fair enough to talk about getting the biggest screen size, but often people have to stick to a budget, and the larger the screen, the higher the price. Usually, your price will be defined by the parts within the machine, and you always want to get the best deal pertaining to your price range. You want to have a rig that performs to the standard of games that you wish to play, but also suits your everyday needs. There are a number of sites that make it easy for you to select your laptop screen size/brand and find the cheapest deals!
The GPU, much like the Mitochondria, is the powerhouse of your prospective machine, and it will be the main thing you want to spend your money on. Everything within your laptop should usually revolve around the GPU, as it controls entirely how impressive the games you play on it are going to look. For example, you'd really struggle to buy a laptop with a GPU that isn't supported by your CPU/RAM, so this should be your focal point. You want a card with a fair amount of dedicated VRAM, as 2GB doesn't really cut it anymore in 2016.
What's key to understand when buying a GPU for a laptop is the distinction between mobile and dedicated GPUs. For example, you can get a laptop that has a 980m, and you may well think that that performs just as well as a 980, but you'd be dead wrong. As you can see from this comparison, the dedicated unit almost doubles in power, so be very wary and always compare when you're choosing a GPU. Some gaming laptops have developed to the point now where they actually have dedicated units inside. They're obviously more expensive, but worth a look if it's within your price range.
Random Access Memory controls the speed by which you can access data regardless of where it is stored in your hard-drive. The more RAM a computer has, the more tasks you can perform at once without slowdown. To put it bluntly, you're going to want to be aiming for the 8–16 GB range right about now. The recommended PC specs for No Man's Sky list eight gigabytes as a minimum, to put it into perspective.
RAM certainly is not the most expensive bit of hardware in your machine, so if possible, get as much as you can! Many gaming laptops also offer a means to swap out hardware nowadays, so if you can't get enough at a base level, or if you find a cheap deal, that could be a good way to add some more precious memory to your rig.
Your CPU shouldn't be your main concern, as usually once you've picked your graphics card, because the machine is complete you should be paired with a CPU that can handle it. However, it is good practice to always check and make sure that your GPU won't be throttled by the processing power of your CPU. If it's not up to scratch, it can drag your graphics card down below it's true ability.
If you like editing video or compiling though, it might be a good idea to give your CPU a boost, as this can seriously help the speed of these actions!
When you buy a gaming laptop, you're going to be hard pressed to find a good battery to go along with it. Understandably, the more bang for your buck you require, the worse your battery will be. The system has to power the kit inside, and if it's more high-tech, it's going to be a bigger strain upon your precious battery.
So, if you like to travel around, play a few casual games now and then, ensure you're buying a laptop that doesn't contain too much high-spec hardware! You're most likely going to have it plugged in at all times depending on your individual system, especially when you're playing graphically intensive games. Many laptops use a system where the battery actually superchargers and boosts the tech inside, meaning that being plugged in can see a large increase in frame-rate and graphical capacity, so be cautious!
Hopefully these helpful pointers will influence your decision and help inform you on the diverse market of Gaming Laptops. Of course, these are only guidelines, but it's good practice to make sure that the system you buy fits your needs, price range and lifestyle before purchase. It's the best way to avoid disappointment!