The first generation of gaming laptops were, in a word, excessive. While they packed the computing power necessary to game on the go, they were often big, bulky, noisy and sported obnoxious, gaudy design. In other words, they’d look pretty out of place in a boardroom meeting.
This article is sponsored by GIGABYTE.
Any computer powerful enough to run new release video games on high settings is powerful enough to do almost anything you can throw at it, from graphic design to photo or video editing. Having that kind of portable power without needing to lug around something that looks and sounds like a spaceship taking off used to be a fairly big ask. That kind of power can now be crammed into a relatively slim frame.
With a new wave of sleek, powerful gaming laptops emerging, it’s fair to say these portable rigs aren’t just for gamers anymore. Here are a few reasons why.
They’ve grown up
Unlike the clunky machines of yore, newer gaming laptops are embracing subtlety in more ways than one. Most are quieter, slimmer, lighter and unassuming in design when compared to their hefty predecessors. To become a viable solution outside of the gaming world, these are evolutions that needed to happen.
Thomas Vernier, Systems Administrator for a Sydney-based tech company, opted for a gaming laptop for peace of mind, knowing that it would be powerful enough to handle everything from regular use to more complex programs required for his work. While a preference for the Windows operating system was one reason he didn’t choose a Mac, aesthetic was also an important consideration and something that’s no longer exclusive to Apple.
“They’re similar in performance and also tick the box of a good-looking laptop,” he told Gizmodo Australia.
Mackenzie Rowles is the owner of the Camelworks YouTube channel and uses a gaming laptop to create content.
“Gaming laptops are good for anyone that needs a high-spec laptop,” he told Gizmodo Australia. “I use mine for video editing while travelling and find gaming-specific units far better than Macs, which are overpriced and limited in terms of what they offer.”
GIGABYTE’s new AERO 15 laptop is a good example of gaming power in a chassis you wouldn’t be embarrassed taking into a business meeting.
The top of the line model comes packed with NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2080 Super – one of the most powerful graphics processors available right now – along with an Intel Core i9-10980HK CPU and up to 64GB of RAM. Considering this is as powerful as a topline desktop gaming PC, it’s impressive to see it fit into a 356(W) x 250(D) x 20(H) mm body weighing around 2kg. For comparison, many gaming laptops nudge closer to 3kgs.
All that power requires strong cooling, which often comes at the price of noisy internal fans. According to Linus Tech Tips, the AERO 15 is capable of running graphics-heavy AAA games while maintaining “very reasonable noise level,” and that’s when it’s being pushed hard.
The AERO is also the world’s first AI laptop, utilising Microsoft’s Azure Machine Learning platform to “automatically and dynamically adjust the best CPU and GPU wattage setting for different apps”. In other words, it fiddles around with settings for you to ensure you’re always getting the most efficient use of power based on what you’re doing.
It’s nice to have the option
While a gaming laptop might be considered overkill for any work that doesn’t require intense graphic or video processing, for many people, it provides entertainment and creative options on top a stable work tool.
Never underestimate how useful a fast computer can be in any industry. Even if it’s just tapping away at a spreadsheet, a fast processor and plenty of RAM will ensure you never get bogged down and leave plenty of overhead for other apps, browsers and anything else you need to run at the same time.
Gamers will obviously see the advantages of having a work laptop capable of a quick lunchtime gaming session, but they’re also useful for those with hobbies involving content creation, design, photo/video editing or even music production via processor and RAM-hungry digital audio workstations (DAWs) like Ableton Live.
When tested with Photoshop, as an example, the AERO clocked in at 18% faster than its competitors.
Gaming laptops can tick more than just one box now, which is the case for electrical engineer, Martin Cloughley.
“I use a gaming laptop to run LED installations for shows I play as a DJ,” he told Gizmodo Australia. “I use it to game in my downtime as well, so it kills two birds with one stone when it comes to my hobbies.”
They’ll likely last longer
Going with a top of the line gaming laptop can almost be seen as an investment, as they’re far less likely to be superseded in the short term. This is because they use high-quality parts that are built to handle the demands of gaming and are usually able to keep up with future releases for quite a while, even at high graphics settings.
According to NetBookNews, a gaming laptop can last 5 to 6 years without maintenance. In terms of what to look for in a gaming laptop right now, RTX graphics cards, while expensive, will keep you in good stead moving forward.
“Going with an RTX system will future proof your purchase, ensuring your gaming laptop will continue to run any game on ultra settings for years and years to come,” the site says.
Whether you’re a gamer or just appreciate the productivity boost a lightning-fast laptop provides, a gaming laptop is a choice worth considering.