Why would you buy a gaming laptop? If your idea of playing games on your PC is Candy Crush, then you wouldn’t. But if your idea of fun is piloting a 24-foot tall Titan or taking on a Zerg swarm and you want to do it on the go (or in the smallest space possible), then you want a gaming laptop. These mobile PCs are small enough to serve as a compact all-in-one PC gaming rig, but also offer the advantage of portability. They will dramatically outperform a typical laptop or Ultrabook when it comes to video games because they are designed with one thing in mind: speed.

Gaming Laptop Advantage

Laptops are a series of trade-offs where the manufacturer makes choices based on what the target demographic values —all while working within limitations like portability, constricted space, battery life and cost.

With gaming laptops, manufacturers push the envelope in the quest for the most important factor in video game enjoyment: speed. Without speed, your portable video game experience is liable to be dragged down by stuttering frame rates, low resolution graphics, long load times and the frustrating experience of being fragged before your laptop even finishes displaying your opponent onscreen.

What to Look For in a Gaming Laptop

Keeping in mind, speed is critical, here are some of the specs you should be watching for that make a gaming laptop stand out from typical machines:

  • A fast GPU with plenty of dedicated video RAM is the most important factor
  • Fast RAM and plenty of it
  • At minimum, a Core i5 CPU (and preferably a Core i7)
  • SSD storage
  • High resolution display (ideally 1080p HD) with fast response time
  • support

The Biggest Names in Gaming Laptops

Not everyone has the same requirements when it comes to gaming laptops. For example, you might value portability and prefer an 11.6-inch form factor while someone else may want the biggest display possible and opt for machine with an 18-inch display.

So having a variety of gaming laptops to choose from is important. Fortunately Best Buy carries a large selection of models from the best-known names in gaming laptops. Alienware, known for its legendary performance and glowing backlit designs; Eurocom, offering designs ranging from the massive Scorpius to the ; and the formidable Asus Republic of Gaming.

It doesn’t matter what kind of PC video games you play, what your budget ir or how powerful you want your laptop to be —you’re covered.

Gaming Laptop Accessories

With speed and portability taken care of, the most common accessories added to a gaming laptop have everything to do with improving the experience once you’re settled into home base.

Want to make the experience more immersive? Consider an external monitor for a bigger view of the action and a computer sound system for dramatically boosted sound effects. Want to gain a tactical advantage over other players (or more likely, even the field)? Most gaming laptops already have a pretty good keyboard, but a specialized gaming keyboard and mouse will offer benefits like macros for common game-specific tasks while freeing you up from having to be physically close to the laptop. Some keyboards even pack a secondary display to show key game stats at a glance. A laptop stand that allows air to circulate around the machine or even actively cools it wouldn’t be a bad idea —all the horsepower stuffed inside a gaming laptop’s case can throw off a lot of heat.

Of course, you’ll want a decent case for carrying it around. After all, a gaming laptop is an investment and it needs protection.

Brad Moon
Editor Computing solutions
I’m a long-time electronics and gadget geek who’s been fortunate enough to enjoy a career that lets me indulge this interest. I have been writing about technology for several decades for a wide range of outlets including Wired, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, MSN, About.com, Kiplinger, and GeekDad. I’m in my 10th year as a senior contributor for Forbes with a focus on reviewing music-related tech, Apple gear, battery power stations and other consumer electronics. My day job is with the Malware Research Center at AI-native cybersecurity pioneer CrowdStrike.