If you’re a gamer, or know someone who is, you can’t go wrong this holiday season by purchasing a new gaming laptop or console. Though there are hundreds of excellent options out there when it comes to these devices, we’ve pulled together a few of our favorites.
And, if you need help getting your new gaming laptop or console set up, look no further than Town Tech. Our technicians are local experts in all things gaming, and are happy to come to your house to make sure your new setup is ready for the ultimate gaming experience. We also offer repair services for gaming consoles and laptops that need a little love, and gift certificates for repair and installation services.
So, without further ado, here is our Holiday Gift Guide for gaming laptops and consoles.
What Specs Do I Need in a Gaming Laptop or Computer?
PC games are getting more and more intense. The engines they run off of are complex and the graphics they display get more realistic each year. Your computer or laptop requires certain specifications in order to play most new PC games the way they’re meant to be played. If you’re buying a new gaming computer or laptop, make sure it comes with the following:
- Lots of ports. If you’ll be adding things like monitors or VR headsets, you’re going to want your new gaming computer to have plenty of ports. These should include 6-8 USB 3.0 ports, 3-4 Display Ports, and at least 1 HDMI port.
- A good graphics card. Your graphics card, sometimes also referred to as a video card or GPU, is what controls how the images of your video game are outputted to your display. A GPU’s clock speed is what determines how fast it can display graphics. The higher the clock speed, the better the performance. For instance, the MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1070 has a clock speed of just over 8,000 and can run pretty much any game you want. That said, if you’re looking to display a game in 4K, you may want to get a computer or laptop that has two graphics cards.
- A quad-core processor. Your CPU’s ability to play games without lagging or freezing depends on how many processors it has. While you may be able to get buy on a dual-core processor, a quad-core processor is recommended.
- A decent amount of RAM. Some companies will advertise computers and laptops with upwards of 32GB of RAM. Though this may sound like what you need, your money is better spent on a computer with a good graphics card and a good processor. For most PC games, you really don’t need more than 8GB RAM but, if you want to really make sure you will be able to run absolutely any game, you won’t need more than 16GB RAM.
- A solid state drive (SSD). They’re way more expensive than hard disk drives (HDD) but totally worth it. Why? They’re much, much faster. Having an SSD over an HDD will mean the difference between screens and cut scenes that load in a few seconds as opposed to 30 seconds or even minutes. When it comes to the size of your SSD, get as much as you think you’ll need. Serious gamers may want to go ahead and invest in a terabyte SSD, which casual gamers may not need anything bigger than 500GB.
- A good display. Whether you’re buying a laptop with the screen built in or monitors to go with your desktop gaming PC, you’ll obviously want the games you’re going to play to look good. 4K is becoming more common, but it takes more power to run. In most cases, a 1080p display will give you a great picture without hogging your computer’s power unnecessarily.
So What Are Some of the Best Gaming Computers and Gaming Laptops
The short answer is: there are plenty. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll look at three pre-built gaming desktops and three gaming laptops in high, mid, and low price ranges.
- The [amazon_textlink asin=’B01NAYL9H2′ text=’Razer Blade Pro Gaming Laptop’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’towntech-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’96a50ae4-d55e-11e7-86a1-d79bf46737dd’] is a thing of beauty, with a 17-inch 4K touchscreen, 32 GB of RAM, and an Intel Core i7-7820HK Quad-core Processor, this computer can handle virtually any game you throw at it. Plus, at around $4,000.00, it’s also VR ready.
- The [amazon_textlink asin=’B01N6VFLLZ’ text=’Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’towntech-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’fd3a9284-d6dd-11e7-be77-156c8da4ff5b’] is our next choice for a great gaming laptop. It boasts some impressive features, like a 17.3-inch Full HD screen, Tobii eye tracking, and 1 TB hard drive. It’s also much cheaper than our top pick, at under $1,500.00 on Amazon.
- Finally, if you’re looking for a budget laptop, look no further than the [amazon_textlink asin=’B06XFGDD8P’ text=’Dell Inspiron Full HD Gaming Laptop’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’towntech-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’4a038e33-d6de-11e7-9d8a-25ee00665986′]. It’s screen may be a bit smaller, but it still packs a punch for about $800.00. With a 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7300HQ Quad Core processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 32 GB solid state drive, you can’t go wrong with this for the price.
On the pricier side of things is the [amazon_textlink asin=’B06XDY5Y2F’ text=’MAINGEAR Vybe’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’towntech-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’93edfad7-d6de-11e7-8558-3d0158652184′]. It features 16GB of RAM and 2000GB of storage space. It’s also equipped with the ability to both play and stream in 4K, plus it’s VR ready. For around $2,500.00, it’s one of the better gaming desktops you can get.
Our mid-priced choice is the [amazon_textlink asin=’B071WHGM9V’ text=’ASUS G11DF-DBR5-GTX1060 Desktop PC’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’towntech-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a937ce40-d6de-11e7-9684-4505af14bb36′]. Not only is it VR ready and equipped with 4K Ultra HD, it also comes with a mouse and keyboard. Other specs include an AMD Ryzen 5 1400 processor, 8GB of RAM, and both a 256GB solid state drive and a 1TB hard disk drive. In short, this is a really great pre-built gaming desktop for around $1,000.
Finally, our choice for a budget gaming desktop is the [amazon_textlink asin=’B0747W15QL’ text=’CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme GXIVR8020A4′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’towntech-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f68ed95a-d6de-11e7-a225-af423ad61d53′]. At around $700.00, this computer is VR ready, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB HDD. It also comes with a 1-year parts and labor warranty as well as lifetime tech support.
Should I Build a Custom Gaming Desktop?
If you want a gaming desktop with all the bells and whistles but you aren’t willing to pay the price, you basically have one option: build your own. Though this process may be time consuming, it’s also one that will leave you with an excellent gaming PC for less money than you could buy a custom build. Plus, you’ll have a serious sense of accomplishment when you realize you just built an entire computer by yourself.
If you want to embark on this adventure, Town Tech can help you get started. Our technicians are experts when it comes to all things gaming. We can help you determine what you need in a gaming computer, pick out and order parts, and build the best gaming desktop anyone could ever want. Get in touch with us for more information on custom gaming PC builds.
The Best Gaming Consoles
For gamers who don’t have, or don’t want, a gaming laptop or desktop, video game consoles are excellent options. Not only do game consoles make great gifts, but they make future gift giving even easier because you can always buy your giftee more games!
There are plenty of great game consoles on the market, but here are our favorites:
- The [amazon_textlink asin=’B01LOP8EZC’ text=’Sony PlayStation 4 Pro’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’towntech-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’8f3d9cb9-d6df-11e7-8153-a97a63d79271′] is one of the best gaming consoles out there. It’s VR ready, outputs in 4K, and gives users access to hundreds of the latest and greatest games; all for around $400.00.
- The [amazon_textlink asin=’B01K1JV9KE’ text=’Microsoft Xbox One S’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’towntech-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c4830011-d6df-11e7-88e7-7ff3cfa9fc0e’] is the PlayStation’s main competitor. With just as many games and the ability to pay 4K Blu-Ray and stream from Netflix and Hulu, the only downside when compared to the PlayStation is that the Xbox One S isn’t VR compatible and it can’t play games in 4K. It is cheaper though, at around $300.00 (and sometimes less).
- The [amazon_textlink asin=’B01MUAGZ49′ text=’Nintendo Switch ‘ template=’ProductLink’ store=’towntech-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’de9e59c5-d6df-11e7-9e8c-13321975a300′]is like a new video game console hybrid. Not only does it allow users to play the traditional way, by plugging into a TV or monitor, but the player can also lift the switch out of it’s dock to take it on the go. Pretty cool for a console that only costs about $300.00, right?
- The [amazon_textlink asin=’B00S1LRX3W’ text=’Nintendo 3DS XL’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’towntech-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f93e9a1d-d6df-11e7-ba39-f554921c6c4c’] is an excellent options for gamers on a budget or for those who mostly play on the go. It’s also got tons of games and some cool features like face tracking and 3D gameplay which make the roughly $200.00 price tag totally worth it.
Top VR Systems
When it comes to virtual reality (VR) game systems, there are two basic types: those that are tethered and those that are mobile.
The tethered VR systems that exist need the help of a PC (or in the case of the PlaySation VR system, a PlayStation 4) in order to run. Mobile VR systems, on the other hand, piggyback off cell phones in order to work. So you can see the downside to any VR system is you don’t just need to buy the system itself, but also a compatible computer or phone to make it work.
This can get pricey quickly, but if you already have the right kind of phone or computer you may be surprised by how cheap VR systems can be on their own. Here’s a quick list of the top VR setups available today:
- The mobile [amazon_textlink asin=’B01N7HXFEV’ text=’Google Daydream View’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’towntech-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’3d82cd3d-d6e0-11e7-8a4c-c38c3980e18e’] for around $80.00
- The mobile [amazon_textlink asin=’B074GB37V8′ text=’Samsung Gear VR’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’towntech-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’53fd3150-d6e0-11e7-b8dd-2b9c3c69c4d9′] for around $100.00
- The tethered, PlayStation 4-run [amazon_textlink asin=’B01DE9DY8S’ text=’PlayStation VR’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’towntech-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f398b93d-d6e0-11e7-a59d-692c3cad1dbe’] for around $250.00
- The tethered, PC-run [amazon_textlink asin=’B073X8N1YW’ text=’Oculus Rift ‘ template=’ProductLink’ store=’towntech-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’093f04d2-d6e1-11e7-ab4b-b9399ce4ede4′] for around $400.00
- The tethered, PC-run [amazon_textlink asin=’B00VF5NT4I’ text=’HTC VIVE’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’towntech-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’1e8ca983-d6e1-11e7-9377-5f61ef5e34fa’] for around $600.00
Prediction: The 10 Best-Selling Games of 2018
Now obviously we don’t know which video games will top the charts in 2018, but given the hype we’ve heard so far, we have some pretty good predictions that include:
- Anthem from BioWare
- Kingdom Hearts III from Square Enix
- God of War from Sony
- Monster Hunter: World from Capcom
- Far Cry 5 from Ubisoft
- Dragonball FighterZ from Arc System Works
- Spiderman from Insomniac Games
- Metroid Prime 4 from Nintendo
- The Last of Us 2 from Naughty Dog
- Red Dead Redemption 2 from Rockstar Games
Now that you know pretty much everything you need to about gaming laptops, gaming desktops, video game consoles, and the most anticipated video games of 2018, it’s time to get to shopping.
Don’t forget, Town Tech gift certificates make the perfect gift to pair with a new gaming computer or console. They’ll give you or your giftee access to all of our awesome tech services, including installation and repairs. Get in touch with us to learn more at 315-815-4155 or, if you’re ready to schedule a repair now or get a quote for installation, just click the button below.