Journalism Student most of the time, one of HackerNoon's Junior Editors for the rest of it.
The Nvidia RTX 30 series graphics cards have been out for a while and have made headlines for their incredible performance and their incredible scarcity. Unfortunately, they have mostly existed in desktop form. People who want a gaming laptop with one of the latest graphics cards have had to wait a while for them to come out.
Fortunately, they have finally arrived. The first wave of laptops boasting Nvidia’s latest offerings are starting to become available. Please note that not all these gaming laptops on this list have been released yet and some of them might be out of stock.
The performance of these laptops has or will be examined to death by people far more qualified than I am, but raw performance isn’t all that makes a laptop work. The four manufacturers we looked at today have managed to find all kinds of features and gimmicks to throw into their gaming laptops.
One of the best things about these gaming laptops are the new screens that they have. A few years ago, the best you could expect would be the standard 60hz or the faster 144hz. Many of these laptops on this list go far beyond that, up to 360hz!
Naturally, these translate to a higher potential framerate. Most competitive games would benefit from that but it’s proven hard for even the mighty 3080 to play any of the best looking games at a high framerate at the native resolutions these laptops boast.
So, anyway, here are eight gaming laptop offerings, divided by brand to keep your eye out for.
Gigabyte’s main gaming laptop offerings exist in the AORUS brand. They do have other laptops with 30-series cards in the AERO range but those are aimed at content creators that will see you pay out the nose for features you probably don’t need to game, like OLED screens that have better colours but slower refresh rates.
The Gigabyte’s 15” offerings in the AORUS 15P and AORUS 15G are almost identical. Only that the 15P is slightly thicker than its counterpart and less customisable as the 15G can take a 3060 for those on a tighter budget. The 17” version, the AORUS 17G is where it gets interesting. It is the only laptop on this list to include a mechanical keyboard, a feature that does add some weight at only a minimal cost to size.
Another important thing to consider would be the screens. The AORUS 15 variants have screens that only go up to 240hz while the AORUS 17 goes up to 300hz. This laptop range is also the only one to limit screen resolution options to FHD, or the old standard of 1920x1080 which comes with a lower pixel density than the other laptops you might find on this list.
ASUS has split its laptops into two main ranges, STRIX and ROG Zephyrus. The Zephyrus line is the sleeker and lighter of the pair, more focused on aesthetics and portability than raw horsepower.
2. STRIX 15”/17”
The STRIX range is ASUS’ cheaper option. They only have RTX 3060 and RTX 3070 graphics cards available to be used and with FHD displays that typically run at 144hz, though more expensive variants allow for 300hz.
3. STRIX SCAR 15”/17”
The STRIX SCAR is a more advanced version of the STRIX. The displays default to QHD resolutions with a minimum refresh rate of 165hz and a maximum of 300hz. They are also capable of using the more expensive and powerful RTZ 3080.
4. ROG Zephyrus
The ROG Zephyrus is closer in execution to a Macbook Pro than a traditional gaming laptop. It packs enough processing power to rival traditional “gamer” laptops without the typical tacky looks. It doesn’t have a 300hz display option, though all of its variants use a 165hz display. It’s also worth noting that most of its variants only have 8GB of RAM which isn’t enough for most modern games.
The ROG Zephyrus Duo is a pretty strange machine. It isn’t as sleek as the ROG Zephyrus and sees the return of tacky aesthetics but it is a unique machine. It boasts a second screen that is raised from its chassis and improves airflow when the screen is raised. Having a second screen is helpful for the utility of being able to use a second window without minimising the first. Keeping Spotify or Discord open on the second screen is a good idea.
It offers 3060, 3070 and 3080 variants. The 3060 and 3070 variants have 300hz FHD screens while the 3080 variant has a QHD 120hz screen.
Razer’s main offering, the Razer Blade, has been a solid choice for a gaming laptop for quite a few years now and it doesn’t seem to be any different this time. There is plenty of choice when configuring Razer Blades. They come in 15” and 17” with display options ranging from FHD 360hz to QHD at 165hz and even touch screen OLED at 120hz. They pack the full range of GPU options as well.
MSI has the most diverse lineup of the companies on this list with four gaming laptop types having 30-series cards being available to them. They also share Resizable BAR technology, a feature that can produce up to 10% better performance.
7. GE76 Raider
The GE76 Raider is the highest-spec laptop from MSI. It uses an Intel i9 CPU which is more potent than the i7 and i5 variants counterparts. Display wise, it lets users pick between FHD 240hz and 300hz with a 4K option with no refresh rate indicated, presumably 60hz.
Something else that does make it appealing is the GE76 Raider Tiamat version, which has some unique carvings on its chassis but is otherwise identical to the GE76.
8. GP76 and GP66 Leopard
These laptops are functionally identical except that the GP76 has an aluminum chassis for a more premium feel. They only have the 3070 available and have FHD 144hz screens which the 3070 should be able to comfortably make use of.
9. GF65 Thin
The GF65 Thin is a gaming laptop intended to be easy to carry around. It doesn’t look very special but that doesn’t stop it from packing 3060s and having an FHD 144hz screen at a lower price point than the other laptops.
10. Stealth 15M
This laptop is a premium version of the GF65 and is uniquely equipped with an 11th generation Intel i7 while the other laptops on this list have 10th generation processors. It’s also the lightest at 1.7kg.
Like the GF65, it uses the 3060 and has an FHD 144hz screen.
There’s a fairly varied group of gaming laptops that have 30-series graphics cards that can fill just about any price point. Seeing so many models go beyond FHD displays and at consistently higher refresh rates really shows how powerful 30-series cards can be. Some of the more innovative features like the second screen on the ASUS Zephyrus Duo are certainly interesting.
The more professional-looking models like the MSI Stealth 15M are also great for not standing out in public. Ultimately, keep these models in mind and keep an eye out for benchmarks!
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