In gaming, innovation, difficulty, requirements, and trends like virtual reality and augmented reality are constantly changing. Thus, participants in the niche are still figuring out how to come up with new standards. Professional game developers need the best laptop for software such as CRYENGINE, Unity3d, and Unreal Engine. You need a powerful laptop for running these powerful game engines and 3D modeling and design software. If you are developing a Virtual Reality game, a powerful VR-capable CPU and GPU is a must-have. Laptops for Beginners and students Laptop must also meet these specs & requirements.
Why is a Game Development Laptop so important?
To build a power-packed action gaming roadmap, you need a computer. As a result, the type of output game that has been developed directly relates to the type of development tool used.
Therefore, a high-end game development laptop is essential to the development of top-notch, high-quality, and up-to-date games.
The specifications of a PC are the most important factor. It is important to choose the right hardware based on your design and programming preferences.
What To Look For in a Laptop for Game Development
A good laptop for game development will depend on the type of game you are developing. A 2D game may not require as much power as a 3D game.
In this regard, it’s still a good idea to purchase a gaming laptop that supports game engines like Unity or GameMaker.
Top 12 Best Laptops for Game Developers and Designers
1) ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo
In the case of a budget-friendly laptop, ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo is the best option for high-end game production. It also features a secondary display above the keyboard called the ScreenPad Plus – a thoughtful innovation, especially for designers and developers.
Perhaps you could use this second screen to place your template or reference images while designing your game’s environment? Could you run two different programs simultaneously on this screen? Overall, it’s a pure productivity boost.
Such productivity features are useless, however, without the necessary hardware, and ASUS knows this. ZenBook Pro Duo features a 5GHz i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and 6GB NVIDIA RTX 2060 graphics.
In addition to offering a superior customer experience, ASUS has equipped this laptop with features that solve everyday problems. Whenever you lift the lid, the keyboard will raise at an angle, so you can see both screens more clearly.
The ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo weighs 5.5 lbs and has a battery life of 4-5 hours. In general, if you want only the best laptop for game development, whether you work in Unity Pro or Unreal Engine, or something else, this is a great option.
2) Acer Predator Helios 300
This laptop meets all the requirements for efficient and smooth game development.
Starting with the Intel Core i7 processor, its speed and processing power are astounding. The graphics will be lifelike and fluid with this processor. A Core i7 does not experience lags or glitches during development.
Despite the 16 GB of RAM, the real magic comes from the 6 GB of VRAM. The VRAM capabilities of this model’s GPU enhance the overall capacity of the image data during development.
Those who develop games need laptops with SSD capabilities, and this model has a 512 GB NVMe SSD. As a result, this laptop will have some of the fastest and most accurate response times for stored assets.
Widescreen 1080P HD display and IPS technology will produce the most vivid and illuminating graphics.
Acer Predator Helios 300 is a great gaming laptop. The main problem we found was the unit’s poor battery life. After a few hours of game development, it will be helpful to be near a power source.
3) Razer Blade 14
A beast of a laptop for all kinds of game development. This is the Razer Blade 14 laptop. 14-inch IPS-type display with QHD (2560*1440) resolution, 165Hz refresh rate, and 100% DCI-P3 color gamut. Additionally, it can be used for other productivity tasks, such as video editing, professional photo editing, Photoshop, AutoCAD, Solidworks, and 4K video editing.
This laptop’s performance is a result of its AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. With a base clock speed of 3.6GHz and a boosted clock speed of 4.8GHz, the CPU is powered by 8 cores and 16 threads. A well-rounded GPU, the Nvidia RTX 3080 offers 8GB of GDDR6X video memory.
The laptop is also equipped with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and 1TB of PCIe NVMe m.2 SSD storage. The laptop has Wi-Fi 6E, 2x USB Type-A ports, 2x USB Type-C ports, an HDMI 2.1 port, and TPM 2.0 for additional security. The laptop chassis comes equipped with a vapor chamber cooling system to prevent your laptop from becoming a hot pancake during your game development.
4) Lenovo ThinkPad P52
In contrast to most workstations which are designed to handle multiple light processes simultaneously, game development requires the execution of a few but many heavy operations simultaneously. The Lenovo ThinkPad P52 is an unconventional laptop that helps you accomplish this.
With NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti with 4GB and Intel UHD Integrated Graphics, ThinkPad P52’s GPU is ballistic. Irrespective of whether you’re running a resource-intensive application or ten lightweight ones, the experience is seamless and uninterrupted.
What is the point of this laptop having integrated graphics when you already own an overkill GPU? Because many users have integrated graphics into their computers, you can use this feature to determine if your 2D game designed on NVIDIA 1650 Ti will run on low-end devices.
With the GPU comes an Intel Hexa Core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. We loved the internal composition of this computer so much that it came in third place on our list. This computer performs well in all areas.
Also included are a 15.6-inch IPS display, a fingerprint reader to ensure no one can access your private information, and a Mini-DisplayPort for connecting external screens.
The price is the only little issue. When you need laptops to make money, such machines are investments that pay off. What’s our verdict? It’s worth it: it speeds you up, provides the best performance, and is future-proof.
5) Apple MacBook Pro
Apple has been at the forefront of technology for over 40 years. To be clear, game development has never been the company’s primary focus. Despite not having a strong gaming identity, the MacBook Pro has all the specs you need for game development.
It has a six-core Intel i7 Processor for fast and sustained speed throughout the development process. Even though this processor may not be the best for AAA game development, it will do the job for standard development.
RAM is where the MacBook Pro really shines. With up to 16 GB of RAM, this unit is much more powerful than the standard 8 GB needed for game development. In addition to that, this unit has 64 GB of DDR4 memory, so all the multitasking that comes with development will run smoothly.
What makes the MacBook Pro stand out is its graphics. AMD Radeon Pro 5000M GPU ensures ultra-rich, illuminating high definition playback on this model.
A developer needs a laptop that can provide the graphics power of a desktop on a smaller, portable scale.
For game development, the MacBook Pro is a GPU powerhouse. Overheating and quick battery depletion are two drawbacks of this unit’s superior features. During normal use of the laptop, these downsides may not be apparent, but they can be problematic when developing for long periods.
The MacBook Pro is a decent option for game developers. Its graphics and storage are top of the line and equivalent to desktop computers.
6) Lenovo ThinkPad P17
Lenovo ThinkPad P17 is one of the best choices in this category if you are looking for a workstation laptop. This laptop is powered by an Intel Core i7- 10750H processor that is built on a 14nm node to reduce power consumption. When running in burst mode, it can generate up to 5.0GHz of clock speed. The laptop has a 17.3-inch display on the front, as its name implies. FHD displays have a total resolution of 1920 * 1080.
Furthermore, it offers color-accurate picture quality. This laptop has thin bezels on the sides of the display, but that is not an issue. Nvidia Quadro T2000 GPU is included on the laptop. It has the TU117 chipset designed in the 12nm process and offers impressive graphics performance. Moreover, this GPU features 4GB of VRAM. Memory is handled by the 32GB DDR4 RAM and the 1TB NVMe SSD storage. Professional applications like AutoCAD and Solidworks require this kind of hardware.
Additionally, the laptop is equipped with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 to enhance connectivity. Apart from that, you’ll have 3x USB Type-A, 2x USB Type-C with Thunderbolt 3, and 1 normal USB C port. In addition, it has an HDMI 2.0 port, an SD card reader, and an audio combo jack. This laptop can be charged via the USB C port. Meanwhile, this laptop weighs 7.7 pounds or 3.5 kilograms, making it a heavy workstation. Lenovo ThinkPad P17 is a fantastic workstation laptop for handling workload and operations like game development. Only professionals should use this machine.
7) HP – OMEN 15
HP Omen 15 provides a simple and minimalistic design with high performance for professionals who prefer a more sober-looking laptop. Find out how.
The machine has a 10th Gen Core i7 processor that can be boosted to 5GHz, along with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM. You can speed up rendering & improve gaming performance (even test it at higher frame rates) by using this combination.
The HP Omen 15 also boasts 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD + 32GB of Optane Memory, which is a highlight feature in this laptop computer.
Optane Memory serves as a buffer between the SSD and the RAM. Instead of sending files directly to the RAM, it receives them from the storage and temporarily stores them. By doing this, Unity and Maya are able to render and compile faster and use less RAM. Pretty cool, huh?
This laptop’s 15.6-inch FHD screen with a 144Hz refresh rate is described as being exceptionally vibrant & vivid while watching movies by expert reviewers. It is great for recreational use as well as for game development – you can add an extra level of detail.
Our favorite affordable game development laptop is the HP Omen 15.
8) HP Spectre x360
It’s all about portability with laptops, isn’t it? We love laptops because we’re always on the go, and this is especially true when it comes to developing games.
The HP Spectre X360 is ideal for developers who don’t want to sit at a desk all day.
To create at our best, we need external stimulation, and this laptop lets you run multiple game development systems virtually anywhere. It’s hard to imagine developing while sitting in a coffee shop or on a park bench, but with this unit, you can do just that.
Both the CPU and GPU are adequate. A 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor is ideal for development. The integrated graphics processor is adequate. High-end game development won’t gain traction, but mid-range files will.
With this laptop, you will have access to your data quickly thanks to the 512 GB SSD. The display is also crystal clear and offers vibrant colors.
In my opinion, the best feature of this unit is the lightweight design and foldability of the screen. You will appreciate the touchscreen functionality if you are not only developing but also designing for your game. The possibilities are endless with this 2 in 1 laptop.
It’s prone to overheating, a disadvantage of this laptop. The thermal management protocols were not well-developed during the production process.
9) ASUS ROG Strix G17
If not a dual-screen setup, a large display will definitely improve productivity. The same is true for game development. If you’re looking for a high-end laptop with a big display, then consider the Asus ROG Strix GIt features a 17.3-inch display with Full HD resolution and an IPS-type panel. The laptop is powered by an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor with 8 processing cores and 16 threads. When turbo boosted, the processor runs at 4.8GHz, while normally it runs at 3.6GHz.
Combined with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU, it provides a dedicated 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM. This is the best mobile processor currently being used on high-end laptops. GPUs are equally powerful so that potential bottlenecks can be avoided. Therefore, it is the best choice for graphics-intensive tasks. Obviously, this is an ideal solution if you require a larger screen for game development. Asus also offers a 15-inch variant with identical configurations, but a smaller form factor.
As well as this, 16GB of DDR4 RAM has been made to work at 3200MHz frequency, a very high frequency for a laptop. It has a 1TB SSD for storage, an HDMI 2.0b port, 3x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, and a 1x RJ45 LAN port for I/O. Also listed in the specs are Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. If you can afford the price, this is an excellent machine. At $2000, this is the most powerful machine in this price range.
10) HP Envy 17T
Is HP Envy 17T not good enough, so it is ranked #8? Nope. This is our best long-lasting Unreal Engine game development laptop, packed with powerful specs and unique features.
The Envy 17T comes equipped with an 11th Gen Intel i7 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce MX450 graphics card.
Additionally, you get a 1TB SSD and a 16GB SDRAM. If you feel 16GB of RAM is not enough for your needs, you can always upgrade it using the two extra slots. The laptop is also equipped with special vapor chambers that keep the thermals in check even when under intense load.
We said long-lasting. HP Envy 17T has a 10-hour battery life, with mixed usage, which is quite rare in workstations, and especially on this list. HP fast charge allows your computer to be fully charged in 90 minutes.
HP Envy 17T is a great laptop that is capable of handling heavy usage without tying you to a charging port. The device has a sleek and simple design, and despite having a huge battery pack, it only weighs about 5.95 pounds.
11) MSI GS75 Stealth
Since MSI focuses on manufacturing gaming PCs and laptops, this laptop’s CPU and GPU are all you need.
The Intel Core i7 processor provides quick speeds to minimize lag and glitches during development. With 32 GB of RAM, you already have a development setup that is guaranteed to run smoothly.
Added to this laptop is an Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics card that provides seamless and quick graphics refresh rates. All three of these features are necessary for a mid-tier game development process.
There is a 17.3″ FHD display with an IPS panel as a bonus. The laptop also features ray tracing with the highest graphics resolution you can find in a laptop.
Only the familiar battery performance limitations are a drawback. It may also drown out the audio when using the speakers due to the loud thermal cooling of the laptop.
In spite of these minor flaws, you will have a trusted name in gaming if you choose the MSI GS75 Stealth.
12) HP Pavilion 15
You may not need a high-end laptop if your game development is limited to 2D work. In such a case, a laptop like the HP Pavilion 15 would be a great choice. There is a 15.6-inch display with a Full HD resolution and slim bezels on this laptop.
Intel’s latest Core i7-1165G7 processor is available. This processor has four cores and eight threads and operates at a maximum clock speed of 4.7GHz. The laptop does not have a dedicated GPU, but it comes with Intel’s latest Iris Xe graphics. It is suitable for 2D modeling and game development. Despite being an early adopter of Windows 11, the laptop operates with the newest version of the operating system. HP Pavilion 15 is the ideal choice if you want to use the latest Windows OS.
Moreover, the laptop offers 16GB of DDR4 RAM as well as 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 are also supported, as well as USB-C, HDMI, headphone jack, and USB-A ports. Due to the limited role of graphics in 2D game development, this is an ideal choice with smooth performance. Therefore, this can be considered one of the best options for creating 2D games.
Buying Guide: How to choose the best laptop for Game Development?
Though I have researched the best laptops for game development, it is still important that you know what a laptop for game development should have, at a minimum.
It is possible to develop games in 2D and 3D, and if your work is just limited to 2D, you might not need a very powerful PC. A PC with good hardware is necessary if you are developing 3D games. The following are the baseline specifications you need if you’re developing 3D games on a laptop.
Performance of the PC is primarily determined by the processor. A low-spec CPU restricts the proper use of the rest of the hardware. PCs cannot be compromised with a low-spec CPU. A laptop used for game development must have a multi-core processor with at least four cores and eight threads. Make sure that the processor from Intel and AMD is not too old. On a high-end laptop, an Intel chip from the 11th generation or an AMD chip from the Ryzen 5000 series will work perfectly.
Game development also requires a good dedicated GPU, just as a gaming laptop needs one. The game development industry works with high-end graphics intensive game engines to create characters and elements in 2D/3D. Furthermore, it is beneficial to have a GPU with a large amount of video memory to reduce rendering times. For 2D game development, a dedicated GPU is not required, but for 3D game development, it is.
Laptops with dedicated GPUs must support Direct X12 and have at least 4GB of GDDR6 video memory. Having a GPU like this will enhance your 3D game development tremendously and serve as a wonderful complement to your CPU.
RAM holds the data of the currently running application in temporary storage. As game development work requires handling heavy gaming engines and modeling software, the RAM should be fast enough so as not to hinder multitasking.
For 2D game development, a laptop with 8GB of DDR4 RAM is sufficient. When it comes to developing 3D games, 8GB of RAM is not enough. A minimum of 16GB of RAM is recommended. When RAM is insufficient, applications will load slowly, and the PC will not be able to multitask smoothly. You will not be able to run multiple applications at the same time.
Games produce some of the biggest files, as well as high-quality texture presets, 2D and 3D models, and a lot more. Limited storage is not an option. To make the overall PC performance smooth and fast, the processor must be fast enough to impart fast read and write data speeds.
SSD storage is essential for all of these purposes. Despite its higher price, the performance makes it well worth the additional cost. You can also upgrade the storage with SSDs or HDDs depending on your budget. Make sure the laptop you’re buying has an empty slot or not.
You can’t develop anything on a PC without a display, no matter how powerful it is. Likewise, a poor display will lead to a bad preview of your work, and ultimately you may not get what you wanted from the final product.
As far as display quality goes, there are not many requirements for a game development laptop. But make sure the laptop you buy has at least a Full HD resolution, i.e., 1920 x 1080 pixels. In game development, color reproduction is also important, so if the laptop display has good color calibration, that will be helpful. In exchange for better hardware, you can compromise on the display if you use an external monitor with your laptop.
FAQs About Laptops For Game Development
Gaming laptops and workstations are used by game developers. Good game dev laptops should have a powerful CPU, GPU, and RAM to perform highly resource-demanding tasks.
For game development, you should have at least 8GB of RAM. For a smoother video game design experience, we recommend 16GB RAM.
Unreal Engine 5 runs smoothly with 8GB of RAM. Nevertheless, if you are working on a large-scale project, you should go for 16GB.
The MacBook is a great laptop for game development. It’s fast, powerful, and efficient, which game engines need. All MacBooks are incredible at 2D game development, but for 3D, the MacBook Pro is the best.
The Intel Core i9-10850K is the best processor for game development if your budget allows it. It has ten cores with a maximum frequency of 5.2GHz and can run 20 threads simultaneously. It is one of Intel’s best processors, perfect for developing AAA games.
You have reached the end of this article. Lastly, I would like to emphasize that Game Development is equally as demanding as playing the game. Game Development requires handling some of the heaviest game engines, 3D modeling software, etc. Therefore, if you’re serious about 2D and 3D game development, you’ll definitely need a high-end laptop.
Razer Blade 14 is a great choice for 3D game development, thanks to its powerful graphics and CPU. As a result, you can blindly choose this device if you have a heavy workload with demanding graphics applications. Mac users can opt for the latest Macbook Pro 16 2021 edition. Developers looking for a powerful workstation should consider Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro 15 and Lenovo ThinkPad P17. You can use any decent midrange laptop with updated hardware for 2D game development. Two of our top recommendations are the Acer Swift 3 and the HP Pavilion 15. Both of these devices are selling like hotcakes.
This pair of laptops comes with the latest technology that you get in 2021, so you don’t have to worry about configurations. I also hope that this article will help you improve your decision to buy a good game development laptop. It is wise to buy the laptop after thorough research since it is an expensive piece of equipment. Although I compiled this list with a lot of research, there might be some questions or suggestions from your side. I’ll get to them for sure if you leave them in the comments.