Best Laptops for Game Development 2020

Whether you are a professional game developer or a student majoring in game design and development, you are going to need a high-performance laptop that supports game development software. You could be designing a simple 2D game or a graphic-intensive gaming application. Even 2D games need a system that is compatible with the advanced game development software.

If you are planning to design and launch a 3D game, then you need to pay special attention to the laptop you purchase. Choosing the best laptop for game development isn’t challenging for professionals. However, it can be an overwhelming decision for amateurs and students. With so many options available on the market, it can be quite difficult for the novices to choose the best system. Luckily, we’re here to help!

Read on for recommendations for the best laptop for game development, as well as the key information you’ll need to know to buy the best laptop for programmers and laptops for game development.

What is Game Development?

Simply put, game development refers to the process of designing and developing a video game. It might seem easy, but developing a game is not as simple as downloading your favorite video game on your system and playing it with your buddies. Developers have to add characters, backgrounds, lighting, sound, story, and tons of features to create a modern video game.

The aspiring game developer needs to learn a programming language, select the best game engine, and have a solid understanding of basic game patterns. Depending on the size of the project, it can take several months or even years to design a video game. However, developers can speed up the process by selecting one of the best laptops that runs game development software smoothly.

Requirements for Game Development

Before you purchase a laptop for game development, check its specifications, and compare it with the minimum criteria discussed below. Never settle for a model that doesn’t pass the minimum requirements for game development. Such a laptop might help you run a few video games, but it won’t support heavy-duty graphic apps and software.

• Processor: Game development involves complicated software systems so your laptop will need at least an Intel Core i7 processor to run these apps. However, that’s only the minimum requirement: we suggest you pick a laptop equipped with an Intel Core i9 for the best performance.

• Display: Do not invest in a laptop with less than a 12-inch display. Furthermore, the display needs to be at least 14 to 15 inches to run multiple game development software. Some of the latest models have an impressive 17 plus-inch HD display.

• RAM: Your laptop needs a lot of RAM, at least 16GB, to support Unity, RPG Maker, Blender, and other game development software. 32GB of RAM is recommended for professional game developers.

• Battery: Battery isn’t that important. However, you will need a laptop with decent battery life, especially if you are going to coding for hours after hours. You need a laptop with a minimum of 4 hours of battery life, but we’d recommend a model that can run for 10 hours.

• GPU: An integrated Graphics card will not support graphics-intensive game development apps. Your laptop needs a dedicated GPU to run gaming software without lag.

Now we’re clear on the requirements to look for the best programming laptop, let’s check out the 5 best laptops for game development.

1. Asus ZenBook Pro Duo

If you have a large budget to play with, then the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo laptop will be your best choice for high-end game development requirements. In addition to the 4K display, this model comes with a secondary display option that’s designed to allow users to access a range of applications seamlessly. The 15.6-inch display screen can be split to run multiple tabs in a single window. Furthermore, the ErgoLift design makes your typing sessions super comfortable and smooth.

Under the hood, you will find the Intel Core i9 processor that can be upgraded to 5GHz. This latest-gen processor combined with a whopping 32GB RAM makes this laptop a perfect option for high-end game development software and other such graphic-intensive applications. It has 1TB SSD storage, which allows users to multitask and run multiple tabs on the browser simultaneously. In fact, you’re not going to need to upgrade the storage or even the processor of this model for years, even if you plan on developing 3D video games.

The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo has a battery life of four to five hours. This laptop weighs 5.5 pounds, which can be a little heavy if you plan on carrying the laptop with you. This model comes equipped with a Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card. The unit supports an integrated IR camera that could be used for logging into the system using a cutting-edge facial recognition unlock feature.

Connectivity options include USB, HDMI, and thunderbolt and the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is compatible with Wi-Fi 6 for wireless connection. Overall, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo will live up to ant professional game developer’s expectations.

Pros

Latest generation processor
A dedicated graphics card
Supports multitasking
Excellent storage
A perfect fit for game development software

Cons

Poor battery life
Expensive

2. Razer Blade Pro 17

Designed specifically for high-end games and graphics-intensive software, the Razer Blade Pro 17 is compatible with Unity, Blender, and a broad range of game development software. This model sports a 17.3-inch display and a maximum resolution of 1080 pixels. The webcam and IR sensor allow you to unlock your laptop with facial recognition and the laptop supports a vapor chamber cooling system that keeps the laptop cool.

The Razer Blade Pro 17 comes equipped with an Intel Core i7 9750H processor. The manufacturer has also equipped it with an Nvidia RTX 2060 Graphics card that is compatible with all kinds of game development software and high-end applications. It comes packed with 16GB RAM, which is more than enough for student and professional game developers. You can open and run several tabs on your laptop at the same time. Performance-wise, the advanced graphics card and a strong processor deliver fast operations.

The laptop can load any game development software in seconds. Besides that, it has 512GB SSD storage that is more than enough to support a range of applications. Surprisingly, this 17.3-inch laptop weighs only 2.84lbs. This makes it a portable and compact model that is perfect for business travelers. You could pack it in a small case and carry it everywhere you go. The battery will last for five hours of continuous (non-gaming) operations. Though it charges quickly, its battery life isn’t great.

Pros

Excellent display
Latest generation CPU and sufficient RAM
Vapor chamber cooling technology
Large and vivid display
High refresh rate

Cons

Its battery lasts no longer than 5 hours

3. Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Powered by an 8th gen Intel Core i7 processor, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is another game development laptop that’s designed for high-end video gaming and heavy-graphics applications. The best feature of this model is its portable and sleek design. The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is also a versatile laptop come tablet: you can extend its integrated kickstand to use it as a laptop, or fold the keypad back when you want to use it as a tablet.

Included with this laptop as standard is a surface pen that could be used for writing and drawing: this pen even has an eraser on the other end. The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 comes packed with a surface Arc mouse and a signature cover that makes your typing sessions effortless and comfortable.

This model has an 12.3-inch display that supports all kinds of high-end game development software, but its small display can make this laptop a bit uncomfortable for developers. Microsoft Surface Pro 6 has 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage. It does have a decent GPU that’s compatible with high-end gaming applications.

The model weighs just 1.7 pounds, which makes it the smallest and lightest game development laptop on this list. You’ll definitely be able to carry it anywhere you want. It also has an impressive battery life of 13.5 hours.

Pros

Thin, sleek, and portable design
Convertible laptop
High battery life
Good display
Strong processor and sufficient RAM

Cons

No dedicated graphics card

4. Acer Predator Helios 300

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a budget laptop for video gaming fans and game or software developers. Powered by the latest-gen Intel Core i7 processor, this model comes packed with 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage that will allow you to run a plethora of game development software systems simultaneously. If you face any issue with the storage, you can use the expandable HDD slot to boost the memory (though it won’t be needed). With Acer Predator Helios 300, you can rest assured that CAD software for game development will run quickly and smoothly.

This laptop sports a 15.6-inch display with a refresh rate of up to 144Hz. Like its siblings, the Acer Predator Helios 300 Windows 10 features a backlit keyboard that enables users to enter lengthy game codes in a dimly-lit environment. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU supports high-end gaming applications and game development software. This dedicated GPU is designed to allow developers to run graphics-intensive applications seamlessly.

The Acer Predator Helios 300 has 7 hours of battery life, which will be decent enough for software developers. However, if you plan on running video games, then the battery might only last around 2 hours. Weighing just under six pounds, the Acer Predator Helios 300 isn’t a portable model.

Pros

Dedicated GPU for high-end game development
Strong processor
Sufficient RAM
Supports multitasking
Decent battery life
Comfortable and well-spaced keyboard

Cons

Not very portable

5. Gigabyte Aero 15X

The Gigabyte Aero 15X is another model that is well-suited to game developers. You’ll love the aesthetics and performance of this gaming laptop. Sporting a 15.6-inch display, this model also offers a crisp and clear 144Hz refresh rate. The laptop comes equipped with an Intel Core i7 8750H processor that is designed to support a range of game development software systems quite effortlessly.

The 8th generation CPU combined with 16GB RAM makes the Gigabyte Aero 15X an ultimate choice for professional game developers and novices. Whether you are practicing video game coding or designing new characters, the Gigabyte Aero 15X will help you run just about anything you want. The laptop comes with a backlit keyboard.

The battery performance is decent: the battery of this model can last up to 8 hours as long as you don’t run high-end and video games or battery-draining applications. The 512GB SSD storage will be sufficient to run multiple game development software systems on the laptop. You’ll also be able to multitask and play graphics-intensive video games.

Coming to the drawbacks, the Gigabyte Aero 15X weighs a pretty hefty 8 pounds, making it the heaviest laptop on this list. It might make it a little difficult for travelers to pack it in a small case and carry it around. Besides the weight, this laptop also comes with a price tag of more than $2000, so it is only recommended for high-budget users and professional game developers.

Pros

Good display
Backlit keyboard
Dedicated graphics and high-quality CPU
Sufficient storage

Cons

Expensive
Extremely heavy

Tips and Tricks for Buying a Laptop for Game Development

Generally, people think any laptop from a credible and renowned brand will do. However, if you have special requirements, such as game or application development, then a basic laptop will not allow you to achieve your goals. Whether you are buying it to learn a programming language or developing your first video game, it’s important to consider a few crucial factors before making a purchase. Let’s take a look:

Set your Budget

It goes without saying that a laptop for game development can cost a bomb. You will have to spend more than a thousand dollars for the best laptop. Some models are available for around $1300, while others can cost up to $2500. Consider your budget, but don’t make a decision based on the price only.

Check Processor and RAM

You shouldn’t settle for a laptop with low RAM or an outdated processor. Such laptops don’t even support video games, let alone running game development software. An Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB RAM are the minimum requirements for a laptop for game development. You will not want your laptop to slow down while you’re coding or creating characters.

Consider the GPU

A graphics card might not be necessary for regular users. However, any app or software that involves heavy-duty graphics will run only on a dedicated GPU. You must look for the graphics card with a minimum of 4GB RAM for game development. This is particularly necessary if you are looking to develop a 3D game.

FAQs

Can I Run Unity on a 4GB RAM Laptop?

No, Unity and CAD software need a system with at least 16GB of RAM. Even if you manage to open the software on your laptop, chances are it will begin to lag. Besides, a laptop with 4GB RAM will not support multitasking. You won’t be able to code, listen to music, design characters, and play your favorite video games simultaneously.

Can I Use a Gaming Laptop for Designing Video Games?

Most gaming laptops come equipped with the latest generation processor, high RAM, and a dedicated graphics card. If you have a gaming laptop with similar specifications, then it can be usually be used for game development. However, not all gaming laptops can run game development software. For instance, a gaming laptop with an Intel Core i5 processor can support graphic-intensive games, but it is not suitable for game development.

How Much Storage does my Laptop Need for Game Development?

The minimum storage requirement for a game development laptop is 256GB. Make sure that also get a laptop with SSD storage. For superior performance, a laptop with 1TB of HDD storage is recommended.

Summing Up

Know your game development requirements before buying a laptop. If you are a student, then a laptop that passes the minimum requirement will suffice. For professional 3D video game developers, the models listed above will deliver the smooth and fast performance you need to work efficiently.