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BUYING GUIDE Although

BUYING GUIDE Although it’s still up for debate, we believe the vast majority of games people play today don’t need more than four cores. Yes, there are times when having more than four cores can yield better performance, but most gamers will be fine with a quad-core Core i5 chip. Unfortunately for the budget-conscious, PC makers typically don’t let you buy a high-end graphics card with a low-end CPU. Most PC makers will configure the midrange CPU with mid-range graphics. Of the current 7th-generation Kaby Lake CPUs, your choices for a gaming laptop are the Core i7-7700HQ, the Core i7-7820HK, and the Core i7-7920HQ. Again, all three are fine, with each step up getting you only marginally more performance. The sweet spot for budget buyers is the Core i7-7700HQ or the Core i7-7820HK. As for Intel’s 8th-generation CPU, it hasn’t been confirmed but many anticipate the company will introduce 6-core CPUs that consume 45 watts by 2018. Still, the takeaway for you is to not get too hung up on the CPU for a gaming laptop. Any decent quad-core is more than enough for gaming purposes and your money is better spent on what matters more: the GPU. GPU The single most important piece of hardware in a gaming laptop is undoubtedly the GPU. For AMD fans, the situation is as sad as it is in CPUs: It’s an Nvidia GeForce world. As with CPUs though, the good news is that the dominating products are top-notch. The hardest part will be deciding just how much GPU you need. Our general advice is to buy as fast a GPU as you 86 TECH ADVISOR • MAY 2018 Worldmags.net

can afford and are willing to heft. Generally, the faster the GPU (or GPUs), the larger and heavier the laptop. For any serious gaming, it’s easy to ramp up from the entry-level GeForce GTX 1050 to the midrange GeForce GTX 1060, and then to the high-end GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080. The following chart might help you understand what kind of performance to expect. These results for GeForce cards reflect the graphics section of Furturemark’s FireStrike test. Although the CPUs vary, this test focuses almost entirely on the GPU. We think the GTX 1050 is a good 1080p GPU if you’re willing to play on medium settings. To hit high in some games, you’ll need to lower the resolution BUYING GUIDE How much GPU does your laptop need? That’s for you to decide. 3DMark FireStrike Extreme is a good general measurement of graphics performance Worldmags.net MAY 2018 • TECH ADVISOR 87

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