Best Laptop For Game Development in 2020

Kenny Trinh Updated on October 6, 2020
Best Laptop for Game Development in 2020

Game development is a broad field and your job can range from creating assets to writing the storyline for the video game. With that being said, game development requires powerful specs especially because you’ll be running and testing the game out yourself. You’re going to need a really powerful and reliable laptop for this and thankfully we’re here to help you pick the best laptop for game development.

Recommendations for October 2020

Best Laptops for Game Development in 2020

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo – Powerful Work Computer

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo
The Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is an extremely powerful work computer with gaming specs. This laptop is capable of playing AAA titles with ease and its powerful specs also make it ideal for game development. If you’re working on a game with a lot of high-quality assets and files, then the  Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is the laptop to use since it won’t just run the game easily but it will also help you do your job more efficiently as well.

You don’t necessarily need an ultra-powerful laptop for game development especially if you’re only planning to create low graphics games that don’t require heavy rendering from a powerful GPU nor the extreme processing power of a high-end CPU. 

However, if you’re working for a AAA company or planning to do some ambitious work that uses a lot of resources, then you might want to consider using a powerful laptop like the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo. 

The laptop sports a powerful 9th gen processor allowing you to simultaneously run the game and game dev tools like Unity and Unreal engine without trouble. Pair this with its 32 GB RAM and you’ll be able to multitask easily and reach those pesky deadlines.

This laptop is ideal for game developers since it can allow you to create games on almost any platform thanks to its impressive specs. Not to mention its 4K display has touchscreen capability speeding up your work by allowing you to quickly navigate the interface as well.

Of course, the touchpad also makes it helpful for game developers who work overtime as well since it helps reduce the stress of using a mouse which is especially helpful for people who have carpal tunnel or for people who want to avoid having that condition.

Overall, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is one of the best laptops for game development thanks to its amazing specs and features. It may be a little expensive but creating high-end games takes a lot of power, and this laptop has a lot of it. 

Recommended Configuration for Asus ZenBook Pro Duo

CPU: Intel Core i9-9980HK | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 | RAM: 32 GB RAM | Screen: 15.6 inch 4K UHD NanoEdge Bezel Touch | Storage: 1 TB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Pro | Battery Life: 3.5 hours | Weight: 5.5 lbs

HP Spectre x360 – Portable Game Development

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HP Spectre x360
If you’re looking for a portable laptop for game development, then you’ve found it with the HP Spectre x360. This laptop is both portable and powerful with its 10th gen i7 CPU and 32 GB RAM which gives it the capability to easily handle and load game assets. It’s also easy to carry around thanks to its lightweight. Lastly, its 360-degree capability makes it very versatile allowing you to use it both as a laptop, a tablet, or even a touchscreen stand dispensing on the angle it is folded.

The HP Spectre x360 is the best laptop for programmers who are on the move. It’s a laptop that specializes in both portability and functionality which is a very rare combination for a laptop. Although it’s not very cheap, its features and specs are worth investing in.

As for its specs, the laptop features a 10th gen Intel Core i7 processor and 32 GB of RAM which allows you to easily multitask and run high-end game development software with ease. It may not have a super high-end GPU with its NVIDIA GeForce MX250 but it’s functional enough to render game files that aren’t super high quality.

It makes up for this weakness by having to be more portable. Game developers can work while on the go since this laptop weighs only about 2.7 lbs. The laptop is also very convenient to have around since you can fold it at any angle allowing you to use it as a tablet as well.

Overall, the HP Spectre x360 is one of the best programming laptops for traveling game developers who simply have to work on their projects while roaming the globe. 

Recommended Configuration for HP Spectre x360

CPU: Intel Core i7-10510U | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX250 | RAM: 32 GB RAM | Screen: 15.6″ diagonal 4K (3840 x 2160) IPS touchscreen | Storage: 512 GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 7 hours | Weight: 2.7 lbs

Microsoft Surface Book 3 – Long Battery Life

Microsoft Surface Book 3
If the price isn’t an issue for you, then you might want the Microsoft Surface Book 3. It’s also a portable laptop like the HP Spectre x360 but this time it has better specs and better battery life. It’s the best programming laptop that balances power and portability. It can run a lot of game development programs with ease without having to sacrifice battery life and portability.

The HP Spectre x360 is a good laptop for cape development with its 15.6-inch screen and 4K display. However, it may not be able to effectively run and render high-quality game files and assets in the Unreal Engine.  Its GPU simply isn’t strong enough to render those files.

Thankfully, Microsoft Surface Book 3 is a good alternative. It might be very expensive but its Intel Core i7-1035G7 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 are very capable of handling resource-intensive assets and files.

The only qualms we have about it is the storage which is only 256 GB SSD. It might be enough for a game development file but you may not have enough room for your personal files.

Overall, Microsoft Surface Book 3 is an amazing laptop for game development, especially with its powerful specs. It’s also very portable as well with 17 hours of battery life and a weight of 3.45 lbs. 

Recommended Configuration For Microsoft Surface Book 3

CPU: Intel Core processor i7-1035G7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 | RAM: 16GB RAM | Screen: 15-inch 3240×2160 Ultra HD Touch display | Storage: 256GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 17 hours | Weight: 3.45 lbs

Lenovo Legion Y540 – Good All-Around

Lenovo Legion Y540
If you’re looking for a laptop for game development that has a good balance between functionality and aesthetics, then you’ve got it with the Lenovo Legion Y540. Not only does this laptop look very good, but its specs are powerful enough to run both game development programs and multiple games itself. It's really useful for multitasking and using it can enhance your overall productivity.

Game development is serious work and it isn’t just about making fun games. The Lenovo Legion Y540  helps you keep a serious and business-like appearance. It may not look like a gaming laptop but it’s loaded with really impressive specs like a 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. 

The laptop also has a fairly reliable FHD display that allows you to easily see how well your game does graphics wise. It also has a fairly large amount of RAM which easily allows for multitasking as well.

What we like about this laptop is its amazing storage space of 1.5 TB. That’s a combination of a 512 GB SSD and a 1 TB HDD. With this, the game development laptop can store a lot of large assets and files with ease which is perfect if you’re planning to create a very ambitious game.

Being one of the most reliable gaming laptops, you can expect the Lenovo Legion Y540 to perform really well even when running the most unoptimized games which are pretty apparent in the early stages of any game. 

Recommended Configuration for Lenovo Legion Y540

CPU: Intel Core processor i7-9750H  | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5 | RAM: 24 GB RAM | Screen: 15. 6” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS anti-glare display | Storage: 1TB HDD + 512 GB SDD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home | Battery Life: 5 hours | Weight: 9.38 lbs

Dell XPS 15 – Ideal for Graphic Design

Dell XPS 15
If you’re the graphic designer for your team but still have a role in game development, then the Dell XPS 15 might be a good pick for you. It has an amazing display that allows you to easily spot flaws in your work as well as a powerful GPU which greatly shortens rendering time and improves overall performance.

It’s common for game developers to handle multiple roles in there and it wouldn’t be surprising if you happen to do both the graphic design and a minor role in coding for the game. With this being said, you’ll need both a laptop meant for game development and for creating amazing graphics.

The Dell XPS 15 is ideal for this job thanks to its 4K display and powerful GPU which handles the rendering for both the game for the game’s assets. Naturally, its 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processors are powerful enough to run most programs and its 16 GB RAM is good for multitasking.  So you won’t  have trouble with lag or performance issue even when running multiple programs 

Overall, the Dell XPS 15 is a good choice especially if you have other jobs aside from game development. 

Recommended Configuration for Dell XPS 15

CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H| Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650| RAM: 16GB RAM | Screen: 15.6-Inch 4K UHD Anti-reflective display| Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: up to 8 hours | Weight: 5.51 lb

Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch – Powerful Mac

Apple MacBook Pro 16
The Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch is one of the best Macbooks on the market which improves upon its predecessors and sporting amazing specs and a wonderful display. It also runs on Mac OS which greatly enhances its performance allowing you to easily run most AAA titles with ease and of course, makes games with AAA graphics as well.

Macbooks may not be 100% compatible with a lot of programs compared to windows but it certainly has a much more efficient OS. Pair its efficiency with powerful specs and you’ll have a laptop designed for the resource-intensive task of game design.

Being one of the best MacBooks on the market, the Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch  if you’re looking for a powerful and reliable Macbook. Specs-wise, this laptop is top-notch with its 9th Gen Intel Core processor and its graphic card is amazon as well with its AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU. 

And just like the Dell XPS 15, the Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch is also ideal for graphic design as well. Not only does it have a GPU that renders assets in a snap but it has a wonderful display to boot. Its 3072×1920 pixels will help you create the best graphics for your games quickly and efficiently since the high resolution can easily help you spot mistakes. 

Recommended Configuration for Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch

CPU: Intel Core i9 processor| Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, Intel UHD Graphics 630  | RAM: 16 GB | Screen: 16.0-inch IPS technology; 3072×1920 pixels | Storage: 1TB SSD| Operating System: MAC OS | Battery Life: 11 hours | Weight: 4.3 pounds

Razer Blade 15 – RTX 2080

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Razer Blade 15
If you’re looking for the laptop with the best specs and capability on this list, then you’ve found it with the  Razer Blade 15. This laptop is simply one of the best laptops for game development thanks to its absurdly high-end specs and ridiculously powerful RTX 2080. You’ll be able to run even the most unoptimized games with this and still be able to multitask effectively.

Being the most powerful laptop on this list, the Razer Blade 15 is a good choice if you’re really planning to create one of the best games graphics wise. First of all its processors are better than your run of the mill 6 core processors since the Intel Core i7-10875H  runs on 8 cores capable of going up to 5. 1GHz.

Aside from processing power, the best thing about the Razer Blade 15 is it’s NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER. Being one of the most powerful GPUs on the market, you’ll be able to run multiple graphics-heavy games with ease and still be able to run game development programs as well.

Recommended Configuration for Razer Blade 15

CPU:Intel Core i7-10875H | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER  | RAM: 16GB RAM | Screen: 15.6-inch 4K (3840 x 2160) FHD 300 Hz display| Storage: 1TBSSD| Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: up to 5 hours | Weight: 9.04 lbs

Acer Nitro 5 – Budget Pick

Acer Nitro 5
If you’re just starting out but still want a capable laptop for game development, then the Acer Nitro 5 is a good choice. Not only is this laptop cheap but it got the specs to run a lot of AAA titles. It may not be able to run AAA titles with the highest graphical settings but it’s overall a good starting choice for people who are on a budget.

If you’re working for a startup or are starting out yourself, then chances are, you don’t have the funds to buy a really high-end gaming laptop.  You might want to settle for a more affordable yet functional laptop for game development.

The Acer Nitro 5 is one of the best choices for game developers who are on a budget and it’s definitely a good way to learn the ropes and work your way to making better games. 

Recommended Configuration for Acer Nitro 5 

CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H Processor (Up to 4. 1GHz)| Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8 GB | Screen: 15″ Full HD Widescreen IPS LED-backlit Display | Storage:  256 GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 Home  | Battery Life: 4 hours | Weight: 5.07 lbs

Dell G3 15 3500 – Dual-fan cooling system

Dell G3 15 3500
If you’re looking for a powerful laptop both for gaming and game development, then chances are you’ll find their fans to be very noisy. The Dell G3 15 3500 minimizes this annoying sound by having a dual-fan cooling system that helps keep your laptop’s temperature in check.

The Dell G3 15 3500 is another powerhouse on our list. It features the latest specs that will allow you to run your game development programs with ease as well as handle more tedious upcoming programs and games as well. 

This makes the laptop very future proof with its 10th generation Intel Core i7 processors and a power  Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 which will handle most tasks and programs with ease.

What makes it stand out from the other powerhouses on this list is its dual-fan cooling system. With this feature, the Dell G3 15 3500 won’t be as annoying and as loud compared to other gaming laptops during gaming and game testing. 

Recommended Configuration for Dell G3 15 3500

CPU: Intel Core i7-10750H | Graphics: Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060 | RAM: 16 GB RAM| Screen: 15.6-Inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED IPS display| Storage: 512GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home | Battery Life: 3 hours | Weight: 8.93 lbs

MSI GE75 Raider  – Most Powerful Option

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MSI GE75 Raider
If you’re simply looking for the most powerful laptop on this list, then we’ve saved it for last! The MSI GE75 Raider is simply a monster when compared to the other laptops on this list. It features the latest and most powerful specs and it’s got you covered down from the CPU up to the display. 

If you’re making a game with very intense graphics, then the MSI GE75 Raider is the best choice for you. It’s currently one of the most powerful laptops on the market thanks to its 10th Generation Intel Core i9 processor and its powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics.

These two specs alone make it one of the best laptops for game development since it can pretty much handle everything. Of course, its other specs make it amazing as well such as having 32 GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD storage, and an FHD display on its 17-inch screen.

The only issue with this laptop is its almost non-existent battery life but that is to be expected from a laptop this powerful!

Recommended Configuration for MSI GE75 Raider

CPU: Intel Core i9-10980HK | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080| RAM: 32 GB RAM | Screen: 17.3″ FHD (1920×1080) | Storage: 1 TB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 1 hour  | Weight: 5.25 lbs

Picking the Best Laptop for Game Development in 2020

CPU

The most important part of any computer is the processors or the CPU. it handles how fast and how well your computer will be able to run programs. If you’re developing and creating games, you’ll often need to use resource-heavy programs like Unity and Unreal engine.

We recommend using at least an Intel Core i5 processor but if you really want a smoother and easier time with your job, then we recommend getting an Intel Core i7 laptop. Of course, an i9 would be the best choice but they tend to be really expensive which isn’t a good choice if you don’t have that much money.

GPU

You’re going to need a good graphics card if you’re planning on developing games. You’ll be using the GPU to create graphical assets for your games as well as to test them out yourself. 

We recommend getting at least a dedicated graphics card with at least 4 GB of VRAM if you’re planning to create games with 3D graphics in them.  If you’re really ambitious, then getting an RTX GPU is a must if you want the best game development experience.

RAM

You’ll be doing a lot of multitasking when it comes to game development since you’ll be going back and forth between multiple programs while running your game. Naturally, you’ll need more RAM than your average laptop since you’ll be using it to test your game while running other programs in the background. 

With this being said, you’re going to need 16 GB of RAM or more to properly create and develop games. You should only use 8 GB of RAM if you’re on a budget and if you’re only planning to create only lower-end games. 

A good example of this on our list is the Acer Nitro 5. It’s an entry-level gaming laptop that you can use for light game development. Just don’t expect it to run very well while you’re working. 

Display

Last but not the least, we have the display. You’re going to need a good display to properly see the graphical capabilities of your game. You want to know how good it will look for other players and you’d want to test out all the graphical settings from very low to the highest settings available.

We recommend getting a 15-inch screen or larger for this with a good resolution like an FHD. But you can go for 4K displays if you really want to see how good your game can look at the best possible settings. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Laptop Do Game Developers Use?

Most game developers use gaming laptops to run and develop their games. They need to do this since game developers have to test out the game itself on the highest graphical settings as well as debug them while running the game. This requires serious specs since they won’t be just running the game but numerous background programs and game development applications as well. 

Is A Gaming Laptop Good For Coding?

Yes. Gaming laptops are one of the best choices for coding. These laptops are optimized for performance and they’ll be able to handle running unoptimized code as well which is especially useful when you’re in the early stages of development.

What Laptops Can Run Unity?

Most laptops can run Unity since it only requires a CPU with X64 architecture with SSE2 instruction set support and a laptop that supports DX10, DX11, and DX12. With that being said, since you’ll be developing games, you’ll need at least 8 GB of RAM or more to properly test out and create games in Unity. Any of the laptops on our list fit these criteria so feel free to look if you’re having trouble picking a  laptop for game development.

 Conclusion

To conclude, you need powerful gaming laptops for game development. In fact, you need better specs than your average gaming laptop since you’ll be handling heavy game files, 3D and 2D assets and so much more!

Hopefully, you’ll be able to choose the best laptop for game development for you by reading our list and the criteria for choosing laptops for game development. If you have any questions or want to share some insights, then please feel free to comment down below. We’d love to hear your thoughts about the article. 

Kenny Trinh
Article by:
Kenny Trinh
Editor @ Netbooknews. While he’s not editing articles on the latest tech trends, he likes to discuss business and entrepreneur tips and tricks which featured Forbes and other places.

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