With Nvidia's powerful GeForce 30-series now available in laptops, it's time to revisit the eternal desktop-versus-laptop-PC question--focused on gaming, because most looking at GeForce 30-series computers would probably put gaming at the top of their task list. The question is even more complicated these days. Dramatic leaps in CPU and GPU performance have led to unprecedented demand and volatile pricing. Nevertheless, if we walk through the primary criteria, there is a clear winner for most of them--and your own priorities should lead you to the best answer. With its 8-core Ryzen CPU and tiny eGPU, the Asus ROG Flow X13 might be the most powerful and portable gaming laptop in town.
Unfortunately, all the hand-wringing and chest-beating that surrounded the original GeForce RTX has followed. It may magnify further with the newest GeForce RTX laptop GPUs, as detractors look for more evidence that Nvidia's pursuit of a hybrid ray tracing future is the wrong path. While it's far too early to pass any judgment on GeForce RTX in laptops, we can at least walk you through the reasons you may actually want to buy a GeForce RTX-based laptop--or not. Put on your green t-shirt and queue up the ray tracing demos so you can rub your friends' faces in them. Yes, if you're a fan of what Nvidia has achieved with ray tracing, here are some of the reasons you might just want to buy a GeForce RTX laptop.
Usually $1,044.98, the Dell G5 15 gaming laptop (256GB SSD, 8GB RAM) is on sale on the brand's website for just $699.99 as of Jan. 22. When it comes to starter gaming laptop specs, the general GPU consensus among experts seems to be this: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is a standout from a power-per-dollar standpoint. By equipping it with its fancy, high-performance Turing architecture but omitting ray tracing or deep learning components, per Tech Radar, Nvidia's made it an extremely solid mid-range graphics card. A GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU is actually one of the reasons why we love the Dell G5 15 gaming laptop so much: It allows the machine to prioritize serious power at a very reasonable price point. Coincidentally, Dell has the 256GB model with 8GB of RAM on sale right now for just $699.99 -- that's 33% off its suggested retail price of $1,044.98.
Save $300: The MSI GF65 Thin Intel Core i5 gaming laptop is down to $699 with free shipping at Walmart as of Dec. 17 -- but it'll probably arrive the day after Christmas. The MSI GF65 Thin is a nice starter device that you can feel confident in gifting, and it's on sale at Walmart for $699 -- a $300 price drop and nice contrast to one with similar configurations on Amazon that's still $997. MSI is no stranger to budget-friendly gaming laptops. The GF63 Thin, a sister model, made Mashable's list of best gaming laptops under $1,000, with writer Dylan Haas designating it as the best lightweight model. The GF65 is even more of a beast, armed with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti as its GPU rather than the GTX 1650.
In this episode of The Full Nerd, Gordon Ung, Brad Chacos, and Adam Patrick Murray render judgement on the powerful CPUs and GPUs you'll find inside the next generation of gaming laptops. We kick things off with a deep-dive into AMD's Ryzen 5000 Mobile CPUs. Tune in (or hit that link) for an abundance of charts and discussion, but bottom line? For now, Ryzen 5000 is the ruler of all it sees. After that, Gordon wades into his GeForce RTX 3080 Mobile review, which lifted the same day since you'll be buying laptops with AMD and Nvidia chips paired together inside.