You could be a professional game developer or a college student pursuing a Game design/development major. If you’re looking out for laptops that can run popular game development software such as Unity, Unreal Engine, RPG maker, etc., then you’ve arrived at the right place.
Game development is a vast field, and if you’re developing 2D games, then you don’t need a very powerful and expensive machine. However, If you’re into the making of 3D games, then there are many graphics-intensive tasks you’d be performing, such as designing the environment on a platform like Unity, character creation using CAD software such as Autodesk Maya or Cinema 4D, 3DS Max, Zbrush, Blender, etc.
As an experienced game developer, you already know the tasks you are involved with, thereby it’s easier for you to choose a laptop. But, if you’re a beginner or a grad school student, then you must be very confused right now. The best thing to do in such a scenario is to get the machine that comes with the recommended system requirements for game development. For that, we’ve listed the minimum and recommended specs below.
Needless to say, all the models we’ve reviewed on this page do come with specs above the minimum requirements.
- Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
- Best Laptops for Game Development in 2021
- 1. Best Overall: Asus ZenBook Pro Duo
- 2. Best Runner Up: HP Omen 15
- 3. Best 17-inch Laptop: Razer Blade Pro 17
- 4. Best for Professionals: Lenovo ThinkPad P52
- 5. Best for Color Accuracy: Gigabyte Aero 15X
- 6. Best with GTX 1060: Acer Predator Helios 300
- 7. Best with MacOS: New Apple MacBook Pro
- 8. Best Value for Money: MSI GF63 Thin
- 9. Best AMD-Powered: ASUS TUF FX705DY
- 10. Best for 2D Game Development: HP Spectre x360
- 11. Most Lightweight Laptop: Microsoft Surface Pro 7
- Frequently Asked Questions
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
|Minimum System Requirements||Recommended System Requirements|
|CPU||9th Gen Intel Core i5||10th Gen Intel Core i7 or better|
|RAM||8GB||16GB or better|
|Storage||512GB PCIe SSD||1TB NVMe SSD|
|Display||15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)||15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)|
|Battery||Up to 4 hours||Up to 8 hours|
|GPU||Dedicated GPU with 2GB VRAM||Dedicated GPU 4GB VRAM|
Keeping the hardware aside for a while, a game development laptop should be capable of running software such as Unity, Unreal Engine, RPG Maker, Construct 2, and Stencyl without any lags or issues. Do note that many popular games like Overwatch, Fortnite, PUBG, etc., are built using Unreal Engine 4.
That said, let’s deep dive into the specifications to concentrate on. Don’t want to get bothered about the Specifications? Jump to the list!
- CPU: A modern game development laptop should have the latest quad-core processor with at least 1.6GHz base clock speed. For a laptop with an Intel chipset, it is advised to get an Intel Core i7 or Intel Core i9 CPU. Similarly, if you are looking for a laptop with an AMD CPU, then make sure that the Ryzen 7 series CPU powers the laptop.
- GPU: GPU is another important aspect of a game development software, as developing a game involves creating 3D models and rendering them in real-time. So, it is recommended that the laptop of your choice should have at least 2GB of VRAM. However, for an elevated game development experience, get the one with 6GB/8GB VRAM.
- Display: Display is also the most important aspect of game development software. It is recommended to get a laptop with at least a 1080p/2K resolution screen. Similarly, if your budget allows, then go for a laptop with a 4K screen, which will further improve the overall game development experience.
- RAM: RAM or device memory is an essential aspect of game development software. Make sure that the laptop has at least 16GB of RAM. If possible, get a laptop with 32GB RAM as most game development software consumes a lot of RAM, and having a lower amount of RAM will slow-down the laptop.
- Storage: No matter what, for game development needs, you should always opt for an SSD based laptop. Using an HDD based laptop for gaming development will hinder your work due to the storage limitations of an HDD compared to the SSD. It is advised that a game development laptop should have at least 512GB, and it is recommended to get a laptop with a 1TB NVMe SSD-based laptop.
Best Laptops for Game Development in 2021
|Asus ZenBook Pro Duo|
|HP Omen 15|
|Razer Blade Pro 17|
|Lenovo ThinkPad P52|
|Gigabyte Aero 15X|
|Acer Predator Helios 300|
|New Apple MacBook Pro|
|MSI GF63 Thin|
|ASUS TUF FX705DY|
|HP Spectre x360|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 7|
Before buying a new game development software, make sure that the laptop you plan to purchase meets the minimal specifications mentioned above. However, as game development is a professional thing, we recommend getting a laptop that actually offers the recommended specifications, which ensures a smooth game development for the years to come.
1. Best Overall: Asus ZenBook Pro Duo
The ZenBook Pro Duo is probably one of the best laptops that is suitable for developing high-end games. It not only has a primary 4K display with 3840 x 2160 resolution but also has a secondary display that can be used to access additional applications, which is also color calibrated, just like the primary display.
The Intel Core i9-9980 HK powers the laptop clocked at 2.4GHz and could boost up to 5GHz when needed. It is one of the most powerful CPUs featured on a laptop. Android development, machine learning, data science, using GIS software, name a high-end task and this laptop shall run it without any lags.
A few game developers who use it said that they could compile large codes, make the gaming environment on Unity 3D, and make characters using high-end 3D modeling software like AutoCAD, REVIT, Maya, and more. Not just that, the machine also handles diverse web browsing and lets you listen to music, simultaneously without any lags.
It comes with the Windows 10 Pro OS and is equipped with 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD storage which is more than enough for handling multiple game projects at once. Also, without an SSD the speeds at which the game assets show up on game development software such as Unity would’ve taken forever to load. Also, a single project varies with a lot of gaming assets can vary from 4-20 GB, Thanks to the enormous amount of storage, you don’t have to upgrade the storage for years.
It is also one of the first laptops to come equipped with the Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU, which is capable of ray-tracing and this will also help developers to test the upcoming ray-tracing games as well. The laptop is a bit heavy at 5.5 pounds and the battery usually lasts between 4 to 5 hours, depending on the usage pattern.
- High-performance CPU and GPU
- 32GB RAM
- 4K display
- Average battery life
- A bit heavy
2. Best Runner Up: HP Omen 15
When it comes to game development, the Omen 15 by HP happens to be our personal favorite. While the processing conglomerate is readily above par, it features a relevant connectivity suite for setting up wireless or wired connections and workflows with ease.
As far as processing performances are concerned, you get access to the Intel Core i7-10750H chipset that is capable of assuming the highest possible clock speeds of up to 5GHz. Besides, the hexa-core architecture allows you to manage game creation applications like Blender, Game Maker Studio 2, and Unity without getting stretched to the brink. A majority of the graphics-centric workload is shared by the RTX 2060 GPU, which comes clubbed with 6GB of VRAM.
The existing graphics card helps with viewport and texture-intensive rendering, whilst offering ample firepower to test out the relevant games at 1080p presets. Lending adequate support to the processing conglomerate is the 16GB RAM, which supports complicated meshes, polygons, game logic, and textures with precision. Moreover, the 16GB RAM might not be an adequate professional resource, but it still makes a good case for itself when mid-level game development is concerned.
Storage-wise, there is a different breed of dual setup to work with, comprising a 512GB SSD unit and a 32GB high-speed Optane memory. Regardless of the boot-drive of preference, the HP Omen 15 showcases excellent Windows 10 OS boot-up speeds. As a game developer, the 15.6-inch 1080p screen comes forth as a pronounced asset. Despite featuring a pretty obvious display, HP incorporates an anti-glare panel for minimizing ocular strains. However, the 300Hz refresh rate is also an important but underrated asset, especially when real-time game testing and simulations are concerned.
For game developers, HP features a 4-zone backlit keyboard that adds a personalized touch to the scheme of things. Other relevant perks include an HD webcam, gesture-supported touchpad, potent speakers with DTS: X audio enhancement, and a reasonable thermal layout that is heavily dependent on vents. Regardless, the gadget weighs well above the 5-pound mark but the ruggedness of form more than makes up for this bottleneck.
Connectivity-wise, the HP Omen 15 offers a full house, comprising Type-C, HDMI 2.0a, Mini DisplayPort, a Thunderbolt 3 port for setting up external workflows, and Wi-Fi 6 support for establishing faster internet connections. Considering the beefed-up specs sheet, the 6.5 hours worth of battery backup offered by the HP Omen 15 is more than adequate.
Overall, as a mid-level game creator and developer, the HP Omen 15 is one of the most appropriate notebooks to purchase, especially if you are game for dual storage units.
- 10th gen processor
- RTX 20-series GPU
- 32GB of Optane memory
- Reliable battery life
- Thunderbolt 3 support
- Heavier than usual
- Might run hot on extended usage
3. Best 17-inch Laptop: Razer Blade Pro 17
The Razer Blade Pro 17 is basically a high-fidelity gaming laptop, which can be used for game development as well. It comes with a massive 17.3-inch display with 1920 x 1080p resolution and the company uses factory color calibrated panels that cover 100 percent of sRGB color space. Unlike most of the laptops, the Razer Blade Pro 17 offers a peak refresh rate of 144Hz, which ensures a smooth transition and game rendering.
The laptop is powered by the Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, which is a six-core CPU capable of operating at a peak frequency of 4.6GHz at all the time. This processor is clubbed with the high-performance Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU that can easily handle even the resource-hungry game development software like Unity. The laptop offers 16GB DDR4 RAM along with 512GB SSD storage. This laptop cold boots in less than 10 seconds and loads game development drivers in less than a few seconds.
Though it is a 17-inch laptop, it just weighs 2.84 pounds, which makes it easy to carry around. In our testing, the laptop lasted around 5 hours with continuous usage and it does support fast charging.
- Big high refresh rate display
- Good graphics performance
- Good thermal design
- Average battery life
- Lackluster trackpad
4. Best for Professionals: Lenovo ThinkPad P52
The laptop is powered by the Intel Core i7-8750H, a high-performance CPU that can offer up to 4.1GHz clock speed without overclocking. If you are worried about the display of this laptop, then don’t worry as you can easily connect an external 4K display as the GPU (Nvidia Quadro P1000) is a competent one that can easily render superior quality game graphics and also handle photo editing processes and software such as Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and more.
As per the storage, Lenovo’s offering has a 1TB SSD based storage system with 32GB DDR4 RAM, which makes it laptop a memory powerhouse. Game developers can use this machine to simulate game scenes and to create high-fidelity graphic scenes without any issue. This laptop weighs 5.65 pounds and offers an average battery life of around four to five hours depending on the usage pattern.
The machine comes with a good quality keyboard that can easily help you write code for prolonged hours without any pain or discomfort. Also, It is built like a tank and offers an extensive range of ports to connect additional accessories without using any sort of dongles.
- Nvidia quadro GPU
- Fingerprint sensor
- Backlit Keyboard
- Industrial design
- Great combo of RAM & Storage
- Average battery life
- Low-resolution screen
5. Best for Color Accuracy: Gigabyte Aero 15X
The Gigabyte Aero 15X is a premium gaming laptop with modern aesthetics that every game developer will appreciate. Though it has a 15.6-inch screen, thanks to the bezel-less design, this feels like a 14-inch laptop. Not only that, as the panel used on this laptop offers a peak refresh rate of 144Hz, one can easily test even the high-end games at a higher refresh rate without any issue.
The laptop is powered by the 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H, which is a high-performance laptop CPU, capable of offering a peak clock speed of 4.1 on all cores. This CPU is coupled with the Nvidia GTX 1070 Max-Q, which can lead to some serious graphics power, which will be useful for utilizing high-end game development software.
It offers a total of 16GB DDR4 RAM and uses flash-based storage solutions to offer up to 512GB storage. As per the software, out-of-the-box it comes with Windows 10 OS.
Through our testing, we found out that the GIGABYTE Aero 15X v8-BK4 can last up to 10 hours on a single charge, which is an impressive number for a laptop of this class. Besides, it weighs 4.62 pounds, which makes this laptop a bit heavy. However, considering other laptops of this class, the weight of this machine is well within the range.
- Well optimized GPU
- Display with a higher refresh rate
- Bezel-less display
- A bit heavy
- Average quality keyboard
6. Best with GTX 1060: Acer Predator Helios 300
This is a good bang for the buck laptop that offers the right proportion of hardware to make sure that the game development process will run smoothly. The Acer Predator Helios 300 comes with a 15.6-inch display with thick bezels and a peak brightness of 300 nits. Besides, the display covers 72 percent of NTSC color space and can run at 144Hz.
The laptop is powered by the Intel Core i7-8750H six-core CPU, where all six cores can operate at 4.1GHz with turbo boost technology. This CPU combined with the Nvidia GTX 1060 offers 6GB of DDR5 V-RAM and this laptop can easily do some serious gaming besides development. Besides, there is an empty hard disk slot, which can be used to another storage device to increase the file capacity (can use an SSD or HDD).
Coming to RAM and storage, the laptop offers 16GB DDR4 RAM, which is faster and efficient compared to DDR3. Plus, it also includes 512GB storage, which should be good enough to save all the game assets locally on the laptop itself.
The laptop weighs at 5.51 pounds and we found out that the Acer Predator Helios 300 can last up to 4.5 to 5 hours depending on the usage. Overall, this is a great laptop for those who are getting into game development and who also likes to play games in leisure time.
- High refresh rate display
- Good GPU
- Good keyboard
- Average battery life
- Bit old design
7. Best with MacOS: New Apple MacBook Pro
The 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro is one of the most powerful laptops that Apple has ever launched. It comes with a massive 16-inch retina display that is color accurate with minimal bezels. Though it has a big screen, the form factor is almost similar to a laptop with a 15-inch screen. The color-calibrated display will help game developers for sure, especially while demo running the games.
The Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch has 512GB SSD based storage, which is protected by a T2 chipset for an additional level of encryption. This fast flash storage combined with 16GB RAM will load game development software like Unity and Unreal Engine in seconds and provide a lag-free experience while running them.
As the laptop runs on the latest version of macOS apps and software loads quickly and it also has a built-in Touch ID that uses a fingerprint sensor to authenticate the user. It is powered by the Intel Core-i7 processor that can run at 4.5GHz, combined with one of the best AMD mobile GPUs, the Radeon RX 5300M with 4GB of video memory, this laptop can handle even the most graphic required game without any issue.
Unlike most of the laptops of this class, the Apple MacBook Pro offers 11 hours of battery life and users can also connect multiple high-resolution external monitors into this laptop. The laptop weighs at 4.3 pounds, making it one of the lightest laptops with a 16-inch display.
- Amazing battery life
- Premium and professional look
- Good display
- Limited I/O
- Cannot upgrade RAM/Storage
8. Best Value for Money: MSI GF63 Thin
The new MSI GF63 is all about innovation and gaming productivity, bundled along in a sleek and light chassis. Regardless of the gaming hardware in play, this is still a convenient laptop for game developers.
Powering the machine is the Intel Core i5-9300H processor that can turbo clock at up to 4.1GHz, if and when necessary. The mid-range processor boasts of decent single and multi-threaded performances, making it a sufficient resource for dev games as a hobby. Assisting the same is the GTX 1050 Ti GPU and 4GB VRAM, capable of running moderately-demanding games like Apex Legends at even ultra 1080p settings, hitting close to 40fps, consistently.
The 8GB DDR4 RAM is an expected inclusion but it is the faster data processing speed that makes it an extremely useful addition to the specs sheet. Data, spreadsheets, apps, games, and the Windows 10 Home OS are sheltered by the 512GB solid-state drive, which is both fast and adequately stacked.
The coding-friendly, 15.6-inch display also deserves a special mention. Despite MSI persisting with a standard 1080p display resolution, the screen looks exceptionally vibrant due to its unmatched color clarity. However, the 60Hz screen refresh rate justifies MSI GF63’s predominance as a casual gaming laptop.
Graphic designing, live streaming, and other productive tasks are easy to initiate courtesy of the backlit keyboard, amplified speakers, and a purposeful webcam-microphone combo. Not just that, this is one of the slimmest and lightest gadgets on our list at 4.1 pounds, despite flaunting an innovative thermal design to eliminate excessive heat generation. Next in line is the decent port arrangement with MSI offering Type-C, USB 3.2 Gen 1, LAN, and other functional slots to choose from!
Establishing stable, secure, and fast internet connections for hassle-free online gaming experiences is possible with the Wi-Fi 5 connectivity standard. The battery, however, is anything but exciting as the new MSI GF63 Thin only promises 5 hours’ worth of autonomy.
Overall, this is one of the budget-friendly option to consider, provided mobility is one of your priorities.
- Excellent mid-range processor
- Decent gaming hardware
- Sizable storage capacity
- Gamer-friendly screen
- Light and portable
- Lacks Wi-Fi 6
- Middling battery backup
9. Best AMD-Powered: ASUS TUF FX705DY
Getting hold of 17-inch gaming notebooks for throwaway prices is a rarity. However, the ASUS TUF FX705DY gaming laptop challenges the popular belief with a reliable specs sheet, best characterized by a massive screen real-estate and a class-leading AMD-tagged GPU.
Asus moves onto an AMD processor in an effort to stack in almost every gaming feature for the sub-$800 price tag. The existing AMD Ryzen 5 3550H processor boasts of a maximum clock speed of 3.7GHz and the Zen+ cores also support SMT for assuming octa-threaded architecture. However, it is the dedicated AMD Radeon RX560X GPU that comes in as a resourceful processing ally, clubbed with 4GB VRAM.
The existing processor is at par with the likes of NVIDIA’s GTX 1050 but comes equipped with 24 additional texture mapping resources. In case you are strictly interested in gaming numbers, the dedicated graphics card allows you to handle titles like Just Cause 4 and even Battlefield V at 1080p presets, hitting close to 50fps, constantly.
If and when multitasking is concerned, Asus offers an 8GB DDR4 RAM. Storage-wise, you get access to a 512GB solid-state drive, albeit with NVMe support for faster boot-ups. The professional tasks are best handled with the Windows 10 Home edition pre-supplied as the existing operating platform.
The 17.3-inch screen is massive and a virtual haven for developers. Then again, Asus doesn’t compromise on the clarity and color accuracy courtesy of the overall resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Not just that, the IPS panel also flaunts NanoEdge bezels, which amplify the screen-to-chassis ratio to almost 80 percent.
In case you are a full-time content creator, the durable keyboard with Red backlit support is expected to come in handy, courtesy of the exceptional key travel of 1.8mm. In addition to the keyboard, Asus also accommodates high-fidelity speakers, a responsive webcam, a smooth trackpad, and an innovative cooling design, bolstered by the ADC technology and the dual fan setup.
As expected, the Asus TUF gaming notebook is one of the heaviest at 6 pounds. However, the heft doesn’t impact the connectivity as you get access to Type-C, USB 3.1, HDMI, and Wi-Fi 5 with Gigabit Wave 2 support, and other relevant specifications.
The battery life on this notebook is nothing close to satisfactory as the TUF barely lasts for up to 5 hours, even on moderate usage. Therefore, only if you are willing to use the TUF gaming laptop, primarily as a desk-bound entity, we would recommend you to go persist with the same.
- Octa-Threaded AMD processor
- Mid-range GPU with better texture rendering support
- Keyboard with exceptional travel
- Massive screen
- Functional cooling technology
- Sub-par battery life
10. Best for 2D Game Development: HP Spectre x360
The HP Spectre x360 is a convertible laptop with touch support. It comes with a 13.3-inch display, offering a 1920 x 1080p resolution, supporting touch input. The laptop has thin bezels, and this is a great device for the design and develop games for smartphones and tablets.
As per the performance, the laptop is powered by the Intel Core i7-7500U along with the Intel HD 620 GPU. Do note that, the laptop uses RAM as V-RAM, so this device might not be the best option to play games and the user should be limited to developing games.
It does offer 16GB of RAM, which is the minimum amount of RAM that a laptop used for game development should have and we have no issues with this part. Similarly, the laptop also offers 512GB flash-based storage, which can load the game assets very quickly.
In our testing, we found out that the HP Spectre X360 can last around six hours on a single charge and it ships with a sleek power adapter which makes it easy to carry with the laptop and the power adapter. Lastly, the HP Spectre X360 weighs 2.85 pounds, which makes it light yet powerful for game development related tasks.
- Not that expensive
- Touch screen
- Convertible (2-in-1)
- Slightly old CPU
- No dedicated GPU
11. Most Lightweight Laptop: Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The new and improved Surface Pro 7 is a laptop for those types of game developers who are always on the move and need a travel-friendly laptop. It comes with a 12.3-inch touch display with a native resolution of 2736 x 1824p resolution. As this is a touch display, one can actually interact with the 3D models that are designed for game development.
The laptop is powered by the 10th Gen Intel Core-i7 processor with an integrated Iris Plus GPU. Though the GPU might not be the most powerful of the lot, the CPU on the Microsoft Surface Pro is highly efficient and offers an overall battery life of 10 to 11 hours under regular usage. The battery life is almost similar to the Apple MacBook devices.
The laptop is equipped with 16GB RAM and it is not user upgradable. To our surprise, we found out that the 512GB SSD based flash storage on the Surface Pro 7 is user upgradable. However, this amount of storage should be good enough for regular game developers.
This is one of the lightest laptops a game developer can consider, as it just weighs 1.70 pounds and works as a tablet if the type cover is not attached to the laptop. The type cover is light in weight and also acts as a protective case for the laptop.
- Thin and light
- Long battery life
- Responsive high-resolution display
- No dedicated GPU
Frequently Asked Questions
Not all high-end laptops are good. A game development laptop should have at least 16GB RAM, 512GB storage, a Core i7/i9 processor with a 2/4GB GPU. And it should also have a great display with a minimum resolution of 1080p and it has to be color accurate with low response time and higher refresh rate.
A laptop used for game development should have a lot of features and the first one is being the amount of RAM. It should have a minimum of 16GB RAM. However, it is recommended to use a laptop with 32GB RAM for the best experience.
Not all gaming laptops are good for game development. However, a majority of gaming laptops are highly suitable for the majority of the development tasks, as these laptops come with some of the best CPU and GPU with a higher amount of RAM and flash-based storage solutions.
A gaming laptop should have a minimum of 512GB of storage. Make sure that the laptop uses flash-based storage and not HDD based storage. And it is also recommended to get a laptop with 1TB storage, which will be useful for future requirements.
Yes, one can develop a game using a high-end Apple MacBook. In fact, Apple recently launched its first 16-inch MacBook Pro, which is one of the best machines on our list. Also, it costs similar to the 15-inch MacBook Pro.
No, because of the hardware and performance limitations of the Core-i5 processor, it is advised to use a laptop with at least a Core-i7 processor or above for developing games. In theory, one can even use an entry-level machine for game development, but, it will hinder the overall performance and will take ages to develop a game.
These are some of the best laptops available in the market that can be used for game development. Do note that, some of these laptops run on Windows OS, whereas others are based on macOS.
Also, just like we said earlier, different game development tasks involve requirements for different hardware sets. But if you’re looking for a smooth experience, then consider choosing any of the models we’ve listed.
We have made sure that the laptops that we have listed will offer the best possible game development experience at various price points. These machines work for both, professional developers and students pursuing a game designing/development major. Choose the perfect machine based on your requirements and budget!