8 Best Laptops For Game Development in 2020

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You could be a professional game developer or you could be a college student who is 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 are in luck.

Game development is a very broad field, if you’re developing 2D games then you don’t need a very powerful machine. However, If you’re into making 3D games, then there are a lot of graphic intensive tasks you’d be doing such as designing the environment on platform like Unity, character creation using CAD software such as Autodesk Maya or 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 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. (We’ve listed the specs needed and also all the models we’ve reviewed come with specs above the minimum required.)

Laptop for Game Development – The Guide

Don’t want to get bothered about the Specifications? Jump to the list!

Before buying a new game development software, make sure that the laptop that you are planning to purchase meets at least the minimal specifications that we have mentioned. However, as game development is a professional thing, we also recommend getting a laptop that actually offers the recommended specifications, which ensures a smooth game development for the months to come.

Keeping the hardware aside for a while, a gaming development laptop should be able to run software such as Unity, Unreal Engine, RPG Maker, Construct 2, and Stencyl without any lags or issues. Do note that, a lot of the popular games like Fortnite, PUBG, etc. are built using Unreal Engine 4.

For smooth game development make sure that the laptop you get comes with the below system recommendations.

  • CPU: A modern game development laptop should have the latest quad-core processor with at least 3.5GHz clock speed. For a laptop with an Intel chipset, it is advised to get a Core-i7 or Core-i9 CPU. Similarly, if you are looking for a laptop with an AMD CPU, then make sure that the laptop is powered by the Ryzen 7 series CPU.
  • 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 a 4GB graphics card. 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 a very important 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 of the game development software consumes a lot of RAM and having a lower amount of RAM will slow-down the laptop.
  • Storage: No matter what, a game development laptop should have an SSD based storage. Using an HDD based laptop for gaming development will hinder your work due to the storage limitations of an HDD compared to an SSD. It is advised that a game development laptop should have at least 512GB and is recommended to get a laptop with 1TB NVMe SSD based laptop.

Minimum & Recommended System Requirements for Game Development

 Minimum System RequirementsRecommended System Requirements
CPUIntel Core i7Intel Core i9
RAM16GB32GB
Storage512GB SSD & 1TB HDD1TB SSD & 2TB HDD
Display14-inch HD15/16 inch FHD
BatteryMinimum 4 HoursUp to 10 hours
GPUDedicated GPU with at least 4GB VRAMDedicated GPU with at least 4GB VRAM

The Best Game Design/Development Laptops in 2020

ImageNameFeaturesCheck Price
Asus ZenBook Pro Duo

  • Processor: 5GHz Intel Core i9-9980HK

  • RAM: 32GB

  • Storage: 1TB SSD

  • Display: 15.6-inch 4K Touch (3840 x 2160)

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Razer Blade Pro 17

  • Processor: 4.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H

  • RAM: 16GB

  • Storage: 512GB SSD

  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060

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Lenovo ThinkPad P52

  • Processor: 4.1GHz Intel Core i7-8750H

  • RAM: 32GB

  • Storage: 1TB SSD

  • GPU: 4GB Nvidia Quadro P1000

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Microsoft Surface Pro 7

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-1065G7

  • RAM: 16GB

  • Storage: 1TB SSD

  • GPU: Intel Iris Plus GPU

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Acer Predator Helios 300

  • Processor: 4.1GHz Intel Core i7-8750H

  • RAM: 16GB

  • Storage: 512GB SSD

  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)

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New Apple MacBook Pro

  • Processor: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7

  • RAM: 16GB

  • Storage: 512GB SSD

  • Display: 16-inch IPS LED (3072 x 1920)

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Gigabyte Aero 15X

  • Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H

  • RAM: 16GB

  • Storage: 512GB SSD

  • Display: 15.6-inch IPS FHD (1920 x 1080)

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HP Spectre x360

  • Processor: 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U

  • RAM: 16GB

  • Storage: 512GB SSD

  • GPU: Intel HD 620

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1. Asus ZenBook Pro Duo

  • Processor: 2.4-5GHz Intel Core i9-9980HK (8 cores)
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch 4K Touch (3840 x 2160)
  • GPU: 6GB Nvidia RTX 2060
  • Battery: Up to 4 hours

The Asus 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 (3840 x 2160p), but it also has a secondary display which can be used to access additional applications, which is also color calibrated, just like the primary display.

The laptop is powered by the Intel Core i9-9980 HK clocked at 2.4GHz and could boost up to 5GHz when needed, is one of the most powerful CPU that has been featured on a laptop. Be it machine learning, 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 were able to compile code, make the gaming environment on Unity 3D, make characters using 3D modelling softwares like Autodesk Maya and browse the internet, and 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.

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Pros
  • High-performance CPU and GPU
  • 32GB RAM
  • 4K display
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Cons
  • Average battery life
  • A bit heavy

2. Razer Blade Pro 17

  • Processor: 4.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
  • Battery Life: Up to 6 hours

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.

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Pros
  • Big high refresh rate display
  • Good graphics performance
  • Good thermal design
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Cons
  • Average battery life
  • Lackluster trackpad

3. Lenovo ThinkPad P52

  • Processor: 4.1GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • GPU: 4GB Nvidia Quadro P1000
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920×1080)
  • Battery Life: Up to 5.5 hours

The Lenovo ThinkPad P52 is a laptop for those, who are serious about game development. It does have a standard 15.6-inch FHD IPS color-accurate display with 1920x1080p resolution.

The laptop is powered by the Intel Core i7-8750H, which is 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 highly capable one that can easily render superior quality game graphics.

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 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.

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Pros
  • Nvidia quadro GPU
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • Industrial design
  • Great combo of RAM & Storage
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Cons
  • Average battery life
  • Low-resolution screen

4. NEW Microsoft Surface Pro 7

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-1065G7
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • GPU: Intel Iris Plus GPU
  • Battery life: Up to 10 hours

The new Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a laptop for those types of game developers who are always on the move and hate to carry a bulky 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 that comes 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 10 to 11 hours under regular usage and the battery life is almost similar to the Apple MacBook Pro.

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 at 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.

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Pros
  • Thin and light
  • Long battery life
  • Responsive high-resolution display
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Cons
  • No dedicated GPU
  • Expensive

5. Acer Predator Helios 300

  • Processor: 4.1GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
  • Battery Life: Up to 7 hours

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 that 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.

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Pros
  • High refresh rate display
  • Good GPU
  • Good keyboard
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Cons
  • Average battery life
  • Bit old design

6. New Apple MacBook Pro

  • Processor: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 16-inch IPS LED (3072 x 1920)
  • GPU: 4GB AMD Radeon Pro 5300M

The New Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch 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 a 512GB SSD based storage, which is protected by 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 load 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.

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Pros
  • Amazing battery life
  • Premium and professional look
  • Good display
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Cons
  • Limited I/O
  • Cannot upgrade RAM/Storage

7. Gigabyte Aero 15X

  • Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch IPS FHD (1920 x 1080)
  • GPU: 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
  • Battery Life: Up to 10 hours

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.

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Pros
  • Well optimized GPU
  • Display with a higher refresh rate
  • Bezel-less display
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Cons
  • A bit heavy
  • Average quality keyboard

8. HP Spectre x360

  • Processor: 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • GPU: Intel HD 620
  • Display: 13.3-inch FHD
  • Battery Life: Up to 6 hours

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, which also supports touch input. The laptop has thin bezels and this is a great computer for 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.

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Pros
  • Not that expensive
  • Touch screen
  • Convertible (2-in-1)
  • Lightweight
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Cons
  • Slightly old CPU
  • No dedicated GPU

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good laptop for game development?

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.

How much RAM do I need for game development?

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.

How much storage a gaming laptop should have?

A gaming laptop should have a minimum of 512GB storage. Make sure that the laptop uses flash-based storage and not an HDD based storage. And it is also recommended to get a laptop with 1TB storage, which will be useful for future requirements.

Are gaming laptops good for game development?

Not all gaming laptops are good for game development. However, a majority of gaming laptops are highly suitable for 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.

Can MacBooks be used for game development?

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 in our list. Also, it costs similar to the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Can laptops with Core i5 Processors be used for game development?

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.

Verdict

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 has requirement for different set of hardware. 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!

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