There are numerous game development ‘tasks’, and depending on which one you specialize in you’ll need a different kind of a machine. For example, 2D Pixel-art is the least-demanding game development job while dabbling in VR (Virtual Reality) requires a powerhouse full of top-shelf specs.

These ‘extremes’ were our margins when we decided to make a list of the best laptops for game development, so we’ve included everything for everyone. Let’s get straight to the reviews.

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what is the best laptop for game development
New Apple MacBook Pro 3
  • Display: 16″ Retina Display
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4
  • Storage: 1 TB SSD
  • CPU: Intel Core i9 processor
  • GPU: Amd Radeon Pro 5500M
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best windows laptop for game development Acer Predator Helios 300
  • Display: 15.6″ IPS Display
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB
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Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
  • Display: 13.6 inches
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 processor
  • GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 15
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best cheap laptop for game development MSI GS65 Stealth-006
  • Display: 15.6″ Fhd, Anti Glare
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4
  • Storage: 512 GB Nvme SSD
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H
  • GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2060
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ROG Zephyrus M Thin Laptop ROG Zephyrus M Thin Laptop
  • Display: 15.6″ 240Hz FHD IPS
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4
  • Storage: 1 TB PCIe SSD
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
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Top 5 Best Laptops for Game Development

If you are a game developer, you must use a powerful laptop to do your work. So, we have listed top-rated laptops for game and software development. See more here:

#1 Best for Game Developer: New Apple MacBook Pro 3

New Apple MacBook Pro

Let’s open up with Apple’s Macbook Pro – a 16-inch laptop that packs sixteen gigabytes of RAM, a terabyte of storage space, AMD’s Radeon 5500M GPU, and Intel’s i9 CPU. Simply put, this laptop configuration is absolutely perfect for game development. Frankly, this model might even be the best laptop for gaming and software development simply due to its robust performance.

First things first – what separates this laptop from most gaming and software development rigs is that it rocks Intel’s 8-core i9 processor. Needless to say, this is one of Intel’s latest processors, which means that you will have more than enough power to run dozens of programs at the same time. On a side note, it’s also perfect for gaming, streaming, and watching movies, obviously.

The display is quite important, and you’ll need as many inches as possible to have a clear overview of all the little details.

Although 16 inches isn’t much, by all means, there are some positives to the display that this laptop comes supplied with. It rocks True-Tone technology, which substantially enhances the color quality while also automatically adjusting the levels of contrast and brightness. Furthermore, it comes outfitted with the Retina-type display that relaxes the eyes, protecting your sight while you work.

Moving on to GPU, the Apple’s MacBook Pro sports Radeon’s 5500M GPU that packs GDDR6 VRAM memory. So, you’ll be able to accomplish any given task in terms of development, including tackling down chores within the virtual reality realm.

Again, a strong graphics processor unit works great for both developing games and playing them; this means that you can test out your product on the same machine you’ve ‘manufactured’ it. By the way, you can use one of these laptops for data or machine learning work.

Knowing that storage space is incredibly important for game development, Apple’s technicians have supplied the MacBook Pro with a full terabyte for you. A terabyte is typically more than most people need, but it’s great because you won’t need to worry about room for pretty much anything for quite some time. You’ll have enough space for movies, games, and programs, and then some.

Its only downside is that it costs a lot. However, it holds huge value for the cash as it comes supplied with some of the most advanced features in the laptop industry.

Pros
  • Exceptional keyboard and sound system.
  • Ultra-strong specs in terms of CPU, GPU, and RAM.
  • A terabyte of SSD storage space.
  • Touch-bar for easier finishing touches on ‘drawing’ animation tasks.
Cons
  • Very expensive.

#2 Best for Video Game Development: Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming

best laptop for gaming and software development

Acer’s Predator Helios 300 is, in fact, a gaming laptop, and nearly all gaming laps that have been manufactured (by reputable brands) in the past couple of years are perfectly suited for gaming development. It’s also one of the best windows laptop for game development.

The first notable feature of this laptop is the 9th gen Intel i7 9750H six-core processor that can reach 4.5 GHz per core with the turbo feature. Although i7 is significantly weaker than i9 and given the fact that six cores are inferior to eight, the 9750H is still more than formidable for game development. Pixel Art, modeling, doing animations, and programming won’t be any kind of issue for you with this CPU.

Next up is GPU; this laptop comes supplied with Nvidia’s GTX 1660, which is basically a staple in high-quality graphics commonly used in better configurations of laptops, such as Acer’s Predator. It rocks six gigabytes of GDDR6 virtual RAM that greatly complements the robust performance of the i7 CPU.

The keyboard is obviously a gaming one; Acer’s Predator Helios features a backlit keyboard along with custom ‘gaming-style’ keys that won’t necessarily get in your way of coding or developing your software. However, what you might find as displeasing is that there’s not much space for programs (and games, for that matter).

This laptop comes supplied with a mere 256 GB of SSD. Now, solid-state drives are a must-have for any programming or software development, but since your operating system will eat up a big chunk of it, you should consider an upgrade as soon as possible. Luckily, Predator sports numerous slots for both SSD and HDD upgrades.

RAM-wise, Predator Helios sports 16 gigabytes of DDR4, which is absolutely phenomenal. It will allow you to seamlessly multi-task and keep numerous tabs open simultaneously. The display is satisfactory, although it isn’t anywhere near ‘exceptional’. Predator Helios 300 features a 15.6-inch monitor, which is even smaller than what Apple’s MacBook Pro comes supplied with. Still, it’s decent for game development and gaming in general.

Overall, Acer’s Predator Helios 300 is a wonderful machine; due to its excellent specs and strong performance, we’ve labeled it as one of the best laptops for gaming and development models available on the market. Since Microsoft made it, it’s one of the best Windows laptops for game development models out there.

Pros
  • Solid, well-rounded specs.
  • Reliable i7 six-core CPU.
  • Great graphics card.
  • High connectivity.
Cons
  • Very limited storage space (upgradeable).
  • Relatively small display.

#3 Best for All-Rounder: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Here we have Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3; essentially, this is one of the most versatile Microsoft laptops along with Pro 7 and Pro X. A lot of ‘Surfaces’ aren’t really great for gaming and game development, and given the fact that Surface 3 is among the strongest, it’s more than suitable for this particular line of work.

In essence, the Surface Laptop 3 features dimensions of 13 inches by 3 inches by 10 inches while weighing a mere 3.40 pounds. It’s a great laptop to have on the go, as well as if your development needs require you to collaborate with other programmers. Even so, it’s very durable as it’s made from top-shelf materials, so it should last for years to come with proper use and maintenance.

As far as specs go, Surface 3 features Intel’s i5, eight gigabytes of RAM, and 256 gigabytes of SSD. Overall, this might sound pretty weak at first, but let’s break it down and explain why this particular configuration can actually work for game development.

Firstly, the Intel i5 CPU is obviously weaker than the i7 version, not to mention i9. However, it sports enough juice to launch any developing software. It’s not exactly suitable for gaming, though. This is a relatively pricey laptop packed with solid-performing specs, a lightweight and compact design, and a phenomenal battery.

It goes without saying – 256 GB of SSD is not plenty of storage space. However, most development software isn’t really demanding in this particular sense. You will most likely need to find a compromise in terms of leaving your favorite movies or games out of the picture.

Lastly, the 13.5-inch display is even smaller than the monitors our previous pick came supplied with. The keyword here is ‘touchscreen’; though, as it works great for precision animation drawing. Also, the connectivity of Surface 3, on the flip side, is absolutely superb. This laptop rocks both USB-A and USB-C ports that will allow you to connect multiple displays or docking stations to it.

What this laptop offers that most similarly priced models don’t is portability. It’s an excellent choice for a developer who values mobility above the straight-to-the-face strength of the individual components.

Pros
  • Huge battery lifetime complemented with fast recharge time.
  • Exceptional connectivity provided by multiple modes of connection.
  • Sufficiently strong for most game development software.
  • Thin, slim profile.
  • Lightweight and highly portable.
Cons
  • Low-spec laptop overall.

#4 MSI GS65 Stealth-006

best windows laptop for game development

MSI offers a huge selection of premium-quality laptops, so we’ve handpicked their Stealth-006 GS65 for our review of the best budget laptops for game development. Essentially, it comes supplied with a well-rounded configuration of core components, it is pretty light, and it is as great for gaming as it is for development.

First of all, the display of MSI’s GS65 Stealth 006 is 15.6 inches in diameter, sporting the Wide-View angle for a better overview, as well as anti-glare technology that allows you to use it for several hours continuously without straining your eyes.

Secondly, it packs Intel’s i7 8750H 4.1 GHz processor that can run most recently released games; this only means that you will have no trouble launching any type of game development software, including VR and coding programs.

As far as graphics go, MSI’s GS65 Stealth 006 rocks Nvidia’s RTX 2060 graphics card with six gigabytes of GDDR6. Since this is one of the most important components of every laptop, it’s surely great to hear that Stealth comes supplied with a quality one.

However, the GPU is not upgradeable, and what you see is what you’ll get for good. This is one of the biggest pitfalls of MSI’s GS65 Stealth 006, although as we’ve said earlier, you shouldn’t have any problems with it.

Next up, we have sixteen gigabytes of DDR4 RAM. This is more than enough for most games (and gaming development software), you’ll also have the opportunity to upgrade it twice. It sports two sockets and a maximum capacity of 32 GB.

Storage-wise, MSI’s GS65 Stealth 006 sports 512 gigabytes of SSD. Frankly, 512 GB is somewhere in the ‘golden middle’ between the meager performance of 256 gigabytes and the opposite extreme of a full terabyte of storage space. This laptop also comes with a pre-installed Windows 10 operating system. This is quite great, mainly because you’ll be able to start coding and programming straight off the bat.

All things considered, MSI’s GS65 Stealth 006 is one of the best laptops for game development for a reason. It rocks ultra-strong specs, it is incredibly light and transportable, and its connectivity is absolutely superb. It has its own ups and downs, but generally speaking, its pros heavily outweigh its cons.

Pros
  • Decently spacious storage.
  • Strong specs overall, perfect for both gaming and game development.
  • Comes with pre-installed Windows software.
  • Strong RAM and CPU.
  • Upgradeable, although this particular configuration is already pretty robust as-is.
Cons
  • It could use a little more storage space.
  • The screen could’ve been made a bit bigger.

#5 ROG Zephyrus M Thin and Portable Gaming Laptop

ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Laptop

We’re wrapping our review with a laptop model from ROG’s catalog. In essence, this is a professional brand that has released a huge number of top-quality laptops and gaming configurations so far. It’s only natural to finish the review with one of their flagship models. Simply put, if you are looking for the best cheap laptop for game development, look no further than ROG Zephyrus.

In terms of design, the Zephyrus is incredibly compact and light. Its actual dimensions measure 14.2 inches by 9.9 inches by 0.8 inches, and it weighs a mere 4.40 pounds. This means that it works like a charm for ‘mobile’ game developers, but due to its top-quality specs, it could easily dance toe to toe with most high-spec desktop PCs.

This laptop packs Nvidia’s RTX 2070 graphics card with 8 gigabytes of GDDR6, which is absolutely phenomenal for the buck. This GPU is strong and reliable, so you shouldn’t need an upgrade for the next couple of years, even if you want to use this laptop for running very demanding games.

CPU-wise, Zephyrus rocks Intel’s i7 9750 8-core CPU, which should be pretty self-explanatory. Eight cores of i7 mean that you can launch any kind of recently released games, but you also shouldn’t fret about being able to run even the most spec-hungry development software.

Let’s go over to the RAM section. Zephyrus features 16 GB of DDR4 RAM; again, this is great for both gaming and development of such. It also sports a full terabyte of storage space and a 15-inch chassis made of metal. All things considered, this laptop is all you need as a game developer, but you should also be prepared to pay top dollar for it.

Pros
  • Excellent choice for game and software development.
  • Enough SSD space for keeping many files.
  • It’s Ultra-slim metal chassis gaming laptop.
  • This laptop comes with strong RAM and CPU.
Cons
  • It’s a big budget laptop.

Laptops for Game Development: Buying Guide

I already reviewed some excellent laptops for you, but you should know some things and features which should be considered for buying a laptop for game development. See these factors below:

Processor:
 
The processor is vital for processing your game developing actions. So, a powerful processor is a must, if you like to make video games. The most recent quad-core processor with a minimum 3.5GHz clock speed is vital for a modern game development laptop.
 
The high-performance new generation Intel core processors and some Ryzen AMD processor versions are the best processors for these activities. We will advise you to get a Core-i7 or Core-i9 Intel chipset CPU for your laptop. Likewise, make sure that the Ryzen 7 series CPU powers your laptop if you have a laptop with an AMD CPU.
 
Memory:
 
For your game developing software, the RAM or device memory is an essential feature. Your laptop must have at least 16GB of RAM. However, you should have a 32GB RAM laptop because the maximum number of game developing software uses a lot of RAM. So, if you are having a lower amount of RAM, then your laptop will be slow-down. Your game engine will run smoothly if you have a high capacity and decent speed RAM.
 
GPU:
 
Generally, a game development software requires high GPU, because game development includes making of 3D models and rendering them in real-time. So, we recommend that your selected laptop should have a minimum 4GB graphics card. Take the GPU with 6GB or 8GB VRAM, to receive a higher game developing experience.
 
However, several options available can work quite well, but you have to go for the best option depending on your gaming trends. Your game developing activity levels and inclinations will ascertain the laptop with the required GPU.
 
Game developments are typically required to have a high GPU. However, some laptops are available with the graphics card attached to the CPU; and these are excellent choices for people on a reasonably low budget.
 
Storage:
 
Your game developing laptop should have an SSD based storage. The SSD storage is known to enable quick data access and use trends, which is a critical obligation in gaming.
 
An HDD-based laptop for game development will obstruct your work because of the limitations of HDD storage compared to any SSD. Your game development laptop should have at least 512 GB, and we recommend getting a laptop with 1 TB NVMe SSD storage.
 
You may have both an HDD and SSD storage on the same laptop. SSD takes care of data that must be accessed frequently and quickly; HDD stores vital residual data that does not require quick recovery.
 
Display & Resolution:
 
Another most significant part of game development software is Display. We recommend you to have a laptop of at least a 1080p or 2K resolution screen. Also, you may go for a laptop with a 4K monitor if your budget permits. It will advance your complete game development experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What kind of PC do you need for game development?

Every high-end laptop is not suitable for game development. A game developing laptop should have a Core i7 / i9 processor with at least 16GB RAM, 512GB storage, and 2/4GB GPU. It should have an excellent display with a resolution of at least 1080p, and it should be a perfect color with little response time and a high refresh rate.

How much RAM do I need for game development?

A game development laptop may have many features, and the first thing is the amount of RAM. The minimum requirement of RAM is 16 GB. Nonetheless, for the greatest experience, we recommend you to use a laptop with 32 GB RAM.

Are gaming laptops good for game developing?

All gaming laptops are not suitable for game developing tasks. However, most gaming laptops are highly suited for most of the game developing jobs; because these laptops come with a high amount of RAM and flash-based storage solutions, including some of the best CPUs and GPUs.

What laptops can run Unity?

We recommend a laptop of 32 GB of RAM for most users to run unity. However, use 64 GB or more if you work with exclusively large and complex projects.

Is MacBook good for game development?

Yes, MacBook is good for game development. You can develop a game with a high-end Apple MacBook. A new 16-inch MacBook Pro is launched recently by Apple, which is one of the best machines available. This machine costs similar to the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Conclusion

You’ll notice that laptops for game development aren’t necessarily outfitted with the latest gear in terms of CPU, GPU, and RAM. However, you don’t need the biggest, most powerful rig to launch most game development programs. So, what is the best laptops for game development? I will suggest to you “New Apple Macbook Pro 3 laptop”.

All things considered, game developers have plenty to choose from in terms of high-spec laptops. We’ve scrounged the market for the best models and have found hundreds of them, but we’ve narrowed down our selection to the top 5 models for your convenience.

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