The Best and Worst Gaming Laptops of 2018
2018 saw Intel put out their 8th, gen mobile CPUs, going up to 6 cores in the I7: 8750H, i7, 8850H and i9 8950HK.. While these CPUs were a nice step up in performance compared to the 7th gen mobile chips, heat has been a major problem.. A common trend in 2018 was that these CPUs are often stuffed into laptops, with inadequate cooling requiring power limitations resulting in lower performance than what they could otherwise achieve in sustained multicore workloads. I guess well have to see if this changes at all with the 9th gen in 2019.. As for graphics, we still had the 10 series from Nvidia, with the 1060 being a great sweet spot for 1080p 60 FPS gaming with most games even at high settings. The 1050Ti being a great mid range option and the 1070 and above being excellent for higher 120Hz or 144Hz refresh rate displays with AAA games.. This has been the case for the last couple of years now, although the rumour is well be hearing about new laptop graphics cards at CES in January, so make sure youre subscribed for my CES coverage in a couple of weeks.. A few AMD and Radeon laptops also appeared too. Over the entire year. I was only able to get my hands on one. The Acer, Nitro 5 Im not sure why review units are so hard to come by. Hopefully there will be more for me to try out in 2019. With that quick recap out of the way Im only going to be talking about laptops that Ive covered on the channel and have personal experience with.
There are plenty of other laptops out there, but without actually using them. I cant really comment too much. Lets start with some of the best laptops of the year, keeping in mind that these are just my personal opinions, based on my own experience, everyone has different needs and preferences. Let me know in the comments what youd pick for each category and why. For best value. My go to laptops have generally been the Dell G5 or Acer Helios 300 earlier on in the year as you get pretty good specs for the money, especially with sales. Around 1000 USD with GTX 1060 graphics., I think Ive got to give the win to Walmarts OP gaming. Laptop though, and while I havent used their specific configuration, I have reviewed the Apex 15 from Aftershock, which uses the same Tongfang chassis.. Overall, it was quite a nice machine and with the price cuts that Walmart has introduced, it appears to be a great option if youre in the US. Other laptops would include the Acer Nitro 5, which offers pretty good performance for the money. Unfortunately, I wasnt able to get my hands on too many cheaper options. This year. In 2018, there were quite a few thin gaming laptops that still packed high end specs, like the i7 8750H, with 1070 graphics and 144Hz screens, but thinner with good specs generally means higher prices, so theyre not for everyone. And, of course, heat management will be a challenge.. Some examples would be the Razer Blade, ASUS Zephyrus M and S the MSI GS65, and maybe even the Aero 15x, although that is perhaps just a touch larger than the others.
All are pretty good machines. The GS65 and Zephyrus S are usually the cheapest and should offer similar features and performance compared to the others. So, in terms of value for a thin and light well, specced gaming, laptop theyre, both good choices. Upgrading. The GS65 is, unfortunately, a bit more involved, though, as the motherboard is reversed and the body is a bit flexible if you push down on it, but perfectly fine. During normal usage, though, in my opinion, the Zephyrus S is a bit nicer.. If youve got the money, though the Razer Blade is the best, in my opinion, the design looks great. The touchpad is excellent, and it lasts for quite some time with its larger battery. In terms of cooling design, though, the unique design of the Zephyrus models also deserve a shoutout, as I found this to actually do a pretty good job of keeping the components cool.. There were a number of other thin laptops that didnt quite have gaming specs, but were still very nice to use a shout out to the Dell XPS 13, which was a nice machine in this super portable size and the Razer Blade Stealth which Im reviewing at the Moment. Ive mentioned that heat has been one of the major issues plaguing the 8th, gen Intel laptops, but which actually do a good job at keeping things cool In terms of thinner models. The ASUS Zephyrus performed well with its lift up design, but Ive got to give this one to the Acer Helios 500.
. Yes, its a 17 inch laptop and is fairly thick, but it uses this space well in terms of cooling. Unlike many others., It can get fairly. Warm at stock, but when you boost the fan speeds temperatures are able to drop down by around 20 degrees Celsius, thanks to the thick heatsinks in the corners, allowing it to get some of the best temperatures. With the i7 8750H Ive seen. Ive been trying to get my hands on the 8 core Ryzen model to do a comparison, but no luck on that so far. To me. A good video editing laptop only has a few requirements. A CPU with high clock speeds for the editing process, more CPU cores and discrete graphics for exporting an SD card slot for offloading video from my camera and a decent looking screen.. If youve been following the channel, you may know, I recently got the Gigabyte Aero 15x to use for this purpose and, after all, of the laptops, Ive used its still number one for me in this category., I suspect the Dell XPS 15 may have given it a Good run for its money, but I wasnt able to get one of those for testing.. I recently upgraded the Aero, so its all ready for my upcoming CES trip, where it will be put to the test. For best battery life. There are two main contenders that come immediately to mind: the Gigabyte Aero 15x and the Razer Blade.. Both laptops that I tested had the Intel, i7, 8750H CPU and Nvidia GTX 1070 Max Q, graphics, so quite powerful specs.
But thanks to the ability of swapping over to the Intel graphics outside of gaming, their large batteries allowed them to last the longest out of all laptops Ive ever tested.. The Razer Blade Stealth that Im currently in the process of reviewing did actually last longer in the just watching youtube test, but it is a much lower specced device.. I suspect there would be a few other great laptops for this category, such as the MacBook Pro, but unfortunately, I didnt get the chance to test those out in 2018.. I still havent used that many 2 in 1 laptops, but the Dell XPS 15 2 in 1, was easily the best Ive used. So far., Not only are the specs pretty nice with the Intel, CPU and Radeon GPU combination, but the whole machine just feels extremely premium.. The hinge mechanism is sturdy and the screen looks excellent. It actually made me consider getting a 2 in 1 just for watching YouTube videos on the couch but 15 inches for a tablet. Device is a bit large for me, otherwise, a great machine. Other than these categories. In general, its been nice to see thin bezel laptops become more popular in 2018. While I hope this trend continues, as I think it looks nice, it does mean that the overall size of the laptop needs to be smaller too, which may negatively affect things such as cooling capacity and upgradeability.. Now lets check out the worst laptops of 2018 theres.
Actually, not as many as I thought there would be, and most of them only have one major downside rather than being all round bad choices.. The worst laptop, and probably the only one I used this year that I am unable to recommend would be the ASUS FX504.. I went into testing it, hoping it would be a great value for money machine, but there were some pretty bad performance issues.. In my review, I noted that there was stuttering in various games due to power limit throttling. Although a lot of people mentioned that this issue has since been fixed by a newer BIOS update, so at least its been improved., Unfortunately, I wasnt able to retest this myself as the laptop went back to ASUS after the review., Either way thats, not the major issue. I had with it. The worst problem was that, while under a combined graphical and CPU workload, the i7 8750H appeared to be capped to a 25 watt. Tdp normally wed want this to be at 45 watts.. I havent tested the i5 8300H model myself, but some of you mentioned in the comments that it had similar limits.. This seems to be for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it had a small 120 Watt power, brick. Ive tested a similarly specced laptop with a 120 watt power brick before and with a 45 watt limit. I found that every few seconds the screen would dim and FPS would dip, as it would only be running on battery power because it wasnt receiving enough from the wall so Im pretty sure the power brick just isnt adequate for the hardware for them to increase the Power limit further in a future BIOS update.
. The second reason is that the heatpipes inside are honestly just pathetic. For a 6 core 8750H laptop granted, the thermals in my testing were actually fairly cool, but that was just a result of the kneecapped power limit. Its another reason I doubt this can be improved in the future as there just isnt enough cooling capacity available to support a higher power. Limit. ASUS have redeemed this with the newer FX505. Not only does it look nicer overall with slim bezels, but the CPU TDP limit is 45 watts with bigger heatpipes available and a 180 watt power, brick. So a better cooling solution and more power which results in better performance from the same CPU.. The next laptop is the Dell G7 with i9 8950HK CPU. Dont. Get me wrong. The G7 is a good laptop overall, although if you caught my G5 vs G7 video, you can usually get the G5 for less money and its basically the same.. The issue isnt actually with the G7, but more to do with the i9 CPU being available in certain laptops.. As I noted in the G7 review, I was seeing very similar performance to the G5 with the i7 8750H.. Although the i9 can technically be overclocked in my testing, overclocking was never actually useful for sustained multicore load.. This was due to power limit throttling. I wasnt able to achieve higher power limits after boosting the TDP, even undervolting, the CPU didnt. Allow me to reach the stock 3.
9GHz of the 8750H, while under CPU stress test, let alone the 4.3GHz all core turbo speed of the i9.. The overclock will be more useful in less core heavy workloads, such as single threaded applications, for example, but I think, if youre paying the 600 AUD extra to go from i7 to i9 in the case of the G7, then Id want a better result than this.. Even if power limits get further increased in a BIOS update, the temperatures were already close to 90 degrees celsius. So I doubt wed see much gain before thermal throttling became the next issue. But again, these temperatures are common across most Intel, 8th, gen laptops, thats, not unique to the G7 at all. Im sure Dell arent, the only ones doing this Apple had a similar situation where they crammed the i9 into the even thinner, MacBook Pro and Id expect something Similar there., I think, the only laptop I had great success with the i9 was the MSI GT75 Titan. I was able to overclock all 6 cores to around 4.9GHz and have the CPU running with a 100 watt TDP pretty crazy, but I think thats what you need if you want to properly take advantage of the i9 in a laptop. Thats it my best and worst Laptop picks for 2018 again, these are just my personal opinions. After reviewing laptops throughout the year, let me know down in the comments what youd have picked instead for each category and why.
. Also, let me know if you found this sort of video useful. Would you want to see a similar video at the end of 2019? This is the last video that will go up on the channel for 2018 thanks everyone for the support over that time, and I look forward to making more videos in 2019.. In particular, we should be getting 9th gen Intel laptops and new Nvidia graphics. Hopefully I can get more AMD stuff, too. Im going to be posting more behind the scenes stuff to Facebook and Twitter as well.