So you’re in the market for a game development laptop, how very fortunate for you, that’s not envy, that’s a genuine compliment. So when you’re looking for a game development Laptop, you are processor limited if you’re programming in Unreal 5. Unreal’s GPU requirements, and recommended’s, are actually quite modest, but it’s CPU upper limits, well that’s another story.
Unreal Engine 5 recommends a 12 core processor clocked at 3.4 Ghz, not unfairly characterized as herculean in power. But you can scooch by on just a GTX 2080, and still hit the maximum requirements, I mean, you’re buying a game dev laptop, and I swear I’m not jealous, you may as well get a better graphics card while you’re at it….
Can you do game development on a laptop?
You are fully able to develop games in Unreal 5 on a laptop. This isn’t 2012. This is 2021. There are a variety of fine laptops on the market capable, in terms of GPU & CPU power, of making a top tier AAA quality game. Get an i7+, & a good GPU.
Is 32GB RAM overkill in 2021?
Absolutely not, in a CPU hungry environment centered around Unreal 5, you cannot get enough RAM. If you’re making a real game, using the full range of advanced features, RAM is a limiting factor, & 16GB today, is a risk of crashes tomorrow.
Which laptop is best for Unreal Engine 5?
- OPTION 1: GIGABYTE AERO 15 Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Notebook
- OPTION 2: GIGABYTE AERO 15 OLED YD
- OPTION 3: MSI GP66 Leopard Gaming Notebook
- OPTION 4: MSI GE76 DRAGON TIAMAT Gaming Laptop
- OPTION 5: MSI GE76 Raider Gaming Notebook
So, I’m assuming price is not an option, then I’ve found a good laptop for you.
You can pick this up from Canada Computers for about… $2899 CAD after 500 bucks mail in rebate, marked down from $4399 CAD. This may not be the best in the universe, maybe you can find a better deal for the price, but this is an example of perfection, made manifest. You can go find your own perfection if this isn’t to your taste of course, but for a guy like me, this is the kind of laptop one DREAMS of, but never ACHIEVES.
Buy a big plug in monitor and use this thing as your desktop too.
Ok so let’s get into specs….
Intel Core i9-11980HK processor… this thing is…. a bit underwhelming, all in all, the clock is fast, it’s clocked at 5.0 Ghz, which is just freakin madness. But it only has 8 cores, not 12 cores. But clocked at 5.0 Ghz? Can you complain?…..
I genuinely don’t know the answer, can you? But I suspect your 8 cores at 5.0 Ghz are approaching equal or better than 12 cores at 3.4 Ghz. But at this point I’m just damn confused, which of these diamonds is the most valuable?
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 8GB GDDR6
What can you say about this? It’s one of the best cards on the market right now, and exceeds the recommended requirements of Unreal by +1000 to your GTX. This thing will run the most advanced game in the world right now, at max settings, and not even break a sweat. And in terms of your Unreal Development, no problem, it ices the requirements. Since Unreal 5 is CPU dependent and not GPU dependent, if you have this Laptop, you can develop for the highest level of Unreal 5 design with this. You can make the most advanced game possible, that should ALWAYS be your goal, even and especially in INDIE DEV.
This card will remain useful for at least 7 years. AT LEAST. The point at which this thing has become the equivalent of what my 1080 ti used to be, and is today. Well you’ve gotten a good long haul of use out of the machine by then, and it’s still probably functional. I doubt you will at any point in the process, regret your purchase.
hmm…. what to say about this? It’s good, this is enough ram to get by with. I’d be happier developing in Unreal 5 with 64GB RAM, but I doubt your machine will struggle to manage. This is healthy amount of ram for your game development machine. But Unreal 5 is hungry, it wants more than 32GB RAM. So this is suboptimal, in technical terms, but shrugged off in real terms. This is enough RAM to get by. Probably for the lion’s share of a decade. IE: the forseeable future.
512GB SSD + 1TB SSD
Urgh…. *facepalm* this is the eternal curse of everything….. You’re spending 3 grand marked down from 4.5 grand, and somehow you are still walking away with 1.5 TB SSD. At least if you hook up the 1TB Drive to your C Drive, or merge them and do the same, well your computer won’t be crashing from constantly eating up the ever shrinking remains of your 512 GB C Drive… But I’ve never understood this, why do computer manufacturers always skimp on the HD space. I guess they just want to put as much power as possible into the processor, gpu, and ram, and there’s not much money left to consider the Hard Drive, but it messes up your whole experience for years until you buy extra space. I have about 3.5 TBs of Hard Drive Space, and I am constantly running out of space…. actually, no, i have lots of space, I am constantly running out of space on my ever shrinking and constantly devouring C Drive. Please you’re triggering nightmares again…..
PC gamer has a great article on gaming laptops in 2021, to apply mere greatness to Baskin is to insult me, but often young women like to have a decoy friend to appear more attractive.
ok, let’s try another laptop.
We’ve done the most expensive, let’s look into something more middle of the road, maybe I was over appraising your wallet, you can afford a game dev laptop, you’re just not dropping $3000 CAD on it.
MSI GP66 Leopard Gaming Notebook
This is a nice mean little laptop for only $2149 CAD (roughly $1719 American). This is the ticket, this will get you some pretty serious Unreal 5 Game Development. This doesn’t technically match the requirements for Nanite and the Valley of the Ancients, in the sense that, well, you can’t max it out. But that doesn’t mean you can’t run it comfortably at medium settings, which is so beautiful, it scarcely is imaginable, it just isn’t quite the psychedelic dream world of the maxed out settings. But do you really need that?
Ok let’s break this down:
Intel Core i7-10750H
This thing is running at 2.6 Ghz and it has 6 cores. You’re not going to be maxing out Nanite and the Valley of the Ancients with this thing, but you can run it, probably at medium settings, develop for medium settings, no problem, you can develop.
It’s nothing to write home about, but it’s a good processor, you can make a strong game with this. I wish “I” had this laptop, it crushes my configuration. But it’s not quite the space computer we have above, I would recommend that you save up money, and get the better machine. If you’re going to be developing with this for the next decade or so, you’re going to feel bad about not investing in the right machine, long term.
Cheaping out on your machine might seem necessary, maybe you can only afford $2149, but honestly, if you got together $2149 dollars, you can get the extra $800 and pick up the best machine. Just give it time.
Oh by the way the previous CPU was not running at 5.0 Ghz, that’s it’s maxed out overclocked frequency. Product description didn’t list CPU speed, I’ll look it up and it’s posted above.
Yeah 5.0 Ghz sounded a bit fishy to me too.
heh….. That’s a cute machine. It’s not rocking a RTX 3080, but it has a RTX 3070. Still a very good card, you can play anything you want on the market with this card. It’s powerful, it’s efficient, it’s not as good as an RTX 3080, but it’s better than a RTX 2080, the baseline. Overall, I would be very happy with this card.
You can make space dream visuals from another universe with this card. You honestly as an indie dev are unlikely to be maxing out your settings in a way that will require something more than this. This is a serviceable and clever little card. A good choice. Solidly impressed with the card obtained for the price.
This is….. this makes me sad.
This RAM is just flat out terrible. 16GB DDR4 in a modern era will be a limiting factor on your development. Remember when I wasn’t happy with 32 GB of RAM. Yeah…. This is unacceptable.
You’re on a budget, so you can develop with this thing. You might get crashes if you’re doing something complicated, but it’s still a better machine than mine. But you’re shopping for a game dev laptop, not trying to one up me, right?
Yeah, I can see buying this if price is a big limiting factor, but again I would advise you to save up and buy the best machine on the market, within reason of course. Still, it’s a fine machine, you could do worse.
1TB NVMe SSD
I guess the situation could be worse. If I’m not mistaken I think I’m running actually a 256 GB SSD, not a 500. But yes, I mean….. why do people need hard drive space, really think about it? Do you actually use your hard drive?
A good hard drive should be decorative, like a dainty princess who must never be tainted with lowlives. You should just keep your hard drive empty and clean, only install a game when you want to play it and uninstall it when you’re done.
In case the sarcasm has not sept into you, this is unacceptable. Just flat out unacceptable. At least C drive bleed will not smack you as hard upside the head as some unfortunate individuals, but no…. This is not enough hard drive space. Remember when I was unhappy with 1.5 TB? Now shave off 33%.
Now Laptops on a severe budget
We’re not doing this. Buy a better laptop.
You are not developing games in 2012, my student, this is 2021. You should develop for a modern day market, you should make the best game you can possibly make, so our budget option, is save up for option 2. Then when you get there. Restrain yourself. Be calm. Think. Play the long game. Consider and meditate. Buy the right machine.
Save up for option 1.
Shopping for a laptop is a cause for celebration, but it’s also an important investment. You need to think a lot about what kind of machine you should be investing in. Don’t cheap out on the parts, this is a machine you’re supposed to be spending the next decade or so developing on, so if you fail to invest in the core parts, if your GPU is weak, if your CPU is underpowered for Unreal 5, if you’re running 8GB RAM and expecting to run a laptop capable of developing for Unreal 5, you’ve departed from sanity, and live in crazy town.
Don’t let money be a factor, time is a factor you should consider instead, you should have a long term plan for buying the best machine. So when you plug it in, and power it up, you won’t be disappointed with the results. Nothing is worse than putting a lot of money, but not enough, into a weak underpowered machine. You have just thrown away a bunch of money for no reason, and you can’t buy a new one very easily without saving up again. Think, this is important. Does it have enough room for expansion? Does it have slots for extra RAM, enough of a power supply to support dual SLI Graphics Cards, can you add enough Hard Drive Space down the road?
If you buy the right machine, you’re set for life. You’ll be good for another decade and never have to worry about being with an underpowered machine. Because you will have the best machine on the market. You can develop in a dream for the rest of your life, and when the time comes to upgrade, a long long time from now, you’ll be ready for it.
Shopping for a computer is like finding a partner, in a sense, you are going to be with this computer for a long long time. Make sure you get the right one, and do what it takes to keep it in good working order, or you will have invested a lot of money in a loser, and you will regret the decision.
Get the best machine possible, and develop professional games for a modern day market. Make an investment in your future, save up for the best model you can find, you’ll be glad you did.