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How to build a gaming laptop

by Jason Clarke
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PC gaming might be a hobby in and of itself, but there’s a hell of a do-it-yourself scene that surrounds it, whatever kind of system you play on. But while desktop gaming PCs might have more options when it comes to picking components, the look and feel of a system, its cooling, and its form factor, laptops aren’t totally devoid of customisation.

Sure you can’t actually build a laptop yourself – unless you want a seriously complicated project – but there are plenty of options for picking out components, as well as a few neat customisation choices to make.

Here’s how to build a gaming laptop. It’s not quite the same as a desktop, but you have a few options all the same.

You’ve still got options

Gaming laptops have a lot of different design considerations than desktops. Forcing the kind of powerful components you need to play games at high detail settings and frame rates into a compact chassis brings with it a number of inevitable problems. Most namely when it comes to cooling and battery life. The more powerful the CPU and graphics card, the more powerful the cooling solution needs to be. In turn, and that leads to increased noise output and a heavier chassis. Those powerful components also draw more on the battery, which shortens your system’s lifespan away from a charge point.

That’s why the most important consideration to make when learning how to build a gaming laptop is the components. What do you actually need for your system?

If you’re playing Esports games like CS:GO, League of Legends, or Rocket League, you don’t need anything too hefty. The new, 10th-generation Intel Ice Lake CPUs would be a good fit there, as they pack 11th-generation Iris Pro graphics for reasonable frame rates at 1080p. You could also consider a third-generation Ryzen 5 or 7 CPU for comparable money, although if you’re a team red fan, you may want to wait until later in 2020 when Ryzen 4000 CPUs make their debut.

Image of an open Chilblast Phantom 15 inch RTX Gaming Laptop with a Microsoft Windows image on the screen

Need more power?

AAA games from the past few years are more demanding, however. Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Metro: Exodus, Red Dead Redemption 2, or any other number of beautiful experiences are going to really benefit from a more powerful system. Higher clock speeds and dedicated graphics really shine with those kinds of titles.

Chillblast has a number of customisable gaming laptops to pick from, all of which would be excellent candidates for these sorts of games. In both 15 and 17-inch sizes, we offer laptops that include Intel Core i7 and i9 CPUs, 16GB or 32 GB of RAM, and powerful discrete graphics. Options for CPUs include the Intel Core i7-9750H, Core i5-9600K, i7-9700K, and even the massively powerful 9900K. For GPUs you can pick from an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti, for solid 1080p gaming power; an RTX 2060 for a little more heft; an RTX 2070 for those that really want their games to run smooth at high details settings, and even an RTX 2080 if you want some 4K gaming power.

You can’t build these laptops yourself – leave that to the experts – but you can choose a specification that’s right for you and that gets you pretty close to the DIY building process. As close as you can get with most laptops, at least.

Close up the RGB keyboard on the Chillblast Phantom 15" RTX Gaming Laptop

What else can you customise?

Laptops of the 2020s aren’t really designed to be heavily customised. Few let you upgrade the memory and removable batteries are a thing of the past. But with Chillblast’s gaming laptops you do have some extras that you can take a hand in customising that go beyond a basic spec list. We really let your laptop become your own.

You get to pick the CPU and GPU that are right for you, but we’ll let you pick how much memory you get too. It’s a choice of 16 or 32GB and all sticks come at a respectable speed.

More impactful adjustments come in the form of storage choices. Starting options include 250GB and 500GB NVMe SSDs, but we have an expansive range of different brands and speeds to choose from. There are also much larger drives, with up to 2TB of NVMe SSD space for the boot drive, and options for secondary and tertiary SSDs with space for up to 10 terabytes of additional storage if you need it.

Wait, there’s more?

Other options for building a gaming laptop that’s right for you include an external optical drive for DVDs and/or Blu-rays, networking upgrades for faster Wi-Fi or Bluetooth access, and what thermal paste we use to help transfer heat away from your components to their respective cooling solutions. While it doesn’t cost much, a dose of high-end thermal compound can make a big difference to keeping temperatures low and is well worth considering if you plan to run your gaming system hard for hours at a time. Check out this blog if you are still a bit unsure about which components are most important when building your gaming laptop.

As with all our systems, no matter the form-factor, you have the option of the Chillblast Windows Optimization service, which makes it boot faster, run leaner, and give you a better all-round experience.

Want real customisation? Buy a desktop

If all of that sounded a bit less than the DIY, build your own PC experience you were hoping for, then you might want to consider a desktop instead. They’re not only far easier to work with in terms of customisation and upgradeability, but you can get more for your money too.

Here are Chillblast, our gaming PCs start as a barebones list of specifications and a chassis and it’s your job to flesh that out with all of the extras you want. Alternatively, buy a basic system from us and add in the components later. It’s entirely up to you and all possible thanks to it being a desktop rather than a laptop.

Where a laptop is effectively a finished product when delivered to you, with very little scope for upgrades (outside of specifically designed systems like Alienware’s Aera-51m), a desktop is never really finished. You can upgrade everything inside the case and it’s still technically the same system if you want it to be. Likewise you can change the case and the core of the system is still the same. Customising a desktop is a process of creating the ideal system for you and what better way to start than with a Chillblast gaming desktop.

Try this for size

Entry-level models like the Chillblast Fusion Imp offer a fantastic foundation for gaming right out of the box, with all the potential you could ask for. At the point of purchase you can choose the CPU, the graphics card, the memory, cooling, storage, sound card, noise dampening foam, cable management, extra ports, and wireless connectivity.

Image of the Chillblast Fusion Imp Gaming PC which has red RGB lighting in its case

Of course you can add it all in later, with an official Chillblast upgrade, or with your own components you purchased separately. That’s the beauty of a gaming desktop. It’s a system that’s uniquely yours and Chillblast can help make that happen. Just give one of our system building experts a call and they can walk you through everything, from the perfect build for you right now, to what kind of components you might want to add down the line.

More resources:

If you’re wondering why gaming laptop’s are so expensive, check out this blog.

And for a bit of guidance on what to look for if you’re on a budget and want the best cheap gaming laptop, check out this blog.

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