The year 2022 was an odd one in terms of Windows gaming laptops. We saw brands like Intel and AMD unveil some of the most powerful and power-efficient consumer-grade processors the world has ever seen. Both also successfully dispelled the myth that x86-based processors are on their way out in the advent of Apple shifting all its products to ARM-based CPUs.
Intel’s hybrid architecture proved to be the ultimate boon for the power efficiency of its latest processors. Sure, the Windows Modern Standby usually ends up making a mess of it, but the performance-per-watt, on average, is high on almost all 12th-gen powered laptops.
With AMD’s smaller Zen3+ cores based on the 6nm process, the Ryzen 6000 series also delivered high performance and efficiency. Smaller transistor nodes require less power to turn ON and OFF, which leads to higher efficiency; thus, AMD used simple physics to make their chips more power efficient. And it worked, the Ryzen 9 6900HS proved to be one of the best processors in terms of performance-per-watt. During testing, I also found that it delivered amazing battery life, particularly in some thin and light laptops.
The year 2022 also made gaming on the iGPU an easy possibility. The improved Intel Iris XE and AMD’s Radeon 680M easily ran games like GTA V, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Forza Horizon at 1080p 60FPS. We also saw a glimpse of RDNA 2 graphics in the Steam Deck. The small handheld gaming PCs literally changed the industry as now people can take their Steam library on the go. It’s the reason why the Steam Deck is colloquially known as the backlog destroyer.
However, with so many hardware upgrades to enable portable gaming, 2022, or what’s left of it, is still not the best time to buy your next gaming laptop. And there are two main reasons why!
Current Gaming Laptop GPUs suck! Well, mostly
The average price of a gaming laptop is around $800 or $1000 in the US. In India, we don’t have a definite metric, but with an educated guess, one can assume that most gamers can spend close to Rs 1 lakh on a decent gaming laptop. At that price, you can find the following good options.
- ASUS TUF Gaming A15 (Ryzen 7 + RTX 3060)
- GIGABYTE G5 (12th Gen i5 + RTX 3060)
- MSI Crosshair 15 (12th Gen i7 + RTX 3060)
- HP Victus 16.1 (Ryzen 7 + RTX 3060)
- HP Omen 16 (Ryzen 7 6800H + RTX 3060)
Among these, the MSI Crosshair 15 and the HP Omen 16 are probably your best options due to the latest-gen processors from AMD and Intel. While the HP Omen comes with DDR5 memory, the MSI Crosshair is limited to DDR4. But the main thing which makes these laptops great gaming machines is the Nvidia RTX 3060, featuring 6GB GDDR6 VRAM and between 90-115W TGP in most cases. Notable exceptions include the Lenovo Legion 5/5i Pro, which overlooks the RTX 3060 to 140W TGP.
But the RTX 3060 has some problems of its own. Its small 6GB VRAM isn’t built for a 1440p gaming machine. For more VRAM, you can go for the AMD Radeon 6700M at a similar price point. But it loses to the RTX 3060 when competing at the 1080p resolution. So the two options for most gamers are as follows – either go for a laptop GPU with low VRAM or choose a less powerful version with high visual memory. But if one is a patient gamer, which one should be, there is a better option.
Next-Gen Laptop GPUs are coming
The year 2023 will be the time when gaming laptops will feature new CPUs from AMD and Intel alongside new GPUs from AMD and Nvidia. And if you believe the rumors, the new GPUs are poised to be 30% better than the current crop. As per the latest report, Nvidia will likely reveal 4050, 4060, 4070, 4080, and 4080 Ti laptop GPUs. The most interesting one among these is the 4060 and the 4070.
The RTX 4070 is more powerful than the RTX 3070 Ti, 3080, and 3080 Ti. Meanwhile, the RTX 4060 is more capable than both the RTX 3060 and 3070. The report reveals 3d Mark’s Timespy score for all these GPUs. For a typical RTX 3050, the average Timespy score is around 4700-5000, and for an RTX 3060, the score is between 7000 to 7500. The upcoming RTX 4060 scores a huge leap over these GPUs with a score of 11400, even higher than the RTX 3070. Similarly, the RTX 4070, with its 15300 Timespy score, beats the RTX 3070 Ti, the 3080, and the top-spec 3080 Ti.
I see this as a win because currently within the price bracket of Rs 1 to 1.5 lakh, the most powerful GPU one can buy is an overclocked RTX 3060 with 140W TGP. Hopefully, with the RTX 4060, even a low-powered version, the laptop’s gaming performance would see a big boost in performance. Moreover, the GPU’s VRAM seems to be around 8GB, which is good enough for 1080p and 1440p gaming.
In short, it is worth waiting till the next generation of laptops arrives on the scene because the ultimate combination of new CPUs and GPUs seems clearly worth the wait. Don’t agree with me? You can always fight with me in the comments down below!