Can Laptops Play Games? 6 Laptop Performance Tiers

Can Laptops Play Games

Not all laptops are built equal and not all games demand the same system requirements. A lot of people can get their hands on a laptop but not a gaming PC and then they ask themselves can laptops play games?

In this article I will explain what games you can expect to be able to play depending on the laptop specifications and model you have.

What Laptops Can Play The Most Popular Games?

System requirements for games can vary based on the settings you want to play at (e.g., low, medium, high, ultra) and the specific laptop models that can run these games can be numerous. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll provide a general overview for a few popular online video games, their recommended system requirements, and a few laptop models that can run them.

GameSystem RequirementsLaptop Models
Fortnite– CPU: Core i5 2.8 GHz – RAM: 8 GB – GPU: NVIDIA GTX 660 or AMD Radeon HD 7870– Dell Alienware m15 – ASUS ROG Strix G15 – HP Omen 15
League of Legends– CPU: 3 GHz processor – RAM: 4 GB (8 GB for Windows 10) – GPU: Nvidia GeForce 8800/AMD Radeon HD 5670– Acer Predator Helios 300 – Lenovo Legion Y540 – MSI GF63 Thin
Valorant– CPU: Intel i3-4150 – RAM: 4 GB – GPU: Geforce GT 730– Razer Blade 15 – Acer Nitro 5 – ASUS TUF FX505
Apex Legends– CPU: Intel i5 3570K or equivalent – RAM: 8 GB – GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290– Lenovo Legion 7i – MSI GE66 Raider – Dell G5 15
Overwatch– CPU: Intel Core i5 or AMD Phenom II X3 – RAM: 6 GB – GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 or AMD Radeon HD 7950– HP Pavilion Gaming 15 – Acer Predator Triton 500 – ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

Please note:

  • The above table is a simplified representation. Actual system requirements might vary based on game updates and optimizations.
  • The laptop models listed are just a few examples. There are many other models in the market that can run these games efficiently.
  • Always check the latest system requirements on the game’s official website and laptop specifications before making a purchase.

Can Laptops Play Games That Are Entry Level?

entry level laptop

These games are designed for those just dipping their toes into the gaming world. They don’t demand much from your system and can run smoothly on basic laptops. You can also checkout my article on the best gaming laptops under $500.

Popular Games:

  • Stardew Valley
  • Among Us
  • Terraria

Laptop Recommendations:

  • Acer Aspire 5
  • HP Pavilion 15
  • Lenovo IdeaPad 3

Entry-level games are the gateway for many into the vast world of gaming. These games are characterized by their minimalistic graphics, straightforward mechanics, and the ability to run smoothly on even the most basic systems. Their primary goal is to provide entertainment without overwhelming the player or their device.

  • Acer Aspire 5: A budget-friendly option that doesn’t skimp on performance. With its efficient Intel or AMD processors and integrated graphics, it’s capable of running most entry-level games without a hitch.
  • HP Pavilion 15: A reliable choice for everyday tasks and light gaming. Its combination of Intel Core processors and integrated Intel or AMD graphics ensures a smooth experience for games like Stardew Valley.
  • Lenovo IdeaPad 3: Known for its durability and performance at an affordable price point, the IdeaPad 3, equipped with either Intel or AMD configurations, is more than capable of handling entry-level games, making it a favorite among casual gamers.

Can Laptops Play Games That Are Casual?

casual level laptop

For those who game occasionally and don’t need the highest graphics or fastest speeds. These games are more demanding than entry-level games but don’t require top-tier systems.

Popular Games:

  • The Sims 4
  • Minecraft
  • Rocket League

Laptop Recommendations:

  • Dell Inspiron 15 5000
  • ASUS VivoBook 15
  • MSI Modern 14

Casual gaming has seen a significant rise in popularity over the past decade. These games are designed to be accessible to a wide range of players, regardless of their gaming experience or the power of their devices. The charm of casual games lies in their simplicity, both in terms of gameplay mechanics and graphics. They often prioritize fun, engaging gameplay over high-definition graphics or complex storylines.

  • Dell Inspiron 15 5000: A versatile laptop with a strong balance between performance and price. Its Intel Core processors and integrated graphics can handle casual games with ease.
  • ASUS VivoBook 15: Known for its sleek design and portability, the VivoBook also packs enough power under the hood, thanks to its AMD Ryzen processors and integrated Radeon graphics, making it suitable for casual gaming on the go.
  • MSI Modern 14: While MSI is often associated with high-end gaming laptops, the Modern series is designed for everyday use and light gaming. With its Intel Core processors and NVIDIA MX series graphics, it’s more than capable of handling games like The Sims 4 and Minecraft.

Can Laptops Play Games That Are Mainstream?

mainstream gaming laptop

These games strike a balance between graphics and performance. They’re popular among many gamers and require a decent system to run smoothly.

Popular Games:

  • Overwatch
  • Apex Legends
  • Fortnite

Laptop Recommendations:

  • Acer Predator Helios 300
  • Lenovo Legion Y540
  • HP Omen 15

Mainstream gaming represents a sweet spot in the gaming spectrum, catering to a broad audience with titles that offer richer graphics, more complex mechanics, and immersive storylines compared to casual games. While these games are more demanding, they don’t require the absolute top-of-the-line hardware, making them accessible to a wider audience.

  • Acer Predator Helios 300: A favorite in the gaming community, the Helios 300 offers a solid performance with its Intel Core processors and NVIDIA GTX or RTX graphics, ensuring a smooth experience for mainstream titles.
  • Lenovo Legion Y540: Part of Lenovo’s dedicated gaming line, the Y540 boasts a sleek design without compromising on performance. With its combination of Intel processors and NVIDIA graphics, it’s well-equipped to handle games like Overwatch and Apex Legends.
  • HP Omen 15: A blend of style and power, the Omen 15 is HP’s answer to mainstream gaming needs. Equipped with powerful processors and graphics options, it ensures that players can dive deep into their favorite titles without a hitch.

Can Laptops Play Games That Are High End?

high end gaming laptop

For the serious gamers who want to experience games with high-resolution graphics and fast performance.

Popular Games:

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Laptop Recommendations:

  • ASUS ROG Strix G15
  • Razer Blade 15
  • Lenovo Legion Slim 5

My laptop falls into this category, it’s not super powerful but it still is capable of playing certain games in the next tier such as Cyberpunk 2077. However, I do have to use moderate to high settings to get around 30FPS which is a struggle.

Even though I have the RTX 4060 in my laptop, it’s not as powerful as a desktop RTX 4060 version because those ones are larger, so keep that in mind when you are purchasing a laptop based of specifications. Don’t expect to get the same amount of performance as desktop components.

  • ASUS ROG Strix G15: A powerhouse in the gaming laptop world, the Strix G15 comes equipped with the latest Intel Core processors and NVIDIA RTX graphics. Its high-refresh-rate display ensures smooth gameplay, even in graphically intensive titles.
  • Razer Blade 15: Synonymous with premium gaming, the Razer Blade 15 offers a sleek design without compromising on power. With its high-end GPU options and efficient cooling system, it’s built to handle the demands of high-end titles.
  • Lenovo Legion Slim 5: A strong laptop able to handle most games, but will be pushed to it’s limit when playing the most graphic intensive modern games such as Cyberpunk. Expect to be in the 30FPS range and only on med-high settings on top tier games.

Can Laptops Play Games That Are Ultra Level?

These games push the boundaries of what’s possible in terms of graphics, realism, and immersion. Only the most powerful systems can handle them at their highest settings.

Popular Games:

  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator
  • Control

Laptop Recommendations:

  • Alienware Area-51m
  • ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15
  • Acer Predator Triton 900

Ultra gaming represents the pinnacle of the PC gaming experience. These games are not just about high-resolution graphics but also about the depth of immersion, realism, and the sheer scale of the worlds they present. They push every aspect of a system to its limits, demanding not only a powerful GPU but also ample RAM, fast storage, and a high-refresh-rate display.

  • Alienware Area-51m: Dubbed a “desktop in a laptop’s body,” the Area-51m is a beast. With desktop-grade components, including the latest Intel Core processors and NVIDIA RTX graphics, it’s designed to handle the most demanding titles with ease.
  • ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15: A unique offering with its dual-screen setup, the Zephyrus Duo 15 doesn’t skimp on power. Equipped with the latest GPUs and a high-refresh-rate primary display, it’s perfect for ultra gaming on the go.
  • Acer Predator Triton 900: A convertible gaming laptop with a rotating display, the Triton 900 is as versatile as it is powerful. With top-of-the-line specs and an innovative cooling system, it ensures that ultra games run without a hitch.

Can Laptops Play Games That Are Next-Gen Ready?

ultra gaming laptop

As the gaming industry evolves, so do the games. These are titles optimized for next-gen consoles and the most advanced PC rigs.

Popular Games:

  • Starfield
  • Hellblade II: Senua’s Saga (anticipated)
  • The Elder Scrolls VI (anticipated)

Laptop Recommendations:

  • Origin PC EON17-X
  • MSI GT76 Titan
  • Lenovo Legion 7i

As the gaming industry propels forward, so does the technology that drives it. Next-gen gaming is all about anticipating the future, ensuring that gamers are equipped to handle titles that are still on the horizon. These games are expected to redefine boundaries with even more realistic graphics, AI-driven narratives, and expansive, dynamic worlds that react to player choices in real-time.

  • Origin PC EON17-X: Customizability is at the heart of Origin PCs. The EON17-X can be equipped with desktop-grade components, ensuring it’s not just ready for current titles but also those that are yet to be released.
  • MSI GT76 Titan: As the name suggests, this laptop is a titan in the gaming world. With its powerful processors, top-tier GPUs, and ample cooling, it’s built to handle the future of gaming.
  • Lenovo Legion 7i: Lenovo’s flagship gaming laptop, the Legion 7i, boasts a sleek design without compromising on power. With its advanced thermal solutions and high-refresh-rate display, it’s geared towards those looking to future-proof their gaming setup.

Conclusion

You might have gotten your hands on a laptop through work or school and are now wondering if you can also use it for gaming use too. The answer is quite complex because it depends on the laptop specifications and also the minimum system requirements of the games you would like to play.

As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to play 90% of games with any gaming laptop, however only the best gaming laptops will be able to run the best games like cyberpunk 2077 at high settings.

Also, the newer the gaming laptop, the higher chance you are able to run next gen games because of the graphics card and CPU having the latest up-to-date technology.

With over 12 years of experience with laptops, Grayson Uppington has delved deep into the tech world, always learning and sharing. His top pick is the Lenovo Legion Slim 5, blending performance with style. Formerly a pro gamer in CS:GO, those tournaments sharpened his skills and heightened his appreciation for laptop potential.