Which laptops for Minecraft are best?
Since its release in 2009 as a simple 3D building block game, Minecraft has grown substantially in popularity and complexity. It’s now available across multiple platforms, including the Xbox, Nintendo Switch and the personal computer.
At its core, Minecraft as a game is not very demanding when it comes to graphics and space requirements. However, plenty of modified versions of the game exist that require a more powerful system with better graphics than before. To play the game at its best with all the possible shaders and mods, you may need a powerful machine like the ASUS 2021 Flagship TUF A15 Gaming Laptop.
What to know before you buy a laptop for Minecraft
Most laptops have a screen size ranging from 14 to 17 inches. Although it’s possible to play Minecraft on nearly any size screen, the game looks its best on a Full HD (1080p) screen that’s at least 15.6 inches. Smaller screens may result in unnecessary eye strain, while lower resolution may diminish the quality of the image.
That said, Minecraft is a pixelated game, so it can also be played on 720p. There isn’t a lot of noticeable difference between 1080p and 720p, but the former offers slightly smoother and clearer images than the latter. This is especially helpful for those playing with shaders or who want to see the game in greater detail.
Many laptops run hot when running intensive games or software. Minecraft doesn’t usually cause overheating, which makes it ideal for laptops. However, the game does use a lot of CPU and RAM. For those who have complex builds in the game or who run the game on higher settings, overheating or thermal throttling could occur.
Thermal throttling is basically a safeguard built into all laptops and desktops where the system reduces its own performance to help mitigate the heat. For laptops, heating is particularly an issue given their smaller fans and their overall form factor. One way to solve this is to consider elevating the laptop or purchasing a cooling pad.
Game settings and modifications
Most of Minecraft’s settings are customizable, but running the game on its higher settings does draw on a lot of power from the laptop. To play Minecraft on an entry-level laptop with a weaker processor, you’ll need to decrease things like render distance, graphics VSync and Video Settings in the game itself to improve performance.
But if you want to play Minecraft on its highest settings or if you enjoy playing with mods, you’ll need a more powerful laptop capable of handling it. For some people, especially those who stream Minecraft, a desktop may be a better option since even a midrange desktop should be enough to play the game.
What to look for in a quality laptop for Minecraft
GPU or graphics card
Laptops have either an integrated graphics card or a dedicated graphics card.
Integrated: These graphics cards are integrated with the same chip that has the laptop’s CPU. Integrated graphics cards usually offer less graphical output than dedicated ones. For Minecraft, unless it’s modified, an integrated graphics card should be sufficient.
Dedicated: Dedicated, or discrete, graphics cards are separate from the CPU. They perform all the graphic work themselves, rather than share a space with the CPU. With a modern dedicated graphics card, a laptop can run most computer games at their maximum graphics settings with ease. Unlike an integrated graphics card, this option allows the computer to run special effects and beautiful textures, as well as render the game at greater distances. The downside is that these graphics cards usually run hotter when displaying graphics-heavy games. Consider a dedicated graphics card if you’re playing with powerful shaders or mods, since they completely overhaul the original graphics of the game.
The two main companies that make graphics cards are NVIDIA and AMD. The recommended system requirements for Minecraft in its base form, without any modifications, is the NVIDIA Geforce 700 Series or AMD Radeon Rx 200 series.
The CPU, or central processing unit, is required to run any program on a computer. It’s what allows games like Minecraft to run at optimal levels. To play Minecraft Java Edition, the recommended minimum CPU is an Intel i5-4690 or an AMD A10-7800 APU. If you have a lot of complex builds, Redstone contraptions or mods running, you may need a better processor or one from the latest generation.
RAM, or random-access memory, is also an important consideration when purchasing a laptop for Minecraft or any other game. Most modern games require 8GB RAM at minimum, though many higher-end laptops now offer 16GB.
For Minecraft, the recommended amount of RAM is 8GB. However, more RAM can be useful for those who stream the game or have multiple applications going at the same time while playing.
Refresh rate and FPS
Minecraft is a moderately fast-paced game where good reaction time is important if you want to survive. Vanilla (unmodded) Minecraft normally runs at a high FPS (frames per second), so you need a laptop that has a minimum refresh rate of 60Hz.
The refresh rate is specifically tied to your screen. If the screen runs at 60Hz, that means it’s only capable of showing 60 frames per second. 60 FPS is enough for most people to play the game without any problems. However, the higher the FPS, the faster the game can run.
Different laptop screens offer different refresh rates, but the standard options are 60Hz, 144Hz and 240Hz. Typically, the higher the refresh rate, the more expensive the screen.
The FPS of a laptop is limited by the refresh rate. In other words, even if a game could run at a higher FPS, it won’t go higher than the refresh rate.
How much you can expect to spend on a laptop for Minecraft
Entry-level laptops that can run Minecraft at its minimum settings cost between $600-$800. For better graphics or some modifications or shaders, look for a midrange laptop that costs between $1,100-$1,400. Higher-end machines, such as those by MSI or Alienware, with dedicated graphics cards may cost $2,000 or more.
Laptops for Minecraft FAQ
How much storage space does Minecraft need on a laptop?
A. Vanilla Minecraft only requires around 2GB storage space. Heavily modded Minecraft may take up around 8GB of disk space though. For faster load times, save the game to a Solid-State Drive (SSD).
What else should I consider when purchasing a laptop for Minecraft?
A. When playing Minecraft on a laptop, it’s advisable to have a wired mouse. The trackpad on some laptops may lag, which could ruin gameplay or cause character death. Also, consider getting an elevated cooling pad to keep your laptop from overheating. Cooling pads plug directly into a laptop and help prevent thermal throttling while playing the game. They may also provide a slight performance boost, depending on the laptop. Another optional accessory is an external hard drive, since this can help save space on the laptop itself.
What’s the best laptop for Minecraft to buy?
Top laptop for Minecraft
What you need to know: With a 15.6-inch screen, dedicated NVIDIA graphics card and plenty of storage space, this top-of-the-line laptop stands apart as a gaming laptop.
What you’ll love: Made with structurally sound components, this laptop has 16GB RAM, a powerful GTX 1660 graphics card and Full HD resolution. This machine can run Minecraft with mods, as well as other modern computer games.
What you should consider: The keyboard may take some getting used to, because some of the keys are combined with other keys.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top laptop for Minecraft for the money
What you need to know: This budget-friendly laptop is great for casual Minecrafters who still need a powerful processor.
What you’ll love: With 8GB RAM and 256GB Solid State Drive, this machine allows for fast startup and load times when playing Minecraft. It also has a 15.6-inch Full HD screen and LED-backlit display for clearer resolution. Plus, it offers up to nine hours of battery life.
What you should consider: The glossy display can cause eye strain after several hours’ gameplay.
Where to buy: Sold by Acer (with 16GB RAM)
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This beast of a laptop is perfect for gamers who want to play Minecraft at its most optimal settings and use shaders, mods and even stream or record their gaming sessions.
What you’ll love: The RTX 3060 by NVIDIA offers amazing graphics when using shaders. With an i7 10th-generation processor, this machine is powerful enough for even the most complex Minecraft worlds. Plus, with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD, it won’t be necessary to upgrade this machine anytime soon.
What you should consider: Like other Alienware laptops, this one is on the more expensive side. The battery life is also relatively short.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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