Help Me, Laptop: Should I Upgrade CPU or GPU for Gaming?

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When people ask me what specs their laptops should have (and they ask a lot), I don't blame them. All of the combinations are confusing, especially if you don't know what some of the numbers mean. Reader tavisprods has two similar configurations and wants to know which is better for a combination of gaming and app development.


Tavisprods is looking at a Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming with either an Intel Core i7-7700HQ and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB) graphics, or a Core i5-7300HQ with GTX 1060 (6GB) graphics. I can't find both of those versions currently for sale, so I can't go based on pricing — but it may be available where they live.

MORE: Which Laptop CPU is Right for You?

Since travisprods is considering both of these, we're going to assume they can easily afford either. So that leaves the specs. Because they're looking to play video games, they should go with the better GPU in this case. While the CPU does matter, most games these days rely much more heavily on the GPU, and the 1060 is a marked improvement over the 1050 Ti. The 1060 can even allow for entry-level VR.

We've performed tests comparing the GTX 1050, 1050 Ti and 1060, so you can see just how much more performance you get out of the more powerful chip.

For coding, you may actually want to focus more on how much RAM you have. There is a performance difference between a Core i5 and a Core i7, but if you're running a virtual machine, that will eat up memory.

So go for the configuration with the GTX 1060, enjoy those midlevel graphics and entry-level VR, and know that it will last you a few years before you have to get a brand-new machine.

Credit: Laptop Mag

Author Bio
Andrew E. Freedman
Andrew E. Freedman,
Andrew joined Laptopmag.com in 2015, reviewing computers and keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter @FreedmanAE.
Andrew E. Freedman, on
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