Deciding on a beginners game development laptop.

Hello I am student who will be attending my local college to study game development, and I’m looking for advice on what type of laptop I should get. I’ve whittle down my choice of laptop to two choices both are fairly close in terms of price so it mainly just comes down to the specs and what I should go with.

First Option is a Lenovo Legion 7 model : with a AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX / 3.3 GHz CPU, a 32 GB DDR4 SDRAM RAM, a 1 TB SSD harddrive, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 with AMD Radeon Graphics (is that really good to have that Radeon Graphics?) , and comes with Windows 10 Pro 64-bit OS.

Second Option is an MSI GE66 Raider: comes with a Intel Core i7 10th Gen 10870H 2.20 GHz CPU, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPU with 8 GB GDDR6, 32 GB Memory 1 TB NVMe SSD, with 32 GB DDR4 3200 16 GB x 2 memory, and Windows 10 OS.

Both seem comparatively similar (I suppose it is worth noting the Lenovo is more expensive but that’s not a deal breaker.) and I’m fairly certain both reach system requirements to real UE4 I would just like feedback on which someone with experience or more insight feels is the superior and prevailing model that would do better lasting a few years. (and before anyone says yes I am aware that it would be better to get a full fledged PC but I need a laptop for easier transportation between home and classes.)

Both look overkill enough, min is a dedicated gpu with at least 4GB vram(especially if u handle 4k textures) and 16GB ram to multi task such using Krita and ue4 at same time.

For compilation and any cpu workload, dont go with too much cores(like over 16 with low freq). You would do more single threaded task in ue4 so less cores more freq

You could also look for a lower specs, laptop wont last that long as PC do.
In you live in a hot area, the keyboard and backplate tend to bend/expand after few years.
So you should consider going for an Aluminium chassis and an easy to repair laptop if you plan to use it on the long run.

In terms of vram both seem to have 8 GB and 32BG of ram so both seem capable.

In terms of cores both seem to have 8 which like a good middle ground on not to many and not to little, so if you say to go to big with cores I’ll remember that for future reference. Also could only confirm the Legion had Aluminum chassis, MSI was unclear and reviews were not specific just gave dimensions and weight.

In terms of specs yeah I could go with something lower and cheaper I did consider that when I say the prices but I’m looking for something not only for game making software, but for a few other creation tools along with it (Audacity, Visual Studio/Maya, even Krita) not saying I going to overload it with 8 different programs and video games but enough where I can work on it from my dorm or home. And yes I know a PC is ultimately the better option easily upgradable, easier to repair, etc… but for sake of dealing moving from my dorm to classroom to home (plus giving current world events that’s IF I can attend my classes or dorm) easy portability is just to important to me right now, I’m planning on this to last me a least about 4 if lucky 5 years then hopefully I’m in a position to get a workstation PC. So I’m looking for the best option that will gives me the most hardware and reliability for the programs I want to run.

1 Like

It may be also worth more detail to know actual model and Screen resolution and hertz. The Lenovo Legion 7 16ACHg6 model 82N6, and the MSI GE66 Raider 10UG-211 GE series model. Lenovo V-Sync Rate at Max Res is 165 hertz, and Native Resolution :2560 x 1600 The MSI resolution is 1920 x 1080, and could only find its refresh rate of 300hz . Screen size for the Lenovo is 16 ins with MSI at 15.6 ins.

I don’t think those laptops are overkill, for a couple of reasons:

  1. School takes longer than just a year
  2. Developing games, especially in modern engines, take a lot more resources than playing them
  3. School will hopefully require a number of different kinds of art and code and tooling

If anything, if you’re going to be building the higher-end sample projects that you can download for free from EPIC, they actually won’t build on a machine with 64 GB RAM – I had to upgrade to 128 GB to build them.

I don’t quite understand the term “an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 with AMD Radeon Graphics” – does this mean it has the built-in GPU from the Ryzen CPU, and also the discrete NVIDIA GPU? This might be interesting from a testing point of view, but the built-in graphcis cards are always too slow and use too much main memory to be anything to rely on in practice.

When it comes to laptops, the absolutely most important thing is how much RAM you can put in them, followed by how much hard disk space. 32 GB is, at this point, the bare minimum for Unreal Engine development, if you want to try the fancier/more modern tech. The difference in CPU doesn’t make THAT much different in a laptop, and the difference in GPU between a 3070 and 3080 doesn’t make THAT much difference in a laptop. Yes, benchmarks will come out slightly differently, and you can choose to pay attention to that if you want.

That being said, I’d go for the Ryzen-plus-3080 option. And, if at all possible, I’d jam 64 GB into the thing. Also, Windows Pro is nice, because you get Hyper-V support, which is like getting VMWare for free. You might not realize you want that right now, but as soon as you start looking at server-side development, it will be very helpful.

Then again, I’ve had terrible experience with Lenovo in the past, and they’ve shipped root kits in the BIOS of their systems not once, but TWICE. Then again, third time, no vendor is particularly good.

I heard good feedback on lenovo customer support in terms of repairing laptop and ye like jwatte pointed out MSI sure has better reputation.
Having higher refresh rate wont really help unless you wanna play competitive games.
Go for higher resolution and if it OLED that more reason to get the true colour during dev.

Not sure what kind of game learning you plan to do, but i recommend going for what ue4 actually recommend(like content example) or start from scratch.
From my own experience, these free content on epic store are for the most part not optimise, they can indeed put heavy stress on gpu/cpu and require lot ram.

Let say you made a project using a 1660 gpu with 60fps and 1080p, you are sure that it will run on the avg pc such as sharing your project to your friend.

Now if you want to keep it alive for 5yrs, first thing you should consider is the battery>screen>ssd.
Battery: charge btw 30-80%
New modern laptop has the option in bios to disconnect battery when in plug power, else removing the battery manually is sure annoying each time you wanna do some heavy load/gaming.

Screen: avoid let default max brightness

SSD: well just avoid doing useless copy paste, it easy to replace anyway.

I was looking for a laptop for level designing/building, basic coding (Unreal, C++), with 3d modeling (Maya/Blender), and possibly art and music (Krita, Adobe Products). I will also be using my laptop almost like its a desktop so battery life and sustainability will be important.

I left the links to models if you wanted take a closer look. As for what my projects will entail I just read the requirements for what programs like Ue4 unity godot and other game design programs looked at online and video recommendations for game designing laptops (makers/models) and went from there.

Lenovo Legion 7 16ACHg6 - 16" - Ryzen 9 5900HX - 32 GB RAM - 1 TB (2x) SSD - 82N6008AUS - Laptops & 2-in-1s - /// MSI GE66 Raider 10UH-210 - 15.6" 300 Hz - Intel Core i7-10870H - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU 16 GB GDDR6 - 32 GB Memory - 1 TB NVMe SSD - Windows 10 Home - Gaming Laptop -

I would take #1, the lenovo legion 7.