For all the urban planners and city builders out there, finding the best laptop for Cities Skylines 2 can mean the difference between creating a thriving metropolis or getting bogged down in lag and latency. This city-building game, sequel to the highly popular Cities Skylines, requires a laptop that can handle the complexity of simulating and rendering a bustling city, complete with dynamic weather, traffic patterns, and individual citizen AI.
I've spent countless hours in game, planning and perfecting my city layouts, wrestling with traffic congestion, and ensuring the happiness of my virtual citizens. From this, I've learned that having a laptop capable of smoothly running the game is crucial. You'll need a device with a powerful processor, plenty of RAM, and a capable graphics card to truly bring your cities to life.
My approach to finding the best laptop for Cities Skylines 2 involves a comprehensive review of an extensive laptop spreadsheet of recent releases. I compare specs and reviews (both professional and user-generated), taking into account the specific requirements that Cities Skylines 2 demands. I’ll also pay close attention to the game's recommended system requirements and the experiences shared by other players on forums like the Cities Skylines subreddit and Paradox Interactive community discussions. By considering these factors and different price ranges, I aim to help you find the perfect laptop to let your urban planning skills shine.
Powerhouse Processors for City-Building Bliss
What's new in the CPU market
The CPU market has seen some exciting developments recently, with major players like Apple, AMD, and Intel introducing new processors. Apple's ARM-based M1, M2, M2 Pro, and M2 Max system-on-chip modules have impressed with their exceptional single-core performance and battery life. AMD has also made significant strides, capturing 20% of the laptop CPU market with their 6th and 7th-generation Ryzen processors. Intel, on the other hand, has released their 13th-generation Core processors, but the 12th-generation Core CPUs still offer great value for those who don't require cutting-edge performance.
How Cities: Skylines uses the CPU
When it comes to gaming, the CPU plays a crucial role, especially in a game like Cities: Skylines 2. This simulation game relies heavily on the CPU for tasks like AI calculations, physics simulations, and managing the game world. A powerful CPU ensures smoother gameplay and faster load times, allowing you to create and manage your city without any hiccups.
Is it worth investing in a high-performance CPU?
If you're a serious gamer looking for a high-end gaming laptop, investing in a high-performance CPU is definitely worth considering. For Cities: Skylines 2, it's best to opt for a laptop with an H-series processor, such as an Intel 8th Gen "H" series or AMD Ryzen 9th Gen "Ryzen" H-series. These processors offer superior performance that can handle the demanding tasks required by the game. However, keep in mind that high-performance CPUs typically consume more power, which may result in reduced battery life.
The role of single-core performance and benchmarks in the processor selection process
When selecting a processor for gaming, it's important to consider single-core performance. Games like Cities: Skylines 2 often rely on single-core performance, meaning that a CPU with higher clock speeds and single-core performance will provide better gaming performance. To gauge the performance of different CPUs, you can refer to benchmark tests like Cinebench R20, which is a popular benchmark for evaluating CPU performance. By comparing the results of different CPUs in this benchmark, you can get a good idea of their relative performance levels.
Table of recommended processors for various budgets and laptop sizes
Below is a table listing recommended processors for different budgets and laptop sizes for playing Cities: Skylines 2. Please note that these recommendations are based on the current market and may change as new processors are released. It's always a good idea to check for the latest options before making a purchase.
|Minimum||i3-1115G4||Dell Inspiron 15 3000, Lenovo IdeaPad 3|
|Recommended||i5-1135G7||ASUS VivoBook 15, HP Pavilion 15|
|High-end||i7-11370H||MSI GS66 Stealth, Razer Blade 15|
In conclusion, when deciding on the right laptop processor for playing Cities: Skylines 2, consider the demands of the game, your budget, and your desired level of performance. While a high-performance CPU is ideal for an optimal gaming experience, budget-friendly options can still provide a satisfactory gameplay experience. Remember to research and compare different options to find the best processor that suits your needs.
Graphics Cards: Unleash Your Skylines
The State of the Graphics Card Market
As of September 2023, Nvidia continues to dominate the laptop GPU market with their latest releases. While the RTX 40 series cards are starting to hit the shelves, the majority of laptops still feature the previous generation RTX 30 series cards. It's worth noting that desktop GPUs have become more power-hungry, leading to a wider gap between notebook and desktop graphics card performance.
Why a Dedicated Graphics Card is Not Required for Cities: Skylines
Cities: Skylines is a popular city-building simulation game that can be played without a dedicated GPU. However, if you're aiming for high framerates or want to play at 4K resolution with maxed-out settings, a dedicated GPU will make a noticeable difference. Without a dedicated GPU, you may find it challenging to maintain smooth gameplay and avoid stuttering.
Interpreting GPU Benchmarks
To compare the performance of different GPUs for Cities: Skylines 2, I recommend using industry-standard benchmarks such as 3DMark. You can easily find these benchmarks online with a simple search. Additionally, other benchmarks like Unigine Heaven and Rise of the Tomb Raider (ROTTR) can provide a more comprehensive view of GPU performance when available.
How I Rank GPUs by Performance
When ranking GPUs based on their benchmark scores, it's important to consider both the overall performance and the price range. While top-notch graphics cards may offer impressive performance, they may not be necessary for playing Cities: Skylines 2. I recommend prioritizing a higher refresh rate panel for smoother gameplay, rather than solely focusing on GPU performance.
Recommended GPUs and Price Expectations
Here are my recommendations for different price ranges based on the expected performance in Cities: Skylines 2:
|Price Range||Recommended GPU|
|Minimum||GeForce GTX 1650|
|Recommended||GeForce RTX 3050|
|High-end||GeForce RTX 2060|
Please note that these recommendations are subject to change as new GPUs are released and prices fluctuate in the market. It's always a good idea to research and compare different options before making a final decision.
In conclusion, while a dedicated graphics card is not required for Cities: Skylines 2, it can significantly enhance your gaming experience, especially if you aim for high framerates or want to play at 4K resolution with maxed-out settings. Consider the recommended GPUs based on your budget and desired performance, and remember to prioritize a higher refresh rate panel for smoother gameplay.
RAM it Up: How Much is Enough for Cities Skylines 2?
What's changed in the past few years
In the world of gaming laptops, a lot has changed in terms of hardware specifications and performance. One significant change is the amount of RAM that comes preinstalled in mid-range and high-end laptops. While 8 GB used to be the standard not too long ago, most mid-range laptops now come with a minimum of 16 GB, and high-end laptops often offer 32 GB or more.
Additionally, with the advent of the latest generation Intel and AMD processors, support for DDR4 and DDR5 RAM has become more common. However, it's important to note that DDR5 RAM is still relatively new and comes at a higher price point compared to DDR4. It also requires some time to mature as a technology.
How much memory do you need for Cities: Skylines?
When it comes to deciding on the right laptop RAM for playing Cities: Skylines, the game itself doesn't require a substantial amount of memory. As such, if you're primarily using your laptop for playing Cities: Skylines, 16 GB should be plenty to handle the game without any issues.
However, if you're planning to play other games alongside Cities: Skylines or use resource-intensive applications, opting for 32 GB might be a better choice. This additional memory will allow you to multitask more efficiently and ensure smooth gameplay even when running multiple demanding programs simultaneously.
Is DDR5 worth it?
While DDR5 RAM offers some improvements in terms of performance, it's not a necessity for gaming laptops, especially when it comes to playing Cities: Skylines. In most cases, the CPU and GPU are the limiting factors when it comes to gaming performance, rather than the RAM speed.
However, if you're someone who always wants to have the best of the best and is willing to invest in the latest technologies, getting a laptop with DDR5 RAM could give you a slight performance boost. Just keep in mind that DDR5 RAM is currently more expensive and may have an impact on battery life due to higher power consumption.
Why I don't consider CL or frequency when choosing RAM
When it comes to gaming laptops, factors like CAS latency (CL) and frequency of the RAM are not as crucial as they are in desktop PCs. The reason behind this is that the CPU and GPU are the primary bottlenecks in gaming performance, rather than the RAM speed. Therefore, even if you have slightly slower RAM, it won't significantly impact your gaming experience on a laptop.
That said, if you're building a high-end gaming desktop where every fraction of a performance gain matters, then paying attention to CL and frequency can make a difference. But for laptops, it's not a deciding factor worth worrying too much about.
What to expect depending on your budget
Here are some recommendations based on different budget ranges for laptop RAM when considering playing Cities: Skylines:
Minimum: For those on a tight budget or who only plan on playing Cities: Skylines without any resource-intensive applications or multitasking, 8 GB of RAM should be the minimum requirement.
Recommended: If you want a smoother overall experience and have the flexibility to run other programs alongside Cities: Skylines, I would recommend going for 16 GB of RAM. This amount of memory will ensure that you have enough headroom for multitasking and running the game without any hiccups.
High-end: If you're a power user or someone who frequently runs multiple demanding applications simultaneously, including Cities: Skylines, opting for 32 GB of RAM will give you the peace of mind knowing that your laptop can handle anything you throw at it. This additional memory will allow for seamless multitasking and future-proof your laptop for years to come.
Remember, when considering RAM for Cities: Skylines, it's always a good idea to check the game's recommended system requirements as well as your intended usage beyond the game itself. By keeping these factors in mind, you can make an informed decision that strikes the right balance between performance and value for your specific needs.
Answers to Your Burning Questions
Q: What are the system requirements for Cities Skylines 2?
The system requirements for Cities Skylines 2 vary depending on your desired gameplay experience. Here are the minimum, medium, and maximum requirements:
- Minimum Requirements:
- Processor: Intel Core i3-1115G4 or equivalent
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Graphics: GeForce GTX 1650 or equivalent
- Medium Requirements:
- Processor: Intel Core i5-1135G7 or equivalent
- Memory: 16 GB RAM
- Graphics: GeForce RTX 3050 or equivalent
- Maximum Requirements:
- Processor: Intel Core i7-11370H or equivalent
- Memory: 32 GB RAM
- Graphics: GeForce RTX 2060 or equivalent
Can I play Cities Skylines 2 on a laptop?
Absolutely! Cities Skylines 2 is a highly enjoyable game on laptops. However, keep in mind that the game's performance will depend on the specifications of your laptop.
What laptop specs do I need to run Cities Skylines 2?
To run Cities Skylines 2 smoothly, you'll need a laptop with a processor that meets at least the minimum requirements, sufficient memory, and a dedicated graphics card. Check the requirements table above for specific details.
Best laptops for playing Cities Skylines 2?
Based on our recommendations, here are some great options for playing Cities Skylines 2:
- HP Victus 15: Priced at $880, this laptop provides excellent performance for its cost.
- ASUS TUF Dash F15: With a mid-range price of around $1600, this laptop offers a great balance between performance and affordability.
- ASUS ROG Strix G15: Priced at $750, this laptop is a budget-friendly option that can still handle Cities Skylines 2 with ease.
- ASUS ROG Strix Scar: If you're looking for top-of-the-line performance, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar is priced at $2050 and offers exceptional gaming capabilities.
- Lenovo Legion Pro 7i 16: Priced at $3390, this laptop is a beast when it comes to gaming performance.
- Dell XPS 17 9720: With a price tag of $5600, this laptop is a premium option for those who demand the best performance and quality.
Minimum requirements for running Cities Skylines 2 on a laptop?
To run Cities Skylines 2 on a laptop, you'll need a laptop with at least an Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card.
Recommended laptop specs for Cities Skylines 2?
For an optimal Cities Skylines 2 experience, we recommend a laptop with at least an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card. These specs will ensure smooth gameplay and enjoyable visuals.
Can I run Cities Skylines 2 with integrated graphics?
Unfortunately, integrated graphics are not recommended for running Cities Skylines 2. The game requires a dedicated graphics card, such as the GeForce GTX 1650 or better, to ensure smooth gameplay and proper rendering of graphics.
How much RAM do I need for Cities Skylines 2 on a laptop?
To run Cities Skylines 2 smoothly, we recommend having at least 8 GB of RAM. However, for an optimal experience, especially if you plan on using mods or running other applications simultaneously, it's best to have 16 GB of RAM or more.
Is a dedicated GPU necessary for Cities Skylines 2 on a laptop?
Yes, a dedicated GPU is necessary for playing Cities Skylines 2 on a laptop. Integrated graphics are not recommended as they may not provide sufficient performance for the game's requirements. We recommend a graphics card like the GeForce GTX 1650 or better for the best experience.
Are there any known laptop compatibility issues with Cities Skylines 2?
As of September 2023, there are no known widespread compatibility issues between laptops and Cities Skylines 2. However, it's always a good idea to ensure that your laptop's drivers and operating system are up to date to avoid any potential issues. Additionally, be sure to check the system requirements and compare them to your laptop's specifications to ensure compatibility.
6 Best Laptops for Cities Skylines 2
1.HP Victus 15The HP Victus 15 offers excellent gaming performance at an affordable price, but its battery life and design leave something to be desired.
- Excellent price
- Good gaming performance
- Can double as a work laptop
- Bad battery life
- Rather plain design
The HP Victus 15 is a budget gaming laptop that delivers impressive performance and value for its price. With its sturdy build, sharp display, and capable CPU and GPU, it handles graphically intense games and routine tasks with ease. However, its subpar battery life and plain design are drawbacks to consider.
- Delivers smooth gameplay at 1080p.
- Fast SSD.
- No variable refresh rate (VRR) to reduce screen tearing.
- Some performance loss on CPU under load.
2.ASUS TUF Dash F15ASUS TUF Dash F15: A powerful and affordable laptop for all-purpose/gaming needs.
- Lightweight and well-built
- Good inputs and IO
- FHD 300Hz and QHD screen options
- More powerful than previous generation
- Some quirks affecting everyday ergonomics
- Ports squeezed together on the left edge
- Be careful with the FHD 144Hz panel option
The ASUS TUF Dash F15 is a more powerful and affordable option in Asus's laptop lineup. With a lightweight and well-built design, good inputs and IO, and competitive pricing, it's a great choice for those on a lower budget. Just be mindful of the FHD 144Hz screen option and opt for the FHD 300Hz display if available.
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro 16
- Stylish and sleek form factor
- Gorgeous display
- Webcam quality is poor
- No biometrics
3.ASUS ROG Strix G15ASUS ROG Strix G15: Unleashing high performance with RTX 3070 and Ryzen 5000.
- High-performance CPU and GPU
- Good workmanship and design
- User-friendly maintenance
- Good display and input devices
- Skimpy connectivity
- Coil whine in certain situations
The ASUS ROG Strix G15 is a powerful gaming laptop equipped with an RTX 3000 GPU and a Ryzen 5000 CPU. With its high-performance components, good workmanship, and user-friendly maintenance, it delivers a superior gaming experience. However, its connectivity options are limited and it may experience coil whine in certain situations.
HP Envy 16
- Plenty of CPU and GPU power
- New 120Hz screen refresh rate
- Merely adequate base screen
- Optional OLED has fewer pixels than before
4.Lenovo Legion Pro 5Lenovo Legion Pro 5 offers good value for its mid-tier price, with strong performance and a solid build, but falls short in terms of battery life and speaker quality.
- Good build quality and design
- Good screen and IO
- Competent CPU with multiple GPU options
- Competitively priced
- No Thunderbolt or biometrics
- Hotspots during gaming
- Poor speakers
- So-so battery life
The Lenovo Legion Pro 5 is a well-built and competitively priced laptop with a good screen, inputs, and performance. However, it does have some drawbacks including hotspots during sustained loads, limited battery life, and lacking speakers.
Lenovo Legion Pro 5
- Strong performance for the price
- Quality build and port selection
- Display quality is just decent
- Battery life could be improved
5.Lenovo Legion Pro 7i 16Lenovo Legion Pro 7i 16: Impressive Performance in a Sleek Package
- Strong overall performance
- Big, bright, and fast display
- Per-key RGB lighting
- Some flex to keyboard deck
- Poor battery life
The Lenovo Legion Pro 7i 16 is a powerful gaming laptop with an i9-13900HX processor and RTX 4090 graphics card. It offers excellent performance at a slightly lower price point than its competitors, making it a great long-term investment for gamers. However, the GPU may have limitations that prevent it from reaching its full potential, and the keyboard deck has some flex.
HP Omen 17
- QHD display with 165 Hz
- Advanced Optimus
- Slightly below-average performance for a RTX
6.Dell XPS 17 9720Dell XPS 17 9720: A high-performing laptop with an excellent 4K display, but graphics performance and cooling could be improved.
- Excellent 4K display with AdobeRGB
- High-quality case
- Thunderbolt 4 PCIe 4.0
- Very high system performance
- Lower graphics performance than the predecessor
- Performance not completely stable under combined load
- Not Wi-Fi 6E compatible
- 720p webcam
The Dell XPS 17 9720 offers an excellent 4K display with AdobeRGB and a high-quality case. It boasts high system performance and features like Thunderbolt 4 and PCIe 4.0. However, the laptop suffers from lower graphics performance compared to its predecessor and has slightly weak cooling.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo
- Impressive thin and elegant design with dual displays
- Refined two-screen layout
- Awkward keyboard and touchpad layout
Table of the Best Laptops for Cities Skylines 2
|HP Victus 15||$880|
|ASUS TUF Dash F15||$1,160|
|ASUS ROG Strix G15||$1,750|
|Lenovo Legion Pro 5||$2,630|
|Lenovo Legion Pro 7i 16||$3,390|
|Dell XPS 17 9720||$5,600|