Game development, especially with Unity, can be a daunting task when you don't have the right laptop. The process can be tedious and long, requiring plenty of energy and lots of late nights. That's why I'm here to help find the perfect laptop for game development with Unity that won't break the bank.
This post is for everyone, from total beginners to seasoned veterans, who want to learn about Unity game development and need the best tools for the job. In this guide, I'll break down the necessary hardware for the Unity game development process, from the most basic hardware specs to the extras that can greatly improve your experience. I will also provide you with a list of laptop recommendations, tailored to the preferences of a beginner game developer, so you don't need to figure out which is best by yourself. So let's dive right in!
With the emergence of Apple's ARM-based M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max and M2 system-on-chip modules, and the 20% of the market AMD has managed to take with the 6th generation Ryzen processors, it can be hard to decide on the right processor for game development with Unity.
Intel's 13th-gen processors have yet to reach laptops and the latest from Intel is the 12th-generation chips that have adopted a hybrid performance/efficiency core design (based on big.LITTLE). If you need a good battery life in a PC laptop, then Ryzen models are best.
For MacBooks, the choice is easy – go for a MacBook Pro. For PCs, you'll need a fast CPU to compile your game and perform well-optimized code analysis. If you're using an integrated graphics chip (IGP), then I'd recommend going for an H-series processor since they tend to be more power-efficient than U-series processors.
When choosing a processor for your development machine, consider its clock speed and core count; these two factors are crucial when evaluating the overall performance of the processor. I use Cinebench R23 to compare laptop processors because it's a popular benchmark that measures single-core performance; however, if you're looking for a gaming laptop – I'd recommend using 3DMark benchmarks as they better reflect gaming performance.
Recommended Processors for Each Price Bracket
|Price Range||Recommended Processor|
|Budget ($200-400)||Intel i3-1115G4|
|Mid-Range ($400-700)||Intel i5-10310U|
|High-End ($700+)||Intel i7-1180G7|
In the laptop market, Nvidia continues to dominate the graphics card landscape. While Nvidia has recently released the RTX 40 series, these are not yet available on laptops (expected in 2023). The latest notebook cards are in the RTX 30 series, such as RTX 3070 Ti.
Desktop GPUs have become more power-hungry in recent years; the gap between power-limited laptop graphics and desktop graphics cards has widened. Furthermore, Nvidia has discontinued the Max-Q label for its RTX graphics cards, so an exact GPU wattage is determined by a laptop manufacturer (OEM). This unfortunately results in a wide variance in graphics performance even in laptops with the same GPU chipset.
While a CPU can be used to accelerate some tasks (such as physics or AI), most of the work in game development is done by the GPU. This is why it's important to invest in a good graphics card when developing games with Unity. Fortunately, you don't need to invest in an expensive one. Here, I've put together a list of recommended GPUs for game development, based on their 3DMark scores from desktop PCs with similar CPUs as found in many laptops today (i5/Ryzen 5).
Recommended GPUs for Game Development
|GeForce GTX 1650||5650||– Affordable
– Low power consumption
|– Low performance|
|GeForce RTX 3050||6133||– Low power consumption
– Decent performance
|– Moderately priced|
|GeForce RTX 2060||7000||– Great performance
– Ray tracing support
Keep in mind that if you're looking for a gaming laptop that's also suitable for work, you might want to consider investing in a high refresh rate display (144Hz or higher) and possibly an IPS panel instead of TN if you're working with colors or video editing.
When it comes to game development with Unity, the amount of RAM in your laptop matters. Most mid-range laptops come with 16 GB of RAM and high-end – 32 GB or more. Latest-gen Intel and AMD CPUs support DDR4 and DDR5, though DDR5 is still quite expensive and needs time to mature as a technology.
While you can get by with 8 GB of RAM, 16 GB is the sweet spot for most developers. 32 GB is only necessary if you're working on a large project with multiple scenes open at once. For gamers and other casual users, 8 GB is more than enough.
DDR5 vs. DDR4 – while it's not a make-or-break difference, it's nice to have the latest standard if you can afford it. If you're looking for an upgradeable laptop, make sure it has two SODIMM slots instead of one; that way, you can add more RAM down the line without having to replace the entire module (which is a pain).
Minimum RAM: 8 GB
Recommended RAM: 16 GB
High-end RAM: 32 GB
What laptop is best for game development with Unity?
That depends on your budget, as well as your desired level of performance. Generally speaking, you'll want at least a Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and a GeForce GTX 1650 or better graphics card. For more serious game development, you may want to consider a laptop with a Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a GeForce RTX 3050 or better graphics card.
What specs do I need for game development in Unity?
For basic game development in Unity, you'll want a laptop with at least 8GB RAM, a Core i3 processor, and a GeForce GTX 1650 or better graphics card. For more advanced game development, you'll want 16GB of RAM, a Core i5 processor, and a GeForce RTX 3050 or better graphics card.
Is AMD Ryzen 5 enough for game development?
AMD Ryzen 5 is a great processor for game development in Unity. However, for more intensive development you may want to consider a laptop with an Intel Core i7 processor.
What RAM do I need to develop games in Unity?
For basic game development in Unity, you'll want at least 8GB RAM. For more advanced game development, 16GB RAM is recommended.
What laptops are best for game development with Unity?
The best laptops for game development in Unity will depend on your budget and desired level of performance. At the lower end of the price range, we'd recommend the HP Victus 15t ($870) or the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 ($1,320). For mid-range laptops, the GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4 ($1,600) is a great option. For high-end gaming and development, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar ($2,310) or the ASUS ROG Strix Scar G733CX-XS97 ($3,800) are excellent choices. For those who are serious about game development, the MSI Titan GT77 12UHS-064 ($6,290) is a powerful machine with the latest components.
How to choose a laptop for game development with Unity?
When choosing a laptop for game development in Unity, there are several factors to consider. First, you'll want to make sure that the laptop has sufficient RAM (at least 8GB, preferably 16GB), a decent processor (at least an Intel Core i3), and a good graphics card (a GeForce GTX 1650 or better). Next, you'll want to consider the size and weight of the laptop, as well as the battery life and cooling system. Finally, consider your budget and select the laptop that best fits your needs.
What hardware is required for game development in Unity?
The hardware requirements for game development in Unity will depend on the level of performance you desire. At the minimum, you'll need at least an Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB RAM, and a GeForce GTX 1650 or better graphics card. For more serious game development, you'll want a laptop with at least a Core i5 processor, 16GB RAM, and a GeForce RTX 3050 or better graphics card.
Is Core i7 good enough for game development?
Yes, a Core i7 processor is more than sufficient for game development in Unity. However, for more intensive development tasks, you may want to consider a laptop with an Intel Core i9 processor.
What graphics card do I need for game development with Unity?
For basic game development in Unity, we'd recommend at least a GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card. For more advanced development tasks, we'd suggest a GeForce RTX 3050 or better graphics card.
What laptop processors can run Unity games?
The processor needed to run games in Unity will depend on the complexity of the game. For simple games, an Intel Core i3 processor should be more than sufficient. For more intensive games, we'd suggest at least an Intel Core i5 processor.
6 Best Laptops for Game development with Unity
1.HP Victus 15tHP Victus 15t is a budget-friendly laptop that offers decent gaming performance for Unity game development.
- Good gaming performance for its price
- Suitable for general tasks
- Plain design
- Poor battery life
HP Victus 15t is an affordable laptop that offers good gaming performance for Unity game development while also being suitable for general tasks. However, it has a plain design and poor battery life.
Lenovo Legion 5 17.3
- Decent gaming performance
- Reasonably quiet under load
- Short battery life
- Small touchpad
2.Lenovo Legion 5 ProLenovo Legion 5 Pro offers great performance for Unity game development with a high-quality display and easy serviceability, but the webcam and battery life are underwhelming.
- High-quality 165 Hz 16:10 IPS display
- Relatively easy serviceability
- Integrated numpad
- Very fast charging
- Low resolution webcam with no IR or privacy shutter
- Very warm CPUGPU temperatures when gaming
- Moderate-heavy uneven backlight bleeding
- Only average battery life
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro's latest refresh has upgraded the CPU and GPU for faster performance. It offers a high-quality 165 Hz 16:10 IPS display and relatively easy serviceability. However, the webcam has low resolution with no IR or privacy shutter, and the battery life is only average.
ASUS TUF F15 FX507ZM-ES74
- High-performance 140 W TGP GeForce RTX 3060
- 300 Hz IPS panel w full sRGB coverage
- Chassis base and lid can flex
- No per-key RGB lighting
3.GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4: A high-performance laptop with premium features for Unity game development.
- Highly responsive 165Hz panel
- PCIe 4.0 SSD and free M.2 2280 slot
- Individual key lighting and solid battery life
- Thunderbolt 4 and Power Delivery for faster data transfer and charging
- High power usage at idle and low load
- No card reader
- Only one USB-A port
The GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4 is a powerful laptop with high-end features including a 165Hz panel, PCIe 4.0 SSD, Thunderbolt 4, and Power Delivery, making it a great choice for Unity game development. However, it may not be the most energy-efficient laptop, and it lacks a card reader and only has one USB-A port.
ASUS ROG Strix G15 G513RM
- Fair design and solid build quality
- Good inputs and IO
- Some quirks affecting everyday ergonomics, but improvements over the Scars
- No ThunderboltUSB 4, card-reader,
4.ASUS ROG Strix ScarASUS ROG Strix Scar is a top performer for game development with Unity but comes with some limitations.
- Sturdy construction
- Fast Wi-Fi 6E
- Excellent response times and no PWM
- Wide color gamut coverage with Dolby Vision support
- Limited display angle
- No biometric login
- Heavy SSD throttling during continuous reads
- High heat and noise
The ASUS ROG Strix Scar is a high-end gaming laptop that boasts a powerful Core i9-12900H processor and RTX 3070 Ti graphics card, making it a top performer for game development with Unity. However, it has limited display angles, no biometric login, heavy SSD throttling, high heat and noise emissions under load, and a mediocre battery backup.
Acer Predator Triton 500
- High performance capabilities
- Excellent, bright 240-Hz display
- Soldered-in RAM
- Inaccessible SSD
5.ASUS ROG Strix Scar G733CX-XS97ASUS ROG Strix Scar G733CX-XS97 delivers top-notch gaming performance for Unity game development but suffers from minor SSD performance issues.
- Good QHD panel with 240 Hz
- High and stable gaming performance
- Extensive case illumination
- TB4, Wi-Fi 6E, and PCIe 4.0
- Inconsistent SSD performance
- Premium for HX CPU isnt worth it
The ASUS ROG Strix Scar G733CX-XS97 is a top-of-the-line gaming laptop that provides excellent gaming performance with its Core i9-12950HX and RTX 3080 Ti. Its 240 Hz QHD panel and extensive case illumination make it perfect for Unity game development. However, it has inconsistent SSD performance, and its premium HX CPU isn't worth the additional cost.
Eluktronics MECH 17 GP2 Liquid Cooled
- Excellent processor (i9-13900HX)
- Splendid graphics card (RTX 4090)
6.MSI Titan GT77MSI Titan GT77 is a powerful gaming laptop for Unity game development, but has some significant drawbacks.
- Top-of-the-line CPU and GPU performance
- Bright 4K display with good color coverage
- Cherry MX mechanical keyboard and large touchpad
- Four NVMe slots including one PCIe Gen5 slot
- Bulky, heavy, and expensive
- Poor webcam and SD card performance
- Buggy software and SSD throttling issues
- Loud under load and inconsistent power draws
MSI Titan GT77 with Core i9-12900HX and RTX 3080 Ti offers top-notch performance, 4K display, Cherry MX mechanical keyboard, and four NVMe slots. However, it is bulky, noisy, and expensive, and has poor webcam, buggy software, and SSD throttling issues.
Dell XPS 17 9720
- Excellent 4K display with AdobeRGB
- High-quality case
- Lower graphics performance than the predecessor
- Performance not completely stable under combined load
Table of the Best Laptops for Game development with Unity
|HP Victus 15t||$900|
|Lenovo Legion 5 Pro||$1,350|
|GIGABYTE AORUS 15 XE4||$1,600|
|ASUS ROG Strix Scar||$2,310|
|ASUS ROG Strix Scar G733CX-XS97||$3,800|
|MSI Titan GT77||$5,500|