The latest generation of gaming laptops are the most impressive of their kind ever made. They combine the performance and efficiency of cutting-edge components, with sleek designs, and battery-saving technologies that make them impressive on all fronts. There are a lot of them to pick from though, which is why it can help to narrow down your focus to just the best of the best. That’s exactly what the Micro Center Platinum Collection is designed to do. It cuts out the noise, sorts the wheat from the chaff, and helps you pick from some of the most capable laptops and desktop PCs of today, at some of the best prices.
One of the key tenets of the Platinum Collection is that it’s stocked with gaming PCs and gaming laptops from some of the most reliable brands. They not only make high-quality gaming systems, but high-performing ones, at a great value. That’s why HP is one of the few that make the grade.
Not only are some of the most popular and impressive PCs in the Platinum Collection HP made, but there are a number of Platinum Collection exclusives too. You won’t find these systems anywhere else, making them a real diamond among diamonds.
The HP Pavilion 15 15.6-inch gaming laptop is an excellent example of a Platinum Collection, entry-level gaming PC. It’s by no means a monster of a machine that will handle 4K gaming, but for esports players looking for high frame rate play, anyone who likes to play lighter weight indie games, or if you don’t mind playing slightly older AAA games at around 60 FPS, it’s a fantastic portable gaming system.
Under the hood, you’ll find an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, which is an extremely capable new-generation gaming processor. It has six cores, supports 12 threads, and a boost clock that can reach 4.2GHz under the right circumstances. It has heaps of multithreaded performance, helping it tear through modern games and even offers some basic productivity power if you like to do a little video editing, or heavy web browsing when you aren’t playing.
That’s paired up with an Nvidia GTX 1650 4GB mobile graphics chip, which is more than capable of delivering 100+ FPS in games like Overwatch, League of Legends, DotA 2, and well over 60 FPS in more intense games like Rocket League, or Doom Eternal. You can even enjoy stable 30-60 FPS in AAA like Far Cry 5, Witcher III, or Control – although you might need to turn down the Ultra settings to avoid stuttering at the more intense moments of gameplay.
Keeping those frames high is worth doing, though, as you can really take advantage of it with the high refresh rate display. It can support refresh rates all the way up to 144Hz, so if you can maintain the high frame rates, your games will look buttery smooth. That can also help make you a more competitive player in esports games, too, by reducing input lag and improving your response time.
Elsewhere the Pavilion 15 enjoys 8GB of RAM, and half a terabyte of SSD storage, so it boots fast and remains responsive even when you have a bunch of web browser tabs open. It also supports the latest wireless technologies, with both Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 available. These enable the fastest networking on supporting routers, and the best low-power wireless connection for all of your Bluetooth accessories, like headphones and game controllers.
If you have wired peripherals you want to hook up, you have the option of a trio of USB ports, one USB-C, two USB-A, and there’s also an Ethernet RJ45 port if you want the stability and performance of wired internet. Those looking to connect an external display for big-screen gaming can take advantage of the HDMI output, and there’s a headphone jack for wired headset connections.
Battery life on this laptop isn’t extensive, but it’s rated to last up to 10 hours of mixed usage at lower screen brightness and without keyboard backlighting. In gaming, you’re more likely to get around three hours, which is enough for a game on a short train ride, but you’ll want to keep the charger handy for longer sessions.
Overall the HP Pavilion is a very capable entry-level gaming laptop, offering good performance in an attractive chassis, with a good range of contemporary features and connection options, and at a price that is hotly competitive with other gaming laptops in its class.
It also comes pre-loaded with Windows 11 Home, making this is a forward-thinking laptop, ready for the next generation of gaming.
If you like to take your laptop to different locations to game, rather than gaming on the go, opting for a larger gaming laptop makes a lot of sense. It gives you a bigger screen to better enjoy your games’ visuals, and it often packs extra space for higher-end hardware, better heat dissipation, and a greater selection of ports. It suffers in portability with the added weight of the greater display and chassis, but that comes secondary to performance and practicality at these larger sizes.
The HP Omen 17 is a great example of that style of HP gaming laptop. It takes the Pavilion 15 base and cranks the components to 11, packing both an Intel Core i7 11800H CPU, and an Nvidia RTX 3060 6GB mobile GPU under the hood. The former is an eight-core, 16 thread processor, with the ability to turbo up to 4.6GHz as needed, giving it all the performance you need for modern AAA gaming, as well as helping to deliver blisteringly high frame rates in esports games.
As Nvidia so famously noted, frames win games, which is why the high-end Intel mobile CPU is paired up with such a capable new-generation graphics chip. The RTX 3060 is one of the most popular of its generation, delivering excellent raw gaming performance, whilst coming equipped with new generation RT and Tensor cores. They enable hardware-accelerated ray tracing and support for Nvidia’s deep learning super sampling (DLSS), respectively.
This laptop delivers a fantastic 1080p gaming experience, and with this combination of CPU and GPU, you can enjoy high frame rates in both esports and AAA games. Esports games will easily be able to take advantage of this laptop’s 144Hz, high refresh rate display, giving you a little competitive edge (especially if you engage Nvidia’s low latency mode), and with the RTX 3060, you can even enjoy high frame rates in a number of higher fidelity games. That’s especially true in games that support DLSS, where the card’s Tensor cores can help boost frame rates dramatically.
As an added bonus, if there are any games that you find this laptop can’t play as well as you like, it comes complete with a six month free, priority GeForce Now streaming service subscription, so you can stream the most demanding games straight from Nvidia’s cloud servers, for an even better-looking gaming experience, for no additional cost whatsoever.
Elsewhere inside this HP gaming laptop, you get 16GB of high-speed memory, meaning it’s just as fast as its 15” counterpart, but with double the space for expansive gaming libraries, so you aren’t restricted in what you download, either.
This gaming laptop enjoys support for both Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2, so you have all of the latest wireless connection options. Plus, it includes a Gigabit Ethernet port for a wired networking option, and a selection of USB-A ports, for connecting all of your wired accessories. Better yet, as an Intel gaming PC, it also has Thunderbolt 4 support on its lone USB-C port, so you can connect high-speed external drives, external displays, and other accessories to take full advantage of its massive 40 Gbps bandwidth.
Battery life in these kinds of big gaming laptops is never stellar, and it’s the same with the HP Omen 17. You can expect 2-3 hours of non-stop gaming before you have to reach for a charger, but you can extend that by lowering screen brightness and turning off the RGB keyboard backlighting if you need to make the most of a charge.
It’s a little on the heavy side, at over six pounds, but it looks absolutely gorgeous. With svelte lines, a clean, matt black paint job, thin bezels, and some classy keyboard design; This is a gaming laptop that stands out in a good way. It also comes pre-loaded with Windows 11 Pro, so it’s ready for the next few years of gaming, whatever they bring.
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