Intros out of the way, let’s talk about what you need to know to get the best laptop for Dota 2 in 2021.
The truth is…
The old version of DotA 2 can run on pretty much any laptop ….
But the introduction of Reborn has changed these requirements a bit and we will set the bar a little higher.
So that you can get stable framerates throughout the entire match while at the same time avoiding those severe framedrops on team fights especially when everyone is popping up their abilities.
Recommended Hardware Requirements For Dota 2
I’m sure you browsed around reddit and everyone there is saying that you should be able to kick butt with any old machine blah blah blah…
Dota 2 is the oldest MOBA out there so it’s not surprising people still think the new editions only require bottom of the barrel laptops but remember that the introduction of reborn is not so old.
Anyways, here’s what you should keep in mind before buying a laptop or PC for Dota 2 :
The engine of Dota 2 was programmed way before LoL and that was way before dedicated GPUs were any useful so the game is still very CPU bound.
Number of cores don’t really matter even if Steam claims that it does.
Intel: at least Core i3 CPUs the 7th to 11th generation:
Ex: i3 1115G4, i3 10100U, i5 10210U, i5 1135G7, i5 9300H, i5 10300H, i5 11300H
AMD: Only ryzen CPUs
Ex: AMD Ryzen 3 4250U AMD Ryzen 5 5500U AMD Ryzen 4600H AMD Ryzen 5600H
1. If you don’t mind playing at low-medium settings, which GPU you get doesn’t really matter. Integrated GPUs will be okay as long as you grab something recent like:
Integrated: Intel HD 520/620 Intel UHD. AMD Radeon Vega 3/5/7. You can find these paired up with modern CPUs.
2. To play the game at high settings with +100 fps you just need ANY dedicated GPU, even old ones will do. I recommend no going further than these (or their equivalents), anything more is just useless for MOBAs.
Dedicated: MX150,MX250,MX230,MX350,MX450, 1050,1050Ti Radeon RX 555/540/560X*.
Same colors are equivalent in power.
4GB is OKAY. Dota 2 isn’t a RAM hog but 8GB is the sweet spot if you’re going to multitask a lot when you play the game.
SSD or HDDs don’t make a difference, FPS wise. SSDs will launch the game and start up Windows faster though.
There’s no doubt you’ll be hitting +60FPS if you get a dedicated GPU at medium settings.
The problem with the displays found laptops are their refresh rates which are mostly capped at 60Hz.
120Hz display will make the game twice as smooth.
Top 5 Best Laptops for DotA 2
In these reviews I’m not going to restate specifications and tell you all the sweet things about these models.
I’m just going to tell you the performance of these laptops in this game: what framerates, settings they’ll let you play with and will also mention anything else worth knowing.
Going for higher specs than the ones listed here is just wasted money. That’s not even an opinion, it’s a fact, the game does not use more than what we discussed.
So if you get the latest gaming rig for 3k, you’ll still get about the same framerates and you will still get framedrops in crazy team fights with 10 refresher orbs and a billion particles…no system can do anything about that.
Cheap Laptop For Dota 2021
AMD Ryzen 5 5500U
AMD Radeon 7
256GB SSD NVMe PCIe
The cheapest laptop with the latest budget CPUs you can play Dota 2 with.
The Ryzen 5 5500U is actually a bit too overkill for the game but this model right here is selling for a very fair price if you compare it to its competitors.
If you go try to go for a generation older or two, you may find them cheaper but only at a few dozen dollar less, which isn’t worth the loss in power. Note that this little puppy already has 8GB of RAM.
That along with the CPU, should easily give you 100 fps at low-medium settings even with the lack of a dedicated GPU.
Don’t forget the FHD resolution display!
|HP Laptop 14”||Ryzen 5 5500U||8GB||Windows 10 HOME||523$|
|Lenovo Ideapad 17″||Ryzen 5 5500U||8GB||Windows 10 HOME||599$|
|Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15”+ Accesories||Ryzen 5 5500U||8GB||Windows 10 HOME||569$|
|Lenovo Ideapad 3 15”||Ryzen 3 5500U||8GB||Windows 10 HOME||518$|
2. Acer Aspire
Best Laptop For Dota 2 under 400
4GB RAM DDR4
AMD Radeon Vega 6
128 GB PCIe NVMe SSD
15” IPS full HD 1080p
I’m sure you checked out laptop’s number 1 price and quickly came to the conclusion “that’s too expensive for a laptop just for dota 2”.
Well it is relatively expensive if you compare it with this model, which is the cheapest modern laptop that can run games like dota 2.
In fact, this is not the only 350$ laptop out there. There are several others like this one:
|ASUS VivoBook 15||Ryzen 3 3200U||8GB||Windows 10 HOME||450$|
|HP 15.6″||Core i3 1005G1||4GB||Windows 10 S||424$|
|Lenovo IdeaPad 3||Core i3 1005G1||4-8GB||Windows 10 S||489$|
|Lenovo Ideapad 3||Ryzen 3 3250U||4GB||Windows 10 S||389$|
Windows 10 Home vs Windows 10 S:
Yes, indeed, they ALL have the hardware to run dota at 80FPS at low settings.
But there’s one big problem with these models: you can’t install the game unless you got yourself a copy of Windows 10 home or buy a license for about 139$. Most of the “cheap” laptops with great hardware come with Windows 10S and there’s no STEAM APP that will run Dota 2 using Windows 10 S.
Other alternatives to the Lenovo Ideapad 3:
If you think there’s a way you can “FIND” a license of Windows 10 home “SOMEWHERE”, you could in theory grab any of these 350-400$ laptops and play Dota 2 at low settings. However, look at the ASUS VivoBook 15 above, it’s 450$ and it’s got everything these other laptops do + a copy of windows 10 Home too, you might as welll save yourself the trouble and buy a laptop with a windows license on it from the start.
Best Gaming Laptop For Dota 2 – 120Hz
AMD Ryzen 5 4600H
8GB RAM DDR4
GTX 1650 4GB
256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
15.6 ” FHD IPS 120Hz
If you’re going to playing MOBA games exclusively and perhaps other similar AAA games with the same cartoonish graphics styles (LoL, Overwatch,WoW), you don’t need to go further than a mid-range laptop.
You will be able to hover around 100fps even at ultra settings with all settings checked.
There are tons of 1650GTX laptops, this one however is the best one in terms of price/quality control.
If you find it out of stock, check out these models.
|Lenovo Legion 5||Ryzen 5 5600H||1650GTX||120Hz||779$|
|HP Pavilion Gaming||Ryzen 5 5600H||1650GTX||60Hz||750$|
|HP Pavilion Gaming||Ryzen 5 5600H||1650GTX||60Hz||739$|
Best Gaming Laptop For Dota 2 – 10th gen Core i5
Core i5 10300H
GeForce GTX 1650
256GB PCIe SSD
15.6” 60Hz Full HD IPS
If you want an alternative to the Ryzen 5 CPU, you don’t necessarily have to go for more powerful hardware because getting past +100FPS at high settings is pretty useless in this game.
The vast majority of laptops with a GTX 1650 have a Core i5 10300H (which is slightly less powerful than the Ryzen 5 5600H) so you will definitely find at least on model ON STOCK and BELOW 750$.
|HP Pavilion||i5 9300H||1650||60Hz||728$|
|Lenovo L340||i5 9300H||1650||60Hz||750$|
|HP Pavilion||i5 9300H||1650||60Hz||719$|
|Evo Gaming||i5 10300H||1650||60Hz||729$|
|HP Pavilion||i5 9300H||1650||60Hz||686$|
|MSI HD Gaming||i5 10300H||1650||60Hz||716$|
|Lenovo Ideapad||i5 9300H||1650||60Hz||755$|
|HP Pavilion||i5 9300H||1650GTX||120Hz||737$|
Remember not to pay more than 750$ for a 1650GTX laptop!
Not only is the Lenovo Ideapad Gaming and this EVO Gaming selling for below 750$ but these also come with a 120Hz display which is going to make the game look x2 smoother.
Yes, we are not choosing random laptops here only the best deals with the best specs for our audience.
5. Acer Nitro 5
“Beast” Gaming Laptop For Dota 2
Core i5 10300H
GeForce RTX 3050Ti
256GB PCIe SSD
15 ” 144Hz Full HD IPS
This laptop’s GPU is overkill for Dota 2. The 3050Ti is as powerful as the 2060RTX, which is what you use for super graphically demanding games like CoD. Basically, it’s like using a space shuttle to buy groceries.
Although it’s far too much power for the game itself, it will become useful as you step out of comfort zone and start playing around with other Steam games that are more GPU intensive (Sims 4, GTA).
The main reason why I posted it here is the price, it’s something that you just can’t miss before you pull the trigger for your gaming laptop.
How to Buy Best Laptop for DotA 2
I’m writing this guide in case you are from the Philippines Malasya or just can’t buy a laptop online from Amazon.
First, you should start out by checking the minimum official requirements.
They are meant for desktops, if you do the conversion to laptop specs:
- Dual Core processor 2.8GHz
- 4GB RAM
- GTX NVIDIA GPU 930M and above
It’s obvious that the The minimum requirements are more hardware than laptops you can find under 500$ mainly due to the GPU (video card). All modern laptops below 500 bucks have more RAM and higher Clock frequency ~3.5GHz.
What if I get those same specs on an old rig?
You’ll be getting ~60FPS at medium settings with no frame dips! Which is not bad!
But if you can tolerate the game at low settings, you can ditch the GPU and as long as you satisfy the CPU/RAM requirements you’ll also be getting 60fps (with framedrops though).
For 60fps at higher settings you’re going to invest a lil more.
Let’s get into more detail so oyou can get the best bang for your buck.
Dota 2 Laptop Requirements
Although LoL and Dota 2 are CPU bound, DotA 2 relies a bit more on the CPU than on the GPU.
This is most likely because the game engine behind LoL was developed around the time we all had access to decent video cards. Dota 2 was made way before LoL so the main code was meant to rely more on the CPU.
How do I know this?
I’ve seen increases of +20fps even though both laptops have the same integrateds cards but one had a tiny bit more clock frequency (~.1GHz) CPUs.
What are integrated cards? Any GPU that doesn’t have it’s own “vRAM”.
Something along the lines of:
An Intel HD 400/4400: these are too old but they can still give you 30fps at the lowest settings.
An Intel HD 520 or Intel HD 620: The max framerates you’ll be getting is 50-60 but this will fluctuate a lot depending on the CPU you get paired with it.
25-35FPS with a 2.5GHz CPU
50-60FPS with a 3-3.5GHz CPU.
Worst case scenario you can play the game with 25FPS with all settings set to minimum.
Intel Iris Cards will set the bar a bit higher. With a CPU leaning towards GREEN, you’ll get 70-80FPS at low settings.
But these cards are only found on Old MacBook Pros/Recent MacBook Airs and a few ultra-lightweight Windows Laptops with the latest CPUs.
Discrete Graphics Cards
Any discrete GPU will open the door for high settings and in the worst of the worst cases medium settings. The fact that it has its own “RAM” makes a huge difference.
|2060 Super||2,176||8GB||1650 MHz|
|2080 Super||3072||8GB||1815 MHz|
|Radeon 610||320||2GB||1030||Intel UHD 620|
|Pro RX 555X||768||2GB||855||MX150/MX250|
|Radeon RX 550||640||4GB||1287 – 1476||+950M|
|Radeon RX 560X||1024||4GB||1172 – 1275||1050GTX|
|RX5500M||1408||8GB||1327 – 1645||~1660Ti|
You need a low-end entry level GPU: In the past they used to be the 930M,940M,950M but now they’re obselete and the equivalents are the MX150,MX250,Radeon Pro 540,550,555X.*
This will let you play the game with 70-100FPS at 1080p. If for some reason, you like a model with these GPUs but with a crazy CPU, you’ll be able to play the game at high settings with 70-100FPS too.
*MX150 is a cheap but recent low end card with ~30% better performance than 940M.
High Settings, no frame drips, Solid FPS
Anything with the performance of the 960M GTX.
For modern GPU that would be any of the Blue GPUs.
Purple GPUs are overkill for Dota 2.
Now you know why. Old machines aren’t necessarily worse than new machines.
Old GPUs can outperform modern GPUs in some cases and this is even more obvious on desktops where you have something like a 670GTX outperforming a 1050M.
And well as long as they have a single high clock speed, Old rigs can outdo new rigs with tons of cores but less clock speeds.
DotA 2 uses roughly 2GB RAM.
Windows 10 uses 1-2GB RAM.
So as long a you don’t have any other heavy programs running in the background, 4GB RAM will be OK.
I’d recommend having 8GB though. It’s standard these days and you’ll probably have a lot bloatware and other stuff running in the background.
Having 8GB also gives you the chance to grab a DDR4 stick and make it dual channeled. Dual Channeled means having two ram sticks to make it 8GB: x2 4GB RAM instead of 1 big 8GB RAM stick. Dual channel RAM increases the speed at which your CPU can read data which means far more framerates.
You don’t really need to look at the storage capacity. At the most you’ll be taking 25GB.
Dota 2 = 8GB, Steam ~12GB, replays ~5GB.
HDD vs SSD
Some people would swear for SSDs ( I know the editor of this site does). He actually told it’s the best invention since the wheel because it makes every game or program in your system load faster and make your laptop snappy all around.
That might be true for some games and apps but it isn’t the case for Dota 2. Doat 2 loads quite fast already and we have to wait for other players to load the game before we all start playign so there’s almost no advantage of getting an SSD.
It might be helpful for quick reconnects if you find yourself getting disconnected a lot.
SSDs are found virtually on all laptops today though but if you find an SATA III SSD or a 7200RPM HDD on a laptop for some reason, it will be okay!
We are in 2021. I think every laptop should have a FHD resolution even if it’s a low-end cheap laptop that costs ~300$. You should make sure yours have one otherwise the game isn’t going to look as nice.
IPS are not standard yet and there are a lot of “TN” displays on laptops even today.
IPS panels will make explosions of ULTS and fights more colorful and prettier but getting a TN display is not like having a black/white screen, you’ll still be good.
These days it’s all about refresh rates. If your laptop is limited to 60Hz , it’s pretty useless to get 100FPS because you’ll only be able to see 60FPS on your screen.
Having higher FPS than your display’s refresh rates will still make the game feel and look smoother though but not as smooth as having a display with high refresh rates.
Make sure you also double check a laptop’s refresh rates because manufacturers don’t list that all the time on the specs section. Some sneaky models may have the latest GPU that can output 500FPS at high settings and only have 120Hz or even 60Hz, watch out for that.