Let’s leave intros out of the way and get right into how to find the best laptop for Dota 2.
The truth is…
The old version of DotA 2 COULD run on ANY cheap laptop ….
However…the introduction of Reborn has upped the hardware requirements a bit.
Nothing major, they just set the bar a little higher.
If you want to play the game at the highest settings, the situation completely changes. You will need a decent dedicated GPU if you want to get stable framerates throughout a match. It becomes even more important when everyone is entangled in a group fight.
It is right there and then where you will experience framedrops if your graphics card cannot support “best looking settings”.
Recommended Hardware Requirements For Dota 2
Now I’m sure you browsed around reddit and everyone’s telling you that any machine should be enough for you to kick butt in the game.
That’s true…. If you are fine playing Dota 2 using the “fastest” rendering & settings.
But if we are talking about best looking or “ultra” graphics, it is bollocks you need I’d say a 4GB vRAM dedicated GPU for competitive gaming.
Dota 2 is the oldest MOBA out there so it’s not surprising people still undermine how hardware demanding it can be.
They’ve forgotten there’s been tons of updates since the first release and ever since Steam acquired the game engine, updates are always around the corner.
1. Low or Medium Settings: Integrated GPUs are fine. Just make sure they’re recent. The more recent the iGPU the closer it’s going to get to a dedicated GPU:
Integrated: Intel HD 520/620 Intel UHD are okay but old. AMD Radeon Vega 5/7 or Intel Xe are quite recent and as fast as entry-level dedicated GPUs.
2. Max settings ~+100fps: Grab ANY dedicated GPU, even old ones will do. Now if you’re paying +550 dollars for a laptop with a dedicated GPU , be sure to avoid the following:
Avoid: MX150,MX250,MX230,MX350, Radeon RX 555, 1050GTX (2GB , non Ti).
For the simple reason that modern integrated GPUs are cheaper (those in blue) and have as much power.
Grab instead either a 1050Ti or a 1650GTX. Do not go higher than a 4GB vRAM, this game is hardware demanding but it’s not Call of Duty!
Dota 2 is still very CPU bound because the engine was programmed way before LoL and that’s a time when high performance dedicated GPUs were not avialable.
1. Number of cores don’t matter even if Steam claims that it does.
2. Just focus on clock speed. In other words, get the CPU with the highest “number” next to the “GHz” prefix.
a) High clock speed CPUs are those from the Intel Core i3 or Core i5 family (8th-12th generation) and any of the Ryzen CPUs from any generation.
b) Low-performance CPUs are those non-Ryzen AMD CPUs and those Intel Core CPUs from the 7th generation and below.
4GB would’ve been okay a few years ago but now Windows 10 and Windows 11 take a lot of it so at least 8GB RAM.
No need for 16GB RAM unless you’re streaming.
FPS Wise you don’t have to get an SSD but it’s just going to make everything else faster. Virtually all modern laptops have one, it’s only an issue for those on a budget trying to grab something off of ebay. Check out my post on how to upgrade to an SSD if you have to get an HDD.
Virtually every laptop with a dedicated GPU will let you run the game at +80fps (at least) on MAXED OUT Settings.
So (if you have the budget) it may be wise to grab a 120Hz display instead of opting for higher-tier GPUs. The game will look insanely realistically smooth.
Top 5 Best Laptops for DotA 2
In these reviews I’m not going to restate specifications, they are listed there for you to see and compare.
Instead let us talk about the exact performance you can get out of each of these machines.
I’ll attach a youtube video of that model which I myself benchmarked (if available). If not, I’ll just post performance stats (framerates and settings) based on youtube benchmarks taken from other channels. I will also advice you not to grab laptops with higher specs than what’s listed next, they’re just wasted money the game will not use any more hardware than 8GB RAM + 4GB vRAM dGPU
1. Acer Nitro 5
Best Ryzen Laptop For Dota 2
Core i5 10300H
GeForce RTX 3050Ti 4GB vRAM
256GB PCIe SSD
15 ” 144Hz Full HD IPS
It may come to as a surprise if you know anything about the dedicated GPUs to see the 3050Ti, I’m sure you’re thinking that it’s kind of overkill for Dota 2.
I thought so too until I tested it out and apparently it isn’t, like I said before, Dota 2 with the latest updates has become more hardware demanding IF you want the best looking graphics.
Dota 2 BenchMarks: 3050Ti Laptop – Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3
GPU: 3050Ti RTX
I have not tested the Acer Nitro 5 especifically but I have tested the Lenovo Ideapad gaming 3 with the 3050Ti. You are welcomed to buy either.
Both have a 3050Ti with different CPUs so whether you get this Acer Nitro 5 or the Lenovo makes no difference. Just buy whichever is on stock because both are definitely cheap and run out of stock pretty quickly.
Anyways, both GPUs can run at 85W which is the maximum wattage of 3050Ti Laptops. if you check the lower left corner of the video, you’ll see the game , Dota 2, is FORCING the dedicated GPU to go full wattage on the highest epic settings.
Now it’s not necessary to have that many framerates at high settings so you are welcomed to “down-clock” the dedicated GPU to run at lower wattages.
Which brings me to my next point, the Acer Nitro 5 and the Lenovo Ideapad 3 both have several modes of GPU performance: Balance, Performance and OverClock.
The reason why I recommend the 3050Ti first over any 1650GTX is because once you set it to balance mode you can still get pretty high framerates on super high settings while keeping tempereatures safe which should make your laptop last for several years to come even if yo ugame all day.
RTX Mode For Dota 2: 3050Ti Has it!
Another reason why opt for an RTX 3050Ti is that the RTX mode can be enabled which changes the way animations look. Here’s a famous example of how Nidalee’s Spear looks when RTX mode is on.
You can go for other RTX Laptops like the 3060RTX and 3070RTX and so on. But I’d advice you to go for those IF you want to play the game at 1440p and 4k resolution only, otherwise it’s just wasted money, the framerates are already insanely high with the 3050Ti AND you’ve also got the option to see RTX Effects.
CPU: Core i5 10300H vs AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
The Acer Nitro 5 has a Core i5 10300H and the Lenovo Ideapad I have tested has a AMD Ryzen 5 5600H. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600H outperforms the Core i5 10300H according to CPU benchmarks and will help in some multi-core games too but as far as Dota 2 goes it is mostly single-threaded so the performance should be the same also because the dedicated GPU just overshadows any fps gains you may get from either.
What you can do though instead of worrying about which one of the two to pick is to dual-channel RAM which should increase fps on either set up. I have written a post on what this means and how to do it here: What is Dual-Channel RAM?
Display: 144Hz vs 120Hz
The reason why I recommend the Acer Nitro 5 over the Lenovo Ideapad 3 tested is the display, you’re getting a 144Hz display for nearly the same price of the Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3 (only 30 bucks more expensive) and I know how excited people get to see the 144 magic number be it for framerates or refrehs rates.
On the other hand, if you are looking to get better fps performance on OTHER games besides Dota 2 then I’d suggest you grab the Lenovo Idapad Gaming 3 as the AMD Ryzen 5 5600H outperforms the Core i5 10300H for games outside of Dota 2. It also has a high refresh rate display ~120Hz which should work out just as good as 144Hz (most people will notice no difference).
Alternatives & Prices
The average laptop with a 3050Ti sells for 750, the Lenovo Ideapad is currently on a deal (below 700 bucks) and the Acer Nitro is a little more expensive but has a 144Hz over the 120Hz display of the Ideapad.
Best Gaming Laptop For Dota 2
Core i5 10300H
GeForce GTX 1650 4GB vRAM
256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
15.6” 120Hz Full HD IPS
It may come to as a surprise if you know anything about the dedicated GPUs to see the 3050Ti, I’m sure you’re thinking that it’s kind of overkill for Dota 2. I’ve thought so too until I tested it out and apparently it isn’t, Dota 2 with the latest updates from Steam has become more hardware demanding IF you want pretty high graphics.
Dota 2 BenchMark – Core i5 + 1650GTX (Lenovo Ideapad L340)
GPU: 1650 GTX
The 1650GTX laptop tested above is the Lenovo L340. You should get the same performance out of ANY 1650GTX laptop however.
The 1650GTX in the Lenovo L340 will outperform most 1650GTX laptops though, not just on Dota 2 but for most games due to the fact that it does not have Optimus.
The laptop I have featured here has Optimus which reduces dedicated GPU performance by 15-20%, you can compare the benchmarks of any Core i5 + 1650GTX on youtube and see it for yourself.
CPU: Core i5 9300H vs Core i5 10300H
So Why Am I not featuring the Lenovo L340? Because people alwayas want something modern even if they have to give up some power, the laptop featured here has a Core i5 11300H but there dozens of alternatives at cheaper prices with slightly older CPUs you can check them down below. I’d say all Core i5 CPUs have the same performance for gaming purposes whether you get an 11th gen Core i5 or 10th gen Core i5 with lesser cores it all works out the same.
It really comes down to how the dedicated GPU behaves which the Lenovo L340 has on “turbo” mode due to the lack of Optimus.
If you want to increase CPU performance you may want to up RAM to 16GB and make it dual channel though, that will give you far more fps gains than just being picky on modern generation CPUs. I mean I understand so feel free to pick up the modern CPU and give up a few framerates.
Note I am not saying all older Core i5 CPUs will outperform the modern 1650GTX laptops with recent Core i5 CPUs, it’s just the Lenovo L340 as far as I am aware and any laptop that doesn’t have Optimus or a laptop that has MUX Switch with the exact same dedicated GPU.
Display: 120Hz vs 60Hz
Here’s another reason why you should give up the 11th gen Core i5 CPU. You will not find it under 700 dollars with a 120Hz display. Virtually every 1650GTX laptop that has a 11th gen Core i5 CPU is going to have a 60Hz display. So again it is up to you to choose the smoothness of a 120Hz display or the pretty sticker that says “11th gen Core i5” CPU.
Alternatives and Prices
Best Gaming Laptop For Dota 2
AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
GTX 1650 4GB vRAM
256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
15.6” 120Hz FHD IPS
The last high performance machine you should consider for this game is a 1650GTX laptop with the Ryzen 5 CPU. There’s no reason to go for higher-end GPUs like the 3060RTX or even the 1660Ti, those are definitely overkill so this will be the last high performane sort of expensive machine in this list.
Dota 2 BenchMark : Ryzen 5 + 1650GTX
This is the kind of 1650GTX you’ll find on every single 1650GTX laptop although it runs at full wattage it does have optimus and lacks a MUX switch. Notice how you get about 20 less framerates than the Lenovo L340 we’ve tested before.
Again the Lenovo L340 is sort of a rarity and you can see this by checking the stats on both videos, the Lenovo L340 does not have the integrated GPU inolved when running the game while the 1650GTX here and on every laptop will hence the Lenovo L340 will outperform most 1650GTX laptops.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600H or Ryzen 5 4600H
Anyways, there are reasons to choose a Ryzen 5 over any Core i5 even if it has a better 1650GTX. The AMD Ryzen 5 will on average have two more cores regardless of generations and better multi-core performance, although this doesn’t mean much for Dota 2 because it is mostly single-threaded. It does make a difference on several other games as you can double check on my youtube channel and compare framerates between a Core i5 and a Ryzen 5.
So my advice? if you’re buying this laptop for games outside of Dota 2 especially those that claim to be multi-core grab the Ryzen 5.
Most 1650GTX laptops with a Ryzen 5 will have a 120Hz display very very few will have a 60Hz so if you’re not getting a 120Hz you are being ripped off especially if you’re paying anywhere from 650-720 bucks. Just beware of that.
Below you can see several examples of this and you can also use the table below to look for alternatives if this runs out of stock or if the prices of those below have gone down.
Alternative & Prices
Best ASUS Laptop For Dota 2
AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
GTX 1650 4GB vRAM
256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
15.6” 120Hz FHD IPS
MX450 laptops like the ASUS ZenBook 14 are about 100 dollars cheaper than most 1650GTX laptops like the Lenovo Ideapad 3 but they’re still powerful to run the game at high settings as you can see in the benchmark below:
Dota 2 Benchmark : MX450 + Core i5 1135G7
I have to warn you though not all MX GPUs are created equal. I would only buy either the MX450 or the MX350, you see the other two : MX 250 & MX150, in fact any other dedicated GPU, that’s not the MX450 and the MX350 isn’t any more powerful than integrated GPUs found on recent Core i5 and Ryzen 5.
Thus unless you are paying around 450 dollars, such dedicated GPUs are not worth it because you might as well get integrated GPUs which are cheaper and will get you the same performance.
Not that there is no need to worry about MUX Switches or Wattages. All MX450s have the same set up: NO MUX Switch and they rull at full , albeit, low wattage (~30W).
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U vs Core i5 1135G7
You’ll find M450 laptops with either of these two CPUs. Out of the box they perform equally well for gaming. However, once you dual-channel RAM, the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U seems to have a slight edge over the Core i5 1135G7 though it is not very significant (5-10fps), this can mean a lot since the MX450 only allows you to hit 60 fps on Epic Settings.
Display: 60Hz FHD IPS
This laptop and every other laptop with a MX GPU has a 60Hz. All of them will have a FHD IPS so it’s not like you have to be careful when shopping for one. If you are playing Dota 2 on High setting with this laptop, you are not going to past 100fps anyways so you don’t need a 120Hz (not that here is any around this price) so stop looking for one.
I am attaching a few alternative links to more MX450 laptops, remember not to pay more than 550 bucks for one. Anything more and you’re getting close to 1650GTX prices.
5. Newest HP
Cheap Laptop For Dota 2
AMD Ryzen 5 5500U
Radeon Vega RX 7
256GB SSD NVMe PCIe
This is the cheapest laptop on this list. It’s the absolute minimum I recommend people to buy for Dota 2. It should be around 450 dollars or so.
Now I would have LOVE to put those 350-400 dollar laptops with the Core i3 or Ryzen 3 but Dota 2 isn’t like it’s rival competitor ( whose name can’t be mentioned…LoL) , it is somewhat hardware demanding and you’re going to go below 60fps even below settings with such laptops. You can check out the benchmarks on youtube yourself, just type : Dota 2 Core i3 Or Ryzen on the search bar.
Dota 2 Benchmark : AMD Ryzen 5 5500U + RX Vega 7 – 1080p
Note that the game is still running at FHD, there is no need to compromise resolution either. If you do buy the Core i3 or Ryzen 3 models, you may have to settle with 720p to hit stable 50fps on low settings.
GPU: AMD Radeon Vega RX 7
That’s because AMD Ryzen 5 and Core i5 laptop (the recent ones) have integrated GPUs that are significantly more powerful than what you find on Core i3 or Ryzen 3 laptops. In fact, these two GPUs : RX Vega 7 for Ryzen and Intel Xe for the Intel Core i5 approach the performance of older MX GPUs with 2GB vRAM like we discussed in preceeding discussion.
For that to be the case you will have to up the RAM of this laptop or any laptop with an integrated GPU to something like 12GB or 16GB, the extra RAM will come in handy to the integrated GPU acting as “vRAM” thus it’s going to make it behave like a true 2GB vRAM dedicated GPU. This has not been done in the video I have attached above so you can expect at least 15fps extra framerates.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U vs Core i5 1135G7
If I have to choose between the two I’d just choose the cheapest one, both CPUs perform equally well for Dota 2 but I would consider the Ryzen 5 5500U because it’s going to be a bit more handy when multitasking , aka when running stuf in the background too, as it has two extra cores. It’s also more responsive when you dual-channel RAM , according to the benchmark tests I’ve carried out. Both the Core i5 and Ryzen 5 will benefit from dual channel though (you can see an extra 30fps! if you do it right so check out my post on Dual-Channel RAM) but you will get an extra 2 or 5 fps with the Ryzen 5s.
Display: FHD IPS
Buying laptops with integrated GPUs under 500 dollars is tricky becauses NOT all of them will have a FHD display, the IPS panel is just a fancy spec but the FHD display is a MUST for the game to even look decent so if you’re not buying this specific model perhaps because you are not located in the US remember to make sure it’s also got a FHD display so you can run Dota 2 in FHD which makes a BIG difference in the way the game looks and adds tons of extra colors to the animations.
Alternative and Prices
How to Buy Best Laptop for DotA 2
In this guide we are going to cover everything there’s to know about Dota 2 and its hardware usage. This is useful if you want to extract every bit of fps out of your budget.
This is also useful if you’re venturing into older laptops off of ebay (here you have to know what you’re buying so you don’t end up with something that’s totally useless ).
First, let us talk about the bare minimum official requirements.
They are written for desktops but translating them to laptops is easy:
- Dual Core processor 2.8GHz ~ This means any CPU made within the past 10 years basically.
- 4GB RAM ~ Not even useful for Windows 10 and much less useful for Windows 11 both taking at least 3.5GB.
- GTX NVIDIA GPU 930M ~ This is basically telling you to get a 1GB vRAM dGPU.
Those guidelines are pretty useless if you ask me and they’re just not accurate on so many points.
You see Steam assumes you’re all at least getting a laptop or computer made within the past 5 years for which , because of its low hardware usage, the game will run with no hiccups.
So they just list the bare minimum specs the game will launch and run since the chances of you actually going for a laptop with such low hardware are basically zero.
What if you get a laptop off of ebay with those specs?
Truth be told, you should be getting ~30FPS on low settings which isn’t bad at all.
The problem however is the RAM listed there, that’s just only going to get you 500MB left (after windows and background processes ) for the game to run and the chances of crashing are going to be pretty high when you’re entangled in a teamfight.
Dota 2 Laptop Requirements
The point is, you can ignore those recommendations and instead follow my advice here:
More specifically, this is because the game engine of DoTa 2 was developed way before we had access to the awesome 2GB vRAM GPUs (which came around 2010) we have today. LoL and the rest of the gang only became prominent after 2012 for which we already had a lot of 2GB vRAM GPUs market.
This means the code of DoTa 2 is meant to focus more on the CPU than the GPU.
How can you test this?
Well if you check around youtube, you’ll see fps gains of +20fps if you compare two laptops that have the exact same hardware except for a slightly faster (~100Mhz = 0.1GHz) CPU.
Any GPU that doesn’t have it’s own “vRAM” , is integrated.
Anything that says Intel HD is integrated or any Radeon GPU that doesn’t have the RX or Pro suffix.
Now integrated GPUs are plenty fast today so as long as you grab something modern you can get those 80fps (on medium settings).
Thus you must avoid the following:
I would only grab those in green if you’ve got no more than 250$ and want to get something off eBay.
If you’ve got something above 250$, you should instead opt for something like the following:
Blue GPUs: those are old but not very old (~2018 GPUs) but they’re definitely a lot better than Intel HD GPUs. You should pay no more than 300$ for laptops with these.
Pink GPUs: these are the latest and the most powerful as of 2022. Once you up that RAM to 8GB RAM or higher, (yes RAM not vRAM), they can perform just as good as entry level dedicated GPUs! I have another post on this!
Discrete Graphics Cards
The following are literally ALL the dedicated GPUs you’ll find on eBay, Alibaba or Amazon (ignoring 9th and 8th gen – aka older NVIDIA GPUs).
|RX 550||640||4GB||1287 – 1476||+950M|
|RX 560X||1024||4GB||1172 – 1275||1050GTX|
|RX 6700S||2304||10GB||1890||~3060RTX (Low power)|
Any discrete (dedicated) GPU with 2GB vRAM should let you play the game with at least 60fps on MAXIMUM Settings. Modern dedicated GPUs, especially those with 4GB vRAM, will hit 80 or even 150 fps.
Green GPUs: I would still avoid those in green (unless they’re cheaper than $500) because integrated GPUs like the Intel Xe or AMD Vega 7 will perform just as good if not better once you up RAM to +8GB RAM.
Blue GPUs: If we are talking about being comptitive, those with blue will do. They will all let you hit +60 fps (more around 80fps, 3050TI 1660 ~120fps) on maximum settings. If you lower down settings to med or low, you can get past 200fps.
Pink GPUs: This is as high as you want to go even for competitive purposes. Anything more is just useless for DoTa 2 alone (those in gray).
The MX150, MX250, MX230 and the 1050GTX can be considered relatively old so you should pay no more than $500 for each of these.
Now if you’re fine buying refurbished laptops off ebay witih dedicated GPUs, those will do too as long as they’re not:
Only the 960M, 970M, 950M and 980M are worth considering because the truth “integrated GPUs” like the Intel Xe or the AMD Radeon Vega 7.
DotA 2 uses roughly 2GB RAM.
Windows 10 (the latest updates) take ~3GB RAM.
Needless to say 4GB RAM is just not enough. You need at least 8GB RAM.
Now if you’re streaming, you want at least 8GB RAM but having a bit more (12GB-16GB RAM) will provide some headroom for everythiing else in the backgrund run without interrupting DoTa 2.
You can massively increase the performance of integrated GPUs by upping RAM beyond 8GB RAM, the extra RAM basically acts as “vRAM” turning your integrated GPU into a sort of “entry level” dedicated GPU with 2GB vRAM.
Now if you really want to squeeze every bit of framerates (which is definitely a must if you’re going for budget laptops that only have integrated GPUs), you can up your RAM to 16GB RAM and make it dual-channeled.
I have a whole post on what dual-channel RAM means and how to set it up on your laptop but it basically means having two RAM sticks of the same characteristics (size, brand, type, speed, etc). Doing this, somehow increases CPU “data-reading”efficiency thus improving gaming performance (more framerates).
Not an issue on every laptop released within the past few years. Windows 10 or 11 take ~40GB, Steam + Dota 2 ~20GB and if you like to save tons of replays ~5GB. Thus you’re looking at 65GB and most laptops have at least 128GB (even the cheap $350 laptops).
Speed: HDD vs SSD
SSD isn’t required to prevent the game from crashing. However, honestly, SSDs are far far better than HDDs and they can make an enormous difference in your computer’s overall performance which includes launching the game. Most laptops have SSDs today it’s only a concern if you’re buying refurbished budget laptops below $300. If you are be sure to do the upgrade later. I have another post on how to do the upgrade (check it out here).
IPS are not standard yet and there are a lot of “TN” displays on laptops even today. Either is fine unless you plan on doing some graphic design.
The game will look more “colorful” with IPS panels though but not by that much.
Virtually all gaming laptops will have IPS displays with FHD resolutions, it’s only a problem when you start looking at budget laptops.
Refresh Rates: 60 vs 120Hz
Because this is just a MOBA game and not FPS game , refresh rates don’t matter. Save yourself hundreds of bucks by steering away from laptops that have 120Hz or 144Hz although they are kind of unavoidable once you start looking at 3060RTX laptops.
If you’re getting a 120Hz display at a good price then by all means grab it, it’s not going to bump up your gaming but it will make everything look really cool.
- I am physicist and electrical engineer. My knowledge in computer software and hardware stems for my years spent doing research in optics and photonics devices and running simulations through various programming languages. My goal was to work for the quantum computing research team at IBM but Im now working with Astrophysical Simulations through Python. Most of the science related posts are written by me, the rest have different authors but I edited the final versions to fit the site's format.