5 Best Laptops For DotA 2 in 2020 (Competitive Gaming w/ High FPS)

Intros out of the way, let’s talk about what you need to know to get the best laptop for Dota 2 in 2020.

The truth is…

The old version of DotA 2 could run on pretty much any laptop ….

However the introduction of Reborn has changed these requirements a bit.

Nothing complex really, we’re just going to set the bar a lil’ higher.

So that you can get stable framerates throughout an entire match and avoid those severe framedrops on team fights when everyone is popping up their abilities simultanously.

Recommended Hardware Requirements For Dota 2

I’m sure you checked on reddit and everyone’s saying that you should be able to kick butt with old machines blah blah blah…

That’s not true though, 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 rigs.

So here’s what you should keep in mind before buying a laptop or PC for Dota 2 :

CPU

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. 

And number of cores doesn’t really matter even if Steam claims that it does. 

Get the CPU with the highest clock speed you can afford. Anything above 3.5GHz is good.

Intel: something like a Core i3 from the 7th to 10th. i3 8130U i3 8145U  i3 10100U  i5 8265U i5 8300H
AMD: Anything that says Ryzen. Ex: AMD Ryzen 3 3300U AMD Ryzen 5 3500U AMD Ryzen 5 3550H

GPU

GPUs have almost no impact on the game if you don’t mind playing at low-medium settings but you should definitely grab a recent Intel HD or AMD Radeon “integrated GPU” if you want play the game free of lag:

Integrated: Intel HD 520/620. AMD Radeon Vega 3/5/7.

To play the game at high settings with +100 fps you just need any dedicated GPU, even old ones will do but you won’t find them today so get modern ones like:

Dedicated: MX150,MX250,MX230,MX350,1050,Radeon RX 555/540/560X*

Same colors are equivalent in power.

RAM
4GB is OKAY. Dota 2 isn’t a RAM hog but 8GB is the sweet spot if you’re going to multitask a lot.

Storage
SSD or HDDs don’t make a difference. SSDs will launch the game and start up Windows faster though.

Display
There’s no question that you’ll be hitting +60FPS if you get a dedicated GPU at medium settings.

The problem with laptop displays are their refresh rates they’re mostly capped at 60Hz. If you somehow find a 120Hz display, it will make the game look far smoother but it won’t affect your gaming aka it’s not necessary to play like FY just aesthetics.

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 laptops. I’m just going to be brutally honest on what these laptops can do for you: what framerates, settings they’ll let you play with and mention anything else worth knowing.

Getting anything with specs higher than these 5 laptops is just wasted money.

If you get the latest gaming rig for 3k, you’ll get the same framerates and you will still get framedrops in a crazy team fight with 10 refresher orbs and a billion particles…no system out there will save you from that. 


1. 2020 Newest Acer Aspire 5
Cheap Laptop For Dota 2 2020

Best Laptop For Dota 2 - Acer Aspire 5

  AMD Ryzen 3 3200U

  8GB RAM DDR4

   AMD Radeon Vega 3

  128GB SSD

  15” IPS full HD 1080p

  5.3lb

  8 hours

The cheapest laptop you can play Dota 2 with. Now because the game isn’t graphically demanding, lowering the settings to the bare minimum makes a huge difference in framerates and you’ll easily be hitting 70FPS with this little beast.

By cheapest I don’t mean this is a bad laptop though, it’s actually one of the best selling on Amazon. You’re getting 2019-2020 hardware components , the full HD IPS display and even 8GB RAM/PCIe NVMe so no need for upgrades.

If you find that expensive before you give up check out these ones too:

Link CPU RAM OS Price
ASUS ImagineBook Core M3-8100Y 4GB Windows 10S 349$
Acer Aspire 5 Ryzen 3 3200U 4GB Windows 10S 349$
Acer Aspire 5 Core i3 1005G1 4GB Windows 10S 399$
ASUS VivoBook 15  Ryzen 3 3200U 8GB Windows 10 HOME 450$
HP 15.6″ Core i3 1005G1 4GB Windows 10 HOME 424$
Lenovo IdeaPad 3  Ryzen 5 3500U  8GB Windows 10 HOME 449$

Note that those that say Windows 10S do not have the full version of Windows 10 so you’ll have to get a copy on your own if you want to run Dota 2. 

Buy Now


2. Acer Nitro 5 
Best Budget Laptop for Dota 2

Best Laptop For Dota 2 - Acer Nitro 5

  Intel Core i5 9300H

  8GB RAM

   GeForce GTX 1650 

  256 PCIe SSD

  15” FHD 1080p IPS

  5.07lb

  5 hours

I know I’m going to sound like a broken record but this is also one of the best deals on Amazon. We’ve listed this laptop on pretty much every gaming post because it’s that good.

Just look at the GPU and CPU, both recent, and powerful. GPU is stepping into the mid-range gang of gaming GPUs and the processor is of the 9th generation with 4GHz clock speeds.

Becuase the game is mostly CPU bound you don’t need a high end GPU but mostly a high frequency processor (hexacore or not) that’s the perfect combo to get the best FPS/money ratio. 

In fact from now we’re not going to list anymore powerful laptops but options to this model that will probably run out of stock by the time you read this.

Performance wise according to benchmarks on youtube, this is going to get you a solid
100FPS on the highest settings FHD with everything graphic setting checked.

If you are looking for a laptop with a dedicatd GPU so you can pull off 200+ FPS at high settings or just to mess around with other games, you can find more deals on this post. Depending on how updated this article you are viewing is, you may find some of the same laptops on this Dota 2 article there though

3. ASUS TUF FX505DT 
Best Gaming Laptop For Dota 2

Best Laptop For Dota 2 - ASUS TUF

  AMD Ryzen 5 R5-3550H

  8GB DDR4

   GeForce GTX 1650

  256GB PCIe SSD

  15.6” 120Hz Full HD

  4.85lb

  5 hours

Currently the best alternative to the Acer Nitro. 

Although it may not appear so because of the difference in clock speed, the AMD Ryzen 3550H is slightly less powerful than the Core i5 9300H if you check out the benchmarks.

You’re still getting the same SSD, RAM and GPU so you’ll be getting about the same framerates ~100FPS with everything maxed out to the wazoo.

The only bummer of this laptop is the price. It’s 100$ despite being slightly weaker than the Acer Nitro. However, it’s got 120Hz display (the Acer Nitro doesn’t) so the graphics will be a lot smoother.

Buy Now


4. Acer Aspire 3
Best Laptop For Dota 2 Under 500

Best Laptop For Dota 2 - Acer Swift 3

  Core i3-8130U 

  6GB RAM DDR4

   Intel® UHD Graphics 620

  1TB 5400RPM

  15” TN full HD 1080p

  5.3lb

  10 hours

    8X DVD Double-Layer 

  SD Card Reader, 802.11AC, BlueTooth 4.1, HD Webcam, USB 3.1 Type C port, 2 USB 3.0 Ports,1 USB 2.0 Port,1 HDMI Port, RJ 45 Port

Finding a 120Hz for 700$ bucks and a 1650GTX for 600$ are both like finding a needle in a haystack. Chances are both of those laptops will be out of stock soon (or competition will lower their prices). 

This laptop is another option to hit ~100FPS at high settings. It’s got a relatively weaker processor and GPU though but it’s still a lot cheaper than the MX250/MX150 laptops right (which have a weaker GPU and processor).

Only buy this model if you’re really out of options and can’t wait. 

Buy Now


5. XPC MSI GF65 
Best Gaming Laptop for Dota 2 2020

XPC MSI GF65 Best Laptop For Dota 2

  Core i5-9300H

  16GB DDR4

   GTX 1660Ti

  256GB SSD

  15” full HD 120Hz IPS

  4.10lb

  4 hours

This laptop is way too much for Dota 2. It is completely overkill. The CPU is on point though.

But the GPU is like using the space shuttle to buy groceries. You’ll be getting  180FPS at high settings as a bare minimum. 

The reason I put this laptop on the list(and last) is because it’s relatively cheap. Similar 1660Ti,1060 laptops which are the next step to the 1650 from the Acer Nitro are about the same price? How messed up is that? Well you might as well buy the space shuttle if cost pretty much the same right?


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

CPU

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.

So a good GPU isn’t going to increase your framerates with DotA as much as a bit more powerful CPU would. 

Multithreaded Performance

Another thing to keep in mind is that although Steam has done a great job on optimizing the Source 2 engine for multithreaded usage, the game is still mostly single threaded.

Yes, you will benefit from having more cores but not as much as having just a tiny bit more clock speed.

Modern CPUs

Intel

CPU Base Turbo Cores
i3 10050G1  1.2GHz 3.4GHz   2
i3 8130U  2.2GHz 3.4Ghz   2
i3 8145U  2.1GHz 3.9GHz  2
i3 10100U  2.1GHz 4.1GHz  2
i5 1035G1 1.0GHz 3.6GHz 4
i5 10210U 1.6GHz 4.2GHz 4
i5 8265U  1.6GHz 4.9GHz  4
i5 8250U 1.6GHz 3.4GHz 4
i5 8300H 2.3GHz 4GHz 4
i5 9300H 2.4GHz 4.1GHz 4
i5 10300H 2.5GHz 4.5GHz 4
i7 10510U 1.8GHz 4.9GHz 4
i7 1065G7 1.3GHz 3.9GHz 4
i7 7700HQ* 2.8GHz 3.8GHz 4
i7 8550U 1.8GHz 4.0GHz 4
i7 8750H 2.2GHz 4.1GHz 6
i7 9750H 2.6 GHz 4.5 GHz 6
i9 8950K 2.9 GHz 4.8 GHz 6
i5 9600K 3.7 GHz 4.6 GHz 6
i7 9700K 3.6 GHz 4.9 GHz 8
i9 9900K 3.6 GHz 5.1 GHz 8
i7 10750H 2.6GHz 5GHz 8
i9 10890K 2.4GHz 5.3GHz 8

AMD

CPU Base Turbo Cores/Threads
AMD Ryzen 9 3900 3.8 4.6GHz 12/24
AMD Ryzen 9 4800HS 2.2 4.4GHz 8/16
AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS 2.9 4.2GHz 8/16
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 3.6 4.4GHz 8/16
AMD Ryzen 5 4600H 3.0 4.0 6/12
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H 2.3 4.0 4/8
AMD Ryzen 7 4700U 2.0 4.1 8/8
AMD Ryzen 7 3700U 2.3 4.0 4/8
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
2.3 4 6/6
AMD Ryzen 5 3550H 2.1 3.7 4
AMD Ryzen 5 3500U 2.1 3.7 4
AMD Ryzen 3 3300U 2.1 3.5 4

Low settings: Any of the green GPUs will do. Basically anything that has +3GHz clock speed will get you +60FPS at low settings. There are some really fast green CPUs in the table that have almost 4GHz but you’ll still be hitting 60-80FPS at higher settings because they’ll be paired up with integrated GPU.

High settings: Blue/Purple CPUs will let you hit +60-100FPS on high settings with no sweat. The orange are too beast for just Dota 2. Stay away unless you want to play other AAA games.

GPU(Graphics Card)

GPU has little relevance with Dota 2, it uses the CPU more than the gfx card compared to LoL and other games. As long as you get an “dedicated GPU” instead of an integrated, you should be able to hit high settings.

Integrated Cards

Integrated GPUs are the ones who will set the limit on how well you can run the game at higher settings.

What are integrated cards? Any GPU that doesn’t have it’s own “vRAM”.

Something along the lines of:

Intel HD 4000/4400, Intel HD 550/520/530, Intel HD 620/630, AMD Radeon R3, R5,R8,etc

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

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.

NVIDIA

Name Cores vRAM Speed
MX150 384 2GB-4GB 1532
MX250 384 2GB-4GB 1582
MX230 256 2-4GB 1519
MX350 640 2-4GB 1354
1050 640 2GB-4GB 1493
1050Ti 768 4GB 1620
1650 1024 4GB 1560
1060 1280 6GB 1670
1660 Ti 1536 6GB 1590
1070 2048 8GB 1645
1070Ti      
1080 2560 8GB 1733
1080Ti 3584 11GB 1600
2060 1,920 6GB 1680MHz
2060 Super 2,176 8GB 1650 MHz
2070 2304 8GB 1620 MHz
2070 Super 2560 8GB 1770
2080 2944 8GB 1710
2080 Super 3072 8GB 1815 MHz
2080 Ti 4352 11GB 1650

 

AMD

Name Shaders vRAM Speed Equivalent(Gaming)
Radeon 610 320 2GB 1030  Intel UHD 620
Pro RX 555X 768 2GB 855  MX150/MX250
RadeonRX 540 512 4GB 1219 ~950M
Radeon RX 550 640 4GB 1287 – 1476 +950M
Radeon RX 560X 1024 4GB 1172 – 1275 1050GTX
RX 580 1536 6GB 1077 ~1060GTX
RX5500M 1408 8GB 1327 – 1645 ~1660Ti

Medium Settings

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.

Why are people claiming to run DotA with old machines at +60FPS?

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.

RAM

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.

Storage

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!

Display

IPS FHD

We are in 2020. 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.

Refresh Rates

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.

Streaming
Streaming can be quite demanding on a laptop, ideally it would be better to  stream your gaming sessions on a desktop.
But if you must stream on a laptop make sure you buy a cooling pad because laptop’s dissipation systems are not as efficient as desktops. Also in this case a better CPU with more cores might reduce the load on your laptop and keep temperatures below dangerous levels.

Comments?

If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or recommendations on how to find the best laptop for Dota 2 . Please let me know in the comments below, I’ll try to answer as soon as I can.