6 Best Laptops for Emulation in 2023

By: Editorial Team

Gaming enthusiasts understand how difficult it can be to play old games. Even after finding the game and the right console, figuring out how to play it on a television or monitor can be an uphill task, which, fortunately, you don’t have to face with a great emulation laptop. To save you the painstaking process of choosing an excellent laptop, we will review some of the best options in the market and answer a few relevant questions. We have also included a detailed buying guide to help you make an excellent purchase decision. Let’s get started!

Position
First Place
Runner Up
Best Budget
Snapshot
ASUS ROG Strix G16 (2023) Gaming Laptop, 16” 16:10 FHD 165Hz, GeForce RTX 4070, Intel Core i9-13980HX, 16GB DDR5, 1TB PCIe SSD, Wi-Fi 6E, Windows 11, G614JI-AS94, Eclipse Gray
Acer Nitro 17 Gaming Laptop | AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS Octa-Core CPU | NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050 GPU | 17.3" FHD 165Hz IPS Display | 16GB DDR5 | 1TB Gen 4 SSD | Wi-Fi 6E | RGB Backlit KB | AN17-41-R8N5, Black
HP Victus 15 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" FHD 144Hz Display, AMD Ryzen 5 7535HS, 16GB DDR5 RAM, 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2050, HDMI, Webcam, Backlit Keyboard, Wi-Fi 6, Windows 11 Home, Silver
What You Need To Know About The Laptops

It is powered by a 13th Generation Intel Core i9 processor and a high-end cooling system for enhanced emulation.

It has a powerful display with 165Hz refresh rate.

It is compact, lightweight and affordable.

Prime
Amazon Prime
-
-
Rating
-
-
-
Position
First Place
Snapshot
ASUS ROG Strix G16 (2023) Gaming Laptop, 16” 16:10 FHD 165Hz, GeForce RTX 4070, Intel Core i9-13980HX, 16GB DDR5, 1TB PCIe SSD, Wi-Fi 6E, Windows 11, G614JI-AS94, Eclipse Gray
What You Need To Know About The Laptops

It is powered by a 13th Generation Intel Core i9 processor and a high-end cooling system for enhanced emulation.

Prime
Amazon Prime
Rating
-
Position
Runner Up
Snapshot
Acer Nitro 17 Gaming Laptop | AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS Octa-Core CPU | NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050 GPU | 17.3" FHD 165Hz IPS Display | 16GB DDR5 | 1TB Gen 4 SSD | Wi-Fi 6E | RGB Backlit KB | AN17-41-R8N5, Black
What You Need To Know About The Laptops

It has a powerful display with 165Hz refresh rate.

Prime
-
Rating
-
Position
Best Budget
Snapshot
HP Victus 15 Gaming Laptop, 15.6" FHD 144Hz Display, AMD Ryzen 5 7535HS, 16GB DDR5 RAM, 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2050, HDMI, Webcam, Backlit Keyboard, Wi-Fi 6, Windows 11 Home, Silver
What You Need To Know About The Laptops

It is compact, lightweight and affordable.

Prime
-
Rating
-

Last update on 2024-02-29 at 15:37 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Best Laptops for Emulation Reviewed

When delving into the realm of emulation, selecting the ideal laptop can pose a significant task. You seek a device that strikes a balance between compactness for portability and ample performance to fulfill your emulation requirements. Here’s a compilation of the finest laptops tailored for emulation, boasting a blend of sleek design, functionality, and efficiency. These devices stand as noteworthy investments for any enthusiast looking to delve into the world of emulation. They include:


Buying Guide for the Best Laptops for Emulation

Here are a few things to consider when getting a laptop for emulation:

Performance

Your laptop’s performance ability significantly influences the emulation experience. For the best results, get an option with a powerful multi-core processor and a dedicated graphical processing unit. Some of the best CPUs for emulation include AMD Ryzen 5 and Intel Core i7. Dedicated GPUs such as NVIDIA GTX  or AMD Radeon RX series are highly recommended for optimal 3D emulation and performance.

RAM

A good emulation laptop should be suited for multitasking; therefore, consider options with at least 8GB of RAM. 16 GB RAM or more is recommended for demanding emulators.

Storage

For adequate storage, enhanced system responsiveness, and faster loading times, settle on a laptop with a 512GB SSD or more. Options with both SSD and HDD  compartments are also recommended, as they combine storage and responsiveness for an enhanced experience.

Display

Laptop displays have significantly improved over the years. For balanced clarity and performance, settle on a full HD display. 4K displays are also great but may negatively affect performance in certain scenarios. A good emulation display should also have a high refresh rate for smoother animations and transitions.

Battery Life

Emulation is a power-intensive experience. For the best results, you need a laptop with a larger battery capacity and excellent power management features.

Connectivity

Connectivity is essential for emulation. You need a laptop that can connect to several external controllers, accessories, displays, and storage services, which require sufficient USB, HDMI, and display ports.

Portability

You need a portable laptop if you are always on the move, which calls for making weight and size considerations. However, since gaming laptops are usually bulkier, finding a balance between performance and portability is necessary.

Cooling System

Every gamer understands the importance of a quality cooling system on a gaming machine. Since emulation strains laptop components, your laptop should have an efficient cooling system for overheat protection and consistent performance.


The Best Laptops for Emulation


Pros

  • It is equipped with high-end internal components
  • It has an intelligent cooling system
  • It has a MUX Switch with Advanced Optimus.

Cons

  • It may not work well with a dual monitor setup.

ASUS is known to produce some of the best gaming laptops globally; therefore, it’s no surprise that the ROG Strix G16 is among our topmost recommendations. Let’s explore its advanced features to help you understand why it is highly recommended for emulation.

This 2023 ASUS ROG StrixG16 is powered by a 13th-generation Intel Core i9-13980HX processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 GPU to handle diverse emulation needs. It has an anti-glare Full HD display with a refresh rate of 165Hz and a response time of 3ms for faster transition during intense gameplay.

This high-end laptop has a 16GB DDR5-4800MHz RAM and a 1TB PCle 4*4 SSD for enhanced memory and storage. Its Thermal Grizzly’s Conductonaut Extreme liquid metal, tri-fan technology with full-surrounded vents, and ODB ambient cooling, among other premium features, allow advanced cooling and sustained performance during long gaming sessions.

The MUX switch with Advanced Optimus routes frames directly from the dGPU to the display, increasing gaming performance by 5-10%. The Advanced Optimus technology supports automatic task adjustment for optimized battery life. Also, to ensure an excellent gaming and viewing experience, this laptop’s display features Dolby Vision, a 90% screen-to-body ratio, and Adaptive-Sync support. Other features worth mentioning include per-key RGB lighting, a full keyboard, and Wi-Fi 6E technology.


Pros

  • It has powerful processors for advanced gameplay
  • It offers complete next-gen cooling
  • It has a full range of ports for easy and enhanced connectivity.

Cons

  • It is heavy

The Acer Nitro 17 gaming laptop is worth choosing if you need a value laptop for emulation. It has several superior gaming and emulation features, such as an AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS octa-core processor with Precision Boost. Its NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050 GPU is reinforced with an ultra-efficient NVIDIA Ada Lovelace architecture for enhanced AI-powered graphics and performance.

The lightning-quick 17.3-inch FHD display with a 165Hz refresh rate features NVIDIA Advanced Optimus Technology, allowing you to dynamically switch between integrated and discrete graphics without rebooting. The 4-zone RGB keyboard and NitroSense software offer extra gaming control. At the same time, the newly refined chassis with a dual fan, a quad-exhaust port design, and dual intakes provide complete next-gen cooling for extended gameplay.

Notable internal specifications include 16GB DDR5 RAM, 1TB PCle 4th generation SSD, Wireless Wi-Fi 6E technology, Bluetooth 5.1, and Killer Ethernet E2600 10/100/ 1000. This laptop also has a full range of ports (HDMI 2.1, USB Type-C, USB4, USB 3.2) for easy connectivity.


Pros

  • It has a 16GB of high-bandwidth RAM
  • It is relatively thin and affordable
  • It has several connectivity ports and technologies

Cons

  • Its battery may not be conducive for long-duration gaming

The HP Victus 15 Gaming Laptop is a great,  thin, powerful, affordable gaming laptop. It has several powerful internal components and features that support emulation. For example, it is equipped with 16GB high-bandwidth DDR5 RAM for smooth simultaneous running of multiple applications and browser tabs and a 512GB PCle M.2 Solid State Drive for adequate storage, faster boot up, and speedy data transfer.

This product also has an AMD Ryzen 5 7535HS processor with up to 4.55GHz maximum boost frequency and 16MB cache for diverse emulation needs. The 15.6-inch, 144Hz anti-glare Full HD display reinforced by NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2050 4GB GDDR6 GPU ensures smooth, crisp gameplay, while the Windows 11 Home Operating System (OS) offers excellent window layout options and multi-mirror functionality.


Pros

  • It has self-cleaning fans
  • It has a high-refresh IPS-level panel
  • It is powered by the latest AMD Ryzen CPU.

Cons

  • The RAM capacity is quite low.

This fourth recommendation is worth considering if you want an emulation laptop with the best AMD Ryzen CPU. Although it is regarded as an entry-level laptop, it has several features that support diverse emulation needs. For example, it is equipped with GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR6 GPU with up to 1615 MHz boost clock for graphic-intensive emulations.

For faster processing speeds, this emulation laptop has 8GB DDR4 RAM and a 6-Core AMD Ryzen 5 4600H mobile processor with 11 MB cache and a maximum boost frequency of 4.0 GHz. You also get an enhanced, immersive viewing experience on the 17.3-inch Full HD 144Hz IPS-Type display and faster boot up owing to the 512GB PCle NVMe M.2 SSD. Another important feature is the self-cleaning dual fans with anti-dust technology for enhanced durability.

To prevent your laptop from overheating during extended gameplay, the ASUS TUF A17 features 83-blade LCP fans, which draw in more air, and multiple heat pipes for heat redistribution. It has two speakers with four cut-outs for deeper audio immersion and a virtual 7.1-channel surround for enhanced spatial awareness.


Pros

  • It has a durable, solid build
  • It has several ports for enhanced connectivity
  • It is equipped with a powerful processor

Cons

  • Only the keyboard is RGB, despite being advertised as a gaming laptop.

The MSI Stealth GS77 is a quality option if you need a powerful, heavy-duty laptop for emulation. It is powered by a 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor for maximum gameplay and multitasking efficiency. Buyers get the latest Windows version that works with different emulation software.

This device has a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU reinforced with a 2nd generation RTX architecture for enhanced ray-traced graphics and exquisite AI features. Its 17.3-inch FHD 360Hz display offers vivid colors and improved pixel density for an excellent gaming experience. Users get USB 2.0 ports, an audio jack, a webcam lock switch, and an ethernet port for enhanced connectivity, and an HDMI port can support 8K output at 60Hz or 4K output at 120Hz for an excellent viewing experience.


Pros

  • It has powerful cooling technology
  • It offers up to 11 hours of battery life
  • It has a solid design

Cons

  • Although expandable, 256Gb of storage is relatively less

The Acer Nitro 5 is perhaps one of the most common laptops used for emulation. It packs several features worth exploring, such as a 10th-generation Intel Core 15-10300H processor and 16GB DDR4 2933MHz RAM (expandable to 32GB) for faster processing speeds. Its latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 series processor is powered by an award-winning architecture with Tensor Cores and new Ray Tracing cores for the ultimate gaming experience.

Other features worth mentioning include the 15.6-inch Full HD Led-backlit IPS display with a 144Hz refresh rate, a 256GB NVMe SSD, Killer Ethernet E2600 and Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 technologies, and Alexa show mode, which turns the PC into an echo show-like device. For an excellent gaming experience, the included Acer CoolBoost technology increases fan speed by 10% and the GPU and CPU cooling by 9%, increasing the thermal performance by 25%.


Conclusion

Not all laptops can handle intensive tasks; hence, you must exercise caution when buying a laptop for emulation. Out of the options we’ve reviewed, we highly recommend the ASUS ROG STRIX G16 owing to its powerful internal components,  intelligent cooling system, full RGB customization, and swift gaming display. In second position is the Acer Nitro 17 gaming laptop, which, like the ROG STRIX G16, packs several useful features, including an AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS Octa-Core processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050 GPU, and a lightning-quick full HD display.

We have also included the HP Victus 15 if you want an affordable option. Despite costing less than $600, it has several features suitable for emulation, such as powerful processors, a full-backlit keyboard, a high refresh rate display, and large PCle storage. You should also consider the three other options when looking for an excellent laptop for emulation, as they also have amazing features.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Minimum System Requirements for an Emulation Laptop?

The minimum system requirements for an emulation laptop vary depending on the emulator and the platform. However, to be safe, get a laptop with a multi-core processor, preferably Intel Core i5 or equivalent, a dedicated Graphical Processing Unit (GPU), and at least 8GB of RAM. The baseline is to get a device that meets or exceeds your emulation needs.

Should I Settle for Windows, macOS, or Linux When Choosing an Operating System for My Emulation Laptop?

Although major operating systems can support different emulators, Windows is mostly preferred as it supports several emulation software. The other two are also great, especially for specific platforms. If you can’t choose among the three, settle on one that meets your preferences and aligns with the software you intend to use.

Must I Invest in a Powerful Laptop for Successful Online Emulation?

Although a powerful laptop is preferred, most online emulators require little hardware. With that said, a gaming laptop would be an excellent option for a smooth emulation experience. We have included a few in our recommendations.

Must I Invest in an Emulation Laptop with a High Refresh Rate Display?

Although your laptop’s display may not directly affect the emulation process, displays with a high refresh rate offer an enhanced gaming and emulation experience. We’ve included some with refresh rates as high as 144Hz.

How Much Storage Space Should an Emulation Laptop Have?

The ideal storage space for an emulation laptop usually depends on the size of the games one intends to run. Settle for an option with at least 512GB storage `as most games have large ROMs and ISOs.

Can I Get a Laptop Specifically Optimized for Emulation?

Although there aren’t laptops specifically manufactured for emulation, most gaming laptops have advanced hardware components for flawless emulation. Brands such as MSI, ASUS ROG, and Dell Alienware are preferable owing to their high-performance core and graphical processing units.