Need Advice on 4K vs 1080p and SLI for New Laptop


Sep 12, 2017
Hello, it's time to replace my current laptop with a new one and I've narrowed it down to a custom-built one from either Maingear or Digital Storm both with the gtx 1080; however I'm open to suggestions if there is a different custom-build website that you'd recommend. I know it's cheaper to just buy the parts and build it myself, but I can't due to my serious health problems. I can use a computer - it's one of the few things I can still do - but building one myself is out of the question. Also, it has to be a laptop and not a desktop.

So with that out of the way, here are the two things I really need advice on before I purchase my new computer. The first is about a 4K screen vs 1080p screen. Both Maingear and Digital Storm offer a 4K screen option for only a little more $ than the 1080p screen so money isn't the issue here. I'm just not sure which screen quality is the right way to go. One of the main things I'm going to be using this computer for is gaming, especially top tier and modded games. On the one hand it sounds like the 4K screen would make the games look even more amazing. On the other hand, I've heard that you can't really appreciate the 4K quality on a 17 inch screen and that there are some problems associated with the 4K screen. So should I get the 4K screen on the laptop and downsample to 1080p when I need to or should I get the 1080p screen on the laptop and buy a 4K monitor for when I want to enjoy 4K gaming? Which would be best? Which would have less problems?

The 2nd thing I need help with is SLI - having two gtx 1080s instead of just one. The Digital Storm laptop I'm looking at does have two gtx 1080s, but the Maingear laptop only offers/has space for one. I've heard both good and bad about SLI. For example, I've heard that while having SLI does increase performance for certain games, the performance increase isn't worth the downside/potential problems of SLI. But I've also heard people that say SLI is the only way to go especially for top tier games and that it further future proofs your laptop. So what are your thoughts? Do the potential problems of SLI outweigh the performance increase it gives or do the benefits of SLI outweigh the potential problems? Please keep in mind that one of the main things I'll be using this laptop for is top tier gaming, but I'll also be using it for photo editing, downloading music, streaming, business, and Internet use. So this laptop needs to be able to do all that well and it also needs to be future proofed for at least the next couple years so that it'll be awhile before I have to buy another laptop.

I apologize for such a lengthy post, but I've researched both of these topics before and couldn't find an answer that made me feel certain enough about choosing one option over the other. So I figured it was best to just do my own post. Any advice and help would be greatly appreciated. And of course if you need any further information regarding the specifics of the laptops I've narrowed it down to or my computer usage ect, please don't hesitate to ask.

Thank you in advance.


Please no derogatory or insulting comments, just genuine, helpful responses from people with knowledge and information regarding my questions.


You can't really build a laptop yourself, plenty of people have asked, there is just no standards for laptops like there is with desktop so all the vendors have their own thing they do as far as motherboard shapes and connections. You may be able to buy a barbones kit from Clevo or something like that and buy your own CPU and video card and RAM, but that is not really the same as building your own and won't be cheaper.

I would not get a 4k screen on a laptop, 1080 or 1440 is just fine. No need for an SLI with a 1080 card, by the time a single 1080 card will feel too slow at 1080 resolution, the chances are that the system will be broken by then or the CPU too slow or something. SLI in a laptop just increases complexity, heat and the chances or something failing. You should have 4 year or more of playing games on high settings with a 1080, especially at 1080 resolution.


1. Are we to understand that you'd be willing to pay as much as $5,500 (potentially $7,000) for a 17.3" gaming laptop?

2. By "top-tier gaming", do you mean:
a) Specific game titles (if so, which ones?),
b) Cutting-edge gaming peripherals, such as VR?,
c) A complex, multi-monitor setup (4, 6 or more monitors)?

3. Cramming 4K resolution into any display under 27" is going to strain your eyes or force you to adjust the scaling constantly. It would make more sense to get a laptop with a 2K display and connect the machine to a 4K 27" monitor. The laptops offered by Maingear and Digital Storm all include 2 display ports (v 1.3).

4. I'm certainly no expert on SLI or CrossFire, but it is my understanding that the technology was originally devised to render massive meteorological models. For gaming, I would imagine the closest you'd ever get to needing SLI would be to power a large-scale multi-monitor setup. I haven't come across any game so far that recommends SLI, let alone requires it. But I could be wrong...

5. As indicated by hang-the-9, there is also the complexity inherent in SLI to consider. While both companies offer generous support plans, you might ultimately be better off with more 'mainstream' specifications.


Sep 12, 2017

Thank you so much for responding to my post and for your advice/information. I really appreciate it. So since 4k isn't necessary for a laptop screen and 1080p is just fine, then would you recommend doing what GreyCatz said as well with getting a 4K monitor to connect the machine to? I'm glad to hear that I should get 4 years or more out of a single gtx 1080; that's exactly what I need and am looking for.


Thank you so much for your response to my post and your advice as well.

Well, the laptop I'm looking at from Digital Storm is the more costly of the two and doesn't have quite as many options which is one of the reasons I'll most likely purchase the one from Maingear instead. The Maingear laptop I'm looking at, including everything except the shipping, costs less than $5,000. I know it's still very expensive, but it's going to be more than just a gaming laptop; I'm also going to be using it for professional photo editing and to do all my business etc. So it needs to have a lot of memory, be able to multi-task, and handle everything without slowing down like my current one frequently does.

Regarding what I meant by top-tier gaming: yes, I definitely want to be able to use cutting-edge gaming peripherals, especially VR on my new laptop. I don't currently have the space for a complex, multi-monitor setup. I only have room for one monitor, such as a 27" 4K monitor. Some of the specific games I want to be able to play are: Skyrim (even though it's an older game I'd like to be able to finally play it moderate to heavily modded with at least high resolution and textures), Witcher 3 (also modded on at least high if not ultra), Destiny 2, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, Assassin's Creed: Origin, Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, Fallout 4 (modded), Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Vampry, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Bayonetta. I know a lot of the games I listed haven't been released yet, but I just wanted to give you an idea of the games/type of games that I'll be playing most on this new laptop and I'd like to be able to play all of them on at least high.

Thank you for all your advice and information about 4K vs 1080 and SLI. It definitely helps and I sure appreciate it. With you and hang-the-9 both basically saying the same thing it sounds like a 1080p screen with an external 27" 4K monitor and a single gtx 1080 over two is the best way to go, especially with SLI increasing heat and complexity etc. And it certainly doesn't hurt that a 1080p screen and single 1080 will cost less.

So I think that's what I'll do: get the laptop from Maingear with the 1080p screen and single gtx 1080. Thank you both again for all your help and your detailed responses; I wish I could pick both of your answers as the solution.
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
rorebbel Laptop General Discussion 0
Intousint Laptop General Discussion 1
wuws Laptop General Discussion 1
Richieefc Laptop General Discussion 4
fistinair Laptop General Discussion 0
Dudugvili Laptop General Discussion 0
P Laptop General Discussion 0
A Laptop General Discussion 1
O Laptop General Discussion 1
JeckDesigner Laptop General Discussion 1
M Laptop General Discussion 2
Mich90918 Laptop General Discussion 0
K Laptop General Discussion 0
D Laptop General Discussion 0
J Laptop General Discussion 1
J Laptop General Discussion 5
A Laptop General Discussion 2
S Laptop General Discussion 6
W Laptop General Discussion 2
A Laptop General Discussion 1

Similar threads