Ultrabooks are designed and built to be lightweight, portable machines for those who seek a capable PC that can be packed away and pulled out when on the move. They're not technically gaming platforms and won't enable you to install Cities Skylines and enjoy maximum quality at 60 frames-per-second (let alone far heavier games). That said, it's possible to enjoy some titles if you keep your expectations in check.
Here are the specifications of the Aspire S7 I own:
|Display||13.3 inch 1440p touchscreen|
|CPU||Intel Core i5 4200U 1.6GHz|
Newer ultrabooks (like the Razer Blade Stealth for example) will of course sport more advanced and recent components. You'll get better battery life and increased power for installed titles. However, you'll still be unable to take full advantage of modern games without turning down quality settings — and you'll have to avoid games that require dedicated graphics processing.
My Aspire S7 struggled with many titles, even when turning down the resolution from 1440p to 1080p. (Trying to game at 1440p on an ultrabook, ha!) Even the likes of Terraria had lag and input issues that I struggled to overcome. Taking note of some of the more popular titles that I managed to get running, here are some games that should work acceptably on an ultrabook:
- Age of Empires 2 HD
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- DOTA 2
- Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- Football Manager 2017
- League of Legends
- Rocket League
- Stardew Valley
- Tomb Raider (the classic trilogy)
You'll note that none of these are particularly heavy games when it comes to graphics.
The main games I enjoyed at Insomnia 59 were League of Legends and Rocket League, at least before the poor laptop neared the end of its life. Everything was absolutely fine until the second day in when the entire PC encountered a BSOD and then a missing system disk error upon reboot (and subsequent boots thereafter). While it eventually passed POST and hit the Windows login screen, I'm unable to use the laptop for more than around 5 or 10 minutes before it crashes. Did I push it too hard and ruin it forever? It's hard to say.
My next purchase will be yet another ultrabook, but it shall have the means to battle through intensive workloads like blockbuster titles. I'll be looking to pick up the Blade Stealth, which can be used alongside Razer's Core. This combination will allow me to take advantage of not only the Core i7-7500U processor, but also a dedicated GPU inside the Razer Core.
While they're certainly not made for gaming, you definitely can boot up a title or two on an ultrabook. Shout out in the comments with some of the games you managed to get working!
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.