The Best Gaming Laptops from 2016 / 2017

Last Edited: October 19, 2017 by

Best Gaming Laptops 2016 / 2017

Welcome to LaptopNinja and our pro guide to the best top rated gaming laptops based on user reviews, expert tech coverage and in depth product research.

Through an extensive database of products hand picked by our team of editorial gurus and curated through their hardware power, user and critic reviews and value for money, we are here to set your mind at ease when going for that ever elusive ultimate mobile gaming rig. Many avid gamers once scoffed at the idea of using a computer laptop. Those days are nearing an end. The rapid advance of computer hardware has allowed laptops to catch up with their bloated desktop brethren in hardware power as we push more and more power out of smaller and smaller components. PC Gaming is growing year in and year out as force to be reckoned with and with it come waves on waves of fresh new laptops for gamers to test their mettle in the online arena or at home.  Below you will find our top picks of the moment in their price category.  Let your budget be your guide.

How We Decide

Our weekly updated guides contain hundreds of products across various budgets and price categories designed to provide a one stop resource for those looking to stop wasting precious time on unnecessary product research. Our team work around the clock to understand the market and find the best prices best performing rigs at their lowest possible price. We work with cold, hard data, which is why our laptops are scored using our unique scoring algorithm that takes into account thousands of user reviews and expert critic reviews across the web. Of course, no laptop is perfect, and if you aren’t sold yet on our top  picks there are dozens of other excellent options available in our buying guides for your to browse. Let the gaming begin.

Top Gaming Laptop Under $500

Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM 15.6-inch

Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM 15.6-inch

If you are looking for a budget friendly laptop that runs newer titles on low to medium setting reasonably well at lower resolutions, then the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM is well worth a closer look. It not only features the latest Intel Kaby Lake processor, it also features next generation connectivity such as USB 3.1 Type-C and Bluetooth 4.1. Powered by a 7th generation Intel Core i3-7100U processor and 4GB of DDR4 RAM, the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM will easily cope with basic tasks such as video streaming, web browsing and word processing. But the 4GB of RAM will struggle with more hardware intensive apps. Luckily, Acer has fitted the laptop with an access panel that makes upgrading the RAM a whole lot easier. If you are on a tight budget then we recommend installing a second 4GB RAM module, but if your budget is slightly larger, we recommend installing two 8GB RAM modules for a total of 16GB of RAM. While many sub $500 laptops are still being offered with entry-level 1366 x 768 display panels, the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM comes with a Full-HD display. The 1920 x 1080 display offers great image quality and with Acer’s ColorBlast technology, you get more than twice the as many colors as with other budget laptops. If you spend long hours working on your laptop, then Acer’s Bluelight Shield feature will help to reduce eye strain by reducing the amount of blue light that is emitted from the display. The Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM features a standard 1TB hard drive, which offers ample storage space for all of your files, your music collection and years of photos. However, these budget storage drives are quite slow in comparison to modern solid state drives. You can replace it with an affordable solid state drive, however this will mean sacrificing storage space for speed as a similar size SSD will cost as much as the laptop. Overall the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM is packed for of great features that you would expect from more expensive laptops, giving it a great price to performance ratio.

  • 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 12 hours battery life
  • 5.27 lbs

Pros

  • Full-HD display
  • 7th Gen Intel processor
  • USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Battery life
  • Price to performance ratio

Cons

  • Only 4GB of RAM
  • Slower 5400rpm HDD

Summary

The Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM offers a lot of great hardware for its sub $400 price tag. But you only get 4GB of RAM and we recommend upgrading to increase the laptop’s day-to-day performance.

Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM 15.6-inch
$349.99
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 18-11-2017 15:51 UTC) Details

More Gaming Laptops Under $500 >>

Top Gaming Laptop Under $1000

Lenovo Legion Y520 80WK00FHUS 15.6-inchLenovo Legion Y520 80WK00FHUS 15.6-inch

$1500 may be a bit of a stretch for some, and for this reason many laptop manufacturers are starting to release competitive gaming laptops at just under $1000. They may not be top-tier in terms of performance, but they will allow you to play the latest games fairly comfortably on reasonable settings. One of these budget friendly gaming laptops is the Lenovo Legion Y520 80WK00FHUS. It features a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, which offers an almost 10% performance increase over the standard GTX 1050. While you won’t be playing games with 4K resolution and over 100fps, it will allow you to comfortably play the latest titles on high settings with decent frame rates and in 1080p. To cut costs, Lenovo have gone with an Intel i5 processor instead of the widely used i7’s for gaming laptops. However, the seventh generation Intel Core i5-7300HQ processor will easily keep up with current games and will also allow you to easily run more demanding applications. Backing up the processor is 8GB or DDR4 2400MHz RAM, which will allow for lag free gaming under most circumstances. However, if you intend on running Google Chrome and other memory hungry applications, then you might want to consider upgrading to 16GB for peace of mind. The IPS display offers average colors, however for its price it is not a deal breaker. It also offers a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels which is great for gaming and watching your favorite HD movies and series. To further enjoy your media, the Lenovo Legion Y520 features legendary Harman certified speakers which offer impressive sound. Because of the size of many games, the small 256GB M.2 SSD is not suitable for those with larger Steam and Origin game collections. Luckily, you can upgrade the Lenovo Legion Y520 with a second SATA based SSD or you can look at a more cost effective 7200rpm mechanical storage drive.

  • 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 3 hours battery life

Pros

  • Price
  • Dedicated NVIDIA
  • USB Type-C
  • Good audio
  • Kaby Lake CPU
  • Great keyboard

Cons

  • Small SSD
  • Lenovo bloatware
  • Red color is not for everyone
  • Trackpad is a bit awkward and tacky

Summary

The Lenovo Legion Y520 80WK00FHUS offers a decent gaming experience for its attractive price. However the small solid state drive will fill up very quickly and we recommend adding a second storage drive for all of your storage needs.

Lenovo Legion Y520 80WK00FHUS 15.6-inch
$929.99$879.99
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 18-11-2017 16:30 UTC) Details

More Gaming Laptops Under $1000 >>

Top Gaming Laptop Under $1500

Acer Predator Helios 300 G3-571-77QK 15.6-inchAcer Predator Helios 300 G3-571-77QK 15.6-inch

Acer are known in the gaming world for their Predator line of gaming hardware, however, most of their Predator laptops have been priced out of reach for many gamers. This is where Acer have stepped in and taken note of the current trend of gaming laptops at around the $1000 mark. The Acer Predator Helios 300 joins the Predator range as a more affordable solution, however, Acer have had to make a few sacrifices in order to offer its attractive price. The first thing that should be noted is that the display is dimmer than some of its counterparts and it doesn’t reproduce as many colors as the higher-end Predator laptops. However, the display is not all bad news, as you do get a Full-HD display panel which uses IPS technology for far better viewing angles and the quality is not terrible for gaming and streaming media. You can always connect the Acer Predator Helios 300 to a monitor if you need a wider coverage of the sRGB color spectrum for work or college assignments. The Acer Predator Helios 300 is powered by a Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor and is backed up by 16GB of DDR4 RAM. This will easily allow you to play your favorite games and will ensure that you can run even more intensive applications will little to no lag. While many of its competitors offer the GTX 1050 or GTX 1050 Ti, Acer have gone ahead and fitted the Acer Predator Helios 300 with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. This card offers better performance for AAA gaming titles and is more suited for VR gaming than the two entry-level NVIDIA graphics cards. The 256GB M.2 SSD offers fast boot and game loading speeds, however it is a bit small for modern games. Titles such as GTA V and Mass Effect: Andromeda take up over 40GB each for their game install files. Luckily, the Acer Predator Helios 300 ships with the cradle for a SATA based storage drive and you can easily install a 512GB or 1TB SSD at home. If the SSDs are out of your price bracket, then you can also consider a good 7200rpm SATA storage drive to increase the laptop’s storage. However, this will mean losing the fast gaming loading advantage that SSDs provide. While the Acer Predator Helios 300 runs cool during everyday use, it will run hot while gaming or while you run more intensive applications. While this might put off some users, it is not at all uncommon for laptops in its price category and is not a deal breaker in our eyes.

  • 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 7 hours battery life
  • 5.95 lbs

Pros

  • Kaby Lake processor
  • GTX 1060
  • M.2 SSD
  • Great performance
  • Easy to upgrade RAM and storage
  • USB Type-C

Cons

  • Runs hot under load
  • Small amount of storage space
  • Only one USB 3.0 port
  • Poor battery life
  • Not the loudest audio
  • Not the brightest display

Summary

The Acer Predator Helios 300 G3-571-77QK is an affordable Acer Predator laptop which even features a more powerful GTX 1060 compared to its competitors GTX 1050 offerings. However, the tiny amount of storage space needs addressing if you own a larger game collection.

Acer Predator Helios 300 G3-571-77QK 15.6-inch
$1099.99$1049.99
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 18-11-2017 16:30 UTC) Details

More Gaming Laptops Under $1500 >>

Top High-End Gaming Laptop under $2000

Razer Blade RZ09-01953E71-R3U1 14-inchRazer Blade RZ09-01953E71-R3U1 14-inch

The new VR-Ready Razer Blade RZ09-01953E71-R3U1 has been updated and now sports a more powerful Kaby Lake processor which will allow you to run any current game on the market. The Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor boasts a performance increase of 9% over the last generation i7-6700HQ which will come in handy while working in more intensive applications. You also get 16GB of DDR4 2133MHz RAM which will allow you to easily run most applications and is more than enough memory for any current gaming title. You can look at upgrading to a higher frequency RAM kit, however this is not necessary for most users who will do just fine with the installed RAM modules. Keeping to its gaming pedigree, the Razer Blade RZ09-01953E71-R3U1 features the NVIDIA GTX 1060 laptop edition GPU with 6GB of dedicated GDDR5 video memory. This graphics card will easily run the latest gaming titles on ultra or high settings while still offering you decent frame rates and will should run most VR applications without any hassles. Titles such as Battlefield 1, GTA V and Titanfall 2 will run great on this machine, however the smaller M.2 SSD will mean that you will have to be selective about what games you can install on this laptop. With just 256GB of storage space, this superfast SSD will fill up almost instantly with games that are 50GB or larger. You can purchase a larger M.2 SSD for a fraction of the price of the larger models from Razer, however make sure that you have the know how before you undertake this upgrade yourself. While the Razer Blade is a small and compact gaming laptop it does come with a bit of a drawback, the thinner size means that it will heat up quicker while gaming or while using slightly more intensive applications. This in turn will kick the two fans into gear which might annoy some users who are looking for a quieter setup. Another drawback of the smaller form factor is the fact that the 14-inch display is not great for gaming, we recommend connecting the Razer Blade RZ09-01953E71-R3U1 to a monitor for a superior gaming experience.

  • 14 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 4.75 hours battery life
  • 4.10 lbs

Pros

  • Kaby Lake i7 processor
  • Thin and light
  • CNC milled aluminum
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
  • USB Type-C

Cons

  • Heats up under load
  • Smaller SSD
  • Fans run most of the time
  • No Ethernet or optical drive
  • Expensive

Summary

The Razer Blade RZ09-01953E71-R3U1 is a small gaming laptop that is packed with great hardware, however, the 256GB SSD is too small for users with larger Origin or Steam collections.

Razer Blade RZ09-01953E71-R3U1 14-inch
$1899.99
Order Now
from Razerzone.com
(as of 05-06-2017 03:55 UTC) Details

More High-End Gaming Laptops >>

Top High-End Gaming Laptop over $2000

ASUS ROG G752VS-XB72K OC Edition 17.3-inchASUS ROG G752VS-XB72K OC Edition 17.3-inch

If you are a serious gamer with a big budget, then the ASUS ROG G752VS-XB72K OC Edition is well worth looking at. Its aggressive looks are backed up by some very powerful hardware. Powered by a 6th generation Intel Core i7-6820HK processor and 32GB of DDR4 RAM, the ASUS ROG G752VS-XB72K OC Edition will have no issue running the latest games or hardware intensive design apps. The benefit of the i7-6820HK is that it has an unlocked multiplier, which will allow you to easily overclock the processor. While many gaming laptops are still offering the GTX 980M, the ASUS ROG G752VS-XB72K OC Edition comes with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with 8GB of video memory. The GTX 1070 offers 10-15% better performance than its predecessors and this is very noticeable with the frame rates that it can achieve. It scored 13916 on 3DMark’s Fire Strike graphics test, unseating the previous contender the Origin Eon17 SLX by almost 2000 points. To store all of your games and multimedia files, ASUS has installed both a 256GB solid state drive and a 1TB 7200rpm mechanical hard drive. But with the size of modern games, you will easily fill the SSD in no time. The Full-HD 17.3-inch display offers G-SYNC and while it is not a 4K display, it offers sharp image quality and vivid colors. The ASUS ROG G752VS-XB72K OC Edition is also VR ready, making it slightly more future proof than some of its competitors. However the battery life is poor but this is nothing new when it comes to gaming laptops.

  • Intel Core i7-6820HK 2.70GHz [View Benchmarks]
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 8GB Dedicated [View Framerates]
  • 32GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1024GB 7200 RPM HDD / 256GB SSD
  • 17.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • 3.5 hours battery life
  • 9.5 lbs

Pros

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
  • Unlocked multiplier
  • Good cooling system
  • 32GB of RAM
  • VR ready

Cons

  • Bulky and heavy
  • Price
  • Battery life
  • No RGB backlit keyboard

Summary

If you are a serious gamer after a portable gaming solution, then the ASUS ROG G752VS-XB72K OC Edition might be perfect for you. But it offers poor battery life and you will have to dig deep into your pockets to afford its hefty price tag.

ASUS ROG G752VS-XB72K OC Edition 17.3-inch
$1899.00$1844.25
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 18-11-2017 15:55 UTC) Details

More High-End Gaming Laptops >>

Top ASUS Gaming Laptop

ASUS ROG GL502VS-DB71 15.6-inchASUS ROG GL502VS-DB71 15.6-inch

When it comes to high-end gaming laptops, there are only a few names that are worth considering and ASUS is one of them. Their Republic Of Gamers (ROG) laptops have always been some of the most sought after laptops when it comes to serious gamers. One of their latest offerings is the new ASUS ROG GL502VS-DB71 and like many of their products, it does not disappoint. While it is not the thinnest or lightest laptop, it is well below the industry standard when it comes to 15.6-inch gaming laptops. Powering this beast is a Skylake based Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor and 16GB of DDR4 2133MHz RAM, which combined will easily offer lag free gaming and enough power for designers and video editors. ASUS have jumped on board with the new 10-series range of NVIDIA graphics cards and the ASUS ROG GL502VS-DB71 features the GeForce GTX 1070 laptop edition. The GTX 1070 outperforms its predecessor and its performance is on par with the GTX 980M. The new Pascal architecture offers superior performance when it comes to VR gaming and will make the ASUS ROG GL502VS-DB71 more future proof as some of the other ROG laptops. To store all of your games and multimedia files, the ASUS ROG GL502VS-DB71 comes with both a 1TB 7200rpm mechanical hard drive and a superfast 256GB M.2 solid state drive. But with games ever increasing in size, you will have to choose which games you want to install on the SSD. The 15.6-inch Full-HD display offers wide viewing angles and rich colors thanks to its In-plane switching technology. You also get G-SYNC which allows the display to synchronize its refresh rate with the GTX 1070’s rendering rate.

  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.60GHz [View Benchmarks]
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop) 8GB Dedicated [View Framerates]
  • 16GB DDR4 2133MHz RAM
  • 256GB SSD / 1024GB 7200 RPM HDD
  • 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 5 hours battery life
  • 4.8 lbs

Pros

  • Intel Skylake processor
  • G-SYNC display panel
  • HDD and SSD combo
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
  • Thin and light

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • Smaller keyboard
  • Prone to heating up

Summary

The ASUS ROG GL502VS-DB71 is a thin and light gaming laptop that boasts the latest NVIDIA GTX 1070 graphics card. But the thinner design does mean that it is more prone to heating up than some of the thicker ROG laptops.

ASUS ROG GL502VS-DB71 15.6-inch
$1699.00
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 18-11-2017 15:51 UTC) Details

More ASUS Gaming laptops >>

Top MSI Gaming Laptop

MSI GT62VR Dominator Pro-238 15.6-inchMSI GT62VR Dominator Pro-238 15.6-inch

One of the first new laptops from MSI for 2017 is their MSI GT62VR Dominator Pro-238. This new edition sports a new Kaby Lake processor from Intel and one of NVIDIA’s 10-series graphics card for even better gaming performance over last year’s models. The new Dominator Pro for 2017 now features the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 and offers far better performance than its predecessor. This will make all the difference when it comes to those AAA gaming titles. The Pascal architecture has been developed for the next generation of VR gaming and will give you the edge over laptops running the older GTX 970M graphics card. A seventh generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ and 16GB of DDR4 RAM will allow you to run the latest AAA gaming titles with no lag and will even run hardware intensive design apps. You can easily upgrade the RAM to a mammoth 32GB or to a higher frequency RAM. The 1TB mechanical hard drive offers ample storage space for older games and multimedia files and the 256GB SSD takes care of those AAA gaming titles that need that extra performance. However, even at double the SSD storage space of some of its competitors, this SSD will fill up extremely quickly as the size of games has increased over the years. Titles such as Battlefield 1, Titanfall 2 and GTA V take up over 40GB each so you might want to consider a larger solid state drive. The superfast M.2 solid state drive can easily be replaced with a Samsung 960 EVO 500GB SSD or if your budget allows, the Samsung 960 Pro 1TB SSD. Like most of the higher-end MSI laptops, you get a Full-HD display. But despite the lack of a 4K display, you still get a display that offers rich colors and great viewing angles. The display also features G-SYNC which matches the display panel’s refresh rate to the frame rate of the graphics card for an impressive gaming experience.

  • 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 4.25 hours battery life
  • 6.48 lbs

Pros

  • GTX 1070 graphics
  • M.2 SSD + 7200rpm HDD
  • Kaby Lake-based processor
  • Full-HD display with G-SYNC

Cons

  • Battery life
  • Bulky
  • No 4K display
  • Average sized SSD
  • No optical drive

Summary

The MSI GT62VR Dominator Pro-238 offers the latest hardware for the hardcore gamer, however the smaller 256GB SSD will fill up quite quickly with the latest AAA gaming titles.

MSI GT62VR Dominator Pro-238 15.6-inch
$1772.07
Order Now
from BHPhotoVideo.com
(as of 17-10-2017 06:42 UTC) Details

More MSI Gaming laptops >>

Top Razer Gaming Laptop

Razer Blade RZ09-01953E72-R3U1 14-inchRazer Blade RZ09-01953E72-R3U1 14-inch

The Razer Blade has been CNC milled out of high-grade aluminum to offer you a thin and light laptop that has been filled with some great gaming hardware. Razer have done away with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M from their last generation Razer Blade and have gone for the newer and more powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 laptop edition GPU. The newer GTX 1060 is based off of NVIDIA’s Pascal architecture and with 6GB of GDDR5, it offers far better graphics performance than the older GTX 970M. While VR gaming is still in a development phase for most of us, the GTX 1060 has been designed to perform far better than the GTX 900-series cards, giving it an advantage for future gaming experiences. However, if you really want to push the performance, then you can connect the Razer Core external GPU enclosure via the superfast USB 3.1 Type-C port. The Razer Core currently sells for $499, which is fairly steep as you will still need to purchase a more powerful card than the installed GTX 1060. We recommend looking at the EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC GAMING ACX 3.0 Black Edition or the ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIX as great options to pair with the Razer Core GPU dock. Being a premium gaming laptop, it features the latest 7th generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, which will make light work of most games or intensive apps. The newer i7-7700HQ boasts a performance increase of 9% over its predecessor, giving it the edge when it comes to more demanding applications. Backing up the Core i7-6700HQ processor is 16GB of DDR4 2133MHz RAM, which combined will allow for lag free gaming or intensive multitasking. While all this hardware is quite powerful, the thin design means that it can heat up quickly, causing the fans to run most of the time. This might put off some users who are looking for a quieter machine for everyday use. While there is a 1TB version of the Razer Blade, the Razer Blade RZ09-01953E72-R3U1 features a decently sized 512GB SSD, which helps bring down the cost by a few hundred dollars. This will give you enough space to install some of your favorite AAA gaming titles, however some recent titles require over 50GB and will fill up your SSD quite quickly. Like the previous range, you get Razer Chroma which is Razer’s individually lit backlit keyboard. This will allow you to set three different color zones so that you can truly customize your Razer Blade. The brilliant 14-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel multi-touch display offers rich colors, wide viewing angles and is great for gaming or for media editing on the go. However, the display is a bit small for hardcore gamers, we recommend connecting the Razer Blade RZ09-01953E72-R3U1 to a decent size monitor for the best gaming experience.

  • 14 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 4.5 hours battery life
  • 4.10 lbs

Pros

  • Kaby Lake i7 processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
  • Thin and light
  • USB Type-C
  • 512GB M.2 SSD

Cons

  • Heats up under load
  • Expensive
  • No Ethernet
  • No optical drive

Summary

The Razer Blade RZ09-01953E72-R3U1 is a new an improved version of the Razer Blade which offers a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card and a 512GB SSD.

Razer Blade RZ09-01953E72-R3U1 14-inch
$2099.99
Order Now
from Razerzone.com
(as of 05-06-2017 03:57 UTC) Details

More Razer Gaming laptops >>

Our Gaming Laptop Guides

Feel free to browse the guides below for more of our top picks. You can use this page and our extensive notes beliw as reference when comparing specs and other features or drop us a line if you have any specific questions.

Finding the Best Gaming Laptops Under $1500

Welcome to our regularly updated guide to the best gaming laptops under $1500 based on countless hours of research,  current critic and user reviews and raw hardware performance. In the past, a good gaming laptop would set you back at least $2000, though the times have changed and more and more manufacturers are offering great… Read more »


Finding the Best Cheap Gaming Laptops Under $500

Welcome to our weekly updated pro guide to the best cheap gaming laptops available for under $500 based on sales, pure hardware power, retailer discounts, professional reviews, and benchmarks. Cheap gaming laptops are as mythical as unicorns in the eyes of most gamers and finding them online can be a real chore. We spend hours of research… Read more »


Finding the Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000

Welcome to our current guide to the finest deals on gaming laptops under $1000 based on critic reviews, consumer feedback and hardware power. These mid-range gaming giants will pack enough punch to play modern titles on reasonable settings without leaving a hole in your pocket and can play graphics intensive games on medium to high settings… Read more »


Finding the Best VR-Ready Laptops & High-End Gaming Laptops

Welcome to our guide to the best VR-Ready laptops and high-end gaming laptops based on raw hardware performance, critic and user reviews, design and general pure gaming pedigree. Getting one of these epic gaming rigs will ensure everybody knows you mean serious business. They offer extremely competitive hardware and high framerates for modern titles featuring the latest Intel and… Read more »


Pro Tips For Making Your Decision

There are various things to lookout for that may influence your purchasing decision when deciding on the ultimate gaming laptop. You have to consider your budget and FPS (frames per second) you will get on your laptop while running various games on different settings. This is key to understanding what kind of machine you’ll need and now is the time to think these things through on top of figuring out what games you intend on playing and what the limitations of your budget are. We have listed some key pointers under our top picks below to help you while browsing our guides.  Having adequate power to run the games you want to play at decent framerates is a prerequisite for a quality gaming experience.

Budget Gamers

Budget laptops tend to have extremely limited gaming performance and get a heavy wrap from serious gamers. That said, don’t be fooled as if you are happy playing older games from 2013 or earlier you’ll generally have no problem if you pick a laptop with the right GPU. For example virtually all of the most popular games in the world, including Dota 2, League of Legends, World of Warcraft and Minecraft, will run perfectly fine on a sub-$500 gaming laptop. That said, if you are a slave to lush next-gen visuals and saving up is an option you might want to go for something under $1000 instead. Our under $500 guide features laptops with the NVIDIA GeForce 940M, AMD Radeon HD 8650G and AMD R6 / R5 integrated graphics. For under $600 you can also find laptops with NVIDIA GeForce GT 820M, which offers a pretty serious boost in performance at the expense of portability and battery life.

Mid-Level Gamers

Just like the budget market, the mid-range gaming laptop market has also exploded in recent years. Today for under $1000 you can get yourself a laptop capable of running virtually all modern titles at medium settings, a trend that is set to continue as modern hardware overtakes the demands of even the most intense new graphics engines on the market. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M based laptops come in comfortably under the $1000 mark and for under $1100 GeForce GTX 960M based laptops offer even better frame rates for next-gen titles. While you won’t quite be able to max out new games like the Witcher 3 on these machines, you will get a comfortable 30-40FPS on medium settings, which is more than playable for most users and with some performance tweaks you can find a nice balance without compromising on eye candy too much. While the next generation of NVIDIA cards are already out on the market, you will struggle to find a gaming laptop that features a GeForce GTX 1060 laptop edition for under $1000. Luckily there are both the GeForce GTX 1050 and the slightly more powerful GeForce GTX 1050 Ti which can now be found in a selection of laptops that are priced under $1000.

High-End Gamers

If you simply won’t settle with turning down your graphics and compromising on your gaming experience and you have the cash to blow, then it’s probably time to checkout our high-end gaming laptop guide. For under $2000, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M is the graphics setup to look out for. It will get a healthy 45 FPS for demanding titles such as the Witcher 3 and Dragon Age Inquisition on high settings. Still want more? The NVIDIA GTX 980M is currently the GPU of choice for $2000+ premium gaming laptops. It will squeeze an immersive 80FPS for the Witcher 3 at high settings. STILL not satisfied? Alright then. If you have $3000+ to spend and you’re ready to YOLO on your mobile gaming rig, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M SLI dual setup is the way to go. With a double up on the single 980M, this setup is capable of maxing out quite literally any current game on ultra settings at 100FPS+. If you want even more performance, then NVIDIA’s latest GeForce GTX 1070 and GeForce GTX 1080 laptop edition cards are worth looking out for. The GeForce GTX 1070 performs slightly better than the GTX 980M, while still being cheaper than the previous generation’s top of the line card. If you want a laptop that offers true future proofing, then the GeForce GTX 1080 is the graphics card that you want. The GeForce GTX 1080 scores 7% higher on 3DMark’s Fire Strike Graphics benchmark than the GTX 980M SLI setup, making it an extremely powerful card.

Hardware + Benchmarks

As we’ve outlined above hardware of your laptop, specifically the GPU, will make or break your laptop gaming experience.   We’ve rounded up the latest contenders from low-end to high-end along with links to relevant benchmarks powered by Notebookcheck  and CPUBenchmark so you can check them out yourself.

Graphics

Graphics power is the backbone of any gaming rig. While you get away with a relatively underpowered processor, there is simply no skimping when it comes to your GPU (graphics processing unit) if you hope to get the most value for money and the best gaming experience possible. AMD and NVIDIA are the two dominating forces currently shaping the market and they compete neck and neck with their technology. In the budget gaming graphics department AMD generally offers superior integrated graphics performance, whereas on higher end machines NVIDIA dedicated cards will usually take preference. The memory of your GPU is also an importer factor – the more memory the better, with higher end GPU’s starting with at least 2GB.

Budget GPU’s – Fastest to Slowest

Mid-Range GPU’s – Fastest to Slowest

High-End GPU’s  – Fastest to Slowest

For graphics processors that aren’t in this list checkout Notebookchecks full laptop graphics card comparison chart for a full list of all available laptop graphics cards on the market.

Processors

While not nearly as important for gaming as your GPU, your CPU (central processing unit) can still seriously affect gaming performance and should be your next biggest consideration after your graphics power. As above we have listed all current popular CPU’s in various price brackets to help you easily compare speeds based on available benchmarks. As with GPU’s, Intel and AMD are the big players here.

Budget CPU’s  – Fastest to Slowest

Mid-Range CPU’s – Fastest to Slowest

High-End CPU’s  – Fastest to Slowest

RAM

Although we haven’t focused too much on RAM (random access memory) yet, your laptops memory also plays a huge role in ensuring you get the optimal performance out of your CPU and GPU to prevent system bottlenecking. Having less than 8GB on a gaming rig can seriously hamper performance. Most RAM today is standardized DDR3 RAM, although not all RAM is equal and on high-end rigs you will find faster RAM. Although it’s not necessary to include benchmarks here, as a general rule 8GB of RAM is recommended as a minimum for gamers, with 16GB optimal for most high-end machines. Although some machines increase to over 16GB, this won’t necessarily increase performance unless you are doing some serious multitasking. For budget laptops that come with 4GB of RAM we recommend purchasing additional ramming and installing it yourself where possible.

Hard Drives

Most budget to mid-range laptops will offer standard HDDs (hard disk drives) with space varying from 500GB to 1TB upwards at a standard speed of 5400RPM. More high-end laptops may come with faster 7200RPM HDD’s and, ideally, SSDs (solid-state drives) which help prevent bottlenecking due to the data transfer speed when accessing your game files on your hard drive. Wherever possible, larger SSD’s are recommended, although SSD’s will only boost performance for files stored on the desk. This means you should install Windows and all of your games files on the SSD and keep media and other files on your regular hard drive. Depending on how many games you have you may need anywhere from a 128GB to a 512GB SSD to store all of your games, though larger SSD’s come with a serious price premium when it comes to laptops. As a general rule, 5400RPM hard drives are the slowest, 7200RPM are ideal for mid-range laptops, and high-end rigs should almost always include an SSD where possible.

Display & Screen Quality

The display quality of laptops vary drastically, with budget laptops generally suffering from inferior TN displays (Thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal) and more pricey machines coming with superior IPS displays (In-plane switching). All your really need to know minus the technical details is that as a rule TN displays suffer from poor viewing angles (when looking at your screen from the side) and inferior color reproduction compared to IPS displays, and in an ideal world all laptops would ship with IPS displays out the box. You will need to check reviews and feedback for each laptops display when doing your research, as not all displays are created equal and a below-par display can seriously hinder your gaming experience even if your hardware is the best there is. Often manufacturers will pack high performing hardware at the expensive of a poor quality screen.

The other coreelement of your display is your screen resolution. Modern budget gaming machines will generally come with a 1366 x 768 resolution, while more pricey alternatives will ship with a ‘full HD’ 1920 x 1080 resolution and a handful of laptops hitting the middle ground with a 1600 x 900 resolution. As always, bigger is generally better, although higher resolutions also require additional graphics power to run which is generally at the expense of your laptops portability and size. As always, some people are simply more-ish, and for these denizens we can now praise the new 4K resolution, which comes in at a whopping 3840 x 2160. While serious users living on the bleeding edge can look out for many new high-end 4K rigs at exorbitant prices, it’s also worth noting that most games are currently not fully optimized for 4k and the higher resolution will also wreak havoc on most mobile graphics cards with framerates suffering badly. At this stage of the game we’d only recommend going 4k if you plan on getting an SLI setup for your laptop, in which case enjoy you lucky bastard.

Although less important, there are also two different kinds of screen finishes – ‘matte’ and ‘gloss’ finishes. Matte screens are designed to provide the best viewing angles and reduce glare, where gloss screens provide much worse glare but generally provide more accurate color reproduction in optimal viewing conditions. For more on matte vs gloss displays checkout this article on HowToGeek.

Most gaming laptops come with screen sizes ranging from 15 inches to 17-inches, with a larger display being preferable for obvious reasons in order to create a more immersive gaming experience.

Design & Features

It’s great to talk about the ins and outs of laptop gaming hardware as if it’s the be all and all, but there is a another key element of the laptop mix that needs to be addressed too – design. As a general rule, most high-end gaming rigs are designed as a desktop replacement and as such are large, bulky, and, unless you are hitting the gym religiously, are bound to feel like a sack of bricks when carried around in your laptop case. Luckily there is still hope for portable users, with many leading manufacturers such as Alienware and Razer coming up with new 13-inch models aimed at striking a decent balance between portability and performance. Budget gamers are also in luck, as the integrated AMD graphics found in low-end gaming rigs means there is no dedicated graphics card to bulk things up. These budget AMD based rigs are general a lot more portable with better battery life’s than their high-end counterparts.

Other features worth noting are mechanical keyboards found in high-end gaming netbooks, such as SteelSeries partnership with MSI in their latest G-Series line-up  as well as backlit keyboards and other programmable LED lights for ensuring your opponents are ready to wet themselves if you ever head over to your friends house for a LAN or at your local Esports gaming tournament. While not a prereuqisite for a great gaming experience, these finishing touches can make or break your decision when comparing two similarly specced machines.

 

Happy hunting!
The LaptopNinja editorial team

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LaptopNinja Editorial Team

Our dedicated editorial team spend countless hours every week scouring the best deals across the web to help save you time and money.


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