So Which Gaming Laptop Should I Buy
Our list of picks is ever-evolving as we test new models. We have organized our choices into our current favorites in the budget , midrange , and high-end categories at each of the two major gaming-laptop screen sizes . Smaller gaming laptops fall into the “ultraportable gaming” class, and we’ve also designated a few additional favorites for areas such as overall value and unusual designs . On occasion, we may designate a model in a different price class than what we tested it at, if the base model starts at a lower price.
Also note that the budget class has seen some price inflation in 2021, given the silicon shortages and supply-chain issues that have plagued the industry since the pandemic began. Before, we’d have set a hard limit of $999 for budget gaming machines, but we are seeing prices rises at the lower end of this market. So we’ve lifted the price ceiling for that class of gaming machines.
Where To Buy
Gaming Laptop Storage: Stick With An Ssd
You should definitely give preference to a system with a solid-state drive as the boot drive, since prices have fallen considerably over the past few years. SSDs speed up boot time, wake-from-sleep time, and the time it takes to launch a game and load a new level.
Go ahead and get a gaming laptop with an SSD, but make sure you configure correctly. A small-capacity SSD with a roomy spinning secondary hard drive is a good start if you also download the occasional video from the internet. Higher-capacity SSDs are available, but choosing one will increase the purchase price of your gaming rig by a bunch.
SSDs are very fast, but in terms of capacity, your money goes much further with hard drives. Adding more SSD capacity can make the price rise very quickly. Still, recognize how big modern game downloads can be and shop accordingly. A too-small SSD can mean you’re forever shuffling games on and off the drive.
Asus Rog Strix G Gl531gt
Another budget-friendly pick in the gaming marketplace is the 15.6 Asus ROG Strix G GL531GT-EB76 laptop.
It comes with decent specs: an Intel Core i7-9750H processor, 16GB RAM, a 1TB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics.
What really stands out is the superb cooling mechanism that employs 12V fans and adjustable fan modes to keep things going.
The heat dissipation system also uses an anti-dust technology to keep your laptop sustainable amidst intense gaming sessions.
We particularly love the keyboard that supports an n-key rollover and has been torture tested for 20 million keypresses. Asus has also ensured mobility for gamers with this laptopit is about 1 thick and weighs only 5.28lbs.
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Msi Gs75 Stealth Best For Performance
The only reason why this gaming laptop isnt somewhere near the top of this list is its forbiddingly high price. Most of the other things about it are absolutely incredible and would make any ardent gamer swoon.
The Max-Q design was announced by Nvidia in 2017 and the idea was that gaming laptops of the future would not only be faster and more powerful, but also thinner, sleeker, and far lighter than their predecessors. The MSI GS75 is a tangible testament to this claim and has really lived up to its name.
The MSI GS75 laptop comes as an upgrade to the MSI GS65 model and has much of the same design: black and gold with an aluminum chassis. However, it has a larger screen, a sleeker look, and, of course, much more powerful specs. That said, we didnt like the terrible paint job on this laptop as it has a tendency to chip easily. We also didnt like the touchpad, which is surprisingly uncomfortable and makes you want to buy an external mouse immediately.
The rest though is good news. The aluminum alloy chassis houses a top of the range GeForce RTX graphics chip. This chip offers all of the ray tracing capabilities that have come to define the Turin architecture line of GPUs. It also comes with a Core i7 processor no matter which particular configuration you decide to purchase. The RAM comes in at a whopping 32 GB, which is not only good, but is overkill for gaming. The SSD also has a high enough capacity that it should be enough for gaming.
Gaming Laptops At Costco
Evaluating the storage capacity is the first thing you need to look out for in any computer. Laptops are known for offering great battery life, but the amount of available space is often a deciding factor. If you are going to store large game libraries on your computer, a dedicated video card or a larger hard drive will be necessary to keep the machines running.
Gaming Laptops At Costco are extremely powerful, but they do need a system or case to house them. You can find laptops with low-price tags, but they may not be powerful enough for all of your tasks. On the other hand, a high-end laptop often referred to as a workhorse, can often handle any task you throw at it. You will need to make sure that the processor in the computer matches the price of the laptop.
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How To Choose One Of The Best Gaming Laptops
Power or portability? Youll need to consider what type of gaming and where youll be doing it before you decide whats the best gaming laptop for you. Do you plan to mostly play triple-A demanding games at home and on a desk, but have the scope to occasionally move your machine, then a chunkier and more powerful gaming laptop, like the Alienware Area 51m might be best. But if you plan to carry your gaming laptop around a fair bit, say for LAN parties, then a thinner and lighter laptop like the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin could be for you.
Display: These days theres a wide range of display choice for gaming laptops. You can get a standard 60Hz 1080p panel that might come with built-in anti-screen-tearing features like Nvidias G-Sync. But if youre willing to pay more, you can get gaming laptops with high refresh-rate displays, often sitting at 144Hz. But the latest machines can hit 240Hz, with those on the cutting-edge sporting 300Hz displays. HIgh refresh-rate displays are great for people who play fast-paced games such as Overwatch or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. But if you mostly plan to plug in an external monitor, then you might be better off saving money by going for a 60Hz Full HD screen.
What If You Want Something Cheaper
If you have a limited budget of somewhere between $800 and $1200, then you can still get a gaming laptop. However, you should be prepared for a number of sacrifices. Your goal should definitely be to maximize power while keeping within your price range. However, not all of the components in your gaming laptop will be of the same quality or capacity as what you see in the high end laptops. Still, $1200 is reasonable for someone looking for a gaming laptop and you should be able to get something solid.
The greatest sacrifice you will have to make in this price range has to do with graphics. The dedicated GPU is among the priciest components of a gaming laptop and is what contributes the most to the gaming power of a gaming laptop. In fact, as mentioned earlier in this article, it single-handedly makes or breaks a laptop. It is therefore important that you pay attention to the GPU when considering your options. The good news is that even laptops in the $800 to $1200 range have capable GPUs, if less powerful ones.
Even before the Turin series of GPUs was launched, budget laptops had Pascal series GPUs. These include the GTX 1050, the GTX 1050 Ti, and the GTX 1060. The GTX 1060 is the most powerful of these inexpensive GPUs.
There are options that focus more on value, such as the GeForce GTX 1660 and the GTX 1660 Ti, but these are for desktops and have only just started being put into laptops.
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Asus Rog Strix G15 Ports
You want ports? You got ports. The Strix G15 has a pair of USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports and a headset jack on the left of the laptop, leaving the right bare. The rest of the ports reside in the rear with another USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, a HDMI 2.0 port, an RJ-45 jack and a power port.
Asus Rog Flow X13 With Xg Mobile
Asus pairs an ultraportable 13-inch two-in-one that has a relatively powerful AMD CPU with an external GPU dock equipped with a top-of-the-line Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 mobile processor, and the result is an incredibly flexible system for both work and play that outperforms many bigger, clunkier gaming laptops. Because it’s a two-in-one, you can comfortably use an external gaming keyboard without the built-in keyboard getting in the way. The standalone model has gotten an upgrade to an Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti since I reviewed it, but the bundle with the XG Mobile still has a GTX 1650.
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It Is Possible To Game On The Cheap
The best gaming laptops keep improving with more advanced features, better designs, stronger internals, and even improved battery lives. And, right alongside those premium gaming laptops, cheap gaming laptops are reaping the benefits. You can now find budget gaming laptops that easily handle the latest PC games thanks to Nvidia’s GTX 16-Series graphics and AMD’s Ryzen 4000-series mobile CPUs. Even some higher-end Nvidia RTX GPUs have made their way into cheap gaming laptops for a portable ray tracing experience.
So, whether you’re just looking for an affordable machine to help you PC game on the go, we’ve picked out the best machines for you and . If you want even more discount options, check out these certified refurbished laptops on eBay.
Asus Rog Strix G15 Audio
Ugh, when will laptop manufacturers learn, undercarriages are for cooling, not audio. Asus placed the Strix G15s speakers on the bottom near the front lip. They barely filled my smallish living/dining area. Still, when I listened to Cleo Sols When Im in Your Arms, I couldnt deny how warm the bass sounded and how clearly I heard the strings and rainstick. And thats before Sols sweet soprano came through entreating her lover for security and intimacy.
When I played Control, the nonsense ramblings of the Hiss were disconcerting as usual, but it didnt induce the usual anxiety. The lack of volume took some of the threat off. I wish there were some audio settings to tweak, but alas there are none that apply to this situation.
The audio controls Asus does provide, correlate to the Two-Way AI Noise Cancellation section in Armoury Crate. Its here where you can adjust the noise cancelling levels for both the mic and the speakers.
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Asus Rog Strix G15 Heat
Its a tale as old as time. Slim laptop with powerful specs needs creative cooling solutions. For the Strix G15, Asus pulled a number of tricks out of its hat. Starting with ROG Intelligent Cooling, a combination of software and hardware implementations to keep things comfortable. The laptop has a new vapor cooling design which dissipates heat over a wider surface area, liquid metal thermal paste which Asus claims is 10% more efficient than your standard thermal paste.
BTW, thermal paste is that sticky stuff you find on your CPU and GPU when you open up the system, it helps keep the surface its in contact with cooler, allowing better performance when running those higher clock speeds.
The laptop also sports four heatsinks, each lined with copper fins that are only 0.01 millimeters thick, which helps with heat dissipation. And you have an upgraded fan design with each fan rocking 84 blades of variable thickness and shape for better cooling and a quieter performance. Theres also a self-cleaning thermal module that makes sure that dust buildup doesnt hinder cooling thereby impeding performance.
Lastly, Asus went so far as to put an IR sensor under the K in the keyboard so the laptop can bring extra cooling to your fingers during those heated marathon sessions.
Once the system cooled down, we ran a 15-minute fullscreen video and remeasured. The touchpad registered 77 degrees while the keyboard and bottom measured 92 and 99 degrees, respectively.
Acer Predator Helios 500
The Acer Predator Helios 500 is a monstrous gaming laptop with a strong engine that can handle any video game. If your preference is an immersive gaming experience, then this is one of your best buys. Its advanced components make it feel like a desktop computer-tailored in the form of a laptop. The Helios 500 comes in three different models to make it the best budget gaming laptop. It is very sturdy as a lot of the buttons and ports are stuffed in the chassis with blue trimmings.
The hallmark of this laptop is its capacity to work seamlessly on ultra-settings in games. This Predator generates a lot of heat which is managed with two 3D fans, five heat pipes, four exhausts, and two intakes. The back of the Acer gaming laptop contains a panel that helps users access the hard drive and RAM.
Talking about the design, the keyboard is properly laid out but the keys are very irresponsible. This poor sensitivity also applies to the trackpads.
The Acer Predator Helios excellently displays games and movies with proper color reproduction. The screen has a 1080p resolution, a 17.3-inch IPS display, and a 144fps. The 720p webcam is very quality and is very nice for video calling.
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Asus Rog Strix G15 Advantage
Why you should buy this: It is a high-performing gaming laptop for an affordable price.
Who its for: The gamer who wants the best performance at the lowest price.
Why we picked the Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage:
AMD has made a name for itself in gaming laptops, beating Intel out in many of the best gaming laptops. But all-AMD gaming laptops are still very rare, which is unfortunate, given how powerful theyve proved to be. The ROG Strix G15 Advantage model is the flagship example. It sports the Ryzen 9 5900HX and the Radeon RX 6800M a true competitor of the Nvidia RTX 3080.
Despite being much cheaper, the ROG Strix G15 Advantage performs great, offering high-performance gaming at a cheaper price. Of course, its far from a sleek or subtle design, taking inspiration from racing and sports, as is common with the Strix brand.
If you dont mind the look and the extra heft in this one, youll love the performance-per-dollar value of the ROG Strix G15 Advantage.
Asus Rog Zephyrus Duo Se 15 Gaming Laptop
The Best dual-screen gaming laptop with a 300Hz refresh rate display
Screen: 15.6-inch, smooth 300Hz 3ms, IPS-Type Full HD Display with ultra-slim Bezel | CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz | Storage: 1TB PCIe SSD | Ports: 4 USB ports ), USB 3.2 Gen 1 , HDMI Port, RJ45 ports, Ethernet | Speaker: 4W*2 speakers | Weight: 2.57 kg
- Solid performance and graphics
ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo SE 15 Review :
The ROG Zephyrus Duo SE 15 from ASUS is a combination of almost everything that you could look for on a gaming laptop. This gaming powerhouse from ASUS runs on an NVIDIA RTX 3060 graphics card that works alongside a powerful Ryzen 7 5800H CPU. With all that horsepower, you can easily play the biggest PC games on the Zephyrus Duo SE 15 without having to worry about any choppy frames or lagging. The laptop has a large IPS panel and it comes with RGB lighting which gives it a very attractive aesthetic appeal.
That being said, there are a couple of downsides to this laptop as well: the laptops battery backup isnt that great either, much like most gaming laptops in this price range. At its best, you can expect it to last slightly over 3 hours.
This laptop is quite a performance-focused beast, if money isnt a major constraint for you, you can definitely go with this laptop and be assured that itll give you a great gaming experience.
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The Best Gaming Laptop Deals This Week*
*Deals are selected by our partner, TechBargains
Some laptops in this class support QHD or 4K screens, a hard drive to supplement the SSD, and ultra-efficient cooling fans as optional extras. Thanks to modern advancements, an increasing number of these are even fairly thin and portable. With laptops in this tier, you’ll either pay a premium for high-end performance in a thin chassis, or for pay for the most possible power in a chunkier build.
Lenovo Legion Y740 Best For Hardcore Gamers
- Small trackpad
The Legion series of Lenovo laptops has been around for a few years now, and have managed to make a name for themselves in the gaming niche because of the amount of value they offer when it comes to affordable specs.
Lenovo is mainly known for ThinkPads, where it focuses on getting the most in terms of performance from the cheapest of materials while maintaining design and quality. This philosophy has carried over into the Legion series and seems to be working very well, especially with the Lenovo Legion Y740. This laptop has an incredibly wide screen at 17.3 inches and graphics chips that range from the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 to the RTX 2080, all extremely powerful graphics cards, and all coming at just a fraction of the price you would get from competitors.
To be honest, the bezels on Legion laptops are wider and more distracting than what is currently considered normal in this space. However, the very wide screen also uses technology that is typically rare. The IPS 144Hz display features Dolby Vision HDR and G-Sync, which means you dont have to get software adaptive protocols.
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