Thursday, September 29, 2022

What Is The Best Value Gaming Laptop

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Gigabyte Aero 15 And 15 Oled

The BEST Value Gaming Laptop of 2020?

While the Asus and Razer models above are more versatile and cater consistently towards gamers with their performance and fast screen, Gigabyte takes a different approach with their 2021 Aero 15: they offer the same premium-tier chassis and features in two types of configurations: one thats more affordable and pairs a FHD 144 Hz screen with modern Intel + Nvidia specs, and another that primarily caters to creators and those who value an OLED high-gamut screen, on the Aero 15 OLED. But OLED panels are quirky on laptops and not ideal for gaming, with their 60 Hz refresh.

Compared to the competition, Gigabytes Aero 15 is one of the very few to offer a complete set of ports, a full-size keyboard with a NumPad section, and a 99 Wh battery. Gigabyte also take a different approach to the power profiles and optimizations, which is controlled by software that automatically adjusts the CPUs power and fan profiles based on the app that youre running at a given time. Its not spotless, but it works surprisingly well, and allows the Aero 15 to run quietly and cooly in most cases, without requiring manual fiddling with the settings.

On the other hand, Gigabytes design language might not be for everyone, and their software doesnt tweak the GPU in any way, which can only be done manually. But all in all, this is definitely an option to consider, especially if you want an OLED screen and youre willing to pay the extra for it.

The Best Gaming Laptops In 2021

The best gaming laptop for your needs can be hard to find, and the search used to be an undertaking fraught with compromises: you could get a lightweight laptop with anemic performance or a powerful machine that really pushed the boundaries of what can really be called a laptop. But gaming laptops have improved a lot over the past few years, most notably thanks to more powerful and efficient GPUs from Nvidia and AMD.;

You can even get gaming laptops that are slim and slick that can run modern triple-A games at high settings. Of course, if you still want a very powerful gaming laptop thats designed more as gaming desktop replacement, there are plenty of great options.

In short, its now easier than ever to pick one of the best gaming laptops around. Granted, there are still some things to weigh up, but take a look at our picks below and youre sure to find a machine that suits your needs. ;

Almost There: Acer Predator Triton 500 And Msi Gs66 Stealth

There are a couple of other good options in this segment and I just cant move on without at least mentioning them and linking to our detailed reviews for more details.

The Acer Predator Triton 500, which weve reviewed in this article, focuses primarily on being a gaming ultraportable, and it might just be the best-value option in this whole segment if thats all you care for.

Acer prioritized on making this more affordable than the competition, but without compromising on those aspects that matter in games: a fast 300 Hz 3ms screen with GSync support, an RGB keyboard, good thermals, and specs and power-profiles optimized around the gaming experience. That means youre only getting a FHD 300 Hz screen and a 6Core Intel processor with the Triton 500, but the same kind of RTX 2070 Super and 2080 Super graphics available with the other options, yet overclocked.

This approach allows Acer to sell the RTX 2070 Super version of the Triton 500 for $1799 at the time of this update, several hundreds of dollars cheaper than the competition. Follow this link for updated configurations, prices, and user reviews.

Finally, our detailed review of the MSI GS66 Stealth Thin is available over here.

The clean design lines, the quick keyboard, the good IO, and the huge 99 Wh battery tucked inside a premium aluminum chassis recommend it for business and work environments, just make sure to read our detailed reviews for details on all its quirks before jumping on this.

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More Powerful Less Portable The Best Value Gaming Laptops

This section of the article focuses on the value gaming laptops, those that will give you the best gaming experience for your money. It includes our recommendations in a few price-brackets, without taking the thin-and-light form-factor into consideration. Even so, most of these computers are still compact and fairly portable, and only the most powerful models completely leave that aspect aside.

Options under $1000

Your sure bet at this price is still with one of the Pascal GTX 1060 variants of last years. The Acer Predator Helios 300, the MSI GL63 Raider the Lenovo Legion Y530 come to mind as the better options, and youll find all about them from our reviews.

With these, youll somewhat sacrifice on the build quality, the design lines, and the battery life, but not on the performance, thermals or on a fast 144Hz screen. As a result, these can handle FHD gaming at medium-high settings well.

However, several of the newer GTX 1660Ti models are creeping under $1000 as well. Id primarily keep an eye on the 1660Ti variants, as these are not only faster in games, but they also benefit from the generation update. That means most of these laptops are more compact and lighter than those 2018 models, get RGB keyboards and improved thermal modules, among others.

Follow the links above for our in-depth reviews, or this one for an updated selection of sub-$1000 gaming laptops based on GTX 1660Ti graphics at the time youre reading the article.

Options in the $1000-$1500

Components And Connectivity: What To Know

Top 10 Best Cheap Gaming Laptops

The good news is that you’ll have to accept fewer compromises with the budget laptops of today than you did in the past. Intel’s Celeron and Pentium processors have evolved to the point that they can support most of your web browsing and basic productivity needs without feeling sluggish. That said, the $400-to-$700 Windows laptop market is mostly populated by systems based on the much peppier Core i3, Core i5, Ryzen 3, and Ryzen 5 families of processors. Opt for these CPU lines if you need more than just the basics.

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The Best Laptops For Going Back To School

Back to school season has arrived, and you may be searching for a new laptop that’s well-suited to the demands of a full day of classes. That means you probably want something that’s light enough to carry all day and efficient enough to last through a full day at school on a single charge.

While you can’t go wrong with the Dell XPS 13, the Asus Zenbook 13 is a slightly better choice when you need a laptop for school. It’s light, has incredible 15-hour battery life, and is speedy enough to handle pretty much any homework you throw at it. Plus, the OLED display is gorgeous, and the Zenbook is reliably a few hundred bucks cheaper than the XPS 13 with OLED.

What Gaming Laptop Features Should You Consider

Gaming laptop spec sheets can fluster even seasoned PC gamers. Keep your cool by focusing on a few key specifications:

  • Graphics card: Look for a discrete, dedicated graphics card from Nvidia or AMD, then compare their model numbers. The higher the number, the more powerful the card.
  • Display: Aim for a big, bright screen with a resolution of at least 1080p and a high refresh rate .
  • RAM: Laptops with lots of memory16GB is a good goalhelp keep games running smoothly even during scenes with overwhelming action.
  • Storage: A laptop with a solid-state drive , as opposed to a standard hard disk, will likely be a little pricier, but provides lightning-quick loading times.

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How To Pick A Gpu For A Gaming Laptop

The single most important piece of hardware in a gaming laptop is undoubtedly the GPU. For AMD fans, the situation is as sad as it is in CPUs: Its an Nvidia GeForce world.;As with CPUs though, the good news is that the dominating products are top-notch.

The hardest part will be deciding just how much GPU you need. Our general guidance is to buy as fast a GPU as you can afford and are willing to heft. Generally, the faster the GPU , the larger and heavier the laptop.

Because one of the easiest buying mistakes is to not be armed with enough knowledge, weve compiled a list of results weve seen from gaming laptops using 3DMark Time Spy. Its a DirectX 12 test that is a good representation of modern gaming. Our score focuses in on the graphics portion only, so the CPU differences have very little impact on the score.


Heres how various gaming laptops perform in the DirectX 12 graphics test Time Spy. We hone in only on the graphics performance so the CPU performance doesnt matter very much.

We generally think the GTX 1050 or GTX 1650 is a good 1080p GPU, if youre willing to play on medium settings. To hit High in some games, youll need to lower the resolution to 720p.

If you really want 60 fps at 1080p with few compromises, the GeForce GTX 1660Ti or GeForce RTX 2060 is a good level of graphic card to shoot for.;If you need to feed a high-refresh panel of 144Hz or 240Hz at 1920×1080, wed recommend notching up to an GeForce RTX 2070 or even higher.

Display Details Part One: Size And Resolution


You should keep four specs in mind when looking at a given gaming laptop’s display panel: the screen size, the native resolution, the refresh rate, and the panel type.

As we noted earlier, 15.6 inches is the general screen-size rule for most under-$1,000 gaming laptops. This size is a good compromise in ways that extend beyond cost. Sometimes, gaming on the biggest laptop screen possibleâand with a few exotic exceptions, that’s the 17-inch classâis the way to go. But if you’ve ever tried carrying one of these machines, or shopped for a laptop bag that can fit both it and its gigantic power adapter, you may have second thoughts. Many of these notebooks weigh eight pounds or more, and the lightest ones tend to be far from the cheapest.

A 15-inch gamer still won’t be an ideal daily traveler, but most are a lot more manageable than their larger kin. Also, today’s 15-inch gaming rigs are better suited for use in true mobile fashionâthat is, off an AC power plugâthan those of past years. We’ve seen a few hit six or more hours of battery life, albeit in everyday productivity use or playing back video; gaming will trim that number considerably.

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What Should You Look For When Buying A New Laptop

There are certain things you can look out for when buying a new laptop in 2021 that can ensure you get the best laptop for your money.

Make sure you take a look at the specifications of a laptop before buying. This is a good way of quickly seeing how powerful a laptop is, and what it is capable of as long as you know what youre looking for.

First of all is the processor. This is essentially the brain of the laptop, and a laptop will usually have a processor made by either Intel or AMD. Intel is by far the most popular CPU maker for laptops, though were seeing an increasing number of AMD-powered laptops as well.

As a general rule of thumb, Intel processors offer better performance, but AMD processors are better value.

To make things more simple, both Intel and AMD have numbered their processors to give you a rough idea of what sort of tasks a laptop with that processor can perform.

If youre after a budget laptop for simple tasks like browsing the web or watching Netflix, then a laptop with an Intel Pentium, Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3, processor will do that job without making the laptop too expensive.

If youre after something with a bit more oomph perhaps to do more complex task like editing your home videos or playing games then go for a laptop with an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor as a minimum.

A newer processor performs better and is more power efficient so battery life will last longer. They are more expensive, though.

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. ;

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Th Acer Nitro 5 An515

The second Nitro 5 on our list features an;Intel Core i5-10300H instead of AMDs Ryzen 7, as well as a RTX 3060 GPU with 95 W TGP, a 15-inch display, and 16 GB of RAM.

Despite a previous generation GPU gaming performance and, more importantly its price, are good.

The RTX 3060 SKU is currently unavailable in North America. The RTX 3050 model sells on with prices starting at around $850.

Storage: Ssds Rule But A Mix Is Better

Best Gaming Laptops under $1500 in 2020

You’ll see both ordinary hard drives and swifter solid-state drives in under-$1,000 laptops. The occasional 15.6-inch-screen model might offer a small-capacity SSD boot drive alongside a secondary-storage platter hard drive, though this is more common with 17-inch laptops.

Opt for this dual-drive approach if you can find it and afford it. The smaller SSD would be home to the operating system and a few favorite games, and the larger, more economical hard drive would host the rest of your games and other programs that don’t need quick loading times. Some budget gaming laptops let you add the second drive yourself inside an empty internal 2.5-inch bay. That can be the most economical choice, as 2.5-inch hard drives of significant capacity can be had for well less than $100.

In a gaming laptop, an SSD plus a hard drive is the best of both storage worlds. This is especially recommended given how large modern game installations have become, ballooning over 100GB at times. Your small SSD will fill up quickly. In terms of gaming performance, the storage subsystem affects game load times and in-game level changes. It can be of special importance in MMORPGs, where huge environments are loaded in real time. Thus, having at least some fast, SSD-based storage is desirable. To our eyes, you should only opt for an SSD boot drive at this point in time. The difference in performance “feel” between a hard drive and an SSD boot drive is too big to ignore.

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The Graphics Processor: Now Here’s Where To Spend

The dedicated graphics chip is the backbone of any gaming computer. In budget gaming machines, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX line dominates the market, and the latest chips at this writing are part of the company’s GeForce GTX 1600 series, or “Turing” family, which rolled out in April 2019 in mobile versions of the GeForce GTX 1650 and GTX 1660 Ti. The GTX 1650 Ti joined the family in April 2020, fitting in between those two.

However, due to some changes in Nvidia’s stack, it’s not just about GTX at this price. When Nvidia launched the GTX 1650 Ti on laptops in April 2020, it also lowered the starting price for laptops with its RTX 2060 GPU to just $999. The RTX 2060 will only be found in laptops at the very top of the “budget” price range , and even then, only in a couple of selected models. But still, it technically brings the RTX line and its signature ray-tracing capabilities to this category. This means gaming at high settings on an entry-level laptop is more attainable than ever.

Meanwhile, this spring, Nvidia rolled out the new, mainstream GeForce RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti GPUs for gaming laptops. So far, they haven’t quite hit laptops under $1,000, but we’ve seen a few RTX 3050-based machines starting at around $1,100 or $1,200.

The Best Laptop With Flashy Rgb

If youre looking for a traditional premium gaming laptop with colorful, flashy panache, the ROG Strix Scar 15 is for you. The Strixs keyboard isnt just one of the most comfortable that weve ever tested on a gaming laptop; it also has some of the coolest per-key RGB lighting weve ever seen with all kinds of effects. Theres also a colorful light strip wrapped around the front of the deck and a colorful glowing logo on the lid. In short: if you use this in public, people will notice.

Of course, the Strix is great on the inside as well, delivering some of the best frame rates youll find from a 15-inch laptop with Intels and Nvidias top chips. Youll get the full benefit of their power with a 300Hz screen option as well. And the Strix comes preloaded with various programs to help customize your gaming experience. You can personalize color profiles, bandwidth allocation, and more based on the type of game youre playing.

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