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 […]
Best Gaming Laptops 2016 / 2017
Last Updated: 05 February, 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
The Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG features the most powerful graphics card and is available in our sub-$500 gaming laptop guide. While it is priced slightly over $500, the increased performance is well worth every cent. The NVIDIA GeForce 940MX will allow you to play Battlefield 4, Star Wars Battlefront and Overwatch on medium settings. And Diablo III, Counter Strike: Go and FIFA 2016 will run on ultra settings with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG is a budget friendly gaming laptop that offers great hardware at an extremely attractive price. The 6th generation Intel Core i5-6200U processor and 8GB of RAM will cope with day-to-day tasks with relative ease. The 8GB of DDR4 can easily be upgraded to 16GB and you can install a total of 32GB if you really want to push it to the max. If you are on a budget then we recommend a second 8GB RAM module from Kingston. But if you want better performance then we recommend replacing the installed Kingston Value RAM module for either the Kingston HyperX Impact (2x 8GB) kit, the G.SKILL Ripjaws (2x 8GB) kit or the CORSAIR Vengeance (2x 8GB) kit. These three RAM kits offer good performance and will run at 2133MHz. While many similarly priced laptops offer the NVIDIA GeForce 940M processor, the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG is equipped with the GeForce 940MX graphics card. The 940MX offers 20% better performance and will allow for casual gaming and will run most modern games on low to medium settings while still offering good frame rates. While the solid state drive offers lightning fast Windows 10 boot and game loading speeds, the 256GB of storage space is quite small for modern gaming titles. But luckily the installed SSD is an M.2 module and Acer has left the SATA slot open so that you can install a 2.5-inch hard drive. So you can install a second 250GB SSD to keep the performance on par with the installed storage, or you can install a larger yet slower 1TB mechanical hard drive. While many laptops under $600 are still being offered with maximum resolutions of 1366 x 786, the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG has a Full-HD display. The display offers good viewing angles, vivid colors and a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. A big draw card for the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG is its amazing battery life, users can expect up to 12 hours off of a single charge while browsing the web or working in Word, although expect that life reduced when gaming.
- 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (TN)
- 12 hours battery life
- 5.27 lbs
- NVIDIA GeForce 940MX GPU
- Excellent battery life
- USB Type-C
- Limited storage space
- Plain design
The Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG is a budget friendly gaming laptop that offers powerful hardware at an extremely attractive price. The storage space is limited to just 256GB and we recommend upgrading to a bigger drive.
Top Gaming Laptop Under $1000
While many gaming laptops feature aggressive stylings and are usually quite bulky, the ASUS K501UW-AB78 is quite different. Featuring a sleek aluminum design, the ASUS K501UW-AB78 is thin and light for a gaming machine, making it great for gamers after a portable solution. Sporting a 6th generation Intel Core i7-6500U processor and 8GB of RAM, the ASUS K501UW-AB78 will make light work of your daily tasks. But for more intensive apps we recommend upgrading the RAM to at least 16GB. While you can simply and cheaply add another 8GB 2133MHz DDR4 module, adding higher frequency RAM such as the G.SKILL Ripjaws 3000MHz (2x 8GB) kit will allow for better gaming performance. The dual cooling fans keep the ASUS K501UW-AB78 cool when under load, but users can expect to hear the fans slightly when pushing the laptops hardware. No gaming laptop would be complete without a dedicated graphics card. The ASUS K501UW-AB78 features an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, which will run Fallout 4 and Overwatch on ultra settings, but more intensive games will have to be run on medium and high settings to maintain good frame rates. One feature that is missing from the ASUS K501UW-AB78 is the addition of USB 3.1 Type-C. This would have helped to future proof the laptop as you could easily connect an External GPU dock to run more powerful desktop graphics cards. While some of its competitors are still offering smaller 256GB SSD’s, the ASUS K501UW-AB78 comes standard with a 512GB SSD for double the storage space. This will come in handy as newer games have dramatically increased in size over the last few years. The Full-HD display offers rich colors and will allow you to run most games with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The display also offers great viewing angles, but it is slightly small for gaming as a desktop replacement machine. But you will easily be able to connect a monitor or TV via the HDMI port for a much more pleasurable gaming experience or for enjoying 4K videos and movies.
- 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
- Windows 10 Home
- 4.4 lbs
- Skylake processor
- Dual fan cooling system
- GeForce GTX 960M
- Crisp Full-HD display
- No USB 3.1 Type-C
- No IPS display
- No optical drive
The ASUS K501UW-AB78 is a sleek gaming laptop that offers great hardware for gamers who are constantly on the go. But the lack of a USB 3.1 Type-C port means that it is not as future proof as some of its competitors.
from $949.00 (as of 23-02-2017 23:12 UTC) Details
Top High-End Gaming Laptop under $2000
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 Gaming (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. While the installed RAM performs well, you can always increase the ASUS ROG GL502VS-DB71’s performance by installing higher frequency RAM. We recommend either the CORSAIR Vengeance 3000MHz (2x 8GB) kit or the G.SKILL Ripjaws 3000MHz (2x 8GB) kit. 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. You can remove the M.2 solid state drive and replace it with a larger 512GB or 1TB SSD if want all of your games to load with lightning fast speeds. 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.
- 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
- Windows 10 Home
- 5 hours battery life
- 4.8 lbs
- Intel Skylake processor
- G-SYNC display panel
- HDD and SSD combo
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
- Thin and light
- Poor battery life
- Smaller keyboard
- Prone to heating up
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.
Top High-End Gaming Laptop over $2000
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.
- 17.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
- Windows 10 Pro
- 3.5 hours battery life
- 9.5 lbs
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
- Unlocked multiplier
- Good cooling system
- 32GB of RAM
- VR ready
- Bulky and heavy
- Battery life
- No RGB backlit keyboard
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.
Top MSI Gaming Laptop
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
- 6.48 lbs
- GTX 1070 graphics
- M.2 SSD + 7200rpm HDD
- Kaby Lake-based processor
- Full-HD display with G-SYNC
- Battery life
- No 4K display
- Average sized SSD
- No optical drive
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.
from $1,799.00 (as of 05-02-2017 06:32 UTC) Details
Top Razer Gaming Laptop
Razer have always prided themselves in offering great gaming hardware and gaming peripherals. Aesthetically nothing has changed, and you get the same great thin and light aluminum build as the rest of the Razer Blade range. But internally Razer has made some changes that greatly increase its performance. They have ditched the GeForce GTX 970M in favor of the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 laptop edition with 6GB of GDDR5 video RAM. The GTX 1060 is based off of the new Pascal architecture and offers far better graphics performance than the GTX 970M. While VR gaming is still in its infancy, the GTX 1060 has been designed to perform far better than the GTX 900-series cards giving it an advantage for future gaming experiences. So you shouldn’t have any issues when it comes to running your favorite games on higher settings. But 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. We recommend either the GTX 1080 or the AMD Radeon RX 480. Being a premium gaming laptop, it features a 6th generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor and 16GB of DDR4 2133MHz RAM, which combined will allow for lag free gaming and great performance when it comes to design apps. While the largest storage drive up until now was the 512GB edition, Razer has stepped up with the Razer Blade QHD+ RZ09-01952E73-R3U1. It features a large 1TB M.2 solid state drive for superfast speeds and for ample storage space. Like the current range, you get Razer Chroma which is Razer’s new individually lit backlit keyboard. The brilliant 14 inch 3200 x 1800 multi-touch display offers rich colors, wide viewing angles and is great for gaming or for media editing on the go. The 14-inch size format is perfect for those who are constantly on the go, as it slips easily into most backpacks and plane carry-ons.
- 14 inch, 3200 x 1800 pixels (IPS)
- Windows 10 Home
- 5 hours battery life
- 4.30 lbs
- Skylake i7 processor
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
- Thin and light
- USB Type-C
- 1TB M.2 SSD
- Heats up under load
- No Ethernet
The Razer Blade QHD+ RZ09-01952E73-R3U1 is a new an improved version that offers a massive 1TB SSD and a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card.
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. Many of you might still be torn between getting a desktop or a laptop – in this case we recommend checking our best gaming PCs guide and our best cheap gaming PCs guides over at DesktopcomputerNinja where you can compare the performance difference between laptops and desktops in more detail. If you are an avid online gamer playing team based games you’ll probably also want to browse the best gaming headsets on the market over at HeadphoneNinja to get the best audio possible.
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.
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. But soon we will see laptops sporting the GeForce GTX 1050 and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, which will be priced under $1000.
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 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
- Intel Iris Graphics 550 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- Intel Iris Graphics 540 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- Intel HD Graphics 620 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- AMD Radeon R7 M260X [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce 920MX [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- AMD Radeon R7 (Kaveri) [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- AMD Radeon R6 (Kaveri) [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- AMD Radeon HD 8650G [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce 820M [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- Intel HD Graphics 520 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- AMD Radeon R5 M230[ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- Intel HD graphics 4600 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- Intel HD Graphics 5500 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- Intel HD Graphics 615 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- AMD Radeon R5 (Carrizo) [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- AMD Radeon R5 (Kaveri) [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- Intel HD Graphics 4400 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- Intel HD Graphics 510 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
Mid-Range GPU’s – Fastest to Slowest
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX960M [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M [VIEW FRAMERATES]
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce 945M [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- AMD Radeon R9 M470X [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- AMD Radeon R9 M380 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce GT840M [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce 940M [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- AMD Radeon R9 M275 [VIEW FRAMERATES]
High-End GPU’s – Fastest to Slowest
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M SLI [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- AMD Radeon R9 M395X [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- AMD Radeon R9 M395 [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M [VIEW FRAMERATES]
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M [VIEW FRAMERATES]
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M [ VIEW FRAMERATES ]
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M [VIEW FRAMERATES]
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.
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
- AMD A8-8600P [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i5-4210U [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- AMD A10-5750M [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i3-4000M [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- AMD A10-5757M [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- AMD A10-7300 [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- AMD A8-7100 [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i3-4030U [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- AMD A8-7410 [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- AMD A8-5545M [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- AMD A8-6410 [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- AMD A6-6310 [ VIEW BENCHMARKS
Mid-Range CPU’s – Fastest to Slowest
- Intel Core i5-6300HQ [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i5-4210H [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i7-6500U [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i5-6300U [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- AMD FX-9800P [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i5-4200M [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i5-6200U [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i7-4510U [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i3-6100H [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- AMD A10-9600P [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- AMD A10-8700P [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i5 5200U [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
High-End CPU’s – Fastest to Slowest
- Intel Core i7-6820HK [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i7-6820HK [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i7-6700HQ [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i7-4800MQ [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i7-4720HQ [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i7 4710HQ [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i7 4710MQ [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i7-4700HQ [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i7-4700MQ [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i7-4712MQ [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
- Intel Core i7-4702HQ [ VIEW BENCHMARKS ]
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.
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.
Our Gaming Laptop Guides
Now that you are well equipped, feel free to browse the guides below for our top picks. You can use this page as a reference when comparing specs and other features or drop us a line if you have any specific questions.
The LaptopNinja editorial team
Aspire E5-551-T1Z2 15.6-inch
Razer Blade 14 RZ09-01301E22-R3U1 14-inch
ASUS X550JK-DH71 15.6-inch
ASUS K501LX-NB52 15.6-inch
ASUS K501LX-EB71 15.6-inch
Acer Aspire V17 VN7-791G-792A Nitro Black Edition 17.3-inch
Lenovo ThinkPad E555 20DH002TUS 15.6-inch