The best options under/around $600 are gaming laptops with a Radeon 8750M performance level and 1080p screen. The 1080p screen is a big plus compared to past laptops under $600 and you should look for it. The Radeon 8750M / 7730M GPUs or the Nvidia GT 730M (which I see no more) offer good medium-range gaming performance, even for 1080p resolution.
Compared to the HD4600 / Radeon 7660G integrated graphics, the 8750M is easily 50%-100% faster on average, depends on the game, so it is a much more cost effective way to go. The Dell 3540, when available as refurbished is a very cost effective gaming laptop with a very nice 1080p display, so I’d suggest waiting.
- Acer V3-572G 15.6″ for $590. Comes with GT 840M, I5-4210U CPU, 8GB DDR3 RAM which is very nice and 1TB HDD. The screen is probably of low quality, but I’m sure you can replace it easily as it is an eDP display (probably) like in the V5-552G case. A good 1080p IPS level display will cost you around $80-$90 tops. A very good deal.
- HP 15z-j100 - 15.6″ (Coupon: SAVE15HP) with 1080p screen and Radeon 8750M for around $600. The Radeon 8750M performance should be around the GT 730M and 740M, depends on drivers and the specific game. The price does not include the and the 1080p screen is one of the top quality displays, so I would either go with one of the other options or go up to $700 (check recommendation).
- Acer V5-561G-6407 15.6″ with Radeon R7 M265 (which is actually the older 8750M), 6GB DDR3 and 500G HDD. Weight is around 2.4kg (not as good as the previous V5-552G 2kg) and it is rather cool and quiet. The only problem is the lousy 720p display – for those of us who like to tinker with stuff, I would recommend replacing the display with a good like this AUO 1080p IPS display – see here how it works. Battery performance should be around 4-5 hours *at least* and build quality is so-so.
For heavy gamers, I would recommend saving some more money or wait for good refurbished deals.
For higher performance, I suggest checking the 600$-800$ gaming laptops recommendations. The $800 up to $1000-$1100 gaming laptops are usually much more cost effective in terms in gaming performance (like screen quality) and general value you get for your money.
|Model (link to coupon)||GPU/CPU||Street Price||Why||Why not||sources|
|HP Envy 15z-j100||Radeon R7 M265 / 8750M / A8-5750M||$600-$600|
|Acer Aspire V5-552G-8632 15.6″||Radeon 8750M / A8-5557M||$530|
|HP Pavilion dv6z-7000 review|
|1, 2 (review with GT 630M)|
|[OOS] Dell Inspiron 15R SE 15.6″||Radeon 7730M / I5||$550-$600 from eBay||Inspiron 15R SE review|
|GT 555M / I5-2450M||580$ (||Lenovo Y570 review|
|[OOS, only refurbished] Asus N56 DP-DH11 15.6″||Radeon HD 7730M / A10-4600M||$600 refurbished from eBay||review|