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 $6011 Plugin Update0 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.
- [soon will be over] Acer V7-582PG 15.6″ ($630 refurbished currently) with GT 750M DDR3, I5-4200U and 1080p IPS display. Currently for $700 with coupon, it’s an excellent combination of high quality 1080p display and midrange gaming performance with the GT 750M. The Acer V7-482PG weighs less than 5lbs and has a stylish design. If you are limited to $700, this one has a very high gaming performance in this sub section, while having an IPS display – this is the only one with such combination for such a price.
- [someties] The Asus Q550LF is now selling for $600 refurbished with I7-4500U, GT 745M, 1080p IPS display, 1TB HDD and 8GB RAM. It’s actually a very good deal if you are ok with a refurbished laptop. It might not as fast for gaming as the Dell 3540, but it’s pretty close to it and has an IPS display.
- Asus X550LNV 15.6″ gaming laptop, $630, with GT 840M, 1080p display, 8GB RAM, 750GB HDD and Win8.1. No in-depth reviews yet, but if you want an Asus laptop or you want to keep it close to $600 and get some (low) midrange gaming performance, this is a good option. I would suggest waiting for more information.
- [sometimes] Refurbished Dell Latitude 3540 15.6″ for $525 (before tax and shipping) – with Radeon 8850M, I5-4200U and 1080p display you can’t really get a better value for your money. The 3540 also has low heat emissions and good battery performance under light load. Easily my favorite in this price range.
- HP 15z-j100 - 15.6″ (Coupon: SHOP75) 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|