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.
- [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.
- Refurbished Lenovo Z510 (15.6″) and Z710 (17.3″) with 1080p display both and GT 745M (don’t get the ones without the GT 745M). The GT 745M delivers a low midrange gaming performance which is adequate for medium settings gaming on 1080p in many cases. The 1080p displays are not great, but they are better than the 720p offerings. Generally, for $600-$620 these are good options, though I’d go with the Dell 3540 as the display is better and it’s also cheaper.
- HP 15t-n200 15.6″ ($565, coupon: SAVE15HP). Armed with the new GT 840M Maxwell part, 4GB RAM, 720p display and standard 500GB HDD, it’s my dream $600 gaming laptop, but it’s certainly very fast for the price. If you’re using an external monitor, this could be a nice option, as the GT 840M delivers around the same performance level of the older GT 750M DDR3 which places it well above the 8750M/M265. The display is the average/low quality 720p display probably, so don’t expect much.
- HP 15z-j100 - 15.6″ with 1080p screen and Radeon 8750M for around $600 (use coupon SAVE15HP). The Radeon 8750M performance should be around the GT 730M and 740M, depends on drivers and the specific game. The price does not include tax and shipping 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|