Recommended gaming laptops:
Here are included recommended 14.0″, 15.6″ and 17.3″ gaming laptops. I’ll start with the table in order to focus on several laptops and the performance that can be buy for around 600$-800$. Currently, the best is usually a laptop with a GTX 960M (new) and even a GTX 965M (refurbished) and make sure it has an IPS display.
These are my recommendations:
- Dell Inspiron 7000/7559 (15.6″), review – this is a new model, currently selling for $750-$800 (Amazon, Dell). Features a good combination of hardware. The new Skylake I5-6300HQ (4C/4T) which is very powerful for gaming + GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5 + 1080p IPS display + 256GB SSD (Amazon) or 1TB SSHD, as well as 8GB of RAM. The new Dell Inspiron 15 7000 non-touch has a default backlit keyboard, 3xUSB 3.0 connection ports, HDMI 1.4a (meh). No USB 3.1 or TB3, but the thermals are good and build quality (except screen’s outer lid) are good. Speakers are mediocre in my opinion (read the review) and keyboardis not reat, but the performance/price ratio is excellent and is the best under $900-$1000 (for a new laptop) and for some keyboard and speakers aren’t a huge deal (plus, some user reviews say they are ok)
- [Sometimes] Lenovo Y700 Intel(15.6″), review – The successor of the Lenovo Y50, usually for around $900-$1000, but sometimes there are discounts. The IPS display is improved (but it’s not that great), chassis build quality is improved and actually pretty nice, speakers are good as before and the best in class, keyboard is improved too. Temperatures are good. It is a better proposition than the Y50, though gaming performance is the same (same GTX 960M). Downsides: PWM for brightness control (may result in high eye strain in low brightness levels), no TB3, no mDP connection port, IPS display isn’t that great (though it has good contrast).
- [Open box] Lenovo Y700 AMD (15.6″), review – The AMD version of the Y700, with AMD Carrizo FX-8800P APU and Radeon M385X GPU. The M385X is more power hungry than the GTX 960M, so the laptop chassis gets a little warmer, but nothing too crucial. The combination of this GPU and APU delivers around a GTX 950M + I5-U gaming performance (which is lower considerably than the Intel version), so this version is recommended only when bought for around $600-$650 (currently, open box from BestBuy). The big problem is, however, AMD’s drivers which are not ready for prime time in this fully AMD and Enduro based laptop.
- [Now going for more]
Asus GL551JW (15.6″), review of similar model – a previous generation model, with a Haswell I7, GTX 960M 2GB, 1080p IPS display (probably quite good), 8GB RAM and a 1TB 7200RPM HDD. Overall, very good specs, but thermals aren’t as good as in the Dell 7559. The keyboard is probably better and so are the speakers. I tend to prefer the 7559, though the screen is not as good and the kyboard is mediocre, because of the better thermals and M.2 port. Display can be replaced and carried on to a different laptop too, but thermal performance less so. Asus K501LX (15.6″), $750. Still no reviews for this one. Though not showing any new performance level (GTX 950M DDR3 ~= GTX 850M DDR3), the K501LX does come with 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD and weighs only 2kg. I don’t know what is the display quality, but if it’s good, that could be a nice purchase. Better weight. [Refurbished] VN7-591G/VN7-791G with an IPS display, GTX 860M and 8-16GB DDR3 ram, HDD or HDD + SSD, check the Acer eBay list. As I write these lines, the VN7-591G has been available for $600 for quite some time now. Clevo N150SD (15.6″), $800 shipping, review : GTX 960M, I7-4710HQ, very good 1080p IPS display (B156HAN01.2), 8GB RAM, 500GB 7200RPM HDD, no OS, after 10% off discount (check link). A very good proposition if you have no need for an OS included in the price. Good storage options, good display and very good performance for price.
- Lenovo Y40 (14.0″), ~$670, review : I5-5200U (Broadwell), Radeon M275 GPU, 8GB DDR3 RAM, 1TB HDD, 1080p display. For $680 you get a compact mid-range gaming machine. The M275 is limited by the DDR3 memory (thanks Lenovo) and the 1080p display is mediocre (but replaceable). The M275X DDR3 only performs as a low-midrange GPU, as the GT 750M DDR3. Speakers are ok and keyboard is relatively good. Frankly, there were better options even a year ago, so I wouldn’t really recommend this one as a new machine, but it’s an option non the less.
- [Refurbished] Dell 3540 (15.6″), $500-$600 with 1080p display (TN, but nice one), Radeon 8850M, 4GB RAM, basic 500GB HDD. Currently, a very good deal for such a laptop with rather good display, low temps and good battery. The 8850M / M265X provides good enough 3D performance for $550-$600 and at least as good as the Y40, for example. Review
- Asus X555LB ($700) and you get I5-5200U CPU, GT 940M GPU, 8GB DDR3 and 750GB HDD, 1080p display “wide screen” (IPS?) and Windows 8.1 OS. Weight is around 2.3kg. It shouldn’t get too hot and people report it has a rather good battery performance (probably around 5 hours under light use).
he Acer VN7-591G(15.6″) for $900 is an excellent option, due to high 3D performance (I7 + 860M), 1080p IPS display and available M.2 port. Also a good keyboard and low case heat. I know it’s more than $800, but it’s a good option for those who are considering the $800 section.
CyberPowerPC Fangbook HX6-105(15.6″) for $800 (Amazon, Tigerdirect, eBay) with I5-4210M CPU, GTX 860M GPU, 8GB RAM, 1080p display (non-IPS), 1TB HDD and Windows OS. Definitely a very good performance / price ratio, it’s probably based on Clevo or MSI barebones, but it’s unclear to me which model – I think this is the GE60 barebone, but the looks of it. Anyway, for $800 you get a lot of performance. You can replace the HDD later down the road or add an mSata drive. Best deal under $800 currently. If it’s based on the GE60 Apache PRO, then it might have an AHVA display too, which is great. Eurocom Shark 3 (15.6″), now for ~$800 with an I5-4210M, GTX 860M, 1080p display (TN) and 500GB HDD. You can upgrade to an I7. This is based on the Clevo W355SS midrange gaming laptop and comes with a backlit keyboard. Gaming performance is very good for $800 and CPU is replaceable. Keyboard is ok, speakers are average at best. One advantage of this model is 3 storage bays (two 2.5″, one mSata). Screen is of average quality. Compared to the Y50, it’s bulkier, speakers are much worse, screen is a bit better (but replacements are not as good or available as for the Y50), but it has much more room for internal storage and keyboard might be better in my opinion (based on the very similar Eurocom Shark 2.0). I’d go with the Y50 in this case, for the screen replacement options and the speakers. Lenovo Y50 15.6″ : I5-4200H, GTX 860M, 1080p display, 1TB SSHD. The 1080p display is lousy and you can replace it later on. This version comes with the non-SSHD HDD version, which isn’t great. Really, not that great option, but it’s currently selling for $800. I’d wait with it
- [around $800] HP Envy 15t Slim : I7-4712HQ, GTX 850M (probably DDR3), 8GB DDR3, 1080p display, 750GB 5400RPM HDD, backlit keyboard. Currently for $835 (use SAVE15HP coupon) which is a good price for such specs, though screen/build quality is an unknown currently. The 3D performance should generally be lower than both the Shark 3 and Lenovo Y50 significantly, however, one advantage over the Shark 3 is that the screen can be replaced to another eDP display probably very easily.
[ultraportable] Acer V7-482G-5842 (14.0″) for $730, 1080p AHVA display, GT 750M DDR3, very good battery, good build quality, 500GB + 16GB mSSD, quiet. A very good machine, though the 3D performance is not great compared to current offerings (it popped up at the end of 2013). It’s a better option than the Y40, if you ask me, even though the price is a little higher, if what you are looking for is mainly an ultraportable with *some* 3D power.
- If you are ok with refubished / used laptops, you can try and catch some deals under $650 with this eBay search link
The new Dell Latitude 15 3540 (review)15.6″ ($700-$780) gaming laptop with Radeon 8850M (performance is around the GT 750M to GTX 760M level), matte 1080p screen, 4GB DDR3 and 500GB HDD. The performance for price is good and it should be fairly easy to replace the HDD and upgrade the RAM. Currently selling for around $780 w/ tax, which is too close to the big guns at $900-$1000, but if you have a Dell gift card deal or simply like it, it is a nice laptop. Refurbished is also available for $550-$600 which is more reasonable. The new Acer V3-772G 17.3″ gaming laptop (Amazon, Adorama, Acer) with GTX 850M GDDR5, 1080p display, 1TB HDD and Windows 8.1 OS. The gaming performance of the GTX 850M GDDR5 can get significantly faster than the GTX 850M DDR3 at around 25-35% performance advantage in average. This makes the V3-772G a very cost effective gaming laptop, with gaming performance which is very close to the GTX 860M / 770M for only $800 : easily the best laptop under $1000 with the best performance / price ratio. The 1080p display is ok. Case can get a little hot and so is the CPU, therefore it is better to take the I5 version (linked) or limit the CPU and GPU a bit, in case you’re getting the I7 version.
|Model (link to coupon)||GPU/CPU||Street Price||Why||Why not||sources|
|GTX 660M / I7-3610QM||850$ (was 800$)||y580 with fullhd review: 1, 2|
|Lenovo IdaPad Y480 14.0″||GT 650M 2GB (DDR3) / Intel I7-3630QM||750$ for GT 650M version||review1, review2|
|Lenovo G780 17.3″||GT 635M / I7-3632QM||660$ currently||review|
|Lenovo Y570 review – this is the I5 version review, but it’s basically the same laptop|
|MSI CX61 15.6″||GT 645M / I5-3210M||700$||only a 1366×768 resolution (no configuration option)|
|HP dv6z-7200 15.6″||Radeon 7670M / A8-4500M||700$||dv6z-7000 review|
|HP Pavilion dv6t-7000 select edition||Nvidia GT 650M 2GB GDDR5 / Intel Ivy Bridge I5-3210M||750$ with GT 650M 2GB GDDR5, I5-3210M and 1080p screen||review of previous generation dv6tse,dv6t-7000 quad edition review|
|dv6t-7000 quad edition review,Another one|
|Asus N56DP 15.6″||Radeon 7730M / A10-4600M||800$||Asus N56DP review|
|Samsung NP350V5C 15.6″||Radeon 7730M / I5-3210M||650$-750$||review|
|Sony Vaio E 17.3″||HD 7650M / I5-3210M||760$ on newegg||review with I7-3612QM and 7650M|
|Sony Vaio S 15.5||GT 640M LE / I5-3210M||900$||Sony Vaio S 15.5″ review (with I7)|
|Acer TimelineU M5-481G 14.0″||GT 640M LE GDDR5 / I5-3317U||650$!||Acer TimelineU M5-481G review, Acer TimelineU M5-481G review|
|Acer TimelineU M5-581TG 15.6″||GT 640M LE GDDR5 / I5-3317U||700$!||Pretty much same as the M5-481TG||Pretty much same as the M5-481TG. Currently the price is right!||review, another review|
|Acer V3-571G 15.6″||GT 730M / I5-3230M||650$||review with GT 650M|
|Dell Inspiron 15R SE 15.6″||Radeon 7730M / I7-3632QM||750$||Dell 15R SE review|
|Sager NP6110 11.6″||GT 650M 2GB DDR3 / I5-3210M||820$ base price||Eurocom Monster review|
|XoticPC Force QAL51-HD 15.6″||GT 650M DDR3 / I5-2450M or I7||775$ with I5 and GT 650M DDR3 (cash)|