The Best Gaming Laptops For Your Money?

By that, I mean the laptops that offer the best gaming performance at a given price. Because if you’re about to buy a gaming laptop, you want the one that offers the best performance possible for your budget, right?

If you have the time to do research… but who does?

You don’t have the time to read or the knowledge to understand detailed laptop reviews and specifications and just want the answers? In other words, what you want to know is:
What’s the best gaming laptop for my budget?

So if you don’t have the time, don’t worry. We’re here to help you with this article.

The features that we evaluate in order to make our recommendations:

1. Price
2. Performance: CPU, RAM, Storage, Video Card and Wireless Adapter
3. Screen: Size, Resolution, Finish, Panel type, Brightness, Contrast, Viewing Angles and Color Accuracy
4. Portability: Dimensions, Weight, Real-life battery life during average web browsing?
5. Usability: Keyboard: Layout, Key size, Travel/Pressure, Key Shape and any additional Function keys. Touch pad quality, trackpoint, backlit keyboard, numpad, Operating System, which ports are offered, Webcam resolution, sound quality, optical drive, noise levels.
6. Reliability: How solid is the chassis and the screen hinges? Are the temperatures under load reasonable? Is the keyboard spill-resistant? Overall manufacturer long-term reliability? Is it easy to service the laptop?
7. Warranty: Warranty length? What does the warranty cover?

We then recommend laptops that offer the best overall features, at various price points.

Alternatives recommendations:

We also sometime suggest alternative recommendations, with clear explanations as to why they are interesting alternatives. That way, you can easily choose the best laptop to answer YOUR needs and desires.

Put all of this together and you get this article: The Best High-End Gaming Laptops!

A reminder:

My recommendations in this article are based on the prices that I saw on April 26th 2017. Prices and availability change all the time. While I can’t keep up with ever changing prices, I do recommend to you what are in my professional experience the best laptops around a price point.

Leave a comment if you have a question, a suggestion and/or any feedback that you want to share.

Summary

Click on any of these links to jump to the section that interests you, or scroll down to see them all, in this order.

The Best High-End Gaming Laptop:

  1. $1400: Geforce GTX 1060 6GB, 1080p IPS G-Sync, Intel Core i7-7700HQ, 16GB RAM, 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  2. $1700: Geforce GTX 1070, 1080p IPS G-Sync, Core i7-7700HQ, 256GB M.2 SSD + 1TB HDD, 16GB RAM
  3. $2700: Geforce GTX 1080, 1080p IPS G-Sync, i7-7820HK, 2 x 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD, 32GB RAM
  4. $3400: 2x Geforce GTX 1070 SLI, 4K IPS G-Sync, i7-7820HK, 1TB SSD + 1TB HDD, 32GB RAM
  5. $4300: 2x Geforce GTX 1080 SLI, 4K IPS G-Sync, i7-7700K 4.2-4.5GHz, 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD, 32GB RAM

Upgrade your laptop:

  1. Upgrade the RAM
  2. Upgrade the hard drive or the SSD
  3. USB DVD and Blu-ray External Burners
  4. The Best WiFi Routers, WiFi Adapters and Bluetooth Adapters

Best Gaming Laptop for $1400

Asus ROG Strix GL502VM

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1429.00 at B&H (Worldwide shipping)
– $1397.00 at Newegg

This model is amazing if you are looking for a powerful gaming laptop with a 15.6″ screen. Despite its screen size, it only weights 4.8bs, which is lightweight for a 15.6″ gaming laptop.

It is equipped with a powerful Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad-Core CPU, 16GB of RAM and a Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 6GB graphic card and will be capable of running pretty much all games at a 1920 x 1080 resolution with high or maxed out details. The screen is equipped with G-Sync technology, this prevents screen tearing and stutters while gaming, resulting in a smoother gameplay.

This laptop has a M.2 128GB SSD which greatly improves the laptop’s responsiveness, booting speed, reliability and it is more shock resistant than hard drives. It is also equipped with a large 1TB HDD for extra storage, to install all your games. It also means that you have two storage drive, allowing you to upgrade them if you want to.

If you are looking for a laptop that has a similar performance and is more portable even, check out the alternatives below.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with the Nvidia Geforce 1060 6GB GDDR5
  2. Intel Core i7 7700HQ 7th gen Skylake Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.8-3.8GHz CPU
  3. Screen is equipped with an IPS panel which means greater viewing angles, better contrast and more vibrant colors.
  4. Backlit keyboard
  5. 16GB of DDR4 2400MHz RAM (8GB onboard + 8GB stick)
  6. RAM can be upgraded to 24GB (8GB onboard + 16GB DDR4 stick). See our recommended RAM upgrades toward the end of the article
  7. 128GB SSD which improves responsiveness and booting speed.
  8. Large 1TB hard drive for extra storage capacity.
  9. Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution display
  10. Screen is equipped with G-Sync technology, this prevents screen tearing and stutters while gaming.
  11. Screen has a matte finish, so it doesn’t reflect light.
  12. HDMI and Mini Display port video outputs.
  13. Windows 10
  14. Ethernet RJ45 port
  15. HD webcam
  16. 802.11ac WiFI
  17. Blutooth 4.1
  18. Numpad
  19. SD card reader
  20. Total of 4 USB ports, including one USB 3.1 Type-C and three USB 3.0 Type A
  21. USB 3.1 Type-C port supports Thunderbolt 3.
  22. Thin and lightweight for a powerful gaming laptop : 15.4″ x 10.5″ x 0.9″ and 4.8lbs

Cons:

  1. No optical drive
  2. Battery life of up to 5 hours

Larger display alternative

ASUS Gaming ROG GL702VM-DS74

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1499.99 at B&H (Worldwide shipping)

This is pretty much the same model as the recommendation above, but with a larger 17.3″ screen.

Despite its larger screen, this model still manages to be relatively lightweight for a 17.3″ gaming laptop, weighting in at 6lbs! This is barely heavier than what you will often find on some 15.6″ gaming laptops, which is quite impressive.

For storage, you get the same 128GB SSD and 1TB hard drive as the main recommendation.

You also get the same amount of ports and all the perks of the Asus ROG Strix GL502VM.

Lighter, 14″ screen portable alternative

MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1499.00 at B&H (Worldwide shipping)

This model is amazing if you are looking for a powerful and yet highly portable gaming laptop. This laptop has a 14″ screen and only weights 3.75lbs, which is outstanding for a gaming laptop.

Its battery life is pretty good for a gaming laptop, with 4-5 hours of web browsing and up to 9 hours for lightweight text editing and the like.

It is equipped with a powerful Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 16GB of RAM and a Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 6GB graphic card and will be capable of running pretty much all games at a 1920 x 1080 resolution with high or maxed out details.

This laptop has a 128GB M.2 SSD which greatly improves the laptop’s responsiveness, booting speed, reliability and it is more shock resistant than hard drives. It is also equipped with a large 1TB HDD for extra storage.

This model is equipped with Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution display with an IPS panel for great viewing angles, good contrast and more vibrant colors. It also has a Matte finish so it doesn’t reflect light.

The keyboard has a lot of travel and two levels of backlight (only in red though).

The speakers are average, average for how loud they get, with decent sound quality, but the lack of a subwoofer means that the low frequency bass is lacking. You do get the Sabre audio DAC which is great in a laptop this size, if you plug in high-quality headphones or speakers.

On the downside, it gets uncomfortably hot when gaming, so don’t think about gaming with the laptop on your legs. It can also get noisy when gaming, so earphones or headphones are recommended.

Same model available with an higher capacity SSD and more RAM:
The MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro is also available from XOTIC PC with a larger 256GB, 512GB or 1TB SSD as well as the possibility of getting 32GB of RAM, see the available configurations here from Amazon.

Thinner and better build alternative

The Razer Blade

– Click here to see the price on Amazon

In terms of performance, the Razer Blade is on par with the MSI GS43VR.

Its advantage comes with a better build quality: it is a full aluminum build that is 0.2″ thinner than my main recommendation and is also much sturdier and able to withstand more pressure.

On top of having a better build quality, this laptop also, in my opinion, looks much better and more professional than the MSI GS43VR.

This model also has a great backlit keyboard that feels good when typing, has an anti-slippery coating and anti-ghosting.

The keys can also all be individually customized to display one out of the 16 million available backlit colors.

You also get an excellent display: Not only do you get an IPS panel which means you get more vibrant colors, better contrasts and larger view angles, but it’s also fairly bright, at 350 nits.

My base recommendation comes with a 256GB SSD , which is double the size of the MSI GS43VR. This model is also available with a 512GB SSD here on Amazon or a 1TB SSD which is also available here on Amazon. Also important is that it’s equipped with a higher performance NVMe SSD, not a SATA III SSD like the MSI.

It’s also compatible with the Razer Core, an external graphic card enclosure, allowing you to connect a desktop graphic card to your Razer laptop through the Thunderbolt port, benefit from higher-end graphic performance and allowing you to upgrade your graphic card in the future.

Best Gaming Laptop for $1700

XOTIC Sager NP8157

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1699.00 at Newegg

If you are looking for a more powerful gaming build, the XOTIC Sager NP8157  is the way to go.

It comes with a newest generation powerful Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad-Core CPU which is capable of handling heavy workouts without any performance issue.

You also get 16GB of higher frequency 2400MHz RAM which offers a slightly better performance. It also comes with an IPS panel instead of a TN display panel; this means that you get more vibrant color reproduction and better contrast. You also get G-Sync technology for a smooth, tear-free game play.

Other than that, it comes with a Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 graphic card which offers a better gaming performance than the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060.

With a setup like this, you get the best performance at a 1080p resolution and a great performance for 4k gaming. Although if you are looking for the best 4k gaming performance, I’d recommend going for a model that has a Nvidia GeForce 1080 instead.

The only downside of this model is that it is heavier compared to some other gaming laptops that are the same size : it weights 5.8lbs.

If you live outside the U.S.A and are looking for a similar alternative, check out my recommendation below.

Pros:

  1. Equipped with the Nvidia Geforce 1070 8GB GDDR5
  2. Intel Core i7 7700HQ 6th gen Skylake Dual-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.8-3.8GHz CPU
  3. 16GB of RAM: Two sticks of 8GB (16GB) of DDR4 RAM.
  4. RAM can be upgraded to 32GB (2x16GB DDR4). See our recommended RAM upgrades toward the end of the article
  5. Screen is equipped with an IPS Panel which means greater viewing angles, better contrast and more accurate colors.
  6. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light.
  7. 1920 x 1080 1080p Full HD display
  8. Supports Nvidia’s G-Sync which prevents screen tearing, minimizes stutter and input lag for an improved and smoother gameplay.
  9. 250GB M.2 SSD for an improved responsiveness and booting speed.
  10. 1 TB hard drive so you have plenty of space for your games and all your content.
  11. Hard drive is a 7200rpm model, so it’s not as slow as 5400rpm hard drives.
  12. Numpad
  13. HD webcam
  14. Dedicated left and right touchpad buttons.
  15. Decent keyboard for typing
  16. RJ45 Ethernet port.
  17. Bluetooth 4.0
  18. 802.11ac WiFi
  19. HDMI and 2 x Mini DisplayPort outputs.
  20. Windows 10
  21. 2 x USB 3.1 (Type-C) ports
  22. Backlit Keyboard
  23. SD card reader

Cons:

  1. Keyboard layout could be better. For example, the right arrow key overlaps with the Numpad on the right. This can be annoying for some people.
  2. No Optical drive
  3. Average battery life : up to 5hrs so expect around 1-2 hours while gaming.
  4. Heavier than most gaming laptops that have a 15.6″ screen : 5.8lbs

Larger screen alternative

Asus ROG Strix GL702VS

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $1996.75 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

If you are looking for a laptop that has a larger 17.3″ screen and that has the same Nvidia Geforce 1070 gtx as my main recommendation?

The Asus ROG Strix GL702VS is the perfect choice for you. Not only does it have a larger screen but it also is surprisingly thin and light for its size : it is 1″ thick and weights only 6lbs! To put you in context, some 15.6″ screen laptops weight just as much.

As far as performance goes, you get a powerful Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU and 16GB of RAM to handle heavy workloads and multi-tasking easily.

For storage, this model has a large 1TB hard drive combined with a 512GB of SSD so that way you get a good amount of storage and a responsive system that can boot quickly.

Last but not least, this model has G-Sync technology, which prevents screen tearings and stutters while you play games.

Best Gaming Laptop for $2700

Acer Predator 17 X

Full HD 1920 x 1080 display
 Click here to see the price on Amazon
-$2699.99 at B&H (Worldwide shipping)
– $2699.98 at Newegg

If you are looking for a powerful gaming laptop with the most powerful laptop graphic card currently available, the Acer Predator 17 x is my recommendation.

It comes with one of the fastest CPU available in a laptop: The 2.9-3.9GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading CPU, along with a whooping 32GB of RAM so it can handle any workload and multi-tasking without a sweat.

Of course, you get the powerful Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080 which is the highest performance graphic card available on a laptop, short of dual graphic cards configurations.

I recommend the 1080p Full HD screen, not the 4K 3840 x 2160 model. Why? Because a single GTX 1080 will be unable to run the latest games at 4K with maxed out settings and high frame rates now. It’s just going to get worse in 1, 2, 3+ years. With a 1920 x 1080 1080p display, you’ll be able to play the latest games maxed out with very high frame rates for the next few years.

Want to play on a 4K display? See the models recommended below, with two GTX 1070 or two GTX 1080 in SLI which offer enough performance for gaming at a 4K resolution.

As far as storage goes, this model has a large 1TB HDD and two 256GB SSDs in RAID 0 for a more responsive performance and better booting speed.

The only downside of this model is its weight as it is quite heavy, even for a 17.3″ laptop. It weight 10lbs. This is the downside of high performance.

Pros: 

  1. Equipped with a powerful Intel core i7-7820HK Quad-Core + Hyper-threading  2.9-3.9GHz  CPU.
  2. Equipped with a Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5
  3. 2 x 256GB SSDs speeds up boot times, games launch faster and makes the system much more responsive.
  4. Windows 10
  5. 1TB HDD for a good amount of storage.
  6. 1TB Hard drive is a 7200RPM drive, which is faster than other hard drive.
  7.  32GB of DDR4 RAM that can be upgraded up to 64GB.
  8. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light.
  9. Screen is equipped with an IPS Panel which means greater viewing angles, better contrast and more accurate colors.
  10. Supports Nvidia’s G-Sync which prevents screen tearing, minimizes stutter and input lag for an improved and smoother gameplay.
  11. Full HD 1920 x 1080 17.3″ display
  12. 1 x HDMI, 1 x Thunderbolt ( Via Type-C ) and 1 x Displayport to connect your display on a external source.
  13. 5 USB 3.0 ports ( 4 x Type-A and 1 x Type-C ).
  14. RJ45 Ethernet port
  15. Dedicated left and right click buttons
  16. Decent keyboard layout.
  17. 720p HD webcam
  18. Keyboard is backlit
  19. SD card reader
  20. Numpad
  21. 802.11ac WiFi
  22. Bluetooth 4.1
  23. 2 Year warranty compared to other models that offer 1 year.

Cons:

  1. No optical drive
  2. Not that portable : 1.8″ thick and 10 lbs heavy.

Best Gaming Laptop for less than $3400

MSI GT73VR TITAN SLI 4K-423

– Click here to see the price on Amazon
– $3399.00 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– $3299.00 at Newegg

This is the newest version of the MSI GT73VR TITAN SLI. It has the newest 7th gen Intel Core i7-7820HK Quad-Core processor and a whooping 32GB of RAM so it can handle multi-tasking and heavy workload without any issues.

It also has 2 x 512GB PCIe SSDs which are some of the fastest SSDs on the market, they greatly improve responsiveness and booting speed.

If you ever need even more storage space this model also has a 1TB hard drive so that you get plenty of storage for all your files and games.

This model has a 4K resolution and 2 x NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1070 in SLI so you can get great gaming performance at a 4K display resolution.

Pros: 

  1. Equipped with a powerful Intel Core i7-7820HK Quad-Core + Hyper-threading 2.9-3.9GHz CPU.
  2. Equipped with two Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5 in SLI
  3. Two 512GB PCIe SSDs speeds up boot times, games launch faster and makes the system much more responsive.
  4. Windows 10
  5. 1TB HDD for plenty of storage.
  6.  32GB of DDR4 RAM that can be upgraded up to 64GB.
  7. Matte screen that doesn’t reflect light.
  8. Screen is equipped with an IPS Panel which means greater viewing angles, better contrast and more accurate colors.
  9. 4K 3840 x 2160 display resolution.
  10. Response time of 5ms and a refresh rate of 120Hz.
  11. 1 HDMI, 1 Thunderbolt and 1 Mini display port to connect your display on a external source.
  12. 5 USB 3.0 ports.
  13. Dedicated left and right click buttons
  14. Great keyboard for typing
  15. 1080p HD webcam
  16. Keyboard backlight that can be set to different color patterns.
  17. SD card reader
  18. Numpad
  19. RJ45 Ethernet port
  20. 802.11ac WiFI
  21. Bluetooth 4.1

Cons:

  1. Keyboard layout could be better : For example, the arrow keys overlap with the numpad.
  2. No optical drive
  3. Not that portable : 1.76″ thick and 8.59 lbs heavy.

Best Gaming Laptop for $4300

PROSTAR Clevo P870KM1-G

– Click here to check the price on Amazon

If you are looking to get the maximum gaming performance you can get out of a laptop, this is what I recommend.

It has not one but two Nvidia GeForce 1080 in SLI with which you can comfortably play any video game at a 4K resolution with high or maxed out details and a great FPS rate.

It’s equipped with the fastest CPU available in a laptop: The desktop-class Intel Core i7-7700K 4.2-4.5GHz Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading.

It comes with 32GB of RAM and can easily be upgraded to 64GB of RAM by adding two 16GB sticks, seeing as there are a total of 4 RAM slots, with two that are free.

Storage wise, you get an high performance 512GB PCIe SSD, along with a 2.5″ 1TB 7200rpm hard drive. There

On the downside, this model is thick and heavy weighting 12.13lbs and it also has 2 power bricks which doesn’t help as far as portability and weight go.

Pros:

  1. Intel Core i7 7920HQ 7th gen Quad-Core + Hyper-Threading 2.7-3.6GHz CPU
  2. Equipped with 2 Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5 in SLI
  3. 512GB PCIe SSD speeds up boot times, games launch faster and makes the system much more responsive.
  4. Two empty M.2 socket, support PCIe or SATA III M.2 SSD. RAID 0/1 supported.
  5. Windows 10
  6. 1TB 7200rpm HDD for more storage.
  7. One empty 2.5″ drive bay allows you to add a second hard drive or a SATA III 2.5″ SSD.
  8.  32GB (2x16GB) of DDR4 RAM
  9. Four RAM slots (2 are empty) allows you to easily upgrade to 64GB of RAM.
  10. Screen is equipped with an IPS Panel which means greater viewing angles, better contrast and more accurate colors.
  11. 17.3″ 3840×2160 4K Matte Display with NVIDIA G-Sync
  12. Support 4 active displays, NVIDIA Surround View via HDMI x1 and mini DP x2
  13. 1 Thunderbolt 3 / USB 3.1 Gen 2 combo Port (Type-C)
  14. An additional USB 3.1 Gen 2 Port (Type-C)
  15. 4 USB 3.0 ports.
  16. Dedicated left and right click buttons
  17. Great keyboard for typing
  18. 1080p Full HD webcamFull Color Programmable Backlight Keyboard
  19. Great keyboard layout
  20. SD card reader
  21. Numpad
  22. Two RJ45 Ethernet port
  23. High quality audio: Sound Blaster X-FI MB5 sound card with ESS SABRE HiFi DAC
  24. 802.11ac WiFi
  25. Bluetooth
  26. Fingerprint scanner for additional security.
  27. Battery is removable.

Cons:

  1. Not that portable: 1.86″ thick and 12.13 lbs heavy.
  2. Battery life is abysimal, but that’s expected considering the hardware.
  3. No optical drive

Upgrade your Laptop:

Upgrade your RAM:

RAM can easily be upgraded on most laptops. Do note that some laptops cannot be upgraded at all, due to their unique design. A quick google search should provide that info. Feel free to ask me in the comment section if you aren’t sure and can’t find the info.

Visit The Best Computer Memory (RAM) article for my recommendations. Note that you’ll want SODIMM RAM, either DDR3 or DDR4 depending on your laptop.

Upgrade your hard drive:

You can upgrade your hard drive to a faster and/or a larger hard drive. See our article on The Best Hard Drives (HDD) For Your Money and scroll down to the best 2.5″ hard drives for my recommendations.

Some laptops accept hard drives with a 7mm height, others with a 9.5mm height.

Upgrade to a SSD or upgrade your current SSD to get higher capacity and/or higher performance!

A SSD (Solid State Drive) is far faster than a hard drive (See our SSD FAQ) and it also consumes less power than a hard drive, so replacing a hard drive by a SSD will slightly boost your laptop’s battery life.

If you want to upgrade your hard drive to a SSD, I recommend that you read our ‘The Best SSDs (Solid State Drives) For Your Money‘ article.

I also recommend getting an external hard drive enclosure, so you can put your hard drive in it and use it for additional storage

When you replace the hard drive that your laptop came with, I recommend putting it in the Sabrent USB 3.0 2.5″ SATA Hard Drive Enclosure from Amazon or from B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

This particular enclosure comes with a retractable cable that is connected to the enclosure, so you don’t lose/forget it and it makes the whole package more compact too. It comes with an extension cord if you need it.

Looking for a different external case or need a specific cable? Leave a comment if you need assistance with finding what’s best for your needs.

USB DVD and Blu-Ray Drives

If your laptop doesn’t come with an optical drive and you want one, here are my recommendations for external USB optical drives.

USB DVD Burner

The LG GP60NB50 8x, from Amazon or from B&H (Worldwide Shipping), is the one with the best customer reviews.

USB Blu-Ray Burner

I recommend three USB Blu-Ray burner. Make sure to plug them in an USB 3.0 port to get the maximum speed possible.

In order of price and burning speed:
Pioneer BDR-XD05S 6x, from Amazon or $74.99 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

– ASUS BW-12D1S-U 12x from Amazon or $99.95 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

OWC Mercury Pro External USB 3.0 16x Blu Ray reader/writer, $129.50 at B&H (Worldwide Shipping)

WiFi routers, WiFi Adapters and Bluetooth adapter:

Need a WiFi router, an USB WiFi adapter or an USB Bluetooth adapter for your laptop? Check out our recommendations for The Best WiFi Routers, Best WiFi Adapters and Bluetooth Adapter.

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article on the Best High-End Gaming Laptops!

I invite you to leave a comment, let me know what you thought of this article.

Do you think that I forgot a pro or a con for a laptop?

Perhaps you believe that there’s a better option than my recommendation and want my professional opinion.

A laptop might no longer be available or you may have some questions.

Just leave a comment below now and I’ll get back to you.