PC gamers take pride in the nickname “PC master race.” These are the folks who delight in the fact that PC gaming is just so much better than playing on a console, and if is any indication, this way of thinking isn‘t going away any time soon.
While it can take a year or two for gaming consoles to adapt to updated technology, PCs see that improvement hit almost instantly. New rigs and laptops hit the market faster, as opposed to consoles that make you wait for months until their release. With laptops, it‘s also much easier to simply swap in a piece, like a graphics card, as long as the computer can support it. This makes for a platform that provides freedom to game developers to do what they want, whether it‘s the next entry in the Doom series to a small gem developed by three friends in a garage.
And while it seems desktops may deliver the best performance, laptops fit more into the modern lifestyle. Whether it be for work, school, or travel, a laptop allows you to take everything you want with you — including your games. That‘s not always something a console can accommodate.
But if you think going from a console to a laptop means you‘re trading power for convenience, that‘s no longer the case. You can find a laptop that fits any and every possible gamer and their needs. Whether you‘re looking for a mobile beast that can run VR, 4K quality video and eye-melting graphics, or balance cost with power, there‘s a laptop for you.
But it can be difficult wading through the sea of choices. You can easily go down a rabbit hole comparing processing speeds, graphical power, overclocking, and more. Well relax, because we‘ve found seven of the best gaming laptops out there. Whether you‘re a budget gamer or want to run Destiny 2 at 4K with an uncapped frame rate, these laptops can serve as your “PC master race” badge.
The Good Very good speeds • Plenty of storage • Excellent graphics with little to no frame drops The Bad Body feels a bit plastic-y • No disc drive The Bottom Line While in comparison it may be “mid-tier,” the MSI GP63 Leopard delivers excellent performance across the board. Weight: 4.8 lbs Storage: 1TB HDD + 256GB SSD Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB RAM: 16GB Processor: Intel Core i7-8750 In the realm of PC gaming, MSI is among the most well-established companies in the space. As opposed to companies like HP and Dell that make gaming computers along with other computers, MSI is one of the companies in the space that only makes gaming computers. This means a “high-end” laptop from HP might be a “mid-tier” model from MSI for gaming. But it‘s within that mid-tier that performance and cost meet, making for some great laptop selections.
The is one of the models that fit into that “mid-tier” category, but is an excellent gaming laptop across the board. To start, the processor is an Intel Core i7-8750H with 16GB of RAM, so you know the speeds are going to be very good. The GP63 supplements that with a 256GB SSD, which you‘ll definitely notice when the laptop starts up. And like most other gaming laptops at this scale, there‘s a 1TB HDD for plenty of storage space.
But without a reliable graphics card, it can‘t be called a gaming laptop. To that end, included the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 for graphics. This isn‘t the newest GTX 1080 card, but don‘t take that as a sign that the laptop won‘t deliver on the graphics. There‘s a reason NVIDIA graphics cards are generally considered among the best, and the 1060 reflects that. It will run most demanding games at ultra with almost no frame drops, which is going to be important with those tense matches in Black Ops 4.
Coming in at $1699, the is reasonably priced for the performance you‘re getting out of it. Striking that kind of balance on a gaming laptop can be tricky, but MSI has done it, and you should definitely take advantage of it.
The Good VR ready • 4K resolution • Extremely fast • Has one of the best graphics cards on the market • Tons of storage The Bad Expensive • VERY expensive • Little heavier The Bottom Line If you can get past the price tag, the MSI GT75 Titan can do everything you could need for gaming, including VR. Weight: 10.05 lbs Storage: 1TB HDD + 1TB SDD Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB RAM: 32GB Processor: Intel Core i9-8950HK While it‘s still a growing space, VR is clearly the future of the industry. Gaming offers escapism as is, but VR takes it to another level. But as cool as this new technology is, VR can also be demanding on your computer. And as difficult as it can be to get a desktop that can handle it, it‘s even harder for laptops. Thankfully, MSI has a laptop for anyone who doesn‘t want a tower taking up space.
The is easily one of the best gaming laptops you can find on the market. Whether it‘s running an or cranking up Battlefield 5 to ultra settings, it can handle any task that you throw at it. Take a look at the specs and you‘ll see just how insane this laptop is.
To start, the processor is the Intel Core i9-8950HK, one of the best laptop processors on the market right now. That should clue you into how fast this beast is. But to really drive the point home, it‘s packing 32GB of RAM with a 1TB HDD and 1TB SSD for storage.
On the visual front, also packed in the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080, one of NVIDIA‘s top graphics cards. That sort of graphics card working in tandem with a 4K screen is going to get you some beautiful visuals. Whether it‘s as demanding as Destiny 2 or more approachable like FortNite, the visuals will pop right off the screen.
Take all that and apply it to VR. You can imagine just how immersive it could be. Everything packed under the hood will handle the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift with no problem, and in some cases will be better than your gaming tower. Just make sure you have enough room for a VR setup and enjoy.
The Good Good balance between price and power • Durable • ergonomic design The Bad Some newer games may experience performance drops on best settings The Bottom Line Dell is able to strike nice balance between power and price, just be aware of which games will work on ultra settings. Weight: 6.28 lbs Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 RAM: 8GB Processor: Intel Core i5-8300 While every PC gamer would love to have a high powered laptop that can play every new title on the market at max settings, that‘s simply not the case. The sorts of laptops that can do that usually start at around $2500 on the low end — not exactly pocket change. Thankfully, you don‘t have to spend $3000 for a quality gaming experience. There are plenty of budget options out there and this model from Dell is one of the best.
The is a perfect example of balancing performance and cost to deliver on a gaming experience. It uses the Intel Core i5-8300 processor with 8GB of RAM for speeds that, even if it won‘t light the world on fire, are still reliable. On top of that, the 128GB SSD will definitely provide a nice speed boost when booting up.
Then there‘s the 1TB HDD, alleviating any concerns you might have about storage. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 will handle most games you throw at it. Just be wary of newer games like Battlefield 5 and Black Ops 4 running on ultra and potential performance drops.
Even with that in mind, delivers a gaming laptop that will definitely provide a quality gaming experience on par with laptops that might cost $200 to $300 more. There‘s a reason Dell is one of the most prominent names in computing, and it shows in this laptop. Dell‘s acumen for design is reflected in this model, and for , it‘s definitely worth the investment.
The Good Thin body design • Powerful laptop • despite smaller body The Bad Premium price tag • No disk drive The Bottom Line ASUS strikes a beautiful balance between power and size with the ROG Zephyrus M, and the premium price reflects that. Weight: 5.4 lbs Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB RAM: 16GB Processor: Intel Core i7-8750H One big downside to gaming laptops, especially powerful ones, is that most are either heavy or have a bulky body. It makes sense considering everything that has to be packed into the small frame, whether it‘s high-end graphics cards, hard drives, or disc drives. Thankfully, more gaming laptops are hitting the market that are able to offer a slim, sleek design without losing any of the power behind it.
The is a perfect example of the great strides that have been made with gaming laptops in terms of design. Under the hood, the Zephyrus comes fully loaded with everything you need for a great gaming experience. The Intel Core i7-8750H and 16GB of RAM will offer the speeds you‘d expect out of a premium gaming laptop. That speed is boosted with a 256GB SSD and a 1TB HDD for storage, which should make life a bit easier. And for graphics, the uses the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070, so you‘ll be able to crank World of Warcraft up to ultra.
The real advantage of this laptop is the body design. has managed to squeeze that power into a body that is not too bulky to handle. When closed, it‘s less than an inch wide and weighs just over five pounds. Put that up against most other gaming laptops, some which can easily weigh upwards of 20 pounds, and you‘ll quickly see the difference.
The one thing to keep in mind is that the price tag does push into more of the premium territory, coming in at . So while it will require a little more of an investment on your end, the laptop you‘re getting will definitely be worth it.
The Good Affordable price tag • Easy to travel with • Reliable design and power The Bad Don‘t expect every game to run on ultra The Bottom Line Acer offers a gaming laptop for anyone looking to make the jump into PC gaming without breaking the bank, just don‘t expect Battlefield 5 to run on ultra. Weight: 2.65 lbs Storage: 256GB SSD Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti RAM: 8GB Processor: Intel Core i5-7300HQ If you‘re just making the jump into PC gaming, it can be a lot to take in. Balancing power and price can be a tricky tight rope to walk, and might be enough to turn some people off from PC gaming. That said, there are gaming laptops available that provide a good jumping off point into the world of PC gaming without being too overwhelming.
To that end, has the Nitro 5 for anyone who is brand new to PC gaming or even gaming in general as it packs enough power under the hood to give anyone interested a proper taste of the gaming world.
The comes with an Intel Core i5-7300HQ processor with 8GB of RAM, delivering reliable speeds across the board. It gets a nice speed boost thanks to a 256GB SSD for storage. Finally, it‘s sporting an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti graphics card, which can handle plenty of games, just don‘t expect for some of the newest games to be running on ultra.
The is about to rock your world if you‘re a seasoned gamer, for anyone just jumping in this is an excellent option. And at , it won‘t break the bank account.
The Good Sleek body design • Graphics and speed are ideal for hardcore gamers • Cooling fans are quieter than some comparable laptops The Bad May need an external storage device The Bottom Line From the sleek body to the speeds and graphics, the Predator Triton 700 is the laptop for the more hardcore out there. Weight: 5.4 lbs Storage: 512GB SSD Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 1080 RAM: 32GB Processor: Intel Core i7-7700HQ Hardcore gamers have expectations when it comes to their platforms of choice. Whether it‘s having intuitive controls, being multimedia ready, or delivering blazing speeds, seasoned gamers demand the best out of their machines. For this crew, Acer has a great laptop that can provide that power on the go.
Across the board, the delivers a fast and visually booming experience. First, you have the Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor with 32GB of RAM, providing some excellent speed for gaming. And graphically, the Triton comes packed with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080, so games are going to look incredible.
If there is any downside in performance, it comes in the 512GB SSD. On one hand, the solid state drive will provide that extra speed boost to the processor and RAM, so overall performance will be improved. On the other hand, you could burn through that storage quickly, depending on what you‘re playing. So you may need to look for an external HDD to help ease the storage issues.
Aside from that, has delivered a laptop that could be a hardcore gamer‘s best friend. And at $2299, the price certainly reflects the quality of the laptop.
The Good VR ready • Faster than comparably priced models • Strong graphical performance The Bad Bulkier and heavier body • Alienware cooling fans are typically on the louder side The Bottom Line The Alienware 15 delivers performance that makes it a great “budget” VR laptop, it just may be a bit bulkier than other laptops. Weight: 8 lbs Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 RAM: 16GB Processor: Intel Core i7-7700HQ When it comes to PC gaming, there are few brands that are as closely associated with it as Alienware. Whether you‘re looking for an affordable gaming laptop or a $5000 tower, you‘ve likely checked out an Alienware computer during those searches. And when it comes to gaming laptops, Alienware has just the thing for those who may be more virtually inclined but don‘t have a ton of cash to burn: the .
First, let‘s take a look at what‘s under the keyboard. The Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD will deliver the high speeds expected out of an laptop along with the additional storage provided by the SSD. Speaking of which, there‘s also the 1TB HDD, so it should hold a majority of the games you‘re looking to play with no issues for some time. And with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070, the graphics will be excellent across the board.
The may not look like a budget laptop at first glance, but when you consider it‘s VR ready, that changes the conversation quite a bit. Typically, a computer that can handle VR at its best will run in the ballpark of $2500 to $3000 on the low end. And while the Alienware 15 may not melt eyes in VR with its visuals, new games will still look great.
Alienware delivers a laptop that lives up to its history in the space with the Alienware 15. It manages to go above and beyond its price point, from the general performance to the VR capabilities. And for , it‘s definitely worth the investment.