How to Choose the Best Gaming Laptop

Gaming laptops have been frowned upon for a long time, with diehard PC gaming enthusiasts considering it impossible to play latest generation games on a laptop – or at least very difficult to do unless you have a fortune to spend. But the past few years have given us cheaper and cheaper options when it came to gaming laptops, resulting in affordable options for most users, many allowing you to play the latest games on high resolution settings without having to sell a kidney and your parents’ house in order to afford it.

We have already shared with you a good list of great gaming laptops under $1,000 that can handle today’s games without much trouble and last year we shared some really cheap options for those on a really tight budget ($500 and under).

But what if you want to have a bit more freedom and be able to actually choose your own gaming laptop? What should you look for? What makes a laptop a great one for gaming? We’re going to answer all these questions in today’s article and teach you how to choose the best gaming laptop based on your budget. Or just check out our lists I’ve linked to above and you’re all set!

The Graphics Card

This is, in my opinion, the most important thing you have to look for when it comes to gaming laptops: they must have a dedicated graphics card, and the more recent it is, the better your new acquisition will handle current generation games. One of the better options out there – at least at the moment of writing this article is the nVidia Geforce GTX 980 M, but in case you want to have a look and always be up to date with the latest releases – or check out how recent the model you’re considering is, visit nVidia’s official page here and look at the GPUs listed under the Notebook category – the GTX ones are made for gaming, so that’s what you should be looking for.

If you want to know how good the graphics card of your laptop is, simply google the card’s name and “benchmark” (so something like “GeForce GTX 980M benchmark”) and check out the results out there – usually, you will see an easy to read chart that will show you the score of that particular card and you’ll be able to compare it to the best card on the market at that given moment. Of course, the closer it is to that top score, the better the card is.

When looking at the graphics card, check out the amount of RAM it has: the same card might come with different amounts of RAM (2, 4 or more) – always go for the higher values here, but have in mind that usually a card with 2 GB of RAM will be better than an older card with more RAM.

In the end, this should be the major selling point: the graphics card is the most important thing to look at when you buy your gaming laptop as it ultimately decides what games you can play – and at what quality! Also, you should know that normally laptop manufacturers will rarely build a poor product with a very good GPU, but on numerous occasions you could find a laptop with amazing specs BUT the GPU.

The Processor

The second most important thing to look at is the processor. Many consider it the most important thing, but that’s not the case. The processor is indeed important, but after reaching a certain threshold, it no longer matters as much as your current graphics card for gaming purposes. Of course, the better processor should always be picked, but if your funds are limited and you have to choose between two models, one with a better GPU and one with a better processor, you should normally pick the first.

When it comes to processors, Intel’s i7 series is the latest at the moment, but you can also get decent performance from an i5. If you’re unsure about the performance of the processor of the laptop you’re looking at, Google will help you once more: simply search for the following string: “processor name benchmark” and again look at the numbers. For example, a search for “intel i7 6700k benchmark” will bring up results for that particular model.

As I said before, you will rarely see an amazing graphics card paired with a crappy processor (but often the opposite), so make sure you check out both in order to make sure that you make the best choice.

RAM matters…

Well, not so much! Of course, you won’t want to go for 4GBs of RAM, but 8 is still a good number for today’s games. If you want to play it really safe and make sure you won’t have to upgrade for a long time, play it safe with 16, but anything above that is, in my opinion, too much. As long as you have an amazing graphics card and a good processor, RAM always comes in second.

Do you really need a SSD?

The truth is that SSDs are indeed faster and the better option when it comes to any type of computer, but the truth is that it might still not be a good idea to go for a SSD yet. They are more expensive than regular HDDs and you get a lot less storage, so it’s not uncommon to see 256GB options out there and maybe even lower. If you are a hardcore gamer and you have a lot of games installed at the same time, you will soon end up not having enough space for them if you opt for a SSD storage option that offers too little in terms of GBs. Of course, if you can stretch your budget and you have this option, SSDs are the better choice since they are faster than regular HDDs and therefore result in shorter load times, but unless you get a minimum of 512 GB (although I’d go for 1 TB), don’t bother or you’ll soon run into storage space related problems – even though it’s not really important to go overboard either with a HDD like the Seagate 10 that was recently revealed by our friends over at Techosaurus Rex. 1TB is still enough in most cases!

Display resolution

You’ll be tempted to choose resolutions higher than HD (that’s 1920 × 1080), but the truth is that in most cases you shouldn’t because your laptop won’t be strong enough to offer decent frame rates at such resolutions when it runs current generation games. Even a resolution of 1366 x 768 isn’t such a bad choice if you want to keep costs down, and it would result in better overall performance when gaming, so don’t be afraid to consider it as a choice when looking at your next gaming laptop!

Does size matter?

The debate that probably started centuries ago moves into the notebook area as well. I personally don’t think that you should even bother looking at anything lower than the 15.4″ diagonal and, if possible, I’d suggest going for the larger 17″ models. Gaming laptops are pretty heavy and the larger display would make them even heavier, but I always think that a large screen is better when gaming. However, if portability is extremely important to you, you should go for the smaller screen size. Otherwise, I’d go for the larger one!

These are the main things to look at when buying a gaming laptop. Anything else (like backlit keyboard, bells and whistles) is just extra icing on the cake and they should only matter if you want to spend some extra dollars. Between backlit keys and a few extra frames per second I would always choose the latter so always focus on what’s important!

Hopefully you know now how to choose a perfect gaming laptop for your needs and especially your budget, but if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask them below!

Best Gaming Laptops Under $500

We have talked about the best cheap gaming laptops earlier this year, but all the laptops recommended there were under $1000, but over $500, so I’ve decided to give it a try and see if you could really get a gaming laptop if you were on a very tight budget. The fact that we are writing this article proves that it’s doable and there are some decent options out there, all listed here in our “best gaming laptops under $500” article.

Don’t expect these laptops to deliver next-gen performance – but I believe you already know that with such a low budget, you can’t have exaggerated expectations. You want games to run decently, and that’s what they will most likely do. So check out our suggestions below: you will find your next best gaming laptop under $500 here!

HP 15-g220nr

01 HP 15-g220nr

This is the cheapest gaming laptop on the list, but it packs quite a punch. It comes with a touchscreen feature too, which makes it look really next-gen (as well as Windows 8.1 to help on that matter!). It has a decent 2 GHz A6-5200 processor – we can even call it a good processor at this price, backed up by 4GB of RAM and a dedicated AMD Radeon HD 8400 graphics card. You can’t really have a gaming laptop without a dedicated graphics card, and this one does have it! It also has a 500GB HDD and a DVD burner to help you store those games or whatever. All in all, a really good gaming laptop that’s just a bit over $400! Click here to check it out!

ASUS X550ZA-WB11

02 ASUS X550ZA-WB11

I really like this laptop, I think it offers a lot for its price: a great AMD Quad Core A10-7400P 2.5GHz processor, 8GB RAM and a decent AMD Radeon R6 graphics card. It also has a 1TB HDD, which makes this deal even better! It only supports a maximum screen resolution of 1366*768, but it will play your games and that’s all that matters. This is my personal favorite on this list, so make sure to check it out! Click here to see the product on Amazon!

Toshiba Satellite C55D-B5244

03 Toshiba Sattelite

If you’re a fan of the Toshiba Satellite brand, we have an option for you here too: an AMD A6 2.4 GHz processor, 6GB of RAM and 750GB of HDD Storage Space, powered up by an AMD Radeon R4 graphics card (not the best on the list, I have to admit it, but it’s difficult to find top graphic cards at such a low price). It would still do a decent job running your games, as long as you don’t overdo it with the settings, and it looks sleek enough to be a good purchase. Check it out here for more details.

Lenovo ThinkPad E455

04 Lenovo ThinkPad E455

It’s almost impossible to have a “cheapest gaming laptops” list without a Lenovo laptop on it – and here it is! The ThinkPad E455 is a good option for gamers looking for a budget gaming laptop, offering 4 GB of DDR3L SDRAM, am AMD A4 2.2 GHz and the AMD Radeon R4 graphic card. It also comes with a 500GB HDD, but have in mind that it’s slightly smaller than regular laptops, with a screen size of just 14 inch. But it’s easier to carry around, at least! So click here to check it out.

Acer Aspire E5

05 Acer Aspire E5

This gaming laptop might discourage you from purchasing when you see that it has just one review – and that gives it 1 star, but the truth is that we’re talking about a decent laptop here: 2 GHz AMD A Series processor, 8GB of RAM and a decent Radeon R6 Graphic Card. It also has a 1 TB HDD, so it’s really solid. The only problem in my opinion (and what caused its 1 star rating) is that it doesn’t have an optical drive. But if you digitally download your games, that should not be a bit problem – so click here to check it out!

Finding a decent gaming laptop for less than $500 is not easy, but at least there are some options available. It’s all based on personal preference, of course, but if you were to ask me, I would definitely go with the ASUS X550ZA-WB11, as I have already told you. Good luck and happy gaming!

Best Cheap Gaming Laptops Under $1,000 to Buy in 2015

Gaming

Gaming on the go AND on a budget? That sounds impossible, but the truth is that if you do your research right – or read the articles on VgamerZ, well, then you will be really surprised to hear that in 2015 it is possible to buy an amazing gaming laptop under $1,000 and experience current generation games like the big guys with top rigs (or as close as possible).

We are here to help you find the best cheap gaming laptops under $1,000 because we know how difficult it is to invest bucket loads of money into extremely expensive laptops and we want to tell you that you don’t really have to do it if you’re not insanely picky. We’ve gone through hundreds of laptops and configurations and we have picked this year’s winners: the best cheap gaming laptops that you can find on the market, all listed below from the worst (in our opinion) to the best. But remember – all these are really solid gaming laptops!

Acer Aspire V 15 V3-572G-76EM

01 acer aspire cheap gaming laptop

I did game on an Acer laptop and my old one, purchased back in 2010 is still handling some of the less demanding games today. In other words, I really believe that Acer manufactures some extremely durable and high quality products and even though this particular model is not as powerful as others on this list, it will surely serve you well. This cheap gaming laptop runs on a i7-5500U Processor at 2.4 GHz and is powered by 8 GB DDR3L SDRAM. It comes with an integrated NVIDIA GeForce 840M graphics card with 2GB of RAM and can be considered a great product for its price.

At the moment of writing, there are just 10 left in stock, so decide quickly before it’s too late – click here to check it out!

Lenovo Z70

02 lenovo z70

Lenovo is probably the brand when it comes to budget laptops and some of their products really pack a punch at a great price. Their Z70 model, for example, is a good option for a cheap gaming laptop, great for those who believe that size matters. I say that because it’s a 17.3-Inch Laptop we’re talking about, powered by an Intel Core i7-5500U 2.4 GHz Processor and an amazing 16GB of RAM (DDR3). The graphics card is a NVIDA GeForce 840M with 2GB of RAM and it also has an extra bonus: a small SSD of 8GB, plus the main 1TB hard drive. In other words, a really great option for a gaming laptop under $1,000.

Click here to check it out and find everything about its specs.

MSI Computer Corp. GP70 LEOPARD-010

msi leopard cheap gaming laptop

If for some reason it’s the brand that matters the most for you, you can go for this MSI gaming laptop, although I would still prefer the Lenovo one between these two. Either way, the Leopard-010 is a good choice at a great price: a large 17.3-Inch Screen, 8GB of RAM, an Intel Core i5-4200M 3.0 GHz and the already standard NVIDA GeForce 840M graphics card. Overall, gamers have been pretty happy with this laptop’s performance, especially if you’re not planning to play the most demanding games out there (or you can settle for lower settings).

Click here to check it out and get the best price of the moment.

MSI GE60 Apache

03 msi apache

It’s time to improve things a bit in terms of performance with the GE60 Apache gaming laptop from MSI. At the moment of writing it’s available for a discounted price that puts it right into our zone, but things might change soon, so act quickly! And you should really act fast because we’re talking here about a gaming laptop powered by a i7-4700HQ 3.2 GHz processor, backed up by 8GB of DDR3L SDRAM and the great NVIDIA Geforce GTX850M graphics card with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM. As a bonus, it also comes with an insanely cool full color backlit Gaming Keyboard by SteelSeries which will surely impress your friends and the world. And as I said, it’s available at a discount of $200 at the moment of writing which is even more impressive!

Head over to Amazon to check out this great cheap gaming laptop!

Lenovo Y50

04 lenovo y

Don’t act surprised to see another Lenovo laptop on this list – I told you they were good. Even though apparently not as impressive as its brother listed earlier in this article, the Y50 model only has a 15.6-Inch Touchscreen display (but the battery lasts longer and it’s Touchscreen!) and is powered by an Intel Core i7-4700HQ 2.4 GHz Processor. However, that compensates with the NVIDIA GTX-860M 2GB Graphics card, the 8GB of RAM and 1 TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive plus 8 GB Solid-State Drive for all the storage that you need. It’s up for you to decide if the extra graphics card power is what you want – click here for full specs and details!

MSI GE70 Apache Pro

05 msi apache g70

Another MSI Apache model here and in this case, a better deal. Again available at a great discount at the moment of writing, this comes with some extras if we are to compare it with the GE60 model. Powered by an Intel Core i5-4200H 3.2 GHz processor with 8 GB DDR3L SDRAM, it has a larger display (17.3-Inch Screen) and a more powerful graphics card – the NVIDIA Geforce GTX860M with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM, which is pretty nice. Fortunately, it still comes with the cool full color backlit Gaming Keyboard and it is a great deal overall!

You can find out more about this cheap gaming laptop here – but make sure to act quickly while the discounted offer still stands!

Acer Aspire V15 Nitro

acer aspire nitro

This cheap gaming laptop really catches your eye! We’re talking about an insanely good looking Black Edition with backlit keyboard, an overall slim and sleek design and a ton of other great features. A true winner!

In terms of specs, it has a Intel Core i7-4720HQ Processor (2.6 GHz) with 8GB or RAM as well as the great NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M to keep your games running. It also has other nice features, like the 4 built-in speakers and, did I mention it – an amazing design! It’s clearly one of my favorites and I am sure that any gamer out there would love to own this little beast!

Click here to find out more about the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro.

So these would be our top picks for 2015 in terms of cheap gaming laptops that can really handle the big games out there and I am sure you will find one that will become your gaming laptop for the years to come. Have fun and don’t forget to share this with your friends – they might want to game on a budget too!

The Best Cheap Gaming Laptops to Buy in 2014 – Under $1,000

Laptops

Being mobile today is a must and more and more gamers are moving from their desktop computers to gaming laptops for the added mobility benefits and the ability to game on the go. Therefore, we’ve decided to check out tens of cheap gaming laptops, compare them, find the top ones to get and share the results with you so that you won’t have to do all this hard work. So we’re happy to share with you below our list of the best cheap gaming laptops to buy in 2014!

Have in mind that since these are budget gaming laptops – all under $1,000 – you won’t be able to play Watch Dogs on the highest settings, but you will be able to get a decent performance from your games, which is probably all that you want! So let’s check out below the best cheap gaming laptops to buy in 2014!

Acer Aspire V5-552-X814

01 Acer Aspire V5 Gaming Laptop

A 15.6-Inch laptop that can be used for gaming, coming at just below $500? Yes, please! It’s running on a decent AMD Radeon HD 8650G graphics card, comes with an extra 6GB of RAM and an AMD A Series 2.5 GHz processor. It’s pretty light at 4.41 lbs, ultra thin and for this price it’s probably the best budget gaming laptop on the market at the moment. Check it out here to see the full specs and hurry to order it before it sells out!

Acer Aspire V5-552PG-X809

02 acer aspire gaming laptop

We’ll stick to Acer’s V5 laptops, but this time we’re going a bit higher, both in performance and in price. Just like the previous gaming laptop, this one’s powered by a 2.5 GHz processor, but comes with 8GB or RAM and the better AMD Radeon HD 8750M Graphics Card. It has, compared to the previous laptop, 250GB of extra HDD space (for a total of 1TB) and is the better choice if you’re not forced to stick to a $500 budget. The Champagne Ice color makes it look pretty sleek too, so you should really consider this one. Right now, there’s a deal that saves you $76.64 off the purchase, so click here to check it out!

ASUS X750JB-DB71

03 asus gaming laptop

It’s time to move to the real big guns of the cheap gaming laptops! I am a huge fan of ASUS, and this laptop proves why. For a great price, you get an i7 Intel processor running at 2.4 GHz and a ton of other great features: the nVIDIA Geforce GT 740M Graphics card running on 2GB of RAM, 8 GB DDR3 and 1TB HDD. Since this is a 17.3 inches laptop, it runs on resolutions up to 1600 x 900 and packs a real punch. Check it out here to get all the details and best price offer (for example, at the moment of writing, there’s a $99 discount!)

Lenovo IdeaPad Z710

04 lenovo z710 gaming laptop

The Chinese manufacturers are slowly starting to prove that they have some really high quality products in the budget area and their Z710 gaming laptop is a proof of that: good quality at a more than decent price. This particular product runs on an Intel Core i7-4700MQ 2.4 GHz processor, has the “standard” 8GB of RAM and the NVIDIA GeForce GT745M Discrete Graphics Card. It also runs at full HD resolutions (1920 x 1080), so that’s certainly a bonus. As one reviewer states: “Good bang for the buck!” Click here to check it out – there’s just 5 left in stock at the moment of writing!

Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p

05 lenovo y gaming laptop

Can it get even better? Well, if you are ready to go to the top of the $1,000 budget for your gaming laptop, Lenovo’s Y510p might be the perfect choice! Although it’s running on an i5 processor, it still gets 2.5 GHz and 6GB of RAM from the factory. It’s biggest bonus comes from the fact that it has Dual NVIDIA GeForce GT750M Discrete Graphics for increased power for your gaming needs. It’s also a 15.6-Inch Laptop, which makes it easier to carry around and the red touches are pretty nice! Check it out here for all the details.

And these would be our choices for the best cheap gaming laptops that you can get in 2014 for under $1,000. As I said in the intro, you should not expect top performance from these little babies, but the price/quality ratio is certainly the best. If you want to purchase any of these products for a particular game (especially if it’s next gen) double check to see if it can actually run your game!