Best Gaming Laptop for the Money

Whether you’re looking for the best gaming laptop for the money, the best destkop, or just the best keyboard, you always want to make sure you’re getting the absolute best bang for your buck. But how can you know whether or not those sticks of RAM are overpriced, or if the graphics card inside is the one that’s going to take you up the leaderboards on the latest online shooters?

Read on in our guide on the best gaming laptop for the money to find out!

Best Gaming Laptops for the Money

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Dell Inspiron i7559MSI Ghost Pro 4KLenovo Y700Gigabyte P35x V5Acer Predator 17
Rank#1 Best Gaming Laptop for the Money#2 Best Screen#3 Best Speaker System#4 - Best Graphics Card#5 Best All Around
Amazon Rating4stars-new4stars-new3.5stars-21054andhalf-stars4andhalf-stars
Processor Type/SpeedIntel Core i5-6300HQ 2.3 GHzIntel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHzIntel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHzIntel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHzIntel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz
Graphics CardNvidia GTX 960M 4GBNvidia GTX 970M 6GBNvidia GTX 960M 4GBNvidia GTX 980M 6GB Nvidia GTX 980M 4GB
Available RAM8GB DDR3L16GB DDR48GB DDR3L8GB DDR432GB DDR4
Storage (SSD/HDD)8GB/1TB256GB PCie SSD/1TB256GB/1TB256GB/1TB512GB PCIe SSD/1TB HDD
Weight8.6 lb4.2 lb5.7 lb8.8 lb7.4 lb
Screen Size15.6"15.6"15.6"15.6"15.6"
Screen Resolution1920 x 10803860 x 21401920 x 10801920 x 10801920 x 1080
Battery Life (avg)6:252:044:306:455:15
Price (as configured)$799.99$1686.00$959.00$1546.33$2,299.00
Buy NowBuy NowBuy NowBuy NowBuy Now

#1 Pick Editor’s Choice Dell Inspiron i7559

Dell Inspiron i7559
At just $799 for the base model, Dell’s Inspiron i7559 is an other-worldly machine to behold

Price: $799.99 | Features: Nvidia GTX 960M 4GB, 256GB SSD

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Best budget option for gamers who need to watch their wallet.

Although it may not look the sexiest or have any of the “extreme” accents that many gaming peripherals can’t go without these days, the Dell Inspiron i7559 is hiding a whole lot of value in a very small (and impossibly light) package.

The key to being able to pack in so much graphical power without upping the cost to the level of its competitors lies in the CPU, which only clocks in at an i5-6500HQ and a measly 8GB of DDR3L RAM. When you’re shopping on a budget and looking for value though, these types of compromises are where you find the best deals. Most AAA games that demand a lot from your system aren’t nearly as reliant on CPU and RAM power as they used to be, offloading much of that responsibility to the GPU instead. With a massive GTX 960M with 4GB DDR5 VRAM, this means the Dell will have no problem handling almost any title you can think of without batting an eye, and will only experience minor slowdowns during intense multi-tasking processes like video editing or heavy web browsing.

All this in mind, it’s impossible to argue with the Dell’s bargain basement price of just $799 making it one of the best budget options on the market. Just don’t forget the best gaming mouse so you can crush your enemies in-game. Sure, you’ll have to deal with a slightly slower CPU and limited RAM to get it, but for your money there simply isn’t a better deal on shelves today. The best Apple laptops will cost you much more.

#2 Pick MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 4K

MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 4K Gaming Laptop
If you have to have 4K on your next laptop, the GS60 Ghost Pro is the way to go

Price: $1,767.00 | Features: Beautiful 15.6″ 4K display, 16GB DDR4 2133MHz RAM

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The GS60 Ghost Pro is a 4K gamer’s paradise.

While the initial shock of the sticker price on the MSI Ghost Pro 4K may make it a little bit more difficult to believe this is a machine that’s good for your money; believe us when we tell you it’s putting out a value like few other laptops on this list can.

With a massive 6GB of VRAM on its included GTX 970M, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a beautiful 15.6″ UHD 4K display, the MSI Ghost is an all-in-one monster that could stand toe-to-toe with any gaming desktop without moving an inch.

Add to this a stellar, sleek design for $1767 and what you get is a laptop that is a bit on the pricier side, but pays it back in dividends whether you’re on the road, at home, or sloughing around somewhere in between.

Another popular MSI model is the 15.6-inch GS65 Stealth Gaming Laptop. The MSI GS65 Stealth has a 2.2 GHz CPU Intel Core i7-8750H six-core processor and 16GB of 2400 MHz DDR4 RAM. Plus, thanks to it’s dedicated GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics, the MSI GS65 Stealth is able to play graphically demanding games on its 1920 x 1080 Full HD display. To top it off, the IPS 144HZ level display has a 144 Hz refresh rate and a 7 ms response time for fast and fluid content playback.

View on Amazon – $1686.00

#3 Pick Lenovo Y700

Lenovo Y700
The Lenovo Y700 is the ultimate media machine, with serious power to back up its speakers’ bite

Price: $959.00 | Features: JBL dual-channel stereo speakers with 3W subwoofer, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: JBL speakers and a 3W subwoofer create media watching bliss.

The Lenovo Y700 has got an odd look, but its specs and price are right in line with what you’d expect from a gaming laptop that’s doing everything it can to get you the best possible value for your hard-earned dollar.

With a solid pair of 2W JBL speakers and a 3W subwoofer to boot, the Y700 is perfect for gaming or – perhaps more importantly depending on who you ask – media watching on the go. With its raised screen and ultra-cool fan system, this is a laptop that will sit on any surface without melting its own components, all without sacrificing any of the sound quality that many other laptops in this class leave behind in favor of better ergonomics.

Add in a 4GB GTX 960M with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor and it’s clear that while Lenovo may not exactly be a leader in the space of gaming laptops, they’re definitely no slouch, either.

Another option from Lenovo that missed our list is the Lenovo Legion Y520 Gaming Laptop. The Y520 Laptop CPU, GPU, memory and storage can be adjusted: Core i5 or i7; GTX 1050 Ti or GTX 1060; 8GB or 16GB of RAM; no SSD to 512GB and 1TB or 2TB hard drive.

View on Amazon – $959.00

#4 Pick Gigabyte P35x V5

Gigabyte P35x v5
If you’re wondering how Gigabyte was able to pack a 6GB 980M into its chassis – don’t worry, we are too

Price: $1,546.33 | Features: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M 8GB VRAM, Core i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Insane graphics performance for any gaming machine out there.

Some gamers value a low price, while others prefer to balance price against other features like media watching capabilities and a nice screen. Then, there’s the gamers who just want pure, unadulterated power.

Enter the Gigabyte P35x V5, which to put it bluntly, has no business being the price it is. The P35x somehow manages to cram in many of the same specs we’ve come to expect around this price point (8GB of RAM, i7-6700HQ, etc), all while stuffing in an extra Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M 8GB on top. This puts it head and shoulders above the rest of the entries here, which don’t even come close to matching the raw output that the 8GB version of the 980M is capable of.

If you’re okay giving up a few other luxuries like a nice screen in order to get the absolute maximum graphics power out of your mobile machine, look no further than the Gigabyte P35x V5.

View on Amazon – $1546.33

#5 Pick Acer Predator 17 G9-791-78CE

Predator 17 Best Laptop Under $2000
The Predator 17 doesn’t do just one thing better than the rest: it does them all. 

Price: $2,299 | Read Full Review: Acer Predator 17 Review | Features: 1920 x 1080 IPS LED screen, 32GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe SSD

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Predator is just as powerful as it is beautifully assembled.

Since getting my hands on the Acer Predator 17, it’s been difficult for me to put it down. There’s no one category where the Predator 17 completely blows the rest of the other gaming laptops here clear out of the water, but it’s the collective experience of the whole that really works to bring the whole thing together.

The build quality is incredible, the keyboard and trackpad are a joy to use for hours on end, and the screen is perfect for watching a movie or marathon multiplayer gaming sessions. Add to this the 32GB of RAM and 512GB PCIe SSD that come as a cherry on top, and you have a rock-steady all-around gaming laptop that will stand up to any test you throw its way.

It’s great for anyone who’s never owned a gaming laptop before or this is your 10th in a decade, either way with so many over-the-top additions without the over-the-top weight, you’re left with a gaming laptop that checks every box you could think of.

Buy Now $2,299.00

Key Factors and Features to a Good Gaming Laptop For the Money

Processor

  • When you’re trying to get the best value for your money in any product category, the main key is compromise.
  • That said, almost all the laptops on this list (save for one outlier) is rocking Intel’s mobile powerhouse; the Core i7-6700HQ
  • Processors aren’t as important for gaming as the graphics card, but you should still never sink below the “i5” line of gaming laptop CPUs unless you can’t avoid it in the price bracket you’re searching in

RAM

  • RAM is another flexible aspect of gaming PCs, because it’s not as immediately vital as the graphics card.
  • The general rule here is to never go below 8GB, as this is the minimum amount that any game (whether it’s Hearthstone or GTA V) will need to render its graphics and the graphics of the operating system smoothly at the same time. If you don’t mind spending a bit extra on RAM 16GB will ensure your laptop runs as smoothly as possible.

Graphics Card

  • And now we come to the most important feature of any gaming laptop worth its salt: the GPU
  • Nvidia has released cards for every budget you could imagine in this space, but the three big chips to look out for are the GTX 960M, the GTX970M, and the GTX980M
  • Each has their own applications and cost-to-benefit ratios, but overall you want a card that can carry its own in AAA titles (the 970M 3GB strikes a nice balance here), but also isn’t so expensive that you’re pricing yourself out of a machine with better specs on the side.

Storage

  • Never get a gaming laptop without at least a 128GB SSD, if you can avoid it
  • As we’ve mentioned before, the speed difference between an SSD and HDD for gaming is extreme, meaning you’ll spend a whole lot more time waiting around during loading screens if you opt for the HDD-only option instead

Screen

  • Some people say they can’t live with anything except 4K resolution on their laptops, while others are just fine living in a world where 1920 x 1080 is the norm
  • Screen size and resolution almost always boil down to personal preference, and which is right for you depends on what your budget looks like and the features you want included most on your next machine. At the very least for a gaming laptop, you’ll want a 15.6-inch display.

Build Quality

  • Budget laptops have a bad habit of skimping on build quality in favor of beefier specs, and even a few selections on this list are slightly guilty of the sin.
  • That said, as long as you’re buying from a reputable manufacturer like Acer, Gigabyte, or MSI, you can be sure that the company will guarantee the longevity and toughness of its cases and keyboards for upwards of three years after your initial purchase.

Mistakes to Avoid

Buying Features You Won’t Use: As we mentioned above, getting the best laptop for the money is all about maximizing the variety of features against the price, and making your pick from there. If you want a 4K screen and don’t mind giving up a little graphical power to get it, there’s a laptop for that. If you want big, boomy speakers but couldn’t care less about the size of the SSD, there’s a laptop for that too.

“Budget” Doesn’t Mean “Cheap”: All the gaming laptops on this list are pricey by normal standards, save except for the Dell Inspirion i7559. A gaming laptop can’t be upgraded, which means you should always save up as much as you can to buy the best machine you can to ensure it lasts more than a few product cycles and game releases without becoming obsolete. The more you spend upfront on your next device, the longer it’s going to stick around in the broad scope of things.

Which Gaming Laptop for the Money is Right For You?

Of all the lists we’ve written on this subject, this list definitely has the most variety and options between the best gaming laptops on shelves right now. “Value” is in the eye of the beholder, which is why we’ve included so many different choices for any price tier and budget.

Pound for pound, dollar for dollar it’s impossible to beat the value you get with the Dell Inspiron i7559, but it doesn’t do everything you could possibly want out of a laptop on its own. That’s where alternatives like the boomy Lenovo Y700 or Gigabyte’s graphical workhorse the P35x come in to fill the void. The Predator 17 is a solid all-around impressive laptop, while the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro features a gorgeous 4K screen that’s perfect for movie watching, gaming, or both at the same time with all the extra real estate you’ll have to play around with.

The best gaming laptop for the money isn’t always the one that’s easiest on your wallet – it’s the one that gives you the features you want in one package, with no extra frills to distract you from the best part of owning once of these machines in the first place: gaming to your heart’s content for hours and hours on end.

To discover the best deals the market has to offer, check out Daily Tech Deals and Today’s Best Deals on popular online stores such as Amazon.com.

Other popular models include the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced, the HP OMEN 15-dh1099nr,  and the Alienware Area-51m.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 features the powerful AMD Ryzen 9-4900HS processor combined with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU.  The Zephyrus G14 also comes with 6GB of VRAM, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 1080p at 120Hz display.

The Blade 15 Advanced has a six-core Core i7 8th Gen Intel processor, 16GB of RAM, storage 512GB SSD, and an NVIDIA RTX 2060 graphics card. Thanks to its dedicated GPU NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card, the Blade 15 Advanced at maxed graphical settings can push most games over 60 fps and will reach over 100 fps in less-demanding titles. Plus, the Blade 15 Advanced can also support the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q card.

The HP OMEN is an ultra-thin model that delivers both power and performance with an Intel Core i7-10750H core processor and advanced NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 with Max-Q dedicated graphics (storage 256GB SSD and 8 GB memory).

The Alienware Area-51m is equipped with an Intel Core i9-9900K processor, 32GB of memory, 1TB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage, a 1TB solid-state hard drive (SSHD) and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card.

Read More: Best Gaming Laptops Under $2,000

FAQ

Are graphics cards that important?

Yes. In addition to your laptop CPU intel core central processing unit, the graphics processing unit (GPU) has a drastic impact on your PC's performance. Your graphics card is directly responsible for translating information into the images on your display. A more powerful graphics card will be able to display the information fast and enhance your visual experience overall. Graphics cards are particularly important when it comes to gaming laptops since modern games rely on creating stunning visuals, smooth gameplay, and an immersive experience. All things that would be difficult to achieve with laggy gameplay and screen tear. There's no sense in buying an expensive 17.3-inch beast of a laptop if the graphics card isn't up to scratch. Here are some well known NVIDIA graphics cards in 2019: GeForce GTX 1060, GeForce GTX 1070 Ti, GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, GTX 1660, GTX 1660 Ti, RTX 2060, RTX 2070, and RTX 2080. More recent developments in realist graphics include the enhancement of lighting effects in-game or "ray tracing."

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Chris Stobing

Chris Stobing is a writer and blogger from the heart of Silicon Valley. Raised around tech from birth, he's had an interest in PC hardware and networking technology for years, and has come to Gadget Review to contribute his knowledge on both.

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