Best Gaming Laptop Under $2,000

Picking out the best gaming laptop under $2000 may sound like a compromise, but as our list will show, it doesn’t have to be. That said, with so many older brands introducing new products and newer brands releasing even fresher laptops on top of that, the deluge of available options can prove to be overwhelming to some buyers who are out of their digital depth.

Lucky for you, Gadget Review is here with another comprehensive guide on everything about the specs, hardware requirements, and screen resolution numbers you need to know to find the gaming laptop under $2,000 that fits your budget best!

T0p Gaming Laptop Under $2,000

 61pbwE2Zj6L._SL1297_msi-gs60-ghost-gaming-laptop71iHqxJ9zWL._SL1500_Dell-Inspiron-i7559-Best-Laptop81VFT6U063L._SL1500_
Acer Predator 17 G9MSI GS Series GS60 Ghost Pro 4KAcer Aspire V17 NitroDell Inspiron i7559ASUS ROG G752VT
Rank#1 - Editor's Choice#2 Best All Around#3 Best for the Office Gamer#4 Best for the Budget Gamer#5 Best for Raw Power
Amazon Rating4.5stars-new4stars-new4stars-new4stars-new4stars-new
Processor Type/SpeedIntel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 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 980M 4GB Nvidia GTX 970M 6GBNvidia GTX 960M 4GBNvidia GTX 960M 4GBNvidia GTX 970M 6GB
Available RAM16GB DDR416GB DDR416GB DDR416GB DDR424GB DDR4
Storage (SSD/HDD)256GB/1TB128GB/1TB512GB/1TB128GB/1TB128GB/1TB
Weight8.7 lb4.2 lb6.8 lb4.6 lb8.8 lb
Screen Size17.3" 15.6" 17.3"15.6"17.3"
Screen Resolution1920 x 10803840 x 21603840 x 21603840 x 21601920 x 1080
Battery Life (hrs:min at load)5:303:307:107:232:53
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#1 Pick Acer Predator 17 G9-791-78CE

Predator 17 Best Laptop Under $2000
The Predator 17 is one of the best gaming laptops we’ve reviewed so far this year

Price: $1,999 | Features: 1920 x 1080 IPS LED screen, 16GB of RAM and a GTX 980M

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

When we reviewed the Acer Predator 17, we lauded it for its sleek design, stellar keyboard, and downright spectacular specifications list. For all these reasons and more, the Acer Predator is without a doubt one of the best gaming laptops you can find under $2,000, packing in all of the features we know, love, and need, and nothing else extra that might unnecessarily drive up the cost on the side.

Read More: Acer Predator 17 Review

The model we’ve tested comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect on a machine of this caliber, which is why it just squeaks in under the tape at $1,999.99. Its searingly quick speeds are thanks in part to the 256GB PCIe-based solid state drive, which achieved a rate of 2146MBs read, and 1587MBs write. Add this to 16GB of RAM and a GTX 980M, and you’ve got one heck of a mobile gaming monster.

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#2 Pick MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 4K

MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 4K Best Laptop Under $2000
The MSI GS60 is a colorful, speedy powerhouse of a gaming laptop

Price:$1,899.00 | Features: GTX970M with 6GB of memory, 4K display, chroma-enabled keyboard is a nice touch

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The 4K display makes the GS60 Ghost a must-buy. 

A near unknown in the gaming laptop space just half a decade ago, within the past few years MSI has seriously stepped up their “game” to match the quality of its competitors, and the GS60 is the end result of that hard effort.

With a brushed steel case and chroma-colored flat-key keyboard, the design of the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro alone would be enough to get the laptop on this list. But, when you add in an Nvidia GTX 970M 6GB DDR5 graphics card and a sixth-generation Intel Core i7 processor, the rest of the pieces start to fall into place to make the GS60 one of the best gaming laptops you can get under the $2,000 mark.

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#3 Pick Acer Aspire V17 Nitro

Aspire V17 Gaming Laptop
The Aspire V17 Nitro’s professional attire is hiding a wolf in a sheep’s business suit

Price: $1646.98 | Features: Slim design for ultimate portability, 4K screen for crisp gaming

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The V17 Nitro surprises with sleek style and design. 

Like MSI, it’s only recently that Acer has begun beefing up their line of gaming-capable laptops, and the Aspire Nitro V17 is an absolute monster of a machine that fills in any spare gaps the Predator 17 left behind. And while the 4K screen and 4GB GTX 960M would normally be enough to get a laptop on this list alone, the Nitro 17 especially stands out in regards to its beautiful design.

It’s shell doesn’t immediately yell to everyone around you that you’re here for gaming and gaming only, which is a welcome change on this list. The muted lines and unassuming color scheme of the V17 Nitro would be just as reasonable to see at a business meeting as it would at a LAN party, which makes it perfect for any gamers that want to keep their work life and gaming life in their own compartments.

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#4 Pick Dell Inspiron i7559-7512GRY

Dell Inspiron i7559
The Dell Inspiron i7559 may not be much to look at from the outset, but it’s still the best pound-for-pound value in town by a long shot

Price: $999 | Features: 4K UHD display, GTX 960M and 16GB of DDR4 RAM

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Dell Inspiron is the cheapest 4K gaming laptop around. 

If you haven’t noticed, the price of PC gaming has been on the decline lately, and mobile gaming doubly so. Where gaming laptops used to cost leagues more than their desktop counterparts for the same amount of power, nowadays the gap is closer than it’s ever been, and that fact is no more apparent than in the Dell Inspiron 17 i7559.

Somehow, Dell has managed to squeeze in many of the same specs you’d see in laptops twice the cost, all while hucking in an extra 4K UHD screen on the side just for the heck of it and still keeping the price at $999. While this may seem like a deal that’s too good to be true, the laptop is just as incredible as you would imagine for something that’s in the same price category as a measly Macbook 13 with an i7-6700HQ processor and 16GB of DDR4 RAM.

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#5 Pick ASUS ROG G752VT

ASUS ROG G752VT
Glaring design mistakes aside, the G752VT can perform at the top of its class with the best of them

Price: $1898.99 | Features: 24GB of onboard DDR4 RAM, sixth-gen Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor for maximum power

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The G752VT is a powerhouse that performs above and beyond. 

I wasn’t exactly overzealous about the design of the ASUS ROG G752VT when I first pulled it out of the box, likening it to a headtrip back to the mid-90’s (and not in a good way). But questionable design decisions aside, there’s no denying the fact that the ASUS ROG G752VT is a serious piece of kit with some downright beefy specs that help you forget about the way it looks on the outside, all while you’re having the gaming experience of your life once the shell is open.

Read More: ASUS ROG G752VT Review

With a massive Nvidia GTX 970M 6GB GPU and G-Sync monitor working in tandem, the G752VT is perfect for mobile gamers who demand the absolute most accuracy out of their machine (say for League of Legends or Counter Strike: Global Offensive), and aren’t willing to compromise just because they’re away from their desktop back home. Its 9lb chassis can be a bit unwieldy to carry everywhere, but when you remember the 24GB of DDR4 RAM stashed underneath the grill, it gets a little easier to carry the added weight.

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Key Factors to a Good Gaming Laptop Under $2000

At this price point, a good gaming laptop should have at least an Nvidia GTX 960M or AMD equivalent, as well as 8GB of DDR4 RAM or more.

Storage is a bit trickier, because while it’s important to have an SSD if you can manage it, it’s not exactly a must buy for every gaming laptop because heavier weights aren’t as much of a factor.

4K displays are slightly harder to find around this tier of laptops, but as we mention below that shouldn’t be a game-ender as long as you plan on investing in an external monitor at some point during the laptop’s lifespan.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Gaming laptops under $2,000 hit the sweet spot of budget as far as mobile gaming goes, but there’s still a few mistakes you should keep an eye out for the next time you’re in the market for a new device.

First, never compromise on specs for a better screen. Laptops are best on the road, but they can also make solid stay-at-home desktops too if you just attach an external monitor, mouse, and keyboard.The screen quality you have on the laptop may not always be what you’re stuck with until you get a new machine if you use another monitor, so always try to get the absolute best hardware specs you can first, and think about the display as a distant second.

Next, be sure you get a chance to try out the keyboard at an electronics store before making the final purchase (or read our gaming laptop reviews and save yourself the trip). A keyboard matters on regular laptops, but it’s that much more important on a gaming laptop because how responsive a keyboard is can mean the difference between being on the top of the leaderboard or dead last if it’s not responsive or comfortable enough for you to play on.

Last, while it’s not required, it’s usually smart to buy a wireless mouse if you plan on doing any serious gaming. Trackpads are great for a lot of tasks and some people even prefer them for general web browsing.  But for gaming there’s only a very few select titles that would be better played on a trackpad than an external mouse.

Features to Look For

Processor

  • All the laptops on our list include a sixth-generation Skylake Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, and if you take gaming seriously your laptop should too.
  • This processor has become the new go-to workhorse in gaming laptops for its reliability, efficiency, and raw power.
  • While AMD processors are still fine for what they are, for the time being the Skylake Core i mobile processors for Intel have them beat on almost every front.

RAM

  • The laptops we’ve listed here all have at least 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and your “potential buy” should too.
  • No AAA titles will run smoothly on anything else, especially considering that these laptops are running the “M” version of their graphics card opposed to the full-powered version.

Graphics Card

  • Speaking of graphics cards, the waters only get muddier from here.
  • When you see an “M” badge next to the card you want to get (980M, for example), it’s important to note that it won’t be nearly as powerful as its desktop counterpart
  • All that in mind, anything above an 960M is generally good enough to power most games on medium to high settings, with only a few exceptions at the higher levels like GTA V and Rise of the Tomb Raider

Storage

  • SSDs are a godsend to most desktop gamers, and the case is no different when it comes to laptops.
  • SSDs load games, levels, and new maps dozens of times faster than classical HDDs, but they’re also a lot more expensive to compensate.
  • If you’re trying to find a solid gaming laptop under $2,000 though, it might be smarter to just stick with the HDD and use the cash you saved on better specs instead.

Screen

  • As we’ve already said, the same ethos also goes for the screen.
  • It’s nice to have a nice screen on your gaming laptop, but it’s also not a deal-breaker if it’s a lower resolution or quality than you were expecting.
  • Laptops can always be hooked up to external 4K monitors, which means the screen you get won’t have to be permanent if you’ve got a spare monitor lying around or cash to spend on a new one.

Build Quality

  • Last, there’s build quality. Most of the gaming laptops are big, heavy, and hard to handle, so the possibility of dropping them is higher than with a lighter, sleeker laptop that fits easily in the hand.
  • If (but hopefully not when) you drop your laptop, you’ll want to be sure the case is strong enough to take the fall without hurting any of the delicate components inside.
  • Equally important is the quality of the keyboard. Gamers will mash keys a lot more intensely than normal typers, which means they’ll wear out faster if they’re not made from the highest quality plastic or composite materials.

So Which Gaming Laptop Under $2000 is Right For You?

If you’re looking for the absolute most power possible and have just up to the limit of $2,000 to spend, the Acer Predator 17 is still one of the finest examples of gaming laptops currently on sale. However, if you’re on a bit more of a budget but still want premium features like a 4K screen and superior portability, the Dell Inspiron i7559 has that area of the lineup handled too.

The best gaming laptop under $2,000 isn’t the most portable, the most powerful, or the prettiest looking; it’s the one that’s right for you and what you want out of your device the most. Luckily for us, manufacturers have filled nearly every niche with dozens of devices that help us smash, frag, and shoot our way through virtual worlds no matter where we are in the real one.

Read Next: Best Gaming Laptop

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. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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