Best Gaming Laptop Q1 2016 List – The Ultimate Guide
Over the past few years, many gamers have chosen to drop their huge gaming desktops, to get a more portable gaming laptop. A great gaming laptop is one that can play today’s most demanding titles at high settings, while maintaining a frame rate greater than thirty per second. These high end gaming laptops from various manufacturers are meant to replace the old desktops that gamers needed to play the games in the past. The extra mobility of the gaming laptop does not necessary have to impede on the performance. As a hard core gamer myself, who has recently switched from a pc to a gaming laptop, I have compiled the following list of the most important requirements for a great gaming laptop and then the ultimate list of high performance gaming laptops. You may also check my list of cheaper laptops under $1000, $600 and finally the best HP gaming laptops.
What makes a great Gaming Laptop?
A High Resolution display
Every gamer out there knows the feeling of playing a game on a low resolution display. Even if all the hardware is fantastic, your gaming experience can still be greatly inhibited by a low resolution screen. Anything below 1600 x 900p resolution would be less than ideal, and would look pretty badly for most modern games. 1920 x 1080p is of course ideal, however the higher the resolution, the higher your video card has to work, so it is important to be aware of your video cards limits. Having said that, a high resolution display, either 1600 x 900p or 1920 x 1080p is a necessity for any serious gamer out there.
The Processor, GPU, and RAM
Most laptops today use a video card that is built into the processor. This is called integrated graphics; however it is not nearly enough to play modern games at a high resolution. This means that it goes without saying that it is an absolute necessity that your gaming laptop has a dedicated graphics card in order to take advantage of today’s modern games. How your laptop handles graphically intense games falls almost exclusively (not entirely) on the type of video card it has. It is most often the deciding factor for game performance.
Inherently, games that are graphically intensive will by their very nature be computationally intense as well. This is why it is important to have a powerful computer processor as well. For perspective, you should have a processor that is fast enough not to slow down your graphics card (what is really running the show). If you are looking for maximum performance, then a great processor is paramount. Having said that, most modern games are limited by the graphics card much much more than the processor, so keep this in mind if you are on a budget.
Ram is also an important factor in choosing a great gaming laptop, but it may not be as important as you have been lead to believe. Even the most taxing games should run smoothly with 8 GB or ram. 16 GB is always a plus, however 32 and over can be a little overkill. Having said that, if you have the cash to spare, I would still recommend getting as much as you can afford at system purchase (no more than 32 GB though).
The Hard drive
A huge hard drive to fit all these massive modern games is a must. Having said that, if you plan on using an external or what not, that is your choice. My general consensus is “the bigger the better” in almost every scenario with the hard drive. Another important factor however, is whether to get a gaming laptop that has a solid state drive versus a regular one (7200 RPM). Now most gaming laptops today have room for more than one storage drive. I personally recommend you get a laptop with two storage drives; one solid state drive, and one 7200 RPM drive. The solid state drive is drastically faster than a 7200 RPM one, however it is also a lot more expensive. I recommend that on the solid state drive you install your operating system, and you keep all of your games on the regular hard drive. This means that the operating system will boot faster, and be much faster in general, which, in my opinion, is worth the extra cost
Mobility and Battery Life
This is a little bit more subjective, as if your gaming on a 17 inch screen, you won’t get amazing results when it is not plugged in to an outlet. Having said that, sometimes you just need to take your computer laptop out of the house for whatever reason, and it is nice to get around 4 hours of battery life. It is also a plus if the laptop is less than 10 pounds if you are looking for more portability, as anything heavier than that may be a bit of a burden.
Most gaming laptops today are going to be in that ten pound range, as well as around 4 hours of battery life, which unfortunately is the price you have to pay for power; Anything under that though, and you may want to look at another gaming laptop.
Top Gaming Laptops List (Updated in August 2014):
Our Top picks for this category is:
MSI GT70 Dominator-895 (Full Review & Price)
MSI, recognized for higher end gaming laptop computers, provides the MSI GT70 Dominator-895 from its amazing lineup. Plus, it has a bunch of attributes so that you could customize your gaming experience to match your preferences.The MSI GT70 Dominator-895 is one of the best gaming laptops that money can buy. Though it’s priced at $1,300+, you can expect this bad boy to bring out the best games right in your lap. With a 2GB Nvidia Graphics card, Core i-7 Processor, and 8GB of RAM, the MSI GT70 Dominator-895 is ready and willing to let you play games at the highest performance and display possible. This is a wonderful laptop computer for a gamer who wishes the best possible parts for the rate, and students that don’t mean on taking their laptop everywhere with them, although it is considerably lighter compared to various other 17.3 gaming laptop computers.I also forgot to mention that the MSI GT70 is equipped with a SteelSeries keyboard. That’s right. A gaming keyboard installed in a gaming laptop – a step no other brands have taken so far. If you’re looking to game with confidence, the SteelSeries keyboard can handle all of your macros and configurations without the ghosting and lag.
Alienware ALW14 (Full Review & Price)
The ALW14 is a great gaming laptop, for those looking for more portability, but not a huge drop in performance. At 14 inches, this thing is noticeably smaller than the 17.3 inches behemoths that are on the market. Like most alien ware, the design of this thing is also worth noticing. The tastefully flashy design is something that has made the Alienware models famous, and the ALW14 definitely continues on this trend. With state of the art hardware, including a GTX 765M processor; this thing packs a serious punch as well. With a dazzling 1920 x 1080p resolution screen, this laptop does not look like your typical 14 inch rig, with a lot more rom on the screen than you may think. With excellent build quality, powerful hardware, and relative portability, this makes a great gaming laptop no matter the occasion.
Alienware ALW17 (Full Review & Price)
The ALW17 is a classic big, powerful, gaming laptop. This beast looks very similar to the ALW14, except it is 17.3 inches across, and noticeably heavier. Even with its great design, it comes equipped with GeForce GTX 770M graphics card, so it is ready to handle everything you throw at it. And at 17.3 inches across, and weighing in at close to 9.15 pounds, this thing is just a real beast. At 1920 x 1080p resolution this bad boy is will give you a whole lot of screen real estate and just looks gorgeous when gaming. The full size programmable back lit keyboard is a nice touch as well. All in All this is one monstrous gaming laptop that is guaranteed to please even the most powerful gamers out there.
ASUS ROG G750JH (Full Review & Price)
Asus really had its gamers in mind when designing the ROG G750 gaming laptop. Its marvelous reputation rivals even that of alien ware, and, as a mainstream gaming and multimedia laptop, it serves its purpose remarkably. With over a TB of space on the hard drive, 24 GB of ram, a GTX 780M graphics card, this thing is much more powerful than many of its competitors. The design is somewhat reminiscent of a fighter jet, and weighing in at around 11 pounds, across 17.3 inches, this thing is huge. The 1920 x 1080p resolution is truly a sight to behold. The island style keyboard feels more like that of a desktop than a laptop and its tactile response was acute with its reputation. I was really impressed with this gaming laptop, as a desktop replacement. If you are looking for a gaming machine that packs a serious punch and can do it all, then I suggest you look no further.
Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 (Full Review & Price)
The Lenovo Ideapad Y500 is packed behind a sleek, unassuming shell, but make no mistake, this thing packs a serious punch. The specs on this guy are very impressive; most surprising though, is the Y500’s dual SLI 650M graphics cards, which I have not seen on any other gaming laptop currently on the market. They certainly give this thing a whole lot of power, and make it able to compete with the higher end gaming laptops. This is definitely a more portable solution than some of the 17.3 inch behemoths out there, but the dual video cards really are able to scale the graphics performance, and made it just a pleasure to use. The Y500’s sleek and simple design was a step in a different direction compared to some of its flashier competitors. Its 1920 x 1080p resolution display, it is truly a sight to behold. As a powerful multimedia gaming laptop with some compelling hardware, you can do no wrong in choosing the Idea Pad Y500.
MSI Computer Corp. MSI GT70 (Full Review & Price)
The MSI GT70 is a classic example of a quiet modern gaming laptop that can do it all. The GT70 was one of the first laptops to sport Intel’s next generation architecture, the Ivy Bridge. I knew this thing would pack some serious power with the NVidia GeForce GTX 770M video card, however what I did not anticipate, was the laptop’s stellar battery life. In terms of battery life, this guy is way ahead of most of its competitors, and with the powerful video card with 3 GB of dedicated video memory, that is surely a force to be reckoned with. This laptop is very unassuming, even considering its monstrous size, it is still able to retain a sleek design, with a simple black interior and exterior. The simple finish is certainly a nice switch from some of the flashier gaming laptops on the market. Packed with Intel’s latest CPU technology, if you are looking for the latest and greatest, then I suggest that you look no further.
MSI G Series GE40 (Full Review & Price)
The MSI GE40 is the epitome of portable gaming laptops, combining some real power with a lot of portability. This sleek 14-inch laptop is as portable as these things get, and is a great choice for anyone looks for a solid machine. Despite being what I call an “ultra portable” gaming laptop, this guy has a whole lot of power. With an NVidia GeForce GTX 760 video card, this laptop will be able to today’s most demanding titles far better than your average laptop, and very competitively with any high end gaming laptop currently on the market. At just 4.4 pounds, this is perhaps the smallest gaming laptop I have ever seen. While the display is a bit lower than some of the other alternatives (1600 x 900p resolution), it is a welcomed tradeoff for the portability you will get with this thing. The GE40 has the raw power needed to run all the current titles, and the portability and battery life to last a long time away from an outlet. This powerful gaming laptop is certainly worth a look if you are looking to blend portability with power.
Razer Blade 14 (Full Review & Price)
The Razor blade gaming laptop is a welcome change from the sigma of the heavy duty, flashy gaming laptops currently on the market. I feel like this laptop is more of a hybrid, for gamers and non gamers a like. Don’t let its slim and compact looks fool you though, this thing has some power behind its hood. With an NVidia GeForce GTX 765M graphics card, this thing will be able to play all of today’s most demanding games, at a respectable fps. With its notable portability comes its battery life, which quite frankly, blows its competitors out of the water. This unique runtime for a gaming laptop of this stature really separates it from its competitors. Its gorgeous classy design only adds to its stature as a great high end gaming laptop. Pound for pound, you will not find a more portable gaming solution then the Razor Blade currently on the market.
Samsung Series 7 Gamer (Full Review & Price)
If you think Samsung are only well known for their sleek and simple ultra books, then think again. The Samsung series 7 Gamer is a beast that packs a punch. While it definitely has the classic looks of a Samsung, it’s just huge, and has a lot of power. It comes equipped with a NVidia GeForce 675M graphics card; and with come phenomenal computational power, this thing will get the job done. The Samsung Series 7 Gamer’s deceptively thin appearance is definitely easy on the eye, but make no mistake, when it is time to game, this guy will turn up big. With a stellar 1920 x 1080p display and some great audio, games will become a reality. This gaming laptop definitely lives up to all the hype, and makes for one mean gaming machine.
Toshiba Qosmio X75 (Full Review & Price )
While Toshiba may not be known for their production of high end gaming laptops, they certainly did no wrong with the X75, which is a marvelously powerful and eye catching gaming machine. While this beast looks good, is the hardware under the hood which really hit it out of the ballpark. With the GeForce GTX 770M graphics card, this thing is just a gaming monster. It can handle the most intense games on the market, and with the quad core Haswell processor, this guy is ready to take anything on. Weighing only 7.4 pounds, this gaming laptop is also a lot more portable than others you will find currently on the market. The X75 also sports a dazzling 1920 x 1080p screen, which I thoroughly enjoyed every second of. All in all, this beast really surpasses the standard of the modern gaming rig, and is one of the best gaming laptops currently on the market.