Whether you're into Street Fighter V or Fallout 4, you're going to need a souped-up rig to handle the onslaught. But which laptop to get? Do you go for extreme portability, face-melting power or that ever-elusive best-of-both-worlds machine? You'll find your dream machine in our list of top picks, based on Laptop Mag's extensive testing.
If you want something that can handle virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, you'll want to pony up for a system with desktop-caliber graphics (Nvidia GTX 980). Or you could opt for a system like the Alienware 17 or Razer Blade Stealth, which offer optional external graphics amps for more power.
Once you've found your perfect gaming laptop, be sure to check out our favorite gaming mice, monitors, headsets and more in our Best Gaming Accessories roundup.
Alienware has updated its 17-inch gaming laptop for 2016 with an Intel 6th Generation Core i7 CPU and the latest Nvidia GTX 970M or 980M graphics.The Alienware 17 R3 also offers an optional 4K display that's brighter and more colorful than almost any other screen in its class. Sporting the company's attractive sci-fi chassis and customizable keyboard, the laptop starts at a relatively-affordable $1,500, but if you have money to spare, you can get an overclockable processor, a bigger SSD and Alienware's signature graphics amp, which brings the best desktop GPUs to the notebook world.
The Razer Blade continues to be the gold standard for lightweight portable gaming. The sleek, 4.25-pound laptop adds Razer's captivating Chroma keyboard to its stunning quad-HD+ touch-screen display. The Blade packs a powerful Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M GPU with a whopping 6GB of video memory. The combination makes for a notebook that's a beast whether it's gaming, video editing or crunching numbers. Overall, this is the best choice for gamers in the market for a portable notebook that's equal parts showpiece and gaming behemoth.
One of the first laptops that's powerful enough to pair with an Oculus or HTC VR headset, This 17.3-inch gaming behemoth has a desktop-class Nvidia GTX 980 graphics card, overclockable Intel 6th Generation Core i7 CPU and speedy PCIe SSD. A gorgeous dragon-themed aluminum chassis makes the GT72 look as powerful as it plays.
The best gaming laptop bargain around, the 15.6-inch Asus ROG GL552 packs a strong Nvidia 960M graphics card for playing the latest games in a sexy, stealth-fighter-themed chassis. You also get a vibrant 1080p display and comfy keyboard. Overall, this is the top sub-$1,000 gaming laptop you can buy.
OriginPC packed an Intel Core i7 Skylake processor and an Nvidia 980 desktop chip into a redesigned frame, creating a tremendous beast of a gaming laptop. If that wasn't enough, you get a lightning-fast SSD, a lovely Nvidia G-Sync display, epic audio with whisper-quiet fans. But that desktop GPU isn't just for show. The Eon17-SLX will be one of the first gaming laptops capable of supporting VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive Pre, effectively making this laptop a door to a whole new virtual world.
Innovation, thy name is MSI. Integrating Tobii's eye-tracking system into one of MSI's iconic laptops is a bold move that can potentially change the way you game and work. On top of that, you get a Dominator Pro, which is a rock-solid system, complete with a Skylake Core i7 processor, an Nvidia 980M GPU and a lovely 1920 x 1080, G-Sync display. All in all, it's definitely an eye-opening experience.
This yellow is anything but mellow. Gigabyte's P25X v2's cheerful marigold frame belies the beast beneath. Packing a Core i7 processor and a top-of-the-line Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M GPU, the P25X will play even the most taxing games as smooth as butter. Throw in more than seven hours of battery life -- during web surfing -- and a crisp 1080p display and you've got a force to be reckoned with.
The 17-inch Aorus X7 Pro-Sync is a svelte, lightweight notebook that doesn't just hit the sweet spot between performance and portability -- it destroys it. Rocking a pair of Nvidia GTX GeForce 970M GPUs in SLI configuration, the X7 Pro-Sync is one of the most powerful 17-inch notebooks on the market. The slim device also takes advantage of Nvidia's G-Sync technology, ensuring smoother graphics and little to no input lag. It's a drop-dead stunner that packs the potent punch that gamers crave.
At 4.5 pounds, 12.9 x 9.3 x 1.0~1.1 inches, the Alienware 13 is the thinnest, lightest notebook the company has ever released. Despite its svelte figure, the Alienware 13 can still power through some of the most graphically taxing games on the market, thanks to its Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M GPU. But if you want even better performance, hook the laptop up to its optional Graphics Amplifier. Harnessing the power of a desktop GPU, even the monstrous Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M card, the Alienware 13 transforms from formidable to beastly.