Best Gaming Laptops

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Best Overall Gaming Laptop

Alienware 17

Editor's Choice

The Alienware 17 packs raw gaming performance, a big honkin' screen and a sexy intergalactic chassis into a powerful package that's perfect for fragging your enemies in virtual reality or watching movies with friends. Just make sure you configure it with the 2560 x 1440, Nvidia G-Sync display and a PCIe SSD to get an optimal gaming experience. But whether you choose the GTX 1060, 1070 or GTX 1080 GPU, you'll be able to play any game at high settings or in VR.

Alienware 17 Review

Best Gaming Laptops
Product: Use Case: Rating:
Alienware 17 Best Overall Gaming Laptop 4 out of 5
Razer Blade Pro Best 17-inch Gaming Laptop 4.5 out of 5
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming Laptop Best Gaming Laptop Under $1,000 3.5 out of 5
MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro Best 15-inch Gaming Laptop 4 out of 5
Alienware 13 (OLED Display) Best Display 4 out of 5
Razer Blade (Late 2016) Best 14-inch Gaming Laptop 4.5 out of 5
Acer Predator Helios 300 (15-inch) Best Value 4 out of 5
MSI GT83VR Titan SLI Best Splurge Gaming 4 out of 5
Asus ROG Zephyrus Best Max-Q Design 4 out of 5

How to Find the Right Gaming Laptop

Depending on your budget, lifestyle and the games you want to play, you could end up spending anywhere from $800 to $5,000 on a system that's likely to weigh between 4 and 13 pounds. Here's some a few tips to help you find your ideal gaming rig.

  • Don't buy a gaming laptop for low-end titles like World of Warcraft or Candy Crush.These games can easily be supported by an integrated graphics card.
  • Avoid touch screens. They're more expensive and drain the battery.
  • 17- or 18-inch laptops are typically more powerful, but the least portable while 13-, 14- and 15-inchers are easier to carry but often lack higher-end components.
  • Make sure the keyboard is comfortable. If you can, take a trip to the store and try out the keyboard before you buy.

Graphics

The graphics card or GPU is the keystone of your gaming laptop. It delivers the images on your display by processing the data and transmitting the signal to the monitor. Due to how stressful this process can be when running games, you need a discrete GPU with its own dedicated memory, called VRAM (video memory). The majority of gaming laptops ship with Nvidia GPUs, but if you're partial to AMD, there are certain brands that allow you to configure your system accordingly.

CPU and RAM

Your laptop's processor (CPU) handles everything that doesn't have to do with graphics, such as performing some of a game's physics calculations and controlling its non-playable characters. It also affects the performance of all of your non-gaming applications, including your browser, OS and productivity apps.

For more details, check out our Gaming Laptop Buying Guide.