By Andrew E. Freedman published 6 days ago
Our picks for the best gaming laptops for every type of gamer and budget
Comments (9)Included in this guide:1
MSIGE76 RaiderCHECK PRICE2
RazerBlade 15 (2022)CHECK PRICE3
AlienwareAlienware X17 R2CHECK PRICE4
AcerNitro 5CHECK PRICE5
AsusROG Zephyrus G14CHECK PRICE6
AsusROG Strix SCAR 17 G733CHECK PRICE7
LenovoLegion 5 ProCHECK PRICE8
AsusROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE GX551QR-XS98CHECK PRICE
(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
The best gaming laptops come in all shapes and sizes, for different needs and budgets. Because while a tricked out $5,000-plus model with the highest-end graphics and best display might give you the best gaming laptop experience, most of us can’t afford a rig like that. Our picks here are often high-end models (we’re an enthusiast site, after all), but most come in a variety of configurations at various price points.
Thankfully, there are more gaming laptop options now than ever, from budget-friendly to desktop replacements. Some come with full-size Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards, while others go for the more efficient Max-Q designs that enable thinner chassis and (sometimes) quieter fans.
While many of the best gaming laptops come with a 1080p display and high refresh rates, some include 4K screens, so you can pick between fidelity and resolution. Several gaming laptop go as fast as 360 Hz.
There is more choice than ever in components, too. While Intel is still a popular option, AMD’s Ryzen processors are becoming more common, though the majority of notebooks in general still use Intel. On the GPU side, Nvidia’s RTX GPUs are in far more laptops, though AMD is slowly starting to pair its own graphics cards with hits CPUs for what it calls an “AMD Advantage.”
The latest technologies in processors include Intel’s 12th Gen “Alder Lake” processors, which use a hybrid design with Performance and Efficient cores, and AMD’s Ryzen 6000 CPUs. Just like desktops, anything with the latest graphics cards can still be hard to come by right now thanks to a global components shortage.
To help you find the best gaming laptop today, we’ve compiled a list of the best models we’ve tested and reviewed recently. For much more on how to narrow down your list of best gaming laptop considerations, check out our best gaming laptop buyer’s guide. But here are a few quick tips to get you started down the road to the right portable gaming rig for you.
While many gamers may go to desktops to get the most performance for their money, try lugging a tower, monitor and keyboard around in your backpack. When you need a powerful rig you can take with you, there’s no substitute for a gaming laptop.
The picks on this list should be ready to run Windows 11, if it didn’t come preinstalled already.
Quick Gaming Laptop Shopping Tips
- Focus on the GPU: Most games are dependent on the GPU, and those aren’t upgradeable. If you splurge on a powerful GPU now, you’ll be gaming comfortably for a few years.
- You can upgrade some parts later: While the best CPUs for gaming and GPUs are almost always soldered down, most gaming laptops let you replace the RAM and storage, so you can buy cheaper now and add more memory and a bigger hard drive or SSD down the road.
- Battery life will probably be bad: Very few gaming notebooks get 8 hours or more on a charge, and you need the power supply to get the best gaming performance anyway. However, we’ve seen some strong times from AMD’s Ryzen processors, and Nvidia suggests its improved Optimus technology may help turn the tide.
Best gaming laptops at a glance
- Best Overall: MSI GE76 Raider (Core i9-12900HK)
- Best Thin and Light: Razer Blade 15 (2022)
- Best 17-inch: Alienware x17 R2
- Best Budget: Acer Nitro 5
- All-AMD: Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition
- Best Esports: Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 G733
- 16-inch Esports Option: Lenovo Legion 5 Pro
- Best Dual-Screen: Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE GX551
Best Gaming Laptops You Can Buy Today
1. MSI GE76 Raider
The Best Overall Gaming Laptop
CPU: Intel Core i9-12900HKGPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 TiDisplay: 17.3 inches, 1920 x 1080, 360 HzWeight: 6.39 pounds (2.9 kg)TODAY’S BEST DEALS
REASONS TO BUY
+Strong CPU and GPU performance+Plenty of ports+Striking RGB light bar
REASONS TO AVOID
If you’re looking for a laptop with desktop-level power, the MSI GE76 Raider is about as close as you’ll get, though you may also have to spend a ton of money to get there. Still, with its high-end components like the Intel Core i9-12900HK and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti.
We’d be remiss to point out that the Raider has a large RGB light bar on the front, which, when combined with per-key lighting, makes for quite an effect in the dark (or you can turn it all of if you prefer something a bit less showy).
The 17.3-inch, 1080p display goes up to 360 Hz, which is great for esports players, but everyone else might want to consider a 1440p or 4K display, depending on available configurations.
We tested this laptop at $3,999, which is enough to make you tear up when you check your bank account. That’s an awful lot to spend on a laptop (we imagine DDR5 memory partially brings that price up), but it’s also the best performer we’ve seen recently.
Read: MSI GE76 Raider Review