Best PC Gaming Laptops for the Money 2015
When I was younger I could sit at a PC all day and game. While I've grown up I still enjoy playing whenever I can. In order to do that I need a laptop capable of handling today's latest games anywhere I travel for work. In addition, the convenience of playing on the couch while my wife watches TV is priceless.
In this post I'll take a look at some of the laptops I've been able to get a hold of in the last year and tell you which are my favorites.
Choosing a Gaming Laptop
The last thing you want to do when forking over a significant amount of hard-earned cash is to buy a laptop with an outdated processor or GPU. This is not to say that there's not a lot of good budget gaming laptops with great performance that would play the latest games as there certainly are. However, if you're going to spend over $1,000 I highly recommend you take a look at the information below and purchase a laptop that is up-to-date.
Intel and AMD Laptop Processor Comparison
If you're going to purchase a gaming laptop with an Intel processor, then I highly recommend you take some time to look over Intel's complete list of laptop CPU on their laptop CPU comparison page.
Another valuable resource is CPUbenchmark.net which should give you a solid way of comparing processor performance for both Intel and AMD processors. Here's a similar list and comparison for AMD laptop processors.
Benchmarks for Your Games:
Graphics cards perform in a substantially different manner across various genres and games. For this reason you should crosscheck your GPU with benchmarks associated with the most graphically intense game you play. This will allow you personally to get the most bang for your buck for the games you play. Below, I've listed a few benchmarks for the GTX 860M and 870M as a reference point for where you may want to be.
7 Good Gaming Laptops for the Money in 2015
As someone who has competed in the FPS and RTS genres for several years I've gone through my fair share of laptops. Here's a look at my thoughts on 7 stand out laptops you should consider if you're on the market in 2015.
Best Gaming Laptop Under $1500
ASUS Republic of Gamers ROG G750JM-DS71
If you're looking for a high-end gaming laptop without the high end price, then I highly recommend you take a look at the Asus ROG G750JM-DS71 in 2014. It features a Haswell i7-4700HQ, 12GB DDR3 memory, and a GTX 860M graphics card.
Expected FPS in Games:
As someone who builds PCs for a living and maintains a YouTube channel I'm always getting asked about the FPS that particular product will give in certain games. For this model we can use benchmarks on the GTX 860M to give us a pretty accurate indication of what we can expect. Here are a few of the more popular benchmarks available:
GeForce 860M Graphics Card Benchmarks:
Battlefield 4 High Quality:
1080p - 42 FPS Average
900p - 54 FPS
Arma 3 Standard Preset with No AA and Standard AF:
1080p - 79.4
900p - 102.9
Far Cry 3 Standard Alpha SSAO High Quality PReset with No AA:
1080p - 46.9
900p - 63.3
As you can see even a graphically intense game like Battlefield 4 is playable in 1080p on High quality. Lowering your settings in 1080p will net you the 60 FPS that most are looking for.
Taking everything into account your FPS numbers, on average, should be higher than what's listed above. This is because Asus uses an exclusive technology called TurboMaster which supports overclocking by an additional 5%.
In my opinion the G750JM is a clear winner in terms of performance and intangibles at the $1200 to $1400 price range. It should be on your list if you're looking in this category.
A step up from this model is the G750JS-DS71 which includes 16GB of ram, a 256B solid state drive, and the GTX 870M graphics card.
1080p performance (using similar specs as the laptop above):
Far Cry 3 64.9
Battlefield 4: 57.5
Arma 3: 99.8
While this laptop is about $500 more on average it gives you a substantial boost in games including a 33% FPS boost in BF4.
Featuring the blazing fast GTX 880M the G750JZ-DS71 gives you another 25% performance boost vs. the 870M but also costs an additional $500.
Alienware 18 ALW18-2001sLV 18-Inch Gaming Laptop - Is Alienware's Quality Still Worth It?
There's a lot of good Alienware options available on the market right now. That being said you'll have to decide whether you're willing to pay a premium for this quality-focused machine.
It's important to keep in mind that the internal hardware for Alienware are built elsewhere and essentially are the same as many other laptops on the market.
The laptop featured below is the ALW18-2001sLV featuring the NVIDIA GTX 765M graphics card in SLI.
Razer Blade 14 Inch Gaming Laptop - A Premium Design and Lightweight Laptop Option
Design and features mean a lot more to a laptop than they do to a PC. Recently, Razer released the Razer Blade 14 which weighs just 8 pounds and is thinner than a dime with its 14" HD screen. It features the GTX 765M along with an i7-4702HQ processor and a 512GB solid state drive.
MSI GE70 Apache Gaming Laptop
MSI has been gradually getting a bigger presence into the laptop market over the last couple of years. They're doing this by offering quality and a similar price to performance ratio as the Asus' ROG series.
The GE70 Apache features the Intel Core i7-4700HQ and NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 860M. Expected performance for this laptop should fall in line with the ASUS Republic of Gamers ROG G750JM-DS71. Like the Asus product MSI's includes Unlocked power and performance for what MSI says is up to a 15% performance boost.
Another solid plus to the Apache is that it features a SteelSeries gaming keyboard with fully customizable backlights.
Final Thoughts: Overall the Apache is a great value for the money and should definitely be in the running in the under $1500 category.
As a step up the GS60 features an Intel i7-4700HQ and GTX 870M with 3GB VRAM.