Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,000 – 2017 (ASUS, MSI, Acer, Dell and Lenovo)

Gaming on the move? Yeah, it’s not as big of a deal anymore than it used to be.

As a matter of fact, I personally prefer gaming laptops over gaming desktops.

They are portable, they have decent battery standby timings, they’re not as big as they used to be and mobile GPUs have come a long way in the past 3 to 5 years.

Today you can easily get a very decent gaming laptop under $1,000. Of course it won’t beat any SLI gaming rig or even a single-card system powered by a top of the line GPU, but gaming laptops have always been compromises, and now, finally, the scales have begun tipping favorably towards performance.

The most popular gaming laptop manufacturers include MSI, ASUS, Acer, Dell and Lenovo (we’re not mentioning Alienware because their machines are like desktops and not exactly portable) and we’re going to be picking out their best gaming machines that can be bought under a grand.

Before we begin though, we’re going to lay out the main considerations when buying a gaming laptop and its pros and cons.

big gaming laptop

You don’t want to be the guy carrying around this…so-called laptop.

You need to be mainly be concerned about the GPU, because that will make or break a gaming laptop. Typically, when buying one with an Nvidia GPU, you should never get anything under x50M, where x is the series number, for instance, 750M, 850M, 950M and so on. Anything under an x50 will not be much good for gaming regardless of the VRAM.

For AMD GPUs, you want to stick with anything R9 M3XXX or R9 M4XXX (R9 M380, R9 M470 etc) and don’t go for the R7 series.

Then you also need to check the laptop’s display resolution and settle for at least 1080p. Other than that you’re looking for a minimum of 8GB RAM and at least an i5 processor (check out our Gaming Laptops Under $500 if you’re on a budget). But for a budget under $1,000 you should be getting an i7, 16GB RAM and even an SSD in some cases.

The pros and cons of a gaming laptop are fairly evident, with the biggest pro being mobility and convenience. You can game on the sofa or the bed without hassle. The biggest con however is often heating and you’ll need a decent laptop cooler if you’re going for high performance gaming.

Now let’s get started with our selection of laptops you can get for gaming within your $1,000 budget.

#1. Lenovo Y700 [Best Budget Choice]

Gaming Laptop Under 1000

Lenovo laptops are known for their value for money and the Y700 is our recommended budget gaming laptop choice under $1,000.

Powered by an i7 6700HQ Quad-core processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M, the Y700 is a great deal for casual and serious gamers alike. You also get a 1TB 5400RPM HDD and a 1080p IPS display with high quality JBL speakers.

The laptop has large cooling vents at the back and good clearance off the ground, making for relatively low temperatures under high performance gaming. The backlit keyboard is also a plus and the JBL speakers make for some great audio, especially considering they are laptop speakers.

Design wise the laptop features a sleek, futuristic look with a black-red color scheme and performance wise you shouldn’t run into any issues playing the latest games at medium-high settings at decent resolutions. If you’re looking for a gaming laptop without breaking the bank, this is it.

Pros

i7 Quad-Core CPU
GTX 960M GPU
DDR4 RAM
JBL Speakers

Cons

Tightly placed keys
Display could be brighter

Verdict: Best for budget buyers looking for a semi-serious gaming laptop.

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#2. ASUS K501UW-AB78

Best Gaming Laptop Under $1000

This ASUS 5K01 presents one of the best value-for-money gaming laptops under a grand. It’s powered by an i7 6500U with a stock clock of 2.5GHz and 3.1 at Turbo.

Just to make things clear, note that any processor model that has ‘U’ at the end denotes a low power variant, and this i7 only has two cores, not four.

The GPU is Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M, with which you can expect to run top games like Watch Dogs 2, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare and Dishonored 2 at very decent frame rates with a mix of high-medium settings.

You also get 8GB of DDR4 RAM and and a 512GB SSD for storage. The RAM should be enough for most games but you may face some issues while doing heavy graphics and video rendering work.

For the display you get a 15.6 inch matte screen with a max resolution of 1920 x 1080 (1080p) which is very decent for gaming and entertainment. The keyboard is backlit, which is always a plus, and for connectivity you get 5 USB ports, the usual audio and mic jacks plus HDMI, LAN and Card Reader slots.

Design wise this gaming laptop by ASUS is sleek, featuring a brushed aluminum finish on the top cover and the dimensions are pretty neat. The only foreseeable issue here would be performance throttling due to high temperatures because of the laptop’s low ground clearance. You will definitely need a good cooling pad with this, but other than that it’s a solid gaming laptop well under $1,000.

Pros

i7 CPU
GTX 960M GPU
512GB SSD
Aluminum finish

Cons

Low bottom clearance for venting
Matte display may bother some users
i7 is only dual-core
No HDD

Verdict: Ideal for gamers wanting a sleek, portable machine that performs well and gets some battery standby time under its belt too.

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#3. MSI GL62 6QF-628

Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000

The guys over at MSI make some neat gaming laptops and this one is no different. It’s a little bulky for sure, but you’re getting high performance and awesome value for your money.

Firstly, this gaming laptop is powered by an Intel i5 6300HQ processor (2.3 GHz – 3.2 GHz) which is, unlike the i7 6500U, a quad-core Skylake CPU. It’s capable of delivering much better performance for power hungry computing (but will also generate considerably more heat).

Then you get 8GB DDR4 RAM clocked at 2133 MHz once again along with 1TB HDD storage and an optical drive as well. For the GPU, this laptop also features the Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M, which is more than enough to run the latest games on a mix of high and medium settings.

The display is the standard 15.6 inch 1080p screen and you get Windows 10 64-bit pre-installed. The design for this MSI is synonymous with the GL62 series – themed like a muscle car with vents at the back and a black-red color scheme going.

At almost 10 pounds, this MSI gaming laptop is not exactly lightweight, but you compromise some mobility for higher performance parts and this laptop should have no issues running all the latest triple A titles at respectable settings.

Pros

i5 Quad-core CPU
GTX 960M GPU
DDR4 RAM
High performance design

Cons

Heavy and bulky
Battery life mediocre
No SSD
Only 8GB RAM

Verdict: For gamers who want a high performance machine and weight/design isn’t a big concern.

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#4. Acer Aspire V Nitro VN7

Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000

One of the sleekest looking gaming laptops around, the Acer Aspire V Nitro is one of my personal favorites as well. It’s components are a little dated, but for the price, it’s an amazing mix of sleek, sexy and powerful.

It’s got an i7 4720HQ processor which can go upto 3.4 GHz. It’s a 4th gen CPU, but it’s pretty solid when it comes to performance thanks to its four cores and 6Mb cache.

Also powered by a GeForce GTX 960M GPU, the Aspire V Nitro can handle any game you throw at it. RAM is 8GB but it can be expanded to 16GB if you need. For storage you get a 1TB drive which is standard 5400RPM.

The 15.6 inch display is 1920 x 1080 IPS and you get all the standard connectivity options including 3 USB ports, an HDMI port, WiFi, SD Card Reader and headphone/mic jack. The keyboard is backlit and you get Windows 10 Home edition installed on it from the start.

If you’re looking for a sleek, minimalistic yet powerful gaming laptop under $1,000 – this is a great choice. But you may need to invest in a cooling pad because the Nitro heats up really quick due to it’s thin profile.

Pros

i7 Quad-core CPU
GTX 960M GPU
1080p Display
Sleek, thin and lightweight design

Cons

4th gen CPU
DDR3 RAM
Overheating without cooling pad
Battery life mediocre
No SSD

Verdict: Good choice for gamers wanting a super-sleek machine for occasional gaming, graphics and video work.

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#5. Dell Inspiron 15 7559

Best Gaming Laptop Under 1000

Though Dell is not really known for dedicatedly gaming laptops, they still produce very decent machines that find a good balance between power, professional design and a budget-friendly price.

The Inspiron 15 7559 model here is such a laptop, powered by a full quad-core i7 6700HQ CPU clocked at 2.60GHz and able to go upto 3.5GHz.

You get the Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M once again, with 4GB VRAM coupled with 16GB DDR3 RAM and a 1TB HDD. There’s a small 8GB SSD here as well, but it’s a cache disk meant to speed up your HDD’s performance and is not for regular use.

You get the standard 15.6 inch 1080p display along with a backlit keyboard and the usual connectivity options including 3 USB 3.0 ports, 1 HDMI and 1 card reader.

Design wise the laptop is not exactly thin or sleek, but isn’t very bulky either. It’s got a medium profile and features a matte plastic finish which gives it a classic look. If you’re looking for a professional-looking laptop that can also play heavy games, this is a good bet and also features decent heat vents for cooling.

Pros

i7 Quad-core CPU
GTX 960M GPU
16GB RAM
8GB SSD Cache Drive

Cons

DDR3 RAM
Design can be underwhelming

Verdict: Good value for money and a professional-looking laptop that can also play most games very well.

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#6. ASUS ROG GL752VW-DH71 [Editor’s Choice]

ASUS Gaming Laptop Under 1000

ASUS makes some great gaming laptops under the Republic of Gamers (ROG) label and we’ve picked this 17 incher for our under 1k list.

Powered by an Intel i7 6700HQ and 16GB DDR4 RAM, this machine can push some serious pixels with the addition of the GeForce GTX 960M.

The 17.3 inch 1080p display has an anti-glare matte finish and for storage you get a 1TB drive at 7200RPMs. Connectivity also includes a USB 3.1 Type-C port and the keyboard has a red backlight.

Design wise the ASUS ROG is themed like a fighter jet with its contouring lines. It looks fantastic. We can’t possibly find anything wrong with this laptop and it comes highly recommended if you’re looking for a gaming laptop under 1,000 that looks the part and definitely performs the part.

The specs are top of the line in this budget range and you can’t question it’s performance either. The choice only comes down to aesthetic preferences and even in that department the laptop doesn’t go over the top.

Pros

i7 Quad-core CPU
GTX 960M GPU
16GB DDR4 RAM
17 Inch Display
7200RPM HDD

Cons

A little heavy
Battery life only 3 – 5 hours

Verdict: Ideal choice for gamers who want performance and a large screen at the cost of portability.

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#7. MSI GE62 Apache Pro-239

MSI Gaming Laptop Under 1000

Another MSI gaming laptop in this list, the GE62 series Apache Pro-239 is a beast when it comes to hardware and performance.

Featuring an i7 6700HQ CPU with 12GB DDR4 RAM and 1TB 7200RPM HDD, this gaming laptop goes to the next level with a GeForce GTX 970M instead of the 960M that is seen in all other laptops in this budget.

The 970M is a high-end graphics card compared to the upper-mid level 960M. This means you can play literally any triple A title right now at high if not max settings at decent resolutions.

For the display you get a 15.6 inch 1080p screen and connectivity options include a USB 3.1 Type-C port along with the standard ports. Design wise the laptop has the same jet-inspired contouring and you also get a multi-colored backlit keyboard.

There are no major issues with this laptop except for the bottom panel, which feels very thin and weak, and the same goes for the hinge quality and feedback – add the machine’s bulk and weight to all that and you may want to be careful about how you handle it.

Pros

i7 Quad-core CPU
GTX 970M GPU
12GB DDR4 RAM
7200RPM HDD

Cons

Mediocre battery life
A little bulky
Bottom plate and hinges feel weak

Verdict: Pure performance for gamers who want a beast machine for some serious gaming.

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Final Tips for Picking a Gaming Laptop

You have all the options in front of you now and it’s just a matter of picking one. Whenever picking a laptop for gaming the main considerations are budget and the GPU model. Generally speaking, everything else corresponds with the GPU model and make.

Your own need for portability is also a major concern. If you’re going to be lugging the laptop around college or university all day, you can’t pick a 10-pound machine. You need something lighter.

Similarly, while sleek, thin profile laptops may look good, they present heating and throttling issues during high performance gaming. So while you may be attracted to a machine due to its size, it may not be the best option for intense gaming.

You should also remember that most laptop manufacturers try and sell via clever marketing, highlighting the VRAM size, when in reality it doesn’t signify much.

A 2GB 960M will always outperform a 4GB 950M.

Finally, you want to make sure your laptop also has a decent battery life because you won’t be playing games all the time and if you plan to spend considerable time off the cord, you want a low-power consuming machine (the ‘U’ processor models).

That’s pretty much it folks. We’re hoping this guide helps you pick one from the best gaming laptops under 1000 dollars and we’ve included all types of varieties, including high performance, low-power consuming, bulky and low-profile models. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please feel free to comment below.

About The Author
Hunain Naseer
Hunain has been an avid gamer since he was 7 years old and loves building his own custom gaming rigs. At BGR he aims to help people who want to build gaming PCs get the maximum bang for their buck!

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