Today I’m going to show you the best gaming laptops under $1000. As of April 2018 LaptopBlogger has analyzed nearly every available gaming laptop under 1000 on the market.
In this guide, you will find affordable gaming laptops that offer impressive graphics that handle the latest games, smooth frame rates, and excellent audio.
The best part? All that without worrying about lag or heating problems.
So without further ado, here are the best gaming laptops under $1000:
Note: A gaming laptop under 1000 will give you a good gaming performance. But if you want to play on 60 fps on ultra settings, the laptops in this list below are simply not enough. Then you might need to consider a gaming laptop under 1500. If you, on the other hand, just want to play non-demanding games, a gaming laptop under 500 will be plenty enough for you. And if you are unsure what to look for in a gaming laptop under $1000, check out the buying guide here at the end of this article.
#1 Best gaming laptop under 1000: Dell i7577-5241BLK-PUS
If I had to recommend you one gaming laptop for under $1000, it would be the Dell i7577-5241BLK-PUS. And I’m not alone in that opinion:
With over 80 customer reviews on Amazon, it has an average rating of 4.3 stars. So what is it that makes this gaming laptop so good?
The design is sturdy with a professional look. The weight is 6 pounds (~2,7 kg), so it is on the heavier side, but the build quality is excellent.
But what really makes the Dell i7577 stand out is the hardware.
Inside you’ll find the most powerful graphics card you can get in any gaming laptop for less than $1000, the Nvidia GTX 1060.
This is a graphics card with 6GB VRAM that will let you run pretty much all games on ultra settings smoothly. Check for yourself by the end of this Notebookcheck article.
The CPU is the Intel Core i5-7300HQ, a fast CPU that will give you some excellent gaming performance. And you’ll also get both a 1TB HDD and a 128GB SSD.
This means you can be sure even the most demanding programs will run smoothly.
But this is not a perfect gaming laptop.
The RAM is only 8GB. It’s enough for gaming, but the standard in this price range is 16GB ram. And as with most gaming laptops, you’ll only be able to play for 2-3 hours before you need to plug it in.
Summary: The Dell i7577-5241BLK does only have 8GB RAM. But with an average rating of 4.7 stars on Amazon and the best graphics card in the price range, you can overlook it.
|Excellent gaming performance||Only 8GB RAM|
|Best graphics card for under $1000||On the heavier side (6 pounds)|
|128GB solid state drive|
#2 Unexpected gaming power: Lenovo Legion Y520
Lenovo is a brand mostly known for their affordable multimedia laptops. But with the Lenovo Legion Y520, they showed they could compete with the big gaming brands for the best gaming laptop for under 1000 dollars.
The design of the Lenovo Legion Y520 is sleek and stylish. Compared to other laptops in this price range, the chassis is made entirely of plastic and lacks any aluminum details. The build quality is excellent, but the all-black exterior is prone to fingerprints. The red backlit keyboard is a pleasure to type with. Many gaming laptops do not include an optical drive, and the Lenovo Legion Y520 is no exception to that.
The IPS display is decent. It has good viewing angles but it does not support G-Sync, and the colors are a bit dull. The colors of the screen only cover 68 percent of the SRGB color gamut.
The CPU of the Y520 is the Intel Core i5-7300HQ. Don’t let the five in i5 fool you, it is still a potent processor and is only 4% slower than the strong i7 processor in the Acer. 8GB of ram is plenty enough for your everyday gaming needs, but in this price range, you would almost expect 16GB ram. Fortunately, there are slots so you can always add more ram if you want to.
With hybrid storage, in other words, both a Solid State Drive and a mechanical hard drive, you can save a lot of files on the 1TB HDD and boot windows quickly with the SSD. And the SSD is really fast with 2649 MB/s read and 1392 MB/s write. Lastly, what makes the great gaming performance of the Y520 is the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti graphics card.
The Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti graphics card is around 60% weaker than the graphics card of our winner, the GeForce 1060. But don’t let that fool you. With the GeForce 1050 Ti, you can still play all the latest games at high to ultra graphics settings with smooth frame rate. Have a look at the frame rates this card produces at the end of this article.
Summary: The Lenovo Legion Y520 has some excellent gaming performance but the exterior is prone to fingerprints and the hardware is slightly weaker than the first 2 laptops. That is why the Lenovo Legion Y520 is our runner-up.
|Fast SSD||Exterior prone to fingerprints|
|Nice keyboard||Only 8GB ram|
|Excellent gaming performance||Dull display|
#3 Best MSI with an SSD: MSI GL62M-7REX
With a nice design worthy of a gaming laptop in this price range and one of the best graphics cards you usually find in this price range, the MSI GL62M-7REX is a gaming laptop with a deal that is hard to beat.
It has one of the best graphics card you can get, found only in the best gaming laptops in the 1000 dollar price range, the GeForce GTX 1050Ti. It is the same graphics card as in the MSI above, so you know what amazing frame rates you can get with this card, all for less than $1000.
With a 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD you get both of best worlds with 1TB of storage to store all the files you need and 128GB for those few programs, you want to run at near instant load times.
It has only 8GB RAM, but it is the latest generation of ram DDR4 with a 2400Mhz speed. The CPU is the strongest CPU you can get for the price, the i7-7700HQ.
If you want to save some money, then this is an excellent deal on a really amazing gaming laptop.
Summary: The MSI GL62M-7REX is an excellent gaming laptop with some really potent hardware. I don’t know how long MSI will keep this price, but if you can get this gaming notebook for less than 1000, then you just made an awesome deal!
|Both 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD||Average battery life (2-3h of gaming)|
|Smooth frame-rates on the latest games||Only 8GB RAM|
|Strongest CPU on the laptop market|
#4 The internet forum favorite: Prostar Clevo N850HK1
If you ask on forums what the best gaming laptop under 1000 dollars is, often someone will mention the Clevo N850HK1. They have a good point; it is a really nice gaming laptop for the price. But it’s not the best, but a laptop at least worth considering.
If you haven’t heard of Prostar, I don’t blame you. They are a company building high-end laptops, with reasonable prices and good customer service.
The black plastic chassis feels sturdy, and the keyboard with good key spacing feels nice to use. The keyboard has three separate zones to pick colors from a wide RGB color palette. For the price, the laptops 1920×1080 IPS screen is an all-around solid display.
The SSD makes loading the windows 10 OS quick, and you also get some space to install a game or two for extra fast load times. The HDD is 1TB but it is a Sata2 HDD, not a Sata3 HDD, the expected standard in this price range. This means that the rotation speed is only 5400 rotations per minute, so it is quite slow. 8GB ram is also on the lowers side. However, with the Nvidia 1050 Ti graphics card and the Intel Core i7-7700HQ, there’s no doubt you will get some excellent gaming performance.
Summary: A nice gaming laptop with a great graphics card, a solid IPS screen, and a nice processor but a bit slow hard drives.
|Nvidia 1050 Ti graphics||5400 RPM Sata2 Hard drive|
|Powerful CPU||Only 8GB ram memory|
|Beautiful IPS display||Not the fastest solid state drive|
#5 Best Battery: HP Pavilion Power 15
If you want the best battery life, you’ll have to sacrifice on the graphics in this price range. But with the new HP Pavilion 15, you get a pleasing design, and you will still get a very potent graphics card.
The design of this gaming notebook looks a lot like an ordinary business laptop. It has an ordinary looking brushed aluminum chassis with solid build quality. But don’t let the looks fool you.
This is a powerful gaming laptop with 16GB DDR4 ram and the potent Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU.
This means you’ll load and run programs quickly, especially with the 1TB 7200RPM HDD + 128GB SSD combo.
The graphics card is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, so just the same graphics cards as the three laptops above.
This means for you, smooth frame rates at high settings in your favorite games.
The most significant drawback of the HP Pavilion 15 is the uneven temperatures. Sometimes the handrest gets quite hot. Another minus to have in mind is that the fans run constantly and they can be a bit loud under high load.
The best part about the HP Pavilion Power is the impressive battery life. You can often use the laptop 8+ hours without needing to charge. But when gaming you’ll have to expect a far shorter battery length.
Summary: The HP Pavilion Power 15 is a good gaming laptop for under 1000 with good battery life. It has solid gaming performance but tends to be a bit loud during high load.
|Long battery life||Loud fans during high load|
|Potent graphics card||Handrest can get hot|
|Clean, professional look|
#6 The Budget Choice: Acer Nitro 5
The Acer Nitro 5 has everything you need to look for in a gaming laptop, and you don’t have to spend the full $1000 for it.
With an aggressive design with clean lines, large fan exhausts and a sturdy dark red hinge, you know that this is a machine made for gaming. The red-backlit keyboard feels great and is well laid out. The big issue with it is that fingerprints show up quite quickly. The speakers have a decent sound, and the 1080HD screen is high quality providing clear images with accurate color.
The CPU is the recently released (7th gen), Intel Core i7-7300HQ. It’s a processor that will handle everything from gaming to demanding applications such as video editing software. The RAM is only 8GB, compared to the standard 16GB in this price range. But it is the latest generation of RAM, DDR4, so it runs fast. And you’ll also get a 256GB solid state drive for that super fast boot and load.
Unfortunately, there’s no HDD, so all the included memory is the 256GB from the SSD. But you can always buy external storage.
Even if there are some minor flaws, what matters in a gaming laptop is the graphics card. On that point the Acer deliver. Backed by the Nvidia GTX 1050Ti, the computer can run all the latest games with solid fps on medium-high settings. Instead of just saying that just check out the benchmark for some of the most popular games over at Notebookcheck. These gaming benchmarks are some of the best you can get on any laptop for under 1000 dollars, and that is what makes the Acer Aspire VX5-591G our runner-up on the list of the best gaming laptop under 1000.
Summary: Everything you need in a gaming laptop. Quality design, fast, durable and a solid graphics card. Plays the latest graphics smoothly on nice settings but with only 256GB storage, you might need to buy additional storage if you want to save a lot of files on it.
|Excellent price||Only 256GB storage|
|Runs all new games well||Fingerprint show up quite quickly|
|Strong processor||Only 8GB RAM|
#7 Ultra HD resolution under 1000(!): Dell Inspiron i7559-3762GRY
Yes, it is true. There is finally a gaming laptop with an Ultra HD display available for under 1000. The screen is not perfect. It could have been a bit brighter, but when you use it, you notice something. It is miles ahead of ordinary 1080p screens.
The excellent screen is just one of the many great things about the Dell Inspiron i7559-3762GRY.
The design reminds of the other Dell in our lists modest and professional look. In fact, this is the same laptop but with a better screen and stronger hardware.
The graphics card is the standard if you want to have the best in this price range, the GTX 960M with 4GB dedicated memory for gaming. The included SSD is mostly used to speed things up. The combination of the solid i7-6300 quad-core processor, the SSD, and the 8GB fast (2133mhz) ram makes this laptop blazing fast for the money.
I don’t personally think Amazon can keep the price for a laptop like this under 1000 for very long. So don’t hesitate, buy it from Amazon today to buy a 4K gaming laptop for a bargain price.
Don’t expect to play demanding titles in 4k resolution on high settings (you need to spend considerably more than 1000 for that). However, just having a UHD screen and solid hardware for the price is plenty enough to make the Dell Inspiron i7559-3762GRY as our #8.
|UHD Resolution||Screen could have been brighter|
|Solid Hardware||8GB ram is on the lower side|
|Loads and boots quickly||No optical drive|
Go slightly over the budget: Acer Predator Helios 300
The Acer Predator Helios 300 was our winner last month. But this month they increased the price by 50 USD, and it is no longer below $1000.
But this is a really nice GTX 1060 gaming laptop for an affordable price so if you can go slightly over your under 1000 budget, then the Acer Helios 300 might just be the laptop you need.
This is a sleek high-performance gaming notebook with a pleasing design. The case is made of plastic with aluminum details. The weight is around 5.6 pounds (2.5 kg), considerably lower than some of the more bulky gaming laptops in this price range. I like that for such a powerful gaming notebook; it feels mobile and lightweight. You can carry it with you no matter if it’s to the closet cafe or the next LAN tournament. It has all the necessary ports and also more modern ports like USB 3.1 Type C.
The only issue with the design is that under high load, it can get quite hot, especially at the bottom of the laptop, and the fans can be a bit loud.
The red illuminated keyboard is great. When you press down the keys on the keyboard, it makes almost no noise. It is backlit and has a nice WASD highlight. Typing on the Acer Helios is a nice feeling.
The graphics card is the Nvidia GTX 1060. You know by now, this is a GPU that produce excellent frame rates on the latest games on high-ultra settings. The CPU is the Intel Core i7 7700HQ with a CPUmark score of over 8900.
But before you go ahead and get this notebook make sure to notice that the 256GB fast SSD is the only storage included. So if you know you will store a lot of files, you might need to buy additional storage. And a cooling tab can be a pretty cheap but good investment if you worry about the laptops heat management.
Summary: With a pleasing design, a powerful processor, the best graphics card for the price and plenty of RAM, the Acer Predator Helios 300 has everything you need for a great gaming experience.
|256GB SSD||Only 256GB of memory|
|Amazing price for the specs||Fans are loud under high load|
|Mobile and lightweight||Runs hot under high load|
Amazing MSI with the GTX 1060 graphics card: MSI GP62MVR (Currently over $1000 but might go down in price)
If you are looking for the perfect alternative to our winner, then the MSI GP62MVR is a perfect choice. And here is why:
The MSI GP62MVR has the best graphics card you can get for the money, NVidia GTX 1060. The VRAM is only 3GB, but it will not matter for most gamers and will only be noticeable on the highest settings on a few really demanding games.
The screen is accurate and sharp, but the viewing angles can change a lot how the image quality will look. If you look at it from the right angle it will look great, but from another not so much. Another thing to fix to get the best possible experience with this laptop is to remove the bloatware MSI and Windows 10 installed on it.
The GP62MVR has a fast Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB of the latest generation of ram. The 1TB HDD is a fast 7200RPM hard drive, but I would have loved to see an SSD.
Summary: The MSI has amazing gaming performance, and it might go under $1000 again. If it does, then it’s a great alternative to our winner to consider.
|Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics||Bloatware|
|Latest generation of ram||Screen look bad from some angles|
|Good Intel Core i7 CPU||No SSD and only 8GB RAM|
What to look for in a gaming laptop for under $1000 – the ultimate buying guide
When searching for a cheap gaming laptop under 1000, the number one thing to take into consideration is the graphics card. It’s the graphics card that will make or break your next gaming notebook. I like to classify the graphics card found in gaming laptops in three groups.
The three types of graphics cards
Some “gaming” laptops have integrated graphics cards. They are not really gaming laptops but they are in some cases advertised as laptops for gaming. Maybe they have a flashy design or lots of RAM. But with an integrated graphics card, the gaming performance is terrible. To spot an integrated graphics card, look at the specs for the words integrated or the Intel HD series of graphics cards, or the Radeon R series of graphics cards. If you see something like Intel HD5500 or Radeon R6, stay away, it’s not meant for gaming.
Here is a comparison of dedicated graphics card vs. an integrated graphics card, with stats courtesy of Userbenchmark.com.
With these numbers, you’ll probably understand why I am so against gaming laptops with integrated graphics, in fact, I have a whole section in my article on gaming laptops under $500 on why there are no gaming laptops with integrated graphics. If you spend money on a computer for gaming with an integrated graphics card, you are wasting your money. Here, at LaptopBlogger I guarantee you we’ll never recommend a laptop with an integrated graphics card for gaming.
At the beginning of this article, I clearly stated when the list was updated. This is necessary for you, so you know if this source is up-to-date. What’s a suitable component in a gaming laptop is constantly changing and what was the best a couple of months ago is probably not the best today. This article is updated at least once every month so you can be sure you always have the most current information. Examples of outdated graphics cards are the Nvidia 9XX series of graphics cards. They work fine for gaming, but Nvidia has released the 10XX series of graphics cards that are far better. Have a look at the difference between the Nvidia 960M from the past generation compared to the Nvidia 1060 of this generation. The results speak for themselves.
The only graphics cards I recommend in a gaming laptop under $1000 is the Nvidia 1050 Ti and the Nvidia 1060. There are some exceptions, if a laptop with an old graphics card has an awesome feature like UHD resolution, I may still recommend it but generally only go for laptops with a Nvidia 1050 Ti or better. AMD has recently released some interesting graphics cards, which we’ll soon see in more and more gaming laptops under $1000 and I’ll let you know right here my AMD recommendations once they have been included in more laptops.
If you want to play the latest games smoothly, you’re going need at least 8GB of RAM. With 8GB RAM you meet the recommended requirements for pretty much every PC game out there. More RAM won’t increase the frame rates in games. But if you do a lot of multi-tasking like running a game, your web browser with some tabs and your voice communication program simultaneously, 16GB RAM might be good as an affordable gaming laptop with 16GB RAM will allow everything to run smoothly without lag. If you want to futureproof your system, you can go a bit overkill and get 32GB of ram, but for most people, 16GB will be just fine. And you can in most gaming laptops these days buy more ram and install it without any hassle.
There are two types of hard drives you’ll want to keep your eyes on, the classic HDD and the much faster Solid State Drive (SSD). Most notebooks for $1000 offer an HDD, an SSD or a combination of the two. Think about how much storage you’re going to need and if you want the speed of the SSD.
If you find a great gaming laptop with an SSD for under $1000, but get disappointed that the memory is too small, don’t fret. Even if it’s rather common with just 256GB of space, it’s easy to buy an external hard drive or store your files on the cloud. Many laptops even have the option to install an SSD, so if you go for a laptop with just an HDD, you can often easily install an SSD whenever you want.
The processor (CPU) is the component that does all the calculations you’ll need in games and programs. And most modern games require a potent processor. I recommend a good Intel Core i5 or i7 processor. They are powerful enough to run any program you throw at it and are fairly energy efficient.
Gaming laptops are not made for long battery life; they are made for the best possible portable gaming performance. Almost every gaming laptop under $1000 can only last around 2 hours when gaming. This is because the hardware in a gaming laptop require far more power than the hardware you’ll find in a regular laptop. Some gaming laptops might last longer when used for web surfing or watching movies but if you go for a gaming laptop, be prepared to have it plugged in.
The first thing you can check when it comes to the design of the laptop is the general aesthetic of the laptop. Some gaming laptops look flashy and are the perfect machines to bring with you on a LAN and other looks very professional so you can bring them to a professional setting without anyone raising an eyebrow. But looks are not everything when it comes to the design of the laptop; it should also be portable and have good heat management and portability.
If you want to carry your sub $1000 gaming laptop with you, then you’re going to need a portable laptop. Gaming laptops are naturally a bit heavier than ordinary laptops, but there are plenty of sleek and portable gaming notebooks on the market. A good weight to aim for is around 5 pounds for a 15-inch laptop.
Many gaming laptops tend to get hot. Common areas you’ll notice heat issues is underneath it and over the touchpad area. Most laptops will run fine even if they are a bit warm, but if you have it on your lap, you’ll quickly notice when it get’s hot on some models. A common way of reducing heat issues is buying a laptop cooling pad or an external laptop fan.
Make sure the gaming laptop have all necessary ports for a good gaming experience. Examples of ports you’ll need are USB ports for adding USB sticks, an external mouse, or any device you connect via USB. It’s also good with an HDMI port so you can connect the laptop to a screen.
A top-rated gaming laptop in the 1000 dollar price range should have a good full HD display. The colors should be accurate, and the brightness should be good enough to see what’s happening on the screen anywhere.
Keyboard and touchpad
A common mistake in finding laptops for under $1000 is looking too much into the trackpad. You will most likely have a better gaming experience with an external mouse anyway so don’t bother too much about the touchpad quality. Many gamers prefer an external keyboard for gaming laptops, they often have more space, and if you are a fan of mechanical keyboards, it’s almost a must since not many laptops have a mechanical keyboard. But the fact is that many gaming laptops under $1000 have an excellent keyboard that feels like a breeze to type on and are also very accurate for gaming. When looking at the keyboard, make sure it’s backlit if you want to use your laptop in dark places.
Most gaming laptops have decent speakers. They are good enough for games but if you want the best possible music experience you probably need to get a good pair of headphones or good external speakers.
How do I find a gaming laptop that fit all these requirements for under $1000?
That’s the easy part. You are already here! So, just scroll up or click here to get to the start of the list and look at the best gaming laptops under $1000. These are handpicked and have everything you’ll need in a gaming laptop in this price range.
No matter what gaming laptop you decide to go for from this list, you can’t go wrong. I have researched almost every gaming laptop in the 1000 price range and narrowed it down to these seven laptops. If you pick any of the laptops above, you will have a powerful and future-proof gaming laptop. It will run all your favorite games at high frame rates at best possible graphics settings.
I enjoyed writing this list, but it took me several hours of writing and even more time doing all the research. If you got any info that might benefit your hunt for the best gaming laptop, I would love to have you share my website on your favorite site or social media site. But now you have a more important task. If you haven’t already, pick the best gaming laptop under 1000 for you and enjoy the best of portable gaming!