Razer Blade 14 (2017)
For a slightly smaller alternative, we have the Razer Blade 14. The Blade comes equipped with a 7th Generation I7-7700HQ and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB driving a 14-inch 1920×1080 IGZO display, offering great performance even uncalibrated. This particular model includes a 512GB PCIe based SSD for storage with an option to use a smaller SSD and a 2TB HDD, while for RAM the laptop comes with 16GB of DDR4-2400.
The Blade’s membrane based keyboard has white lettering on the keys and individually backlit keys which can be customized through the Razer Chrome software. The chassis is made of Aluminum CNC and built very solid with the Razer symbol gracing the top of the lid and is the only real design aesthetic on the matte black laptop. Pricing on this unit comes in at $2099 and is pricey for the GTX 1060 inside.
Asus Strix GL502VM-DB71
At the mid-range of the gaming laptop market, the ASUS ROG Strix Gaming laptop brings to the table a full GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GPU driving a 15.6-inch FHD 1920x1080p 120Hz G-SYNC display. This is a very common combination, and makes for plenty of horsepower to run through many the latest games at High/Ultra settings. The ROG Strix laptop uses the same 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor as many other gaming laptops in this guide, along with 16GB if DDR4 2400 Mhz RAM. For storage, this option includes a 1TB HDD and a small 128GB SATA based SSD.
The chassis of the Strix is made out of aluminum, has a brushed finish, and comes in a silver color. The laptop is also said not to be too heavy or cumbersome. The overall build quality, however, was just deemed OK and it tends to run warm. Its overall appearance is fairly understated with the ASUS Logo and design queues on the lid. The brushed aluminum carries over to the inside of the laptop and uses RGB LED keyboard with red print on the keys and surrounding the trackpad. The model selected is priced at $1648 at Amazon US while a GTX 1080 8GB, a larger 120 Hz G-SYNC monitor, and a larger SSD are a couple of the major options above this version.
MSI GT73VR Titan Pro-865
Moving up to high-end laptops, the MSI GT73VR Titan Pro is our first gaming laptop chosen which includes a GTX 1080 at our price point. It is a full GTX 1080 sporting 8GB of GDDR5X VRAM. The GeForce GTX 1080 is the fastest single GPU available for a laptop, and coupled with the default 1080p display can handle virtually anything thrown at it. This specific configuration uses the now familiar i7-7700HQ CPU, but does offer a 7820HK (2.9GHz/3.8GHz) option above that. RAM capacity for this setup is 32GB DDR4 2400 MHz. Internal storage is a combination of a 512GB SSD and a 1TB HDD.
As a full-size gaming laptop, the Titan comes with a 17.3-inch monitor. The base model uses a 1920×1080 120Hz panel, along with G-SYNC variable refresh technology. For gamers more focused on resolution than performance, there is also a 4K 60Hz monitor as an option. It also supports Thunderbolt 3, for plenty of external I/O options. The keyboard is made by SteelSeries using the Steel Series 3 engine to customize the RGB LED backlit keys. Pricing on this configuration comes in at $2699 on Amazon which can be cost prohibitive when taking into account the hardware.
Lenovo Legion Y520 15.6
The Lenvov Legion Y520 was the first member of the Legion series of gaming laptops Lenovo released in early 2017. The laptops hit the scene with a 7th Generation Intel Core i7 CPU – the i7-7700HQ @ 3.8 GHz max Turbo – a 15.6-inch 1920×1080 FHD IPS Anti-glare monitor (though it can’t cover 100% sRGB), 8GB of Dual-Channel DDR4 2400 MHz RAM (supports 16GB). This specific configuration includes a 256GB PCIe SSD with additional options for up to a 2TB 5400RPM HDD.
Driving the monitor for games is a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of VRAM which delivers solid performance at 1080p. The keyboard is full-size with a number pad to the right side and is backlit in red only on the Y520 (Y720 has multiple colors). The chassis is made out of plastic and contains a woven pattern which gives it an attractive look without going overboard. For under $900 the Y520 packs a fairly powerful punch for a gaming laptop.
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series Gaming Edition 7567
Next in the low-cost gaming segment is the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series Gaming Edition. The 7567 has a 15.6-inch 1920×1080 Anti-glare IPS panel driven by a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4GB, and can be upgraded to a GTX 1060. The CPU is a 7th Generation Intel Quad-core i5-7300HQ with a max turbo of 3.5 GHz and is upgradeable to the I7-7700HQ. This specific model comes with a small 128GB M.2 SSD and a 1TB 5400 RPM HDD giving users a nice balance of high-speed low capacity storage and lower speed high capacity storage. For RAM, this specific model includes 8GB of DDR4 2400 MHz (up to 16GB).
The exterior of the 7000 Series made of black plastic and uses a black and red design theme with the Dell logo in red on the back of the lid, red vents on the front for cooling, and red characters on the keyboard. Consequently it very much looks like a gaming laptop, which may not appeal to some buyers in this segment. Like the Lenovo Legion above, the design isn’t outlandish but offers enough cues it’s made for more than simply web and email. The base price is $799 at the Dell website while the specific setup here is listed at $1089 on Amazon US.
MSI GT83VR Titan SLI-212
Our final (and by far most expensive) laptop in this guide is MSI’s GT83VR Titan SLI. This “luggable” in two flavors, SLI-212 and SLI-252. The difference between them lay in the amount of RAM as well as the storage setup, with the SLI-212 being on the higher end of the two.
The 212 comes with a 7th Generation Core i7-7920HQ CPU running at 3.1/4.1 GHz (Turbo/Base) with a TDP of 45W. The laptop comes with 64GB DDR4-2400 RAM (the 252 is 16GB) which should be plenty for even the most memory intensive tasks. The storage configuration consists of two 512GB PCIe SSDs plus a 1TB 7200 RPM HDD. The display is a very large 18.4″ IPS panel at 1920×1080. Atypically, there is not a 4K option despite a pair of powerful GeForce GTX 1080s in SLI under the hood.
Meanwhile the black colored chassis is constructed from CNC machined aluminum. The lid has two dart type lighted lines along with the MSI Gaming Dragon symbol in the middle to give it a little pizazz. The rear has large exhaust vents with red aluminum trim. Many will take one look and immediately think its a gaming laptop. Last but not least, the keyboard is a ‘real’ Cherry MX Silver keyboard with multi-backlit steel series KB 88 keys. The GT83VR is rather large, measuring 16.85″ x 12.36″ x 1.66/2.52″ and weighs in at a hefty 13.13 lbs and known to have good build quality.
The MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro, a 15.6” slim and light gaming laptop with the new Pascal generation NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB DDR5 dedicated graphics. Graphics performance is fantastic and this is faster than the outgoing top GTX 980M card! Even more impressive, this 3.96 lb. laptop is extremely thin and light— rivaling the Dell XPS 15 but with much more gaming horsepower.
It starts at $1,799 with a 1920 x 1080 matte IPS display, a 45 watt Intel Skylake 6th gen Core i7-6700HQ quad core processor, Intel HD 530 graphics switchable via NVIDIA Optimus with GTX 1060 dedicated graphics card (VR ready). It has 16 gigs of DDR4 RAM, a 256 gig PCIe SSD, 1TB HDD, Killer Ethernet and WiFi 802.11ac. It has a backlit RGB programable SteelSeries keyboard and 1080p webcam. Upgrading to the 4K matte IPS display adds $200. The Stealth Pro 15.6” has an impressive number of ports for a thin and light, including Thunderbolt 3/USB-C 3.1 port and Ethernet.