If you want a laptop that’s going to work for gaming, you can expect to spend a lot more than you’d invest in a more casual productivity-oriented computer. And while you’ll increasingly find gaming laptops at relatively cheap prices (we’ve already compiled a review guide to the best gaming laptops under $500 and best gaming laptops under $1000), there’s definitely some appeal to the highest-end laptop models on the market.
That’s what this guide is here to help with. We’ve identified 10 of the best gaming laptop models under $2000 and provided you with a quick summary of what makes them so special. Afterward, we’ll go into detail regarding some of the most important specifications and features to consider while shopping.
TL;DR - 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $2000:
- Acer Predator Helios 300 15.6″ Gaming Laptop
- ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim 15.6” Gaming PC Laptop
- Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop
- Alienware M15-15.6″ FHD Gaming Laptop
- MSI Stealth 15M 15.6″ 144Hz Gaming Laptop
- Omen by HP 2019 15″ Gaming Laptop
- Lenovo Legion Y7000 15.6″ Gaming Laptop
- Sager NP7879PQ 17.3-Inch Thin Bezel FHD 144Hz Gaming Laptop
- Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop
- Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 Gaming Laptop
1. Acer Predator Helios 300 15.6″ Gaming Laptop
Serious Competitive Gaming Power
Available for approximately half the price of our $2000 limit, the Acer Predator Helios is a fine machine built from the ground up with gaming in mind, and it should have enough power for even the most serious competitive gamers. The tenth-generation i7 processor is capable of handling almost any game on the market as smooth as butter, and the graphics perform especially well thanks to the inclusion of an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 card. It also includes 6GB of VRAM for better graphical loading and a more seamless gaming experience.
And while gaming laptops often suffer the quality of their display for the sake of those internal specs, the monitor here is rather strong. While it's capable of offering 1080p resolution, it's a backlit LED that looks great in the dark and offers a 144Hz Refresh Rate and a response time of 3 milliseconds.
2. ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim 15.6” Gaming PC Laptop
Ultra-Slim Yet Packs a Punch
It's hard to believe how much power Asus has managed to pack into such a slim and lightweight machine. The bezel is barely there at 5.6 millimeters, allowing this laptop to really make the best use of the real estate available, and the entire laptop is ultra-slim, but that doesn't mean that any corners have been cut in the construction. There's a generous cooling intake system here as well as smooth and responsive scissor door hinges.
The specs here are pretty hard to beat, too. While it employs an i7 Core processor like the cheaper Predator Helios, this laptop doubles the storage capacity in its solid-state drive and includes a beefy GTX 1070 graphics card. The keyboard offers customizable backlighting across four separate zones, while the IPS display offers a viewing angle of nearly 180 degrees, full coverage of the sRGB color gamut, and a refresh rate of 144 Hz.
3. Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop
Thoughtfully Designed for Streamlined Gaming
The guts of the Dell G5 15 are largely indistinguishable from the Acer Predator Helios, so it makes sense that these two gaming laptop models are comparably priced, but that doesn't mean that this laptop is a slouch. The ninth-generation i7 processor is a huge evolution from the seventh generation, and the 16GB RAM should be enough to run even the latest and greatest AAA games smoothly and without having to sacrifice graphical fidelity.
But there are also some thoughtful design sensibilities here that really help it stand apart from other gaming laptop models. The ports are located along the back of the laptop to prevent tangled cables from getting in your way, and it makes use of a very impressive dual cooling system that will keep this laptop from overheating without dramatically increasing the size of the laptop or forcing you to deal with loud fan noises.
4. Alienware M15-15.6″ FHD Gaming Laptop
Top-End Gaming on a Mid-Range Budget
With a manufacturer's retail price of right around $1000, the Alienware M15 makes some sacrifices for the sake of cost, though all but the most extreme gamers should find it to be able to handle their favorite games admirably. The hybrid hard drive on the Alienware is a really nice inclusion that can help you store more games and also experience faster loading times, while the inclusion of an eighth rather than ninth-generation Intel Core is likely not going to have a major impact on your performance overall.
Apart from those changes, the specs for this Alienware laptop are pretty equivalent to many of the best gaming laptops. The 15.6-inch display enjoys a refresh rate of 60Hz and is coated for anti-glare protection, making the Alienware an appropriate gaming choice in just about any environment. It's also one of the most compact laptops we've seen due to its 17.9-millimeter thickness and weight of under five pounds.
5. MSI Stealth 15M 15.6″ 144Hz Gaming Laptop
Cutting-Edge Specs at a Very Reasonable Price
Are you looking for a laptop that's ready to make the most of the latest new graphical technologies? The MSI Stealth 15M is a great place to start. The inclusion of graphics Nvidia Geforce RTX card ensures that this laptop is prepared to make the most of ray tracing technology, and the eleventh-generation Intel Core processor is enough to leave you confident that you have the processing power to keep up with those graphical bells and whistles. In terms of those two important core specs, this laptop represents the cutting edge of gaming specifications.
But there's quality across the board with this gaming laptop. The display delivers video at 1080p and promises a refresh rate of 144Hz for smooth performance even in the fastest-moving and most cutting edge new games, and despite the significant power usage, this laptop includes a great cooling system and decent battery life.
6. Omen by HP 2019 15″ Gaming Laptop
The Omen is seriously one of the coolest gaming laptops you're bound to see. With its elevated hinges, backlit keyboard, and curved design aesthetic, it's a stylish laptop that manages to avoid falling into the garish sensibilities of many gaming accessories, but it's just as capable on the inside. In fact, it would be pretty hard to beat these specs. The i7-9750H processor and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 both constitute a pretty meaningful increase in power over most comparable gaming laptops, and it comes with a generous 32GB RAM.
This laptop makes use of a half-terabyte SSD, and there are even software optimization solutions baked in. The Omen command center is an easy way to adjust your laptop's performance with the ability to control the internet traffic committed to gaming and take care of overclocking options. That last option really benefits from the inclusion of a powerful cooling system with a three-phase motor.
7. Lenovo Legion Y7000 15.6″ Gaming Laptop
The Lenovo Legion is relatively inexpensively priced (at least for the measures of this guide), but it really makes the most of what it's given. The design here is strong, with a glare-resistant FHD display with an ultra-thin 0.3-inch bezel on every side. Built as a gaming laptop first and foremost, it includes decent if not outstanding GPU and CPU along with 16GB DDR4 RAM. The channeled cooling system keeps everything running just fine even when you hit higher performance games.
And this is one of the most portable gaming laptops we've encountered. With a weight of right around five pounds and a super slim design, it can go with you anywhere. The full-sized keyboard is completely backlit and features keys that are highly responsive to the touch, making it the best choice in its price range for RTS and MOBA players.
8. Sager NP7879PQ 17.3-Inch Thin Bezel FHD 144Hz Gaming Laptop
Sager may not be an especially well-known laptop manufacturer, but their NP7876 is a real beast of a laptop. The RTX 3060 GPU is complemented by a full 6GB of DDR6 memory, while the 32GB dedicated RAM is more than enough for even the highest-end games. The presence of hybrid storage gives you the best of both worlds, while the matte coating of the display is designed to minimize glare as much as possible.
This isn't the most exciting-looking laptop, but it actually provides some of the best performance around. Those key specifications are meaningful, but so is the cooling system. This is a gaming laptop that can accomplish a lot of tasks at once without a hitch, so it's a good option both as a gaming laptop and if you're looking to get into serious development.
9. Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop
The Razer Blade 15 is one of the most well-known gaming laptops around. You'll be paying a fair bit when compared to some other gaming laptops under $2000, but you'll be getting pretty respectable hardware across the board. The RTX 2060 GPU is a powerful choice especially if you're keen to try out ray tracing, and the display promises 100% coverage of the sRGB color spectrum as well as a stellar 144Hz refresh rate.
But what Razer always brings to the table are some great design sensibilities and gamer-specific features. The chassis of the Razer Blade 15 is light and slim, as you might expect from a laptop named the "Blade". And like most Razer products, it comes with a bounty of RGB configuration options for the keyboard. 16GB RAM and a wealth of different ports round out a lean monster of a laptop.
10. Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 Gaming Laptop
Chances are that you haven't heard of Eluktronics, but their gaming laptops under $2000 are definitely worthy of your consideration. The CPU and GPU here are a step above most gaming laptops in its price range, and this laptop features both a ridiculous refresh rate of 165Hz and 8GB VRAM for better graphical processing. All told, the insides of this gaming laptop alone are worthy of the price of admission.
But the whole package is pretty appealing, too. The inclusion of a full mechanical keyboard really sets this laptop apart from the conventional options. It's reliable, fast, and equipped with a ton of RGB lighting options for the keyboard that are broad enough to rival the features of the Razer Blade. There's even a customizable light bar above the keyboard. What's more, it comes bundled with an impressive range of gaming peripherals so you can be up and ready to game straight away.
Best Gaming Laptop Under $2000 Buyer’s Guide
If you aren’t well-versed in the components that go into a gaming laptop, it’s easy to get a little lost in the whole spec lists. But if you’re working with a budget of around $2000, your expectations for the specifications of your laptop should be pretty high. This is the budget range where we start to see some of the best laptops on the market.
Below, we’ll help you understand the importance of the various specifications and features when shopping for the best gaming laptop under $2000 and also provide you with a basic run-down of the minimum requirements you should accept for a top-quality laptop around $1000 or more. That will help you better parse our reviews, but it can also be a valuable asset if you decide to expand your shopping search beyond our review list.
Graphics Processing Unit
The graphics processing unit, naturally, affects the quality of your graphical performance. And since you aren’t investing over a grand in a gaming laptop to just play casual games, you’re going to want the best GPU you can find. Once we start moving into this price range, the only name to consider is Nvidia GeForce. But you essentially have two tiers to consider: GTX and RTX.
Make no mistake – these are both great GPUs. And while the RTX graphics card represents the latest generation of Nvidia technology, the level of power it offers compared to the GTX isn’t always going to be that different, depending on which model you’re looking at. The best quality of the RTX chip is that it’s primed and ready to accommodate the latest graphical technologies.
While the implementation of real-time ray tracing and A.I. driven graphical features are only slowly being introduced in modern games, an investment in an RTX will make sure that your laptop is capable of running games at their best in the years to come, and that’s especially exciting with the next generation of games on the horizon.
But it’s worth keeping in mind that a gaming laptop with an RTX unit (and the comparable specs to keep pace) is generally going to cost you around $500 more. We generally recommend it, but we recognize that’s a lot of money to throw down for features that aren’t that present in the gaming experience just yet.
RTX and GTX cards come in different models as well. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 represents something of a middle ground in power for the GTX models, while the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 or the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 is our preferred performance choice for a more expensive gaming laptop. As a general rule of thumb, the higher the model, the better the performance you can expect from it.
Central Processing Unit
The GPU is arguably the most important component to pay attention to when shopping for a gaming laptop, but we actually recommend prioritizing the CPU. That’s because any gaming laptop that comes with a good CPU will probably offer a decent graphics card as well, and the CPU has a pretty dramatic impact on the overall performance of your laptop. And while many other components can be swapped out with an upgrade, the central processing unit you sign up for is basically going to be the one you’re stuck with for the rest of its life. Getting a powerful model is essential here.
If you’re looking for a budget laptop that can still provide a solid gaming experience, you should pay attention to AMD CPUs, but if you’re planning on dropping over a grand, Intel is the only way to go. They offer the best higher-end CPUs on the market, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an AMD alternative that can compete within this price range. We recommend a Core i7 processor. Most of these are quad-core processors, and that allows them to multitask and just generally just perform a whole lot better.
You’ll also want to check what generation your Intel Core is. The eighth generation signified a pretty substantial improvement in the performance of Intel’s processors. If you want a gaming laptop that can last a while, it isn’t worth investing in anything older. The ninth, tenth, and eleventh generations are naturally incrementally better, but the difference isn’t that noticeable. But if you really want the best performance, keep an eye out for a Core that has a K at the end of its model number. This signifies that it can be overclocked, allowing you to squeeze even more power out of it.
Random-access memory is effectively the short-term memory of your laptop. In terms of gaming performance, the memory is where your CPU accesses the bits of data that games are likely going to need most regularly. That generally means faster rendering and loading times as well as better performance in data-heavy games. That said, you don’t need to pay too much attention to your memory. 16GB DDR4 RAM is a good base point that should offer you more than you should need in most cases. A few laptops on our list offer 32GB RAM, which is a nice addition but not always necessary.
Another reason not to worry too much is that memory is pretty easy to upgrade. It’s easy to find a laptop that features an access panel for upgrading your memory. It’s usually as simple as slotting a new memory stick into place, so it’s relatively easy to upgrade from 16GB to 32GB RAM, and rather cheap as well. Higher amounts of RAM will ultimately offer better performance in terms of multitasking with multiple applications rather than having a direct effect on your gaming experience.
If RAM is the short term memory of your gaming laptop, the storage is everything else. All of your games, files, and other apps are held in the storage, and how much you need is largely going to come down to how many games you keep in your library. When you’re looking for the ideal gaming rig, you have three options to choose from, and finding the right drive for you is mostly about balancing the need for powerful and faster performance with more storage capacity.
A traditional HDD is the same type of hard drive that’s been in computers for decades. They’re cheap to produce and offer significantly more capacity than solid-state alternatives, but they’re more prone to damage because of the presence of moving parts, and they’re more likely to need replacing. That said, this type of drive tends to come with one terabyte of storage, which is a big advantage when you want your favorite games available right at your fingertips.
A solid-state drive (SSD) is the hottest new thing. Essentially similar to flash memory, an NvME SSD costs significantly more than an HDD, but it provides a smoother experience as well. These hard drives can process information significantly faster than a traditional hard drive, and they experience incredibly low failure rates. They’re a powerful but expensive choice, but they’re also an investment in the future.
Some gaming laptops offer the best of both worlds. A hybrid drive includes both an HDD and an SSD, most typically in the form of a 256GB SSD and a 1TB HDD. That’s going to bring up the price some, but it’s a reasonable alternative that helps provide both powerful performance and decent capacity.
Bear in mind that you aren’t stuck with the storage capacity your gaming laptop happened to come with. Storage capacity is one of the easiest things to replace in a gaming laptop, and many models even come with easily accessible panels that allow you quick and easy access to both the hard drive and RAM slots. Many gaming laptops that include just an SSD or HDD could pretty readily be turned into a hybrid drive for just a slightly higher price in the future.
The unfortunate truth when shopping for a gaming laptop within this price range is that you don’t have a lot of options for resolution. Practically any laptop is going to offer a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080. 4K resolution is more or less out of the picture here, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have options to consider when looking at the display for your gaming laptop.
An IPS display is the most common choice for a gaming laptop. It offers a consistent quality experience from angles of up to 178 degrees and provides some of the most reliable performance across the board. You may want to consider looking at a panel that promises anti-glare protection or blue light functionality if you spend a lot of time gaming and are worried about the risk of eye strain. You may not realize it, but long periods in front of your display can really wreak havoc on your health.
You should also pay attention to the quality of the display. We generally recommend a display that provides a color gamut bordering on as close to 100% as possible. That will ensure that you have the highest level of color accuracy without different shades blending in together. Also look for a display screen with respectable lighting settings. Measured in nits, brighter screens will allow you to more easily read the panel even when you’re in less than ideal circumstances. This is especially valuable for pro gamers who may find themselves in coffee shops or at crowded tournaments.
Constant gaming can be hell on your keyboard, and that’s especially true for some of the most competition-heavy PC games today. For RTS and MOBA players, the keyboard is really going to be a big deal. For first-person shooters and narrative single-player experiences, the keyboard will be significantly less important.
Full-sized keyboards are a huge advantage for gamers who make intensive use of the keys, but the high watermark for gaming keyboard design is the mechanical keyboard. They feature great anti-ghosting technology so none of your keystrokes are missed, but they tend to be a rarity in gaming laptops at this price range. The Elektrunics model reviewed above uses a mechanical keyboard.
If you want to personalize your gaming experience, you may want to look at models that offer RGB lighting display options. These allow you to customize the display colors of your keyboard in a number of different zones. Razer is especially well regarded for their RGB backlighting, and the Razer Blade 15 we highlighted above includes some truly phenomenal backlighting customization.
If a keyboard is important to you, you may want to consider investing in a standalone model. You can check out our guide to the best gaming keyboards for help with that.
If you plan on carrying your gaming laptop around with you everywhere, durability needs to play some part in the design. It shouldn’t be a top priority, but check for a gaming laptop made of sturdier materials if you intend to keep it for a while without having to worry about potential damage.
You also want to make sure that your gaming laptop is ready to carry with you. A lighter design and slimmer frame will make it more comfortable to carry and an especially great choice if you plan to carry your gaming laptop as part of your daily routine. An aluminum chassis is one of the top features to look for because they’re sturdy while still weighing just a few pounds.
Virtual Reality Capabilities
Whether or not you care if your laptop is VR ready will really depend on whether you intend to take the plunge into virtual reality gaming. Truly VR-capable laptops tend to require powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX or RTX graphics cards. You can generally eyeball a VR-capable laptop based on the specs, but many have been certified to work with the most popular headsets on the market.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Most Powerful Laptop of 2021?
The HP Omen is the most impressive laptop we’ve found in terms of raw performance. It outstrips all of the competition in practically every major spec except the storage capacity, and that’s an issue pretty easily resolved. The top of the line Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 is a cut above the competition and a rarity for under $2000.
What is the Best Gaming Laptop of 2021?
If you want to take pricing into consideration, we’re in love with the Alienware M15. Other models on our list outpace it with specs, but the Alienware is a remarkable find for a $1000 laptop.
What is the Best Gaming Laptop Under $1500?
The MECH-15 by Eluktronics may not be a household name, but it’s an incredibly impressive choice for gamers. It’s just beneath the $1500 price point, but it offers great all-around specs as well as some cool backlighting options.
Are Gaming Laptops Good?
If you’re looking for a laptop that can provide you with the best gaming experience for the price, a gaming laptop is an exceptional choice. The necessities of modern gaming require a really well-balanced selection of specifications and features as well, so a gaming laptop can be a good choice even if you aren’t a gamer.
If you’re ready to drop a thousand dollars or more on a laptop, you’re going to want to read all the reviews and check in on the important specs. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, but we’re confident that our guide can help provide you with a core understanding of the important variables so you can find a laptop that will check off all the important features you’re looking for.If you liked our article on gaming laptops under $2000, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.