You take gaming seriously, and when winning matters you need a laptop that can handle some serious gameplay.
It’s important though to consider a few things to make sure you get the best gaming laptop you can. If you have a budget set then you need to do your research so that you set realistic expectations for your gaming machine. Your laptop doesn’t have to cost a fortune though, even for a quality gaming rig. For this post we’ve set a cap at $1000, and there is plenty of great gaming to be had for that money. Before we get to our best gaming laptop under $1000 list, let’s take a look at some things you should keep in mind when choosing a laptop.
Note: got a small budget? We put together a separate guide for low-budget gaming laptops under $300.
What Do I Need In A Gaming Laptop?
You’re going to need a decent processor speed, and Intel makes some of the best. There are other options out there, but in reality, most gaming laptops feature Intel Core processors. You’ll also need at least 8GB of RAM to be able to handle game loading. Solid state drives of at least 128GB will be able to handle gaming processing much better than traditional drives. In the best gaming laptop under $1000, you can expect to find a good 7th gen or 8th gen Intel processor, with ample RAM and either a large HDD or sufficient SSD.
RAM & Storage
You want as much RAM as you can get, ideally. But realistically, at least 8GB or 16GB of RAM with room to expand to at least 32GB but preferably 64GB. Also, it needs to be DDR4 RAM now wherever possible. In terms of storage, it’s best to have a SSD and HDD combination. Machines with a 128GB SSD or 256GB SSD accompanied by a 1TB hard drive minimum is preferable.
Forget the mobile cards. NVidia’s graphics cards are a reliable gaming choice, delivering great fps during even the heaviest gaming. NVidia GeForce GTX 1080 is the gold standard in gaming performance. In tests, it provided excellent graphics while playing some of the most demanding games on the highest settings.
If you can’t get a 1080 GPU, other versions of NVidia’s graphics cards are excellent choices to support the visuals of the latest games.
The downside of more powerful processors and graphics cards is a stronger amount of heat. Gaming laptops need an efficient and robust cooling system to prevent the system from overheating during gameplay.
Some systems offer an additional turbo cooling boost for heavy gaming sessions. This feature allows the user to temporarily increase the cooling capacity to prevent the computer from overheating during extended play.
This can be a convenient feature for serious gamers. Heat can cause hiccups in gameplay, so the ability to monitor temperature and deliver an extra cooling blast ensures that the game runs smoothly no matter how long the game has been going or what settings the computer is on.
Yeah, this one is obvious, but it is also critical. For the latest games you need to launch from the latest operating systems, and in all cases in our list, the benchmark is Windows 10 for the best laptops.
If you’re gaming, it won’t do you much good to have a bad display. At the minimum, the screen should be 1920 x 1080 to deliver the clarity needed to play games at higher speeds. It should also have a good build quality for longevity. Also, thin bezels are a nice thing to have but you need to weight that up against durability.
Many gaming laptops come with matte screens, but matte or glossy tends to be gamer preference. What you want are anti-glare properties to cut down on outside interference with visibility. If you can, check out laptops in person with different matte and glossy screens to find your preference.
Touch screens are mostly unnecessary and can add extra cost to a laptop. It might seem like a fun feature, but in reality, unless you are playing games that explicitly call for touch screens, it’s likely to be an unwarranted expense.
Some other features can be convenient for gamers. For example, a backlit keyboard helps visibility for night time gaming, or for those who prefer to have no lights when playing. You might also benefit from having a full sized, ten-key alphanumeric keyboard.
Another keyboard feature to consider is anti-ghosting technology. This allows multiple keys to register when pressed at once. Power moves and special gaming actions benefit from having this technology in place.
Laptops that offer easy customization are also great for gamers. You can upgrade keyboards or internal hardware as the games you play evolve. It gives you a longer life for your laptop and delivers better performance since you can customize to the types of games you’re playing.
If you play without headphones, audio is another consideration. Many gaming laptops come with audio packages from big-name audio brands such as Dolby, and these sound packages offer bass boosts, higher trebles, and more precise quality though microphones.
The Best Gaming Laptop Under $1000 in 2020
Let’s take a look at the top laptops we recommend for gamers at this price point. They are selected based on quality displays and good graphics cards. Most have excellent seventh generation or eighth generation Intel processors, and other features like backlit keyboards in a price range that won’t break your wallet.
The Acer Nitro 5 is a laptop featuring a 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7300HQ Processor with a gaming card, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU, and a 15.6-inch laptop screen. It has 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM for the card and 8GB DDR4 Memory plus 256GB SSD (solid state drive).
It has a futuristic design with cut edges and a sturdy black exterior. The keyboard is a deep red, backlit style. The processor runs NVIDIA’s graphics card smoothly while dual fan cooling makes sure everything stays in the best shape.
It features a TrueHarmony and Dolby Audio Premium sound package for excellent surround sound experience. It’s also compatible with the mixed reality headset. It has over eight hours of battery life on the best settings including wifi usage.CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON
This Dell Inspiron series runs an eighth generation Intel Core i5-8300H Quad-Core processor. It has 8GB 2400MHz DDR4 plus a 256GB SSD. It has a 15.6-inch laptop anti-glare display to help with gaming and graphics.The NVidia 1050 graphics card runs games smoothly and without hesitation.
The keyboard deck itself is metal with integrated cooling systems to keep everything running smoothly. It runs quietly even under gaming conditions.
The Dell Inspiron has a professional design with a minimalist theme. It goes well with the office and playing games at home. It has red accents and a black design. Although color accuracy isn’t high end, this shouldn’t be a problem when gaming, only when editing video. Overall, it’s a solid gaming offering from Dell.CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON
This Asus model is a seventh generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ is a powerful gaming system with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4GB graphics GPU. These run games without hesitation or lag. Sporting a 15.6 inch HD display with a matte, anti-glare coating to eliminate glare.
It features a 1TB SSHD Hybrid Drive which is much faster than standard drives, and the overall RAM is 8gb.
It has a high capacity battery so you can keep playing longer, along with an integrated, intelligent cooling system for smooth operation. It’s a red backlit keyboard with a comfortable scissor key design for better feedback and more comfortable gameplay.
It has built-in speakers that push audio towards the user for a more immersive experience. Upgrading parts with a one screw access design is straightforward. It weighs just 5.7 pounds.CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON
Eluktronics makes an excellent laptop for gaming that features a ninth generation Intel Core processor with a 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM. It also has 6GB GDDR6 Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics card. Overall, a great gaming set up.
The full-sized keyboard is backlit, and the whole system has an integrated cooling system to keep things running well.
The screen is 15.6 inches with full HD and a matte, antiglare finish for a better gaming experience. There’s an HDMI connector with two mini display ports and a gigabit ethernet port and headphone jack.
There’s a built-in webcam if you’d like to try your hand at streaming and high quality Realtek audio.CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON
Though its a manufacturer refurbished product, there is no sacrifice in quality or gaming experience. It features an Intel Core i5-9300H processor and NVIDIA GTX graphics. This ninth generation Intel processor is faster and quieter than other predecessors, and the laptop can handle some of the most demanding game titles.
It has 16GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and a 1TB HDD. The processor speed is up to 4.1 GHz.
It’s a lightweight option at just over four pounds, and the screen is a 15.6-inch high definition at 1920 x 1080 resolution. The processor has a built-in cooling system and an antiglare screen for peak gaming. The sound is from Bang and Olufsen, capable of handling the heavy bass and beats of many gaming experiences.CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON
This Lenovo model is a ninth generation Intel Core Processor with NVidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU graphics. It has 24GB of RAM and a next generation 512 GB PCle solid state drive with hybrid storage.
Audio is done by Dolby Premium and sounds great with or without headphones. The screen is a 15.6-inch high definition one with anti-glare coating. It features an all-black design with a red backlit keyboard, so it can go seamlessly from gaming to the office without being out of place.
It’s a slightly chunk model in order to accommodate the high performance, coming in at just over an inch wide when closed and a little over nine pounds in weight.
It’s easy to customize your design as well as the laptop cooling system, and you can set network and gaming priorities when playing to give an optimal experience.CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON
This MSI model comes with a Quad Core i7-7700HQ processor and the NVidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti graphics card. It offers a 15.6-inch full high definition display and low glare. The MSI GL62M 7REX-1896US features 8GB of RAM, and the hard drive is a respectable 128GB SSD.
It has an ultralight chassis that’s slightly over an inch thin. The screen is a red backlit design, and overall the laptop has a minimalist, but edgy feel that translates well for gaming and other activities.
The construction has a heat pipe system that helps to cool the internal hardware more efficiently and prevent throttling during extended gaming. Each model has six to seven pipes that run through the chassis. Overall, it delivers a solid gaming experience.CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON
The second Lenovo is a slightly upgraded Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad-Core 2.80 GHz processor and NVidia GTX 1050Ti 4GB graphics card. It has a 16GB RAM feature instead of the 8GB of the previous Lenovo entry and 256GB solid-state drive plus 2TB HDD.
It has the same minimal gaming design with red, backlit keyboard that’s full-size and has ten alphanumeric keys. There’s an intuitive cooling system to keep the gameplay from throttling and to improve overall playability for even the heaviest games out there.
It weighs just over five pounds and is an ultra slim design. It has one USB 2.0 port and two USB 3.0 ports. There’s an HDMI connection plus a headphone and a microphone jack. Finally, there’s a four in one card reader.CHECK LATEST DEALS ON AMAZON
The Bottom Line
You don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for a gaming laptop. There are quite a few models that will give you all the power you need for your serious gaming experience without breaking the bank. With a budget of $1000 you can get yourself a gaming laptop more than capable of handling most of the latest games with reasonable to high settings. Even quality VR gaming can be had with a laptop in this budget range.
Each of the models here made it for a reason, and if none tick all the boxes for you, at least you now know what to expect for the budget, and the features to look out for. If, on the other hand you need an entry-level budget gaming laptop, say under $300, or a mid-range gaming laptop, well we have posts for that too. Whatever the price tag that suits you, happy gaming!