Gaming laptops used to be a bit of an oxymoron. Prone to overheating and never coming close to the performance of their desktop counterparts, they just weren’t worth it. But for the last few years, the idea of the gaming laptop is well- and truly revived, and you can easily grab yourself a portable rig that will play all the latest games at high frame rates for under $1000.
Here we’ve gathered the best laptops under $1000. If you want to go even cheaper, then head over to our list of the best gaming laptops under $500.
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MSI GF65 Thin 9SEXR-249
Specs: 15.6″ Full HD IPS Display, Intel Core i5-9300H, 8GB Memory, GeForce RTX 2060 6GB, 512GB SSD
The absolute maximum amount of horsepower you can realistically attain for under $1000 at the time of writing is this offering from MSI. Yes, it actually has the joint-least RAM on the list (an easy upgrade to make), but it takes the win, thanks to its combination of Intel i5-9300H CPU and the RTX 2060 GPU.
While the mobile version of the 2060 lags somewhat behind its desktop equivalent, you still get those sweet ray-tracing effects, and it otherwise beats out the graphical competition on this list, too. The 2060 should run most modern games like Total War: Three Kingdoms and Red Dead Redemption 2 on high settings around that crucial 60fps mark, while slightly older games like The Witcher 3 clock in around 80fps (not that you’ll make the most of it on a 60Hz display).
It’s the lightest laptop in the list at 4.1 lbs. and nice and slim, too, at 0.85″.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G
Specs: 15.6″ Full HD IPS Display, AMD Ryzen 7 3750H CPU, 16GB Memory, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, 512GB SSD
Squeezing every last dollar out of the “under $1000” bracket, this laptop is among the most powerful on offer at this price range. The 16GB RAM is nice and futureproof, while the Ryzen 7 CPU should ensure that the excellent 1660 Ti Max-Q graphics card can work near its full potential. (With that said, it’s not the fastest CPU on this list.)
Expect to run most games at mid-high settings though not quite with the same “oomph” as you would with a 2060.
It comes in slim and light, weighing in at just 4.63 lbs. and measuring 0.78″ thin. Svelte.
HP Pavilion Gaming
Specs: 15.6″ Full HD IPS Display, Intel Core i5-9300H, 12GB Memory, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650, 512GB SSD
If you don’t want to completely max out that $1000 budget, then you can’t go wrong with this offering from HP. It squeezes in an impressive 12GB RAM and the same solid i5-9300H CPU as the MSI GF65 we talked about earlier.
Yes, you lose out on the graphical firepower of a 1660 or a 2060, but the 1650 here remains capable of playing the likes of Red Dead Redemption 2 (one of the most graphically demanding games out now) on medium settings at 50fps, while most other modern games will hit 60fps on medium-high settings without a problem.
It’s a bit bulkier than others on this list at 5.3 lbs. and 1″ thick but still perfectly portable.
MSI ALPHA 15
Specs: 15.6″ 120Hz Full HD IPS Display, AMD Ryzen 7 3750H, 8GB Memory, AMD Radeon RX 5500M 8GB, 512GB SSD
AMD may not be focusing too much on making GPUs for laptops, but the Radeon RX 5500M is a very good card, landing somewhere between the GTX 1650 and 1660 for performance. Expect to play most games with high settings on this thing.
The Ryzen 7 3750H CPU doesn’t quite match up to the i5-9300H, while the 8GB RAM contained inside will be more than enough not to hinder gaming performance (though futureproofers may prefer to bump it up to 16GB).
The standout feature here is unquestionably the 120Hz FreeSync display, which is double the refresh rate of other screens on this list, with the FreeSync tech allowing for tear-free, latency-free gaming.
Now that you have your new gaming laptop, it’s time to do some maintenance. Gaming laptops can run pretty hot, too, so it’s worth knowing how to monitor the CPU temperature on Windows 10. We also have a bunch of tips in case your laptop touchpad stops working.