Although gaming pcs are typically desktops, technology is improving to such an extent that a great gaming laptop can run most games and programs that a desktop can. If you’re considering a laptop purchase and you’re an avid gamer, read this to make sure you get the best pc for your needs.
Table of Contents
Pros and Cons of Gaming Laptop Versus Gaming Desktop
Laptops are great because of their flexibility. You can use it at work and home, take it with you on vacations, and it doesn’t take up a lot of room. In addition, technology is getting so good that the functionality is nearly identical to similar desktops.
However, laptops do have their disadvantages as well. In most cases, you can’t replace parts in a laptop, so you can’t build a machine to your exact specifications. Some components, like capture cards for streaming, will only be available externally. Desktops offer built-in capture cards, which typically have greater functionality. Finally, laptops are generally more expensive than desktops with similar capabilities, but the added flexibility makes the price difference worthwhile.
If you’re sure a laptop is the right tool for you, read on to discover the best gaming laptops for 2022.
The Best Gaming Laptops for 2022
*Please note that the specifications of each machine are generally customizable. Many offer options for more or less storage, RAM, and different graphics cards. What is listed is just one of the available configurations.
Best Overall Gaming Laptops
There are lots of great gaming laptops out there. If you choose a top-of-the-line laptop from any brand, you will get a great machine that can do most of what you need it to do. Many times, the best is subjective based on what brands people prefer.
Here are three great gaming laptops with excellent specifications for most of your gaming needs that won’t break your budget.
Razer Blade 14
The Razer Blade 14 is one of the best overall gaming laptops. It weighs a little less than 4lbs, making it portable, and has up to 1TB storage and 16GB of RAM. If you need a cheaper machine, you can alter the specifications when you custom design your laptop. The display resolution is higher with this system than with similar brands at 2560 x 1440, which will give you a crisper image.
The biggest drawback of this model is the smaller screen. Fourteen inches is generally considered small for a gaming laptop, but you can get an enhanced performance for a lower price if you sacrifice screen size.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 has similar specs to the Razer Blade 14 but lower price. You can get up to 1TB of storage, 16GB of RAM, and up to 3.3 Gh processing speed. It also has a 14-inch display.
The Asus has a lower resolution than the Razer Blade and less memory cache. The resolution is only 1920×1080, and the memory cache is at 8 MB, compared to 16MB on the Razer.
Alienware M17 R4
The Alienware M17 R4 comes with one of the best processers available. The most advanced configurations include a 10th generation Intel Core i9-10980KH. It can also include up to 32 GB of RAM and 4 TB of SSD. The screen size is 17.3 inches, the maximum you can find on a laptop.
The most significant limitation with the Alienware m17 R4 is its battery life. It only lasts about three unplugged hours, which limits your ability to game on the go. Still, this machine is a monster. It will run the majority of computer games you can find. If performance is your top priority, this is an excellent choice for you.
The Best Gaming Laptop for Streamers
If you are a Twitch streamer, you may need a laptop with more memory and functionality. Many of the laptops on this list will play PC games, but you may need a computer that will play games and run capture software simultaneously. Streamers may also want a laptop capable of video editing for publishing edited clips of their streams on YouTube.
Unfortunately, this increased capability will come with higher prices. But if you want to take your streaming career seriously and have your heart set on a laptop, these are the best options.
Razer Blade 15
The Razer Blade 15 is an absolute beast. The base edition has an intel core i7 processor and Nvidia RTX 3070b graphics card. You can upgrade to the i9 and Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti for enhanced performance.
The Razer Blade 15 has up to 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage. You can choose between various screen options, ranging from 1080 p to 4K resolution at 144Hz.
Although pricey, this laptop is top of the line and will do nearly everything you need it to do.
MSI GS 66 Stealth
The MSI GS 66 Stealth is another top-of-the-line machine for gamers. It features up to an i9 10980HK core processor, the Nvidia RTX 3080, and up to 32 GB RAM. The 66 Stealth features more storage options than the Razer Blade, topping out at up to 2TB with some configurations.
This laptop is excellent for gaming and video editing. You can edit your streams and publish them on YouTube or run various streaming software to make your stream stand out.
Alienware x15 R2 Gaming Laptop
The Alienware x15 R2 has more storage space than the other two gaming laptops for streaming. The top configuration includes up to 4 TB SSD.
T x15 R2 also includes a 12th gen intel core i7-12700H processor, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics card, 32 GB RAM, and a 15.6-inch display with a 1920×1080 resolution.
The Cheapest Gaming Laptop
The cheapest gaming laptop won’t give you a lot of functionality, and it may not run every game you want to play. Be sure to check on the specifications of the games you play before going with a cheap laptop.
However, the need for a cheap laptop is understandable. Not everyone can afford to spend a few thousand dollars on a gaming pc. Check these out if you want to game but need the most inexpensive options available.
HP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0046nr
The HP Gaming Pavilion has a 2.6 GH Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card. It has a 1920×1080 display resolution and 12GB RAM. These are all less than the other laptops we discussed, so it will take more effort for this PC to run certain games, but it should be capable of running most of them if you close all other programs.
It has far less storage than most gaming pcs at only 256 GB, which limits how much media you can store. The limited storage can be overcome with an external hard drive, though not all data can be stored externally. In addition, this is one of the few decent gaming laptops you can get for under $1000, so if the price is your most significant limitation, this is a great option.
Asus TUF Gaming FX705
The lowest-end Asus TUF Gaming FX705 laptop has a 2.3 Gh intel core i5 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. It has 8GB of RAM and a 1920×1080 display resolution.
Where it beats the HP is with storage. It has a 1TB hard drive, which is far better than the HP. If you’re primarily playing older or simple games and watching movies, the Asus is probably a better choice than the HP. However, the 2.3 Gh processor is at the lowest end of performance for gaming, so this machine may struggle to run big, modern games.
Can Cheap Laptops Run Games?
The cheapest laptops available generally won’t run most PC games. However, each game has unique needs, and each PC is different. Most cheap laptops can run elementary games, like your basic solitaire, or small bandwidth games that are primarily online, like Among Us.
If you’re only interested in games like this, you can get a lower-end laptop, but understand that it won’t be able to run most of the big-name games.
The Best Budget Gaming Laptop
Budget laptops are a step up from the cheapest laptops. They have a bit better performance, and they are still affordable. Remember that these budget laptops can generally run most games, but you will likely have to turn all other programs off to get the best experience. You will also need to check the specifications of each game to ensure that this laptop can run it.
If you’re looking for a cheap laptop but can afford a little extra, check these options out.
Dell G5 15 SE
The Dell G5 15 SE keeps costs down by using the AMD Ryzen graphics card and processer rather than intel and NVidia. It comes with the AMD Ryzen R7 processer, which is most similar to the intel core 7, and the AMD Radeon RX 5600M graphics card, which is comparable to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060. Though AMD is not as well known as these other brands, its products have similar capabilities. Some configurations may come with the intel and the Nvidia instead.
The Dell G5 15 SE has 16GB ran and 512GB storage. It’s not as capable as some of the other machines on this list, but an excellent value for the price.
Acer Predator Triton 300 SE
The Acer Predator Triton 300 SE has an intel core i7 processor and 3.3 GHz processing speed. Its RAM and storage are the same as the Dell G5, coming in at 16GB and 512GB, respectively.
The advantage to the Acer is the name-brand processor and graphics card. It has the GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card and 6Gb of graphics memory. The Triton 300 SE series is generally more expensive than the Dell but has a little enhanced performance.
FAQs About Gaming Laptops
What is the Best Brand for Gaming Laptops?
The best brand is subjective. It’s like asking whether Pepsi or Coke is a better soft drink. Coke lovers will insist that Coke is better, while Pepsi lovers will always claim they are wrong.
However, there are a few outstanding brands that are top contenders. Alienware and Razer are both designed specifically for gaming. MSI makes fantastic machines that can handle almost anything. Traditional laptop brands like Dell and Acer also produce good gaming laptops.
Can You Add Storage to a Gaming Laptop?
Typically, you can’t add additional storage to a gaming laptop, which is why it’s essential to get something with the specifications that you will need.
However, you can purchase an external hard drive that will allow you to store movies, pictures, and other files and media. You can not move program files to the external storage device, but having the ability to keep your media files separate might give you enough room to store the gaming programs you need.
What is a Good Size for a Gaming Laptop?
The best size for a gaming laptop is also subjective. Some people value a larger display, so a computer with a 17-inch screen is ideal. Others love a lightweight machine and will sacrifice display size for a more portable option.
Most gaming laptops have displays between 15 and 17.3 inches. If you go any smaller than 15 inches, you will likely lose essential details in the games you are trying to play. 17.3 is the high end of laptop screen sizes.
What’s the Most Important Gaming Laptop Component?
There are a few equally important components of a gaming laptop. The top two things to pay attention to are the memory and the graphics card. Storage space is also essential, but in a pinch, you can get an external hard drive to mitigate storage concerns.
Memory, or RAM (Random Access Memory), indicates how quickly a computer can store and access information on programs that you are actively using. Better RAM means that your computer can access your game files faster, which will reduce lag while you’re playing. An ideal gaming computer will have at least 8GB of RAM.
The graphics card is a circuit that enables your computer to display images. A better graphics card will create the images faster, a process that’s incredibly important for high-paced games with lots of detail and imagery. Your graphics card should have at least 6GB of RAM and a processing speed of 1080p.
A final important component is processing speed. Most games require a 3.5 Hz processing speed or higher.
Please remember that these specs are all on the lowest end. These are the minimum you need for successful gaming. Some games will require more RAM, higher processing, or a better graphics card, and some games may run with these specifications but be slower or clunkier than you would like.
What’s the Average Price of a Gaming Laptop?
Gaming laptops vary significantly in price depending on the specifications, as you probably noticed in this post. The cheapest laptops are around $1000, and at the high end, you can pay upwards of $5000. On average, they cost between $1500 and $3000.
Ready to Start Gaming?
There are hundreds of different gaming laptops available, and even more, if you consider the variety of configurations for each. It’s a tough decision, but one of the laptops on this list should meet your needs.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.