For anyone who is searching for a gaming laptop under $2,000, it can be a bit of a minefield, especially if it is a type of product that you have never bought before. Not only do you need to know which features to take most notice of, but by working to a budget of less than $2,000, you also want to get the best value possible.
Well, we are here to help you with your search, first with our buyer’s guide which will highlight which features you should pay most attention to, and then we will review 5 of the top gaming laptops under $2,000. The buyer’s guide, in conjunction with our reviews should allow you to make the most informed choice possible, so let’s get started.
Affordable Gaming Laptops: The Best for under $2000
Important Features in a Gaming Laptop
At the heart of any gaming laptop is the processor or central processing unit(CPU) to give it its official title. The faster a processor is the greater your gaming experience is going to be as it will be able to handle the multiple actions that can be all taking place at any single instant. This means fewer glitches and hangs, plus it means games can be played properly because the action and speed are as they should be.
You should be looking for laptops with has as high a CPU specification as possible and for a budget under $2,000 this is likely to be a processor such as the Intel Core i7-8750H. This processor has a cache of 9MB and can operate at a maximum speed of 4.10 GHz which will be more than adequate for any games you might play on your laptop.
Do not be tempted by the lower prices of laptops which have an Intel Core i5 or lower. Although these processors may be sufficient for basic laptop use, their specifications are not able to handle the processing speeds required for gaming.
RAM works very much in conjunction with your laptop’s processor and given the amount of data that is moving around when you are playing games, the more RAM your laptop has, the better. The absolute minimum you should be looking for is 8GB and there are several games for which this amount of RAM will suffice.
However, the recommendation is you look for at least 16GB and you should easily be able to find several laptops with this amount of RAM within your $2,000 budget. A laptop with 32 GB for under $2,000 is definitely a great buy, assuming its other specifications are up to the right level.
It is often said that a game is only ever as good as the graphics processor which is powering it, and that is why this should be one of the first features to look for when buying a gaming laptop. This is especially the case if you are a hard-core gamer and plan to be playing games where the graphics are especially impressive.
The graphics processing units (GPU), that are used in gaming laptops invariably are manufactured by a company called Nvidia who are responsible for GeForce GTX graphics processor.
These can be found in the vast majority of gaming laptops and they come with different specifications, with the most common being 1060, 1070 and 1080 versions.
The GTX1060 is adequate but for most gamers, you will want the GTX 1070 or higher and several laptops under $2,000 have this graphics card as standard.
Storage with gaming laptops is best achieved with the use of Solid State Drives (SSD). SSDs offer greater load speeds than Hard Disk Drives, (HDD), which you will find in most PCs and many laptops. That being said, HDDs are still compatible with gaming especially if your GPU, CPU, and RAM are all to the correct standard.
In terms of the amount of storage, you will want this could depend on how many other types of files you wish to store on your laptop. Obviously, the greater the capacity the more you store, but you should be looking for a minimum of 256 GB.
Also, many laptops now offer dual storage with both an HDD to store most of the main files, and the quicker SSD drive for start-up and quicker loading.
Display Quality and Size
No matter how good the GPU is, if your display is sub-standard then you are not going to benefit from the great images being produced. For gaming laptops, you will want a screen which is at least 15-inches in size with 17-inches being preferable.
As for the screen resolution, the standard specification is 1920 x 1080, which is HD quality, and you should expect that from most laptops within the price range we are using here. Also, look for features like anti-glare screens which can help ease the strain on your eyes when gaming for long periods.
Reviews: The Best Gaming Laptops Under $2000
Acer Predator Helios 500 PH517-51-72NU Gaming Laptop
The Acer Predator Helios 500 is a gaming laptop that comes with the sorts of specifications every gamer is likely to be looking for. At its heart, it has the powerful Intel Core i7 CPU meaning no game you play should ever be compromised through a lack of processing speed.
While the main CPU is important, for the best gaming experience, it is the graphics processor that makes that happen and here we find the Nvidia GeForce GTX 170 which is overclockable, meaning you can make it even faster if speed is your thing.
In synch with the GTX 1070 GPU is the Nvidia G-Sync Display which has a large 17.3-inch screen and full HD resolution and a refresh rate of 144 Hz, making it highly responsive so that you can see all the action blur-free.
In terms of memory, the predator has 16 GB RAM, and for the main storage, there is a 256 GB SSD, and an HDD which can store up to 1 TB so you certainly will never lack space to store anything.
Sounds are every bit part of enjoying games as graphics are, so the fact that this laptop has stereo speakers, plus a sub-woofer for those booming bass sounds should ensure that audio is taken care of.
Other features that the Acer predator offers gamers is a backlit keyboard which you can set to just about any color you can think of, plus you can program 5 hotkeys for use with certain games. It also has three different video ports which allow to use up to three additional displays.
Alienware 17 R5 AW17R5 Gaming Laptop
We’ll start with the amount of storage that this Alienware gaming laptop offers you. It has a hard drive that can store up to 1TB which should be plenty for most users, and it also has an SSD with 256 GB.
Sticking with matters related to storage and memory we see that the RAM specification is 16 GB, which will suffice for most games that you’ll play on this laptop.
The CPU in this laptop is the Intel Core i7 8750H which should ensure that your gaming experience is one that is not blighted by sluggishness or even complete freezing.
The display size is 17.3 inches and it comes with full HD specifications, such as 1920 x 1080 resolution and a refresh rate of 60 Hz. One feature of this display that many of you will strongly welcome is it is designed to be anti-glare so that will help reduce eye strain.
One thing that won’t be straining is the graphics, thanks to the Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU which has proven to be up 14% faster than other graphic cards with similar specifications.
The Alienware 17 keyboard is often a topic of conversation among gamers due to the fact that you can change the backlit color, have the ability to program up to 108 key commands and with key travel being only 2.2mm you have one of the fastest keystroke responses of any gaming laptop.
MSI GS65 Stealth-007 15.6" Razor Thin Bezel Gaming Laptop
While we will talk a lot about the technical specifications of these gaming laptops we must just diverge for a moment and point the aesthetic appeal of this one.
It has the MSI dragon logo embossed on the outside and its gold color matches the rest of the trimming. Add in the glass touchpad which is silk-like to the touch, then you have one of the classiest looking laptops we have ever come across.
For the graphic, MSI has deviated from the norm and has used Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 20 series GPUs which are more powerful than GTX 10 series that most other gaming laptops currently use. The advantages are that they have greater processing capacity, greater memory capacity and most notably, they are faster, which for gaming means everything.
Where this gaming laptop falls behind slightly is with its display and in particular its size. Whereas some are over 17 inches, this one is the smaller size of 15.6 inches. To balance that though, it does have a very impressive 144 Hz refresh rate and comes with antiglare capabilities, so there is definitely a lot more for which we can praise the display than criticize it.
At the core, literally, of the laptop is an Intel Core i7 CPU and this is the 8th generation version so processing speeds should never be an issue. As for memory and storage, it offers 16 GB RAM, a 256 GB SSD but it does not come with an HDD so bear that in mind if you need a lot of storage capacity.
Dell Alienware 17.3" FHD IPS High Performance Gaming Laptop
This Dell laptop branded under their Alienware range comes with very impressive storage specifications given that its SSD is 512 GB which is one of the higher ones you will find in any gaming laptop under $2,000. A 1 TB HDD means that there is more storage on this laptop than many desktop computers have.
You also get have another top spec with regards to memory and this is with the RAM this laptop has. It offers no less than 32 GB which means once again it beats most of the other laptops we have been looking at.
As for processing, this is no slouch thanks to its 8th generation Intel Core i7-8750H CPU. What this means is the combination of this CPU, along with high amount of RAM available should mean playing even the most powerful and fast games on this laptop should be devoid of bugs and glitches.
For the graphics, we have yet another Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 which should mean this Alienware laptop can produce graphics equal, or better than any within its price bracket.
Helping to bring those graphics to you as clearly as possible and without blurs will be the 17.3-inch display that has a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 and is anti-glare to help the health of your eyes.
Razer Blade 15 Full HD Thin Bezel 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop
We complete our review with a look at the Razer Blade 15 and we were so tempted to say that with a name like Razer Blade it was bound to having cutting edge technology … but we won’t.
If you’ve recovered from that awful pun, we’ll get onto the serious matter of this laptop’s processor which you won’t be surprised to learn is the Intel Core i7. This coupled with the fast 256GB SSD should ensure game speeds are maximized.
What is also maximized is the amount of storage space you have with a hard drive that has a capacity of 2 TB, which, for a sub-$2,000 gaming laptop, is very impressive.
With regards to the graphics, we are somewhat disappointed to see that instead of the 1070 or higher, this uses the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060. Now we must point out that the 1060 is an excellent GPU but with all the other specs being top drawer, a trick might have been missed here.
We must also mention the multiple connectivity options the Razer Blade 15 has with no fewer than 7 of them which you use to connect to peripheral equipment via HDMI, USB 3.1 (x3) and Thunderbolt 3, plus there is an Ethernet connector.
Hopefully, you now have a greater understanding of what to look for when purchasing a gaming laptop under $2,000 and our reviews have given you a greater insight into some of the top products of this type that are available.