If you are new to laptops we suggest reading our laptop buying guide. These are our top picks of the moment. After trolling through the depths of the internet in search of the ultimate deals possible we’ve picked out the laptops below in order to link you up with the best gaming specs possible for your money for under or around $1000. We’ve noted laptops that exceed the $1000 to help you stick within your budget, although in some cases saving up for the next level up may be worth it.
HP Pavilion 15-inch Gaming Laptop, IPS Anti-Glare Display, Intel i7+8750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050TI
Now i’m not going to act like this is a MLG or ROG caliber machine because it isn’t. HOWEVER, for the money you really cannot get a better deal.
PUBG: Runs at low to medium settings, 50-90 FPS on average
GTA IV: Runs on medium settings, 50-70 FPS
Overwatch: Runs on high or low settings, 60-80 FPS
Obviously it runs CSGO with ease as well as pretty much any MMORPG at very high frame rates.
I have been able to get up to 10+ hours of normal office type work (word, power point, excel, general multitasking, web browisng etc.).
Under full GPU load i was surprisingly able to get about 2 or so hours on just battery power. Compare that to the Dell, Acer, and MSI competitions 1 hour max. They keyboard is not bad, it does not feel super cheap and functions well. The track pad does feel a little flimsy and doesn’t have a premium feel like the rest of the laptop, but i have always used a Logitech G602 wireless mouse so this doesnt really bother me at all. I will very rarely use it. Overall i am very happy with my purchase, and would recommend this over the Acer and Dell competition.
- SERIOUS GAMING PERFORMANCE AND GRAPHICS: Take on the latest games and upgrade your entertainment to NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GTX 1050 Ti graphics (4 GB GDDR5 dedicated)
- BEAUTIFUL DISPLAY AND AUDIO: Edge-to-edge 15.6-inch diagonal FHD IPS anti-glare micro-edge WLED-backlit (1920 x 1080) display and rich audio with front-firing speakers, HP Audio Boost, and tuning by B&O PLAY
- 8TH GENERATION Intel(R) PROCESSOR: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7+8750H (2.2 GHz base frequency, up to 4.1 GHz with Intel(R) Turbo Boost Technology, 9 MB cache, 6 cores)
- Intel(R)Optane(TM) MEMORY 16GB: Optane memory accelerates new processor-based systems to deliver a responsive computer experience with short boot times, fast application launches, extraordinary gaming, and responsive browsing
- HARD DRIVE AND MEMORY: 1 TB 7200 RPM SATA hard drive + 16 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM (not upgradable)
- BATTERY LIFE: Up to 9 hours (mixed usage); up to 8 hours and 30 minutes (video playback); up to 7 hours (wireless streaming)
- OPERATING SYSTEM: Windows 10 Home
This is an impressive laptop that’s worth your consideration and represents a good value for a few reasons. The red screen bezel is a muted red, more like an accent, and the only really distinction will be that sweet backlit keyboard. While you can tell this is a gaming laptop at first sight, it still looks professional.
Cortana runs windows setup now right out of the box, and it’s a quick and painless process if you know your Microsoft password. Not thirty minutes after I got this, and I’ve got Office installed to type this review, and Steam is downloading GTA V for testing its real performance.The laptop has a high performance SSD hard drive, with no moving parts, leading to a perception of a very fast system because Windows and your programs will load very quickly, however, there’s only 211 gb free on the hard drive. That’s not a problem if you just delete games you aren’t using, and adding another hard drive is possible. Bear in mind that there’s no Blu-ray or DVD drive on this laptop, which is a good thing… I’d rather have the extra space (where you can install an additional hard drive). This laptop has no moving parts aside from the keys on the keyboard, making the thing feel rock solid yet light for its size. The angular body is the most comfortable laptop I’ve typed on because my wrists and the angles just seem to match comfortably as I type. The keyboard isn’t the mechanical joy of an old Thinkpad, but it’s easy to type on with the clearly lit keys, and it’s quiet to type on. As I write this review, I’m typing quickly and easily. The touchpad is quite large and I really its subtle red frame, marking its place even in a dark room. I really like the way this thing feels and looks.
I found wifi performance is excellent, particularly with a modern beam forming router. I used this laptop in a building where most wifi devices run into a lot of interference with the old steel construction, but this laptop kept working quite well. I recognize this is hardware overkill for office tasks, however even though I’ve got a few other laptops, this is the one I would take to a meeting or to type a paper. The screen is gorgeous! The audio is great for a laptop and I enjoy games and movies, but at home I’ll still pair with my Bluetooth soundbar for better bass.So let’s sum up things so far: the laptop is very nice to look at, with good sound, a great screen, good keyboard, great mouse, and it’s comfortable. It’s easy to set up and will be the gift of the year on Christmas for a lot of people.
The remaining matter is the raw performance. Is this thing really going to play those games well?
Well, my first impression was that this laptop was a poser. Half the vents on the laptop are fake, etched in plastic, like a fake air intake on a cheap sporty car. There are two fundamental ways to cool a gaming laptop. Either you run two heat paths, metal and fans and vents, one for the GPU and one for the CPU, or you run a single one. This laptop looks like it’s the superior dual path version, and I believe Acer designed this case with the possibility of using that solution at a higher price point, but looking at the internals and the vents, it’s clear there is a single path sharing the CPU and GPU’s heat. That means heat will spike and it will accumulate faster. I’ll get back to this in a moment.
The specs on this laptop are very similar to my desktop machine I built a couple of years ago. My desktop has a quad core i5 processor, slightly faster, and it has a GTX950, the equivalent last generation version of this GTX1050. (GPU numbers can be confusing, but the 9 or 10 in these numbers is the edition, think ‘year of a car’s make’ and the 50 is the model, think ‘Honda Civic’). This laptop has 4 gb of video memory to my desktop’s two, and 4 gb is great, but otherwise the two systems are very evenly matched for performance.
On paper, the specs of this laptop are great for playing games. My desktop with very similar specs plays GTA V, Skyrim SE, Echo, and many other modern games with graphics settings set very high, and it does so reliably. This laptop has a slightly more modern GPU, but that generous 4gb should mean excellent performance, actually in the realm of VR games.
My expectation was that the cooling system would be overwhelmed quickly, and the laptop would either need to be set to ‘medium’ settings on games, or I would see a lot of framerate problems, and my desktop, with its equivalent specs but drastically better cooling, would outshine the laptop. So to test this I ran the Unreal “Heaven 4.0” benchmark on its most extreme settings on both this laptop and my desktop, in the same room.Again I was really impressed with the screen on the laptop as I ran the benchmark. It just looks great. The laptop noticed the tough test quickly and the fans kicked in, making the laptop sound like a PS4 running hot. It topped off at about 67 degrees C and my desktop topped off at about the same point. The systems had both reached their thermal limit and would not push harder, instead dropping performance, which is exactly how they are designed.
My expectations of the laptop being crushed by my desktop’s performance were quickly proven wrong. The laptop was doing slightly better than the desktop, and continued to do so for most of the 26 benchmark tests. At one point, the toughest test, its framerate dropped to 9 frames per second, but on average it did a little better than the desktop. I’ve attached a screenshot of the benchmark comparison.
So, the bottom line is that the cooling solution isn’t the best design, but it is adequate for the GTX1050ti, which is a smaller, more efficient GPU design. Based on how fast those fans kicked in, I think if you use this laptop for gaming you should keep it clean and use a cooling pad, but its performance was rock solid, and that was a complete surprise to me after tearing down gaming laptops for reflows, to repair heat damage, and assembling dozens of gaming computers, which has been a hobby of mine for over 20 years. The single heat path in a gaming laptop really isn’t the best but it’s working in this laptop, and that decision absolutely made it possible to sell this laptop at such a competitive price.
I played two of my favorites, Typing of the Dead, and Grand Theft Auto V (on medium to high settings) and after several hours have concluded this is a wonderful experience. I’m very tempted to get a VR headset to use with this laptop, which means I have a much stronger impression of its ability to take abuse than I did before I tested it. But if you research the 1050ti for VR you will learn it’s really the bare minimum for VR. Just keep that in mind.I conclusion, I love using this for non-gaming tasks, like typing, it looks and feels great, and the performance is impressive. There are compromises, and I think they are well justified by the price. This is a great buy if you don’t need the absolute top of the line.
- 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H 6-Core Processor (Up to 4.1GHz)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
- 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen LED-backlit IPS Display
- 8GB DDR4 2400MHz Memory, 128GB SSD & 1TB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi |Backlit Keyboard | USB 3.1 Type C Gen 1 port | Fingerprint Reader
Processor: Intel Core i7-8750H 9MB cache, 2.20 GHz up to 4.10 GHz
Network: 802.11ac + Bluetooth 5.0, Dual Band 2.4&5 GHz, MU-MIMO/160Mhz, 2×2
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050TI with 4GB GDDR5 graphics memory
Webcam: 720p HD webcam with integrated widescreen, plus dual digital microphone array
Multi-format Digital Media Reader: SD card Reader
Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Keyboard: Backlit keyboard
Battery: 56WHr Battery
3 x SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A with PowerShare
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x Headphone/microphone combo jack.
Weight: 5.76 lbs
Power Adapter: 130W Charger
Acer Predator Helios 300 G3-571-77QK 15.6-inch
Acer are known in the gaming world for their Predator line of gaming hardware, however, most of their Predator laptops have been priced out of reach for many gamers. The Acer Predator Helios 300 joins the Predator range as a more affordable solution, however, Acer have had to make a few sacrifices in order to offer its attractive price. The first thing that should be noted is that the display is dimmer than some of its counterparts and it doesn’t reproduce as many colors as the higher-end Predator laptops. However, the display is not all bad news, as you do get a Full-HD display panel which uses IPS technology for far better viewing angles and the quality is not terrible for gaming and streaming media. The Acer Predator Helios 300 is powered by a Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor and is backed up by 16GB of DDR4 RAM. This will easily allow you to play your favorite games and will ensure that you can run even more intensive applications will little to no lag. While many of its competitors offer the GTX 1050 or GTX 1050 Ti, Acer have gone ahead and fitted the Acer Predator Helios 300 with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060.
This card offers better performance for AAA gaming titles and is more suited for VR gaming than the two entry-level NVIDIA graphics cards. The 256GB M.2 SSD offers fast boot and game loading speeds, however it is a bit small for modern games. Luckily, the Acer Predator Helios 300 ships with the cradle for a SATA based storage drive and you can easily install a 512GB or 1TB SSD at home. While the Acer Predator Helios 300 runs cool during everyday use, it will run hot while gaming or while you run more intensive applications. While this might put off some users, it is not at all uncommon for laptops in its price category and is not a deal breaker for many users.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 G3-571-77QK is an affordable Acer Predator laptop which even features a more powerful GTX 1060 compared to its competitors’ GTX 1050 offerings. However, the tiny amount of storage space needs addressing if you own a larger game collection.
Dell Inspiron Intel Quad-Core i5-8250U
Processor : 8th Gen Intel Quad Core i5-8250U with 6MB cache, up to 3.40 GHz, featuring two more cores and four more threads than 7th Gen i7-7500U, and beat i7-7500U in performance(by an average rate of 26%) according to tests from external websites.
Memory (RAM): 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM
Hard Drive : 1TB SATA hard drive + 250GB SSD
Optical Drive : DVD-Writer
Multimedia Card Slot: Multi-format digital media card reader
Graphics : Intel UHD Graphics 620 with Shared Memory
Display : 15.6 in Full HD IPS TrueLife LED-backlit touchscreen (1920 x 1080), 10-finger multi-touch support
Keyboard : Full-size Backlit Keyboard
Touchpad : Precision Touchpad
Webcam : Front-facing HD Webcam
Audio : Waves MaxxAudio Pro
Connectivity : 802.11ac wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.2 Combo
Ports : 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, 1 USB 2.0, 1 HDMI v1.4b, Headphone output/Microphone input combo, LAN (10/100/1000)
Battery : 3-cell 42WHr Li-ion Battery
Operating System : Windows 10 Home