When searching for gaming laptops it is important to know your budget. There is a massive difference between a machine that costs more than $2000 versus a budget variety that is less than a $1000.
The most important question to ask yourself is…’can this laptop run the game I want to play?’. We are going to go through several budget ranges to let you know what to expect when it comes to gaming on your laptop.
Note that this article is relevant as of 2020. You can expect that as the years go by and the technology gets better, you’ll be able to get more powerful hardware for less expense, as the trend has been for quite some time now.
If you want to game on the most powerful laptops, you can expect to pay at least $2000. In reality, the sky’s the limit with many manufacturers stuffing as much tech as they can to push the limits of what a laptop can do.
At this price range you can expect to play pretty much any game on high to maximum settings.
The Witcher 3? Check. Doom: Eternal? Check. You will even be able to play one of the most demanding games of all – Metro Exodus.
Most of these laptops sport the latest CPU (think 7th gen intel or higher CPU’s) and graphics cards that have been released within the last 12 months, such as the NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2060 Graphics.
Beast gaming laptops from MSI, Alienware, ASUS and other major brands will all be available to you.
Many of these games will even perform great at 4K resolution and high refresh rates above 60 Hz, but you will probably have to crank the settings down for the most graphically intensive games. Mobile GPU power isn’t as powerful as its desktop counterparts.
$1000 – $2000
This is essentially a sweet spot for gaming laptops. The best value laptops lie in this price range. Only 5 – 10 years ago, a laptop in this range that could play most video games would be harder to come by. Nowadays, they are a dime a dozen.
You will be able to play pretty much all games, albeit on reduced settings (think of medium to high instead of ultra-level).
Most games will run at 1080p but expect to make significant sacrifices if you want to push UHD or 4K.
Less than $1000
Even at this range, you will still be able to play most games on low to medium settings. The Lenovo Legion Y545 is a great example of this and can be had for under $1000.
Less than $500
Things start getting a little dicey once you hit this level. Still, if you know your requirements you might be able to find the right laptop for you. It is crucial that you identify which games you want to play and see if they work on the laptop you are interested in.
So what games would work?
You’ll mostly be working with integrated graphics so graphically light games like Hearthstone, Fifa, Dirty Rally, World of Tanks, League of Legends and even Fortnite will function.
Just be sure to check the laptops graphics card first and see which games it can run. Notebookcheck is a fantastic resource for this.
It wouldn’t surprise us that one day laptops at this price range will be powerful enough to run most games, but for now, you’ll need to settle with something a little more expensive.
A Side Note
You would have noticed that we mainly have focused on graphics cards when it comes to a laptops gaming performance. Well, that is because the GPU is the main bottleneck as CPU, RAM and other specifications are usually enough for most games.
This is just a quick reference guide that shows you the type of games (and their settings) available to you depending on which price level of laptop you are interested in.