gaming laptops aren’t what we’d call cheap. Still, they’re often more cost-effective than building your own gaming PC, peripherals and all, with the added benefit of being much more travel-friendly. Yes, you can spend well more than $2,500 for a fully kitted-out laptop, but there’s still strong value to be found at the lower end of the market (around $1,000). We’ve played all sorts of games on a range of budget gaming laptops and whittled the list down to the best.
We prioritized laptops with Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards, at least an 11th-gen Intel or 5000-series AMD Ryzen chip, and 16 GB of RAM. These specs aim for a benchmark of around 60 frames per second (fps) at a 1080p pixel resolution in graphically rich titles, and upward of 120 fps in competitive games.
Check out our Best Gaming Laptops, Best Laptops, and Best Cheap Laptops guides for more computing recommendations. Our How to Choose a Laptop guide may also come in handy.
Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-Year Subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.
If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. Please also consider subscribing to WIRED