Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000 – Performance and Portability Explored

If you are looking for the best gaming laptops under 1000 dollars as the portable alternative to your desktop gaming rig. Then you might know the main advantage is they’re highly portable so you can travel with them, take them to college, vacations, eSports tournaments, and more.

Best Gaming Laptops

The other big advantage to gaming laptops is that, unlike standard laptops, they’re optimized to play graphics-intensive games. Standard laptops almost never come with an actual graphics card with its own memory and all the other features that set true graphics cards apart from the less capable graphics chips that tend to come with standard laptops.

By coming with a true graphics card, gaming laptops can handle the sort of high-end games that a desktop gaming rig can. Gaming laptops also tend to have better fans to keep the hardworking components cool.

Long story short: If you want to play graphics-heavy games on a laptop under $1000, your best bet is a gaming laptop, because it can handle the stress of demanding games.

Top 5 Best Gaming Laptops under $1000 Performance Reviewed

After a tough analysis and firsthand uses, we have compiled the review of the performance of the top 5 gaming laptops under 1000 dollars.

ASUS K501UW-AB78 Review

Key Features
  • Powerful 6th-generation Intel Core i7-6500U 2.5GHz
  • 15.6 inches Matte FHD display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M gaming graphic card
  • 8GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD Storage
  • Gigabit Dual-Band 802
  • 1x Headphone-out & Audio-in Combo Jack
  • Windows 10 Operating System

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Performance Analysis of ASUS K501UW-AB78

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M gaming graphics card

The powerful GTX 960M gaming graphics card is specially optimized to work on laptops. It features NVIDIA’s Maxwell Architecture as well as their BatteryBoost Technology, which allows for a better gaming experience when the laptop is unplugged and running on its battery. This graphics card also has a cool feature where it boosts your GPU to give you better gaming experience.


The 8GB of RAM meets the recommended specs of most modern games and almost all minimum specs of modern games. (There were a few outliers released in 2016 that required more minimum RAM, but that’s rare still in this trending time.)

Intel Core i7 processor

Intel Core i7 is a processor designed with extensive multitasking in mind, making it great for gamers because gaming in the 2010s is a lot different than in previous decades. Many gamers are simultaneously running a live stream while gaming and that takes a lot of processing power, which is what makes the i7 so great for a gaming laptop.

Fast Wi-Fi connectivity

The ASUS K501 gaming laptop has ultrafast 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity, so playing demanding multiplayer games works beautifully.

What Makes the Laptop Best

What to like about the ASUS K501 Full HD Gaming Laptop:

  • 8GB of RAM is great for gaming
  • Fast Wi-Fi makes multiplayer games run smoothly
  • Intel Core i7 processor’s multitasking capabilities are primed for gaming laptops
  • NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 960M graphics card optimizes the gaming experience and is specifically designed to improve laptop gaming performance.
  • Two USB 2.0 ports
  • Two USB 3.0 ports
  • Has a combo jack for headphone-out and audio-in
  • LAN jack
  • The long-lasting battery further boosted by the GTX 960M graphics card

What Could be Improved

Some users say they find the screen could be better, that the contrast may not be high enough, however, many other users don’t notice this issue. Remember that screen contrast can be tweaked in settings, so if you’d prefer higher contrast, you can fine-tune it to your liking quite easily.

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Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK review

Key Features
  • Intel Quad-Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5
  • 1 TB HDD + 8 GB SSD Hybrid Drive Storage
  • 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 x 1080 pixels) LED-lit Truelife Screen
  • Windows 10 Operating System
  • a backlit keyboard
  • a precision touchpad gives you responsive, accurate gesture support

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Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK

Performance Analysis of the Laptop

Up to 16GB of RAM

The Dell Inspiron comes with 8GB of RAM already installed with an additional 8GB of DDR3 RAM ready to go, totaling 16GB of RAM. This is great because while 8GB RAM is often listed as the recommended RAM for games, that’s just to run the game smoothly. You won’t be able to necessarily crank up the settings on 8GB alone if that’s merely the recommended RAM. 16GB of RAM, on the other hand, will allow you to kick your gaming up a notch.

15.6-inch laptop

For an affordable gaming laptop under 1000 dollars, a 15.6-inch model is a great size; you get a full-sized keyboard and a screen large enough to see the finer details.

Intel Core i7 processor

The Intel Core i7 processor allows you to multitask while gaming, accommodating your needs.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card

The GTX 960M graphics card was designed specifically for gaming laptops with features like NVIDIA Optimus technology which essentially means it automatically optimizes your experience in the background, tailoring it to what you’re doing, whether it’s gaming or streaming shows.

What Makes the Laptop Second Best

What to like about the Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK:

  • Ability to accommodate 16GB of RAM
  • Intel Core i7 is a great gaming processor
  • The solid-state hard drive is upgradeable.
  • Comes with Windows 10 64bit installed
  • GTX 960M graphics card is great for laptop gaming

What Could be Improved

Customers have complained about dead pixels. If this becomes a problem, it should fall under the warranty.

There have been other screen issues, such as flickering or dimming. These issues should be covered under the warranty as well. That’s typically not how this laptop functions normally, so this is likely a defect; call customer service and have it replaced for a non-defective model.

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Eluktronics N151RD1 Pro review

Key Features
  • 6th Gen Intel® Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core Processor
  • 2GB GDDR5 VRAM Nvidia® GeForce GTX 960M Graphics
  • 16GB DDR4 2133MHz RAM
  • 15.6-inch Full HD IPS LED Anti-Glare 16:9 Display
  • Full Size White LED Backlit Keyboard
  • Genuine Windows 10 64-Bit

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Eluktronics N151RD1 Pro

Performance of the N151RD1 Pro Laptop

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics

The GTX 960M graphics, as I’ve mentioned, are especially tailored for laptop gaming. The 2GB GDDR5 VRAM and NVIDIA’s Dynamic Super Resolution technology are just two of the feature that the GTX 960M graphics use to give you an amazing laptop gaming experience.

Intel Core i7 Quad-Core Processor

The i7 Quad Core is an ideal processor for laptop gaming because it allows you to do more than the game while you’re gaming, which fits the modern gamer’s needs.


The 16 gigs of DDR4 RAM easily meet modern gaming spec recommendations so you don’t have to worry about RAM being an issue.

Full HD webcam

Gamers who live stream while gaming will find the FHD webcam a nice touch.

Pros and Cons of the Eluktronics Laptop


What to like about the Eluktronics N151RD1 Pro:

  • GeForce GTX 960M graphics
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • Full-size keyboard with LED backlighting
  • SoundBlaster Cinema 2
  • 16:9 display
  • Intel Core i7
  • FHD webcam


What to consider:

Some consider the laptop heavy, however, gaming laptops tend to be heavier than standard laptops so unless you have back issues or joint problems, it shouldn’t be much of an issue providing you bear the general heaviness of gaming laptops in mind.

Some have had overheating units, but this appears to be a defect instead of a design flaw, so if this happens to you, contact customer service.

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ASUS ZX53VW Gaming Laptop Review

Key Features
  • 15.6-Inch wide-view Full-HD Display with Windows 10 Pre-installed
  • Latest 6th generation Intel i5-6300HQ 2.3 GHz Processor
  • NVidia GeForce GTX 960 4GB discrete graphics
  • Fast 512GB SSD with 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • Extensive connectivity with HDMI/D-SUB/USB Type C, 802.11a/c WiFi, and SD Card Reader

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ASUS ZX53VW Gaming Laptop

Performance Review of the Laptop

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB graphics

The GTX 960M graphics have 4 gigs of memory so that your laptop runs faster when graphics are demanding.


You’ll easily meet the recommended or minimum requirements of practically any current game with the included 8GB RAM.

6th generation Intel Core i5 quad-core processor

A fast processor is essential for gaming and multitasking and this processor delivers, especially when you factor in the 8 gigs of RAM and GTX 960M’s gaming laptop-enhancing capabilities.

SonicMaster Technology

Thes sound is greatly improved with SonicMaster Technology. A lot of people underestimate the value of good sound in a laptop, but let’s be honest: You shouldn’t have to buy headphones or external speakers just to hear your game and have an audible Skype conversation. With SonicMaster, you get good sound built-in which is a rarity.

Pros and Cons of ASUS ZX53VW


What to like about the gaming laptop:

  • FHD matte display is perfect for displaying accurate visuals
  • Fast game loading
  • Lag-reduction technology
  • More durable chassis than previous models
  • Windows 10
  • GTX 960M graphics
  • Great sound


What to consider:

The biggest complaint about this laptop is the trackpad. However, a lot of people love this laptop. Here’s the thing about trackpads: Some are universally annoying while others only annoy certain people who can’t get the hang of a new one after the last one they had. The only way you’ll know which case this is is if you try it. And remember—most people seem okay with the trackpad, so this may be a niche problem and not a universal one.

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MSI GE62 Apache Pro-239 review

Key Features
  • Powerful 6th-generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz
  • 12GB RAM
  • 1TB 7200RPM Storage
  • 15.6 inch Matte FHD display Wide view angle
  • Exclusive Super Port supports dual 4K external monitors and portable charging power up to 5V/3A
  • Intelligent Killer Gaming Network E2400 technology prioritizes the flow of the game data across your network
  • Fast, accurate and responsive programmable gaming keyboard by SteelSeries

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MSI GE62 Apache Pro-239

Performance Evaluation of the Laptop

1TB 7200 RPM hard drive

With 1 terabyte of storage, the Apache Pro-239 is great for the gamer who has extra needs, like video editing—essentially anything that takes up a lot of storage space. Large hard drives don’t always go hand in hand with gaming laptops so it’s nice to see a model that has storage because it makes it more versatile.

Killer Shield Technology

The Killer Shield tech fights lag, so you won’t feel like tearing your hair out while playing demanding MMORPGS.


The GTX 970M graphics have some cool features like Multi-Frame sampled Anti-Aliasing (MFAA) which essentially is fancy speak for making high-resolution pixels a lot smoother than they already are, which is music to graphics enthusiasts’ ears.

Another feature that separates GTX 970M from 960M is Voxel Global Illumination (VXGI) which basically amps up the dynamic lighting for a lusher lighting experience in modern games. There have been a lot of great leaps made in-game lighting in recent years and this graphics card can exploit and expand on that.

Cooler Boost 3

Cooler Boost 3 optimizes your gaming experience by keeping your CPU and GPU nice and cool by directing and dissipating the heat out of your system.

Pros and Cons of the Laptop


What to like about the MSI GE62 Apache Pro-239:

  • MSI supports the gaming community.
  • The multicolored keyboard with the SteelSeries engine looks awesome.
  • GeForce GTX 960M graphics
  • Supports up to two monitors for the serious gamer
  • DDR4 12GB RAM
  • Windows 10 installed
  • Weighs only 5.29 pounds


What to consider:

Users have two separate issues with the battery: 1) it can die in as little as 30 minutes and 2) it’s not removable, which means it’s not replaceable. However, if you plan on upgrading to another gaming laptop when more “futureproof” models are available, this isn’t that much of an issue.

Some complain the body of the laptop isn’t high quality. There are two possibilities: The company made a choice to focus on the internal side of things or else these complained-about models were simply defective. MSI has a reputation for caring about their customers, so if you have any problems with the casing, they’ll likely help with a solution.

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Winner Gaming Laptop under $1000 Budget

The winner of this 1000 dollars gaming laptops roundup is easily the ASUS K501UW-AB78. The GeForce GTX 960M graphics combined with the Intel Core i7 Skylake processor make for a very robust and capable gaming laptop that I feel confident in recommending.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Gaming Laptops

Q: Aren’t gaming laptops basically a regular laptop with a bigger price tag?
A: No, gaming laptops are not regular laptops with a bigger price tag. Gaming laptops are specifically designed to work with high-end games on high settings, because of their use of graphics cards (as opposed to graphics chips) and their robust RAM specs.

Graphics cards, unlike chips, have their own dedicated memory and are required for graphics-intensive games. Regular laptops, while they may have great RAM, they usually don’t have actual graphics cards.

Regular laptops come with graphics chips instead, which are great for watching YouTube videos and streaming your favorite shows, but they can’t handle graphics-heavy games on high settings—most can’t support such games on medium or even low settings.

Q: Why shouldn’t I play my games on high settings on my regular laptop?
A: A common novice mistake is to play games on high settings on a regular laptop. After all, today’s standard laptops are pretty powerful and even the graphics chips can produce amazingly good graphics because even the average computer user needs to view HD videos and stuff.

A common problem is for the uninitiated to play a graphics-heavy game on high settings, because it may actually look good at first—don’t be fooled; it’s a very false sense of security because graphics chips can’t handle the strain of modern games played on high settings.

If you put high or ultra graphics settings on a regular laptop, it won’t take long for major problems to occur, which is why people get into trouble because problems may take a bit to manifest, but once they do it can be catastrophic and device-ruining.

You may be able to play older games on high or ultra-high settings just fine on regular laptops because they’re less demanding in terms of memory and details. Modern games, on the other hand, are extremely demanding and will blow out an inferior graphics setup, ruining your laptop. That’s why most gamers opt for a gaming laptop because they know intensive gaming use pretty much destroys a regular laptop.

Q: Can’t I just put a good graphics card into my regular laptop and play my games that way?
A: No, because most regular laptops don’t have a place for a true graphics card since they use simpler graphics chips instead but gaming laptops always built with true graphics.
Q: Are gaming laptops better than a desktop PC for playing games?
A: It depends on the desktop. Low-end desktop computers will have the same issues as regular laptops—they can’t hold up to graphics-heavy games. However, a desktop computer that comes with or can accommodate a good graphics card is definitely comparable to a gaming laptop.

In that case, the reason you would choose a gaming laptop over a decent gaming desktop is portability and convenience. We live in a busy world and social gaming is a thing, which is why a lot of people opt for gaming laptops over desktops.

Related ArticleAre Laptops Good for Gaming?

Q: Do I really need that much RAM?
A: The simple answer is yes. Yes, you need that much RAM. Essentially, a good gaming laptop will have 8GB of RAM and the best gaming laptops under 1000 dollars may even have more.

The reason is that most modern titles post minimum and recommended specs. 8GB has been generally in the “recommended specs” category, but some of the newer, more demanding games of 2016, for instance, had 8GB as their minimum requirement, meaning you had to have 8GB just to play the game on the lowest settings. As games become more advanced, the higher that minimum RAM threshold will be. I would consider 8GB of RAM to be a bare minimum for a gamer.

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