A couple of weeks back, we talked about some of the best all-in-one Windows 8.1 computers that you can buy right now. Those are computers that are good enough to complete all of the everyday computing tasks that the average user needs, while not taking up a lot of physical space.
In today’s piece, we’re going to be looking at devices designed for a different bunch of individuals; gamers, who are on the go. If you’re a gamer and you find yourself traveling a lot, taking your home-built gaming rig with you is risky, and a lot of the times not even an option at all. You need something that’s designed to be portable, and the gaming laptops you see below will give you plenty of performance to run all your games and resource intensive applications.
Dell Alienware 13/15/17
Founded in 1996, Alienware has made a name for itself as a leader in performance desktop and laptop machines, and its acquisition by Dell in 2006 only made it stronger. The recent Alienware laptops are built to last, and as an owner of the previous generation M14x, I can attest to that.
Dell gives you the option to select from three screen sizes; 13”, 15”, and 17”. The bigger the screen size, the bigger the device, the more powerful it gets. Although there are strange exceptions to that rule. Like how you can only get a 4K display resolution on the 15” model, but not the 17” one. And even the 13” model gets a 2560x1440 option, while the 17” is limited to a 1080p display. But other than that, everything else is consistent.
You can choose from an Intel Core i5-4210U processor on the 13” model all the way up to a beastly Core i7-4980HQ on the 17” version. The GPUs span from the GTX 860 to the Radeon HD M295X to the GTX 980M. There are two RAM options across the models, 8GB or 16GB of DDR3 memory, and storage ranges from a 500GB+8GB Hybrid Drive to a 1TB HDD + 512GB SSD combo. You can also expect more than the usual bevy of ports and connectivity options as these machine are designed for gamers, and gamers typically have a lot of peripherals to plug in.
One of my favorite features about Alienware laptops is the recently announced Alienware Amplifier which gives users the ability to hook up an external desktop graphics card to the laptops, therefore boosting gaming performance. Prices range from $899 for the lowest end 13” model, to $2,599 for the highest end 17” model, though the price will vary as you customize the laptops for your specific needs.
The Razer Blade is the closest you’ll get to Macbook Pro designed for Windows, aesthetically speaking. It is a prime example that gaming PCs don’t have to be hideous. As a result of that and the performance it is capable of, the laptop has won numerous awards since it first unveiled in 2011.
The 2015 Razer Blade comes in a slim, precision cut aluminum body that’s “thinner than a dime”, and comes packed with a 14” 3200x1800 (QHD+) display with touch support (or a 1080p non-touch display), an Intel Core i7-4720HQ, the NVIDIA GTX 970M with 3GB of graphics memory, and up to 16GB of RAM. It only comes with M.2 SSD storage ranging from 128GB to 512GB capacities, so this makes for a pretty speedy machine.
The 2015 Razer Blade is available now starting at $2,199 for the QHD+ 128GB model, to $2,699 for the 512GB variant. The 1080p model on the other hand only comes in a 256GB capacity model that is priced at $1,999. For those looking for a bigger screen, the Blade Pro is always an option.
Lenovo has been paying a lot of attention to its industrial design lately, producing sharp-looking products like the ThinkPad Carbon X1 and the A740 AIO, and its design trends has also carried over to its gaming machines as well, including the Y40, Y50 and Y70.
You get to choose from three display sizes, 14” on the Y40, 15” on the Y50, and you guessed it, 17” on the Y70. As with the Alienware models, the larger the screen size, the better the specs get. You get to choose from the Core i5-5200U on the Y40, all the way up to the Core i7-4720HQ on the Y70. Graphics cards range from the AMD R9 M275 to the NVIDIA GTX 960M, RAM ranges from 8GB to 16GB, and storage from a 1TB HDD to a 512GB SSD. The standout feature here is motion control, which lets you control UI elements in Windows 8.1, like music playback in Xbox Music, only using hand gestures. However this feature only seems to be available on select models.
If you’re interested in these gaming laptops, you’ll be pleased to know that prices start at a mere $639 for the base Y40 model, up to $1,799 for the highest end Y70 model.
Asus ROG G Series
In the gaming community, Asus is better known for its top-of-the-line motherboards and graphics cards, but the company makes some pretty great laptops as well. The ROG G Series of gaming laptops are no exception to that.
For those on a budget, you have the ROG G551 which offers some of the latest technology for just $1,099. With it comes a 15.6” 1080p display, an Intel Core i7-4720HQ, the NVIDIA GTX 960M, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of HDD storage, Band & Olufsen-powered speakers, and more. That’s a pretty decent spec sheet for the price Asus is charging.
Then there’s the ROG G501 which despite its smaller model number offers a 4K display, and a 512GB SSD while it shares the same exact specs of the G551. This will cost you $1,999 for the added benefits of a sharper screen and faster storage.
As for those looking for raw power, the G751 is the best Asus has to offer. For $2,749, it comes with a 17” 1080p display, the Intel Core i7-4860HQ processor, the NVIDIA GTX 980M, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB HDD + 512GB SSD storage combo, and a Blu-ray writer. The G751 is also the heaviest laptop in this list, coming in at 4.8 kg (10.6 lbs). This device is more of a desktop replacement than a laptop.
Aorus X7 Pro
You may not have heard of Aorus before, but it’s about time you did. The company’s flagship gaming laptop, the Aorus X7 Pro’s devilishly thin profile will have you mistaking it for a mid-level performer, only to find out that it packs a bigger punch than any other laptop on this list.
This 17” laptop comes with a 1080p display, an Intel Core i7-4870HQ, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, three mSATA slots to fill with 128, 256, or 512GB SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration, one slot for a 1TB or 2TB HDD, and two NVIDIA GTX 970 graphics card in SLI. Two fans, four vents, and six thermal pipes keep this beast from catching fire, and all the heat is directed towards the back, so your wrists will always be on a cold surface.
You can purchase the laptop with the aforementioned CPU and GPUs, but it doesn’t look like you will find a model filled with to brim with HDDs, SSDs, and as much RAM as possible. It seems Aorus wants to leave that for the user to fully customize on their own. You can grab the X7 Pro now on Amazon with 16GB of RAM and two 256GB SSDs for $2,599.
That’s our list, we’ve included the links to all the laptops in the source below so you can check out the full list of specifications for each and every model. Let us know in the comments if you like any of the laptops included here, or if you know of a better gaming laptop that we might have missed.