A $1000 budget represents somewhat of a sweet spot for the gamer-on-the-go. While dropping a cool grand on a typical office laptop might seem like overkill, gaming laptops come at a premium, since there are so many competing demands of performance, power consumption, cooling, and footprint. Nonetheless, you’d be wrong to not search for a deal, and we’ll be consistently updating this list to make sure you’ve got the latest info on which new notebook to buy. Even if you’re just window shopping for now, bookmark this page for later use so you don’t miss a thing.
Price/Performance at $1000
Unless money is no object, the first thing you’ll want to do as a gamer is evaluate the price vs. performance landscape at the price point you’re looking at. Whereas you can find a wide range of screen sizes and other features at a given price, you’re likely restricted to a much narrower band in terms of internal components, so that’s a logical place to start.
In a notebook under $1000, you can typically find an Intel i7 processor, NVIDIA’s 800M series mobile graphics, and 8GB of RAM. The processor and RAM are more than enough for anyone’s PC gaming needs, but the graphics are more middle-of-the-road. You should be able to play all of your favorite games at 30 FPS or better, though you’ll likely need to adjust the graphical settings to do so.
Retailing currently at just under $1000, this laptop packs an impressive set of specs. It runs an Intel® Core™ i7-4700HQ that runs at 3.2GHz (3.4GHz with Turbo Boost), 12GB DDR3 RAM (1600MHz), and an NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 860M featuring 2GB GDDR5 onboard memory. A full HD (1920 x 1080) 17.3″ screen gives you a full view of the action.
The GE70 Apache Pro-012 has a couple of neat features worth drawing attention to. The SteelSeries gaming keyboard features full color LED backlighting, tactile customization, and anti-ghosting capabilities—especially important for anyone with pro-level APMs. And for those of you with a YouTube or Twitch following, the included XSplit Gamecaster makes recording and broadcasting an exceptionally smooth and seamless process.
Reviewers have been thoroughly impressed with this machine, and for good reason. It can play Skyrim on Ultra High settings at 1080p while maintaining a smooth 60FPS. This, while also having the portability of a laptop that weighs under 6 lbs. MSI has included a few proprietary applications like its Dragon Gaming Center, but beyond that they’ve wisely avoided bloatware, another plus. The MSI GE70 Apache Pro-012 has an average 4.3/5 star rating on Amazon. Click the button below to see more now!
Another laptop coming in just under the $1000 barrier is the Lenovo Y50. It features an Intel® Core™ i7-4700HQ clocked at 2.4GHz, 8GB DDR3 RAM (1600MHz) , and an NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 860M with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM. Despite the smaller screen compared to the MSI above, the Lenovo Y50 still features a full 1080p resolution.
Beyond the basic specs, the Y50 has Dolby Advanced Audio and JBL-designed speakers to provide good sound quality for a laptop. The keyboard is backlit, and features a concave curvature to each key, making precise typing a little bit easier. The one knock on this laptop is the screen quality, which many users have reported has a poor viewing angle and can appear washed out.
The Lenovo Y50 has an average 3.8/5 star rating on Amazon. If you’re interested in a touchscreen version, it’s about $100 more (see it here) or you can double the RAM and add 4K resolution on top of that for another $100 (see it here). These extras bump the price over the $1000 threshold, but they seemed worth mentioning. To see the base model, click below.
The Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition actually comes in a variety of flavors, and while this version lacks the SSD and extra RAM of its more expensive brother, it has all the specs you’d expect to see in this segment at a price that comes comfortably under the $1000 mark. With an an Intel® Core™ i7-4720HQ (2.6GHz), 8GB DDR3 RAM, and a GTX 860M with 4GB of dedicated graphics memory, you’ve got plenty of power to play games like Battlefield 4, and it can even handle Far Cry 4 on High settings @ 1080p (35 FPS).
While the Acer is sufficiently light for portability (5.3 lbs), its mediocre battery life means you’ll likely need to park yourself near an outlet even if you’re gaming on the go. And with a touchpad that’s only average at best, you might look to invest in some peripherals for your new computer as well. Really, you’re looking at a laptop that’s ideally suited for taking to LAN parties, but is less than ideal if you’re, say, trying to get in a quick match in between classes.
The Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition is currently available for preorder, but the upgraded version with 16GB of RAM and an additional 256GB SSD is available for purchase right now. Click below to see more.
If “under $1000” is more of a suggestion rather than a hard-and-fast rule for you, you might be able to eke out a little extra graphical power while still staying close to your budget. This GT70 by MSI features an NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 870M with 3GB GDDR5 dedicated RAM, the only laptop on this list to do so. That represents nearly a 1.5x boost in graphical performance, so the benefits are real. The rest of the package is pretty much standard fare, with a 2.8GHz Intel® Core™ i7-4800MQ processor and 8GB of RAM.
In keeping with its “Dominator” moniker, this bad boy is also a behemoth (8.6 lbs), and it makes no concessions in the name of portability. But if you’re primarily using this as a desktop replacement and merely want the option of carrying it around, that won’t be much of an issue. In that case, the 17.3″ screen, wealth of USB ports, and DVD optical drive are likely features that’ll sell you on this machine.
Amazon users have certainly been pleased with it, given its 4.3/5 star average rating. Users consistently remarked that it is a terrific performer for the price. To see more, click the button below.