Best Gaming Laptops – January 2013

Top 10 Gaming Laptops – January 2013

This list is based on actual or estimated gaming performance, factoring in the hardware specification (particularly the graphics card) relative to the laptop’s size.

January Update: Not many changes from last month; current gaming laptops are all based on Intel’s Ivy Bridge platform (Core iX-3XXX series) which is an improved version of its predecessor Sandy Bridge. Some more affordable alternatives based on AMD’s Trinity chips can also be found. On the graphics front, Nvidia and AMD have rolled out Kepler and GCN-based GPUs, which are all-new architectures as well as die shrinks (down to 28nm from 40nm). The fastest mobile graphics card at present is Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 680M followed by AMD’s Radeon HD 7970M. It’s important to note that the GeForce GTX 675M and 670M are renamed (and perhaps slightly modified) versions of the 580M and 570M, respectively. There are however newer GPUs with almost identical names: GTX 675MX and 670MX, which are Kepler-based cards. GeForce GT 650M and GTX 660M are also Kepler GPUs.

The Ivy Bridge processors have names in the ix-3xxx range, with a ‘QM’ at the end of the model name signifying quad core. The quad-core Ivy Bridge range was updated late 2012 with revised clock speed. The most common CPUs in gaming laptops are therefore the Core i7-3630QM (45W, replaces 3610QM),  i7-3740QM (45W, replaces 3720QM), i7-3840QM (45W, replaces 3820QM), i7-3632QM (35W, replaces 3612QM) and finally the Extreme Edition, unlocked Core i7-3940XM (55W, replaces 3920XM).


Top 10 17″+ Gaming Laptops
Sub 17″ Gaming Laptops

17-Inch +

1. Alienware M18x R2

Alienware M18xThe Alienware M18x R2 has been updated several times–almost meriting an M18x R3 designation. The most important update by far is on the GPU  front: Dell’s gaming monster is now available with two of the fastest mobile graphics cards on the planet–dual Nvidia GTX 680M’s in SLI. The second-best option is two of AMD’s best chips, Radeon HD 7970M’s in Crossfire. There are also single card configurations starting with the GTX 660M, the GTX 675M (a rebadged GTX 580M), or a single GTX 680M. In all, the M18x remains an exceptional gaming laptop that will handily defeat quite a few gaming desktops in terms of frame rates and visual bliss. It also comes with a choice of 3rd-generation (Ivy Bridge), quad core Intel Core i7 CPUs, the fastest of which is a factory overclocked i7-3840QM that runs at up to 3.8 GHz in Turbo Boost mode. Other features include USB 3.0, optional 1866 MHz DDR3 memory, the usual AlienFX back-lighting artillery, as well as extremely fast RAID 0 SSD storage configurations. The base model starts at $1,999 and includes a Core i7-3630QM and a single GTX 660M.

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2. Clevo P370EM

Origin PC Eon 17The original Frankenlaptop, the Clevo X7200 with desktop processors, has been discontinued by most vendors and replaced by the more conventional (in relative terms) P370EM. It is also sold under other names depending on the builder, such as Origin PC’s EON 17-SLX (European readers: check out Schenker Notebooks ( It’s still a monster at 8,6 lbs/3,9 kg but more compact than its predecessor due to the fact that it uses regular notebook processors, up to the Core i7-3960XM (overclockable Extreme Edition). The range of quad-core Ivy Bridge GPUs can be combined with dual graphics cards in SLI/CrossFire up to the fastest models from Nvidia and AMD–the GTX 680M or HD 7970M, respectively and up to 32 GB RAM. It will also hold two laptop hard drives or SSDs (three if you replace the optical drive) as well as an optional mSATA SSD.


3. Alienware M17x R4

The M17x R4 has also been given the Ivy Bridge makeover and new GPU options, but this smaller (relatively speaking) Alienware gaming machine can only house a single GPU. Pretty much every component in the M17x R4 is configurable. It offers a choice of high-end Nvidia or AMD GPUs, up to 32 GB of 1600 MHz RAM, various quad-core Core i7 processors, 1600×900 or 1920×1080 panels and dual hard drives or SSDs in RAID 0. It is also available in a 3D version that includes the mandatory 120Hz panel and an Nvidia 3D Vision kit. The base model ($1,499) includes a GTX 660M, but from a price/performance perspective, the Radeon 7979M upgrade is unbeatable. The best optional GPU is the fastest on the planet: the GTX 680M.

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4. MSI GT70

gt780rMSI has updated its 17-inch gaming laptop with Ivy Bridge processors and new GPUs ranging from the Nvidia GTX 670M to the GTX 680M. Instead of various model names and numbers in the preceding GT780 series (DX, DRX, 783 etc.), it is now simply known as the MSI GT70, and most configurations ship with the new quad-core Core i7-3610QM. It comes with a multi-color backlit keyboard designed by SteelSeries that resembles the Alienware counterparts. What makes this and other high-end MSI laptops a little more interesting than the competition is the TDE (Turbo Drive Engine) feature that automatically overclocks the laptop by up to 30%. It also ships with 12 GB of DDR3 and either lots of conventional hard drive storage or an SSD/HDD combo.

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5. Clevo P170EM

EON 17-SThe 17-inch Clevo P170EM is the Ivy Bridge-based successor to the P170HM and is sold by several different boutique gaming brands. Besides the new Intel processors, it can be configured with the new HD 7970M from AMD or the GTX 680M from Nvidia. The new model also comes with a backlit keyboard. In combination with the fastest single-GPU graphics solution on the market and (in its class comparatively) lightweight chassis (8.6lbs), this is a very desirable laptop. If you don’t want to pay a premium for the fastest of everything, you can also opt for the base configuration, which (usually) includes a capable GTX 660M. The laptop has four memory slots with room for up to 32 GB of RAM. Moreover, it has room for dual hard drives or SSDs that can be configured in RAID 0 mode. Or you could use an ultra-fast Vertex 3 as the boot drive and a secondary 7,200rpm hard drive for storage.


6. ASUS Republic of Gamers G75VW

The Asus G75VW picks up the mantle from the G74Sx as the manufacturer’s 17-inch flagship; the design has been updated but the cooling solution seems to have stayed intact, which is a good thing that keeps the laptop reasonably cool and quiet even under load. Naturally, the G75VW has been updated with new Intel CPUs and Nvidia GPUs–either the new GTX 660M or the GTX 670M depending on configuration. Just like its predecessor, the G75VW is also available in a 3D edition that ships with an Nvidia 3D Vision kit and a compatible 120Hz panel. One of the best things with the G75 lineup is that it is still very favorably priced compared to the closest competitors. Read the review (by Florian Glaser).

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7. Toshiba Qosmio X875

Toshiba Qosmio X870Qosmio is Toshiba’s premium entertainment brand, so the most surprising aspect of the new X875 is the attractive price point for the entry models (considering the hardware). For less than $1,500 (at this writing) you get a capable desktop replacement with a quad-core Ivy Bridge Core i7 CPU and most importantly a GeForce GTX 670M to take care of your gaming needs. There are other, more pricey configurations available as well; some that include 3D kits from Nvidia, but the base model should hold up pretty well in just about any game thanks to the solid GPU. It can also be equipped with dual hard drives–some hybrid drives with better performance–for up til 1.75 TB of storage space. The base model’s processor is a Core i7-3610QM.

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8. Razer Blade R2

Razer BladeWhether Razer’s most advanced piece of gaming hardware is the world’s “first true gaming laptop”, as Razer claims, is a subject of some debate. However, it is clearly an original machine, and the latest revision made it considerably more interesting. Gone is the dual core processor in favor of a quad core, 35W Ivy Bridge (3632QM) CPU that is considerably more powerful than its predecessor without inflating the power consumption, which has to be kept low considering the Blade’s thin-and-light build. The somewhat mediocre (by today’s standards) GeForce GT 555M has also been replaced by a much more capable GeForce GTX 660M. This duo is complemented by an HDD/SSD combo that should provide ample storage performance.

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9. HP Pavilion dv7t Quad Edition

dv7t quadThe quad-core edition of the HP Pavilion dv7t is another interesting option for gamers–not least because it offers a great deal of powerful hardware for the money. You can order it with a range of 3rd-generation Core i7 CPUs, and the graphics card has now been upgraded to the new GeForce GT 650M with 1 GB or 2 GB of GDDR5 video RAM, which should be almost as fast as its almost identically-specced big brother the GTX 660M. This pushes the dv7t and it’s 15.6-inch counterpart the dv6t into the high-end segment while retaining a highly affordable (in relative terms) price tag. It’s important to note that the GT 650M is an optional upgrade, but this is an absolute must-have if you want to call it a gaming laptop.

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10. MSI GE70

MSI GE70The GE 70 is yet another gaming machine from MSI. It is slimmer and less expensive than the GT 70 (see above). This laptop is either equipped with the GeFore GT 650M or the faster GTX 660M. A key feature in the GE70, at least according to MSI, is the use of a Killer E2200 wireless module that reduces latency in online gaming by prioritizing said transfers. Another unique feature in MSI’s line of gaming laptops is the Turbo Drive Engine (TDE) feature, which is basically an overclocking button that increases the GPU clocks in an accessible and safe way. It’s of course possible to overclock most dedicated mobile GPUs with some manual labor, but MSI removes the trial-and-error factor–presumably without warranty issues.

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Up to 15.6″

1. Clevo P150EM

Origin PC Eon 15-SWhen it’s fully tricked out in the GPU department, the Clevo P150EM is the fastest 15-inch gaming laptop on the planet. It is known under different names and built-to-order by Origin PC, Sager, AVADirect, or a number of other gaming PC specialists. What makes the P150EM special is that it’s configurable with one of the fastest GPUs on the market right now–the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M or the Radeon HD 7970–as well as 3rd-gen quad-core Intel CPU all the way up to the Core i7-3940XM Extreme Edition. It can also house up to 32 GB of RAM. This hardware puts it a step ahead of all of the competition in the 15-inch segment today, no matter if compared in gaming performance or raw processing power.

Read our review of its predecessor the EON 15-S/P150HM here.


2. MSI GT60

MSI GT60The new GT60 from MSI is also equipped with very powerful hardware for its size. It has the “new” GeForce GTX 670M with 3GB of GDDR5 and 3rd-gen Intel Core i7 CPUs–in most cases the Core i7-3610QM as well as 12GB of RAM and dual hard drives in RAID 0 (optional). Just like its bigger brother the MSI GT70 and the GE-series, the GT60 is also equipped with MSI’s proprietary overclocking technology TDE, which boosts the CPU/GPU clocks by up to 30% with the push of a button. The design has been revised and the 15.6-inch version of the laptop now looks like the 17.3-inch model, only smaller.

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3. Alienware M14x R2

The M14x has just been updated to its second revision, and the Nvidia GeForce GT 555M in the previous version has been replaced by a brand new Kepler-based GT 650M with either 1 GB or 2 GB of video RAM. This graphics card in combination with a choice of 3rd-gen Intel Ivy Bridge processors should be more than enough to let the Alienware M14x keep its title as the world’s fastest 14-inch gaming laptop. The base model ships with an older dual-core processor that can be upgraded to the latest quad-core Ivy Bridge models. It also has  options for a 1600×900 WLED panel and new SSD/hard drive combos that consist of an mSATA SSD and a regular hard drive, taking advantage of Intel’s Smart Response technology. Thanks to a lower resolution compared to most 15-inch gaming laptops, it should be easy to run most games at the M14x’s native resolution.

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4. Asus G55VW

Asus’ new G55VW replaces the G53SX (comparison here) which has been one of the most popular 15-inch gaming laptops on the market. The old GTX 560M has been replaced by a newer, better and faster GTX 660M, while the processor has been upgraded to a new quad-core Core i7–in most cases the Core i7-3610QM. It is more or less a 15-inch version of the 17-inch G75 and comes with a 1080p display, a backlit keyboard and an option for dual hard drives or SSDs, but this time only in an mSATA/SATA combination (and DIY upgrades are very difficult). Just like its bigger brother the G75VW, the G55VW has retained the exceptional cooling solution that keeps its noise level to a minimum. Read my full review here.

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5: Lenovo IdeaPad Y580

Lenovo IdeaPad Y580Lenovo used to be known mostly for its boring-yet-functional business laptops, but that trend is now officially broken with the manufacturer’s IdeaPad series, and in particular the 15.6-inch Y580, which is basically Lenovo’s first gaming laptop. Not only is it a real powerhouse courtesy of a GeForce GTX 660M GPU and a quad-core Intel Ivy Bridge CPU, but also surprisingly inexpensive. The range of configurations (and prices) differ mainly in what panel is used–entry-level models ship with a 1366×768 panel, while others have a 1020×1080 display. There are also versions with the slightly less powerful GT 650M graphics card instead of the 660M.

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6: Gigabyte P2542G

Gigabyte P2542GGigabyte is a very well-known quantity in PC parts, having manufactured graphics cards, motherboards and other components for decades (the company was founded in 1986). However, it was only recently that the company moved into the notebook segment with a few exciting products. One of them is the P2542G – a compact 15.6-inch gaming laptop based on quad-core Intel Ivy Bridge processors and the Nvidia GTX 660M (Kepler). A very attractive value proposition is the inclusion of a 128 GB mSATA SSD in combination with a mechanical hard drive The SSD is used in conjunction with Intel’s Rapid Start Technology (RST) to speed up boot and load times significantly.

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7: HP dv6t Quad Edition

dv7t quadHP’s Pavilion dv6t is the more portable version of the dv7t, and just like it’s bigger counterpart the Quad Edition of the dv6 comes with a choice of the latest quad-core CPUs from Intel as well as a GeForce GT 650M GPU (optional upgrade). This graphics card is a major upgrade over the previous versions of the dv6t, but the pricing is largely unchanged and it all adds up to a very affordable yet powerful 15.6-inch laptop capable of playing all the latest games without breaking the bank.

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There are lots of factors to take into consideration when choosing a good gaming laptop; hardware, build quality, features you value personally, and of course the price tag. As for the hardware, the graphics card plays the key role in a gaming notebook. Sure, the processor is very important for overall performance, as is the hard drive (or preferably: SSD), but at the end of the day the graphics card is what determines the frame rate and whether your games are playable.

To play the latest titles at high resolution with all the detail knobs turned up, you are going to need a powerful GPU. No amount of tweaking or optimizing will substitute better hardware. Both AMD (formerly ATI) and Nvidia have highly capable mobile video cards on the market. In bigger, 17-inch plus laptops, you will also find them in dual GPU configurations–called SLI or CrossFire for Nvidia’s GeForce and AMD’s Mobility Radeon series, respectively. The fastest mobile graphics cards as of January 2012 are the AMD Mobility Radeon HD 7970M and the Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 680M (actually the GTX 680MX, but this GPU is thus far unavailable in current laptops, it has only been unveiled as part of Apple’s new iMac).

Site founder and gaming hardware enthusiast.

  1. Still no replyman!

  2. Hi, I have an old laptop with 4GB RAM, Intel Core i5 2410M 2.3 Ghz and an AMD Radeon HD 6470M with 1GB memory. Is this good enough to play the following games:
    (a) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
    (b) Upcoming GTA V
    (c) Battlefield 3
    Most of these games have their XBOX 360 and PS3 counterparts which have comparatively lower specs than me laptop. SO they should be playable, right?

  3. @K.S: Good question! The main reason (I’m guessing) is the GT 650M instead of the GTX 660M (not that different, though). I haven’t seen it in person, but the GE models looks to be made from cheaper materials (e.g. no backlit keyboard)

  4. Why is the ge70 (msi) much cheaper than the gt70?

  5. @Robin: if you want a laptop that’s not so big and still can play games in high graphics I suggest you go to DELL’s website and look there.

    The Inspiron R or XPS 15 are the ones you wanna look at since they have really nice graphics cards. My recommendation though is to not go under 15″ for the screen size. Its just too small, believe me I have a 13″ Dell.
    Also keep in try to get a i7 processor or if you must an i5, don’t go under that. Ram should be higher then 4GB but the ideal would be 6GB+.

    I hope this helps and that you get to see this post.

  6. Hi Berg…I am trying to find a laptop for my son as a gift for college and he is an avid gammer. My problem is size,noice and wt of course because he will also be using it in class. Can you please help I am stumpted. I am looking at spending as much as say $1800 give or take. Thanks for your hepl! 🙂

  7. I’m looking at either the Asus g55 or the Lenovo y580. The y580 has the same specs with a bluray player and a 1 terabyte 5400 HDD instead. Is the superior portability worth giving up the better cooling system if I’ll be using it for class and moderate gaming

  8. @jomidi: Thanks! Yes the difference in weight is surprisingly small, but the 17-inch model has a larger frame of course (unfortunately none of them are overly portable though)
    Yes I do! Not the same problem as you, but the whole audio system is acting very strange. It seems to be a driver issue. I found this thread on the Asus forum:
    I tried the beta driver linked to there and it resolved some issues but it’s still not perfect…

  9. Thanks, I got the asus g55vw. I just wondering if you had a technical issue with it also.
    For example, you are watching a clip on youtube using a headset. Then you pause in middle of it and come back 20 min. later, click play and the audio from clip come’s from speakers instead of headset even thou it is plugged in?

    Thanks again for linking the review about MSI.

  10. I am going to college starting next fall and was looking for a good gaming laptop that would be portable enough to take to class. I was looking at the ASUS G55 and G75 as well as LHR Dovah. The only difference I found was 17.3 in. vs. 15.6 in. (display) and weight was 4.5kg vs. 3.8kg. Also the graphics and storage was very very slightly better for the G75. You can compare them on the ASUS website and see for yourself. The price difference is only $200-$300. I’m going to decide when I go to buy it so I can get a better feel for how portable they are and how badly I want a bigger screen.

    Love the article by the way! keep it up.

  11. Hey guys, sorry about the late reply!
    Yup, it’s always pretty hard 🙂 But seeing as new models were just released by most manufacturers, there probably won’t be many more updates this year, other than some revised specs (most importantly some new high-end Nvidia GPUs like GTX 680M). At least that’s my best guess. Prices may drop a bit, or stay the same with slightly faster hardware. 3 hours is unfortunately about it with the G55 and light use.
    The M14x is roughly equivalent to the G55 hardware wise. The GPU is slightly slower, but that should be more than compensated by the smaller and lower-resolution display. The mSATA boot drive should give it a good boost in general system performance though. I’d say it depends mostly on what size you are looking for.
    @LHR Dovah,
    There was some CPU throttling in the G75 in Notebookcheck’s review, but none in the G55. But I doubt that it matters in real life use. The big one is slightly less hot and noisy, but you probably need a good set of instruments to measure the actual difference 🙂

  12. Hey Berg!
    I was wondering whether I should purchase the ASUS G55, or the G75. I know the numbers are (somewhat) the same, but have you seen any performance differences? Is the big ‘ol 17.3 any quieter?


  13. Hey!

    I am going out of the country for two years and I was about to buy a acer timeline. but after founding this homepage and reading your reviews, im not sure to get a asus g55vw (same as your review), or a 15% discount on dell m14x. i’m only looking for specc’s, battery (like 4 hours to word, powerpoint) and quality. Is the m14 better then asus with following specc?

    Base Alienware M14x Base
    Microsoft Operating System Genuine Windows ® 7 Home Premium 64-bit, Swedish
    Memory 8192 MB (2 x 4 GB), 1600 MHz DDR3 Dual Channel Memory
    Keyboard Internal Nordic Multi-Lanaguage Keyboard
    Graphics NVIDIA ® GeForce ® GT 650M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory
    Hard Drive 64GB mSATA Boot Drive + 500GB SATA (7,200 rpm)
    Optical drives DVD + /-RW (read and write DVDs and CDs)
    Sound Card Creative Sound Blaster Recon3Di with THX TruStudio Pro Software
    Wireless Killer Wireless-N 1202 a / g / n 2×2 MIMO for Gaming & Video and Bluetooth 4.0
    European 250V power cables Cord
    Delivery documents Nordic Documentation (EN, NOR, SWE, FIN, DAN)
    Gedi Bundle Reference N05W4M01
    Support Services 1 year of support at home next business day
    Placemat Place Mats (Eng, Swe, Dan, Nor)
    Ordering Alienware M14x Order
    Primary Battery Primary 8-cell 63W/HR LI-ION
    Processor Intel ® Core ™ i7-3610QM (6MB Cache, up to 3.3GHz w / Turbo Boost 2.0)
    Camera Integrated Skype Certified HD FullHD camera with dual digital microphones
    Color options Alienware M14x Cosmic Black
    Avatar Alien Head 3D
    Time Zone (GMT + 00.00) Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon and London
    Colour AlienFX March Red (Red)
    LCD Screen 35.6 cm (14.0 “) borderless WLED display with thin frame, high-resolution (1 600×900)
    Additional Software Alienware M14x Resource DVD
    Power MOD, ADPT, AC, DLTA, 150W, 3P, WW

  14. “@Dahook,
    Thanks for the kind words! I haven’t tested the GT60, but based on the specs it looks like a competent alternative to the G55 (have you checked out this review? Looks like it’s still noisier than its Asus counterpart, but that’s not surprising, the G55 is exceptional that way. The GTX 670M is definitely a bit faster than the GTX 660M though (about 10-20%), even though it’s just a renamed 570M. On the whole it looks to be really hard to pick a winner.” Qoute by Berg
    June 7, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Thank you Berg for linking review about the MSI. After that it made it even harder for me. The price on it just jumped with est. 100 euros, so I wont buy it now. But I also notice I don’t need a laptop during the summer so I may be so bold to ask, if there will come any new gaming laptops during 3Q this year? or even at 4Q? I hate to buy something that is a rip off if a other gaming laptop will be released just after few months, that will blow away the Asus G55VW for example. I hope you understand what I mean.

    P.s. A question about the Asus G55VW battery life, can it make 3 hours of typing on word, some web surf? D.s.

    And once again thank you so much for you time in this.

  15. @Arthavious,
    I personally like the Alienware lineup, but the Clevos are a bit more flexible perhaps. My own P150HM (old model) is sold by OriginPC as the EON15-S (now updated to P150EM). They are also put together by other brands, like Sager (NP9150). Or Schenker Notebook in Germany (XMG series). The same goes for the 17-inch P170EM (EON 17-S/NP9170/XMG 702).
    Thanks for the kind words! I haven’t tested the GT60, but based on the specs it looks like a competent alternative to the G55 (have you checked out this review? Looks like it’s still noisier than its Asus counterpart, but that’s not surprising, the G55 is exceptional that way. The GTX 670M is definitely a bit faster than the GTX 660M though (about 10-20%), even though it’s just a renamed 570M. On the whole it looks to be really hard to pick a winner.
    Yup, the 660M is the fastest Kepler chip right now, but I would hazard a guess that we’ll see a GTX 680M by the end of the year (most likely sooner). AMD’s GCN-based HD 7970M is also available now and that lineup should also be extended in a near future. I think the G55 is a great laptop, but like you said it may well be cheaper before the end of this year. And there will also be more alternatives to choose from.

  16. hey berg , im going to go for a laptop near the end of this year. looking at laptops now because hopefully that theyll come down in price by a bit by then.

    i have my eyes set og the G55 , i wanted to know should i go for it based on the fastest kepler chip (660) right now + excellent cooling + direct x 11.1 support from what ive read

    or should i go for something with the 675/670 ?

    im looking for something that let me game for the next few years into the next gen console and games. gfx quality doesnt really matter than much to me as ive been gaming on low or medium settings for years now.

  17. Hello!

    First of all I just want to say Thank you for a amazing website you have here! After reading the review on ASUS G55VW-S1020V, I got a bit stalled If I should get the ASUS G55VW-S1020V or the MSI GT60 0NC-011NE? It is about 70$ more for MSI. I was hoping you could take a moment of your time Berg, and give me your two cents in this matter. The MSI has following specs:

    • 15,6-tums Full-HD skärm 1920×1080
    • Intel Core i7-3610QM Ivy Bridge
    • Memory 8 GB DDR3 RAM (Maximal memory 16GB, Memory slots 4)
    • 750 GB harddrive (5400 RPM)
    • Optisk enhet DVD-brännare Super Multi med stöd för dubbla lager
    • GeForce® GT 670M 3GB
    • 2 speakers + sub-woofer
    • Battery celler 9, Up to 3h
    • Aluminium-chassi
    • Keybored, Nordiskt, chiclet
    • Mått mm (BxHxD) 395 x 267 x 55mm
    • Vikt 3,5KG
    • Warrenty – 2 year pick up
    • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

    The Asus is very interesting, faster hard drive, nicer looks, newer graphic card.
    MSI, silly looks but, I read on a page it can become very hot while playing games or even use it for typing on Word. Can be a false rumour but I am not sure who to trust.

    I have to admit I’m not high tech on gaming laptops and I play mostly MMORPG and Crysis etc. Mostly I want a good quality laptop that will not be outdated in 3 years time. I saw the link you given to Qindon69 and it was good laptop but to much money for me, and I spoke to him about the Gigabyte’s P2542G for obtaining P2542G. Unfortunately it wont come with Nordic (Swedish) key bored as promised but with UK.

    Once again thank you for a wonderful website, I truly learned a lot about gaming laptops.

    Kind regards,


  18. Thank you very much for your help Berg!
    I’ll probably buy an ASUS G75vw-model. 🙂
    I like the cooling system, and size isn’t really a problem for me.

  19. Hey Berg!,

    My current situation is I want a gaming laptop and have have a 3k maximum price range. I was almost ready to buy a alienware laptop before finding this website! My only problem is where do I buy a clevo laptop or one you recommend like what website as there are so many!

    Thank you in advance

  20. Hi tibi111 & BRoss,
    I personally like the Asus RoG series, even though they’re unusually large and somewhat underpowered with “only” the GTX 660M. A big plus is the low noise level and a reasonable price tag. On the other hand, the new MSI models look very attractive as well, but unfortunately I haven’t tested one yet. Another alternative that I’d recommend comparing alongside the others would be the Clevo P170EM (17″) and P150EM (15″). Both can be customized with equivalent or better hardware than the competitors (but the 15″ version gets very noisy with the fastest graphics cards).

  21. Hi Berg,
    I am kind of in the same boat as tibi111. I was looking at the alienware M14x for a while and put in what I wanted to get to about 1550 total in cost, but it seems like MSI has similar machines, even 17.3 inch machines, at the same price point.

    What really draws me to alienware however is just the fact that I can pay it off over 12 months, whereas something like the MSI I can get on amazon but I pretty much have to pay it in full. Any suggestions? Thanks 🙂

  22. Hi Berg!
    Which gaming laptop would be your first choice with a 1500$ budget (flexible 1500$)? I simply can’t decide, I’ve been checking out ASUS G75vw and MSI GT70 and a few toshibas, but it’s really hard to choose.
    (By the way this website is the most informative and objective so far, thank you for all your help.)

  23. Hi captaincaveman,
    There aren’t many high-end 14″ laptops on the market. The M14x is the only one I know of with such a fast GPU (so far). If you want a GTX-series GPU there are only the 15″+ laptops such as the P150EM, but for practical purposes, the lower resolution on the M14x may give it a slight edge over bigger laptops with the GTX 660M (when gaming on the laptop display).

  24. Hi Berg,
    I’m in the market for a new gaming laptop. My budget is around $1250.00 give or take. I’d like to go with a 14″ screen but am wondering if I’m gonna pay more for that size or if I’m gonna miss out on a lot of the specs a 15″ machine may have to offer. The Clevo P150EM looks interesting as well as the Alienware M14x. The alienware meets my size criteria but am I sacrificing a lot for that size vs going with something similar to the Clevo/Sager. Also, I can wait a few months if need be so is there anything coming out that I should wait for. Any other 14″ laptops that I should also consider.

  25. Hi TC, and thanks! I’m actually in the process of testing the new 15-inch Asus (G55VW) and it feels like a really solid machine. My only problem with it so far is that it’s (still) very heavy for a 15.6-inch laptop, so if 15″ is your upper limit that might be an issue. Other laptops that I have no problem recommending would be HP’s dv6t Quad Edition (with the GT 650M graphics card) or the Alienware M14x R2 (also 650M). If you have more to spend, there’s basically no limit for how you can configure the new Clevo P150EM (all the way up to the fastest graphics cards, the Radeon HD 7970M or GTX 675M). Let me know if you have any other questions!

  26. Hi Berg. I am a complete novice when it comes to computers. I was hoping to upgrade to a serious gaming computer but feel like I’m reading a different language a lot of the time when it comes to a lot of things in these computer reviews. My budget is pretty much $1500, but have a little flexibility upward, was hoping for a sub 15″ machine, but obviously wouldn’t mind spending less. Right now the new Asus model, mostly just because it seems to be the newest machine and fits my price range. Do you think that would be a good decision, or would you recommend me going with something else? Thank you for writing the article. As someone who rarely reads computer articles ever, I found it extremely informative and helpful :).

  27. @CrackNAction: That’s some seriously bad luck! 🙁 On the plus side, there might be some more bargains to be found on similar Sandy Bridge-based laptops now that Ivy Bridge is out (and IB is not that big of a deal IMHO).

  28. Hey Alienvengers! I think it’s safe to say that upgrading from the 3610QM to the 3720QM (300MHz faster) will not result in a noticeable difference in games (the GPU does most of the work there). It is of course a bit faster overall, but hard to justify if the price premium is steep.
    Switchable graphics definitely improves battery life. Depending on the battery capacity it could give you an extra hour or more.
    As for the cache vs. boot SSD I wish I could help, but I haven’t tested either, just SSD only setups. Assuming the boot SSD contains the OS and nothing else it would just speed up Windows, which is great, but a cache drive may be more versatile (whatever you use most should end up in the cache and run faster).

  29. Hey berg! Thanks for the review, anyway I have a few questions in hand :
    – Does it really matter to upgrade from i7-3610QM to i7-3720QM?
    – With Nvidia optimus tech and AMD’s new one that allow switchable graphic card, does it really boost your battery life? (if yes how long can it last?)
    – There are options of cache ssd and boot ssd, which one do you recommend?
    Thanks a bunch!

  30. Man i got burnt on that toshiba lol. i bought it hoping to get it in time for d3 and it came in with dead pixels and for some reason it was chopping and lagging i couldnt move the mouse or anything lol. sadface now im on the hunt again for a cpu sent that one back and getting a refund 🙁

  31. Hi RamboY, with that budget I would look at and compare anything with one of the fastest graphics cards, i.e. the GTX 675M or the Radeon HD 7970M (preferably the 7970M because it’s a newer 28nm GPU). That includes the M17x, but also the Clevo P170EM, also known as Origin PC EON 17-s, Sager NP9170 and others. A quad-core Ivy Bridge CPU is also a must for that kind of money (i7-3xxx series).

  32. I don’t know much at all about laptops. Whats the best deal for around 2k? I was originally going to get an alienware because they are shiny and look cool but people telling me that I’ll get more for my money with someone other than Dell. Since my knowledge is limited and there is so much different stuff out there the search is turning into a project. Please give me your guidance and/or recommendations

  33. @Anonemuss,
    If I remember correctly, Asus uses a proprietary 560M PCB design in the G53SX, so it seems unlikely that a standard 660M MXM card would fit. 😐

  34. Thanks Lenovo-guy! And thanks for bringing up the Y580, it’s about time that Lenovo made a gaming laptop. I couldn’t say which one is the best option, but Lenovo has a reputation for high quality while Gigabyte is totally new to laptops. So it’s probably less of a gamble to go with the Lenovo, but the Gigabyte may well be a nice machine as well. That’s not much of a reply, sorry… I’m very curious about those laptops myself. Particularly the Gigabyte, Lenovo tends to be predictable 🙂

  35. This upcoming laptop from Lenovo seems to have great specs (so long as you upgrade them):

    Intel i7 Processor
    GTX 660M (2GB VRAM)
    1920 x 1080 Screen (15.6 inch)
    Up to 16GB DDR3 RAM
    500GB-1TB HDD
    720p Webcam
    All for under 6 pounds.

    I’m looking at either the Y580 or the P2542g at this moment. Berg, what’s your opinion on the Lenovo, especially against the Gigabyte? Thanks for the great website!

  36. For us video editors, the problem with the new HP is it doesn’t have a firewire port, while their competitors have continued to provide it.

  37. I have the Asus G53SX and i love it. I’m just wondering if there is any way for me to get a GTX 660M and replaced the old 560M. Is it possible and can the computer handle it?

  38. Hey CrackaNAction! I’m guessing that’s the new dv7t quad edition and it looks like a great deal too! The GT 650M should be roughly on par with the GTX 560M + you get a new Ivy Brige CPU as well. I didn’t know it was shipping already, thanks for that piece of interesting information 🙂

  39. Heyy im back! lol im ordering my laptop tomarrow and i seen a petty good deal so figured id post it and see what you think!

    1134 before taxs n Shipping but thats free.
    Wasnt to bad of a deal to me but imma newby at laptops lol
    Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
    3rd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3610QM Processor (2.3 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache)
    NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GT 650M Graphics with 2GB GDDR5 memory [HDMI, VGA]
    FREE UPGRADE to 8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
    750GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
    NO mSSD Hard Drive Acceleration Cache
    Microsoft(R) Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word/Excel(R) only, No PowerPoint(R)/Outlook(R)
    No additional security software
    6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery – Up to 5.75 hours of battery life +++
    17.3-inch diagonal Full HD Anti-glare LED-backlit Display (1920 x 1080)
    FREE Upgrade to Blu-ray player & SuperMulti DVD burner
    720p HD video streaming webcam supports Skype + FingerPrint Reader
    802.11b/g/n WLAN
    Standard Keyboard
    Included 2 Year Warranty
    HP Home & Home Office Store in-box envelope

  40. @CrackaNAction:
    Looks like you’ve found a great deal! I honestly can’t thing of a laptop right now where you get that kind of hardware for the money. The next-gen machines will be out soon, but will almost certainly cost a lot more than that.
    Thanks for the video link, very interesting. I totally agree about Ivy bridge. It’s an improvement, sure, but mostly in the graphics part (which i personally couldn’t care less about).

  41. Hey Berg,
    Ivy Bridge is now out for the Sager NP9170 / Clevo P170EM (back ordered till the 29th) and now supports the AMD Radeon HD 7970. ($100 more than the GeForce GTX 675m).

    The link for performance:

    As far as the 3dvantage score (20k) the card itself is only scoring slightly higher than a gtx675m (19k)… The gtx system was the Sager NP9170 / Clevo P170EM with standard configuration w/ 2670 Sandy Bridge. And the 3dvantage score w/ Radeon 7970 was attained with a much higher caliber proc.

    Youtube video of the Sager NP9170 / Clevo P170EM review and charts can be found here.

    As far as pricing to performance 7970 isn’t worth the 1 month wait with the gtx 680m looming over the horizon, especially only performing slightly faster than the $100 cheaper and already available GTX 675m.

    And Ivy Bridge… a lot of hype for not a lot of performance, most of the new design went towards it’s “built in gfx processor”.

    The time to buy today is still good to go =) Only things I can see in the upcoming future for gaming laptops is the addition of the GTX 680m, as single and duel config’s.

    Cheers Berg.

  42. Hey Berg thanks for writing back after i read this i seen this laptop online surfing cause im still iso one for gaming etc and just for a little more i can get this what seems to be a great machine for games t me. but ofc im new to looking for laptops. price on this is 1179 before taxs! Lmk what you think!

    2nd Gen Intel® Core™ i7-2670QM processor
    Features a 6MB L3 cache and 2.0GHz processor speed with Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz.
    Intel® Core™ i7 processor
    Features 8-way processing for ultimate smart performance. Intel® Turbo Boost Technology delivers extra performance when you need it and increased energy efficiency when you don’t.
    8GB DDR3 memory
    For multitasking power, expandable to 16GB.
    Multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW drive with double-layer support
    Records up to 8.5GB of data or 4 hours of video using compatible DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL media.
    17.3″ LED-backlit high-definition widescreen display
    With 1920 x 1080 resolution delivers intense detail and clarity.
    1TB hard drive capacity (500GB x 2; 7200 rpm)
    Offers spacious storage and fast read/write times.
    Built-in facial recognition
    Protects sensitive information.
    NVIDIA GTX 560M graphics
    Feature up to 2GB video memory for lush images and vivid detail. HDMI output for flexible connectivity options.
    Built-in 1.0MP webcam and microphone
    Make it easy to video chat with family and friends.
    8-in-1 media reader
    Supports Secure Digital, MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick Duo, SmartMedia and xD-Picture Card formats.
    1 USB 3.0 and 3 USB 2.0 ports
    For fast digital video, audio and data transfer.
    Built-in high-speed wireless LAN (802.11b/g/n)
    Connect to the Internet without wires.
    Embedded 4G WiMAX mobile broadband technology
    Gives you an ultrafast mobile Internet connection. (Wireless service contract required; sold separately. Check with carrier for coverage area and availability in your area.)
    Built-in 10/100/1000 Mbps Fast Ethernet LAN
    With RJ-45 connector for quick and easy wired Web connection.
    Weighs 9.4 lbs. and measures 2.4″ thin
    For portable power. Backlit, chiclet-style keyboard enables comfortable typing in low-light conditions.
    Long battery life
    Of up to 3 hours and 36 minutes to give you more time away from an outlet.
    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit operating system preinstalled
    Provides a stable platform for word processing, Web navigation, gaming, media storage and more.
    Best Buy pc app
    Your one-stop shop for digital software, games and more! Learn more.
    Software package included
    With Microsoft Office Starter 2010 (product key card required for activation; sold separately).
    ENERGY STAR qualified
    Designed to use less energy and meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy.
    Intel, Pentium, Celeron, Centrino, Core, Viiv, Intel Inside and the Intel Inside logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.

  43. Hi CrackaNAction, thanks for stopping by! I haven’t tested a Qosmio personally, but there’s no question that you get a lot for the money hardware-wise. It’s the most affordable laptop with a GTX 560M right now (that I know of). There’s also no question that it will play Diablo 3 and WoW. Getting an i7 (quad core) instead of the i5 (dual core) for $100 sounds like a good deal. It will have very little effect on gaming frame rates, but it makes a big difference for general system performance.

  44. Hey sir first off sorry for just emailing you out of the blue. i read ur articles on top gaming laptops etc etc and very intriged by them. i was just wondering im looking for a gaming computer BUT just one that will run wow and Diablo 3 those are only games i will be playing. i been looking for weeks and i found a toshiba for 999 and tbh i like it but it only has a 720p screen but its a 17/3inch screen . if u could take a moment to just look at the specs of this laptop id appreciate it. btw love reading all the gaming threads! One last thing i can get a i7 proc for 100 bucks more for around 1150 total. if u think or know of a better rig to buy for around 1200 total id appreciate it. thanks
    Intel® Core™ i5-2450M Processor, 2.5 GHz (3.1 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology), 3MB L3 Cache
    Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit, SP1
    6GB DDR3 1333MHz SDRAM (4096MB+2048MB)
    500GB HDD (7200rpm, Serial-ATA)
    No Secondary Hard Drive Installed
    1.5GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 560M with NVIDIA® Optimus™ Technology
    DVD SuperMulti (+/-R double layer) drive
    Integrated 1.3M Webcam and Microphone
    Realtek® Wireless LAN (802.11b/g/n)
    Microsoft® Office 2010 Starter
    Norton Internet Security Suite (NIS) 2012 (30-day trial)
    1 Year Standard Limited Warranty

  45. Razer blade you must be joking right?
    You can get a laptop great laptop with i7 / 8GB RAM and GT 555 for less than 1000$ not 2800$ which is the price of that Razer. That laptop is all marketing, just because they claim its “the best gaming laptop” you don’t have to be a sheep and believe them.

  46. Hey Decidian, nice system! The P170EM is just out, so it will replace the P170PM on the list. Thanks for the reminder.

  47. Sager NP9170 / Clevo P170EM
    – Display: 17.3″ FHD 16:9 “Glare Type” Super Clear Ultra Bright LED Glossy Screen (1920×1080)
    – Processor: Sager – 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-2670QM, 2.2-3.1GHz, (32nm, 6MB L3 cache) (Supports 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ Processors)
    – Thermal Compound: – IC Diamond Thermal Compound – CPU + GPU
    – Graphics Video Card: nVidia GeForce GTX 675M 2,048MB PCI-Express GDDR5 DX11 with Optimus™ Technology
    – 16GB – DDR3 1600MHz Dual Channel Memory (4 SODIMMS)
    – Primary Hard Drive: 750GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 300 – 16MB Cache)
    – Second Hard Drive: 750GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 300 – 16MB Cache)
    – Raid: Raid 0 Stripe Enabled
    – Optical Drive Bay: Combo Dual Layer SuperMulti DVDRW/CDRW Drive w/ Software
    – Memory Card Reader: Internal 9-in-1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/SD/Mini SD/SDHC/SDXC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo)
    – Wireless Network: Sager – Bigfoot Networks Killer™ Wireless-N 1103 (3×3)
    – Camera: Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
    – Sound Card: Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio
    – Case: Basic Black Business Case – Included
    – Battery: Smart Li-ion Battery (8-Cell)
    – Fingerprint Reader: Integrated Fingerprint Reader
    – Operating System: ~Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit Installed (64&32-Bit CD Included) w/ Drivers & Utilities CD’s + Microsoft Office Starter 2010

    Sub-Total: $1,859.01
    APO/FPO Military Shipping Options (15 lbs) (USPS Priority Mail): $64.00
    Military Discount: -$35.00
    Total: $1,888.01

    Don’t know how you missed this one, based off the Clevo P170EM, it smokes everything after #2 for 17″ +. It’s under 2k, And utilizes the HM77 chipset.


    (Ordered mine through XoticPC, but Powernotebooks, and other’s all have same price give or take 30 or so dollars.)

  48. Hi again Qindon69, I did get your email but I forgot to send a reply! Thanks a lot for taking the time to write, and btw I think you’re doing the right thing waiting for the Gigabyte, but also keep an eye open for the G55. It should arrive quite soon. At least that’s what I’m doing 🙂

  49. Forgot to say Thank you Berg, for you advice in this matter. I sent you a email previous as you asked. But once again, really grateful for your guidance. Wish you all the best!

  50. when does the msi gt685 come out>?

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