Top Gaming Notebooks

by Reads (22,941)

If you are serious about playing the latest and greatest PC games but you also want your PC to be portable then the best solution is a high-performance gaming notebook.

Gaming notebooks are usually equipped fast processors, lots of system memory, massive hard drives for storing lots of video games, and sometimes even high-speed Solid State Drives (SSDs) for extremely fast system start up with even faster game loading speeds. Until recently all gaming notebooks were either 17-inch or 15-inch desktop replacement notebooks since high-performance CPUs and the latest graphics cards required massive cooling fans and heat sinks to keep components from overheating. More recent alternatives include smaller ultraportable gaming notebooks with 11-inch screens. Prices for gaming notebooks range from just under $1,000 to more than $4,000 for some of the custom-built gaming systems.

Our editors have selected five of the best gaming notebooks that are currently available based on our in-depth reviews and the final scores. If you don’t see the perfect notebook in the list we’ve provided, be sure to seek out buying advice in our “What Notebook Should I Buy?” discussion forum. Our forum members, moderators, and staff will graciously offer their insight in helping you pick the best laptop for your student.

#1 Alienware M17x R4

The M17x first joined the Alienware lineup of gaming notebooks back in 2009 after Dell retired the original “Area-51 M17x” as its flagship model. Four years and three revisions later and the “new” Alienware M17x R4 continues to be the dominant player in the Alienware family of notebooks.

This 17.3-inch monster includes the latest 2GB Nvidia GTX 680M graphics and an Intel quad-core processor.  While the starting price is just $1,499 you can easily end up with a configuration priced at more than $2,500 if you select every available feature.

Despite that huge range in prices — or perhaps because of all those available options — the newest Alienware M17x is one of the best gaming notebooks for serious gamers looking for a well-built customizable gaming notebook.

Rating Average: 8 out of 10

Read the Alienware M17x R4 Review


The latest generation of the 17-inch ASUS G-series gaming notebook features a new backlit keyboard and the latest technology including an Intel Core i7-3610QM processor and a 2GB NVIDIA GTX 660M graphics card in the base configuration.

We were impressed by the anti-glare 1080p display, superb keyboard and touchpad, and the solid build quality. Like the Alienware M17x, the G75 has a starting price around $1,500 but if you want the best processor and the latest graphics card you should be prepared to spend closer to $2,000.

The ASUS G75VW excels in nearly every area as have previous-generation ASUS G-series gaming notebooks.

Rating Average: 8 out of 10

Read the ASUS G75VW Review

#3 Alienware M14x R2

If you’re a serious PC gamer looking for a smaller, lighter gaming notebook chances are you’ve considered the Alienware M14x. This futuristic-looking 14-inch laptop might seem like a prop from a sci-fi movie, but it actually packs an Intel Core i7 “Ivy Bridge” processor, two storage drives, an optical drive, and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics. In short, this laptop delivers a very capable and very fun gaming experience for people who don’t want to haul a larger 17-inch gaming rig.

Our biggest complaint about the M14x R2 (starting at a little more than $1,000) is that the included NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M doesn’t provide as much graphics horsepower as other gaming notebooks in the same price range. The new Alienware M14x R2 is clearly an improvement over the original M14x, but Dell’s Alienware team could have packed more into this notebook.

Rating Average: 7 out of 10

Read the Alienware M14x R2 Review

#4 Clevo P370EM

The Clevo P370EM is a highly customizable 17-inch gaming notebook which is sold under a variety of names by various custom PC builders like AVADirect and Eurocom.

While Clevo notebooks have a reputation for delivering extreme performance in a less-than-attractive design, the P370EM is a step in the right direction with more angled lines, rounded corners and an overall appearnance that looks “a little” more modern the previous Clevo designs.

The Clevo P370EM offers outstanding performance with an improved design but it isn’t quite perfect thanks to minor issues like heavy use of plastics that feel cheap and noisy cooling fans. Still, if you want the ultimate in build-to-order gaming performance then the Clevo P370EM should be near the top of your buying list.

Rating Average: 7 out of 10

Read the Clevo P370EM Review

#5 Clevo W110ERF

Don’t be fooled by the 11.6-inch screen — this “Monster” packs an Intel Core i7-3720QM quad-core processor and Nvidia GT 650M graphics card while staying under 4 pounds and running cool and quiet.

We described the Clevo W110ERF as a “pocket powerhouse” in our review and that’s a reasonable description. This 11-inch laptop is loaded with essentially the same hardware found inside the much larger and heavier Alienware M14x R2 mentioned earlier in our list.

Our editors consider this Clevo to be the spiritual successor to the Alienware M11x which was quietly discontinued by Dell earlier this year. If you’re looking for a small laptop that still delivers big gaming performance then the W110ERF is pretty much your only choice.

Rating Average: 7 out of 10

Read the Clevo W110ERF Review

Want to know which noteboooks are tops in the minds of NotebookReview‘s readers?  Check out our Most Popular Notebooks lists, based on traffic across our site!



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