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The 5 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,000 in 2023

Gaming laptops have come a long way in recent years, with mid-range models now packing impressive power at reasonable prices. If your budget is capped at $1,000, you can get a laptop that will run the latest games smoothly at high settings.

In this buying guide, I‘ve researched the latest gaming laptops under $1,000 to help you find the right one based on your needs. We‘ll look at the most important specs and features to consider when shopping in this price range.

Key Specs to Look For

When choosing a gaming laptop for under $1,000, concentrate your search on models with these core components:

Graphics Card

An Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 or 3050 Ti GPU should be the baseline. These deliver better performance than lower-tier cards while fitting into a $1,000 budget. Discrete graphics are a must for gaming.

CPU

For the processor, target a 12th Gen Intel Core i5 chip or an AMD Ryzen 5 6000 series. These provide good processing power for high-fps gaming and multitasking.

RAM

You‘ll want at least 16GB of RAM, but 32GB is ideal if you can find it. This allows you to game and run other programs smoothly. Upgradeable RAM is a plus.

Storage

512GB of SSD storage should be the minimum. This provides fast loading times for games. Larger capacities are even better for storing more titles.

Display

When it comes to the screen, a 1080p resolution with a 144Hz refresh rate hits the gaming sweet spot while costing less than higher configs.

Keyboard

Look for an RGB backlit keyboard with anti-ghosting for the best gaming experience. These allow enhanced visuals and accurate input.

The 5 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,000

Based on the above criteria, these pre-built gaming laptops deliver the top value and performance under $1,000 as of February 2023.

1. Asus TUF Gaming F17

The Asus TUF Gaming F17 tops our list for its impressive specs and quality packed into a low price point. Here is an overview:

  • Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti GPU
  • Intel Core i5-12450H CPU
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB PCIe SSD
  • 17.3” 144Hz 1080p display

We like the combination of mid-range yet very capable components you usually only see in laptops above the $1,000 range. You get a nice performance bump over baseline 3050 models.

The 144Hz refresh rate display keeps games running smoothly. There is also minimal bloatware allowing you to jump right into gaming. Overall an exceptional value for money.

Pros: Great performance for the price, vibrant 144Hz display, customizable RGB keyboard
Cons: Battery life is just okay when gaming unplugged

2. HP Victus 16

The HP Victus 16 lands in second as a solid all-rounder. It brings some nice quality-of-life additions. Here are the specs:

  • AMD Radeon RX 6500M GPU
  • AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB PCIe SSD
  • 16.1” 144Hz 1080p display

HP put together a balanced combination that handles the latest games very well. The AMD processor and graphics make this a nice pick if you prefer team red.

One highlight feature we like is the added drop hinge design which tilts the keyboard for more comfortable typing. The display colors also pop nicely thanks to the company‘s Eyesafe technology.

Pros: Great AMD performance, vivid 144Hz display with Eyesafe, cool and quiet
Cons: Mediocre battery runtime while gaming

3. Acer Nitro 5

The Acer Nitro 5 has been a well-known budget gaming staple for years, and the latest model continues the trend of pleasing performance at wallet-friendly pricing. Take a look at what it offers:

  • Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU
  • Intel Core i5-12500H processor
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • 15.6” 144Hz 1080p display

While not the fastest configuration, the combo of new 12th Gen Intel processing power plus RTX 30 series graphics allows enjoyable 60+ fps gaming on high settings in all the most popular games.

The display colors won‘t blow you away but still look nice thanks to the fast 144Hz refresh rate. At under 5 pounds, it strikes a good balance between portable and desktop replacement size as well.

Pros: Great performance for the price, decent 144Hz display, thin and light
Cons: chassis and screen flex when pressure applied

4. ASUS TUF Dash 15

For those wanting max portability without sacrificing gaming prowess, the ASUS TUF Dash 15 delivers. Let‘s take a look under the hood:

  • Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU
  • Intel Core i7-12650H CPU
  • 16GB DDR5 RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • 15.6" 165Hz QHD Display

Packing a new 12th gen i7 CPU and RTX 3060 GPU into a super slim 0.8” thick chassis is quite impressive. Toss in next-gen DDR5 RAM helping keep fps high and this an extremely capable portable.

The QHD 165Hz display is noticeably sharper for added gaming immersion. A MUX switch toggles integrated/discrete graphics for max performance or battery savings.

If you want desktop-class visuals gaming on-the-go, the TUF Dash 15 is a fantastic option.

Pros: Powerful specs in a super portable design, vivid QHD 165Hz display
Cons: Runs hot when gaming, no webcam

5. MSI Katana 15

Last up, the MSI Katana 15 puts out nice 1080p performance if visual flare is more your style. Specs include:

  • Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU
  • Intel Core i7-12700H CPU
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 1TB SSD
  • 15.6” 144Hz 1080p display

With its 12th gen Core i7 chip and RTX 3050 graphics, gameplay is quick and responsive to user input, especially competitive online multiplayer titles. The high capacity 1TB SSD provides tons of room for your library.

Where this laptop excels is immersion. The thin bezels surround you in the action and RGB keyboard pulsates with millions of colors. The display angles are also impressive.

If you want lights and gameplay that shine for under $1,000, the Katana 15 delivers.

Pros: Snappy performance, ultra immersive with thin bezels and RGB lighting
Cons: Fan noise under heavy loads

What Else to Consider in 2023

Beyond raw specs, keep a few other tips in mind while gaming laptop shopping on a budget:

  • Watch for sales leading up to spring as retailers clear older inventory
  • Gaming can drain batteries quick, so stay plugged in when possible
  • Test multiple laptops in person at local stores if able
  • Avoid flimsy plastic chassis that crack and break easily
  • Check latest game reqs if focusing on specific new titles

The Bottom Line

The gaming laptop market has progressed tremendously. There are now many excellent pre-built options under $1,000 capable of playing the latest games smoothly. Based on value, performance, and features, the Asus TUF Gaming F17 stands out as best overall. But all five laptops highlighted check the right boxes for gaming within budget constraints.

I hope this guide of the latest mid-range models assists you in finding your perfect portable gaming machine. Let me know if you have any other questions!