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The Ultimate Guide to Buying Gaming Laptops Under $2000

Gaming laptops continue to rival high-end desktops when it comes to sheer processing muscle and buttery smooth graphics in a portable form factor. Powered by lightning-fast CPUs and VR-ready discrete GPUs working in tandem, today‘s notebooks allow gamers to immerse in photorealistic AAA titles at high resolutions and frame rates, no matter where they game.

If you have up to $2000 to spend, numerous options accessible that deliver desktop-class performance topping over 100 FPS across top games. This guide will explore the key factors to consider when choosing the right gaming laptop under $2000 and provide detailed recommendations of 5 exceptional contenders worthy of your investment.

Key Specs that Impact Gaming Experience

When examining specifications and benchmarks of sub $2000 gaming laptops in 2023, a few key factors have an outsized impact on real-world gaming speeds and visual quality:

CPU (Processor)

The CPU undertakes critical computing tasks tied to game physics, individual AI behaviors, script processing and more. Top gaming laptop processors in 2023 include:

  • Intel Core i7-12700H/i7-12800H – 14 cores/20 threads, up to 4.7 GHz Turbo, 24MB Cache
  • AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX – 8 cores/16 threads, up to 4.9 GHz max boost, 20MB cache

AMD‘s energy-efficient Ryen 6000 and Intel‘s performance-tuned 12th Gen HX models compete directly in today‘s gaming laptops. At similar core counts, Intel CPUs edge out AMD alternatives at peak clock speeds. But AMD provides smoother frame pacing and excels in multicore optimized applications.

For 60+ FPS 1080p/1440p gaming, both chipsets get the job done excellently when paired with fast graphics.

GPU (Graphics Card)

Gaming laptop GPUs render and display the lighting effects, textures, 3D assets that immerse you into interactive worlds. Nvidia‘s GeForce RTX 3000 series and AMD RDNA 2 cards dominate:

  • RTX 3060/3070/3070 Ti – efficient 1080p/1440p gaming at 60+ FPS
  • RTX 3080/3080 Ti – uncompromising 1440p/4K gaming, future-proof

Nvidia GPUs excel at real-time ray tracing and upscaling thanks to dedicated RT/Tensor cores. Plus features like G-Sync, Reflex and Broadcast ensure smoother low-latency gaming. The RTX 3070 / 3080 are your best bets for responsive immersive gaming under $2000.

Display Resolution

Display resolution determines image sharpness and level of detail visible in games. Three choices are widely accessible:

  • 1080p – Most popular, fast 144Hz+ refresh rates under $1500
  • 1440p QHD – Ideal middle ground, night/day over 1080p
  • 4K UHD – Stunningly detailed but hard to power over 60 FPS

At 15-inches, smooth 1440p gaming at high refresh rates (165Hz+) represents the current sweet spot for gaming laptops costing around $2000 or less in 2023. Expand your budget for uncompromised 4K resolution.

Gaming laptop GPU comparison chart

Image source: NotebookCheck


System memory keeps games running fluidly as textures and geometry data is transferred rapidly to the GPU instead of slower storage. Look for:

  • 16GB DDR4 3200MHz – Minimum for future gaming needs in 2023
  • 32GB DDR5 4800Mhz – Ideal for future-proofing and intensive creative work

While 8GB remains sufficient for now, many newer titles are starting to bottleneck with less than 16GB memory. Speedy DDR5 configurations offer some future-proofing but good DDR4 options still hold up. Aim for 16GB while 32GB allows seamless gaming/streaming.


Gaming laptops need speedy storage for fast asset streaming without game stutter or sluggish texture pop-in. Top options:

  • 512GB-1TB PCIe NVMe SSD – Rapid boot and level load times
  • 2TB HDD – Affordable extra game storage

SSD prices keep falling making blazing-fast 1TB models common even in mid-range laptops. For sheer capacity to install your 100+ game library, add a roomy high-RPM hard disk drive. Ideally get a 1TB SSD paired with an HDD.

Best Gaming Laptops Under $2000 in 2023

Armed with insight on key specifications that directly impact real-world gaming experiences on laptops, let‘s examine some stellar sub $2000 models that excel across these metrics.

Overall: ASUS ROG Strix G17

AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX | NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti | 17.3” QHD 240Hz | 32GB RAM | 1TB SSD

Asus ROG Strix G17 gaming laptop

The stellar ROG Strix G17 leverages AMD and Nvidia‘s fastest laptop chips delivering exemplary 1440p gaming speeds. The Ryzen 9 CPU and RTX 3070 Ti GPU push frame rates past 140+ FPS in esports titles and stay comfortably over 60 FPS across photorealistic AAA games.

You get ample 32GB DDR5 RAM for seamless gaming while streaming and a roomy 1TB SSD stores many games with no slowdowns. Visually, the vibrant 17.3-inch screen renders QHD gaming at an ultra-fluid 240Hz backed by 3ms GtG response for minimal motion blur in competitive shooters like Apex Legends.

Advanced cooling marries liquid metal conductonaut V on the CPU and graphical processing unit (GPU) with self-cleaning anti-dust technology to prevent thermal throttling after hours long gaming marathons. Top-firing speakers backed by Dolby Atmos enhance immersion via 3D spatial sound.

At just 6 pounds despite the larger screen, the updated 2023 ROG Strix G17 retains portable dimensions meaning you can reliably game on max settings during commutes or travels. With its uncompromising specs and thoughtful design, the ASUS ROG Strix G17 is hard to beat as best-in-class gaming laptop just shy of $2000.

Time Spy GPU Score: 11,862 
Shadow of Tomb Raider FPS: 126 fps 
Red Dead Redemption 2 FPS: 92 fps  

Benchmarks show impressive 1440p gaming performance on the ROG Strix G17

Most Powerful: MSI Raider GE77HX 12UGS

Intel Core i9-12900HX | NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti | 32GB DDR5-4800 RAM | 2TB SSD

If you want sheer processing might paired with a gorgeous display, the MSI Raider GE77 12UGS delivers in spades. Intel‘s top-end 8 P-core, 8 E-core i9-12900HX desktop CPUunlocks maximum frame rates in games. Nvidia‘s premium 150W RTX 3080 Ti mobile GPU drives triple digit 1440p speeds in AAA titles on max settings.

MSI Raider GE77HX Gaming Laptop

You also get a lavish 17.3-inch QHD panel with blazing 240Hz refresh rates for phenomenally fluid visuals backed by MSI‘s custom True Color display technology with 100% DCI-P3 color accuracy. A sky-high 2TB of NVMe SSD storage holds a vast game library with no slowdowns. Rounding it out is an RGB gaming keyboard by SteelSeries for style and accuracy along with top-firing speakers and amplifier by Dynaudio.

Advanced cooling allows the Raider GE77 to sustain its beefy hardware at peak speeds while an enormous 99Whr battery keeps you gaming for over 8 hours away from a charger. At expectedly higher budgets north of $2500, few gaming laptops rival the MSI Raider GE77 12UGS when it comes uncompromising gaming prowess paired with premium craftsmanship and displays.

3D Mark Time Spy GPU: 13746  
Far Cry 6 FPS (1440p Ultra): 92 fps
Call of Duty Warzone FPS (1440p High): 155 fps

Incredible 1440p speeds seen in AAA games on the MSI Raider‘s desktop-class hardware

Best Display: Razer Blade 15 (2022)

Intel i7-12800H | RTX 3080 Ti | 16GB DDR5 RAM | 1TB SSD | 15.6" QHD 240Hz

The latest Razer Blade 15 remains a perennial favorite for its stunning displays paired with chart-topping Internals within an elegant lightweight metal chassis. The laptop pushes over 100+ FPS in multiplayer games backed by Intel‘s 1280H 14-core chip and Nvidia‘s top laptop GPU.

Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop

But its the eye-catching 15.6-inch 1440p screen running at 240Hz which especially shines – matching high-end gaming monitors in fluidity and vibrance. With 100% DCI-P3 color coverage, fast GTG pixel response and over 500 nits peak brightness, few laptops rival the Blade 15 in sheer visual splendor.

Vapor chamber cooling, abundant memory/storage, THX Spatial audio and an array of ports optimally position the 2022 Razer Blade 15 as a versatile creative workhorse beyond gaming. While pricing sits on the higher end, few alternatives exude the design panache and craftsmanship of this enduring premium performer especially configured at around $2500.

Horizon Zero Dawn FPS (Ultimate Quality): 104 fps 
Red Dead Redemption 2 FPS (Ultra Settings): 92 fps
Microsoft Flight Simulator (Ultra): 60 fps+
  • Impressive speeds shown across graphically-intensive AAA gaming titles*

Best Value: Lenovo Legion 5i Pro (2022)

Intel i7-12700H | NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti | 16GB DDR5 RAM | 1TB SSD Storage | 16-inch QHD 165Hz Display

The Lenovo Legion 5i Pro provides excellent 16-inch QHD gaming speeds while keeping pricing lower via smart tradeoffs and streamlined design. You still get cutting-edge 12th Gen Intel processing and capable RTX 3070 Ti graphics for reliable 60 fps+ frame rates in photorealistic titles with ray tracing enabled.

Lenovo Legion 5i Pro Gaming Laptop

The 16-inch 16:10 screen hits a welcome middle ground between desktop replacements and truly portable options while retaining immersive 2560 x 1600 resolution and snappy 165Hz refresh rates. Support for Dolby Vision and 100% sRGB coverage provides vibrant gaming visuals while Lenovo‘s patented Coldfront cooling stops throttling during marathon sessions.

With its smart combination of new power-efficient internals wrapped within a practical and relatively affordable package, the 2022 Legion 5i Pro epitomizes excellent value among cutting-edge gaming notebooks. Costing almost a $1000 less than premium alternatives, few comparable models challenge the holistic competency it provides across portable gaming experiences in 2023.

Assassins Creed Valhalla FPS (Ultra Settings): 71 fps
Battlefield 2042 FPS (Ultra Preset) 100 fps  
Cyberpunk 2077 FPS (Max Settings): 58 fps
  • Impressive AAA gaming speeds seen on the Legion 5i Pro‘s 12th Gen Intel + RTX 3070 Ti specs*

Additional Capabilities to Consider

Beyond laptop specifications directly tied to gaming speeds and quality, additional capabilities can elevate your day-to-day experiences:

Battery Life

Gaming laptops consume power quickly especially when gaming without being plugged in. But battery life has improved allowing 2+ hours of AAA gaming or 10+ hours of general usage:

3-4 hours – Entry-level battery capacity
5-8 hours – Great for most travel/commutes
10+ hours – Whole workdays away from charger

Webcam & Mics

With gaming increasingly happening online, a 1080p webcam allows clearer video chat and streaming faced pared with sensitive mics for voice:

720p + Dual Mics – Usable quality on most models
1080p webcam + Quad Mics – Ideal for streaming/competitive gaming

Cooling & Acoustics

Advanced cooling ensures stable clock speeds during intensive gaming while quieter acoustic profiles allow immersive gaming without noisy fan whirl:

Basic Air Cooling – Prone to thermal throttling over time
Vapor Chambers – Effective for gaming, moderate noise
Liquid Cooling – Gold standard cooling, near silent fans


Low latency wired/wireless connectivity provides stutter-free online gaming especially in competitive multiplayer titles:

Gigabit Ethernet + WiFi 6 – Minimum for lag-free gaming
2.5G LAN + WiFi 6E – Future-proofed for cloud gaming


Ample ports allow effortless connections for gaming mice, gamepads, external displays without needing dongles or hubs:

3x USB 3.2 + HDMI 2.1 + Ethernet – Decent port selection
4x USB + 2x USB-C DP/Thunderbolt + Ethernet – Versatile connectivity

Optimizing Your Gaming Laptop Purchase

Follow these best practices when purchasing and setting up a new high-performance gaming notebook:

  • Clean Install OS – Wipe bloatware for snappier gaming speeds post purchase
  • Update Drivers/BIOS – Download latest stable gaming drivers/firmware
  • Tune Control Panel – Customize system settings for gaming workloads
  • Tweak Game Settings – Disable unnecessary visual effects for faster FPS
  • Use Cooling Pad – External cooling prevents GPU/CPU thermal throttling
  • Handle Carefully – Avoid bumps/drops and use padded bag during travel

FAQs on Gaming Laptop Technologies

Q: How much better is a high-end RTX 3080 over cheaper RTX 3060 laptop?

A desktop RTX 3080 is about 70% faster than RTX 3060 – but laptop models range from 80W to 150+W power limiting real-world leads to between 35-55% in AAA gaming when paired with equal CPUs. Still a worthy upgrade if budget allows for sharper 1440p gaming.

Q: Do liquid-cooled gaming laptops provide markedly better performance?

A: In AAA gaming, average FPS gains are muted at 10-15% over traditional heatpipe cooling – but liquid options prevent sharp throttling allowing extremely stable clock speeds after hours of intensive gaming. Acoustics are also quieter, with less audible fan whirl.

Q: Is a 4K screen overkill for gaming laptops under $2000?

A: For laptops limited to 100W GPUs, reliable 60 FPS AAA gaming requires dialing back demanding settings at 4K – more power plus DLSS/FSR upscaling is recommended. But for imaging/video editing workflows, 4K provides ample resolution in a portable form factor.

Q: How many years should a good $1500+ gaming laptop last?

A: 3-4 years of reliable 60 FPS+ gaming at 1080p/1440p provided you clean fans regularly and repaste CPUs/GPUs by years 2-3. Some copied components like RAM/storage can be upgraded but core internals age limiting modern gaming suitability over time.

Q: Do gaming laptops with metal builds feel more premium? Why?

A: Machined aluminum/magnesium alloy laptop chassis feel cooler to touch, age better over time versus cheap plastic. Metallic builds also flex less during travel while their tighter tolerances enable more efficient cooling long term.

Key Takeaways on Buying Gaming Laptops

Gaming notebooks continue to offer remarkable performance rivalling premium desktops thanks to cutting-edge mobile parts from team blue and team red. When coupled with high refresh rate QHD displays, speedy DDR5 memory and ample solid state storage, an investment of around $1500 to $2000 buys you uncompromised AAA gaming on the go.

As component speeds inch closer across brands, ancillary capabilities can provide key differentiation. Areas like battery endurance, webcam quality, streaming microphones, advanced cooling solutions and even small touches like per-key RGB backlighting deserve consideration alongside core computing specs.

By optimizing across graphics power, smooth refresh rates, realistic resolution along with smart tradeoffs on peripherals, modern gaming laptops deliver immersive high FPS experiences across popular competitive and AAA gaming titles. For busy gamers needing power packed into a portable chassis, they continue to evolve as formidable desktop PC alternatives.