Gaming on a laptop is no longer the frustrating compromise it once was. Slimmer designs paired with more powerful processors and graphics cards have brought gaming laptops closer than ever to performance previously found only in desktops.
And the pace of innovation hasn’t slowed down. Just in the past year, laptops can now easily support high-end virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, and new designs can fit, as in the case of the 17mm thick , which is the thinnest laptop with an Nvidia GeForce 1080 GPU.
Putting gaming laptops to the test
For this roundup, we’ve taken all the laptops with discrete graphics hardware tested over the past 12 months, and ranked them based on 3D performance. When testing a gaming laptop or desktop, we run preset tests using several games, including Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Bioshock Infinite, and others, along with standard benchmarks like 3DMark, which is designed to test a computer’s 3D graphic rendering capabilities.
For this list, we’re ranking the laptops in order of 3DMark scores, but the real-world game scores (presented as the number of frames of animation per second the laptop can render) match very closely. Note that these scores are specifically for the exact configurations of each laptop we tested, and almost all can be configured with a wide range of options.
The winners are…
The results offer few surprises. The handful of laptops with dual video cards (rare in a laptop) came out on top, followed by laptops with a single Nvidia 1080 GPU and so on down the list. The No. 1 spot is held by the most expensive laptop we’ve ever reviewed, the $9,000 Acer Predator 21 X. But at more reasonable prices, systems from Asus, Alienware, Origin PC, Lenovo, HP, MSI and Razer, among others, are all represented.
As we test many more everyday laptops than gaming ones, the last few spots get us into crossover territory, with Nvidia and AMD GPUs that aren’t really for gaming, so serious gamers should stick with something that has at least an Nvidia 1050 graphics card.
More details on each laptop, including links to reviews and benchmark scores,, with a top-level overview below. We’ll update the rankings as new gaming laptops are tested in the CNET Labs.
Top 25 Gaming Laptop Performers
|System Name||3DMark Fire Strike Ultra score||Graphics Card|
|1||Acer Predator 21X||9444||(2) Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080|
|2||MSI GT83||8594||(2) Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080|
|3||Asus ROG G701V||5226||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080|
|4||Alienware 17 R4||5024||Nvidia GTX GeForce GTX 1080|
|5||Origin PC Eon17-X (2017)||4970||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080|
|6||Origin PC Eon17-X (2016)||4919||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080|
|7||Razer Blade Pro||4456||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080|
|8||Asus ROG G752VS-XS74K||4126||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070|
|9||Asus ROG Zephyrus||4095||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 with Max-Q Design|
|10||Alienware 15 R4||4054||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070|
|11||HP Omen (17-inch)||3816||Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070|
|12||Origin PC Evo 15-S||2671||Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060|
|13||MSI GS73VR-7RF Stealth Pro||2647||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060|
|14||Alienware 13 R3 (OLED late 2016)||2609||Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060|
|15||Razer Blade||2593||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060|
|16||Lenovo Legion Y720||2523||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060|
|17||Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming||1871||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti|
|18||Origin PC EON15-S||1861||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti|
|19||Lenovo Legion Y520||1855||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti|
|20||Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74||1822||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti|
|21||Acer Aspire VX 15 -591G||1252||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050|
|22||Dell XPS 15 (2017)||1242||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050|
|23||Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16||810||Nvidia Quadro M100M|
|24||Samsung NoteBook 9 Pro||547||AMD Radeon 540 Graphics|
|25||HP Spectre x360||357||Nvidia GeForce 940MX|