In the PC of the Month section, we traditionally offer balanced gaming PC options based on expected announcements, new components, and their availability in Ukraine. Having already gained some experience, we decided to extend it to mobile systems by offering a new series of Laptop of the Month materials. At first glance, the approaches to choosing desktop and laptop PCs may seem to have little in common, but when it comes to gaming solutions, both have one goal in mind: to get powerful platforms for the most demanding projects.

So, there are enough points of contact here, but there will be some peculiarities that we will take into account when analyzing the available configurations of gaming laptops of different classes.

As with desktops, the choice of a mobile platform usually has certain financial limits, when the available budget becomes the starting point.

Therefore, we propose to consider the situation in three price categories: basic gaming laptops ($800–1100), optimal gaming laptops ($1300–1800), and advanced gaming laptops ($2500+). The definition of price groups is rather arbitrary – the variety of mobile system configurations is so wide that it is difficult to apply a clear distinction. However, a certain classification will help you navigate the offers and identify the most interesting options.

Basic gaming laptops ($800–1100)

Processors Intel Core i5-13420H/13500H, Core i5-12450H/12500H, Core i5-1240P, Core i5-11400H
AMD Ryzen 5 5600H/6600H, Ryzen 7 5800H/6800H, Ryzen 7 7735HS, Ryzen 5 7640HS, Ryzen 5 5625U/7530U, Ryzen 7 5825U
Video cards GeForce RTX 3050/3050 Ti 4 GB, GeForce RTX 3060 6 GB, GeForce RTX 4050 6 GB
Radeon RX 6500M 4 GB, Radeon RX 6600M 8 GB, Radeon RX 7600S 8 GB
Memory 16 GBDDR4/DDR5
Storage device 500 GB / 1 TB SSD M.2 NVMe
Screen 15,6″, 16″, 17,3″, 1920×1080/1920×1200, 120/144/165+ Hz

Approximate configuration of basic gaming laptops

Laptop model Laptop configuration Approximate price
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-46 (NH.QGXEP.005) Ryzen 5 6600H/GeForce RTX 3050 4 GB/16 GB DDR5/SSD 500 GB/ 15,6″ IPS, 1920×1080, 144 Hz 33 000 UAH
ASUS TUF Gaming F15 (FX507ZC4-HN018) Core i5-12500H/GeForce RTX 3050 4 GB/16 GB DDR4/SSD 500 GB/15,6 IPS, 1920×1080, 144 Hz 34 000 UAH
MSI Thin GF63
(GF63 12UCX-012XPL)
Core i5-12500H/GeForce RTX 2050 4 GB/16 GB DDR4/SSD 500 GB/15,6″ IPS, 1920×1080, 144 Hz 28 000 UAH
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 15IAH7 (82S900JTPB) Core i5-12450H/GeForce RTX 3060 6 GB/16 GB DDR4/SSD 500 GB/15,6″ IPS, 1920×1080, 165 Hz 43 000 UAH
Core i5-12500H/GeForce RTX 4050 6 GB/16 GB DDR4/SSD 500 GB/17,3″ IPS, 1920×1080, 360 Hz 41 000 UAH
ASUS TUF Gaming A15 (FA507NU-LP031) Ryzen 7 7735HS/GeForce RTX 4050 6 GB/16 GB DDR5/SSD 500 GB/15,6″ IPS, 1920×1080, 144 Hz 42 000 UAH

When considering the configurations of entry-level gaming laptops, we focused on configurations that can handle even resource-intensive projects. Even if these are modes with average or even lower picture quality, the system performance should be enough to get acceptable fps. Given the cost, some compromises will have to be made, but the general idea remains the same – full readiness for any gaming challenges.

Processors. While in the case of desktops, the processor is the key element that determines the use of a particular platform, in gaming laptops, its influence is somewhat fading into the background. Of course, the CPU remains an important component of the system, but it is unlikely that anyone will choose a mobile gaming platform based on the processor installed. Taking into account the format and potential cooling capabilities of mobile systems, we can make a certain discount on the overall computing power of laptop processors. But when it comes to gaming laptops, CPU performance also plays a role. Moreover, it will not be possible to replace the processor in the future – manufacturers have not provided such an option for a long time. Chips on relatively new laptops are soldered directly to the motherboard.

So although the requirements for mobile CPUs are somewhat lower, it is still desirable that they meet certain criteria. Therefore, even in basic gaming configurations, we recommend that you pay attention to models equipped with 6-core processors with multithreading support, which can provide the required level of performance and at least will not become a limiting factor for fps.

The chip palette in current laptops is very diverse and heterogeneous, but let’s pay attention to the most common CPUs in the category of entry-level mobile gaming systems. Among the models on the Intel platform, the most attractive are probably the Core i5-13420H/13500H chips of the Raptor Lake-H line with a functional formula of 4/8+4 for the younger model and 4/8+8 for the older one. Additional energy-efficient cores will be an effective help in cases where productive computers need a boost. The same applies to the popular Core i5-12450H/12500H processors of the Alder Lake-H family, for which the hybrid P/E-Cores layout was used for the first time. Among the 12th generation mobile chips, we can also distinguish Core i5-1240P (4/8+8). A more economical variant with a base TDP of 28 W is not often found in entry-level gaming laptops, but the chip’s capabilities allow us to include models based on it in the list of suitable ones.

Among entry-level gaming laptops, there are still many models with processors of previous generations. In the case of mobile systems, such options can be considered. There are still plenty of systems on the market equipped with 11th and even 10th generation Intel Core. Although it may seem strange to focus on models with CPUs that were introduced in 2020/21 at the beginning of 2024, in certain niches the progress during this time was not so significant that it became a fundamental issue. If the processor can handle the load and is not a limiting factor, then why not? There are still a lot of budget gaming laptops offered with Core i5-11400H. It’s a perfectly reasonable working option for models in this class. The 6-core 12-thread Tiger Lake chip offers enough power for entry-level gaming laptops.

However, when relying on chips of previous generations, you need to pay more attention to the characteristics of specific models. For example, if Core i5-11400H suits us quite well, then the Core i5-11300H/11320H models, which are also still quite common in basic gaming configurations, already raise some questions. These are 4-core chips with Hyper-Threading support. In such a case, we find ourselves in a situation similar to what we have on desktops with Core i3. The processors seem to cope well with most games, but in resource-intensive projects, their power may no longer be enough. And while in a desktop system, the CPU can be replaced with a more powerful model later, in laptops, such an upgrade is impossible.

Mobile CPUs do not always have a logical and structured labeling system. Therefore, a healthy meticulousness when studying the characteristics of specific processor models will not hurt.

A good example is the very popular Core i7-11370H, which, despite belonging to the venerable Core i7 line, also has a suboptimal 4/8 functional formula for gaming systems.

Laptops with 10th-generation Intel Core chips are still on sale. Usually these are Core i5-10300H/10200H, which also do not look attractive due to the 4/8 functional formula. Although the older Core i5-10500H model already has a 6-core configuration, in 2024 14-nanometer mobile chips of the Comet Lake family are not what I would like to see in my new system.

Among Intel’s solutions, we should also mention the brand new Core Ultra. Laptops with Meteor Lake processors are just now appearing on sale, and these are mostly models with top-end CPUs. Therefore, the likelihood of coming across such chips in entry-level gaming configurations is still low. The same applies to new models based on the 14th generation Core.

Among the laptops that potentially fall into the category of basic gaming laptops, many models are equipped with AMD processors. And here the variety of CPUs is hardly inferior to that of the main competitor. An overly wide range usually does not simplify the choice, but it allows you to take into account specific requests. What are they in the case of a gaming laptop? Here, the principle remains the same: you need a CPU with enough power for even the most demanding projects. So, as with the Intel platform, we focus on 6-core 12-threaded chips in this category.

The Ryzen 5 5600H and Ryzen 6600H are worth noting here. These are the “pillars” on which a large part of inexpensive gaming models rest. Proven hexa-core processors with a fairly good balance of characteristics. The newer model is slightly more productive due to higher operating frequencies and the use of Zen 3+ architecture, instead of Zen 3 in Ryzen 5 5600H. In addition, the Ryzen 6600H already has PCI-E 4.0 support, which makes it easier to connect high-speed SSDs. But in general, both chips will do an excellent job.

Among the relatively inexpensive laptops (up to $1000) with discrete graphics, you can also find models with Ryzen 7 5800H/6800H. These are already 8-core chips, which also have similar differences between generations as the younger 6-core models of these generations. In configurations with entry-level graphics cards, there will already be a certain asymmetry of characteristics with a bias towards the CPU. Such solutions are more interesting if you need to increase the performance of the CPU.


Laptop of the month: gaming models
In the case of laptop processors, you should pay close attention to the characteristics of certain chips. Models of the same line can differ significantly in terms of parameters (number of cores, operating frequency, cache capacity).

Fewer entry-level gaming laptops are equipped with Ryzen 7000 chips. For this category of systems, 6-core Ryzen 5 7535HS and especially Ryzen 5 7640HS are perfect. The latter, in addition to the desired 6/12 functional configuration, already carries the Zen 4 processor microarchitecture and has integrated Radeon 760M (RDNA3) graphics. In addition, it is also equipped with a Ryzen AI unit, which allows you to more closely monitor the development of AI applications that can be used locally. AMD has recently offered the opportunity to experiment with creating a local chatbot using the LLM AI model on platforms with Ryzen AI processors. Therefore, the presence of such an NPU unit is gradually gaining practical meaning. It is worth reminding that the hardware “neural accelerator” was also provided by the new Intel Core Ultra chips, but as we have already noted, laptops based on these CPUs are not yet represented in the basic category.

As with previous generations of chips, the presence of 8-core Ryzen 7 7735HS and Ryzen 7 7840HS in entry-level models is likely to be excessive in terms of CPU/GPU capabilities. These CPUs will do an excellent job, but in the context of gaming solutions, their potential will usually not be used due to the limited power of typical laptop graphics cards in this class.

AMD has also recently offered already updated lines of mobile processors Ryzen 8000. There are not many fundamental differences from the previous generation chips this time. One of them is a noticeable acceleration of the NPU unit (up to +40%), which is only just beginning to provide practical benefits. We are definitely expecting laptops with new CPUs. For the basic category, the initial 6-core models will remain a priority.

In the context of the AMD platform, we can also consider laptops that use economical versions of processors. These are rather exceptional conditions for cases where, in addition to the gaming load, there is a need for long battery life from time to time. For such conditions, 15-watt CPU models can be a compromise solution, although laptops with such processors are usually not equipped with discrete video cards. Among the economical chips, special attention is paid to Ryzen 5 5625U, Ryzen 7 5825U, and Ryzen 5 7530U. The less powerful Ryzen 5 5500U and Ryzen 5 7520U should be excluded from the list of gaming laptops due to the reduced L3 cache capacity. But once again, we emphasize that chips with lower power consumption are a priori intended for models with improved battery life, and for purely gaming laptops it is more logical to look towards versions with a TDP of 35-45 watts.

Video cards. As with desktops, for gaming laptops we suggest considering models equipped with discrete graphics cards. Yes, indeed, certain new processors are already equipped with a relatively powerful integrated video core that allows you to run even resource-intensive games. But by the term “gaming laptop,” we still mean a platform that can provide comfortable performance in any project. Therefore, the combination of a CPU with separate GPUs, which has local memory with increased bandwidth, has advantages here.

In the case of affordable gaming laptops, we recommend focusing on models with GeForce RTX 3050 4GB. In fact, this is the starting point for models in this class. Yes, the technical parameters of this graphics adapter will not surprise you, but the GPU capabilities will allow you to get sufficient performance in Full HD with medium quality settings in most games. In the most demanding projects, you may need to experiment with the settings further, and this is not excluded due to the availability of only 4 GB of memory. DLSS support can also help to increase the number of fps, which in a balanced version really allows you to speed up without a noticeable loss of picture quality. Although some visual effects can be observed, we are still talking about the native 1920×1080 mode. By the way, activating scaling additionally reduces the requirements for video card memory capacity, which will also be very useful in this case.

It is worth noting that there are several variants of GeForce RTX 3050 Laptop series mobile graphics cards, including Max-Q versions, versions with an increased number of CUDA cores, 6 GB of memory, and a 96-bit bus. In addition, the adapters can also be offered in versions with different standard TDPs (35-80 watts), which will affect the actual operating frequencies. So there are a lot of variations.

Among the most affordable gaming laptops, you can also consider options with GeForce RTX 2050 4GB. Oddly enough, despite the name, this model belongs to the Ampere architecture generation of adapters and uses the GA107 GPU. The difference from the classic GeForce RTX 3050 4GB is actually in the reduced bus bit depth from 128 to 64 bits and slightly lower GPU operating frequencies. Despite some losses, the newer model is functionally as good as the RTX 3050. There will definitely be a performance decrease, although the actual difference will depend on the specific project. In some, it will be ~5%, in others it can reach +20%. One way or another, the GeForce RTX 2050 4GB will definitely not be inferior to the mobile GeForce GTX 1650 4GB, and unlike the latter, it supports DLSS. However, GeForce RTX 2050 is the lower limit and is more of a necessary measure. Such GPUs are usually found in models claiming to be gaming for the equivalent of $650-750.

Laptop of the month: gaming models
Gaming laptops with GeForce RTX 2050/3050/3050 Ti graphics cards should be chosen only if you have a limited budget (up to ~$800).

Some budget gaming models are equipped with GeForce RTX 3050 Ti 4GB graphics cards, which are usually only 5-10% more efficient than RTX 3050. Therefore, Ti-variants are also suitable, but only if the cost of a laptop with this modification of the video card is not fundamentally different from that of configurations with a basic GeForce RTX 3050 4 GB.

With a budget of $1000+ for a gaming laptop, it makes sense to take a closer look at models with GeForce RTX 3060 6GB video cards. Almost twice the number of CUDA computers (3840 vs. 2048), 192-bit bus resolution, and 6 GB of memory allow for a very tangible acceleration. The increase in fps can reach 50+%, although here you should take into account the peculiarity of mobile adapters, which can be configured to work with TDP in a very wide range. For the GeForce RTX 3060 6GB, it is in the range of 60-115 watts, so there will be a difference in performance. Laptops with GeForce RTX 3060 6 GB initially belonged more to the mid-range models, but with the gradual price reduction, we can already consider them at the upper end of the basic category. If you are interested in the gaming performance of a mobile platform, it makes sense to take a closer look at models with GeForce RTX 3060 6 GB.

Laptops with GeForce RTX 4050 6GB graphics cards are also very competitive in this category. The base model on the Ada Lovelace GPU architecture has received a significant acceleration compared to its formal predecessor. The GeForce RTX 4050 6GB has a 35-40% advantage over the GeForce RTX 3050 4GB, although the difference significantly depends on the specific project. In some it is only 5-10%, in others – up to 50-60%. In general, the performance is still significantly different, so if you choose a gaming laptop from the $1000+ models, the versions with GeForce RTX 4050 have an advantage.

When comparing the capabilities of the GeForce RTX 3060 6GB and GeForce RTX 4050 6GB mobile cards, we can talk about a certain parity. The older model of the previous generation will mostly have a slight advantage in classic rendering modes, due to the much larger number of CUDA computers and memory bandwidth (336 GB/s vs. 192 GB/s). At the same time, the new GeForce RTX 4050 supports DLSS 3 with Frame Generation, which in projects with its implementation allows you to get a noticeable acceleration and outperform the previous generation. Both graphics cards are equipped with 6 GB of memory, so even when using Full HD mode in heavy projects, you will have to adjust the quality modes so that the available capacity is sufficient.

For basic gaming models costing ~$800, it is better to focus on GeForce RTX 3050/3050 Ti 4 GB, in some cases for even more affordable laptops – GeForce RTX 2050 4 GB. If you’re ready to spend ~$1000 on a gaming laptop, go for models with GeForce RTX 3060 6GB or GeForce RTX 4050 6GB.

You may have already noticed that the list of recommended graphics cards does not include AMD solutions. Unfortunately, unlike the desktop market, where Radeon is a very worthy opponent to GeForce, the situation in the mobile graphics segment is more sad. Here we have almost complete hegemony of NVIDIA. Laptop models with AMD graphics cards are very poorly represented on the market. If you really want to, you can try to find laptops with Radeon RX 6500M 4 GB that will compete with laptops with GeForce RTX 3050 4 GB. In turn, the Radeon RX 6600M 8GB puts up a fight against the GeForce RTX 3060 6GB and GeForce RTX 4050 6GB. Or, rather, it could do so, if not for the unfortunate fact that the number of available models with this graphic in Ukraine can be counted on one hand.

The best performance can be offered by the Radeon RX 7600S 8 GB, but of the available models with this video card, only a few variations of the ASUS TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition have been on the market for quite some time. So the “rebels” who fundamentally reject the dominance of NVIDIA solutions have few alternatives, but they do have them.

In this context, we can also mention the Intel Arc A370M 4 GB, which could compete with GeForce RTX 2050/3050 and Radeon RX 6500M, but the range of laptops with Intel graphics cards is also quite modest, and in Ukraine, these are mostly models costing more than $1000. And there are already many more powerful RTX 3060/4050 models available in this price category.

For basic gaming configurations, we suggest considering laptops with 16 GB of RAM. This is a rational minimum, which is still enough even for resource-intensive projects. Affordable laptops are often equipped with 8 GB, but these are options only for simple everyday work. A modern operating system and a browser with a dozen open web pages will already take up more than half of this capacity, so 16 GB is a must for gaming.

What kind of RAM standard is required? This question is at the sole discretion of the laptop manufacturer and depends on the technical capabilities of a particular platform.

For example, 10th/11th generation Intel Core mobile chips work with DDR4, while 12th/13th/14th generation Core processors have a combined controller that allows the use of DDR4 or DDR5, as well as economical LPDDR4/4x/5 options. The new Core Ultra processors rely exclusively on DDR5 and LPDDR5/5x. AMD’s mobile Ryzen 5000 range includes DDR4, Ryzen 6000 processors with DDR5, Ryzen 7000 and Ryzen 8000 with DDR5 and LPDDR5/5x.

Newer models are mostly offered with DDR5. However, the use of DDR4 is definitely not a reason to refuse a certain laptop if it suits you perfectly by other criteria. As for the memory modes, they are usually basic – DDR5-4800/5200, DDR4-2666/3200, and even these are not always indicated in the specifications. While we pay more attention to this aspect in the case of desktops, we make a certain allowance for mobile systems. Here, the priority is the total RAM capacity.

We pay special attention to the use of LPDDR memory. This is a litmus test and an indicator that the corresponding RAM chips are soldered directly to the motherboard, and the laptop does not provide for the possibility of upgrading RAM. Typically, memory of such standards with a reduced supply voltage is used in more compact models, where it is essential to obtain improved battery life. Among budget gaming laptops, models with LPDDR4x/5x are rather the exception, but they do come across. So if it is important for you to leave the possibility of increasing memory capacity in the future, choose among models with classic DDR5/DDR4, which have two slots for the corresponding SO-DIMM modules.

It is also worth mentioning a possible atypical variant when the laptop board is already soldered with DRAM chips of basic capacity (for example, 8 GB), while there is only one SO-DIMM slot for additional memory expansion. This situation is also quite rare and you are unlikely to find such an option among budget gaming models. One of the characteristic features of such a configuration is that the maximum memory capacity of the laptop is 24 GB.

To avoid adding unnecessary fear, we note that the vast majority of models in the category of basic gaming laptops will still be equipped with two DDR4/DDR5 slots and, if necessary, will allow you to increase the total capacity to 32/64 GB. But if you are counting on this possibility, it will not be superfluous to clarify the specification of the laptop in the context of the capabilities of the memory subsystem.

Storage devices. Entry-level gaming laptops are mostly equipped with 500 GB drives. Of course, in all cases, we are talking about SSDs. Laptop specifications do not specify the manufacturer, model, or performance indicators. The reason is that this is a variable option that can differ even within the same laptop model from different batches. Usually, these are relatively simple M.2 NVMe SSDs. So it’s safe to say that you won’t be offered old, slow 2.5″ SATA drives. Such models with an additional case and connection cables are already more expensive than a “textolite plate” of the M.2 2280 format.

As with RAM, we are primarily interested in the total capacity of the SSD. For quite a while now, we’ve been recommending that basic gaming desktops use 1 TB drives. The mobile format has its own peculiarities. Of course, the existing needs in this case do not change, but for modifications of laptops with increased SSD capacity, manufacturers usually ask for a significantly higher price than the difference in the cost of the drives themselves.

The forced start is 500 GB. But if possible, choose the 1 TB SSD version right away. Later, when you have to install games on 100-150 GB and receive updates on 50-70 GB, you will repeatedly remember the strategically correct calculation that prevailed over the natural desire to save money.

If you need to increase the SSD capacity, which is likely to happen fairly quickly, you can replace the system SSD with a suitable drive. Certain laptop models offer two M.2 SSD slots. This is ideal because it allows you to easily expand the space for installing new projects. However, the presence of a second M.2 port is more typical for higher-end laptops, but it is not a mandatory option in that category either. Such points require separate clarification for your laptop model.

If you can’t add a second SSD, you’ll have to replace the system SSD, having previously backed up the necessary data. One way or another, in order not to void the manufacturer’s warranty, even if you have the appropriate skills, you will have to contact an authorized service center to upgrade the SSD. Unfortunately, the idea of simple and convenient access to memory and SSD bays, which laptop manufacturers have periodically implemented in practice, has not been developed. Such initiatives did not catch on. Let’s assume that this is due to the increase in cases of unskilled intervention and its consequences, as well as the banal increase in the cost of design with niches for quick access to individual components.

Relatively affordable entry-level gaming laptops mostly have a 15,6” screen diagonal and are equipped with IPS panels with a resolution of 1920×1080 with a high refresh rate (144+ Hz). This is a typical and most popular format in this class. In general, this is a good combination for comfortable gaming on a laptop. But you should pay attention to the fact that despite belonging to the IPS family (much less often – VA), budget high-speed matrices cannot boast of color reproduction quality. Color gamut of 50-60% sRGB is typical for basic-class panels. This point should be taken into account if you plan to use the laptop for professional work, where this parameter can be crucial.

Laptop of the month: gaming models
For the category of basic gaming laptops, models with screens that have a resolution of 1920×1080 (Full HD) are best suited.

The number of offers in the 16–16,1” format with a resolution of 1920×1200 has increased significantly over the past year among inexpensive gaming models. A higher density of dots vertically expands the horizon, but also slightly increases performance requirements. There are also a lot of 17.3-inch laptops among the balanced offerings. If you play without an external screen, a larger display also adds convenience. Therefore, the choice of format here is more likely to be determined by personal preferences, as well as the future model of laptop use.

If this is mainly a gaming platform that will be used for its intended purpose in stationary mode, it makes no sense to focus on models of smaller formats (13.3-14″). A smaller screen area is not convenient for gaming. The same applies to the pursuit of thin and light laptops. Smaller models are more likely to have additional restrictions on video card power consumption, which will certainly affect performance.

In turn, the lighter weight in this class of laptops may signal a simplified cooling system, which means potentially increased component heating and noise levels under load. So, gamers and techies have fundamentally different priorities here, and it’s advisable to take this into account when choosing a laptop.

Optimal gaming laptops ($1300-1800)

Processors Intel Core i5-13500H/12500H, Core i7-13620/12650H, Core i7-13700H/12700H
AMD Ryzen 5 6600H, Ryzen 7 6800H, Ryzen 5 7535HS/7640HS, Ryzen 7 7735HS/7840HS
Video cards GeForce RTX 4060 6 GB, GeForce RTX 4070 8 GB, GeForce RTX 3070 Ti 8 GB
Radeon RX 7600M XT 8 GB, Radeon RX 7700S 8 GB
Memory 16 / 32 GB DDR4/DDR5
Storage device 1 TB SSD M.2 NVMe
Screen 15,6″, 16″, 17,3″, 1920×1080, 2560×1440/1600 (для RTX 4070/3070 Ti 8 TB)

Approximate configuration of optimal gaming laptops

Laptop model Laptop configuration Approximate price
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-58 (NH.QM0EU.00E) Core i5-12450H/GeForce RTX 4060 8 GB/16 GB DDR5/SSD 1 TB/15,6″ IPS, 1920×1080, 144 Hz 50 000 UAH
(G5 KF5-H3KZ354KD)
Core i7-13620H/GeForce RTX 4060 8 GB/16 GB DDR5/1 TB/15,6″ IPS, 1920×1080, 144 Hz 48 000 UAH
Dream Machines RG4060-15
Core i5-13500H/GeForce RTX 4060 8 GB/16 GB DDR5/SSD 1 TB/15,6″ WVA, 1920×1080, 144 Hz 49 000 UAH
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-46 (NH.QH1EX.005) Ryzen 7 6800H/GeForce RTX 3070 Ti 8 GB/16 GB DDR5/SSD 1 TB/ 15,6″ IPS 1920×1080, 165 Hz 51 000 UAH
MSI Katana 15 B13VGK (B13VGK-484US) Core i7-13620H/GeForce RTX 4070 8 GB/16 GB DDR5/SSD 1 TB/15,6″ IPS, 1920×1080, 144 Hz 63 000 UAH
ASUS TUF Gaming A17 (FA707XI-LL036) Ryzen 9 7940HS/GeForce RTX 4070 8 GB/16 GB DDR5/SSD 1 TB/17,3″ IPS, 2560×1440, 240 Hz 73 000 UAH

Mid-range gaming laptops usually offer the best balance of features and price/performance ratio. Such models already allow you to feel quite comfortable even in “heavy” games, have plenty of free space for installing large projects, and have screens of sufficient quality to enjoy working with a laptop. The term “golden mean” refers to such models. Let’s see which models can be classified as the best gaming laptops in the spring of 2024.

Processors. As we have already mentioned, the choice of gaming laptops begins with the approval of the budget for its purchase. The next step is to determine the graphics card suitable for this category of systems, but for the sake of consistency, we will pay special attention to the central processors. In general, the CPU requirements for optimal laptops are quite moderate. So much so that a large part of the chips that we have considered in the context of basic configurations will be suitable for a more productive gaming platform.

From the previous list, we will exclude models of previous generations, economical versions of processors, as well as “hybrids” with a functional formula of 4/8+4 computing cores. For optimal gaming laptops on the Intel platform, we suggest keeping the Core i5-13500H/12500H chips (4/8+8; 18 MB L3), and to unleash the potential of laptops with more powerful graphics cards, we will add the popular Core i7-13620/12650H and Core i7-13700H/12700H to the list. The first pair has 6 high-performance cores (P-Cores) with Hyper-Threading technology and 4 additional energy-efficient computers (E-Cores). The even more productive older models are equipped with 24 MB of L3 cache and offer a 6/8+8 configuration, allowing you to process up to 16 data streams simultaneously. Such CPUs will perfectly cope even with heavy gaming projects.

As for AMD laptops, we’ll keep the 6-core Ryzen 5 6600H chips, as well as Ryzen 5 7535HS and Ryzen 5 7640HS for the more affordable models. And to strengthen the category, we will add 8-core models Ryzen 7 7735HS and Ryzen 7 7840HS to the list. Once again, let’s pay attention to the more technologically advanced Ryzen 7x4x based on Zen 4 and with the integrated Ryzen AI accelerator. Eight productive cores, 16 MB L3, fairly high operating frequencies, TDP of 35-54 watts. All the conditions are in place to have excellent CPU performance in this category.

Video cards. When choosing the best gaming laptop worth $1200+, we recommend taking a closer look at models with GeForce RTX 4060 8GB graphics cards. Compared to its predecessor, the new model has received a very noticeable acceleration. With the same power consumption limit, the advantage over the RTX 3060 is on average 15-30%. At the same time, the GeForce RTX 4060 has 8 GB of memory instead of 6 GB in the GeForce RTX 3060.

In cases where the additional 2 GB allows you to avoid the limitations of the video card’s local RAM, the Ada Lovelace GPU model increases its advantage even more. In addition, the GeForce RTX 4060 supports DLSS 3, which brings additional fps in projects that already have this technology implemented. As a result, the GeForce RTX 4060 8GB is a fairly balanced solution for Full HD gaming. We made sure of this by exploring the capabilities of the Gigabyte AORUS 15 9KF with the very popular GeForce RTX 4060 + Core i5-12500H bundle.

If you want to get more graphics power, you need to look towards laptops with GeForce RTX 4070 8 GB. After its announcement in early 2023, this video card received a lot of criticism. Indeed, for this class, the specifications do not look convincing enough. Like the younger model, the RTX 4070 is equipped with 8 GB, uses a 128-bit bus, and has a memory bandwidth of only 256 GB/s. For comparison, the predecessor, the GeForce RTX 3070, used a 256-bit bus, and the resulting ROM was 448 GB/s. Of course, you shouldn’t evaluate the capabilities of a video card by this indicator alone. What are they like in practice?

Laptop of the month: gaming models
GeForce RTX 4060 6GB graphics cards provide the minimum required performance for mid-range gaming laptops.

According to our benchmarks, GeForce RTX 4070 8GB is on average 15-20% faster than GeForce RTX 4060 8GB. Yes, indeed, the increase is more modest than you would expect when moving to the next step in the graphics hierarchy. For a graphics card of this level, it would be more correct to use a name like “GeForce RTX 4060 Ti”, which would to some extent remove some of the questions.

The mobile version of the GeForce RTX 4070 uses the compact AD106 GPU, which has a chip area of only 188 mm². For comparison, the GA104 silicon wafer area for the RTX 3070/3070 Ti is twice as large – 392 mm². Obviously, NVIDIA tried to significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing GPUs at TSMC fabs by using a chip configuration with only four 32-bit memory controllers for the GeForce RTX 4070, which together form a 128-bit bus and allow the use of 8 GB of memory.

In the world of gaming desktops, there are lively discussions about the fact that 8 GB of video card memory is no longer always enough even for stock Full HD with maximum quality settings, and especially when ray tracing is enabled, when VRAM consumption increases even more. GeForce RTX 4060/4060 Ti 8 GB are the most criticized, as they are designed for 1080p gaming. And here we have the mobile GeForce RTX 4070 with an identical organization of the memory subsystem – 8 GB complete with a 128-bit bus. Is this a failure? Well, not a victory, for sure.

For resource-intensive games, it doesn’t matter on which platform they run – a powerful monster desktop or a compact laptop. For certain modes, the system requirements will be the same.

The existing architectural features of the GPU, namely, the L2 cache, which has been increased up to 32 MB, allows you to compensate for the low memory bandwidth to some extent. A larger buffer means more frequent cache hits and fewer memory accesses and the need to transfer data over the bus. But absolute numbers are also important. Still, having 8 GB of memory will force you to access the picture quality settings more often in “heavy” games, and in 1440p mode, you will use DLSS scaling technology more actively.

Additional dissonance is caused by the significant difference in specifications for desktop and mobile GeForce RTX 4070 graphics cards. The desktop version of the adapter has 5888 CUs, 12 GB of memory, and a 192-bit bus. Whereas the laptop version has 4608 CUDA cores, 8 GB of memory, and a 128-bit bus. The actual difference in performance of these solutions is also very significant. The desktop version is 40-50% faster than the mobile version of the GeForce RTX 4070. However, this is not surprising, given the difference in power consumption of both modifications. The desktop adapter has a TDP of 200 watts, while the laptop version has a TDP of 35-115 watts with the possibility of increasing to 140 watts.

As a result, if you get out of the “disgruntled grumbling” mode, we have a GeForce RTX 4070 8 GB, which is perfect for comfortable gaming in Full HD mode and with some caution – for 1440p. The video card is obviously faster than its predecessor and offers +20% more performance than the GeForce RTX 4060.

In this class, you can also consider laptops with GeForce RTX 3070 Ti 8 GB. In classic rendering modes, its performance will be close to that of the GeForce RTX 4070. The latter has an advantage due to DLSS 3 support, but if you come across an interestingly priced offer based on RTX 3070 Ti, it will also be a “working option”. More than a year has passed since our review of the Acer Nitro 5 (AN517-55) based on GeForce RTX 3070 Ti 8GB, and since then the price of laptops with such graphics cards has dropped significantly.

Given the wide range of laptops with GeForce RTX 4060, models with similar performance to GeForce RTX 3070 8GB are less attractive. As a rule, their price is kept at a higher level due to their conditional affiliation with higher-end solutions. However, fortunately, the price of laptops is a variable value, so you shouldn’t shy away from financially attractive promotional offers here either. This can be a fairly balanced option for Full HD gaming.

In this class, laptops with NVIDIA graphics cards could compete with models equipped with Radeon RX 7600M XT 8 GB. Unfortunately, despite the announcement back in early 2023, laptops with these graphics cards are not offered. Almost the same applies to the more economical Radeon RX 7700S 8 GB. There is only one exception here – the aforementioned ASUS TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition model, in addition to Radeon RX 7600S, can also be equipped with Radeon RX 7700S. Moreover, single copies of such modifications are even offered in Ukraine, but these are not officially supplied.

So, despite the great desire for an alternative, by and large, in the class of optimal gaming laptops, you will have to choose from models equipped with the latest and previous generations of NVIDIA graphics – GeForce RTX 4060/4070 and GeForce RTX 3070/3070 Ti.

For optimal gaming laptops, the minimum remains 16 GB of RAM. The standard of RAM is not so fundamental. Most models in this category will probably use DDR5, but DDR4 options are also quite “professional”.

Laptop of the month: gaming models
16 GB of RAM is usually enough for a comfortable gaming experience, but for optimal gaming configurations, it’s better to double this capacity. For certain gaming projects, 32 GB is already specified in the system requirements.

If you want to solve the issue of a potential memory shortage before it arises, it is better to look at the 32 GB modifications right away. If you are counting on a gradual upgrade, this option is also possible, but in this case, it will not be superfluous to make sure that the laptop does not use LPDDR memory soldered on the board.

Storage device. If with basic gaming laptops we allow the possibility of purchasing a model with a 500 GB drive, then for more expensive optimal configurations, a 1 TB SSD is mandatory. Laptops of this level are more often equipped with a second M.2 port, which greatly simplifies the further increase in the total capacity of the drives. But such nuances are not always reflected in the specifications. Therefore, before purchasing, it is advisable to find a detailed review of a particular model that reveals such nuances.

Pay special attention to the characteristics of the available M.2 ports. A typical situation is when the system SSD connector meets the PCI-E 4.0 x4 specification, and the additional one is limited to PCI-E 3.0.

The presence of an additional connector for M.2 drives is a desirable option and a plus for a particular laptop model, but unfortunately, it is not mandatory.

In the context of a gaming platform, the performance of the drive is not very important. Even entry-level M.2 NVMe SSDs provide transfers of ~2000 MB/s and have enough performance for fast game loading. During setup/installation, the requirements are even lower. As we have already mentioned, it is difficult to determine the model of the drive installed in a laptop in advance. However, in this category of laptops, the likelihood of getting a basic drive with slow QLC chips is very low.

For optimal gaming models, we can recommend the same palette of screen diagonals as for basic laptops. These are classic mid-formats with a diagonal of 15,6”, models with 16–16,1”, and laptops with displays of 17,3”. For laptops with GeForce RTX 4060 8GB and GeForce RTX 3070 8GB graphics cards, Full HD panels look more organic. The performance of these graphics adapters will be enough for comfortable gaming in this mode.

Models with GeForce RTX 3070 Ti 8 GB, and especially GeForce RTX 4070 8 GB, are much more likely to be equipped with screens with a resolution of 2560×1440 and 2560×1600. In such modes, these graphics cards will not always allow you to get high fps. We were convinced of this during our experiments with the MSI Vector GP77 13VG. However, this is true from the point of view of uncompromising maximalists who are committed to using the highest settings in any project. If you reduce the requirements a little and change a few resource-intensive options in the settings, you can get a great picture and a decent number of frames/c.

In all cases, we advise you to pay attention to screens with an increased refresh rate – 120/144/165+ Hz. For mid-range gaming models, such high-speed panels are usually provided by default. But it doesn’t hurt to double-check, because there may be “variants” that will be unpleasant to discover after the purchase.

Advanced gaming laptops ($2500+)

Processors Core i7-13700H, Core i7-13650HX/13700HX, Core i9-13900HX/14900HX
Ryzen 9 7845HX, Ryzen 9 7945HX
Video cards GeForce RTX 4080 12 GB, GeForce RTX 4090 16 GB
Radeon RX 7900M 16 GB
Memory 32 GB DDR5
Storage drive 2 TB SSD M.2 NVMe
Screen 16″, 17,3″, 18″; 2560×1440/1600, extended color gamut

Approximate configuration of progressive gaming laptops

Laptop model Laptop configuration Approximate price
Alienware X16 R1 (AWX16R1-9558SLV-PUS) Core i9-13900HK/GeForce RTX 4080 12 GB/32 GB LPDDR5/SSD 1 TB/16″ WVA, 2560×1600, 240 Hz 106 000 UAH
HP OMEN 17-ck2010ca (7X7B8UA) Core i9-13900HX/GeForce RTX 4080 12 GB/32 GB DDR5/SSD 2 ТБ/17,3″ IPS, 2560м1440, 165 Hz 112 000 UAH
ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 16 (G634JZR-XS90) Core i9-14900HX/GeForce RTX 4080 12 GB/32 GB DDR5/SSD 2 TB/16″ Mini-LED, 2560×1600, 240 Hz 156 000 UAH
ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 (G733PZ-LL078W) Ryzen 9 7845HX/GeForce RTX 4080 12 GB/32 GB DDR5/SSD 1 TB/17,3″ IPS, 2560×1440, 240 Hz 130 000 UAH
Lenovo Legion Pro 7 16IRX8H (82WQ00B4RA) Core i9-13900HX/GeForce RTX 4090 16 GB/32 GB DDR5/SSD 1 TB/16″ IPS, 2560×1600, 240 Hz 160 000 UAH
ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18 (G834JYR-R6078X) Core i9-14900HX/GeForce RTX 4090 16 GB/32 GB DDR5/SSD 2 TB/18″ Mini-LED, 2560×1600, 240 Hz 180 000 UAH

Oddly enough, if you have a larger budget for a gaming laptop, it’s easier to decide on its potential configuration. And here we are not talking about ultimatum laptops for all the money, although this approach has the right to exist. In this case, we have a task to get a top-of-the-line but balanced model for a reasonable price.

Processors. Starting with the processors, we keep the IIntel Core i7-13700H and add turbocharged Core i7-13650HX and Intel Core i7-13700HX variants with increased power limits. In addition, the older model already has 8 high-performance HT cores and 8 energy-efficient cores, and the total L3 cache capacity is 30 MB. Maximum challenges require the right equipment. In our opinion, the use of Core i9-13900HX and the recently updated version of Core i9-14900HX with the 8/16+16 functional formula will already be excessive, but the number of offers in this class with such chips form the existing range. It is not expected to be of much use for gaming, but if you need maximum CPU processing power in a mobile format, it is an option.

Laptop of the month: gaming models
AMD and Intel offer a variety of powerful processors for mobile systems, so the CPU is definitely not a weak link in the composition of advanced gaming laptops.

From the AMD range, only Ryzen 9 chips are offered with the video card we are going to review for this category. These are mainly the most powerful 12-core Ryzen 9 7845HX and 16-core Ryzen 9 7945HX. And only a few models are equipped with the 8-core single-crystal hybrid Ryzen 9 7940HS from the Phoenix line.

Is the power of such CPUs excessive for a gaming system? Yes, they are. But, unfortunately, there are no other options offered, so you will have to overpay.

Video cards. When choosing a graphics card for advanced gaming laptops, you can’t expect any intrigue. For this category of laptops, the GeForce RTX 4080 12 GB is an effective option to increase gaming performance. This model already uses the AD104 GPU with 7424 cores, has a 192-bit bus, and is equipped with 12 GB of memory. Compared to the GeForce RTX 4070 8GB mobile, the older model offers 40-60% higher performance. This is a very serious acceleration that already allows you to play comfortably in 1440p mode with high or even maximum quality settings.

In general, the power of the GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop is on average similar to that of the desktop GeForce RTX 4070 12 GB. And this is already the level for the mobile format. As we noted, the thermal package of the discrete GeForce RTX 4070 is 200 watts, but as for the GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop, the power range is 60-150 watts. The peculiarity of mobile solutions is that developers allow laptop manufacturers to choose a given level of power consumption, taking into account the efficiency of the cooling system in a particular laptop model. This “flexibility” allows certain lines of graphics cards to be used in a much wider range of laptops.

Variability in power consumption naturally affects the actual performance of video cards. Technically, adapter configurations do not change. That is, the number of GPU cores, bus bit depth, and memory capacity are constant (with some exceptions). The operating frequency and supply voltage of the GPU change, which affects the power consumption and the number of fps in games. The dependence of performance on power consumption is non-linear. That is, a GeForce RTX 4080 with a 150W limit will not be 2.5 times faster than a version with a 60W limit. At a certain stage, increasing consumption no longer leads to performance growth.

A worthy alternative to the GeForce RTX 4080 12 GB could be the Radeon RX 7900M 16 GB, but it seems that this model, even after several months after the official presentation of AMD’s top-end graphics card, can still be seen only as part of the Alienware m18, which was directly used during the announcement. Unfortunately, history is repeating itself in this segment of mobile discrete graphics as well, with no laptops with new AMD graphics cards on sale.

NVIDIA’s monopoly in this top segment of mobile graphics cards allows it to dictate terms to manufacturers and keep prices for its products high.

In the context of progressive gaming laptops, we couldn’t help but mention NVIDIA’s ultimatum solution – GeForce RTX 4090 16 GB. Even more CUDA computers (9,728!), 64 MB of L2 cache, 16 GB of memory, a 256-bit bus, and 576 GB/s of bandwidth. This is already a very respectable configuration by the standards of mobile solutions. And in general, regardless of the platform, this video card offers decent performance. According to the test results, the GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop is only 15-20% inferior to the desktop GeForce RTX 4080 16 GB. This means that the graphics adapter offers gaming power somewhere between the average between the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti 12 GB and the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti SUPER 16 GB.

Laptop of the month: gaming models
For the fastest gaming laptops, you’ll have to choose between models with GeForce RTX 4080 12GB and GeForce RTX 4090 16GB graphics cards. Laptops with powerful AMD discrete graphics are almost non-existent.

If we directly compare the capabilities of the GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop 16 GB with those of the GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop 12 GB, the flagship will offer 15-20% more fps on average, and the presence of 16 GB will allow you to experiment more boldly with maximum settings and enable ray tracing without fear. However, such confidence has its price, as is usually the case with ultimatum decisions.

The price of laptops with GeForce RTX 4090 in Ukraine starts at 120-130,000 UAH (~$3100-3300), and the price of the most equipped models can reach 300,000 UAH (~$7700).

We recently had a brand new ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 18 for testing, equipped with a GeForce RTX 4090 16 GB. It’s a nice and very nimble car, but the price is 179,000 UAH… For details, please refer to the relevant review.

Back at the end of last year, we tested the gaming potential of ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17, which was also equipped with a GeForce RTX 4090 16 GB, but on the AMD platform with Ryzen 9 7945HX. A very lively seven with its own character. The price tag will be perceived appropriately only if you have already familiarized yourself with the cost of models of this level. And where is the competition when you need it so much?

If you want even more exotic things while reading about top-of-the-line solutions, we also have a story about a 14-inch laptop with GeForce RTX 4090 16 GB. This combination is already a big exclusive. Check out our review of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 2023 (GA402XY-NC018W) to get an impression of working with such a powerful “baby” in the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 2023 (GA402XY-NC018W).

It is logical to equip advanced gaming configurations with GeForce RTX 4080 on board with 32 GB of RAM. This is the capacity of RAM that the vast majority of laptops of this configuration have. Some models are available with 64 GB, 96 GB, and even 128 GB. For games, this capacity will already be excessive. But it probably won’t come as a surprise that the most powerful “gaming” models are often used for resource-intensive work tasks, so for such conditions, the increased RAM capacity may be quite justified.

Responding to this situation, manufacturers occasionally offer “professional” models with increased power, but usually the considerable cost of such solutions makes even desperate opponents of aggressive design and keyboard backlighting look towards enthusiast models that can provide the required performance.

As for the type of memory, the vast majority of laptops are equipped with DDR5. However, there are exceptions. For example, Alienware X16 models are offered with LPDDR5-6000 soldered on the board. Good frequencies and bandwidth, but without the possibility of further upgrades.

Storage device. For powerful gaming laptops, we recommend focusing on models equipped with a 2 TB drive. Under conditions of active gaming, one terabyte is filled extremely quickly. The capacity of new games is growing, so a 1TB SSD certainly doesn’t have any “progressiveness” or future-proofing, especially if you take into account the free space after formatting and installing the operating system.

However, if you choose offers that are initially equipped with a 2 TB SSD, then somehow the cost of the laptop immediately increases by $200-300 compared to identical versions with 1 TB.

It seems that the basic 2 TB immediately puts the laptop in the category of “premium” products, for which you already have to pay a luxury tax.

We are used to seeing something similar when it comes to Apple laptops, but as we can see, this strategy works in the case of top gaming solutions as well. A “bad example” from manufacturers multiplied by the entrepreneurial approach of local traders yields the appropriate results.

Of course, the strategy of upgrading the SSD yourself works in this case as well. Top-of-the-line laptops will most certainly have free ports and suitable slots for installing one or even two additional drives. But when you buy a laptop of this level and for this price, you don’t want to bother with service right away.

If you choose a laptop with a GeForce RTX 4080 or GeForce RTX 4090, manufacturers will offer you certain specific formats for such solutions. The vast majority of models with such graphics cards have screens with diagonals of 16”, 17,3”, and even 18″. This usually uses a resolution of 2560×1440 or 2560×1600.

Good modes for panels of this size, providing increased pixel density, allowing you to get a high-quality picture. The performance of video cards is enough to play in native mode, so you don’t have to use scaling, which usually adds blur to the image.

Fortunately, manufacturers almost never offer 4K versions of screens within these diagonals. For 16-18-inch panels, this is already too high a resolution, which is not felt in games, and it significantly increases the load on the video card and affects the final fps. Therefore, for this class of laptops, screens with 2560×1440/1600 are really the best option.

In general, the displays of top gaming models are usually equipped with high-quality matrices with a high refresh rate, extended color gamut, and low response time. Most panels are IPS, but there are also offers with Mini-LED and even AMOLED screens.

A high-quality picture with rich colors, pre-calibration, HDR support, high contrast, deep blacks, and fast response is one of the features of high-end models that improves the overall comfort of working with a laptop. This indicator does not directly affect the conventional price/performance ratio, but it is one of those options for which the extra cost is justified.

Battery life of gaming laptops. We decided to generalize this parameter for models of all categories. When it comes to gaming laptops, their battery life is mostly secondary.

Such laptops must be connected to the power supply network during “work” load. In most cases, the battery charge will last for a maximum of an hour of active work, and with significantly reduced performance.

So you won’t be able to unplug for long periods of time anyway, so you shouldn’t be too concerned about the battery life of gaming laptops. You may need the extended battery life for some work tasks, but that’s a whole other story.

In the first article in the new series Laptop of the Month, we outlined only the general outlines that will help you to orientate yourself with the configurations of gaming models in different price categories. Many points require more detailed coverage and clarification. We will try to fill in the gaps in the following publications. We hope the new format of the materials will be useful. And, yes, we know that laptops are not just for gaming, so in the future we plan to pay more attention to laptops that are optimal for different usage models.