Nice laptop that can do some gaming


For various reasons I have to replace my aging desktop with a laptop but I’d still like to be able to do some gaming on it. I also do not want to get a gaming laptop because they’re too bulky. I’m posting this today because I do like the surface book 2, but I’m having a hard time with the pricing. I would prefer not having to go the eGPU route either. Thanks for any help.

Comments (15)

15 responses to “Nice laptop that can do some gaming”

  1. Daishi

    I guess I'd say it depends a bit on what you mean by "do some gaming".

    For example, I'd say that I like to do some gaming as well, but I'm happy for that to take the form of 5+ year old games at a low detail 720p. So for me basically any Ultrabook will do the job.

    If you're after all the latest games at high detail and a bit of future proofing, you're probably looking at something like an XPS 15 or a Razer Blade (I know that is technically a 'gaming machine' but it's a visually pretty restrained one). I'm not sure how much change you're going to get out of them compared to the Surface Book though.

    If you're going to be happy with a more basic level of gaming, able to play most current games at at least a low to moderate level but isn't likely to be keeping up with the latest visual extravaganzas a year or 2 from now, without breaking the bank I'd point you in the direction of something like the new HP Envy 13 or Asus Zenbook UX430UN. They're both MacBook Air level thin and light but with decent Nvidia GPUs on board.

    Alternately, if you can wait a little while, recent leaked benchmarks for the imminent AMD Raven Ridge APUs seem to be suggesting they'll have similar levels of performance to the Zenbook and the Envy without the need for a dGPU, so they might offer better battery life and lower prices.

    I admit, I have also interpreted 'nice' through a lens of my own that emphasises well built, thin, light and portable over other things and that may not be your priority.

    In the end you probably have to decide where the balance lies for you between performance, price and portablity. I'd recommend having a look at 'Notebook Check' their database of benchmarks and reviews should give you a good idea of the options

    • staganyi

      In reply to Daishi:

      You are viewing this through the same lens as I am. "Well built, thin, light and portable" is what I'm looking for. Because I'm going to keep the laptop for a long time, I want to be able to play the latest games at 1080p in medium-high detail now, so that later the laptop is still half decent. I did do some research and it does look like the SB2, XPS15 & Razer Blade are the top candidates.

  2. jimchamplin

    Consider a used machine from a couple of years ago. You can save serious money and get a high-end system for current mid-range prices. It'll get you integrated graphics, higher spec CPUs, and better quality manufacturing. Purchase from a reputable seller who's been around for a while, and take the money you saved and put it into maxing the RAM and shoving a big SSD into it.


  3. evox81

    My work laptop is a Dell Inspiron 15 7000-series "gaming" machine. I bought it to handle some content creation (Photoshop mostly) and it's served me well for about a year now.

    They can be fitted with HQ series Core i7 processors (which are basically power/clock-limited desktop-class processors) as well as discreet GPUs. They're not super thin and light, if that's important to you, but it's dramatically thinner than proper gaming laptops.

    Battery life, with the default settings, has been about 6 hours of constant "office" use. I suspect if I turned the screen brightness down further and actually turned on power saving it could probably last a full work day of standard office stuff.

    The main reason I went with this model was the price. For an i7 6700HQ (4 core/8 thread) w/8GB RAM and GTX 960M graphics w/4k screen. I paid a little over $700 during a holiday sale. I've since added another 8GB of RAM and replaced the incredibly slow 1TB SSHD with a proper SSD. All in I have a laptop that is nearly desktop-class for less than $1000. And although I don't use it for much gaming, I have tested a couple games. I've had to set the resolution down to 1080p, after which it is capable of good performance with medium to high settings.

    Their current 7000-series comes with Nvidia's 10xx series graphics cards, which don't have mobile variants, meaning they'll offer even better graphics/gaming performance.

  4. rameshthanikodi

    When you say "some gaming", what exactly do you mean? If you're talking about casual gaming and e-sports titles like Rocket League and Dota 2, you actually can get by with a laptop with the entry-level Nvidia GT MX150, but chances are you would want to step it up.

    There are decent thin laptops with the GTX 1050, which gets pretty good performance in games - Dell XPS 15, Lenovo Yoga 720, Asus Zenbook pro. There are some not-so bulky laptops with the GTX 1050ti as well.

    However, to be honest, other than the Surface Book, there is no "pro laptop" with the GTX 1060. Every single laptop with the 1060 i've seen is some kind of gaming laptop with rubbish bulky design with stupid lights all over. The only exception would be the Razer Blade, but it has a terrible screen.

  5. Usman

    Depends on the kind of games you'll be playing, for esports games like Overwatch, League, Rocket League, a 1050 / Ti are more than capable, lapotps with that GPU are XPS 15 and Dell Inspiron Gaming Series Laptops, and MSI GS (Gaming Stealth). I would recommend the MSI 1050 laptops if you have the budget for it.

    A 1060 would be ideal for 1080p 60fps in high / ultra for most games, laptops with that are mainly gaming laptops and I would recommend the Razer Blade 14 inch, other options are MSI GS series (Gaming Sealth), they're not that bulky, and are as thick as the LAN port

    • staganyi

      In reply to Usman:

      As mentioned in other replies, a 1060 would be ideal but if a laptop with a 1050 is priced just right and is not a "bulky" gaming laptop, then I might go for it. I've heard a few people say the razor blade has a bad screen. I do like its form factor though.

  6. John Scott

    If your really talking 3D recent games at higher settings. You have to find a decent Intel HQ CPU and not the ultra low power "U" series CPU's. Mainly you'll find the later in consumer grade laptops except for business and gaming specific notebooks. Anything thin will be a ultra low powered CPU. If your more about 2 D online gaming or Steam play you can get by with a i7 U CPU and a good dedicated AMD or Nvidia graphics card. Remember unlike a desktop you can never upgrade a laptop so buy yourself some decent hardware upfront to extend the lifespan for gaming. I see far too many who cheap out on a notebook then ask in forums how they can upgrade the GPU. Good suggestion is look for refurbs or last gen models to save a few bucks.