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Best gaming laptop under $1000 : 5 lower mid-range options

We hand pick the best 17 Inch, 15 Inch, Intel & AMD gaming laptops for 1000 USD

Updated: Jun 30, 2023 2:27 pm
Best gaming laptop under $1000 : 5 lower mid-range options

Searching for the best gaming laptop under $1000 for your specific needs can be a bit difficult, as this lower-mid range price point is where things start to get interesting, with a great number of options available from different brands/manufacturers. The hardware they come equipped with should allow you to get decent frames on the latest AAA titles on low-medium settings at 1080p, or play older games on the highest settings.

Each one of the five gaming laptops we have selected has different pros and cons that we will discuss, as well as talking through the various specifications of graphics card, CPU, RAM, display, storage, and ergonomic features. Our aim is to maximise your gaming experience within your budget. If your budget isn’t limited to just $1,000 then also consider taking a look at our best gaming laptop page in the mega menu above.

Best laptops under $1,000 for gaming: our top picks

MSI Cyborg 15 (144Hz FHD, i7-12650H)

MSI Cyborg

CPU

Intel Core i7-12650H)

Graphics Card

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060

RAM

8GB DDR5 RAM

Storage

512GB SSD

Max Refresh Rate

144Hz

Resolution

FHD

MSI GF65 Thin (15.6″, 144Hz)

MSI GF65 Thin

CPU

Intel i7-9750H / i7-10750H

Graphics Card

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 / RTX 3060

RAM

8GB

Max Refresh Rate

144Hz

Resolution

1920 x 1080

Screen Size

15.6”

MSI Thin GF63 (144Hz FHD, i7-12650H)

MSI Thin GF63

CPU

Intel Core i7-12650H)

Graphics Card

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050

RAM

16GB DDR4 RAM

Storage

512GB SSD

Max Refresh Rate

144Hz

Resolution

FHD

ASUS TUF Gaming A15 (With AMD Ryzen 7 4800H)

ASUS TUF Gaming A15

CPU

AMD Ryzen 7 4800H

Graphics Card

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

RAM

16GB

Max Refresh Rate

144Hz

Resolution

1920 x 1080

Screen Size

15.6”

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop 17″ (With RTX 2060)

Acer Nitro 17 inch

CPU

Intel i7-9750H

Graphics Card

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q

RAM

16GB

Max Refresh Rate

144Hz

Resolution

1920 x 1080

Screen Size

17.3”


Best gaming laptop under $1,000 2023: reviews

Best gaming laptop for 1000 USD overall

MSI Cyborg 15 (144Hz FHD, i7-12650H)

MSI Cyborg

CPU

Intel Core i7-12650H)

Graphics Card

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060

RAM

8GB DDR5 RAM

Storage

512GB SSD

Max Refresh Rate

144Hz

Resolution

FHD

Pros
  • An RTX 4060 laptop GPU at a great price
  • powerful CPU option for the price
  • 144Hz screen
  • Unique translucent design
  • DDR5 RAM
Cons
  • only 8GB of RAM
  • only 512GB SSD
  • no Thunderbolt support or SD card reader

The MSI Cyborg is a new addition to the MSI gaming laptop roster in 2023. This aims to be an affordable machine to take on the likes of the Acer Nitro 5 and the ASUS TUF A15 in the budget gaming laptop space. It also comes with blue sci-fi styling on the keyboard and an unusual translucent finish underneath and on the sides of the laptop, with the words ‘MSI True Gaming’ etched in. It might seem a bit of a wasted effort to put such a design where you’re least likely to see it, however if you’re a fan of little details on your products, then this may tickle your fancy.

Ultimately the biggest draw for us, and the reason it’s the top pick on this list, is that it’s the cheapest RTX 4060 laptop (assuming you pick this loadout) that we’ve seen so far. Although at the time of writing it’s an additional $100 above the price range of this guide, it’s definitely worth stretching that bit extra, as the in-game performance this graphics card will give you is definitely above those of other laptop GPUs in this price range, even if by the standards of other RTX 4060 laptops it’s relatively underpowered. The Intel 12th gen laptop CPU it’s paired with (the Intel Core i7-12650H) does the job, and again is the most powerful you’ll find on this list.

The main drawback is that we’ve typically only seen this particular unit for sale at this price with 8GB of RAM. Although 8GB will run a lot of games, typically we’d advise upgrading to 16GB for both gaming and general usage (web browsers soak up that RAM like a mutha). You can however easily do this yourself (see our how to upgrade RAM on laptops guide) and the laptop has two RAM slots, which can be used to bring the machine up to 16GB or even 32GB RAM. The memory support is also for DDR5, which gives it a bit more future proofing relative to the DDR4 laptops listed here.

The colors, brightness and contrast of the display won’t set the world on fire, but they’re good enough for gaming, and the 144Hz max refresh rate is ideal for components of this power. Performance on both the keyboard and trackpad is respectable for the price. You also get a numpad on the keyboard, which could be a bonus or a drawback, depending on your priorities (personally I like the extra functionality it gives when using the machine for work as well as gaming).

All told, the best gaming laptop for around the 1000 USD mark that’s currently available.

Best Nvidia 30-series gaming laptop under 1000 USD

MSI GF65 Thin (15.6″, 144Hz)

MSI GF65 Thin

CPU

Intel i7-9750H / i7-10750H

Graphics Card

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 / RTX 3060

RAM

8GB

Max Refresh Rate

144Hz

Resolution

1920 x 1080

Screen Size

15.6”

Pros
  • 144Hz screen
  • fairly powerful GPU options for the price
  • solid CPU options for the price
Cons
  • only 8GB of single-channel RAM
  • battery life could be better
  • not as thin as the name would suggest
  • no Thunderbolt support or SD card reader

The MSI GF65 Thin has been a regular feature in our best-of lists for a few years now. The older 9SEXR-838 variant with Intel i7-9750H processor and Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU is a bit out of date now, though may be a decent cheaper option if you can find one reduced, however the option we’re recommending for this list is the RTX 3060 laptop variant, with i7-10750H CPU. The CPU may be a few generations old, but the RTX 3060 graphics card still gives you decent oomph for your money – outcompeting the newer RTX 4050 laptop GPU still, at least with DLSS turned off (it still has DLSS capability, just of the older, less effective 2.0 version).

Battery life does suffer due to this performance though, and you can expect to get around 5 hours max from demanding, non-gaming usage – then again this is better than many more expensive laptops can manage. The 1080p display has an impressively high 144Hz refresh rate, and although its color gamut is narrow by the standards of more expensive laptops, it certainly does the job when gaming.

Some models of this laptop come with a 256GB SSD, which we would not recommend as this would barely give you enough room for a few larger sized games once you’ve installed the operating system. 512GB is not ideal but it’s to be expected at this price point, and the storage can always be upgraded at a later date. Unfortunately the RAM sold with this variant is also 8GB (though only DDR4 this time), though this can be upgraded if you don’t mind dong this yourself. The speakers on the laptop are rudimentary, and the same could be said for the keyboard and trackpad, but they all do the job.

Whilst not enormous we wouldn’t exactly say the MSI GF65 is ‘thin’ compared to some of the competition, though it is fairly light. Aesthetically the laptop isn’t great but it’s not bad either, and though its construction feels plasticy it is quite sturdy; for this price though, this is more than an acceptable trade-off considering the power this laptop brings to the table.

Best RTX 4050 gaming laptop For 1000 USD

MSI Thin GF63 (144Hz FHD, i7-12650H)

MSI Thin GF63

CPU

Intel Core i7-12650H)

Graphics Card

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050

RAM

16GB DDR4 RAM

Storage

512GB SSD

Max Refresh Rate

144Hz

Resolution

FHD

Pros
  • RTX 4050 laptop GPU
  • powerful CPU option for the price
  • 144Hz screen
Cons
  • no Thunderbolt support or SD card reader
  • only 512GB SSD
  • DDR4 RAM

At the time of writing, this new MSI Thin GF63 model is a bit out of the price range of this guide, though we’re still putting it here to give you the option of a 40-series laptop with 16GB of RAM, in contrast to the two above.

The RTX 4050 laptop GPU in this machine hits significantly harder than the RTX 3050 Ti of the previous generation, around 29% more on average in fact, although this figure isn’t based on the performance of this specific laptop (see our RTX 4050 laptop vs RTX 3050 laptop page for more details on this). Although it doesn’t quite match up to the power of an RTX 3060 laptop, it’s not too far off and this is before you factor in the additional FPS boost that DLSS 3.0 will bring in those games that support it. This upscaling boost could easily mean comparable performance in such titles.

You get the same Intel Core i7-12650H CPU (one of the best performers in this price range) as you do in the MSI Cyborg, the typical 512GB SSD and 144Hz screen.

The design dark metal with a red keyboard and accents, similar to the older MSI Thin GF65 above, which may suit some tastes more than the Cyborg’s coloring. Ultimately the big plus compared to the top two though is that whilst the graphics card might not be as powerful, you don’t have to mess around upgrading the memory on this model if you’re after 16GB. It’s DDR4, rather than DDR5, however currently the performance difference between the two is negligible.

Best Ryzen gaming laptop under 1000 USD

ASUS TUF Gaming A15 (With AMD Ryzen 7 4800H)

ASUS TUF Gaming A15

CPU

AMD Ryzen 7 4800H

Graphics Card

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

RAM

16GB

Max Refresh Rate

144Hz

Resolution

1920 x 1080

Screen Size

15.6”

Pros
  • AMD CPU gives decent workstation performance on a budget
  • 144Hz screen
  • very good battery life
  • good value
  • good contrast ratio
Cons
  • narrow color gamut
  • only 512GB SSD
  • not thin or particularly portable
  • noisey fans
  • no Thunderbolt support or SD card reader

The ASUS TUF Gaming A15 Laptop comes in a variety of configurations, but the one we’ve chosen with the AMD Ryzen 7 4800H CPU and Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti GPU brings it just up to the $1,000 mark. The 1660 Ti is not the most powerful graphics card listed here, but this is the trade-off you pay for the other components – specifically the CPU, SSD size and the RAM.

A 144Hz screen at this price point is great and at 1080p resolution you can comfortably play even the most demanding games on at least medium settings and get between 60 – 100FPS. Less demanding games will definitely see you reach the 144FPS point. The AMD CPU also gives great multi-core performance meaning it is also good for low-level workstation tasks, although this does not stretch to any graphic or color work as the color gamut of the screen is quite narrow, as is the case with all laptops at this price point. The contrast ratio is good however.

The A15 is not the lightest of laptops, and its chunky design means it is not the most portable out there; the fans are also noisy (even by the standards of gaming laptops), all of which limits its use as a machine you could happily use on public transport. Importantly though the ASUS TUF Gaming A15 does have very good battery life when doing strenuous non-gaming tasks, which is often lacking in other gaming laptops, and should last you well over 8 hours.

Best 17-inch gaming laptop under 1000 USD

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop 17″ (With RTX 2060)

Acer Nitro 17 inch

CPU

Intel i7-9750H

Graphics Card

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q

RAM

16GB

Max Refresh Rate

144Hz

Resolution

1920 x 1080

Screen Size

17.3”

Pros
  • 144Hz screen
  • Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card
  • 17.3″ screen
  • good power for the price
Cons
  • poor speakers
  • battery life could be better
  • only 256GB SSD
  • no Thunderbolt support or SD card reader

The Acer Nitro 5 17.3 inch version is a uniquely good value for a screen this size. Although the price of this laptop may fluctuate slightly above the budget threshold of this guide, we’ve seen the machine come below the $1,000 mark during discounts and if you really desire a 17.3” screen it’s worth stretching that little bit further.

The laptop is powered by an Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU and an Intel Core i7-9750H processor, which are no longer the big hitters they once were, but are decent performers at this price range.

Unsurprisingly the Acer Nitro 5 is not blessed with a particularly long battery life – larger screens tend to use more power for one. You can expect to get a few hours out of it from strenuous, but non-gameplay use. The speakers on the laptop also leave something to be desired: whilst laptop speakers generally are not great, these ones are slightly below the average. The biggest negative of this laptop however is the small 256GB SSD, which will fill up very fast and doesn’t allow space for many games to be installed at any one time. Thankfully the storage on this laptop is upgradeable and we would advise doing so should you purchase it.

Despite this though, 17.3” of display with this GPU and CPU is still a bargain, and we therefore very much recommend this laptop if a bigger screen is what you’re looking for.

Best budget gaming laptop under 1000 USD

Lenovo Legion 5 Gaming Laptop 15 Inch

Lenovo Legion 5

CPU

AMD Ryzen 7 4800H

Graphics Card

Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti

RAM

16GB

Max Refresh Rate

144Hz

Resolution

1920 x 1080

Screen Size

15.6”

Pros
  • AMD CPU gives decent workstation performance on a budget
  • 144Hz screen
  • decent speakers for a budget laptop
  • reserved design more suitable for office use
  • ports located in the back
Cons
  • low screen brightness
  • battery life could be better
  • relatively heavy
  • no Thunderbolt support or SD card reader

The Lenovo Legion 5 Gaming Laptop, like the ASUS TUF Gaming A15, comes with a AMD Ryzen 7 4800H processor which makes it good for workstation tasks (outside of color accurate work, which would require a larger budget and a better screen). Again like the TUF Gaming A15 it also has an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, a 512GB SSD and 16GB or RAM.

The GPU is not the most powerful on this page, and again represents something of a tradeoff in having a superior CPU as well as solid RAM and storage specs. The 144Hz screen does the job, though its maximum brightness is a little low, so you’ll want to make sure you’re not in particularly brightly lit spaces when using it. Battery life is not the worst out there but it’s not the best either – it certainly doesn’t match up to the unusually good battery life of the ASUS TUF Gaming A15.

The laptop does have advantages over the TUF Gaming machine however in that its speakers are somewhat better, its reserved design makes it more suitable as an office use machine and the arrangement of ports in the back is more ergonomically friendly. Having said that this is the heaviest laptop on this page, so bear that in mind in terms of portability.

All-in-all though this is still a solid machine for the price, with great specs if you don’t mind going with a slightly weaker GPU.


Best gaming laptop deals for around $1,000

The below offers are a great way of getting laptops that normally well exceed the price point of this guide for around the same price. They may be superior to the suggested selections on this page (which have to be guided by MSRP) so buy them whilst you can on the Lenovo Store, Best Buy, or Amazon including:


Is the best gaming laptop under 1000 USD worth buying?

A gaming laptop for 1000 USD is where we typically recommend people start looking if they want a laptop capable of gaming but are looking for a reasonable price that won’t break the bank. $1,000 is the lower end of the mid-range gaming laptop price range, and anything significantly below this is what we would term a budget gaming laptop. For $1,000 you will be able to play the latest AAA games on the market, even the most demanding ones, on at least the lowest settings. Most moderately demanding games will be playable on medium settings at a solid frame rate, and for older titles you may be able to crank the graphical presets up to the max.

Things to consider when buying a gaming laptop under $1,000

For an in-depth list of what to consider when looking for a gaming laptop in general, have a quick scan of this section on our best gaming laptops page. Below is a quick summary of what you should bear in mind when shopping to a $1,000 budget specifically.

Realistic expectations of gaming performance

Gaming laptops are expensive on a price-to-performance basis. You pay a very significant mark-up when buying a gaming laptop compared to a desktop PC, purely for the convenience of being able to carry it in your bag: it is after all quite difficult to cram in all those same components and keep them from overheating into a fairly narrow space.

Consequently, when you start looking at gaming laptops under $1,000, you cannot expect great performance in the latest games. As a (very) general rule of thumb, you can expect to get around 80-100 FPS on GTA V on high settings on many of the laptops below. Newer, more demanding games would need you to be playing on low or medium settings in order to achieve FPS this high. If this is too low for your needs then we would advise you take a look at our best gaming laptops for under $1,500 page, or alternatively consider a desktop PC you can build yourself or a prebuilt computer, for under $1,000.

Resolution & refresh rate

Under $1,000 your choice is limited entirely to 1080p resolution screens. This is the standard resolution for competition gaming anyway, which many people on higher budgets would choose regardless. Furthermore, it is of questionable benefit to get a higher resolution display unless you are looking for a laptop with a screen size above 15 inches.

120Hz or more commonly 144Hz laptop models are what you’ll usually find for this amount of money, but realistically with the type of CPU & GPU setups you’re going to be working with, these are sufficiently high refresh rate displays to match the FPS they will be outputting.

Hard drive & RAM

It’s rare to find a gaming laptop in this price range that comes with a hard drive (usually an SSD – i.e. Solid State Drive) above 512GB. Fortunately, most laptops can be upgraded in this area, and a better / additional SSD put in to increase the storage capacity. You should check to make sure that the laptop you want does indeed allow you to do this before you purchase it.

It’s a similar story with memory capacity – you won’t find a gaming laptop in this price range with more than 16GB RAM, and will some have less. Fortunately, this is an easily upgradeable component.

Port selection, connectivity & webcam quality

Typically ports and sockets are one of the things which get sacrificed in more budget-priced laptops. It’s rare to find Thunderbolt support or SD card readers for instance in laptops under $1,000, although they do crop up on occasion, and you won’t get many USB-C ports. You may or may not get an HDMI port to attach to an external monitor.

Webcam quality will rarely be good in gaming laptops at this price point, given it’s something even high-end gaming laptops often sacrifice and in some cases you might not even find a webcam included at all.


Best gaming laptops under $1000 FAQs

What is the best gaming laptop for under $1000?

At the time of writing the MSI GF65 Thin 9SEXR-838 (With RTX 2060) is our pick for best overall gaming laptop for 1,000 USD. However, if you prioritize battery life and CPU performance then also consider the ASUS TUF Gaming A15 with AMD Ryzen 7 4800H. Besides this though, check out our three other best picks on our list of the best gaming laptops for under $1000 to see if they suit your needs better.

How good is a $1000 gaming laptop?

A gaming laptop for 1000 USD can be described as mid-range. For this price you will be able to play the latest games, but only on low-medium graphical settings if they are demanding. For older, less demanding titles you will be able to turn the settings up higher. Otherwise you will have to spend more money on a gaming laptop or consider buying a desktop PC for the same price.

What is the best mid-range gaming laptop?

Mid-range gaming laptops are typically defined as costing between $1,000 – $1,500 in price, though this is up for debate. Currently the best gaming laptop for around $1000 is, in our opinion, the MSI GF65 Thin 9SEXR-838. Our best gaming laptop for $1500 or thereabouts is the ASUS ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition. Ultimately though, which laptop is best for you depends on your specific needs, so be sure to check out our guides on the best gaming laptops under $1,000 and the best gaming laptops under $1,500 for more options.

What is the best budget gaming laptop?

Any gaming laptop which costs substantially below $1,000 fits the bill of a budget gaming laptop. Below this threshold, there is a big range in terms of price and quality. Take a look at our pages on the best gaming laptop under $800, $700, $600, and $500 to see which one is right for your needs.

Which brand of laptop lasts the longest?

In terms of physical durability, this usually depends on the build quality of individual models rather than one brand, but Razer, Apple, and Lenovo laptops tend to excel in this area. The efficiency of internal cooling affects the longevity of the internal components of gaming laptops but again this isn’t usually brand-specific – check reviews of the specific model. In terms of the longest-lasting battery life, most gaming laptops do not have a long one, due to power-hungry components, though certain examples like the ASUS ROG Strix G15 Advantage and ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (With AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS) are exceptions.

Best gaming laptop under $1000 : Final Word

This has been our guide to the best gaming laptop under 1000 USD in 2023. We hope you have found it useful in making your choice as to which laptop to buy. If you didn’t find what you want here, we have other laptop guides for different budgets which can be found in the dropdown menu at the top of this page, including the best gaming laptops under $800 and best gaming laptops under $1,500 if you’re looking for something a bit cheaper/more powerful.

If you need more power more cheaply than a gaming laptop can provide, have a look at our guides on mid-range gaming desktop builds for under $1,000 and also the best pre-built gaming PC for under $1,000.

If you know of any specific laptops you would like to see reviewed that we have not covered, please let us know in a comment below.

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