Easy Guide: Choose the Best Gaming Laptop under $1,000 (May, 2022)

Gaming on laptop There’s nothing worse than a newly bought laptop that disappoints you. With new laptops hitting the market every month, it’s tough to keep up with all the new stuff, especially if you’re more into PC gaming. There are three most common components to worry about: processor, graphics card, and RAM memory. Each component has a couple of manufacturers, each having its own fan base, but which one should you pick? What kind of features should you expect from each component at every price point? And what about buying advice for gaming laptops under $1,000? I’ve done my research – best sellers, latest releases, reviews, benchmarks and so on. By the end of this article, you should have all the information you need to make an informed decision about which laptop to buy. Enough of chit-chat, let’s find out what are the best gaming laptops under $1,000!

P.S.

I also wrote plenty of articles, carefully explaining how to choose an optimal laptop for a specific games like Battlefield 2042, Total War: Warhammer III, Lost Ark and many many more!

TL;DR
  • Three most common components in gaming laptops: GPU (graphics card), CPU (processor), and RAM memory
  • Do not sacrifice graphics card power for the sake of saving money on other specifications
  • Go for the latest graphics cards generation available at your price point (RTX 3xxx series as for now)
  • Also, if you into nerdy details, check out my spreadsheet where I compared 100 laptops in detail here!

Requirements for a Best Gaming Laptops under $1,000 laptop

Major Graphics card

Laptop graphics card

As a gaming laptop owner, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything more important than a good graphics card (we will call it GPU, which stands for Graphics Processing Unit). In fact, GPU is the main component on which all the games will depend the most. The graphics card will not only determine how smoothly your game runs, but also how good it looks. Higher resolutions and overall quality of game details will mostly depend on the capabilities of your GPU.

Usually, there are two types of GPUs in laptops: integrated ones and dedicated ones. Every processor has a GPU integrated inside which can handle simple everyday tasks like displaying photos, letting you watch movies, browse the internet, etc. But (!) when it comes to gaming, integrated GPUs are no good at all. Integrated GPU could run some very graphic-unintensive games like puzzles or some small indie games, but forget about all the modern big titles as Elden Ring, God of War, Call of Duty: Warzone, etc. To run solid modern games, you’ll definitely need some kind of dedicated GPU. That’s a fact.

So, what’s the best graphics card when choosing a gaming laptop under $1,000? Let’s find out!

Nvidia GTX and RTX – What’s the difference?

You might have already stumbled into these GPU namings. I won’t dig deep into technical details (you can read more here), but the main difference is that RTX cards has additional microchip for utilizing new technology called Ray Traycing. I must say, you shouldn’t worry too much as it is extremely hard to feel a difference without using super fancy (and pricy) graphics cards.

Recommendations

– What does a gaming GPU make it a decent one?

The main concern is how many FPS (Frames Per Second) and on how high graphics settings can it generate. The more you crank up the graphics settings in the game, the less FPS you’ll get. That’s because GPU will take more time to create better quality pictures (frames). By “graphics settings” I mean resolution and quality of details (like in-game shadows, water, etc.).

60 FPS is a sweet spot as human eye is said to see at arount this rate. I’d say you should tweak game settings untill you get around 60 FPS while lowering as little as possible graphics settings.

Some hardcore competetive gamers might benefit from higher FPS, but it’s not worth worrying, let’s leave this to professionals.

GTX 1660 Ti / RTX 3050 Ti

This is the bottom shelf of modern dedicated laptop GPUs. But don’t get me wrong, they WILL run modern games, just not without some significant compromises in game’s graphic settings. You can expect running most of the games on 1080p (High Definition) resolution at Lower-end settings (depending on game) while maintaining 60 FPS.

RTX 3060

That’s a sweet spot for a budget that’s under $1,000. It’s powerfull enough to run all the games at Medium-to-High settings (again, depending on game) on 60+ FPS. You just can’t squeeze more from a laptop in this price range, but I’m pretty sure this will please vast majority of gamers. Also, it is pretty wide spread in today’s laptops market, making me easier to pick you the best option overall.

TL;DR
  • Graphics card (GPU) is the main component on which all the games will depend the most
  • Integrated GPUs (baked into processor) will not be enough for gaming
  • Nvidia RTX 3060 is the best choice when it comes to gaming laptops under $1,000

Major Processor

Laptop processor

If you’re in the market for a gaming laptop, you have to know that graphics cards and processors go hand-in-hand. In other words, even though I’d say GPU is the most crucial part for gaming, you won’t benefit from a powerful GPU without having a adequate processor to match. This means that it’s crucial to choose a gaming laptop with at least middle-class CPU.

Recommendations

Choosing Gaming Laptop under $1,000 is not an easy task, especially when it comes to selecting the right processor. [To make your decision easier](an article on choosing a gaming laptop), I recommend choosing one of the following CPUs:

  • Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3 – something I’d recommend as a minimal option
  • Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 – the sweet spot for [this price range]($1,000 gaming laptops article).

Most of my recommended laptops will contain one of these middle-class processors. They are powerfull enough to run modern games on adequate settings and at the same time won’t eat too much of your precious budget.

  • Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 – these are perfect for gaming, but have in mind that it’s practically impossible to find a laptop containing Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 without cheaping out on other vital components as graphics card and RAM within $1,000 price range. And that’s just not wise.

To sum up, you can get laptop with any of these processors for less than $1,000. Of course, depending on other components. You may need to downgrade some other components or cut down on some features for a sake of more processing power. If you ask me – the wise move is to go with a medium-class processor as it will handle all the games (maybe not on the highest possible settings, but you just can’t expect $1,000 laptop to max out on modern games settings) and save a good chunk of your budget for other vital components like graphics card and RAM memory.

TL;DR
  • When it comes to picking a gaming laptop in tight budget, you should focus on the most crucial components. Processor is one of them, being just below the graphics card.
  • Middle class processors are the sweet spot for this price range. They are powerful enough to run modern games on adequate settings, but won’t eat too much of your budget.

Major Memory

Laptop RAM memory

Again, choosing a gaming laptop under $1,000 is not an easy task. The majority of the laptops in this price range come with 8 GB of RAM. I wouldn’t recommend 8 GB of RAM for anything other than basic work and browsing. And 32 GB RAM laptop for under $1,000 is something impossible to get. That’s why we are only focusing on 16 GB of RAM this time. That’s the optimal choice for everyone not willing to spend $2000+ on a fancy computer.

You might be wondering about these specific numbers, why it has to be 8, 16 or 32? These are standard configurations. I won’t go into technical details about why it’s a good idea, but RAM memory is usually being upgraded by doubling it’s capacity – 16 GB (8 GB x 2), 32 GB (16 GB x 2). Good news – you don’t need to worry about any of this – 16 GB of RAM is your ultimate answer.

Minimum (8 GB)

First of all, that’s acceptable in a single situation – you’re on an uncomfortably tight budget. I should mention that usually you can upgrade your laptop’s RAM, but more often than not, it means replacing existing RAM sticks as you probably won’t find any free slots. Consider this option only if you’re 100% sure it is upgradable. That being said, I just can’t recommend buying a gaming laptop with less than 16 GB of RAM.

Recommended (16 GB)

Stick with 16 GB. That’s the sweet spot for gaming, work, and everything in-between. 16 GB of RAM is totally enough even for most resource demanding games.

Best (32 GB)

Let me ask you a couple of questions. Do you care about keeping multiple games open, or using Chrome 100 tabs open? Is this benefit worth going beyond for budget? The more, the better, but 32 GB of RAM is not necessary by any standard, instead keep your eyes on unreplacable laptop components, such as CPU or GPU.

TL;DR
  • RAM is usually upgradable
  • 8 GB of RAM is only good for every day computer uses like browsing internet and casual work
  • 16 GB of RAM is the sweet spot. It will easily run all the games.
  • 32 GB of RAM is not necessary by any standard. Don’t even consider this option when buying a gaming laptop under $1,000

Optional requirements for a Best Gaming Laptops under $1,000 laptop

Optional Storage

Nvme SSD drive

Choosing a gaming laptop is tough, but it doesn’t have to be. You might not know how to make a decision with all the specs and numbers floating around, but that’s what I’m here for. Let me do the hard work for you – just follow my recommendations and you’ll be good to go.

HDD vs SSD

What’s a good size?

I honestly can’t recommend buying a new laptop with less than 512 GB of SSD storage. At the same time, having in mind our $1,000 budget, this is exactly what I’ll be recommending you today. Storage is one of the parts you can upgrade on your laptop, so if it turns out that 512 GB isn’t enough – it won’t be too difficult to get more space later on. Fortunately, many laptops have an extra slot (sometimes multiple) so you can add new drive while having the old one simultaneously. Worst case – even if there are no extra slots – you can still at least change it which wouldn’t be possible when it comes to many other parts of laptops (e.g. processors or graphics card).

Storage for playing

Also, have in mind that you don’t need to store all your games in your laptop. Modern game stores like Steam, Epic Games will let you download your once-bought game any time you want! You can install, uninstall, delete and re-download the games countless times. That means you should use your laptop’s internal storage only for those games which you plan on playing in near future. Everything else is saved and waiting for you somewhere in the cloud forever. Of course, you’ll need a decent internet connection or some serious patience for bigger games.

TL;DR
  • 512 GB of SSD storage is the optimal choice when buying a gaming laptop under $1,000
  • Modern game stores lets you re-download your games unlimited times. So you don’t need to waste your internal storage to store games you not planning to play in near future.

4 Best Laptops for Best Gaming Laptops under $1,000

GIGABYTE G5 KC

1
N/A
Price
$990
i5-10500H | RTX 3060 | 16 GB RAM | 512 GB SSD | 15.6″ 144Hz IPS-level; 1920×1080
Pros and cons
Pros
  • Adequate processor (i5-10500H)
  • Excellent graphics card (RTX 3060)

GIGABYTE G5 MD

2
N/A
Price
$1000
i5-11400H | RTX 3050 Ti | 16 GB RAM | 512 GB SSD | 15.6″ 144Hz IPS-level; 1920×1080
Pros and cons
Pros
  • Up to the mark processor (i5-11400H)
  • Plenty of RAM (16 GB)

MSI GF65 Thin 10UE

3
N/A
Price
$1030
i5-10500H | RTX 3060 | 8 GB RAM | 512 GB SSD | 15.6″ 144Hz IPS; 1920×1080
Pros and cons
Pros
  • Fair processor (i5-10500H)
  • Exceptional graphics card (RTX 3060)

MSI GF65 Thin

4
N/A
Price
$1070
i5-10500H | RTX 3060 | 8 GB RAM | 512 GB SSD | 15.6″ 144Hz IPS; 1920×1080
Pros and cons
Pros
  • Decent processor (i5-10500H)
  • Solid graphics card (RTX 3060)

Comparison spreadsheet

In case you want to go more technical, here’s the link to my spreadsheet where I compare 100 laptops in detail. It has all the information you need in order to make an informed decision!

Table of Best Laptops for Best Gaming Laptops under $1,000

LaptopPrice (approx)
GIGABYTE G5 KC$990
GIGABYTE G5 MD$1000
MSI GF65 Thin 10UE$1030
MSI GF65 Thin$1070
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Ethan

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