Notebookcheck

Notebookcheck's Top 10 Gaming Notebooks

Florian Glaser (translated by Martina Osztovits), 02/03/2015

March 2015 update. Here you will find the current best gaming notebooks reviewed by Notebookcheck in the last few months. Our list of top models is regularly updated, maintained and commented on and should assist in purchasing decisions.

For the original German article, see here.

We divided the Top 10 into two sections to meet the increasing number of lightweight gaming notebooks. You can now find a list with the best high-end laptops that weigh less than 3 kg here. Our "classic" Gaming Top 10 (without any restrictions in terms of weight) is obviously still available.

Gaming Notebook Charts as of March 2015

Pos. RatingDateModelWeightHeightSizeResolutionFinish
1

89%

12/14

Asus G751JY
Intel Core i7 4710HQ
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M
24 GB RAM, SSD
from $2270 at Amazon

4.2 kg53 mm17.31920x1080matte
2

88 %

new!

02/15

Alienware 15
Intel Core i7 4710HQ
Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M
8 GB RAM, SSD
from $1698 at Amazon

3.0 kg34 mm15.61920x1080matte
3

88%

01/15Schenker XMG U505
Intel Core i7 4790S
Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M
16 GB RAM, SSD
from €2224 at Schenker Tech.
3.5 kg36 mm15.61920x1080matte
4

88%

10/14

MSI GT72 2QE
Intel Core i7 4710HQ
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M
32 GB RAM, Quad-SSD
from €3297 at Notebooksbilliger

3.8 kg48 mm17.31920x1080matte
588%05/14
Asus G750JZ
Intel Core i7 4700HQ
Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M
8 GB RAM, Dual-SSD
from $1999 at Amazon
4.3 kg58 mm17.31920x1080matte
6

87%

new!

02/15

MSI GT80 2QE
Intel Core i7 4980HQ
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M SLI
32 GB RAM, Quad-SSD
from €4499 at Notebooksbilliger

4.9 kg49 mm18.41920x1080matte
7

87%

01/15

One K73-5N
Intel Core i7 4790K
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M
16 GB RAM, SSD
from €2254 at One

3.9 kg39 mm17.31920x1080matte
8

87%

12/14Schenker XMG P505 Pro
Intel Core i7 4710HQ
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M
16 GB RAM, SSD
from €2203 at Schenker Tech.
2.7 kg29 mm15.61920x1080matte
9

87%

09/14

MSI GT72 2PE
Intel Core i7 4710HQ
Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M
16 GB RAM, Triple-SSD
from $2483 at Amazon

3.8 kg48 mm17.31920x1080matte
10

86%

09/14Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro
Intel Core i7 4710HQ
Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M
8 GB RAM, SSD
from $1399 at Amazon
3.0 kg25 mm17.31920x1080matte

 

Top 10 of the previous 10 months at the time of writing - current articles are listed first

 

 

Editors' Comments

1st

Asus G751JY
Asus G751JY

After the Top 10 had been led by the MSI GT72 2QE for two months, we had the chance to review the Asus G751JY, which also features a GeForce GTX 980M and a Core i7-4710HQ. In our opinion, the main attraction of the 17-inch gaming monster is the relatively low system noise. Currently, no other high-end notebook manages a system noise below 37-44 dB(A) in 3D mode. The IPS display with wide viewing angles and precise colors is a reason to buy despite quite a modest black value. In addition, there are moderate temperatures, excellent features (but many interfaces are placed unfavorably) and great input devices.

However, it does not perform well enough for a 90% rating. First of all, the battery life is too low, because it lacks the Optimus technology. In addition, the G751JY is very heavy and big (4.2 kg and a height of 53 mm). Also, the maintainability is very limited. It is much easier to get to the components in the MSI GT72. Furthermore, several buyers faced a broken touchpad. Some might also criticize the sound balance (subwoofer too present, speakers are drowned out).

2nd

Alienware 15
Alienware 15

Apart from MSI (GS30), Alienware also tries an external graphics box. While the amplifier was not convincing in the 13-inch model because of the weak dual core CPU, the AW 15 performs significantly better. Although a connection via PCIe x4 can slow down the graphics performance by above 10% in the worst case, the performance level of an equal desktop PC is reached. The advantage over laptop GPUs is particularly impressive. The reviewed GTX 980 is on average 50 % faster than the GTX 970M for example.

But, the AW15 is also impressive without amplifier. Apart from a few weaknesses in maintainability and upgradability (soldered CPU/GPU, battery cannot be reached directly,...), system noise during 3D tasks and the position of the keyboard, there is hardly anything to complain about. As usually, Alienware wants to attract gaming fans with a high-end, stylish and strikingly lit chassis. The IPS panel, the input devices, and the sound, do not need to hide behind the competition. In addition, the battery life of the test model was above average with a maximum of 11.5 hours.

3rd

Schenker XMG U505
Schenker XMG U505

Contrary to most of its competitors, the Clevo P751ZM Barebone, which is sold as XMG U505 from Schenker Technologies, uses a Desktop CPU instead of a mobile processor. While the reviewed Core i7-4790S (3.2-4.0 GHz) only conditionally outperforms its notebook siblings, the XMG U505 can also be configured with a 4.0-4.4 GHz Core i7-4790K, which is about 25-30% faster than the Core i7-4710HQ. Either the GeForce GTX 965M, the GTX 970M or the GTX 980M are used as graphics card. While the first one suffers from quite a small memory interface (only 128-bit), the latter is extremely expensive.

With a height of 3.6 cm and a weight of 3.5 kg, the P751ZM barebone ranks in between thicker gaming notebooks like the Asus G751JY and ultra thin high-end representatives like the MSI GS60. The XMG U505 performs particularly well in image and sound quality. The 15-inch IPS panel is accompanied by a powerful sound system. Many interfaces and easy maintainability are also pros of this notebook. Because a graphics switch is missing, power consumption is high and battery life is poor. The stability of the lid should also be better.

4th

MSI GT72 2QE
MSI GT72 2QE

Just after the release of the GT72 2PE (see 9th place), MSI has already published a successor. Instead of a Kepler-based GTX 880M, a lightning fast GTX 980M with Maxwell architecture works in the GT72 2QE. Thanks to the GPU replacement, not only the heat emissions fell, but also the power consumption. The increased performance is a big advantage: The GTX 980M is finally +30% faster. However, not only the performance is high, but also the price is extremely steep. For example, the most expensive model with four M.2-SSDs costs above 3000 Euros (~$3424). Since the benefit of the RAID configuration is only limited, we would recommend one of the cheaper models.

If you only want to spend up to 2000 Euros (~$2282), the GT72 2QD with GTX 970M is a good choice. The latter GPU is not even 20% slower. Although MSI have not produced a perfect gaming notebook (modest WLAN reception, unusual keyboard layout, bluish TN panel, unreachable battery, etc.), gamers can safely buy it.

5th

Asus G750JZ
Asus G750JZ

Thanks to its comparatively low emissions (system noise + temperature) and the high performance, the top version of the G750-series can secure fifth place in our gaming charts. Even though the device is almost six centimeters high and weighs almost 4.3 kilograms, the owner gets a first-class high-end product, which scores with a good picture and sound quality, a high build quality as well as great input devices. The connectivity (Thunderbolt, 4x USB 3.0, etc.) and the battery runtimes are not bad, either.

Asus charges the corresponding price for the good overall package. Our review unit costs almost 2,000 Euros (~$2282). It is unfortunate that the maintainability is pretty limited.

6th

MSI GT80
MSI GT80

The MSI GT80 is indeed a special notebook. Four M.2-SSDs in RAID-0 connection, two GTX 980M cards in SLI mode, 32 GB RAM, and a Core i7-4980HQ: That richly equipped is the top model of the desktop replacement. Those looking for maximum performance in a device under five kilogram, could like the 18-incher. If it wasn't for the steep price: MSI charges above 4000 Euro for the bundle.

While maintainability, accessories, display and sound system meet the high demands, the system noise turns out to be the Achilles' heel. Under full load the GT80 reaches up to 60 dB(A), which is even much for a gaming notebook. The laptop deserves kudos for its mechanical keyboard. Compared to a standard keyboard, typing appears significantly crisper and preciser, but you have to get used to the loud typing noise first. The touchpad with number block functionality is futuristic, too. In addition, you cannot complain about performance. The SLI connection is almost 40% faster than a single GTX 980M and 20% faster than a desktop GTX 980.

7th

One K73-5N
One K73-5N

The P771ZM barebone is the 17-inch counterpart of the P751ZM (see place 3). Since the chassis does not house an IPS panel yet and is about 400 g heavier, the total score is 1% lower. Otherwise the two devices are quite similar. The One K73-5N is just as easy to maintain and well equipped as the Schenker XMG U505. Hardly any other notebook offers up to four mass storage devices and a 2.1 system from Onkyo.

In view of the strengths, most customers might accept the short battery life, the enormous power consumption and the bluish TN panel. As it is individually configurable, the K73-5N can be adapted to your needs. With the Core i7-4790K and the GeForce GTX 980M, our test model came with the most powerful components currently available. If weaker hardware is used, the case should remain colder and quieter.

8th

Schenker XMG P505 Pro
Schenker XMG P505 Pro

Those looking for a compact, yet powerful gaming notebook will find an almost ideal choice in the Schenker XMG P505. It is based on the Clevo P651 barebone and even the model with GTX 980M only weighs 2.7 kg, which would rather suggest a multimedia product. A height of only 3 cm is also low in the gaming range. Like most competitors, temperatures and system noise are rather high in 3D mode, but the notebook does not get extremely hot or loud. Battery life is acceptable, too. Thanks to graphics switching the negative impact of the rather weak 4-cell battery (60Wh) is not too high. In terms of input devices, connectivity and sound, the device also manages a rating in the upper 70 or the lower 80% range.

Its biggest unique feature is the matte FHD display with IPS technology (optionally 3K or 4K).  Such a contrast-rich image with vivid colors and big contrast is rare in the notebook range. It also deserves praise that the underside can be completely unscrewed. Overall, we would call the XMG P505 the best 15-inch gamer of 2014 - despite soldered CPU and GPU.

9th

MSI GT72
MSI GT72

Despite the low rating advantage, the MSI GT72 can leave a much better impression than the 17-inch sibling GT70. The new design is just as convincing as the improved port layout. The GT72 looks more noble and sophisticated in general, which can justify the huge price point (2,700 Euros, ~$3082, for the SKU7) to a certain extent.

As is typical for MSI, the high-end device is advertised with several features. For example, the 3-zone illumination of the keyboard, the RAID configuration with several SSDs or the multi-display support. This MSI is also the reference in terms of sound. The lack of Nvidia's Optimus technology (manual GPU switching) is a matter of taste. Otherwise, there is hardly any criticism for the GT72. A height of 4.8 centimeters and a weight of 3.8 kilograms clearly indicate a desktop replacement.

10th

Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro

Acer's V 17 Nitro is a respectable entry into the gaming market. The notebook easily secures the 9th spot, even though the GeForce GTX 860M of the Black Edition is not even close to the performance of the GTX 870M or the GTX 880M. Besides the nice design, the mobility in particular is an advantage. Most high-end devices weigh more than three kilograms, and the same applies for the height of 2.5 centimeters.

The V 17 Nitro does not offer a whole lot of ports, but other features like the illuminated keyboard or the IPS display with wide viewing angles can easily compensate for this drawback. Another advantage is the noise development; the fans are pretty restrained during 3D operation. In short: Mobile gamers get the perfect device if they don't have a problem with the integrated battery.

Recent Gaming Laptop Awards

Comparison of the Top 10 Gaming Laptops

Measurement Results

Benchmarks

Automated top 10 list updated daily

of the last 8 months
1
89% v4
Asus G751JY-T7009H Notebook Review
Asus G751JY-T7009H
Asus G751JY-T7009H Notebook Review
Intel Core i7 4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 12/26/2014
2
88% v4
Alienware 15 Notebook Review
Alienware 15
Alienware 15 Notebook Review
Intel Core i7 4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 02/23/2015
3
88% v4
Schenker XMG U505 (Clevo P751ZM) Notebook Review
Schenker XMG U505
Schenker XMG U505 (Clevo P751ZM) Notebook Review
Intel Core i7 (Desktop) 4790S, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 01/21/2015
4
88% v4
iBuyPower GT72 Dominator Notebook Review Update
Ibuypower GT72 Dominator
iBuyPower GT72 Dominator Notebook Review Update
Intel Core i7 4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 11/24/2014
5
88% v4
MSI GT72 (GTX 980M) Notebook Review Update
MSI GT72-2QE32SR311BW
MSI GT72 (GTX 980M) Notebook Review Update
Intel Core i7 4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 10/30/2014
6
87% v4
MSI GT80 Notebook Review
MSI GT80-2QES32SR311BW
MSI GT80 Notebook Review
Intel Core i7 4980HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M SLI, 02/23/2015
7
87% v4
One K73-5N (Clevo P771ZM) Notebook Review
One K73-5N
One K73-5N (Clevo P771ZM) Notebook Review
Intel Core i7 (Desktop) 4790K, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 01/28/2015
8
87% v4
Schenker XMG P505 PRO (Clevo P651SG) Notebook Review
Schenker XMG P505 PRO
Schenker XMG P505 PRO (Clevo P651SG) Notebook Review
Intel Core i7 4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 12/18/2014
9
87% v4
MSI GT72 Notebook Review
MSI GT72-2PE16SR231BW
MSI GT72 Notebook Review
Intel Core i7 4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, 09/16/2014
10
86% v4
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q) Notebook Review
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q) Notebook Review
Intel Core i7 4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, 09/23/2014
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Gaming Notebooks
Author: Florian Glaser, 2015-02- 3 (Update: 2015-03- 3)