Notebookcheck's Top 10 Gaming Notebooks

Florian Glaser (translated by Martina Osztovits), 08/05/2014

August 2014 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.

Fresh impetus. If you look at the portfolio of several manufacturers, it appears that conventional gaming laptops (big, thick, and heavy) are slowly but surely drawing to an end. Still, many gaming monsters are spreading the market in 2014 (e. g. the recently reviewed Asus G750JM), but the trend is clearly toward "light and mobile." Apart from Gigabyte (P34G v2, P35W v2) and Lenovo (Y40Y50), MSI (GS60, GS70) has to be mentioned here. However, many notebooks suffer from high temperatures and system noise as our reviews show.

The advantages of thin high-end laptops, which do not weigh too much, are apparent: Gamers fond of travelling, who also want to use their device at university or in the office, will appreciate the much more convenient transportation. Therefore, more and more thin notebooks will appear in the future. Whether and when they will also be suitable for sensitive users (system noise, temperature) remains to be seen.

Notebookcheck Gaming Notebook Charts as of August 2014

 # Date%ModelWeightDisplayCPUGPURAMDrivePrice/Buy
105/14

88%

Asus G750JZ-T4023H4.3 kg17.3-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4700HQNvidia GeForce GTX 880M8 GBSSDstarting at $2249
205/1487%Alienware 17 (GTX 880M)4.2 kg17.3-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4700MQNvidia GeForce GTX 880M8 GBSSDstarting at $3289
3 new07/1486%Asus G750JM-T4014H3.9 kg17.3-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4700HQNvidia GeForce GTX 860M8 GBHDDstarting at €1399
-05/1486%Asus G750JS-T4064H4.1 kg17.3-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4700HQNvidia GeForce GTX 870M8 GBSSDstarting at $1749
-04/1486%MSI GT70 2PE-890US3.8 kg17.3-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4800MQNvidia GeForce GTX 880M12 GBHDDstarting at $1399
4 new07/1485%Asus GL550JK-CN391H2.3 kg15.6-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4700HQNvidia GeForce GTX 850M16 GBSSDstarting at €1399
504/1483%Medion Erazer X7611-MD985432.7 kg17.3-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4700HQNvidia GeForce GTX 765M16 GBSSDno longer available

-

03/1483%One K73-4N (Clevo P170SM-A)3.7 kg17.3-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4800MQNvidia GeForce GTX 870M8 GBSSD
starting at $1455
-03/1483%Schenker XMG P704 (Clevo P177SM-A)4.0 kg17.3-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4910MQNvidia GeForce GTX 880M16 GBSSD
starting at $1939
6 new07/1482%Gigabyte P35W v22.5 kg15.6-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4710HQNvidia GeForce GTX 870M16 GBSSDstarting at €1539

Top 10 of the previous 8 months at the time of writing - current articles are listed first

#Date%ModelWeightDisplayCPUGPURAMDrivePrice/Buy
new07/14

81%

Gigabyte P34G v21.8 kg14.0-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4700HQNvidia GeForce GTX 860M8 GBSSDstarting at $1618
new07/1480%Aorus X7 v23.2 kg17.3-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4710HQNvidia GeForce GTX 860M SLI16 GBSSDstarting at $2299
new07/1480%Lenovo Y50-702.4 kg15.6-inch 1920x1080 matteIntel Core i7-4700HQNvidia GeForce GTX 860M16 GBSSHDstarting at $1239

Additional tests last month - most recent tests are listed first

Editors' Comments

Asus G750JM
Asus G750JM

Asus G750JM: Winner's Podium

Let's start our August Top 10 with a conventional gaming laptop. Despite limited maintainability (fan cannot be reached directly) and strong competition, the G750 belongs to the best high-end notebooks. Compared to other 17-inch gamers like the Alienware 17, the MSI GT70, the One K73-4N and the Schenker XMG P704, the Asus is not only quieter but also often cooler. 

After we had already reviewed the top models G750JZ (GTX 880M) and G750JS (GTX 870M), the G750JM-T4014H had to prove its capabilities this month. While the display quality is "only" mid-range, it performs above average in the other aspects (build quality, input devices, battery life, sound, etc.). We were especially surprised that Asus did not use the Kepler model, but an over-clocked Maxwell model of the GTX 860M. The model only missed a "very good" due to its enormous weight (~3.9 kg) and the lack of an SSD.

Asus GL550JK
Asus GL550JK

Asus GL550JK: N550JK Makeover

The 15-inch GL550JK, which resembles the multimedia counterpart N550JK, also performed well in our review. There are slimmer and/or lighter alternatives, but Asus scores points with a first-class IPS display, a bright red keyboard light and an elegant design. Furthermore, the system noise is moderate, which is seldom found in the gaming range. Unfortunately, only a DDR3 model of the GTX 850M is used as graphics card. With GDDR5 VRAM the GL550JK would be about 20 % faster. The included subwoofer cannot completely make up for this flaw. In addition, we would like to see a stronger battery and a "normal" touchpad in the successor. It is also suboptimal that the underside can be only removed with a Torx screwdriver.

Since Asus has made nearly everything else right, the GL550JK-CN391H achieved a total rating of 85%. If you can live without a Blu-ray combo and a Solid State Drive, you can save a lot of money by buying the CN390H. Despite many pros, 1400 Euros (~$1871) is quite steep (significantly more powerful notebooks are available for this price).

Gigabyte P34G v2
Gigabyte P34G v2

Gigabyte P34G v2: Beauty Craze

With the P34G v2, Gigabyte produced one of the slimmest gaming notebooks currently for sale. A height of about 2 cm is just as little as a weight of just under 1.8 kg for a 14-inch device. Although the build quality of our test sample was disappointing, the Schenker C404 with identical design (article will appear soon) showed that not all of the whole series is afflicted.

Regardless, the P34G v2 impresses with a modern and noble design. You also cannot complain about connectivity and battery life. In our opinion, the biggest highlight is the matte Full HD IPS display: Black value, viewing angles and contrast are at a high level. Thanks to the GeForce GTX 860M and the incorporated Solid State Drive not only games but also everyday Windows usage is fun. Although the fans get rather loud in 3D mode, the chassis gets rather hot (the same is true for the components). The manufacturer could also improve the keyboard and the sound. Due to few alternatives, the P34G v2 deserves a chance anyway.

Gigabyte P35W v2
Gigabyte P35W v2

Gigabyte P35W v2: Hot-Swap Junkie

Do you like it bigger and more powerful? If so, the P35W v2 might be the right device. Gigabyte tried a very thin design (21 mm high). 2.5 kg is easy to transport and rather hints at an office notebook. The P35W v2 inherited the strengths of its smaller relative in other ways as well, including connectivity, keyboard light, and high-end IPS display. In terms of battery life the device also belongs to the best. The performance is beyond any doubt anyway. With Nvidia's high-end GeForce GTX 870M, most games run smoothly even with active anti-aliasing.

Again the emissions are a point of critique. Apart from the system noise, the case temperatures are also high. For example, we measured more than 50 dB(A) and 60 °C in our stress test (not a very realistic scenario). However, we liked the hot-swap feature. Depending on your demands, the notebook front can either house an optical drive or an additional mass storage device. All things considered, the P35W v2 achieved a rating in the lower 80% range - not bad, but also not outstanding. Note: A review of the Schenker C504 model is already planned (with GTX 860M).

Aorus X7 v2
Aorus X7 v2

Aorus X7 v2: Duo Infernale

The Aorus X7 v2 also stems directly from Gigabyte (subsidiary). True to the motto "one graphics chip is not sufficient," the manufacturer incorporated two graphics cards. Although the upgrade from GTX 765M SLI to GTX 860M SLI is only slightly faster, it still reaches the level of a GeForce GTX 880M thanks to the mature Nvidia driver. However, the Aorus X7 has to do without graphics switching because of the dual GPU configuration. The lack of Nvidia's Optimus technology not only affects temperatures but also battery life and power consumption. It is hardly possible to squeeze out more than three hours. It is also annoying that Aorus used a touchpad with a high-gloss finish. For a price of just under 2000 Euros (~$2673), you may also expect perfect build quality and a top class display.

We cannot really blame Aorus for using the Kepler architecture since Nvidia's Maxwell generation does not support SLI yet. Especially the ample features deserve respect. Three digital-video outs, three mSATA SSDs in RAID 0 and a backlit chiclet keyboard with Macro keys: The X7 v2 makes gamers' hearts leap for joy; not to mention its striking look.

Lenovo Y50-70
Lenovo Y50-70

Lenovo Y50-70: Value Buy

Remove the UltraBay slot (dual GPU/fan, driver, or mass storage) and slim down the Y510p: Voilà, the brand new Y50-70 is born. In view of a height of 24 mm, the 15-inch device looks rather thin. Again Lenovo used playful details. Large vent grilles and unusually shaped keys are hallmarks of the Y50-70. Contrary to most notebooks, the display quality is significantly worse than the sound. The measurement values of the matte TN display are poor. At least the Y50-70 is optionally available with a (probably better) UHD display. Adventurous gamers can replace the panel themselves, which is rather easy according to user comments (See: "Lenovo Y50 Screen Replacement" @YouTube).

The pros include easy maintainability. All components can be reached via the removable underside. A mix of rubber and metal and battery runtimes of up to eight hours are also not usual for a 1000 Euros (~$1336) gamer. But the low price made compromises necessary. For example, our review unit features neither an SSD nor an mSATA slot. In addition, the cooling system should be more powerful. Despite "turbo gap," the Y50-70 gets rather hot and loud in extreme scenarios. Furthermore, a high-gloss display frame was really not necessary.

Recent Gaming Awards


Automated top 10 list updated daily


of the last 8 months
1
88% v4
Review Asus G750JZ-T4023H Notebook
Asus G750JZ-T4023H
Review Asus G750JZ-T4023H Notebook
Intel Core i7 4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, 05/14/2014
2
87% v4
Eurocom X3 (Clevo P157SM) Notebook Review Update
Clevo Clevo P157SM
Eurocom X3 (Clevo P157SM) Notebook Review Update
Intel Core i7 4930MX, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, 06/29/2014
3
87% v4
Alienware 17 (GTX 880M) Notebook Review
Alienware 17 (GTX 880M)
Alienware 17 (GTX 880M) Notebook Review
Intel Core i7 4700MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, 05/26/2014
4
87% v3
Review Eurocom Racer 3W (Clevo P151SM) Notebook
Eurocom Racer 3W
Review Eurocom Racer 3W (Clevo P151SM) Notebook
Intel Core i7 4930MX, NVIDIA Quadro K5100M, 02/04/2014
5
86% v4
Asus G750JM-T4014H Notebook Review Update
Asus G750JM-T4014H
Asus G750JM-T4014H Notebook Review Update
Intel Core i7 4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, 07/10/2014
6
86% v4
Asus G750 in review
Asus G750JS-T4064H
Asus G750JS-T4064H Gaming Notebook Review
Intel Core i7 4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M, 05/23/2014
7
86% v4
Review MSI GT70 2PE-890US Gaming Notebook
MSI GT70 2PE-890US
Review MSI GT70 2PE-890US Gaming Notebook
Intel Core i7 4800MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, 05/03/2014
8
85% v4
Asus GL550JK-CN391H Notebook Review
Asus GL550JK-CN391H
Asus GL550JK-CN391H Notebook Review
Intel Core i7 4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, 07/15/2014
9
83% v4
Review Clevo P170SM-A (One K73-4N) Barebones Notebook
One K73-4N
Review Clevo P170SM-A (One K73-4N) Barebones Notebook
Intel Core i7 4800MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M, 03/31/2014
10
83% v4
Review Clevo P177SM-A (Schenker XMG P704) Barebones Notebook
Schenker XMG P704
Review Clevo P177SM-A (Schenker XMG P704) Barebones Notebook
Intel Core i7 4910MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, 03/31/2014

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Notebookcheck's Top 10 Gaming Notebooks
Author: Florian Glaser, 2014-08- 5 (Update: 2014-08-11)