For the budget conscious and practical gamer, having a powerful gaming laptop need not cost an arm and leg they would normally do. For sure, while some of the better gaming laptops can easily be had above the $2,000 price point, with many exceeding $3,000 when new, some of the best deals in town for a gaming laptop are made possible through significant retail discounts slapped on powerful laptops at or above the $2,000 MSRP giving them superb values for the budget conscious. Admittedly, these are mostly slow moving laptops that get prgressively discounted to make room for newer models. A few refurbished laptops can also provide bargain prices that deliver practical value of your money among budget conscious gamers.
The best time to buy
Shopping peaks that fall on holidays are generally the worst time to do any shopping. But even then, some bargains can be had for discounted laptops especially when there are newer models being offered, or you could have better specs on newer models at the same price points of their preceding models. Better yet, some of the best deals can be had if you can have the patience to wait it out until after the holidays when most shops launch some clearance sale. For sure, laptop technology improves to supersede models 12-18 months down the road. And the largest discounts are often reserved for older models. Just don’t wait too long for the item to be obsolete.
Better features or lower price points
Having the best deal means you get the highest value for your money in whatever laptop you buy. That can mean more bang for the buck, or less buck for the same thing. Newer models for the laptops with the same screen size and CPU tend to be slightly more expensive than their predecessor but this margin is often bloated because older model gets significant discounts. In addition, due to better economies of scale, larger data storage capacities that may appear more expensive will actually be cheaper based on megabytes to the dollar. There are several things the wise shopper needs to considering when aiming for the best deals available.
Used, refurbished or new
Used or pre-owned laptops just a few months old (not more 6-8 months used) are sold at huge discounts, often no less than 20% to 30% of their MSRP. While you could end up with a good deal, be aware that there are some risks to getting one, unless it comes from reputable shop that is known to recondition used laptops and can provide some limited warranties.
There are also refurbished units that restore a used laptop to new or enhanced conditions, so much so that some could almost approach the prices of new ones. Some have higher RAM, a second HDD or new batteries. You just have to communicate with the seller to check out if the refurbished item is worth the trouble. Pictures of the actual item helps, but if you can visit the seller to physically check on the item, that would provide you with more confidence in buying the used or refurbished laptop. Nothing really beats getting something new. Not only is the factory-resh scent of the electronics being unwrapped from its box becomes an exciting experience in itself, but you also get the needed warranties that go with it.
The choice of store
If you plan to do your shopping in Hong Kong where some of the latest electronic gadgets get on sale earlier than in western countries, you may be able to haggle for a lower price in several computer shops. You can’t haggle when shopping online and sites like eBay, while offering some of the lowest prices for a given merchandise, often end up higher because of the nature of bidding. But one thing you can do online is conduct comparative window shopping and there are simply hundreds of online computer shops to compare prices, though admittedly, just a handful are reliable enough to get your purchases delivered to your doorsteps. If the difference in prices is just a few dollars, it often pays to patronize one you can trust and just pay a higher cost as a premium for a headache-free shopping.
Recommended gaming laptops with the best deals and values
It’s often just a matter of browsing through the pages of online computer shops and doing a little comparative shopping online. Based on current prices at Amazon, here are few of our recommendations on brand new but discounted gaming laptops that offer the best value deals so far.
Samsung Series 7 Gamer NP700G7C-S02US
At just $1,613.30 discounted from its $1,899.99 MSRP, this Series 7 Gamer from Samsung offers one of the best value for a quad core gaming laptop . Its graphics engine is a high end NVidia GeForce GTX 675M with its own 2GB DDR5 video RAM> You can play just about all the sophisticated games in the market at high game settings using its default full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution on a 17.3-inch LED backlit screen. Under the hood is an awesome Intel quad core i7-3630QM clocked at 2.4GHz and a 16GB DDR3 system RAM (4GB in 4 DIMM slots, expandable to 32GB when replacing all modules each to 8GB). Another great value at its price point is the generous 1.5TB SATA hybrid drive with 8GB Express Cache that acts like a solid state drive. It comes with Blu-ray read-only drive that also serves as a DVD/Cd writer combo drive housed in a 2-inch body weight 8.4 lbs, check our indepth review of samsung series 7 with comparisons and benchmarks.
MSI GT60 0NE-403US;9S7-16F311-403
Discounted just $50.11 to $1,849.88, this MSI GT60 model is remarkable for its powerful NVidia GeForce GTX 680M graphics engine, considered one of the fastest single card graphics cards in the market today, allowing you to play nearly all the sophisticated RPG and FSP games at high to ultra game settings. It even has its own 5GB GDDR5 video RAM. If you can get by with its 15.6 Full HD LED backlit screen that has more gaming muscle than the Samsung series 7 gamer described above, then this MSI is your better option, It is similarly powered by a 3rd generation Intel quad core i7-3630QM with 12GB DDR3 system RAM expandable to 32GB. It comes with a 750TB SATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm and a Blu-ray burner that acts your multi-format optical drive. It has a second drive bay to house an optional solid state drive which is a must for serious gamers.
Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 i7
Discounted from a list price of $1,249.99 to less than $1,199.99 (some sites offer it at $1,164.99), this Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 is one of the best values for a muscled gaming laptop even with its original price. Sporting a 15.6-inch full HD (1920 x 1080) LED backlit display, it is powered by 3rd generation Intel Core i7-3630QM dual core engine with a 6 MB L3 cache clocked at 2.4 GHz and comes with a 16GB DDR3 system RAM (8GB x 2 DIMM banks upgradeable to 32GB with 16GB module replacing each RAM module). The DirectX 11-enabled GeForce GT 650M graphics card based on the GK107 chip belongs to the upper midrange Kepler generation of graphics engines in the GT 600M series and is its top of the line mode when configured in SLI dual mode making it 10% more powerful than the single card GTX 670MX when tested under the 3DMark 11 benchmark test. Data storage is served generously by a 1TB SATA hard drive complimented by a 16GB solid state drive, check our indepth review of lenovo y500 with comparisons, charts and benchmarks.
Toshiba Qosmio X875 –Q7190
This Qosmio model is now enjoying a $1,289.99 price tag discounted from its near $1,479.99 MSRP when launched last year. Finished in diamond-textured aluminum body and black widow styling, it sports a 17.3” LED-backlit full HD (1920 x 1080 resolution) display, a 1TB (dual 500 GB) SATA drive running at 7200 rpm and an 8x SuperMulti DCD/CD combo optical drives. Under the hood is a 3rd generation Intel quad core i7-3630QM with 6MB L3 cache and clocked at 2.4 GHz that can be boosted to 3.4GHz with Turbo Boost. It is supported by a 12GB DDR3 system RAM running at 1600 MHz and upgradable to 32 GB. All these get housed in a chassis with a surprisingly slim 1.7-inch profile at a surprisingly light 7.5 lbs. What makes this a great deal at its current price is its muscled Nvidia GeForce GTX 670M graphics engine that has its own 3GB GDDR5 video memory. While less muscled than the GTX 675M, its GPU belongs to the same high end family of GTX 600M graphics card series allowing it play most of the demanding games in medium to high game settings. It has enough juice to run the latest Crysis 3 at 30fps in medium game setting and Alan Wake plays at 48fps in medium setting while Hitman: Absolution plays at 33fps in high setting, check our indepth review of toshiba qosmio x875 with comparisons and benchmarks.
ASUS Republic of Gamers G75VW-AH71 or AS71 ( 8G vs 16GB RAM)
Discounted from its MSRP of $1,599.99 to just $1,249.99., this Asus Republic of Gamers G75VW-AS71 has full HD resolution of 1920 x 768 on its 17.3-inch LED backlit screen driven by a muscled upper midrange class NVidia GeForce GTX 660M with its own 2GB DDR5 video RAM. You can easily play the 2013 release of Crysis 3 at medium setting, Tomb Raider at high setting and the highly demanding Ghost Recon: Future Soldier seamlessly at low game settings. Powered by the Intel quad core i7-3610QM clocked at 2.4GHz and supported by 8GB system RAM (expandable to 16GB), It comes with a 750GB 7200 rpm SATA hard drive and an optical dual-layer DVD writer housed in a slim body less than an inch thick and weighing a respectable 8.7 lbs – lighter than many similarly muscled gaming laptops. It comes bundled with a 64-bit Windows 8 Home Premium edition OS, check our indepth review of Asus ROG g75vw with charts, comparisons and benchmarks.
MSI GE70 0ND-213US;9S7-175611-213
Priced at just $1,199, this MSI GE70 model rivals Asus ROG above with the same 17.3-inch Full-HD LED backlit display and powered by an Intel quad core i7-36030QM clocked at 2.4GHZ with 8GB DDR3 system RAM expandable to 16GB. Its graphics engine uses the same NVidia GeForce GTX 660M with its own 2GB DDR5 video RAM that serve no differently as a competent middle-of-the-road gaming laptop at an affordable price. You get a 750GB SATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm and a dual-layer SuperMulti optical drive, all housed in a slim body that is even lighter at 6 lbs. It also comes pre-installed with a 64-bit Window 8 Premium Home edition.
Spotting the best deals for a gaming laptop requires constant monitoring of what online computer shops offer as prices tend to be liquid especially as new models start getting introduced for a specific laptop manufacturer. Some of the prices in the laptops mentioned above have nowhere to go but farther down over the next few months, but getting the best deal is also relative in time. You don’t want a bargain price for a laptop that’s quite old (more than 18 months old in the market) unless you really don’t mind missing out on the newer features. A good guide would be to check on the prices of new laptops after around 6 – 9 months after having been released for off-season shopping as well as during post-holidays. Just be sure you know what it takes for a laptop to be considered as a gaming laptop. With just about all laptops powered by dual and quad core engines, what differentiates a gaming laptop is its use of the more powerful graphics cards. The laptops discussed above should give you an idea on what those graphics cards are for a truly satisfying gaming laptop.