Best Gaming Laptops Under $2000

Best Gaming Laptops Under $2000

CorrosionHour.com is supported by its readers. This page uses affiliate links and when you click on an affiliate link, and make a purchase, we may receive a small compensation at no cost to you. See our disclosure policy for more information.

Get your game on, no matter where you are!

When you think of a gaming computer, what pops into your mind? I can bet that for many, the mental image is going to be that of a monster PC — a large case filled with mind-boggling components. If that’s you, you’ve come to the right place, because I’m here to throw that image for a loop.

Gaming laptops these days absolutely CAN keep up with the massive desktops that you may have no room for. You can play your favorite games wherever you are, be it at the desk, in bed, or in a hotel room a thousand miles away from home. (Or at work, but don’t blame me if your boss sees you.)

With a $2000 budget, you’re all set to get yourself a fantastic gaming laptop. I’m here to make sure you put that money to good use, guide you through the process, and share some of my favorite recommendations.

No time to waste — read on below if you want to get the best gaming laptop under $2000. Let’s go!

An overview of the best gaming laptops under $2000

A few tips for buying the best gaming laptop

Getting a laptop for gaming is an investment. You’re likely to be playing games on this laptop for the next few years! In order to get yourself something truly good and reliable, it’s important that you know the most important things to look at.

I’m here to give you all the knowledge you need in a quick set of tips. Read on before you start picking your new notebook!

Related Post: Best Gaming Laptops Under $3000

Specifications

A computer is nothing more than a sum of its parts and how well they work together. In a laptop under $2000, you can expect a reasonable set of specifications that will help you enjoy your games to the fullest. Let’s get down to the details.

  • Processor (CPU): The processor plays an important part in how well your laptop performs. It helps both gaming and multitasking. With a $2000 budget, you should be aiming for at least an Intel Core i7 or Ryzen 7 processor.
  • Graphics card (GPU): Some computers come with integrated graphics cards. I don’t recommend choosing that for gaming — at least not unless you love being frustrated. In this price bracket, you can get yourself a very reasonable GPU that will play all your games on high settings. Some of my recommendations include the RTX 3060 and the RTX 3070 or 3080. Nvidia’s RTX 3050Ti is a budget option for the less demanding gamer.
  • Memory (RAM): Enough memory means that your notebook will be a multitasking beast. It may not have a huge impact on gaming past a certain point, but you should definitely never go lower than 8GB, with 16GB being the preferred number. If you can get 32GB, that’s perfect.
  • Storage (SSD/HDD): Laptops, unlike desktops, often come with just one storage option. Make sure that it’s an SSD. You will have less storage space, but you can always get an external hard drive. SSDs make loading everything so much faster, you definitely don’t want to miss out.

Screen type and size

This is another major consideration in a laptop, worthy of its own section. When using a laptop, you can still use an extra monitor if you like a dual-screen setup or just want something bigger. However, most of the time, you’re likely to play on the laptop itself. This is why the screen is a big deal.

Let’s break it all down into bite-sized bits of information.

  • Refresh rate: This affects gaming especially if you’re into shooters or MOBAs. It’s nice to get a laptop with refresh rates higher than 144Hz — that will give you the freedom to play any game.
  • Brightness: The brightness of a laptop’s screen is measured in nits. Higher brightness is better; you can always turn it down if it’s too intense for you. Lower brightness makes the colors appear washed out.
  • Panel type: Laptop screens often have IPS panels, optimized for color accuracy and brightness. You may also get a VA panel that combines good colors with a slightly higher refresh rate. I don’t really recommend TN screens for laptops, because although they have higher refresh rates, their colors and viewing angles are less optimal.
  • Screen size: This comes down to your individual preference. Personally, I like bigger screens above 15″ for gaming, but some 14″ laptops are just fine. Anything below that is very portable but less gaming-oriented.

The best gaming laptops under $2000 in 2021

There we go — you know everything you need to in order to get yourself the best gaming laptop under $2000! I’ve tested a few such laptops myself, and based on that, I’m here to give you my recommendations. Let’s jump right in!

MSI GL66 Gaming Laptop

MSI GL66 Gaming LaptopDecked out with some of the latest components, this MSI notebook is perfect for gaming — and you’ll still have a lot of money leftover once you buy it.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-11800H
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Disk drive: 512GB SSD
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Screen: 15.6″ 144Hz FHD 1080p

Let’s begin with the big-ticket components, which are the processor and the graphics card. The CPU included in this laptop is one of Intel’s latest — it only launched in the second quarter of 2021. This is an 11th generation i7 processor, featuring 8 cores and 16 threads. You can overclock it up to 4.60GHz if that’s your jam. I find that it performs excellently, supports CPU-based games, and handles multitasking like a champ.

When it comes to the GPU, I must say that I was surprised when I picked up this laptop — an RTX 3070 at this price range is almost unheard of. RTX 3070 is one of Nvidia’s greatest cards. It will let you play most games on high, if not max, settings. This notebook is really cheap, so it’s no surprise that the GPU is the 85W variant. It’s a little less powerful than the more expensive models, but it will still do the job.

Be sure not to block the thermal vents on the bottom when using this laptop. I’ve made that mistake and saw the temperatures skyrocket, plus it got a bit noisy. Fortunately, with the vents not blocked, it runs like a charm.

One more reason why I ultimately chose this as my top laptop under $2000 is the screen. It has everything I ask for in a laptop — a high refresh rate, a beautiful display with good color reproduction, and thin bezels that make the gaming experience enjoyable.

All in all, if you want the best mix of cost and performance, this laptop is the right one for you.

Pros

  • Fantastic cost-to-performance ratio
  • High-end graphics card
  • Beautiful display optimized for all kinds of games

Cons

  • Not the highest TDP on the graphics card
  • Can get noisy if not cooled properly

Acer Nitro 5 AN515-45-R92M Gaming Laptop

Acer Nitro 5 AN515-45-R92M Gaming Laptop

Part of the highly successful Acer Nitro 5 series, this gaming laptop is an affordable option for those who prefer AMD-based systems.

Specs:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Disk drive: 512GB NVMe SSD
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Screen: 15.6″ 144Hz FHD IPS

Acer Nitro 5 is a line of laptops that the manufacturer updates every so often. You will find that I’m recommending another Acer on this list as my favorite premium pick, the Acer Nitro 5 AN517-41-R3NX. This model, however, makes for a cheaper option while still remaining powerful. It’s a brand-new and highly anticipated release that I was happy to try out for myself.

If you’re a fan of Ryzen processors, you’re bound to like this one. In benchmarks, it performs a little better than the Intel Core CPU included in my top pick above. AMD processors are known for their multitasking capabilities, and this one can truly keep up thanks to the faster single and multi-core speeds. Much like the i7, this CPU has 8 cores and 16 threads, with a slightly lower boost clock of 4.40GHz.

The graphics card included in Acer’s latest laptop is an RTX 3060. It might be on the lower end of Nvidia’s 30-series GPUs, but it’s still a capable card. Games like Cyberpunk 2077 on max settings are unlikely, but you’ll be able to play most, if not all, AAA titles on high without a hitch.

Acer performs well under pressure, but I do wish the temperatures were held at bay a little bit more. It runs hot when playing resource-heavy games. The brand tends to use high-quality components that can handle the heat, but it gets too warm if you keep it in your lap for extended periods of time.

This surprisingly decent setup is topped off with a bright 144Hz IPS screen. I’m loving the colors and the high refresh rate; I wouldn’t mind slightly thinner bezels.

Pick up this laptop if you want a Ryzen setup and don’t mind the downgrade in the graphics card.

Pros

  • Fantastic processor
  • High build quality
  • Backlit IPS display with RGB keyboard

Cons

  • Slightly thick screen bezels
  • It gets warm during intense gaming sessions

Lenovo Legion 5 Gaming Laptop

Lenovo Legion 5 Gaming LaptopGaming on a tighter budget? You can still enjoy your favorite games! Lenovo Legion 5 proves that cheaper doesn’t mean bad.

Specs:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050Ti
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Disk drive: 512GB NVMe SSD
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Screen: 15.6″ FHD

As usual, let’s start with the processor. Lenovo Legion 5 has the same CPU as the Acer above. It’s a new Ryzen 7, with 8 cores, 16 threads, a 3.20GHz base clock, and a 4.40GHz boost clock. For a laptop in Legion’s price range, the addition of this CPU is a happy surprise.

Lenovo comes with a fairly budget graphics card, the GeForce RTX 3050Ti. A laptop exclusive, this card is worse than the 3060 on paper. However, it’s more than sufficient for many games, such as Fortnite, League of Legends, RUST, Minecraft, and much more. It has 4GB of graphics memory and supports 1080p gaming. If you’d like to try out 1440p, I recommend one of the more expensive laptops, such as the MSI GL66 above.

The battery is probably one of the least impressive aspects of this budget notebook. At 60W, it doesn’t let you game for long before it’s time to plug back in. However, considering the price range, I’m totally willing to pack that power cord and bring it with me.

If you’d rather not come anywhere near that $2000 price limit, you can’t go wrong with Lenovo Legion 5. It’s a fantastic deal — I honestly won’t be surprised if it gets sold out and comes back at a higher price. For any gamer on a budget, I say go for it.

Pros

  • Highly affordable
  • Beautiful IPS display with a whopping 165Hz refresh rate
  • Surprisingly good processor

Cons

  • Not the greatest GPU
  • Short battery life

ASUS TUF Gaming F17 Gaming Laptop 

ASUS TUF Gaming F17 Gaming Laptop If you’re a fan of bigger laptop screens, this Asus notebook is a great alternative with a beautiful display and a high refresh rate.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-11800H
  • Graphics card: GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Disk drive: 512GB PCIe SSD
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Screen: 17.3” 144Hz Full HD IPS

This is yet another laptop on my list that has a surprisingly good price for the performance it delivers. With the Intel Core i7-11880H CPU installed, Asus can aid you in gaming, but also in a number of other tasks. Graphic design, video editing, school work — everything is within reach for this freshly launched processor.

The build quality and the screen are both excellent. It’s not very portable due to its large size, but it’s made out of top-notch materials that ensure it will do just fine if you travel a lot. Asus has a large 17.3″ display, an IPS-type panel, and a desirable refresh rate of 144Hz. You’ll notice a massive difference if you’re upgrading from a 60Hz or 75Hz screen.

Once again, we’re seeing the use of Nvidia’s RTX 3050Ti. It’s a capable card that will allow you to play most of the current games. You may have to compromise on the settings when it comes to resource-heavy titles such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider, but you’ll still be able to play them. More importantly, light gaming on high settings is completely doable and smooth.

If you like this laptop, I highly recommend that you also pick up a cooler for it. Something like this ICE COOREL RGB will do the trick, and it fits neatly into your budget because the Asus is so cheap. What can I say — there are things this laptop excels at… cooling is not one of them. Fortunately, I’ve experienced no issues when using a cooling pad.

Asus TUF Gaming is probably the closest you will get to a desktop gaming experience when using a laptop. The screen is large, bright, and responsive, and it is matched with a decent set of specs. I recommend this one if you don’t intend to carry it around a lot.

Pros

  • High build quality and durability
  • 144Hz display with thin bezels
  • Suitable for gaming and other tasks

Cons

  • It could use extra cooling
  • It’s not very portable

Acer Nitro 5 AN517-41-R3NX Gaming Laptop

Acer Nitro 5 AN517-41-R3NX Gaming Laptop

For serious gaming on max settings, this is the #1 laptop for you — and it barely breaks the budget.

Specs:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Disk drive: 1TB NVMe SSD
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Screen: 17.3″ FHD 360Hz IPS

Just barely breaking the $2000 price range is this Acer Nitro 5, a newer and more advanced sibling of the Acer Nitro 5 AN515-45-R92M mentioned above. This notebook comes with a Ryzen 7 processor; one of the best in this pricing bracket. With 8 cores, 16 threads, and a generous boost clock of 4.40GHz, this processor can support any CPU-based game with ease.

The graphics card included in this notebook is a real gaming beast. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080  will carry you through games such as Battlefield 2042, Apex Legends, Tomb Raider, and Cyberpunk — not to mention RUST. RTX 3080 is optimized not just for 1440p, but also 4K gaming, which means that you can get yourself an external monitor to supplement Acer’s own 17.3″ display.

I’m here to deliver my honest opinions, so I will tell you that the Acer Nitro could use two improvements: better cooling and more RAM. A laptop at this price range could easily deliver 32GB of memory. As for the cooling — I haven’t had any overheating issues, but it definitely runs hot when I’m gaming, and I’m considering picking up a cooling pad for longer sessions. In all fairness, this is often the case with laptops, so this is not a major complaint.

Acer’s screen is nothing short of outstanding. A vibrant and bright IPS panel combined with a mind-boggling 360Hz refresh rate is amazing. It’s over 17″, so this laptop is quite hefty, but it retains its thin structure and doesn’t weigh a ton. 

If you’re willing to spend just a bit more than $2000, this laptop is likely the best way to do it. You’re getting powerful specs put together by a brand that knows what it’s doing. As long as you’re able to, get the Acer Nitro 5 and play all your favorite games the way they were meant to be played.

Pros

  • Outstanding graphics card
  • Vibrant display with a 360Hz refresh rate
  • Stylish RGB keyboard
  • Thin build despite the large screen

Cons

  • It heats up during intense tasks
  • It could use more RAM

Laptop gaming has never been easier!

I still remember the days of my first few laptops. Heavy, bulky, and constantly overheating, they were not the gaming beasts we can get our hands on these days. Gamers are switching to laptops for their mobility, but they no longer have to sacrifice the fun in order to play on the go. It’s an awesome development!

Choosing any of the laptops above guarantees that you’ll be able to play AAA games smoothly. They’re solid, reliable, and powerful.

Let’s have a quick recap so that I can remind you what each particular laptop excels at:

  • My favorite laptop on this list is the MSI GL66. It’s a very well-rounded gaming laptop that strikes the perfect balance between performance and price. You can use it to play most games on high to max settings.
  • Acer Nitro 5 AN515 is a worthy opponent to MSI’s Intel-based solution. If you prefer Ryzen systems, you might like this affordable laptop.
  • For gamers on a tighter budget, I heartily recommend the Lenovo Legion 5. It’s honestly ridiculously cheap right now and you might want to snap it up before the price inevitably rises.
  • If you’re a fan of large displays, the ASUS TUF Gaming F17 combines a beautiful 17.3″ screen with a solid set of specifications. Suitable for lighter gaming, it’s affordable and yet still impressive.
  • The Acer Nitro 5 AN517 is the most powerful laptop on this list. You can play all of your favorite games on high to max settings on its large 17.3″ 360Hz display. As long as you can spend a bit more than $2000, this is the best way to do it.

If none of these suit you, here are some other laptops I can recommend in this price range:

That’s it! I hope that my full guide to picking the best gaming laptop under $2000 has helped you out. Now, the ball is in your court. 

Pick your favorite laptop and get yourself back in the game — no matter where you are. 

About dg

Dg is the founder and co-owner of Corrosion Hour, a niche gaming community established in 2016 focusing on the survival game RUST. He is an active and contributing member of numerous other RUST communities. As a community leader and server owner for over 15 years, he spends much of his time researching and writing guides about survival games, covering topics such as server administration, game mechanics, and community growth.

View all posts by dg →