Best Gaming Laptops Under $3000

Best Gaming Laptops Under $3000

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Are you ready to play your favorite games at home AND on the go?

Gaming gets tricky when you don’t have the right computer to play on. This is especially a problem if you don’t want to, or cannot, have a gaming PC. Living in the dorms, lack of space, or even just being on the go a lot may point you towards a gaming laptop.

If you’ve chosen to get yourself a gaming laptop in 2021, you’re in luck! After what seems like ages of sub-par performance, the last few years have truly seen the rise of some excellent gaming laptops. With a $3000 or less budget, you’ll be able to get yourself a true gaming beast.

I’m here to tell you all you need to know to make sure you’re getting an excellent laptop for gaming. Let’s jump right in!

An overview of the best gaming laptops under $3000

Important things to know before you buy a gaming laptop

Laptops for gaming used to get a pretty bad rep, but trust me — things have improved. We’ve come a long way since the days of the endlessly overheating and bottlenecking laptops that were almost too heavy to carry around.

Regardless of the above, it’s still crucial to know a thing or two before committing to a laptop. Some are better, some are worse. To make sure you know exactly what you need, read my set of pointers below.

Related Post: Best Gaming PCs Under $2000

Specifications

Many people wonder just what kinds of specs to look for in a laptop under $3000. The truth is, your budget lets you enter the big leagues and get yourself a proper gaming laptop. To ensure you’re getting your money’s worth, keep an eye out for the following:

  • Processor (CPU): The closer you get to that $3000 mark, the more you can expect in terms of a processor. You should aim for either a Ryzen 7, Ryzen 9, or Intel Core i9 10900K or similar on the higher end of the budget. Lower-end options include the Ryzen 5 or Intel Core i5 10400F.
  • Graphics card (GPU): Probably the most exciting component is the graphics card. Your budget will let you get one of the best ones, such as Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070 or 3080. You may even be able to get a laptop with an RTX 3090. However, the RTX 3060 is solid too, and will be fine for the less demanding gamer.
  • Memory (RAM): RAM makes sure that your laptop runs like a dream and helps you multitask. I’d recommend getting a laptop with at least 16GB of memory, but anything above that will not hurt.
  • Storage (SSD/HDD): Laptops tend to differ from pre-built PCs in terms of storage. You’re often looking at only getting an SSD and no HDD. If you can find a laptop that has both, it’s a good deal, but an SSD is a must.

Cooling

If you’ve ever had a laptop, you know that they tend to heat up, especially if you keep yours in your lap. Heat is never good for any piece of hardware. As such, look for a laptop with proper cooling installed — the manufacturer will definitely talk about this if any such protective measures are in place.

Screen type and size

Getting a laptop means you won’t be needing an extra screen, although it’s never a bad idea to hook up a gaming monitor if you can. However, if you’re going to mostly use the laptop screen, it’s important to get a notebook with a good one.

For gaming, I recommend looking for a laptop with a refresh rate of 144Hz or more. You can choose between several display types, such as IPS, VA, and TN, but most laptops tend to have IPS displays — which is great for color accuracy and brightness.

The size of your laptop’s screen is up to you. If you’re going to be carrying it around you may opt for a smaller screen. Personally, I like screens around 15″ or even 17″. However, there are good laptops out there with smaller displays, and gaming on a 14″ screen is just fine.

The best gaming laptops under $3000 in 2021

We’ve made it through all the important stuff, now let’s get to the even more important stuff — the laptops themselves! Here are some gaming notebooks that I recommend in this price range.

Razer Blade 14” Gaming Laptop

Razor Blade 14 Gaming LaptopThin, powerful, and properly cooled, this Razer laptop can play most of the top-tier games on ultra settings.

Specs:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Disk drive: 1TB SSD
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Screen: 14″ QHD 165Hz

I recommend this laptop to most people who ask me about a good gaming laptop. It’s one of the most well-rounded options on the market, and while not the cheapest, it’s definitely very solid.

The Ryzen 9 processor the Blade is equipped with performs similarly to the Ryzen 9 5900X. It’s a very new model, released just this year, and it lives up to the hype not just in gaming but also in resource-heavy tasks.

As far as the GPU goes, do I really need to introduce it? Nvidia’s RTX 3080 is the card we’ve all been drooling over since its release. With the graphics card market currently in shambles, getting this GPU in a laptop at this price range is a steal. It’ll play most of your AAA titles at ultra settings without a hitch.

I love the screen here, even if I personally prefer larger laptops. The 165Hz refresh rate makes it perfect for all kinds of games, even FPS, and the QHD display delivers a stunning visual experience.

My one gripe with this laptop is the RAM. I’d honestly love to be able to pay a bit more to upgrade to 32GB. 16GB is adequate, but a powerful notebook such as this one is almost begging for a little more. Regardless, you’ll do just fine with 16GB.

Razer Blade has a special Vapor Chamber cooling system in place that keeps the thermals at bay when you’re gaming. It’s light, thin, and it performs excellently.

Pros

  • Powerful graphics card and CPU
  • Great temperature control
  • High screen refresh rate

Cons

  • Only 16GB RAM
  • The screen is a little on the smaller side

HP OMEN 15” Gaming Laptop

HP Omen 15 Gaming Laptop

This laptop is somewhat close to the Razer Blade in terms of performance, but it saves you a few hundred bucks.

Specs:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Disk drive: 1TB SSD
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Screen: 15.6″ 165 Hz QHD IPS

HP Omen 15 is my recommendation if you’d like to steer clear of the $3000 budget and keep things affordable. At the current price, this laptop is a really good deal.

The processor is the same as in the Razer Blade 14. It’s a solid 8-cores, 16-threads option that can be boosted up to 4.6GHz. It’ll support your gaming habits on max settings while also being great for all kinds of taxing tasks, from rendering to video editing.

In this price range, I’d have expected an RTX 3060, but HP actually equipped this notebook with the RTX 3070. This is why the price is lower than that of the Razer Blade, which has an RTX 3080. This is still a fantastic card, but in benchmarks, it performs up to 30% worse than its successor. Of course, these numbers are very situational. 

The reality is that you will still be able to play most games on ultra settings without a hitch. You can expect to get above 70-80 frames per second (fps) in resource-heavy games on ultra, such as Far Cry 5 or Cyberpunk 2077.

Some may notice the fact that the RTX 3070 included in this laptop has a lower TDP (thermal design power) than more expensive laptops. I have to admit this is my one gripe with this laptop, as this essentially makes the card slightly less powerful than some other chips of the same model. However, you can overclock the card without any issues, and it does perform excellently in 1080p and 2K gaming. The card will be okay in 4K, but your fps will suffer.

If you’re hoping to save a few hundred dollars (maybe to get yourself an extra monitor), I can honestly recommend HP Omen 15. It’s a powerful machine that is reasonably priced and has no major flaws.

Pros

  • Fantastic cost-to-performance ratio
  • Sturdy and secure chassis
  • Powerful processor

Cons

  • GPU wattage is lower than some other models
  • It may run a little hot

Gigabyte Aorus 15P YD Gaming Laptop

Gigabyte Aorus 15'' Gaming Laptop

Seeing how this laptop is priced had me rubbing my eyes to make sure I’m not seeing things. It has an insanely good cost-to-performance ratio.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-11800H
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
  • RAM: 32GB DDR4
  • Disk drive: 1TB SSD
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Screen: 15.6″ 240Hz FHD IPS

Much like the Omen above, this laptop delivers both in terms of performance and pricing. If you can spare a bit more money, it’s definitely worth it. Let me tell you why.

Let’s start with the processor. This one will please Intel fans, as it’s equipped with a Core i7-11800H CPU. In benchmarks, the processor performs very similarly to the Ryzen 9 5900HX. It’s equipped with 8-cores and 16-threads, and just like Ryzen, it can be overclocked up to 4.60GHz. It’s also very new, launched mid-2021, so this is the latest tech.

We’re back to an RTX 3080 with this laptop, and you already know what that means. 2K and 4K gaming on max settings — let’s go! Unlike the Omen, this card doesn’t suffer from a low TDP and can be boosted up to 1545MHz. It also has 16GB of video memory. 

For all its virtues, no piece of electronics is ever without faults. For the Aorus, the fault lies in how noisy the fans are. It’s okay if you’re not doing anything taxing, but you can definitely hear it while gaming. There are ways to play with the settings to lower the noise and I was able to improve the situation with a quick Google search.

The screen marks yet another strong point for the Gigabyte Aorus. Reasonably sized, surrounded by really thin bezels, and with a high 240Hz refresh rate, it’s perfect for gaming. I’m also loving the amount of RAM here — 32GB that can be upgraded up to 64GB. Other manufacturers should honestly learn from Gigabyte when it comes to RAM in laptops.

This laptop doesn’t fall far behind the Razer Blade, and it even surpasses it in some aspects. It’s a great deal for any gamer.

Pros

  • High screen refresh rate
  • Powerful GPU with lots of VRAM
  • Plenty of RAM

Cons

  • It gets noisy during resource-heavy tasks
  • It’s somewhat thick

Alienware m17 R4 Gaming Laptop

Alienware m17 R4 Gaming LaptopIf you’re like me and you like a bigger screen, this Alienware laptop delivers just that at a reasonable price — without compromising on the specs too much. It also has an amazingly high refresh rate.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-10870H
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Disk drive: 1TB SSD
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Screen: 17.3″ 360Hz FHD IPS

This laptop is a bit of a step-down when it comes to the specifications, but it delivers something many look for in a gaming laptop — a large, beautiful screen with thin bezels.

As always, let’s start with the processor. Alienware m17 is equipped with a 10th generation Intel Core i7 CPU. It has 8 cores, 16 threads, and a boost clock of up to 5.00GHz. I recommend overclocking it a little because the base frequency is 2.20GHz, which is not that impressive. One way or another, it’s a solid CPU that is only a little worse than the one in Gigabyte’s Aorus.

Alienware is equipped with an RTX 3060, although there are also models that feature the 3070 and the 3080; those are limited to 15.6″ screens. Being the lowest model in the RTX 30-series lineup of Nvidia’s GPU, this card is powerful, but not mind-blowing. However, it performs great in 1080p, and that’s the resolution this laptop has. I was able to play on high and ultra settings in most games without any drops in performance.

It comes as no surprise that this laptop is not too portable — I mean, at 17.3″, it’s huge. This translates to not-so-great battery life. This is especially true when gaming. I recommend always bringing the charger if you’re going somewhere and plugging it in when possible.

I’m a huge fan of the screen, not just because it’s large, but also because of the brightness and a whopping 300Hz refresh rate. Everything is crisp and lightning-fast. If you want something with a bigger screen, you can’t go wrong with Alienware.

Pros

  • Large display
  • 300MHz IPS screen
  • Overclockable processor (up to 5.00GHz)

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Not very portable

Razer Blade 15” Advanced Gaming Laptop

Razer Blade 15 Advanced Gaming LaptopAt the risk of sounding like a crazed fanatic of the brand, I have to tell you this — if you’re going to spend money on a good laptop, you can’t go wrong with Razer. This laptop slightly breaks your budget, but I’ll tell you why it’s worth it.

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel Core i9-11900H
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
  • RAM: 32GB DDR4
  • Disk drive: 1TB SSD
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Screen: 15.6″ 240Hz 4K OLED

Razer Blade 15 improves upon the shortcomings of Blade 14. This is a high-quality laptop that surpasses most of its competitors. Starting with the CNC aluminum chassis and ending with the RGB keyboard, it’s much more than just the sum of its components.

While we’re on the topic of components, let’s talk about the graphics card briefly. Like some other models on this list, the Blade has an RTX 3080. It’s excellent as ever, but it’s also paired with a top-of-the-line CPU, which makes your gaming experience that much smoother.

If you’re more of a Ryzen fan, don’t let the Intel Core i9 processor scare you away. In benchmarks, it actually performs the best of all the laptops on my list. It’s a mighty CPU that was only released a few months ago and will stay current for years to come. You can boost it up to 4.90GHz on Turbo mode, and you will always enjoy the flawless multitasking it provides.

Not even a beast such as this one is perfect — I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that it is. I found the battery life to be rather disappointing in this model. I got about 4 hours’ worth of battery. This was on high brightness, but only with some light gaming. On the other hand, the Alienware above has an even worse battery, and this IS a gaming laptop — those are rarely focused on battery life.

This laptop is ideal not just for gaming, but also for all kinds of creative workflows. The stunning 4K OLED display is honestly breathtaking and I love everything about it. My games have never looked better. If you can afford to break your budget a little bit, this laptop is worth it in every way.

Pros

  • Amazing 4K OLED display
  • 32GB RAM
  • High-quality build with RGB keyboard

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Fans can get noisy

Time to play on the go!

Gaming on a laptop has its fair share of perks — not being tied to one location is one of them. You can game in bed, on the sofa, or on the bus. You can take your laptop to class and then use that same laptop for gaming once you’re back home (or during class, but don’t blame me if you get caught.)

It’s simply convenient to own a laptop instead of a desktop, and although I love my desktop, I enjoy my gaming laptop all the same. If you too want to start playing your favorite games on a higher level, but you want the freedom of a laptop, I hope you’ve enjoyed my recommendations.

A quick recap of the laptops above:

  • My favorite pick is the Razer Blade 14. It has all the qualities of a high-end gaming laptop while remaining reasonably priced. It’s also really portable.
  • HP OMEN 15 is my recommendation for Ryzen fans who like to get their money’s worth. It’s a well-rounded machine with a reasonable price.
  • You might call GIGABYTE AORUS 15P YD a direct upgrade to the Omen 15. It costs more, sure, but every penny is spent towards a notable improvement.
  • Alienware m17 R4 is the only 17.3″ laptop on this list. It’s great if you just want a large screen and a proper gaming rig without too much portability.
  • Lastly, the Razer Blade 15 breaks your budget, but it delivers top-notch performance in each and every way. This is a powerful laptop that will last you for years.

If none of these quite hit the mark, here are a few more that perform excellently:

That’s a wrap! I hope you’ll enjoy your laptop and make the most out of your gaming beast. I’m off to play some RUST in bed.

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.

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