Best gaming laptops under $2000 in 2021

Find out which laptop is the best for gaming and what to look at when shopping around.

A budget of $2000 can get you a mighty powerful portable gaming machine that’s just one step below the flagship models. We’re talking about top-of-the-line gaming CPUs, RTX 3070 GPUs, and excellent 1440p displays. You can even get very powerful 17-inch gaming laptops at this price point if that’s your thing. So, let’s check out the best gaming laptops under $2000. But before we do that, let’s talk about the Nvidia Optimus, clear the mess called RTX 3000 TGP, and talk in detail regarding what to expect from a sub $2000 gaming laptop.

1. Eluktronics MECH-15 G3: Best gaming laptop under $2000 Overall

Screen
15.6-inch 1080p
CPU
AMD Ryzen 9-5900HX
GPU
RTX 3070
RAM
16 GB

If you want to spend $2000 and want the best possible specs, get the Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 equipped with the Ryzen 9 5900HX and the RTX 3070. Other specs include 16GB of memory and 512GB of SSD storage. Eluktronics is a relatively unknown brand that delivers quality gaming notebooks that focus on performance and great hardware specs. They base their laptops on Tongfang designs. Tongfang is an ODM (original design manufacturer) producing laptops for many different brands around the world. In Europe, for instance, Tongfang laptops are sold under the XMG brand.

GPU here comes with a total TGP of 125W that, technically, can go up to 140W with Dynamic Boost. In reality, you should expect about 124W at maximum while gaming. That’s not bad at all. It’s plenty for 60fps 1440p gaming experience in the latest AAA titles with high or ultra settings, depending on the particular title. Or even high refresh rate 1440p gaming, in esports titles and in AAA titles with lower visual settings enabled. This is good news since this specific model comes with a 1440p 165Hz IPS panel with almost 100% sRGB coverage, excellent response time, and pretty good max brightness (about 330 nits). Another good news is that this convertible comes with a MUX switch for better performance.

The build quality is pretty good if you don’t mind a device made of a combination of plastic and aluminum. The keyboard here is awesome. It’s a full-sized optical-mechanical keyboard with brown switches, which offer a fantastic typing experience. The touchpad is also lovely; it’s big, made of glass, and very precise. The webcam is pretty bad, as are the speakers. Battery life is superb, topping at nine and a half hours of moderate use. The cooling system is pretty good. The CPU will thermally throttle, but its performance isn’t compromised. GPU thermals stay well below the thermal throttle limit. Upgradability is fine. You have two SO-DIMM slots for the memory and an extra M.2 slot for upgrading the storage.

Finally, I/O on this device includes one USB-A 10Gbps port, two USB-A 5Gbps ports, One USB-C 10Gbps, a full-sized HDMI 2.1 port, an RJ45 (LAN) port, and separate mic and headphone jacks. Finally, you also get a free dbrand skin, which is a neat bonus. Overall, this is a beast of a gaming machine and the absolute maximum you can get for $2000. If you want an alternative, there’s the HP Omen 15 equipped with the Ryzen 7 5800H and RTX 3070. You get the same screen, but the CPU is a bit slower (the 5900HX version of The Omen is pricier), and the RTX 3070 here has a max TGP of only 100W (the same GPU is found in the 5900HX version). And yeah, you don’t get the fantastic mechanical keyboard.

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro comes with a 130W RTX 3060, but it’s pricier than the Mech-15 G3 and Omen 15. Further, the Legion 5 Pro packs slower memory. You’ll have to invest extra cash in faster RAM if you want the best possible performance. If you’re a hardcore esports gamer and want the fastest display possible, check out the ASUS ROG Strix G15 featured below. Finally, if you’re in the market for a 17-inch gaming laptop, we’ve found a pretty good machine that you can find further down the list.

2. ASUS ROG Strix G15 : Best gaming laptop under $2000 for eSports games

Screen
15.6-inch 1080p
CPU
AMD Ryzen 9-5900HX
GPU
RTX 3070
RAM
16 GB

While a 165Hz refresh rate might be more than enough for most gamers, those who only play fast-paced multiplayer games might want a higher refresh rate screen on their laptop. Here enters the ASUS ROG Strix G15. This particular version of the G15 comes with the Ryzen 5 5900HX coupled with the RTX 3070, 115W model. Finally, the most crucial part of the equation, the display, is a 1080p IPS panel with a 300Hz refresh rate. In other words, this is one of the fastest screens you can find on a gaming laptop, period. Aside from being one of the best CPU+GPU combos on the market, you also get 16GB of memory and a 1TB SSD. The device features one extra M.2 slot as well as two SO-DIMM slots for upgrading the memory.

The overall package is pretty good; just remember that the gaming performance is a bit slower than what this CPU and GPU combo can achieve since this model doesn’t have a MUX switch, and it comes with slower RAM. You can, luckily, replace the default memory with faster sticks. Still, even with these two issues, the performance is pretty good. Depending on the title, you can expect more than 60fps in AAA games with options set to high or ultra. eSports titles should push well above 100fps, much higher if you play with competitive (read: low) visual settings. In other words, you should get the most out of the 1080p 300Hz IPS panel found on this device. Aside from the monstrous refresh rate, the screen has solid brightness of 290 nits, fast response time, 90% sRGB coverage, and great contrast.

The build quality here is excellent, with the chassis made of plastic and aluminum. The keyboard is pleasant to type on and very quiet, the touchpad is wonderful, the speakers are serviceable, and the G15 doesn’t include a webcam. The battery life is excellent as long as you aren’t gaming. When gaming, expect less than 2 hours of usage, similar to other gaming laptops found at this price point. As for the cooling system, it is decent. It could’ve been better since the CPU can go above the thermal throttle limit. Finally, the I/O includes two USB-A 5Gbps ports, one USB-C 10Gbps, a full-sized HDMI, and an RJ45 port.

Overall, the ROG Strix G15 is an amazing sub $2000 gaming laptop that’s perfect for fans of fast-paced multiplayer games. The best alternative is the Vector Pro 15 from Maingear (a known prebuilt PC manufacturer). The Vector Pro 15 has a relatively slower 240Hz 1080p IPS panel. It rocks the same CPU+GPU combo, but it includes 32GB of memory and a webcam with Windows Hello functionality. If you’re fine with a 240Hz panel, we recommend the Vector Pro 15 over the Strix G15. Next, we have the Gigabyte Aorus 15P XD, which features the Core i7-11800H and a 240Hz screen. The Aorus is pricier than the G15, but the RTX 3060 version sports competitive pricing. If you want a thin and light machine, there’s the MSI GS66 Stealth with the RTX 3060 and a 240Hz 1080p screen. Finally, the Alienware m15 R6 has a 240Hz screen, but this one’s rocking an RTX 3060 GPU.

3. MSI GL66: Best bang for the buck gaming laptop under $2000

Screen
15.6-inch 1080p
CPU
Intel Core i7-11800H
GPU
RTX 3070
RAM
16 GB

Our best GPU pick when it comes to Best Laptops Under 1500$ is our bang for the buck pick when it comes to sub $2000 gaming laptops. If you want to spend the least amount of cash and still get an RTX 3070, the MSI GL66 is the way to go. Yes, this is the slowest, 85W version, of the RTX 3070. But it’s still a bit faster than the fastest version of the RTX 3060. Other specs include 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. Overall, 1080p gaming performance is great on this laptop. Expect around 60fps or more in AAA titles with high visual settings.

What we like the most about the GL66 is its upgrade options. It comes with two SO-DIMM slots, two M.2 slots, and even a 2.5″ SATA slot for putting a cheap SATA SSD or even cheaper HDD. Next, the build quality is more than decent. You get a plastic body with an aluminum lid. The keyboard is nice to type on, the touchpad is on the smaller side but very precise, and the speakers are average at best. The screen found here is a 1080p IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh rate. It has solid with a middling response time and average brightness.

Next, we have the I/O section that includes three USB-A Ports (two are 5Gbps), one 5Gbps USB-C port, one full-sized HDMI 2.0, and one RJ45 (LAN) port. Finally, the cooling system is okay, but if you’re living in a hot climate, you might encounter thermal throttling during prolonged gaming sessions. The best alternative to the GL66 is the HP Omen 15 (1080p, 144Hz version), which comes with the 5800H and RTX 3070 (100W) combo. It’s noticeably pricier, but it comes with a more powerful version of the RTX 3070. You could also take a look at the Aorus 15P KD (11800H, RTX 3060 115W) that has a 240Hz display. Other choices include the RTX 3060 version of the Omen 15, Dell G15 5510 (Core i7-10870H, RTX 3060), and the Dell G15 with the 5800H and RTX 3060 combo.

4. Maingear Vector Pro: Best 17-inch gaming laptop under $2000

Screen
17.3-inch 1440p
CPU
Intel Core i7-11800H
GPU
RTX 3070
RAM
32 GB

If you’re in the market for a 17-inch gaming laptop, the Maingear Vector Pro 17 is by far the best choice at this price point. While technically costing more than $2000, it’s only five percent over the price limit. So, if you’re already willing to pay $2000, you should definitely spend an extra $100 and get this beauty. While the internals are great (11800H, RTX 3070 140W, 32GB of memory, 1TB SSD), the biggest selling point of this device is its 1440p 165Hz IPS screen. Other Sub $2000 17-inch gaming laptops come with 1080p screens, and the difference between an FHD and a QHD resolution is very noticeable on a 17-inch device.

This device uses a Tongfang design. As you remember, the Eluktronics MECH-15 G3 also uses a Tongfang chassis, but one with a 15-inch screen. The design is sleek, and the build quality is superb. The keyboard is okay, but it could be better. The touchpad is a bit small but very precise and pleasant to use. As for the performance, you should expect 60fps or higher in the latest AAA games with high or ultra settings. More demanding games, such as Cyberpunk 2077, won’t run at 60fps with ultra settings turned on, but most other demanding titles will. The good news is that this device comes with a MUX switch for higher performance.

The Vector Pro features two SO-DIMM slots and an extra M.2 slot, which is nice to see. The webcam is decent, and it comes with Windows Hello function while the speakers are average. The display has excellent max brightness of almost 390 nits, and it covers almost 100% of the sRGB color space. It has a pretty good response time but lower than average contrast (about 770:1). I/O includes two USB-A 5Gbps ports, one USB-A 10Gbps, one Thunderbolt 4 port, a full-sized HDMI, an RJ45 port, separate mic and headphone jacks, and a microSD card reader. Overall, the I/O is among the best we’ve seen at this price point.

As for the battery life, it’s more than decent at 7 hours of moderate usage. Finally, the cooling system can get very loud, but at least the fans keep the CPU and GPU well below the thermal throttle threshold (the model used in the linked review has an RTX 3080, but the thermals should be very similar if not lower on the RTX 3070 version). As we already noted, the 17-inch alternatives at this price point all come with 1080p panels. The best one is the ROG Strix G17 (5900HX, RTX 3060), packing a 144hz panel. The MSI GE76 Raider has the same 1080p 144Hz panel and GPU as the G17 and comes with the i7-11800H CPU. Finally, there’s the MSI GF75 Thin, also from MSI. This one comes with a slower CPU (Core i7-10750H), GPU (RTX 3060), and a 1080p 144Hz screen.

5. MSI GS66 Stealth: Best thin and light gaming laptop under $2000

Screen
15.6-inch 1080p
CPU
Intel Core i7-10870H
GPU
RTX 3060
RAM
32 GB

Those looking for a thin and light gaming laptop that costs less than $2000 have a solid number of options to pick between. Our vote goes to the MSI GS66 Stealth equipped with the Core i7-10870H and a 95W version of the RTX 3060. The device also comes with 32GB of memory and a 2TB SSD, perfect for serious work such as video editing. Gaming performance should be good enough to play AAA games at 60fps or higher with medium to high details. As for the screen, the 1080p 240Hz panel should cover almost 100% of the sRGB color space. It also offers average brightness (around 250 nits) and is on the slower side when it comes to response time.

The keyboard is pleasant to use, the touchpad is wide but still on the slimmer side, the webcam and speakers are serviceable, and the battery offers up to ten and a half hours of moderate use. Excellent battery life. Connectivity options include three USB-A 10Gbps ports, one Thunderbolt 3, one USB-C 10Gbps, a full-sized HDMI, and an RH45 port. Finally, the cooling is decent. The GPU stays around 75C while the CPU thermally throttles and stabilizes at 90C.

If you want a better CPU, better screen, and better build quality, there’s the Razer Blade 14. The Razer device features the excellent 5900HX CPU along with the RTX 3060, but it’s noticeably pricier than the GS66 Stealth. There’s also the Razer Blade Stealth 13 for users who want a proper gaming ultrabook. Here you can pick between a 120Hz IPS or a 60Hz OLED panel. With that said, the CPU and GPU combo is much slower than on both MSI GS66 and Blade 14, featuring the low-power Core i7-1165G7 and the GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q GPU.

6. Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XD: Best gaming laptop under $2000 with best screen

Screen
15.6-inch 1080p
CPU
Intel Core i7-11800H
GPU
RTX 3070
RAM
16 GB

Last but not least, we have a $2000 gaming laptop with the best screen. By this, we mean the best when it comes to colors, not the fastest. This OLED panel is great for all content creators who want to game and are okay with their gaming machine having a panel limited to only 60Hz. The 4K panel by Samsung is fantastic in everything sans the refresh rate. It’s super bright at 440 nits, covers 100% of the sRGB and AdobeRGB color spaces, and has super-fast response times.

Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED XD specs include a Core i7-11800H CPU, 105W version of the RTX 3070, 16GB of memory, and 1TB SSD. Now, only 16GB of memory is too low for serious video editing. But since the Aero 15 XD comes with two SO-DIMM slots, you can swap the two RAM sticks with a 32GB kit. You also get an extra M.2 slot for upgrading the storage. The gaming performance of this device is excellent, as long as you play games in 1080p resolution. With that said, thanks to a pretty fast GPU, you can reach 60fps in lots of titles in 4K if you’re ready to lower settings to medium or low. 

The build quality is good, and the keyboard is serviceable. Still, it has mushy feedback when typing. The touchpad is compact but pleasant to use and precise, the webcam is okay but placed below the display, and the speakers are average. The I/O includes three USB-A 5Gbps ports, one Thunderbolt 4 port, a full-sized HDMI along with a mini-DisplayPort, an RJ45 port, and an SD card reader. The device doesn’t come with a MUX switch. As for the battery life, you can expect up to eight and a half hours of moderate usage. Finally, the cooling system is okay. The CPU will thermally throttle, but the GPU should stay cool.

Since the Aero 15 XD technically is over the upper $2000 price limit you can get the cheaper version of the device equipped with the RTX 3060 GPU. With that said, we think that going less than five percent over the $2000 budget is worth it for the RTX 3070. If you want an ultraportable gaming laptop at this price point with an OLED screen, there’s the Razer Blade Stealth 13. It comes with a 13-inch 1080p OLED panel, a low-power Core i7-1165G7 CPU, and a Max-Q version of the GTX 1650. It doesn’t have the best gaming performance. But, compared to the Aero, the Stealth 13 is much better suited for users who travel a lot. Finally, an older version of the Dell XPS 15 equipped with a 4K OLED screen, Core i7-9750H CPU, and a GTX 1650 is also on the table.

What to expect from a laptop under $2000

First of all, let’s talk about GPU options. You can pick between the RTX 3060 and RTX 3070 and their many TGP/TDP options at this price point. If you’re looking for the best performance and you’re ready to pay $2000 or a bit over that price (like 5 percent), get the RTX 3070 with a TGP of 115W or higher. Models featuring Nvidia’s Dynamic Boost can usually push their GPU an extra 15W higher, at least on paper. In real-world usage, where both the CPU and GPU are used, like in a demanding game, the GPU usually tops out at its base TDP.

Now, if you’re looking for a combination of excellent performance and other specs (great screen, lots of memory, high-capacity SSD), you could go with an RTX 3060-equipped device. Especially if the said device can push the RTX 3060 to 130W. If you’re looking for a thin and light gaming laptop, forget about this. These devices usually have their GPUs capped below 100W. Further, it would be best if you ignored last-gen machines packing RTX 2000 GPUs since even the RTX 3060 beats both the RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 when it comes to gaming performance.

When it comes to CPUs, the best Sub $2000 gaming laptops come with one of the following three CPUs: Core i7-11800H, Ryzen 7 5800H, and Ryzen 9 5900H(X). All three CPUs are great for gaming, and you shouldn’t worry about performance if you get any of the three. Memory usually tops at 16GB, but you can find devices equipped with 32GB of RAM. With that said, 32GB of RAM usually means that the manufacturer cut costs in other places (RTX 3060 instead of 3070, worse screen option, etc.).

As for the build quality, most of these devices feature good to great build quality with chassis made of plastic or a combination of plastic and metal. Some devices, like the Razer Blade 14, come with metal bodies and superb build quality. On the flip side, they also tend to lack in gaming performance or are pricier than devices featuring plastic chassis.

Finally, screens offered at this price point include 1080p panels with at least a 165hz refresh rate or 1440p panels with at least a 144Hz refresh rate. Some devices come with OLED (1080p and 4K) panels, which all have a refresh rate of 60Hz. We recommend getting a 1440p device, especially if you’re looking for a 17-inch laptop. With that said, if you exclusively play esports titles, getting a 240Hz or 300Hz gaming laptop is probably better for your particular needs. Okay, with that out of the way, let’s check the best overall $2000 gaming laptop.