We spent hours poring over spec sheets and reading reviews to determine that the $1,700 configuration of the Toshiba Qosmio X75 is the gaming laptop we'd buy because it has the right high power, high value components, at a great price. A machine with the same specs would cost hundreds more from any other brand.
In plain English, $1,700 gets you the second best laptop graphics card you can buy combined with a super-fast processor and other supporting cast members that won’t limit the graphics card’s potential. In techspeak: It has a quad-core i7-4700MQ Haswell CPU, Nvidia GeForce GTX 770M, 16 GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 17.3-inch 1080p screen with good viewing angles. It runs Windows 8 and games from a 256 GB SSD and a 1TB mechanical drive for mass storage.
Laptop Mag gave it 4 stars and an Editor’s Choice award. Jared Walton at AnandTech said, “If you want as much gaming performance as you can get for a reasonable price, the X75 gets our current recommendation.” Mike Brown at PCWorld declared the Qosmio X75 one of “the best Haswell notebooks you can buy today,” and named it his pick for the desktop replacement category. Dan Ackerman at CNET only gave it 3.5 stars because he wanted a touchscreen. We think is absurd. There are no serious PC games that use touchscreens and having one would only lead to smudges.
If you want something more powerful, you’ll need an Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M graphics card. That means dropping $2,900 on a fully loaded Alienware 17.
The Razer Blade does a lot of things right, and it’s the kind of thoughtful design I want from a gaming rig, but in the words of Anandtech, the display is “atrocious.”
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p achieves similar performance for only $1,300 by using two cheaper graphics cards rather than one expensive one. But this complicated design has more possible points of failure and lacks a dedicated SSD, instead opting for a 24GB cache.
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The Wirecutter is a leaderboard of personal tech and gear, where each pick is systematically chosen after a dozen hours of research, expert interviews and tests.