Top 10 Laptops with Dedicated Graphics

Top Laptops with Dedicated Graphics - AnandCPeter.com

Top 10 Laptops with Dedicated Graphics

My first laptop Toshiba Satellite 2410S-303 - AnandCPeter.com


My first laptop, the Toshiba Satellite 2410S-303

I remember my first laptop well. It was a gift from my dad as I left home to go to college. It was a single-core Toshiba Satellite with a 32MB 3D video card (the Geforce 420 Go) – it was a high performance gamer’s laptop in its day and the speakers were great. I have had many laptops since then and most of them have had dedicated graphics. My last laptop was a Sony Vaio E series and it had a 1GB dedicated 3D card (the Mobile Radeon HD 5650). Having a current dedicated graphics card lets you play most games at high resolutions on your laptop. It also speeds up graphics and video editing software and even Windows itself.

Most mainstream laptops today still use processors that have on-board graphics. While on-board graphics have been getting faster over the years and are now good enough for the casual gamer, they are still nowhere as powerful as a dedicated graphics solution. So whether you are a keen gamer, photography or video buff, or just someone who appreciates a responsive fast machine, you should look for a laptop with a dedicated graphics card.

Now, the eagle-eyed ones among you may have noticed that I said ‘my last laptop’ above. That’s because my Sony Vaio died an unceremonious death recently, leaving me laptop-less. I turned to my 8 year old Dell Inspiron to tide me over till I get a new one. Now interestingly this ‘Made in Ireland’ Dell soldiers on without any issues. Well it runs Vista, and you could say that in itself is an issue. But it’s an example of a well-made powerful (in its day) dual-core laptop. It can still run most of the popular programs such as Chrome, Firefox, and even the odd game thanks to its dedicated NVIDIA 8600M GT card with 256MB RAM. That’s the other point I wanted to make, a dedicated video card extends the usable life of your machine as it doesn’t become obsolete as quickly.

So as I conduct my research for my next laptop, I thought I would document my progress and selection process. Hopefully this will be of help to you if you are trying to decide which laptop to buy. Unless I find a laptop with one of the more powerful Iris integrated graphics from Intel, I will look for a laptop with an NVIDIA or ATI video card.

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What to look for in a gaming laptop

  • The fastest processor you can afford, at least a Haswell generation i5. Don’t bother with the Core i3.
  • At least 8GB of dual-channel RAM.
  • A fast graphics card, at least an NVIDIA GTX950M.
  • An SSD so that your games load quickly.
  • A good quality FullHD 1080p screen if you will game away from home often.

What are my picks?

The best laptop gaming graphics card you can get now is the GTX980M. The GTX960M is a good gaming graphics card and is the most common model. You should go for at least a GTX950M.

For the hardcore gamer, a Core i7 processor, an SSD, and the GTX980M are essential. So the ASUS RoG G751JY-WH71(WX) near the $1500 mark is my choice here.

For the serious gamer it would have to be a laptop based on at least an i5 processor and GTX960M such as the stylish ASUS K501UX or the ASUS RoG GL552VW-DH71, both in the $500 – $1000 range.

For the casual gamer any laptop on this list with a GT940M or GTX950M will be more than enough. The most popular gaming laptop on our list, the Acer Aspire 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop, is a great choice at just under $600.

Whether you are looking for a laptop as a Christmas gift for yourself or somebody else, I hope you find something of interest on this list.

You can click on the ‘check price on Amazon’ link to see the current offer price and check out detailed user reviews.

A quick note: This article contains affiliate links from Amazon. If you click on one of these links and then purchase something from Amazon, we will receive affiliate income for referring you to Amazon. This goes towards the costs of hosting and running this website and does not affect you in any way.

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    Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK 15.6″ Full-HD Gaming Laptop

    The B015PYYDMQ is the best-seller this November. This laptop has the latest Core i5-6300HQ processor based on the Skylake architecture. The Skylake revision has been all about power efficiency improvements (Skylake being a tock cycle of Intel’s tick-tock approach to architecture life-cycles, a tick represents a performance improvement). So compared to the previous Broadwell architecture, the improvement in performance is only 5%, and 5-10% over the even older Haswell architecture. Note the i5 models do not support hyperthreading unlike the i7 models.

    The dedicated graphics card is an NVIDIA GTX 960M which is the latest upper midrange offering from NVIDIA based on the Maxwell architecture and has a 128-bit memory interface. It is a very good graphics card for a gamer and you can expect to play all but the most demanding modern games at the desirable FullHD resolution of 1920×1080. You can find more details of the graphics card’s performance at Notebookcheck.

    Full Specification:

    • Intel Skylake i5-6300HQ 2.3 GHz Quad-Core (6M Cache, Turbo up to 3.2 GHz)
    • 8 GB DDR3L / 256 GB Solid-State Drive
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics with 4GB GDDR5
    • 15.6-Inch FHD IPS, Wide-Angle, Anti Glare Screen.

    The Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK has very good reviews on Amazon] and its strengths are the powerful processor, video card, IPS FullHD screen, and the backlit keyboard all representing very good value for money.

    Check latest price and reviews on Amazon

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    ASUS K501UX 15-inch Gaming Laptop

    The first ASUS laptop on our list has latest Skylake Core i7 processor, the i7-6500U. However it has the GTX 950M video card which is around 15% slower than the GTX 960M of the Dell above. Still, it is a capable gaming video card and delivers performance that is far above integrated Intel graphics. This laptop has a classy aluminium design body and is quite slim at just 0.9 inches. The 256GB SSD and the backlit keyboard give the laptop its premium credentials and the FullHD screen is also a plus.

    Full Specifications:

    • Intel Skylake Core i7-6500U 2.5GHz Quad-Core (Turbo up to 3.1GHz).
    • 15.6 inches Matte FHD display. 1920 by 1080 resolution. Windows 10 Operation System.
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M gaming graphic card; 8GB RAM; 256GB SSD Storage. Backlit keyboard.
    • Gigabit Dual-Band 802.11AC ultra-fast Wi-Fi.
    • Features 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI. Bluetooth 4.0.

    Check latest price and reviews on Amazon

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    ASUS RoG GL552VW-DH71 15-Inch Gaming Laptop

    This ASUS Republic of Gamers (RoG) branded laptop is a powerful machine that can chomp through the most demanding games with the superb Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor and GTX950 graphics card combination, 16 GB RAM and an optional SSD. No surprise as the RoG brand’s stated aim is to produce hardcore laptops for die-hard gamers. Another highlight is that this laptop features the latest USB3.1 Type-C port which makes it quite future-proof.

    Full specifications:

    • Intel Skylake Core i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz Quad-Core (Turbo up to 3.5GHz)
    • 16GB DDR4 (2133MHZ)
    • 1TB 7200RPM
    • NVIDIA GTX960M 2GB GDDR5
    • 15.6″ IPS FHD (19201080) matte
    • DL DVDRW/CD-RW, 802.11AC, Bluetooth 4.0
    • Windows 10 (bit)

    Check latest price and reviews on Amazon

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    ASUS X550ZA-WH11 15.6-Inch Laptop

    The ASUS X550ZA comes with the AMD Quad Core A10-7400P processor. This is a mid-range processor from the Kaveri range. Its highlight is an integrated Radeon R6 GPU. The laptop itself has an attractive design and comes with Windows 10. It has 8GB RAM which is plenty for a multimedia laptop but there are no empty slots. Also the display is not FHD.

    Full specifications:

    • AMD Quad Core A10-7400P 2.5GHz (Turbo up to 3.4GHz) processor
    • 8GB RAM/ 1TB 5400RPM with DL DVD±RW/CD-RW. Windows 10 operation system
    • 15.6 inches LED backlit display, 1366 by 768 resolution, matte finished
    • Feature 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI and VGA ports

    Check latest price and reviews on Amazon

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    MSI GE62 APACHE-276;9S7-16J212-276 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop

    The MSI GE62 Apache is a surprisingly affordable gaming laptop. The processor is from the previous Broadwell architecture, but is a powerful one. Graphics duties are taken care of by a GTX960M with 2 GB RAM. The design is less conventional and it is quite hefty at over 10 pounds. This is not a very portable laptop.

    Full specifications:

    • Intel Broadwell Core i7-5700HQ Quad-Core 2.7-3.5GHz
    • 12 GB (8 GB+4 GB) DDR3L 1600 MHz RAM
    • 1TB 7200 rpm Hard Drive
    • 15.6-Inch Screen; NVIDIA Geforce GTX960M Graphics with 2 GB GDDR5 VRAM
    • DVD SuperMulti
    • Windows 10

    Check latest price and reviews on Amazon

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    Acer Aspire 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop (Intel Core i5-5200U, 8GB, 1TB HDD, Windows 10)

    This Acer laptop is based on a Broadwell Ultra Low Voltage(ULV) processor, thus the U at the end of the i5-5200U. Broadwell represented a Tick in Intel’s tick-tock strategy, indicating improved performance from the Haswell architecture. Thanks to its ULV feature, it has a TDP (Thermal Design Power) of only 15W. This means that the processor will not consume more than 15W of power. This contributes to the laptop’s real-world battery life of up to 5 hours. The 940M is a mid-range 2015 graphics chipset based on NVIDIA’s Maxwell architecture. While this is not suitable for a heavy gamer, casual gamers will do just fine if they stick to lower resolutions. The FHD screen is great to have for the increased desktop real estate.

    Full specifications:

    • Intel Broadwell Core i5-5200U Quad-Core 2.20 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 2.70 GHz
    • NVIDIA GeForce 940M Graphics with 2GB Dedicated DDR3 VRAM
    • 8GB DDR3L 1600 MHz SDRAM, 1TB 5400 RPM HDD, 720P HD Webcam, HDMI, VGA
    • 15.6-inch Full HD Widescreen Display (1920 x 1080)
    • 802.11AC WiFi featuring MIMO technology (Dual-Band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) 3 USB 3.0, LAN (10/100/1000)
    • Genuine Windows 10 64-bit preinstalled, Bluetooth 4.0, Battery life up to 5 hours

    Check latest price and reviews on Amazon

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    ASUS ROG G751JY-WH71(WX) 17-Inch Gaming Laptop

    This is a laptop that sets the benchmark when it comes to mobile gaming. It has a screaming fast GTX980M chipset which is practically the fastest graphics option you can get in a laptop. It has 4GB DDR5 RAM which can rip through any application or game you throw at it. The Core i7-4720HQ processor was released in January 2015 and is from the Haswell generation. However it is nearly as fast as the Broadwell or Skylake equivalents. The G-sync screen is another highlight. G-sync is a screen technology from NVIDIA that eliminates screen tearing by adjusting the screen refresh rate to the frame rate of the video card.

    Full specifications:

    • Intel Haswell Core i7-4720HQ 2.6GHz Quad-Core (turbo up to 3.6 GHz)
    • 16 GB RAM.
    • 1 TB 7200RPM Hard Drive + 128 GB Solid State Drive.
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M with 4GB DDR5 VRAM (G-Sync)
    • 17.3″ IPS FHD matte display (1920×1080) with built in G-sync hardware.
    • Gigabit dual-band 802.11AC ultra-fast Wi-Fi. 10/100/10000 Gigabit ethernet
    • 4x USB 3.0, 1x Thunderbolt 2, 1x HDMI, 1x VGA/Mini D-sub 15-pin, 1x SPDIF, 1x Headphone-out, 1x Mic-in.
    • Intelligent Thermal Design, rear venting design directs heat away. Separate thermal modules for the CPU and GPU. Specially-designed Game Keys.

    Check latest price and reviews on Amazon

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    Acer Aspire E 15 E5-573G-52G3 15.6-inch Full HD Notebook

    With a rather cryptic model number, you can be forgiven for thinking this is just another Acer. However, take a closer look and you will find a very reasonably priced laptop with a dedicated graphics card, the NVIDIA 940M. The Full HD 1080p screen, 8GB RAM on offer and Windows 10 make it an ideal entry level gaming laptop. The only negatives are weak speakers and a large amount of bloatware, but the latter can be rectified with a fresh install of Windows.

    Full specifications:

    • Intel Core i5-5200U 2.2 GHz Quad-Core (3 MB Cache)
    • Windows 10
    • 8 GB DDR3L SDRAM
    • 1 TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
    • 15.6-Inch Full HD Screen, NVIDIA GeForce 940M with 2GB VRAM

    Check latest price and reviews on Amazon

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    ASUS ROG GL551JW-AH71(WX) 15.6″ Full-HD Laptop with NVIDIA GTX960M

    This ASUS RoG model is also from the Haswell generation and has a configuration similar to the GL751 model (Laptop no.7). However it has a GTX960M instead and so is much cheaper. There is a huge number of positive reviews on Amazon for this particular model.

    Full specifications:

    • Intel Haswell Core i7-4720HQ 2.6 GHz Quad-Core
    • 8 GB DDR3
    • 256 GB Solid-State Drive
    • 15.6-Inch Full-HD Screen, NVIDIA GTX960M 2GB GDDR5
    • Windows 10

    Check latest price and reviews on Amazon

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    Lenovo Z70 17.3-Inch Laptop

    This is the first Lenovo on my list and is based on the Broadwell Intel Core i7-5500U. The graphics chipset is an NVIDIA GT840M, one of the earliest Maxwell based devices. This combination is a good one as it gives you good battery life thanks to the ULV processor and Optimus graphics, but has enough reserves of power on tap. Optimus graphics allows the laptop to automatically switch between the integrated Core i7 graphics and the NVIDIA dedicated graphics depending on the workload. This is a great multimedia laptop as well with excellent JBL audio, FullHD 1080p screen. However on the software side, you have to be aware that Lenovo ships it with rootkits installed which you have to get rid of as soon as you turn on the laptop for the first time. This is easy to do though and should not detract you from getting a Lenovo.

    Full specifications:

    • Intel Broadwell Core i7-5500U 2.4 GHz Quad-Core Processor
    • 8 GB DDR3L SDRAM
    • 1 TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive, 8 GB Solid-State Drive;DVDRW
    • 17.3-Inch Screen, NVIDIA GeForce GT840M 2GB
    • Windows 10, 4-hour battery life

    Check latest price and reviews on Amazon

What do you think about laptops with dedicated graphics? Do you have any experience with the laptops above? Get in touch – leave a comment below!

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