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Laptops

Get these cheap Nvidia GTX gaming laptops while you still can

With laptops running Nvidia's new RTX graphics cards starting to ship, you can get a deal on last year's models right now.

Lori Grunin/CNET

Chipmaker Nvidia announced at CES 2019 that new gaming laptops running mobile versions of its RTX 2060, 2070 and 2080 graphics cards would start shipping by the end of January. The good news is they have. The better news is the prices are starting to come down on older laptops with Nvidia's GeForce GTX 10-series GPUs, which are still generally awesome.

You'll want to make sure you get the most graphics power you can afford from the start since this can't be upgraded later, unlike memory or storage. If you're on a strict budget, go with one of Nvidia's Geforce GTX 1050Ti graphics cards, which will give you good performance on newer games at medium settings with prices starting down around $600.

If you can afford to spend closer to $1,000, you'll be better off in the long run getting a laptop with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060. At the moment, it looks like it's with this GPU that you'll find the best prices. You'll find deals on laptops with GTX 1070 or 1080 graphics, but since those were already higher-end laptops, the prices are lower, but not inexpensive.

Beyond the graphics chip, look for at least these minimum specs:

  • Seventh- or eighth-gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processor
  • At least 8GB of memory (RAM)
  • At least a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD), a combo of a 128GB SSD and hard drive or a large 7,200rpm hard drive or solid-state hybrid drive (SSHD)
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Most if not all of these laptops let you easily expand or upgrade your memory and storage, so again, it's best to put your cash into the GPU and processor.

Disclaimer: CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.     

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Asus Strix is the company's mainstream gaming laptop line. We've liked past models for their gaming performance and extras like the RGB-backlit keyboard, which you typically don't get for less than $1,000. This configuration's 15.6-inch full HD 120Hz display is also a rarity at this price. 

Key specs: 

  • Intel Core i5-8300H
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB
  • 128GB SSD + 1TB SSHD storage
  • 8GB RAM (supports up to 32GB)
HP

HP launched this updated Pavilion line last April to attract casual gamers who might not be willing to go all-in on a laptop from the PC maker's Omen gaming brand. This is a remarkably good price for an entry-level 15.6-inch gaming laptop. 

Key specs: 

  • Intel Core i5-8300H
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB
  • 1TB 7,200rpm HDD storage
  • 8GB RAM (supports up to 32GB)

The GL63 is essentially a lower-end version of the MSI's GP series (featured down below), cutting out extras to get the price lower instead of sacrificing CPU and GPU performance. For example, the GL63 trades the higher-end Killer Wi-Fi and Ethernet for Intel versions and drops RGB keyboard lighting for a single-color backlight. For this NewEgg exclusive you still get a six-core Intel CPU and a midrange 1060 graphics card for less than $900.

Key specs:

  • Intel Core i7-8750H
  • Nividia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
  • 1TB HDD + 128GB M.2 SATA SSD
  • 16GB RAM (supports up to 32GB)
Acer

Built around a 17.3-inch full-HD display, the Aspire 7 looks like an office laptop. Inside, though, it has all the power of a gaming PC. 

Key specs:

  • Intel Core i7-8750H
  • Nividia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
  • 256GB M.2 SATA SSD
  • 16GB RAM (supports up to 32GB)
Sarah Tew/CNET

Last year's redesigned Legion Y530 and Y730 were a couple of my favorites for mainstream gaming. The Y7000 falls in between those models with a bit more gaming flare to the design and better components than the Y530 that includes a 15.6-inch full HD 144Hz display. Even better, this price is $100 less than it was on Black Friday. 

Key specs:

  • Intel Core i7-8750H
  • Nividia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
  • 512GB PCIe SSD
  • 16GB RAM 
Sarah Tew/CNET

If you prefer Acer to Lenovo, this Helios has essentially the same specs, but with half the storage. You get a 15.6-inch full HD 144Hz display here, too, and Acer lets you easily overclock the graphics card.

Key specs:

  • Intel Core i7-8750H
  • Nividia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
  • 256GB NVMe SSD
  • 16GB RAM (supports up to 32GB)
Sarah Tew/CNET

Seems like $1,100 is the current sweet spot for a GTX 1060 and a hexa-core Intel Core i7 processor. The graphics card in here is labeled as the Max-Q version, which runs cooler and is more efficient than the regular version, but at the sacrifice of some performance. Also, the 1,920x1,080-resolution 15.6-inch display has a standard 60Hz refresh rate. Still, if you're not ready to buy now, this might be one to watch to see if it drops even lower.

Key specs:

  • Intel Core i7-8750H
  • Nividia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
  • 128GB SATA SSD + 1TB 5,400rpm HDD
  • 16GB RAM
MSI

MSI offers a wide variety of gaming laptops, but they all have slightly different designs and secondary features such as displays, keyboards, Wi-Fi and Ethernet, port assortments and audio capabilities. The GP63 Leopard is an upper-midrange thin-and-light model (for a gaming laptop, anyway), but with this exclusive NewEgg configuration you're getting a better hardware configuration for the money including an Intel six-core processor and a 15.6-inch full HD 120Hz display. 

Key specs:

  • Intel Core i7-8750H
  • Nividia GeForce GTX 1070 8GB
  • 1TB HDD + 128GB M.2 SATA SSD (NVMe slot for expansion)
  • 16GB RAM (supports up to 32GB)
HP

The price on this 17.3-inch beast is two grand, but that's $400 less than it used to be. And with a GTX 1080 in it, you shouldn't have any trouble playing the latest games at high or ultra settings. Plus, you get to do it on a 120Hz full HD display. 

Key specs:

  • Intel Core i7-7820HK
  • Nividia GeForce GTX 1080 8GB
  • 1TB 7,200rpm HDD + 256GB NVMe SSD 
  • 16GB RAM (supports up to 32GB)