The best Windows 8 gaming laptops

Portable PCs with powerful graphics cards are rare these days. Here are some recent favorites.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
2 min read
Sarah Tew/CNET

We recently complained about the lack of a single best-case gaming laptop for the Windows 8 era. That was largely because of the handful of portable PCs with higher-end graphics cards we'd reviewed in the six months since Microsoft's new OS took over, none thought to include a touch-screen display. That's a feature not particularly called for in even current-gen PC games, but it's one that Windows 8 practically begs for during the hours when you're not using your laptop for gaming.

Since then, we've finished reviews of a couple more gaming laptops -- again with high-end GPUs but no touch screens -- as well as the Razer Edge, a unique Window 8 tablet/hybrid that offers both modest gaming chops and hardware specifically built around Windows 8.

Even though we're still waiting for a true no-compromise Windows 8 gaming system, many of the high-end laptops and tablets we've tested are still great for games, from the premium performance in the Qosmio X875 to the very reasonably priced Lenovo IdeaPad Y500.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Toshiba Qosmio X875
One of the only 17-inch gaming laptops with a hybrid hard drive, the massive Toshiba Qosmio X875 already stands out from the slim ultrabooks and convertibles we've seen, but it lacks a touch screen. Oddly, our model included 3D glasses, but you can skip that and save a few dollars. Read the full review of the Toshiba Qosmio X875.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Razer Edge
The Razer Edge is a 10-inch Windows 8 tablet with either a Core i5 or i7 processor, and what it brings to the table are gaming-caliber Nvidia GeForce graphics, and a variety of optional versatile gamer-targeted accessories: a snap-on GamePad Controller, a dock with HDMI-out and extra USB ports for TV connectivity, and even a future laptop/keyboard accessory. Read the full review of the Razer Edge.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo IdeaPad Y500
The current version of the Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 is a laptop that's hard not to like. A chunky, 15-inch Windows 8 machine with some real gaming muscle, sharp design, and a funky red-on-black backlit keyboard -- if it only had a touch screen for a frustration-free Windows 8 experience, this might be my favorite laptop of 2013 to date. Read the full review of the Lenovo IdeaPad Y500.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Origin PC EON17-SLX
No one puts together custom high-end gaming laptops, including this desktop-busting 17-inch EON17-SLX, better than Origin PC, but the generic-looking off-the-shelf body isn't becoming of a $4,000 laptop, and Windows 8 feels odd without a touch screen. Read the full review of the Origin PC EON17-SLX.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony Vaio E17
If you want a reasonably priced desktop-replacement big-screen laptop with AMD graphics, the Vaio E17 is worth a look. But it's not a good Windows 8 showcase machine, as it lacks any touch interface other than a small touch pad. Read the full review of the Sony Vaio E17.

Looking for specs and pricing? Compare these laptops head-to-head.