CNET: The most powerful gaming laptops for 2018

The limited-edition Acer Predator 21 X is equal parts insanely powerful and crazy cool — you just need a lottery win or random inheritance to afford it. (Sarah Tew/CNET/TNS)
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The limited-edition Acer Predator 21 X is equal parts insanely powerful and crazy cool — you just need a lottery win or random inheritance to afford it. (Sarah Tew/CNET/TNS)

There’s never been a better time to be a laptop gamer. Slimmer designs paired with more powerful processors and graphics cards have brought gaming laptops closer than ever to performance previously found only in desktops. These are the four models we’ve reviewed over the last year with highest scores in CNET’s 3DMark benchmark testing.

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Acer Predator 21 X

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/acer-predator-21x/review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra score: 9,444

The good: The 21-inch curved display feels very immersive in games. There are a ton of fun features and extras, including a reversible touch/number pad, eye tracking cameras and swappable WASD keys. The mechanical keyboard is excellent for gaming.

The bad: Even these high-end components don’t fully justify the price. The display has a lower resolution than we’d like, battery life is poor, and moving the touchpad away from its traditional spot is never a good idea.

The cost: $6,999.99 (refurbished) to $9,163.55

The bottom line: The limited-edition Acer Predator 21 X is equal parts insanely powerful and crazy cool — you just need a lottery win or random inheritance to afford it.

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MSI GT83VR

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/msi-gt83vr-titan-sli/review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra score: 8,594

The good: This fun, creative design has a great retro-futurism vibe. The components, from the dual GPUs to the mechanical keyboard, give you unmatched performance for games and VR.

The bad: It’s huge and hugely expensive. The nontraditional touchpad is a misfire, and the 18-inch display is locked into a relatively low FHD resolution.

The cost: $3,299.00 to $3,399.99

The bottom line: The barely portable MSI GT83VR, with dual graphics cards and a desktop-style mechanical keyboard, is for the gamer who wants something different and is willing to pay for it.

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Origin PC Eon17-X (2017)

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/origin-pc-eon17-x-2017/review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra score: 4,970

The good: The Origin PC Eon17-X is a highly customizable 17-inch gaming laptop backed by personalized service. It has a large port and connection assortment, an excellent 4K display, a good RGB backlit keyboard and a touchpad with a built-in fingerprint reader. Excellent service and support package.

The bad: More like a portable desktop than a laptop, the generic-looking Eon17-X is large and heavy and expensive, starting at around $1,800. Its cooling fans are distractingly loud.

The cost: $1,807.00

The bottom line: A giant gaming laptop fine-tuned for peak performance, the Origin PC Eon17-X can be as powerful as your wallet will allow.

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Razer Blade Pro

Product Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/razer-blade-pro/review/#ftag=CAD187281f

CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra score: 4,456

The good: The Razer Blade Pro puts Nvidia’s top-performing graphics card in a slim laptop that can pass as a work or gaming system. The premium design, 4K-resolution touchscreen and mechanical keyboard make it a pleasure to use.

The bad: The mechanical keyboard is clicky and loud, and the right-side trackpad placement remains a design misstep. The laptop and power supply get very hot, and the very loud fans start blowing as soon as you boot up a game.

The cost: $1,799.99

The bottom line: Razer manages to fit a high-end graphics card into an amazingly thin laptop. Gamers and graphics pros alike will love the performance, but not the loud fans and misplaced touchpad.

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The following CNET staff contributed to this story: Section Editor Dan Ackerman, Senior Editor Joshua Goldman and Senior Editor Laura K. Cucullu. For more reviews of personal technology products, please visit www.cnet.com.