Finding a good Black Friday gaming laptop deal isn't always as clear cut as we'd hope. With the portable gaming market in constant flux, and retailers having a tendency to artificially inflate pricing every now and then it's difficult to know how much is too much for a gaming laptop. To ease your indecision, I've put together the following Black Friday laptop crib sheet with rough prices you should expect to pay for a gaming laptop over the deals season.
Black Friday kicks off on November 25 this year, with discounts running throughout November and over the big weekend itself, then into the following week through Cyber Monday and Cyber Week. While we should see some awesome discounts on RTX 3080-powered gaming laptops cropping up in that time, you can bet there will be retailers trying to get you to pay over the odds for older, far less relevant gear. Thankfully there are a few straightforward ways to determine whether a deal is really a deal, or if it's an absolute dud.
- We're curating all the best Black Friday PC gaming deals right here.
The main thing to remember when tracking down a gaming laptop deal for Black Friday is that just because a discount is large, that doesn't mean it's any good. Many retailers will artificially inflate prices before Black Friday to make the 'now' price a little more palatable and a discount more enticing. We tend to check camelcamelcamel as the pricing over time graphs there will reveal any foul play.
Generally, you should start your search thinking around a laptop's graphics card; it'll be the main factor in pricing and will dictate the kind of games you can play, and at what settings. This time around, we should see RTX 3060-powered cards for well under the $1,000 mark, since next year's going to see 40-series GPUs shifting into the portable space.
But given that we're unlikely to see something as powerful as the RTX 4090 in mobile form, there may not actually be much between the RTX 30-series and new RTX 40-series GPUs in terms of raw power. That means laptops powered by higher-end RTX 30-series cards are absolutely still worth grabbing even as we expect a new generation to appear around CES time.
We'd recommend not going any older than an RTX 30-series GPU, however, and avoiding 10- and 20-series altogether at this point. Obviously, if you can find an RTX 2080-powered laptop at sub-$700, go for it. As far as AMD goes, a Radeon RX 6000-series graphics card should be the goal, though they are harder to find than their Nvidia equivalents.
Here's a rough estimate of how much a gaming laptop with different GPUs should cost you over Black Friday. Before you wrench open your wallet for a tasty discount, though, make sure you double check there's nothing off about the config.
How much should I pay for a Black Friday gaming laptop?
We recommend that you should be looking at the following rough pricing guides for 1080p gaming laptops with the following GPUs inside them.
RTX 3050 Ti ~$750
RTX 3060 ~$1,000
RTX 3070 ~$1,300
RTX 3070 Ti ~$1,500
RTX 3080 ~$1,800
RX 6700M ~$1,300
RX 6800M ~$1,700
There will be inevitable exceptions to these recommendations, however, because there are other parts of a laptop spec that can alter the price. Honestly, for us that doesn't really include the CPU, but more the attached SSD, and memory. The key thing, though, is the screen. A 17-inch 4K panel will always cost more, but if that's something you desire, it might be worth the extra outlay. Likewise, the rise in 1440p panels for laptops is also something that can be worth paying for, especially if you're picking up a machine with a high-spec GPU inside it.
Where are the best Black Friday gaming laptop deals?
In the US:
- Amazon - RTX 3050 laptops from Acer and Dell starting at $810
- Asus - high-end ROG Zephyrus 14 with Ryzen 9 and RTX 3060 at Best Buy
- MSI - RTX 3080 gaming laptops up to $200 off at Newegg
- Gigabyte - up to 25% off Gigabyte gaming laptops at Newegg
- Walmart - cheap Gateway laptops. Remember them?!
- B&H Photo - up to $500 off Lenovo, Asus, & MSI gaming laptops
- Target - sub-$1,000 gaming laptops
- Staples - up to $300 off MSI gaming notebooks
- Lenovo - $700+ discounts on Legion laptops
- Razer - discounts on Razer Blade laptops, our favorite notebooks
- Newegg - RTX 3060 gaming laptops under $800
- Microsoft - up to half price on last-gen laptops
- Dell - save over $300 on Dell and Alienware gaming laptops
In the UK:
- Amazon - save on Asus, Razer, and Acer gaming laptops
- Dell - Alienware and Dell Gaming laptops with up to £500 off
- Overclockers - gaming laptop deals and components
- Ebuyer - RTX 3070 gaming laptops for under £1,000
- Very - save up to £450 on RTX 3070 MSI gaming laptops
- Razer UK - tiny discounts out PC Gamer's favourite gaming laptops
- Box - excellent sub-£1,000 gaming laptop deals
- Lenovo - up to 46% discounts on Lenovo's business and party laptops
- Scan - up to £400 off gaming laptops from different manufactures
- Laptops Direct - save up to £1000 on Razer gaming laptops
The thing about laptops is that the relationship between the various subsystems is pretty tight, and the options for upgrading are much more limited than they are with desktops. The key takeaway here is not to drop $1,500 on a gaming laptop that has an RTX 3060 at its heart when you know that sort of money can net you a much more powerful RTX 3070, though there's a little more to it than just the GPU.
When you are checking for a deal, a holistic approach is key. After the graphics card itself, check you're getting an up-to-date CPU—we wouldn't go any older than a 10th Gen Intel CPU with 13th Gen on the horizon. Ideally you want an 11th or 12th Gen model (the numbers straight after the 'Core i5/i7/i9' bit denote the CPU generation).
For AMD you'll want a Ryzen 4000-series or later, but ideally a Ryzen 5000-series chip.
Next up you need to look at the amount of memory (or RAM) on offer. Ideally, you want 16GB of RAM, preferably as 2x 8GB sticks, not just a single 16GB SODIMM. If you use a single stick of memory on a dual-channel machine you're effectively halving the memory bandwidth available. A laptop with two sticks of 8GB memory will have twice the bandwidth of one with one 16GB stick. On the cheaper systems, you'll often see 8GB as standard which is a little hard to recommend at this point in time.
On the plus side, memory is generally one thing that can be upgraded. Though it is worth checking the model you're looking at first, because not all systems make it easy to get at the inside of your laptop.
As for storage, you want at least a 500GB NVMe SSD or larger. If we're writing our dream specs, then a 1TB drive, or even 2TB, would be preferable considering the size of games today, but you can usually upgrade that later on. I say usually because some laptops still come with soldered SSDs—honestly, is it not the year of our Lord 2022?
Whatever you're looking for, there are certainly going to be some good deals out there on gaming laptops. And as we get nearer to Black Friday, we expect some choice deals to appear. Just have a mind about how much you should pay for what's on offer, and you won't make a costly misstep. Buyer's remorse isn't a feeling to take into the holidays with you.