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It’s the right time to buy an older gaming laptop

A Razer Blade 14 gaming laptop on a coffee table.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends / Digital Trends

Typically, buying the latest hardware is recommended. When it comes to gaming laptops, each year we see new GPUs and CPUs that are worth the extra cash — or even waiting a few months for.

But this year, things are different. We’ve just seen a slew of new gaming laptops unveiled during CES 2024, but if it’s extra performance you care about, you won’t find much new.

The truth is, unless there’s a new design or display you’re eyeing, you’re most likely better off saving some cash on a previous-gen gaming laptop.

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When ‘newer’ doesn’t mean ‘new’

The 2024 Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 sitting on a table.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

This year’s CES was abundant with laptops from all the usual suspects. We’ve seen laptops from MSI, Asus, Alienware, Razer, Lenovo, and HP, among others. Packed full of the latest hardware, some of these laptops are already up for sale or will make it to market shortly.

There’s just one problem, though. Although new and exciting in their own way, none of these laptops brought any major hardware updates compared to the previous generation.

Sure, the CPUs have gotten an upgrade. Intel-based notebooks now run on Intel Raptor Lake refresh CPUs for the pure gaming units, and even on Intel Core Ultra for those with a larger focus on productivity. AMD announced its fair share of new CPUs and APUs, too, with chips like the Ryzen 8040 series set to appear in laptops this month.

Some of those chips are an upgrade over their predecessors, but not all of them. For instance, AMD’s Ryzen 8040 range is virtually the same as the previous gen, making for a pretty confusing product. However, AMD does have more exciting chips for gaming laptops, even some decked out with 3D V-Cache, like the Ryzen 9 7945HX3D.

AMD CEO Lisa Su holding an APU chip.
AMD

Intel, on the other hand, delivered a bit of an uplift with its new laptop CPUs., which Intel estimates to come out to around 17% boost in gaming and 50% in productivity. However, a 17% faster processor won’t make or break your gaming experience, so you’re not missing out on much by sticking to 13th-gen CPUs, or even earlier.

Whether they’re actually an update or they’re just “new” in name and little else, these CPUs are now available in many current-gen laptops. However, they’re still paired with GPUs that all launched last year, meaning Nvidia’s RTX 40 series and AMD’s RX 7000 series. The latter are few and far apart, so it’s mostly Nvidia all the way through.

Four new graphics cards already launched this year, namely Nvidia’s RTX 40 Super refresh and AMD’s budget-friendly RX 7600 XT, but they’re all desktop GPUs. What about new laptop GPUs? It’s hard to say what AMD may have up its sleeve, but rumor has it that Nvidia won’t launch any new notebook chips until 2025.

I can also confirm that no "SUPER" laptops are planned.

The next major Nvidia Laptop Refresh will be in 2025 around CES, releasing as part of their Next Generation lineup. Just got it confirmed to me directly from contacts at #Nvidia. 🔥 https://t.co/rOm4pAvKgS

— Moore's Law Is Dead (@mooreslawisdead) November 15, 2023

With no new mobile GPU releases this year, the gaming laptop landscape looks much the same as it did in 2023. To make up for that lack of performance increase, manufacturers are leaning on design changes and new displays to attract buyers. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is a good example, with its redesigned all-metal chassis and OLED screen. There’s also the redesigned HP Omen 14 Transcend or Alienware m16 R2.

But again, the problem with these newer laptops is that they all come with current-gen price tags, despite having previous-gen performance.

If you just want a good gaming laptop, now is the right time to score some sales on last-gen models, some of which are being discounted for the first time.

Previous-gen gaming laptops have never been cheaper

Lenovo Legion Pro 5 with the Digital Trends website.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

It’s pretty crazy how many gaming laptops, which are still very recent, are currently on sale. Laptop sales are fairly common during big shopping events like Black Friday, but random discounts in February? Not so much. I guess we’re either in luck or retailers are trying to get rid of some stock before all the new stuff comes rolling in.

No matter the reason, some of these sales are too good to pass up, and there are options ranging from budget-friendly $700 laptops to $2,500-plus behemoths equipped with the mobile version of the RTX 4090.

Let’s start with Newegg. There are a fair number of gaming laptops currently on discount, and some of these deals may save you several hundred dollars. All of the laptops come equipped with one of Nvidia’s best graphics cards made for laptops, and the vast majority came out just last year.

On the entry-level side of things, we have equipped with a Core i5-13420H CPU and an Nvidia RTX 4050 GPU. Initially priced at $1,100, it’s now down to $720. While it’s hardly a gaming beast, the fact that it comes with an RTX 40 card means you’re getting DLSS 3, and that can boost your frame rates in AAA games by a considerable amount.

Up next is the , which is now $1,350 (down from $1,800). It houses an AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS paired with an RTX 4070, which is a great deal better than the Lenovo mentioned above. If you prefer Intel, the is at a similar price point. It now costs $1,600, which means $300 in savings. It also comes with an RTX 4070 but is paired with the Core i9-13900H CPU instead.

It’s worth mentioning that while all three of these have different screens, they’re all suited for esports games, with refresh rates of at least 144Hz. These laptops can handle a lot of different games, and while titles like Cyberpunk 2077 on max settings might be a pipe dream, DLSS 3 can make that dream a reality in the games that support it.

The MSI Pulse laptop as seen from the back.
MSI

On the higher end, Newegg has two pretty great offers, namely the (now $1,850, down from $2,300) and the (now $2,800, down from $3,300). Sure, these are eye-watering prices, but so are the specs. The Gigabyte model comes with an RTX 4080 and an Intel Core i7-13700H, as well as a 360Hz display. Meanwhile, the Lenovo serves up the mobile version of the RTX 4090 paired with the Core i9-13900HX, not to mention a 2,560 x 1,600 240Hz display.

Newegg isn’t the only retailer to offer some pretty juicy deals right now. Dell is offering the at a massive discount. Initially priced at $1,950, it’s now down to $1,400. That gets you a configuration with the RTX 4070, the Core i7-13700HX, and a 165Hz QHD+ display.

Amazon has some deals up for grabs too, although the discounts tend to be smaller than what we’ve seen on Newegg. For starters, the 2023 version of the is now 22% cheaper (it costs $860, down from $1,100). It still has a discrete GPU, the RTX 4050, and a Raptor Lake CPU in the Core i5-13500H. There’s also the , discounted from $1,400 down to $1,220, and featuring an RTX 4060 and a Core i7-13650HX.

Two very similar Alienware laptops are also on sale on Amazon right now, and the main difference comes down to the screen size, refresh rate, and the choice between AMD and Intel. The has a (honestly overkill) 480Hz refresh rate, an AMD Ryzen 9 7845HX CPU, and Nvidia’s RTX 4080 GPU. Its Intel counterpart, the , has a smaller 16-inch screen with a 240Hz refresh rate, a Core i9-13900HK, and an RTX 4080.

This is as good as it may get

Alienware m18 laptop sitting on a table.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

These discounts show us the good side of what was a fairly moderate start of the year, at least as far as new hardware releases go. As the new versions of these laptops may not offer enough of an upgrade for buyers to come rushing in, discounting the older models makes perfect sense. For gamers, this is nothing but good news.

Next year, the situation might not repeat itself. Nvidia will likely launch the RTX 50 series at CES 2025 (or before), and laptop manufacturers will be ready to flood the market with new releases. We might then see the older models discounted, but if we’re unlucky, the scales might tip in the other direction — the new laptops will cost more, so there’ll be no need for massive discounts on older devices.

AMD is not sitting on its hands, either. We’re said to be getting the next-gen RDNA 4 graphics cards this year, and even if AMD opens with desktop GPUs, we should see these cards make their debut in laptops by early 2025 . With new hardware from both AMD and Nvidia, manufacturers and retailers may not need to cut prices for a while.

Those will be promising, but it’s quite a wait. If you need a gaming laptop now, you might as well take advantage of these unexpected sales and get one while you can save some money.

Editors' Recommendations

Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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