A powerful gaming laptop with plenty of ports.
While the higher-end specs might be overkill for most people, you can land a mid-range Alienware 17 with enough power to run VR for about $1,799. This laptop has an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H processor (CPU), 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a NVIDIA GTX 1070 OC graphics card (GPU) with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM, and enough ports for Rift, Vive, or Windows Mixed Reality (WMR). The 17.3-inch display is big and beautiful, available in 1080p, 1440p, or 4K.
Bottom line: For the best VR-ready for most people, go with the Alienware 17.
One more thing: This laptop is compatible with the Alienware graphics amplifier if you need a bit more power.
Why the Alienware 17 is the best for most people
The Alienware 17 laptop was designed from the start to be ready for VR. The most important part of this laptop is the graphics card (GPU) — we have here either the NVIDIA GTX 1060, GTX 1070, or GTX 1080. All three will power VR, and prices rise accordingly for each.
Get up to a 4K resolution in your 17.3-inch display for times when you're gaming outside of VR, but you can save money by going with a 1080p option. After all, your face will mostly be inside a head-mounted display (HMD).
The middle configuration, available for about $1,799, has inside an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) coupled with a 1TB hard-disk drive (HDD), and a NVIDIA GTX 1070 with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM. This will comfortably run a library of VR games, whether on the Rift, Vive or WMR.
There are a ton of ports here that allow for easy VR connectivity, including two USB-A 3.0, HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 3, and USB-C 3.0. For that extra bit of style, there are plenty of RGB lighting options to choose from through the AlienFX Lighting suite.
The standard Razer Blade has been redesigned, now with a 15.6-inch display and new hardware inside. There are a few configurations to choose from, but for about $2,130 you can grab an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a NVIDIA GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU. Want more power? Go with up to a GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU to push it over the edge. With all models, you'll get for ports HDMI, USB-C, and three USB-A 3.1, perfect for connecting VR.
The new budget gaming line-up from Dell is quite impressive, delivering some mid-range hardware while keeping the price down. You can grab a configuration for about $980 that has inside an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a NVIDIA GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM. That's plenty of power to get VR off the ground, and the chassis is home to all the ports you need, including HDMI 2.0, three USB-A 3.1, and Thunderbolt 3.
Those who want to keep their laptop thin yet nevertheless cram it with powerful hardware should keep an eye on the MSI GS65 Stealth. For about $2,500, you can get this 0.7-inch thick laptop with an Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 32GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a NVIDIA GTX 1070 GPU with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM, which is altogether a package that will easily run VR. This laptop also just looks great, with its matte black color and gold accents, as well as almost no bezel at all around the 15.6-inch 1080p display.
The ROG Zephyrus (about $1,930) uses a Max-Q design to fit a beefy NVIDIA GTX 1070 GPU into a slim design with great thermals. Although it looks different than most other laptops, you're still getting ample power inside with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 256GB PCIe SSD. All the port you need are also here, including USB-A 3.0, HDMI, and USB-C. There's also a newer version of this laptop, called the Zephyrus M, that we haven't yet had a chance to test. Keep it in mind if you like having the absolute latest hardware.
For a 15.6-inch 1080p laptop with a ridiculous amount of extra features, check out the Triton 700 from Acer (about $2,800). You're getting 32GB of DDR4 RAM, two 256GB PCIe SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration, Killer Internet with 2 x 2 MU-MIMO, a 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, and a beefy NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPU with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM. The RGB keyboard uses mechanical switches for extra precision, the display has a 120Hz refresh rate, and you're looking at a bundle of ports, including Ethernet, HDMI, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3, and USB-A 3.0 and 2.0. All this in a laptop that's just 0.74 inches (1.88cm) thick? Sign me up.
Origin's website allows you to build a VR laptop from the ground up. Choose up to an NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPU with 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM, which has more than enough juice to power your Rift, Vive, or WMR and the laptop's 17.3-inch, 4K display.
Get up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM, an 8th Gen Intel Core processor, and plenty of SSD storage. You can even customize the laptop's case with stock and custom colors to best suit your style. Options vary widely, but you can expect to spend between about $2,000 and $4000.
A lot of gaming laptops are slimming down and removing ports essential for VR, but there are still some killer options out there, as can be seen here. The Alienware 17's configuration options, price, and power come together to make it the overall best bet for most people, though you can branch out if you have a specific feature in mind.
A powerful gaming laptop with plenty of ports.
Updated July 30, 2018: I've refreshed this list to ensure you're still getting the best laptops for VR.
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