Portable Gaming laptops with Nvidia GTX 970M and 980M graphics

By Andrei Girbea , last updated on September 9, 2017

My list of the best gaming ultrabooks available in stores is one of the most appreciated posts here on Ultrabookreview.com and that’s why, for those of you that want the ultimate gaming experience in a thin and light laptop, I’ve put together this post, a collection of all the ultraportables that bundle the Nvidia GTX 970M and 980M graphics chips.

I’m not going to include all the available gaming laptops with Nvidia 970M/980M graphics in here, I’ll try to stick with the thinner and lighter models only, but I will mention some of the best other larger options as well, in case you do want the extra features, extra storage options and improved cooling solutions those would provide and don’t mind somewhat sacrificing portability.

As you can see in some of the reviews here on the site (like this one, for instance), and as many other reviewers reported, these mobile implementations of Nvidia’s Maxwell architecture are actually a major leap from the predecessors, the GTX 870M and 880M chips (based on the Kepler architecture), both in terms of performance and efficiency.

These solutions are not only 20-50% faster in most recent games and applications (follow these posts on DigitalTrends and Tom’s Hardware for some exact numbers) , but they require less energy, which leads to a couple of aspects. On one side, they run cooler and quieter, which actually makes them more viable options for ultra-portable notebooks with thin cases, and on the other, because they are more efficient, can handle games on battery for a longer time each charge.

Nvidia 970M and 980M promise excellent performance with low noise and heat

Nvidia 970M and 980M promise excellent performance with low noise and heat

But we’re not going to get in depth about the platform here, this post is about the laptops, so check them out below.

They are listed alphabetically, clicking on the links on each model’s name takes you to a more detailed article about that product, the official listing on the manufacturer’s website or my review, while clicking on the price takes you to a page where you can check out up-to-date prices and potential discounts.

Update: Updated versions of the laptops mentioned in this article are available in this list of Nvidia GTX 1070 and 1080 laptops, as well as in this post about the GTX 1060 powered portable gaming ultrabooks.

Nvidia GTX 980M gaming laptops

There are two versions of this chip, one with 4 GB of DDR5 vRAM, and another with 8 GB of vRAM. The latter is better suited for 4K gaming, might not be as widely available and usually requires custom,  more massive cooling.

Model Screen Hardware Graphics Weight
Alienware 15 15.6″ IPS UHD matte Core i7-4710HQ / max 16 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage Nvidia GTX 980M 4 GB 7.1 lbs / 3.22 kg
unique design, bulky – 1.33 inch thick, akward keyboard, 4 RAM slots and 3 storage slots (2xM.2 and 1×2.5″), can onyl take up to 16 GB of RAM, no optical drive, solid performance, Optimus, runs hot and the cooling system is loud, 92 Wh battery (encased), not the best audio, Optional Graphics Amplifier, 970M model also available
Starting list price: $2349 – discounts available here
Asus G752JY 17.3″ IPS FHD or UHD matte Core i7-6700HQ / max 64 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage Nvidia GTX 980M 4 GB 8.79 lbs / 3.99 kg
unique design, bulky – 1.7 inch thick, gaming keyboard, 4 RAM slots and 3 storage slots (2x PCIe 3rd gen and 1x 2.5″), solid performance, no Optimus, capable cooling system, 66 Wh battery (non-removable)
Starting list price: $2499 – discounts available here
Falcon Northwest TLX 15.6″ IPS FHD matte up to i7-4930MX / max 32 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage Nvidia GTX 980M 8 GB up to 7.1 lbs / 3.2 kg
interesting design and several color options, 1.7 inch thick, gaming keyboard, 4 RAM slots and multiple storage slots (2 x mSATA RAID 0/1 + 2.5″), fast performance, multiple CPU and GPU options (970M and Quadro models available), Optimus, 78 Wh battery, expensive, custom built (that’s why it takes 3-4 weeks to ship)
Starting list price: $3149
Gigabyte P35X 15.6″ IPS FHD or WQHD+ matte Core i7-4710HQ or i7-5700HQ / max 16 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage Nvidia GTX 980M 8 GB 5.1 lbs / 2.3 kg
simple design and thick case (1.9 inch), excellent WQHD+ IPD dispaly, 2 RAM slots (16 GB max) and multiple storage slots (2 x mATA and 1 x 2.5″), optical bay can be ditched for a 2.5″ cradle, fast performance, Optimus, gets hot and loud under load, some build quality issues, poor keyboard, 76 Wh battery
Starting list price: $1899 – discounts available here
MSI GT72S Dominator Pro G 17.3″ TN FHD matte Core i7-5700HQ or i7-6820HK/ max 32 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage Nvidia GTX 980M 8 GB 8.4 lbs / 3.81 kg
nice design but rather thick case (1.9 inch), gaming keyboard, the TN panel isn’t great, 4 RAM slots and multiple storage slots (4 x M.2 RAID 0 + 2.5″), fast performance, manual graphics switching that require restarts – no Optimus, capable cooling system, 87 Wh battery (non-removable), rather poor wifi, more powerful processor available as extra option
Starting list price: $2299 – discounts available here
MAINGEAR NOMAD 17 17.3″ TN FHD matte up to Core i7-4980MQ / max 32 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage Nvidia GTX 980M 8 GB 8.4 lbs / 3.81 kg
similar configuration to the MSI GT72 above, different aluminum design, slightly cheaper
Starting list price: $2099

So far, the only portable machine in this list is the Gigabyte P35X V3, but squeezing this kind of graphics inside a slimmer body does lead to high temperatures, noise and throttling under load, which means that you’re probably better with a full-size laptop if you want to fully benefit from the Maxwell 980M GTX chip. Still, if you can deal with higher thermals and some performance drop, the P35X remains an interesting device and for the time being, one of the most capable portable laptop ever built. You can find out more about this laptop in Derek’s detailed article available over here.

Some rumors also mention a potential GTX 980M version of the Asus GX500, called the GX500JMC, but I could not confirm them and I actually find it hard to believe Asus will be able to squeeze this chip inside such a thin body, knowing the throttling issues of the Asus NX500.

There are also some 980M configurations from custom shops. For instance, the Sager NP9150 / Clevo P150EM gaming notebooks can be paired with the 980M chip for a good price. On top of these, if you need extra power in a laptop-like computer and really don’t care about portability, you could consider the Clevo P370SM /EUROCOM Panther 5 Mobile Supercomputer with desktop CPU processors and SLI GTX 980M graphics.

I will update this section as often as possible, but if you spot any mistakes or any new laptops that should make it in here, please drop me a line in the comments section at the end of this post. For now though, let’s jump ahead to the larger pool of GTX 970M equipped notebooks.

Nvidia GTX 970M gaming laptops

Just like with the 980M, there are two versions of the 970M chip as well, one with 3 GB of DDR5 vRAM, and another with 6 GB of vRAM. Besides that, according to benchmarks and reviews, a 970M chip is roughly 15-20% slower than a 980M version, but also runs cooler, quieter and demands less energy, so you’ll find it as part of cheaper or more portable devices.

Model Screen Hardware Graphics Weight
Asus ROG G752VT 17.3″ IPS FHD matte Core i7-6700HQ / max 64 GB RAM / 2xSSD + HDD Nvidia GTX 970M 3 GB 8.79 lbs/3.99 kg
unique design, good keyboard, 4 RAM slots and triple-storage options (2x PCIe 3rd gen slots), room for upgrades, good performance, capable cooling system, 66 Wh battery, great display, nice price tag
Starting list price: $1599 – discounts available here
Clevo P650SE / Sager NP8651 15.6″ FHD, WQHD+ or UHD(4K)
Core i7-4720HQ / max 32 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage Nvidia GTX 970M 3 GB 5.50 lbs/2.49 kg
rather heavy and bulky (0.98″ thick), several screen options (the base FHD matte panel is pretty crappy though), 4 RAM and multiple storage slots (2 x M.2 RAID 0 + 2 x 2.5″ 7mm), 60 Wh battery, great keyboard and trackpad, solid IO, customizable, excellent price
Starting list price: $1249
<CYBERPOWER Fangbook Edge 15.6″ FHD or UHD(4K)
Core i7-4870HQ / max 16 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage Nvidia GTX 970M 6 GB 4.36 lbs/1.98 kg
slim simple design (0.78″ thick), options for a FHD matte or a 4K glossy display, 2 RAM and dual storage slots (2 x M.2 RAID 0 + 2.5″), 48 Wh battery, multiple customization options, good price, similar to the Origin PC EVO15-S (lower end configurations available thus cheaper)
Starting list price: $1699
Gigabyte P35W 15.6″ IPS FHD matte Core i7-4710HQ or i7-5700HQ / max 16 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage Nvidia GTX 970M 6 GB 4.85 lbs/2.2 kg
similar to the P35X v3 mentioned in the previous section, but with the GTX 970M graphics chip
Starting list price: $1749 – discounts available here
Gigabyte Aorus X3 Plus 13.9″ IPS QHD+ matte Core i7-4710HQ or i7-5700HQ / max 16 GB RAM / mSATA storage Nvidia GTX 970M 6 GB 4.12 lbs / 1.9 kg
compact aluminum casing, sleek design, 3 x mSATA storage options (RAID support), without an optical drive, macro keys on the keyboard, poor speakers, potential throttling under load
Starting list price: $1999 – discounts available here
Gigabyte P34W 14.0″ IPS FHD matte Core i7-4710HQ or i7-5700HQ / max 16 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage Nvidia GTX 970M 6 GB 3.8 lbs / 1.71 kg
a more compact version of the P35W v3, built on the same hardware platform, but with fewer storage options ( 1 x mSATA and 1 x 2.5″), without an optical drive, with Wi-Fi N only and with a smaller 61 Wh battery, throttles under serious load
Starting list price: $1649 – discounts available here
Gigabyte Aorus X7 Pro 17.3″ IPS FHD matte Core i7-4870HQ / max 32 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage 2 x Nvidia GTX 970M 3 GB SLI
6.1 lbs / 2.76 kg
thin body (0.9 inch – 23 mm), 4 RAM slots, supports quadruple storage solutions ( 3 x mSATA RAID 0 and 1 x 2.5″), 73 Wh battery, 2 built-in speakers and 2 built-in subwoofers
Starting list price: $2599 – discounts available here
MSI GS40 Phantom 14.0″ IPS FHD Core i7-6700HQ/ max 32 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage Nvidia GTX 970M 3 GB 3.57 lbs/1.6 kg
compact and light 14-inch laptop, SteelSeries keyboard, 2 RAM and multiple storage slots (1 x M.2 + 2.5″ bay), supports PCIe gen3 storage and DDR4 memory, solid performance, includes an integrated DAC
Starting list price: $1599
MSI GE62 Apache Pro 15.6″ IPS FHD Core i7-5700HQ or i7-6700HQ/ max 16 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage Nvidia GTX 970M 3 GB 5.29 lbs/2.39 kg
full size 15-inch laptop, design a bit dated, optical drive included, good screen but rather dim, SteelSeries keyboard, 2 RAM and multiple storage slots (2 x M.2 RAID 0 + 2.5″), USB 3.1 slot, solid performance, capable cooling system, small 51 Wh battery
Starting list price: $1499 – discounts available here
MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K or 4K 15.6″ IPS WQHD+ / 4K glossy Core i7-4710HQ or i7-5700HQ / max 16 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage Nvidia GTX 970M 3 GB 4.32 lbs/1.96 kg
our detailed review available here – compact and interesting design, annoying logo on the hood, good display although glossy, a cheaper option with a FHD display also available, SteelSeries keyboard, 2 RAM and multiple storage slots (2 x M.2 RAID 0 + 2.5″), good performance, capable cooling system, small 52 Wh battery
Starting list price: $1999 – discounts available here
MSI GS70 Stealth Pro 17.3″ IPS FHD matte
Core i7-4710HQ or i7-5700HQ / max 16 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage Nvidia GTX 970M 3 GB 5.9 lbs/2.66 kg
interesting and very thin design, silver, red and black versions, nice display, gaming keyboard, 2 RAM and multiple storage slots (2 x M.2 RAID 0 + 2.5″), good performance, 60 Wh battery
Starting list price: $1799 – discounts available here
MSI GT72S Dominator G 17.3″ TN FHD matte Core i5-5700HQ / max 32 GB RAM / SSD storage Nvidia GTX 970M 6 GB 8.4 lbs/3.81 kg
nice design but rather thick case, gaming keyboard, the TN panel isn’t great, 4 RAM slots and multiple storage slots (4 x M.2 RAID 0 + 2.5″), only an 128 GB SSD included with this configuration, good performance, capable cooling system, 87 Wh battery (non-removable), rather expensive
Starting list price: $1899 – discounts available here
Origin PC EVO15-S 15.6″ FHD or UHD(4K)
Core i7-4710HQ / max 16 GB RAM / SSD + HDD storage Nvidia GTX 970M 6 GB 4.3 lbs/1.95 kg
slim simple design (0.78″ thick), very light for a 17 incher, red backlit keyboard, options for a FHD matte or a 4K glossy display, 2 RAM and dual storage slots (2 x M.2 RAID 0 + 2.5″), multiple customization options
Starting list price: $2299
Razer Blade 14 2016 14.0″ QHD+ touch
Core i7-6700HQ / max 16 GB RAM / M.2 storage Nvidia GTX 970M 6 GB 4.1 lbs / 1.9 kg
very sleek design, very good performance, nice keyboard and trackpad, runs hot, Thunderbolt 3 on the latest model, base version is cheaper than in the past
Starting list price: $1999 – discounts available here

There’s also a rumored Gigabyte P37 series with a GTX 970M graphics chip. Judging by its name, this is going to be a thin and light 17 incher.

Then we have the standard sized MSI GT70 (17.3 inch display) and GT60 (15.6 inch display) Dominator series, both bundling the 970M 6GB chip. These are full-size laptops, with the 15 incher weighing 7.7 lbs and the 17 incher 8.6 pounds. Both sell for $1499 an up.

Last but not least we have a few Clevo configurations that are expected to be updated with an SLI dual GTX 970M solution (the P375SMA, 17 incher) or a single 970M chip (the P15SMA, 15 incher).

Wrap-up

That’s about it for now, but like I already said above, I’m going to keep the list up-to-date and add new info as soon as possible. However, in case you spot any errors or you find any other products that are available in stores and haven’t been included, feel free to get in touch with me in the comments section.

Updated versions of the laptops mentioned in this article are available in this list of Nvidia GTX 1070 and 1080 laptops, as well as in this post about the GTX 1060 powered portable gaming ultrabooks.

That aside, if these laptops are not exactly what you need, then you should also check out some of the other posts here on the site, especially my collection of the best gaming ultrabooks of the moment, as well as my long list of all the ultrabooks that are worth your attention these days.

And if you have any questions or need help picking something, again, get in touch, I’m around to help.

Disclaimer: Our content is reader-supported. If you buy through some of the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I've been covering mobile computers since the 2000s and you'll mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site.

96 Comments

  1. Al Archibald

    June 5, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I have just purchased a DinoPC Phoenix 15.6″ DinoPC is a UK custom PC builder who stocks some standard models, but you can specify a wide range of upgrades.

    Base spec is:

    CPU: Intel Core i7 4710MQ
    Operating System: Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
    RAM: 16GB Corsair 1600mhz Vengeance Sodimm (2x8GB)
    Hard Drive: Kingston 240GB SSD – Upgraded to 512GB Samsung 850 Pro SSD
    Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M 8GB
    Optical Drive: 8x DVD±RW S-ATA Slimline
    Battery: Lithium Ion 8 Cell Laptop Battery
    Power Adapter: 180W AC Power Adapter UK
    Screen: 15.6″ Matte Full-HD LED (1920×1080)
    Webcam: 2.0 Megapixel Built-in Webcam
    Card Reader: 9 in 1 Card Reader
    Wifi: 802.11n Wifi + Bluetooth Mini PCI-E Upgraded to Intel Dual Band AC 7260 Wifi 867Mbps + Bluetooth

  2. freddy

    June 23, 2015 at 2:36 am

    Please note: the MSI G60 and G70 are NOT IPS panels. They are TN panels

  3. Iosif

    July 10, 2015 at 7:19 am

    Hello, I’m from Romania,seeing that you are also from the same country. Could you recommend something up to 8200 Ron(1800-1900 EUR) as a gaming laptop?

    ASUS ROG series are the most bought gaming laptops in RO and the most affordable? MSI,Alienware and others have a price tag that I simply can’t afford.

    Thing is that I want something with broadwell and 970 or 980, the latest ROG laptops have only haswell. Now I know it’s not that HUGE of a difference between Haswell and Broadwell, but still, I would like haswell. Buying from abroad is also not the best thing for me, I’m not that trusting in the international warranty. Also if something goes wrong with the laptop I will have to wait weeks,possibly even months till I get it returned.

    Should I wait till ASUS comes with the newer ROG laptops? When would that be,if it’s 2-3 months, I can wait….

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 10, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Hi Iosif. I’d reckon you’re looking at the G751 series? If yes, I’m not ware of a Broadwell update, but I will ask my contacts at Asus and get back with a reply if once I know anything. In terms of CPU power though, Broadwell is really a minor update over Haswell.

      • Iosif

        July 10, 2015 at 12:18 pm

        Yes I was looking at the latest G751, I’ve googled in hopes of finding out some news about ASUS launching a newer high end gaming laptop series but so far nothing. It can’t be that far away but I would just like to now if it’s worth the wait or if I should orient myself towards something else.

      • Andrei Girbea

        July 10, 2015 at 9:42 pm

        I’ll let you know if I find anything. So far, I haven’t

      • Andrei Girbea

        July 13, 2015 at 5:32 pm

        Hi Iosif, the G751 won’t be updated with Broadwell CPUs. There will be a brand new G752 model coming with Skylake in late Q4 this year though.

      • Iosif

        July 14, 2015 at 1:38 pm

        Thanks for the info, I think I will wait, It’s 4-5 months so it’s not that far off,especially when I’m looking at spending so much money on a laptop.

  4. memory

    July 14, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    https://www.ultrabookreview.com/5337-msi-gs60-ghost-pro-3k-review/

    In the GS60 review, the author wrote: “The ugliest part of the entire laptop (which happens to be on the lid) is the badge they chose. It’s a shield with a dragon inside it, with the text “Gaming G series”,” and I totally agree. Everything about this laptop is nice, but I can’t imagine bringing it to work.

    So I have been keeping my eyes on PX60 but I haven’t been able to find any review on it so far. There are however reviews on PE60 and PE70 that could have similar rating to PX60. What do you think about PX60 so far?

    My main usage will be multimedia (movies, photo editing, coding) with some light gaming.

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 14, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      It’s hard to say anything about the PX60, like you said it’s new and there are no reviews out there. On top of that, my experience with MSI laptops is very limited, because MSI does not ship their machines in my current country.

  5. HR

    August 21, 2015 at 9:57 am

    I just noticed that the MSI GS30 2m is “missing” from the alternatives section below the list. It of course does not include a GTX970m or 980m, but with a GTX 970 in the docking station it even offers superior graphics performance than the laptops in the list. At the same time, the notebook is only 13 inch, which makes it very portable. Only once it leaves the docking station, you are stuck with intel iris graphics.

    However, unless one really wants to use the laptop for portable gaming, something like the clunky MSI GS70 makes little sense if you can get better performance from a smaller notebook + docking station. I think mentioning the GS30+docking station would make a lot of sense for people who do not want to buy a desktop computer and laptop separately.

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 23, 2015 at 9:47 am

      That’s a solution, but for me the whole purpose of these machines is to be able to grab them along where you want to play your games. In this case that’s not going to be exactly possible, you’ll only be able to game where the docking resides…

  6. FlufyDuffy

    October 12, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Any thoughts on the Medion Erazer X7835? Also sports a 980m and seems like a fair machine.

  7. Gianni

    January 18, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Hi guys,

    good topic, but honestly I cannot find a eshop in Europe that matches the prices the listed one. Furthermore I am fu****ing lost in the choice. I would like to have a solid build with a budget of 1700-1800. I like the RoG, now also g752 is out but very expensive. On Amazon you can get the 970m 3GB build for 1700€. I guess a little bit overpriced. My goal is to play games in 1080 at max but full graphic details if possible. Mandatory NVidia cards.

    What is your advice as far as Jan 2016?

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 18, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      The Asus G751GY and the Gigabyte P35X are some of the most affordable gaming laptops with Nvidia 980M graphics. They should be withing your budget and the Asus would be my first option, if its size is not an inconvenient.

      Otherwise, you’d have to go for something with a 970M graphics chip, and the Asus G751VT, MSI GE72 and Gigabyte P37W are some of the affordable options.

      • Gianni

        January 18, 2016 at 2:19 pm

        Hi thanks a lot for your answer,

        Weight/Size is not a problem, could you give me some links of eshop which can ship across Europe?

        Very appreciated!

  8. Gaby

    January 27, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Hi. Reading since a long time your reviews. Great Job, thanks for all this. I learned a lot today.

    Thus, I’m still inbetween 3 gamer laptops for my work (Asus G752 vs. Acer Aspire vn7-792G vs Acer predator 17 G9-791 – MSI are too expensive – Budget in the range of the 3 others ok here in Switzerland).

    Use is not for gaming but working as interior architect and needing the laptop to work in 2 workspaces during the week (where bigger screens could be available) to do typing and e-mailing, surfing for pictures, a lot of renderings and brochure editions with a heavy pictures.

    The laptop and me will travel every day. Nvidia 960 to 980 a must, 17,3 screen or 15” not decides. Weight better light but performances more important.

    Do you have a proper review for graphic users ? What do you suggest ?

    Merci from Switzerland !

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 28, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      Well, the G72 and the Predator 17 should be great options. Go for the options with the 970M graphics, 32 GB of RAM (or more if needed), SSD+HDD storage. If the budget allows, the Acer is available with a wide-gamut 4K screen, as I reckon color accuracy is important in your line of work? The Asus will get a similar panel somewhere in the future as well.

      As for the VN&-792G, I’m currently reviewing one and it’s a good laptop, but not in the same class as the other two. It’s lighter and slimmer, but also gets hotter under load. Just in case you can’t get the Predator with the 4K screen in your budget, it could be an option. If you can only find this with 16 GB of RAM, you might want to upgrade the memory to 32 GB.

  9. Dirk

    January 29, 2016 at 6:43 am

    Where’s the Orynx Pro? system76.com/laptops/oryx

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