Finding the best World of Warcraft laptop depends on your budget and on the visual settings you’re willing to tolerate. Luckily, the core game engine is so old that there’s no need to get top-of-the-line hardware. That should be great news if you’re searching for a WoW laptop under $500.
How am I going to find the best laptops for WoW?
Updated on August 29th, 2017 (just as Patch 7.3: Shadows of Argus got released). This time, I’m including a lot of new laptops as more and more laptops come with Intel 7th generation processors or/and Nvidia GTX 10xx graphics.
First, I’ll show you what are the exact requirements for a laptop instead of the generic stationary PC-oriented requirements. Then I’ll guide through each of them so you’ll know where you can cut corners and what is an absolute must. Finally, I’ll list out 8 best World of Warcraft laptops in their price ranges starting from $350 and ending with ~$3000.
I’ll begin with Blizzard’s official requirements for Legion. Of course, we could use requirements for Warlords of Draenor but to make matters simple, I’ll assume you’re targeting for your laptop to run well with the latest expansion and with new expansions in the future.
- Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E8500
- NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 440 / Intel® HD Graphics 5000
- Intel® Core™ i5-3330
- NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 750 Ti (5400 3DMark’11) / NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 775M (6000 3DMark’11)
World of Warcraft laptop requirements:
|Minimum Requirements||Recommended Specifications|
|Processor|| Any 4th-7th gen i3, i5 or i7 processor;|
AMD A6-5200 or up;
any 4th-7th gen i7 Q-series processor (i7-4720HQ, i7-5700HQ, i7-6700HQ…);
(this does NOT include i7-*500U CPUs)
|Video|| Any integrated graphics in 5th-7th processor (except generic HD Graphics and HD Graphics 510);|
Any dedicated Nvidia graphics card;
AMD Radeon R7/R9 M300 series
| Nvidia GTX 960M;|
Nvidia GTX 970M/1060 for high frames above Full HD resolution
|Memory||4 GB||8 GB|
These requirements are NOT official – I used the official requirements to match their recommended components to equivalent laptop parts. I used 3rd party benchmarks including 3DMark and PassMark tests.
What is crucial for a World of Warcraft laptop?
Blizzard always does a good job when it comes to optimizing their games for slower machines. That is especially true for WoW. To run it, you don’t need anything special – a basic processor such as i3-5010U is enough to run World of Warcraft: Legion. Of course, when I say “run”, I mean playing the game on the lowest settings. If you’re OK with that, then there are more right choices than wrong ones. Even if you’re on a tight budget. You can get a laptop under decent laptop for WoW under $400 with the absolute the cheapest i3 notebooks starting at $300.
If you want to play World of Warcraft on high(est) settings, you should look at the higher-end CPUs: i7-4720HQ, i5-730HQ, i7-6700HQ. Currently, there aren’t any Intel 7th-gen processors that can surpass the performance offered by earlier generations. That should change in the first half of 2017.
Here’s a basic rule of thumb to know if a processor is recommended for WoW. Check that a CPU model matching the pattern of i7-ABxx where A is at least 4, B is at least 7 and the rest doesn’t matter (i7-47xx or better). The only notable non-i7 processor that can handle WoW at higher settings is i5-6300HQ && i5-7300HQ.
Major Graphics card
If you want a cheap WoW laptop (under $700) – go for a 6th or 7th generation Intel processor as they come with integrated graphics fast enough to run WoW. Older 4th-gen processors are only an option if there’s a dedicated graphics card supporting them, but there are workarounds how you can run WoW: Legion with older iGPUs, however, there’s more work to do such as optimization guides and “hacks” that makes the game run faster by sacrificing enjoyability of graphics.
- HD 520, HD 530, Iris 550
- HD 5300, HD 5500, Iris Pro 5200
So what’s the takeaway?
If you want a cheap WoW laptop (under $700) – go for a 6th or 7th generation Intel processor as they come with integrated graphics fast enough to run WoW. Older 4th-gen processors are only an option if there’s a dedicated graphics card supporting them.
For the best WoW laptops, you’ll need a dedicated graphics card. Almost any Nvidia card is better than Intel’s integrated chips and AMD’s APU solutions. If you’re OK with running WoW at below-1080p resolutions (HD+ – 1600×900) – then you can get away with 950M (which is found starting at ~700$). But for Full-HD gaming, WoW will need 960M/970M ($800+) or, if you can afford it, go for 10XXM ($1200+) to max out on all visual settings.
Under $500? You’ll be OK with 4 GB. Otherwise, you’re getting ripped off if you’re not getting 8 GB of RAM. Point blank.
Optional Full-HD Display
Usually, a Full-HD resolution display is a requirement by default. But I know some of you are searching for a basic budget laptop that can handle WoW. And there are some cheap laptops that seem to offer everything you’d need at a fraction of a cost. Often these laptops have either a terrible screen or garbage battery life (or both).
I’m not going to insist that you need a good battery runtime – it’s entirely an optional requirement for many gamers. But overlooking display quality is one simple way to limit your gaming experience. Ideally, I’d like that even an entry-level laptop would have a Full-HD IPS display with 300 cd/m2 brightness, 1000:1 contrast and 85% sRGB coverage. But this is obviously not going to happen if you’re squeezing value from every dollar.
That’s why, if your budget is above $500, I can only suggest making sure you’re getting at least Full-HD display. All other display metrics are secondary when it comes to gaming.
Optional Large OR fast storage drive
WoW does not demand a lot of storage size. But it needs enough so you’ll not be able to fit it properly on a 64 GB flash storage laptop.
So, we have 2 basic options:
- 128GB+ SSDs (quick startup, very fast and responsive)
- 500GB+ HDDs (cheap, large, slow)
Which you prefer is entirely up to you – if you have a large collection of games and/or movies – a cheap and spacious HDD should fit you best. But if you’ll be using it almost entirely for WoW, web browsing and streaming music and movies – a fast SSD storage would is the way to go. Best case scenario – 250GB or even 500GB SSD.
Of course, if you can’t spend above $550 – SSDs are not even an option. There are no laptops under $550 that have a 128 GB SSD AND have a good enough processor with a sufficient video card.
Best laptops for World of Warcraft
To find the best laptops, I’ve checked various online threads on hardware sites and Battle.net. Sadly, most of them are dated and rarely providing much reason for their recommendations. I’ve compared over 155 new and best-selling laptops to narrow down my results to just ~12 laptops. A few of them were very close in their price range, so for the sake of variety, I’ve picked out 8 best World of Warcraft laptops.
Cheapest laptops to play World of Warcraft
The first laptop on the list comes with the new Intel i3-7100U and latest gen integrated graphics chip. I hope this won’t come as a shock, but there’s no way we can fit a dedicated GPU under $350. But if you need a new laptop that hovers just around that price tag, this Acer model will be your best bet.
You can expect to play WoW on lowest graphics settings but that’s still pretty good for an entry-level notebook.
At $580 mark, one laptop stands above the rest. Yep, it’s yet another Acer model – it seems they’ve got the budget laptop market on lock.
This particular laptop managed to stay on my recommendation list for half a year. And there are some good reasons why.
In contrast to the laptop above (and even many other laptops in this price range), a few big improvements stand out. We’re getting a new 7th generation i5 processor, a discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 940MX graphics card, twice the memory and a solid state drive. The extra $200 can go a long way.
With this laptop, we can target for a medium/high settings mix while playing WoW.
For up to 780$ we’ve got a perfect deal. Dell Inspiron i5577. It comes with a very fast i5-7300HQ CPU and one of the best laptop GPUs – GTX 1050 4 GB. That can be enough to play WoW on almost highest settings. Well, in fact, on this particular laptop you should be able to max out most of the settings as the display is 1080p. Also, it comes with an SSD Drive and an additional spot for another storage device. Due to its unmatched performance at $780, it deserves a spot on the list.
Comparing to previous Dell laptop. This one comes with a better processor and with 1 TB of HDD. What’s great about this laptop that it has everything a WoW player needs. Great performance to run WoW on near maximum settings, backlit keyboard, future-proof GPU and an option to upgrade laptop’s RAM capacity to have lag-free speed whenever multitasking a lot while playing WoW.
Best laptops to play World of Warcraft on highest settings
We’re quickly climbing the ladder and we’ve arrived at another pair of laptops, this time, at $1,100.
Eluktronics P650RP6 is the first (and the cheapest) laptop to feature Nvidia 1060 graphics card. It is more than enough to play World of Warcraft: Legion on the highest settings you can imagine. And as you might expect, it has the all-popular i7-6700HQ to match it. It has 8 GB RAM, which is quite funny when you consider that the graphics card alone has its own 6 GB. A very rare case when GPU has more than half of what the CPU gets.
Call me old-fashioned, but I like having multiple ports on my laptop. It seems Eluktronics thinks the same. They added HDMI, 2 mini DisplayPorts, 2 USB 3.1 C (Gen 2) and 3 USB 3.0. Also, there are the regular audio and microphone jacks, SD reader, Kensington Lock and a fingerprint reader.
A clear drawback of this notebook is its tiny 128 GB SSD. But there are some empty storage slots that you can fill with drives of your choice.
Since this laptop is new and not in the family of one of the major brands – it has no reviews for me to point out some possible issues. But judging from other Eluktronics models, I’d expect an average IPS display and a (very) short battery life. In short, it’s all about raw performance.
As an alternative to this model, there is HP Pavilion 15. It doesn’t have a monstrous GPU as the Eluktronics model does but it comes with an additional 1 TB HDD and 8 more gigabytes of RAM.
Here we’ve got another laptop with Nvidia Pascal architecture GPU. This laptop is special because it has a healthy battery life considering its specifications.
On top of this, it can play WoW on highest settings while live streaming on any platform such as Twitch/YouTube/Hitbox at 1080p@60fps
Sadly it has a small Solid State Drive and that can limit your whole fast SSD storage to just Windows + WoW.
The difference between this laptop and the previous Omen one is that there is a 4K Resolution which greatly increases the quality of already maxed out graphics and a slightly more spacious storage, however, due to this the battery life is weaker by approximately 2 hours.
I know that the very first thing you’ll notice is the funky keyboard positioning and design. It looks Asus ripped a page out of Razer’s book. But don’t let its colorful QWERTY and a seemingly slim body fool you.
It’s an all-in-one laptop for gamers. Best GTX GPU that is (almost) the same as in many high-end PCs. Slim and attractive design, 120Hz refresh rate w/ G-Sync (!) and much more. If you ever wanted to buy a gaming laptop and forget about searching for a new one for the next 4 years, this is one of the best choices.
Usually, slim laptops suffer from overheating though in this case, the keyboard positioning might be deliberately helping laptop to cool down. Asus even designed the laptop to be slightly above its surface to provide enough air circulation. It also comes with Max-Q technology which allows to output ~50% less heat by sacrificing only a small margin in performance. Though, CPU can climb up to near-throttling temperature. That might be an issue as the fans clog up with dust in a year or two. But thankfully Asus thought about that and made it very easy to reach & clean CPU/GPU fans. They even included a screwdriver for that!
And one last point – it will be a great gaming laptop for WoW and beyond but not a laptop for working off the grid for more than a few hours.