Gaming is so much fun for our soul but not always fun for our wallets. Gaming laptops have become so expensive these days. Shelling thousands of dollars is not an option for everyone.
Can you game with a tight budget? You can. That’s why have nitpicked ten best gaming laptops under $500.
These gaming laptops are tried and tested, not only by us but also by hundreds of people who can vouch for them.
We know you are interested in knowing what models made our list so without further ado here are the best laptops for gaming under $500.
10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $500
Now that we’ve seen ten of the best gaming laptops you can get under $500, it’s time to discuss them in detail.
You might find a few that are slightly more expensive, but it’s there for a reason. Find out why.
Acer Aspire E5-576G-5762
The Acer Aspire E5-576G-5762 laptop is our laptop of choice for gaming on a budget.
The laptop comes with an excellent set of specs, and you can play your favorite mid-range games on this machine without any problems.
The laptop comes with Intel Core i5 8250U chip. It is an 8th generation Intel chip that comes with four cores and an average clock speed of 1.6GHz.
The processor can clock a maximum of 3.4GHz, thanks to turbo boost.
The processor gets an average CPUMark rating of 7668 which is pretty good for a budget laptop.
There are eight gigs of DDR4 type RAM in the memory department. Having 8GB RAM will be handy when you want to run more than one application at the same time.
The widescreen display is also beautiful and comes with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The colors are decent, and you can enjoy playing on this display.
Another performance booster in this set of specs is the storage. We have a 256GB solid-state drive which is fast and gives you a significant performance boost.
Let’s talk about the hero of this gaming laptop, the GPU.
The Acer Aspire E5-576G-5762 model is one of the very few budget laptops that come with a discrete graphics card.
The GPU here is the Nvidia GeForce MX150.
This GPU is not a heavyweight and is made for low-end gaming machines.
Though you can’t compare this GPU with the 1050s and 1060s, it still allows you to do some decent gaming which is impressive at this price point.
At high settings, you can play games like FIFA 19, Team Fortress 2, Fortnite and X-Plane 11.11 with reasonable frame rates.
If you want to graphically intense games, then you can do so by bringing down the settings to medium or low.
Though the laptop promises a battery life of 15 hours, you are not going to get that in real life performance. If you are gaming while traveling, you should get some juice for 3 to 4 hours at best.
Overall, the Acer Aspire E5-576G-5762 laptop is an excellent choice to game on a budget. It costs a little more than $500, but you can do much better gaming if you are willing to pay a little extra. Solid choice without breaking your bank.
- Discrete GPU in the form of Nvidia GeForce MX150
- Powerful 8th gen processor
- Excellent battery life
- Slightly more expensive than $500
MSI GL62M 7RD-1407
Now, don’t get us wrong.
You can game under $500, but there is going to be a huge bottleneck when you start gaming.
You are going to have to reduce the settings, adjust this, reduce that and that’s a lot of hassle.
While you save money upfront, there will be a lot of problems later. The experience will not be great.
That’s why we are throwing MSI GL62M 7RD-1407 into the mix.
The MSI GL62M 7RD-1407 is a gaming laptop from MSI that cost a little more than $600.
Yes, it does not come within our price range. But this is the best gaming laptop you can get your hands at this low price.
Let’s see why we think this laptop is worth your attention.
The MSI GL62M 7RD-1407 comes with an Intel Core i5-7300HQ processor. The processor is a high-performance chip from the 7th generation fo Intel processors.
It comes with a clock speed of 2.5GHz and can go up to 3.5GHz. Being a quad-core processor, you can expect good multithreading performance here.
The processor gets an average CPUMark score of 6812 which is adequate. Though the processor belongs to an older generation, it still packs a punch.
The display on this laptop is a 15.6-inch one with a full HD resolution. It comes with 94% NTSC color standard so that you can see more colors on this display than on other laptops.
We have 256 gigs of solid-state drive storage. The SSD improves the performance of the laptop considerably. The apps open much quicker, and you can see the difference in everyday use.
The 8GB DDR4 2400MHz memory is sufficient for a budget gaming laptop. You can multitask without any hiccups. The memory also allows you to have a fluid gameplay as well.
Let’s talk about the GPU.
We have a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 with two gigs of dedicated video memory.
This GPU is great for mid-range gaming. You can play pretty much any recent game without compromising too much.
At high settings, you can play Assassin´s Creed Odyssey, Forza Horizon 2, FIFA 19, F1 2018, The Crew 2, Far Cry 5 and many more.
The frame rates of each of these games differ and depend on how intense the graphics are.
In this price range, you are not going to get a similar gaming experience with any other laptop.
Being a serious gaming laptop, it comes with excellent cooling as well. This is something you won’t see in other sub-$500 gaming notebooks.
The laptop will last for about 2 to 2.5 hours during an intense gaming session. For light load, you can expect around 7 to 8 hours of battery life.
Overall, the MSI GL62M 7RD-1407 laptop is a bit more expensive but is
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 is a beast in this price range
- Excellent display
- Cooling system is solid
- Costs a little more than $600
Acer Aspire 17.3″ Laptop
We’ve seen one regular laptop and a slightly expensive laptop for gaming.
Sometimes people want to have a grand visual experience. That’s only possible when you have a bigger screen which is the case here.
This Acer Aspire model comes with a 17.3″ screen that has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The widescreen is more comprehensive than ever, and you can enjoy your gaming on a full HD display.
How powerful is this Acer Aspire notebook?
An Intel Core i5 processor powers the device. This processor belongs to the 7th generation of Intel chips.
This is a low-power processor and has two cores. The processor clocks at 2.5GHz and can reach a maximum clocking frequency of 3.1GHz.
With an average CPUMark score of 4623, the processor does have the legs to handle your needs.
You can go on about your everyday tasks without any problems, thanks to this Intel chip.
You can also multitask on this laptop as it comes with eight gigs of DDR4 type RAM. This processor-memory combo can take on heavy loads of work and also can run any game without hitting the brakes.
There is a 256GB solid-state drive in this Acer Aspire laptop. While this is not a lot of space, you do get a performance boost with the SSD in place.
Windows boots up quicker than ever, just in seconds. Applications also launch faster, so everything appears quicker in general.
The graphics performance is where this Acer Aspire laptop stands out.
We have a Nvidia GeForce GTX 940M as the graphics card, and it comes with a dedicated video memory of 2GB.
This is one of the better graphics cards you are going to find in budget gaming laptops.
If you are going to play somewhat older games, you can do that with high settings.
But if you are planning to play recently released games, then you have to tone down the settings to medium.
Some of the games you can play without much compromise are FIFA 19, Fortnite, Team Fortress 2, and more.
Overall, the Acer Aspire 17.3″ laptop gives you an excellent gaming experience on a budget. You can enjoy your gameplay on a bigger screen, and a discrete GPU makes everything better.
If you want to game on a more prominent display, this could be the laptop for you.
- Massive 17’3″ display with full HD resolution
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 940M in a budget laptop
- Slightly more expensive than $500
The Dell i5575-A217SLV-PUS laptop is another good choice for a gaming laptop under $500.
The laptop comes with an impressive array of specs. At this price, we really can’t complain.
The Dell i5575-A217SLV-PUS comes equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U processor. This is one of the latest Ryzen chips to hit the market.
The AMD Ryzen 5 is a quad-core processor that comes with a regular clock frequency of 2.0GHz and can be clocked to a maximum of 3.60GHz.
How good is this new AMD chip you ask?
Well, this AMD chip gets a CPUMark score of 7379 which shows that this processor is capable of delivering a heavy load.
You can run your everyday applications without anything holding you back.
Couple this processor with the 8GB DDR4 memory, you have a perfectly good device that you can handle your everyday tasks without blinking twice.
Time to talk about the gaming performance of the Dell i5575-A217SLV-PUS model.
The graphics card we have here is an integrated graphics card. The Radeon Vega 8 is an integrated GPU but comes with quite some power.
You can run most of the recent games with reduced settings, mostly low settings.
The graphics card performs well when playing MMORPGs like DOTA and LoL. If you love playing these games, then you should be fine.
The 15.6-inch display comes with decent colors. The full HD resolution gives us sharp texts and vibrant pictures. The screen is great to play on and also for media consumption.
For storage, you have a 1TB hard drive which gives is plenty of space. One minor drawback here is that it is a 5400RPM which is pretty slow for modern day storages.
While the battery life is decent, you better be next to an outlet when playing seriously.
Overall, the Dell i5575-A217SLV-PUS is one of the best gaming laptops under $500. It fulfills all the necessary gaming requirements and gives you a good experience at a super budget price.
- Radeon Vega 8 is one of the improved integrated GPUs
- Bang for the buck
- Hard drive speed can be a minor problem for some
The Acer A515-51G-515J laptop is another excellent machine that is suited for gaming under $500.
You can find some impressive hardware in the spec sheet, but that’s not to say that this notebook is perfect.
The first thing that catches your attention is the beautiful 15.6-inch display. It comes with a full HD resolution and an impressive contrast ratio.
You can see that the colors are accurate and make enjoying the gameplay even better.
How powerful is the Acer A515-51G-515J?
The processor powering the Acer A515-51G-515J laptop is an Intel Core i5 8250U chip.
This quad-core processor can clock up to 3.4GHz and is one of the powerful low-power chips in the market. You can trust this processor to handle your daily tasks without any dip in performance.
The memory is made up of eight gigs of DDR4 type RAM. For a budget gaming laptop like this one, this is enough memory.
The Intel UHD graphics 620 is the graphics card here. This is an integrated GPU and can handle much more than its predecessors.
While the Intel UHD graphics 620 is much better, it still is not as good as the discrete GPUs.
As a result, you will not be able to play all the games with the best settings. For recent games, you have to reduce the settings to medium or low in order to achieve a good frame rate.
For storage, you have a 256GB solid-state drive which is perfect for what you are paying. You get a considerable performance boost, and you’ll notice it right away if you’re coming from a traditional hard drive.
To summarize, the Acer A515-51G-515J is a good laptop that can do some decent gaming. If you really don’t want to spend anything over $500, then this laptop is a good choice.
- SSD improves the performance significantly
- Processor-RAM combo is perfect
- Lack of a discrete GPU
ASUS VivoBook F510UA-AH51
The ASUS VivoBook F510UA-AH51 laptop comes with specs we have seen already in the list.
Then why is this laptop here?
Well, the ASUS VivoBook F510UA-AH51 offers a bit more than other laptops.
The display in this notebook is a 15.6-inch one with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
ASUS calls the display a nano-edge display with an ultra-narrow bezel. You can see that the bezel is much smaller and this makes for an excellent viewing experience.
Because of the narrow bezels, the footprint of the laptop is just 14.2 inches wide. The small footprint also means that the ASUS VivoBook F510UA-AH51 model is more portable than other laptops in this list.
Another exciting feature is the presence of a fingerprint reader. If you’re a fan of security, then this fingerprint reader should give you peace of mind.
The processor in the ASUS VivoBook F510UA-AH51model is an Intel Core i5 chip. This quad-core processor is powerful enough to run your everyday applications and games.
The 8GB DDR4 type memory complements the processor and helps you with your multitasking. You can run quite a few apps side by side facing no lag.
As far as gaming is concerned, the laptop does a pretty good job.
The ASUS VivoBook F510UA-AH51 comes equipped with a Nvidia GeForce MX150. This is a discrete GPU that is made for low-end gaming machines.
You can play most of the modern day games in their medium settings. If you want to jump on some AAA games, then be prepared to play them on low settings.
Overall, the ASUS VivoBook F510UA-AH51 is a pretty impressive gaming laptop that also has a myriad of features like ultra-narrow bezels and a fingerprint reader.
- Extremely narrow bezels make for a pleasant viewing experience
- Fingerprint reader improves security
- Discrete graphics for a better gaming experience
- Slightly more expensive than $500
Lenovo Ideapad 330S
The Lenovo Ideapad 330S is another budget laptop that is good at gaming.
The laptop is run by an Intel Core i5 processor from the 8th generation of Intel chips.
The quad-core processor is a pretty good one and scores well in benchmark tests. You can run your apps and games without any problem, thanks to its sheer processing power.
You can choose between 4 gigs or 8 gigs to suit your needs. We recommend going with eight gigs as it can future proof your laptop to a certain extent.
One problem with this laptop is the display. We have a 15.6-inch screen that only has an HD resolution, i.e. 1366 x 768 pixels.
While an HD display is not that bad, we can easily get full HD displays in this price range. Also, the viewing angles of the screen are not that great.
How good is gaming on the Lenovo Ideapad 330S?
The laptop only has an integrated graphics card. The Intel UHD Graphics 620 is the latest integrated GPU from Intel, but it doesn’t match to the level of discrete graphics cards.
You can play most of the games in low and medium settings. If MMORPGs are your weapon of choice, then you are going to have a lot of fun.
There is ample storage space in the 256GB SSD. You also get snappy performance from the solid-state drive which is an added benefit.
Overall, the Lenovo Ideapad 330S is a good laptop that can also game. Not a bad choice for people on a budget.
- Powerful processor and memory combo
- Decent gaming performance
- Display is only HD
Dell Inspiron 15.6″ laptop
This Dell Inspiron 15.6-inch is another model that falls well below the $500 price range.
One of the best things about this laptop is that it comes with a touchscreen.
The touchscreen allows you to interact with onscreen elements and that’s a whole new experience.
The display, on the other hand, comes with a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution. This HD resolution is not that great even though the color representation is reasonably accurate.
An AMD A6 9200 processor powers this Dell Inspiron model.
This AMD chip is a dual-core processor that is clocked at 2.4GHz and go to a maximum of 2.8GHz.
Though not very powerful, you can surely call this a mid-range chip. You can carry on with your everyday tasks without any issues.
There are eight gigs of DDR4 type RAM for memory. For a laptop in this price range, you can do a lot with this memory, and that says something.
The graphics card here is the integrated Radeon R4 chip.
This Radeon GPU is a low-end GPU and performs like one.
You can play some older gamers with medium settings. You can also play online games like WoW, and LoL without any problems.
However, you can’t play the latest and the greatest AAA titles. Those games are beyond the scope of this laptop.
The 256 solid-state drive is fast and makes up for the performance of the laptop. It makes booting up faster and also opens apps much quicker.
To summarize, the Dell Inspiron 15.6-inch laptop is a decent gaming laptop and has just enough to make it to this list.
- Comes with a touchscreen
- SSD improves the performance by a good bit
- Integrated GPU isn’t that great
- Display resolution is only 720p
HP 17.3″ Laptop
Some people prefer bigger screens while gaming. This HP 17.3″ laptop offers just that.
This HP laptop comes with 17.3″ display and with a resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels. This is not full HD resolution, but it is also better than HD resolution.
As a result, the picture holds the details even with a larger display. The colors are decent, and you can have a good visual experience without any problems.
An AMD A9 9240 chip powers the laptop. This processor is a dual-core chip that comes with a clock speed of 3.0GHz.
Being a low-end processor, you can’t expect a lot of heavy lifting from it. However, the processor does a pretty good job when it comes to running everyday applications like browsers, office applications, and more.
How good is the gaming experience on this laptop?
To be honest, it’s not that great.
The laptop is equipped only with an integrated graphics card. The Radeon R5 is a low-end graphics card, and it can run a few games with medium settings.
You might have a lot of more luck when it comes to online games or light games.
For storage, you get a 1TB hard drive. While this gives you a lot of storage space for your games and other stuff, this is a very slow hard drive by modern standards.
Overall, the HP 17.3″ laptop is strictly for those who prefer a bigger screen over anything else. If that’s you, then this could be the laptop for you.
- Bigger screen gives you more real estate
- Comes with USB 3.1 port which is super fast for data transfer
- Integrated GPU isn’t very effective
Lenovo 15.6-inch Laptop
The Lenovo 15.6″ laptop is the cheapest option in this list.
The laptop comes with a 15.6″ display with a resolution of 720p. Though this is not that high, for the cheapest laptop on the list, we can’t really complain.
The processor here is an AMD A12 9240P which is a quad-core processor with a clock speed of 2.7GHz. The processor can clock up to 3.6GHz when needed.
The A12 chip gets a CPUMark score of 4017 which is not bad.
One of the best features in this laptop is the 8GB DDR4 type RAM. It allows you to handle multiple applications at the same time without facing any considerable lag.
When it comes to gaming, we’re at the mercy of an integrated graphics card here.
The Radeon R7 is the GPU here, and it does an okay job.
For online games like WoW and LoL, you will be fine. If you want to play some high-end games like Witcher 3 or Assasin’s Creed series, you’re out of luck.
You can, however, play some mid-range with their settings brought down.
There is a 1TB hard drive that will store all your games and other valued data. This is a mechanical hard drive so you will have to deal with the slow speed.
Overall, the Lenovo 15.6″ laptop is a good buy for those who want to spend less than $400 and still game a bit.
- Very inexpensive, under $400
- Good processor and memory combo
- Not our first choice when it comes to gaming
Now that we’ve discussed the ten best gaming laptops under $500, we’d like to tell you something.
Gaming in a budget is possible. But it doesn’t mean you will get the same experience as playing with a $1500 or a $2000 laptop.
A $500 laptop will come with some compromises and will set you up for mid-range gaming at best.
So if you want to play the latest and the greatest AAA titles, you should look for laptops in the range of $1000 to $2000.
But you said gaming in a budget is possible?
Of course, we did.
We are just setting your expectations right.
Now, we don’t want you to make a blind decision in selecting your gaming laptop under $500.
You should know what to look for in a gaming notebook that costs less than $500.
Let’s talk in detail.
What to Look for in a Gaming Laptop Under $500?
Here is a list of things you should look for in your future gaming machine.
Graphics Processing Unit
The GPU is the most critical hardware in a gaming laptop.
But in a $500 gaming laptop, you are going to make compromises.
The graphics card makes or breaks your gaming experience, and you want at least a decent GPU in place for a neat gaming experience.
In this price range, you may also have to settle with integrated GPUs. If that’s going to be the case, then go for the latest ones.
Even if your laptop has a discrete graphics card, be informed that it not the best out there (not in this price range). So, in most cases, you will have to bring the settings down to get smooth gameplay.
You are going to lose details, and you are not going to frame rates in upwards of 60, but that’s how it is when you are gaming in a budget.
The better the graphics card, the more recent games you can play, and that’s cool.
Having the right processor will be a significant advantage for your everyday usage.
The processor plays a crucial role in the handling of your applications. The startup time of apps and games depend on it.
Even handling the simplest of apps can become cumbersome if you are stuck with a sub-par processor.
You have two options when it comes to processors.
You can either go with Intel or AMD.
People like Intel because they are industry leaders and you usually can’t go wrong with them.
Some prefer AMD because they are usually more affordable and this is great for budget devices. But they do give out a lot of heat, so that’s a payoff.
You don’t have to go crazy with the processor.
All you need a dual-core processor with decent clock speed. If you can get that, move on to the next piece of the puzzle.
If you like playing games with good storylines, chances are they are also going to come with stunning visuals.
Having a good display, in this case, is paramount.
You won’t be able to get a 4K display at this price point, but you can definitely get a high-definition display with excellent color accuracy.
Some models might even hook up with a full HD display which is excellent for the price.
Another thing concerning the display of your gaming laptop is its size.
The standard size in this category is 15.6-inches.
In most laptops, this is going to be the case, but you can also go for a 17.3-inch monitor if you want a bigger screen.
Be warned that going for a bigger screen will make it less portable as the laptop can become bulkier.
The sound coming from the laptop should be clear and audible.
Most laptops in this price range have decent sound, but some may fall short of it.
If you want to get an immersive gameplay experience, then having good sound is crucial.
In fact, it is always better to have a good headphone if you can afford one.
Having a good headphone also can help you communicate with other team members when playing MOBA games like DOTA and LoL.
The memory in your laptop will help you do more at the same time.
It can also help games run smoothly especially when you equipped only with an integrated GPU.
Games used to have a minimum RAM requirement of 4 gigs which is very easy to get.
But recent games require you to have at least eight gigs of RAM. So be sure to pick a laptop with adequate memory so that you don’t have to upgrade it later.
Another thing to note is there are two types of RAM – DDR3 and DDR4.
DDR4 is the latest type of RAM, and it is better than its predecessors in many ways.
If you want to save money, we suggest you go the DDR3 way. While being affordable, you won’t notice a significant drop in performance.
When it comes to storage, then more the better.
Modern games are getting much better, and as a result, they take up more space as well.
You need to have a minimum of 500 gigs of storage space in your laptop.
In this price range, you are going to be restricted to mechanical hard drives.
If you can afford, you should go for hybrid drives which are a bit more expensive but also bring a good performance boost.
Hybrid drives come with a small portion of a solid-state drive. Your frequently used applications will be moved to the SSD part of the hard drive.
As a result, you can open everyday applications much faster, and this will improve the overall performance of your machine.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Two things you are going to use on a daily basis when gaming is the keyboard and the touchpad.
Do not overlook this part as you will not have good control over your gameplay later.
A good keyboard will have good travel and is easy to type on. Be sure that the keyboard doesn’t have wobbly keys.
When it comes to gaming, you can’t expect much from a touchpad. Even high-end gaming laptops don’t come with a touchpad that is perfect for gaming.
We recommend that you should get an affordable gaming mouse which is a lot easier to handle during gameplay.
Portability is not that important for gaming laptop if you plan to game at the comfort of your home.
If you want to go to local gaming tournaments, then you need a laptop that is not heavy.
We would recommend sticking with laptops that have a screen size of 15.6-inches or less.
The screen size is directly proportional to how bulky your laptop can get and the thumb-rule mentioned above should help you.
All the battery life numbers we have seen are only for light loads.
Gaming is not one of the light loads, and so real life battery performance is very different.
When gaming high-end gaming laptop will last for about 3 to 4 hours which is not a lot.
Now, what can we expect from a $500 gaming laptop?
If you want to game, then you should be plugged in.
If you want to game on the go, then we don’t expect your $500 to last more than an hour and a half.
You shouldn’t too.
Best Gaming Laptops Under $500 – Summary
That brings this post to its end.
The ten models we talked about are the best choices for your to game on a budget.
If you ask us, we’d go with the MSI GL62M 7RD-1407 laptop. Though a bit outside our budget, it definitely gives you a much better gaming experience than the rest.
We hope you find the gaming laptop that suits your needs.
Let us know what you think of this list.
Have we missed anything?
Do use the comment section below and tell us. We’re eager to hear from you.