Finding a gaming laptop within the budget of $500 is one heck of a task. As the idea crossed my mind, I very much believed that finding a gaming laptop within such a tiny budget is quite impossible and I am sure most people think the same.
When set out to find budget-friendly gaming laptops, I was surprised to know how numerous options are out there that can fit the needs of entry-level gamers.
Like me, one bitter truth that you will face while buying these budget-friendly gaming laptops is that they will not play the latest games owing to the high-end graphics they require. Also, you should be prepared to get disappointed by one, or more, features of the laptop as you can’t have them all perfect under 500 bucks.
If you can spend a little extra, we recommend you to skip this article and take a look at these articles.
In this article, you will find a buying guide to narrow down your search while finding a cheap gaming laptop. For your ease, I have compiled a list of affordable gaming laptops below. Plus, you are welcome to look into their detailed reviews that you will find later.
7 Top-Rated Gaming Laptops under $500
2019 ASUS VivoBook F510QA 15.6” WideView FHD Laptop Computer, AMD Quad-Core A12-9720P up to 3.6GHz, 4GB DDR4 RAM, 128GB SSD , USB 3.0, 802.11ac WiFi, HDMI, Windows 10
CPU: AMD Quad Core A12-9720P Processor | GPU: AMD Radeon R7 Integrated graphics | RAM: 4GB DDR4 | Storage: 128GB SSD | Screen Size and resolution: 15. 6″ anti-glare Full HD Display
ASUS is an emerging brand in gaming industry that has managed to deliver great products in last couple of years. ASUS VivoBook FS10QA is one of them. Let us dig deeper into its features.
ASUS VivoBook F510QA comes with an AMD Radeon R7 graphics. Although it is one of the cheapest graphics cards available, yet it still is capable of running games at a higher resolution. Trust me you are not sacrificing anything here.
ASUS VivoBook F510QA is packed with 4 GB RAM which is the best you will find within this budget laptops under 500. However, RAM of this size is barely enough to give you flawless gameplay.
Remember, if you need more RAM in the future and if your budget allows it, you can upgrade it anytime you want to.
This ASUS VivoBook is equipped with AMD Quad-Core A12-9720P processor. Getting a quad-core processor in a laptop of this limited budget is like your wildest dream coming true. The quad-core processor will enhance your gaming experience and will let you have rapid reactions to your commands.
Bottom-line: ASUS VivoBook F510QA comes as a bang considering the budget limit we have set. It gives you that rich experience and rapid performance which makes you feel that you have utilized your money to the fullest.
Lenovo Z50 80EC000TUS Laptop (Windows 8, AMD A10-7300 Quad-Core 1.9 GHz Processor, 15.6 inches Display, SSD: 1 TB, RAM: 8 GB DDR3) Black
CPU: AMD A10-7300 Quad-Core 1.9 GHz Processor | GPU: AMD Radeon R7 Integrated graphics | RAM: 8 GB DDR3 RAM| Storage: 1 TB HDD| Screen Size and resolution: 15. 6″ Full HD Display
Lenovo is a Chinese multinational company that is well known for manufacturing affordable products. Within a limited budget, it is hard to find a laptop that has pretty good features, but then there are products like Lenovo Z50.
Lenovo Z50 is equipped with an AMD Radeon R6 graphics card. As I mentioned earlier, the best you are going to get is an integrated Graphic chip under a $500 budget. AMD Radeon R6 is suitable for entry-level gaming.
You might not be able to run Graphic-taxing games like PUBG Pc but for casual gaming, it is quite good and you will have a pretty decent experience.
If a laptop has 8 GB RAM in this budget than it is fairly a great deal. Even though it is an old RAM type (DDR3) type Lenovo Z50 is equipped with, the fact that it is double the capacity than what we get in this price range makes Z50 a standout.
Lenovo Z50 has an AMD A10-7300 Quad-Core processor. This machine fulfills all the criteria of the processor that we set initially in our buying guide. Not only it provides you a great gaming experience but also it is suitable for multitasking/it can easily handle multiple programs without failing.
Bottom-line: As you are on a strict budget, Lenovo Z50 can be your top choice. It fulfills the basic requirements that we set as must-haves in a decent gaming laptop. You will not regret buying this one.
2019 Dell Inspiron 15 6" HD Touchscreen Flagship Premium Laptop Computer, 8th Gen Intel Core i3-8145U Up to 3.1GHz, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 128GB SSD, HDMI, USB 3.0, Bluetooth, WiFi, Windows 10 Home
$429.99 in stock
5 used from $269.00
CPU: Intel Core i3-8145U | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620| RAM: 8GB DDR4| Storage: 128GB NVMe SSD | Screen Size and resolution: 15. 6″ LED Backlit Full HD Display
Dell Inspiron series can never be a match of its top-of-the-line Alienware machines. Neither, it can come near the performance of G3 series—the immediate cousins when it comes to price. Nevertheless, they are capable of running games at low settings. Dell Inspiron 15 is a case in point.
I must say that its storage and CPU have been a major disappointment. 128 GB SSD, though it is fast, is just not enough to store a lot of games, movies and work files at the same time. Similarly, Intel core i3-8145U dual core processor chokes when running games that requires high cpu power.
The only reason that can make me accept integrated chip in a gaming machine is the price I am going to pay for it. Had I not bound to under $500 limit, I would have ditched Intel UHD Graphics 620 for the more powerful NVidia GTX 1050 or AMD Radeon 5500 chips.
One of the few feature this laptop never seems to compromise is the RAM. It is nearly double (8Gb) than what we have set as a standard (4GB) in a budget laptop.
The solid display is another selling point of this laptop. Though touchscreen is quite useless for gaming, it is a useful feature. What matters most to gamers is a full-sized FHD display, and it is a promise this laptop seems to fulfill.
With over 5 hours of battery life, these laptops outperform the other laptops in our list.
Bottom-line: This laptop is best for college students and business professionals who have a penchant for gaming.
HP 14" Touchscreen Home and Business Laptop Ryzen 3-3200U, 8GB RAM, 128GB M.2 SSD, Dual-Core up to 3.50 GHz, Vega 3 Graphics, RJ-45, USB-C, 4K Output HDMI, Bluetooth, Webcam, 1366x768, Win 10
5 used from $190.00
CPU: Ryzen 3-3200U | GPU: Vega 3 Graphics | RAM: 8GB DDR4| Storage: 128GB NVMe SSD | Screen Size and resolution: 14’’ LED Full HD Display
This Hp laptop like many laptops in our list are not dedicated for gaming, and yet they perform considerably well while running not-so-latest games at medium settings.
This laptop is a versatile model with gaming as its secondary function. It is mainly used as a business or regular laptop for being extremely light-weight and having touch screen features.
Ryzen 3 3200U are the direct competitors of core i3 U series chips. They a marginal difference of performance with Intel having an upper hand. However, AMD chips are cheaper.
8 GB DDR4 RAM will get you smooth gaming experience and also faster loading times. It is an appreciable feature by the company in such a low budget.
Just like Ryzen 3 3200U, Vega 3 Graphics are usually compared with Intel UHD 620 chips. The difference in performance between both is unnoticeable.
It can run games like Mass Effect 2, Dead Space 2, Batman Arkham City, CSGO, Tomb Raider, and even Grand Theft Auto at low settings.
Bottom-line: Dell Inspiron and this Hp laptop are nearly identical in performance. If you are in love with either of these brands, feel free to choose any of these as you won’t be missing out on any feature.
Lenovo ideapad S340 15.6" HD LED Backlit Anti-Glare Display Laptop, Intel Core i3-8145U 2.1GHz up to 3.9GHz, 8GB DDR4, 128GB NVMe SSD, Bluetooth, USB 3.1, HDMI, Webcam, Windows 10
1 used from $699.49
CPU: Intel Core i3-8145U 2.1GHz up to 3.9GHz | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620| RAM: 8 GB 8GB DDR4| Storage: 128GB NVMe SSD | Screen Size and resolution: 15. 6″ LED Backlit Full HD Display
As I mentioned earlier Lenovo is a brand that is known for producing laptops that not only have solid features but also comes at a fairly reasonable cost. Lenovo Ideapad S340 is no exception.
Lenovo Ideapad S340 has Intel UHD Graphics 620. When it comes to gaming this graphics card is even one step ahead of AMD Radeon R7. The overall gaming experience in Intel UHD Graphics 620 graphics card is exceptionally great for an integrated chip.
In terms of RAM, this gadget just like the ones mentioned above has 8 GB RAM. This amount of RAM is more than sufficient to have decent gaming experience and just like other laptops in our list you can always upgrade the RAM whenever you want to.
Lenovo Ideapad S340 is equipped with the Intel Core i3-8145U Dual-Core processor. This is a drawback of having this laptop. With Core i3 Dual-Core processor your gaming experience will suffer a little as your laptop will lag in performance while playing cpu intensive games.
Bottom-line: If you want to have rich graphics experience that too on a strict budget then this laptop is meant for you. You might have to compromise on the processor a little but you will not repent after buying this laptop.
HP Pavilion 14-bf050wm Laptop, 14'' Full HD IPS Mico Edge Display (1920 x 1080), Intel Core i5-7200U, 8GB DDR4 SDRAM, 1TB Hard Drive + 128 SSD, Windows 10 Home
CPU: Intel Core i5-7200U | GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620| RAM: 8GB DDR4| Storage: 1TB Hard Drive + 128 SSD | Screen Size and resolution: 14’’ Full HD IPS Display
Hp has a dedicated budget laptop for gaming named HP Pavilion Gaming. The laptop under consideration is a far off cousin of it with quite inferior in performance when it comes to gaming.
As expected it comes with an integrated Intel graphic chip to run most of the low demanding games.
Intel Core i5-7200U is certainly the strength of this laptop as it is a quad-core processor with a lot more computation power than the AMD Ryzen 3 and Intel Core i3 processors we discussed above. You can utilize this power to do multitasking.
It is the only laptop in our list that comes with the desired combination of SSD and HDD storage. You can use spacious 1 TB storage to store all your movies and games that you play less often. While 128 GB SSD can be the home of more intensive Games and Windows for better performance.
One feature that you can’t resist but notice is the crystal-clear display of this laptop thanks to the IPS display it is hosting.
Bottom-line: Owing to its high computing power this laptop has an advantage while running CPU-intensive games. Apart from that, it guarantee a high entertainment value as it features an IPS display.
2019 Newest Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6" Laptop AMD A9-Series, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD, Wi-Fi, HDMI, Bluetooth, Windows 10, Black
CPU: AMD R Series 3.1 GHz | GPU: AMD Radeon R5| RAM: 8GB DDR4| Storage: 256 SSD | Screen Size and resolution: 15.6’’ Full HD Display
A Dual core processor is certainly a disadvantage, and therefore this laptop does not fare well in computing power. You will encounter freezing when running too many applications at a time.
Radeon R5 series are low power integrated chips with performance no different than that of Intel UHD 620 and AMD Vega 3. You will be limited to casual gaming on this laptop.
A 15.6-inch FHD display is certainly the feature that makes it stand head and shoulder above other laptops under 500. To further differentiate, its screen has a very thin bezel. You will get a great entertainment value out of this laptop.
Bottom-line: Judging by the features, this laptop is quite indistinguishable from the other laptops in our list. However, you will get durability in this laptop as these laptops seem never to fail.
Buying Guide for best cheap gaming Laptops under $500
Before setting out to buy a new gaming laptop you should set straight what your needs are because there is a wide variety of features that you have to look for.
For your ease, we have set up a buying guide for you which includes the features you should definitely seek in an affordable gaming rig.
The very first thing you should look at in a gaming laptop is its graphics card. There are two options that you can choose from: discrete or integrated graphics card. Although discrete graphics are best for gaming laptops, considering the limited budget of $500, the machine you are going to get will have integrated graphics.
There are two famous companies that are known for producing graphics card: AMD and Nvidia. Apart from these, Intel also provides the integrated graphic chip with its processors.
Another thing you should certainly keep in mind is that the graphics card is something that is not upgradable.
A processor like the graphics cards is not upgradable so make this one-time choice very carefully. Make this decision while being a little ahead in the future. A quad-core processor should be your bare minimum even in a budget-friendly laptop
Getting something below quad-core like dual-core probably is a horrible decision as you will not be able to have a rich and smooth gaming experience unless you have high speed. The best processor you are going to get in this budget is going to be an AMD A-series processor or Intel core i3.
After the graphics card, the thing that is most important to consider is the RAM. You for sure need sufficient RAM to have a smooth gaming experience. The minimum you need in a budget laptop under 500 is 4 GB.
Below this range of RAM, your laptop will ruin overall gaming experience will not be fun. If you can get more than 4 GB it is better as we all know the more the merrier.
RAM is something that is upgradable. So if in future you decide to add additional RAMs, you can easily do so.
Keep in mind that not all the RAM Types will be compatible with the motherboard your laptop is going to have.
The storage has a little part to play in the gaming performance of a laptop when compared to the other critical components we discussed earlier. But its importance cannot be ignored. After all, your game files will need space to occupy.
The two most important considerations are the size and type. Let’s begin with types.
In storage, we can opt for either HDD or SSD. The latter is far superior to former (HDD) in terms of speed and efficiency with one major con—price.
You will hardly find a spacious SSD drive in a cheap gaming laptop, and it will be pointless to settle for low SSD space as games usually take a lot of space. So the only option we are left within our tight budget constraints is to get an HDD drive with a minimum space of 512 GB.
Cheap laptops tend to make a compromise in screen size to make up for the low budget. A 13-inch display should be your bare minimum. Anything smaller than that is not counted as a gaming machine.
By the way, a 15-inch screen is an ideal size to have in a gaming laptop. And if you are lucky enough to find it in a cheap gaming laptop, you should definitely prioritize it over others while making a purchasing decision.
To get things straight, a budget laptop doesn’t have enough power to last the whole day. And given it is going to be used for gaming, the maximum one can expect is a battery life of 5 hours.
However, we cannot set the bar too low, let’s say 2 hours.
Are gaming laptops good for everyday use?
Yes, they surely are good for everyday usage as far as the performance is concerned. However, they tend to be on the heavier side and therefore are less portable. You can use a gaming laptop as a school, business, or regular laptop for web surfing and video editing.
What is the best cheap gaming laptop to play wow (World of Warcraft)?
World of Warcraft does not have a very high standard of system requirements. It is by all mean a low demanding game. Any laptop with a Core i3 dual-core processor and 4GB of RAM can run it smoothly. In fact, all the laptops I have included above can run it without hiccups.
Are gaming laptops a waste of money?
No, they are not a waste of money. It would have been true if they had not reached even half of the performance of a beefed PC. Thanks to the powerful chips by AMD, Intel, and NVidia, gaming laptops can come very close to the performance of a gaming pc, if not beat it.