Hustling for a new gaming laptop on a budget can be a serious pain. The budget gaming laptop market is often ignored by mainstream media publications despite the huge demand for gaming laptops that are affordable for the average gamer.
At BnBGaming we thought we’d help our readers out with a roundup post of the best gaming laptops for under $500. Though it’s much easier to find popular non-gaming laptops at this price point, it is possible to find a workable gaming machine in this price range as long as you are willing to make some minor concessions.
We have procured a list of the best gaming laptops under $500 below to help you choose your next budget gaming machine so that finding a gaming laptop that can match your budget will be easier.
ASUS VivoBook 15 (Intel Core i3-1005G1)
A firm favorite and top 10 Amazon bestseller, the Vivobook 15 offers a powerful Intel processor that comes with Intel UHD Graphics. The downside of this laptop is that it will only be suitable for playing much older games, as the UHD graphics comes nowhere close to the graphics performance of most dedicated graphics cards.
Full specs include:
- Latest 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 (up to 3.4 GHz)
- 8GB DDR4 RAM
- Backlit keyboard with fingerprint sensor
- 128GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
- Weighs only 3.75 lbs
If you are happy playing only older games and want a great all-round laptop, look no further. Otherwise read on.
Acer Aspire 5 Slim (AMD Ryzen 3 3200U)
Another laptop with integrated graphics, this AMD based Acer laptop, the Acer Aspire 5 slim, packs a little bit more punch in the graphics department than the first laptop in your list of gaming laptops under $500. It won’t win any awards, but it will be able to play slightly newer games thanks to its Vega 3 Graphics. However, don’t expect to be playing anything anywhere near modern titles.
- AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Dual Core Processor
- 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD
- 8GB DDR4 RA
Although it has a slight performance boost over the competing Intel graphics, the Acer Aspire 5 slim will still only play games mainly from pre-2016 without problems.
Acer Nitro 5 (Intel Core i5-9300)
Disclaimer Alert: We have included some laptops that are above $500 in this list as the performance upgrade can be quite large compared to gaming laptops under $500 due to their inferior integrated graphics.
If you have been waiting to see what kind of dedicated graphics performance you can get for this price range I have bad news – the Acer Nitro 5 is one of the best deals on a dedicated graphics card in a gaming laptop and its price has been hovering around $600-700 minimum for the past while. The plus side is that it offers graphics that are as much as 5 times faster than the performance found in competing integrated graphics powered laptops.
Tasty specs include:
- Intel Core i5-9300H Processor (Up to 4.1 GHz)
- GTX 1650 Graphics with 4 GB GDDR5 VRAM
- 8GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM
- 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
If you are serious about playing newer games, then the Acer Nitro 5 is probably your minimum option thanks to its far superior graphics performance – the catch, of course, being that you may have to save up a bit more for your purchase and you also won’t benefit from the lightweight and portable designs found in machines with only integrated graphics.
Acer Aspire 5 Slim (AMD Ryzen 3 3200U)
The Acer Aspire 5 Slim is an AMD powered gaming laptop that is a popular choice for budget gamers looking to only play older games without breaking the bank on the latest hardware.
It features an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U processor with AMD Radeon RX Vega 3 graphics, 4GB of DDR4 RAM and a 128GB SSD hard drive.
Though it will struggle to compete with the laptops that have a dedicated graphics card the Vega 3 graphics does an honorable job performance-wise and is capable of running many popular older games at medium to low settings.
It has a portable form factor which also makes it an attractive option for anyone on the move using their laptop for work or school as well as gaming.
The hard facts about gaming laptops under $500 is that there is no easy fix – at this price point, you are going to have to make some compromises, and if you plan on playing much newer games, that may include saving up a bit more so you can afford a gaming laptop with a dedicated graphics card.
That said, if you are a casual gamer happy playing older games or indie releases without much demand in the graphics department, then a gaming laptop under $500 or under $600 offers some perks too. These include increased portability and much thinner designs, making your laptop a more realistic overall work machine that can be lugged to the school or office without too much hassle.