If you are on the lookout for the best gaming laptops then welcome to our regularly updated expert guide to the best gaming laptop under 500 dollars based on sales, sheer hardware power, store discounts, expert reviews, and benchmarks.

If you are into gaming then you must be aware that affordable gaming laptops are rare, and locating them online can be a total hassle. Every week, we spend hours searching the web for the best gaming laptop under $500 and compile a list for anybody looking to purchase a cheap gaming laptop

Choosing the Best Gaming Laptop: Key Features

Here are some of the key features that you need to take into account while making your purchase:

Display

The size, resolution, and refresh rate of your display may all have an effect on your gaming experience. Do you prefer a high-resolution or high-refresh-rate display, or do you intend to utilize an external monitor?

CPU and GPU

Compare component characteristics such as core count and clock speed, as well as benchmark results, to quickly compare various product lines.

Memory and storage

Distinguish between SSDs and HDDs, and calculate the amount of RAM required for the manner your system will be used.

Design

While lighter laptops may be more convenient for travel, more powerful hardware may be a necessity while playing demanding games at home.

Ports and inputs

Make a list of the peripherals you want to use, particularly external storage and audio. Do you need more adaptability, more high-speed ports, and more space?

Top Picks for Best Gaming Laptop Under $500

1. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 81W0003QUS 14-inch

Lenovo IdeaPad 3

The Lenovo Ideapad 3 81W0003QUS is powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor and is our current top choice for the best gaming laptop under $500. The Ryzen 5 3500U’s best feature is its inbuilt Radeon RX Vega 8 graphics, which outperforms rival Intel integrated graphics by up to double the efficiency and frames per second while rendering games.

This is a refreshing change in a market dominated by integrated graphics performance that falls short of expectations. Expect to play games like Elder Scrolls Skyrim at high graphics settings at a resolution of 1366 x 768 – no small accomplishment for such a compact laptop. That said, do not get your hopes up if you want to play more current games – if you do, we highly advise you to invest in a gaming laptop costing less than $600 or more and including a dedicated graphics card (more on these options below). Even the finest integrated graphics on the market will struggle to run the majority of current titles correctly, but there are a slew of excellent vintage PC games that these laptops will run without a hitch.

However, the Ideapad 3 is more than a strong CPU and capable entry-level graphics. Additionally, it weighs just 3.3 pounds and has a professional appearance that works great at work or school. This means that it will not only get your gaming done, but also checks all the boxes for an all-in-one mobile workstation.

On the other hand, several reviewers criticised the laptop’s weak touchpad. If you’re a dedicated player, you’ll probably want to use a mouse the majority of the time anyhow, although it may be inconvenient in some circumstances. Additionally, a somewhat smaller 14-inch display was found to have rather low viewing angles, making it unsuitable for outdoor usage in settings with a high level of glare.

Overall, despite a few small flaws, it’s difficult to disagree with Ideapad 3’s strong hardware and Lenovo’s proven track record of high-quality construction, which makes this Idea Pad 3 our undisputed top choice for the best inexpensive gaming laptop under $500 right now.

Pros
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Professional design
  • Radeon RX Vega 8 graphics
  • Powerful AMD Hardware – value for money
Cons
  • Poor viewing angles
  • Flimsy touchpad

Specs

AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
AMD Ryzen 5 3500U 2.1 GHz
256GB SSD
8GB DDR4 RAM
14 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
3.3 lbs
Windows 10 Home

Summary & Score

The Lenovo Ideapad 3 81W0003QUS offers high-performance technology at an inexpensive price with minimal sacrifices, making it an excellent all-around laptop suited for light gaming and performing daily chores with ease.

2. ASUS VivoBook 15 F512DA-EB51 15.6-Inch

ASUS VivoBook

The ASUS VivoBook 15 F512DA-EB51 is also another popular new release that has an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor, the greatest AMD CPU ever launched at this price point, as well as AMD Vega 8 integrated graphics with one of the most capable integrated graphics options currently.

While it’s difficult to envision a company like ASUS including such incredible technology at this pricing point without making some shortcuts, the sheer power of this machine cannot be overstated, particularly when compared to the majority of rival laptops at this price point.

The caveat, however, is that some users have reported experiencing performance problems as a result of device overheating. That said, if you decide to get this laptop, we highly advise you to invest in a laptop cooling pad, since without one, your hardware may be throttled. The cost of possible heat problems is clearly reflected in the VivoBook’s very attractive design, which has razor-thin bezels and high build quality, as well as a great mobility factor at just 3.5 pounds.

The whole specification sheet includes a 258 GB SSD hard drive, an AMD Quad Core r5-3500u CPU, AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics, and 8GB of DDR4 RAM. One critical point to keep in mind is that this VivoBook only has one accessible RAM slot, which may make RAM upgrades somewhat more expensive than on other versions.

Overall, if you’re looking for sheer performance and a laptop with an eye-catching appearance to flaunt about town, the ASUS VivoBook 15 F512DA-EB51 takes the cake, but keep in mind the potential hazards of overheating.

Pros
  • Powerful Hardware (Value for money)
  • Good build quality
  • Radeon Vega 8 graphics
  • Extremely portable
  • Stylish design with thin bezels
Cons
  • Overheating and performance degradation
  • Noisy fans when under load
  • For upgrades there are no empty slots
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
AMD Ryzen 5 3500U 2.1 GHz
256GB SSD
8GB DDR4 RAM
3.5 lbs
15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
Windows 10 Home

Summary & Score

If you’re searching for bang for buck hardware and thus are willing to invest in a laptop cooling pad to keep it cool, this laptop’s hardware is very powerful for the price, and it comes in incredibly attractive packaging.

3. Acer Aspire 5 Slim A515-43-R19L 15.6 inch

Acer Aspire 5

The Acer Aspire 5 Slim A515-43-R19L is a budget-friendly and best cheap laptop for gaming that has a Full-HD high-quality IPS display, a premium audio engine, and AMD Vega 3 Mobile Graphics.

Regrettably, the inbuilt AMD graphics card will be unable to handle more demanding games. Having said that, many top-tier games released in 2017 or earlier should run smoothly with reasonable frame rates on moderate settings at 1366×768 quality. These include well-known games like Dota 2, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

If you’re OK with outdated games, this Acer Aspire 5 Slim model aims to provide the best screen for the money. Additionally, it has a low-key premium lightweight design with a backlit keyboard.

On the downside, several reviewers criticised the device’s below-average touchpad (which is fine for gaming with a mouse) and somewhat shorter battery life than promised.

In general, if screen quality is a priority and you want to play older games, the A515-43-R19L will suffice. Otherwise, you may want to consider some more expensive gaming options.

Pros
  • Good contrast and high quality IPS display
  • Aluminum top cover with lightweight design
  • Backlit keyboard
Cons
  • Flimsy touchpad
  • Limited storage space out the box
  • Graphics is suitable for older games

Specs

AMD Radeon RX Vega 3
AMD Ryzen 3 3200U
15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
128GB SSD
4GB DDR4 SDRAM RAM
7.5 hours battery life
3.97 lbs
Windows 10 Home

Summary & Score

At an affordable price, the Acer Aspire 5 Slim A515-43-R19L offers sufficient graphics to run older games on low settings and fast Windows performance.

4. Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576G-5762 15.6-inch

Acer Aspire E

If you’re willing to spend a little more for the ultimate gaming experience, the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576G-5762 15.6 is among our best gaming laptops under $600. It includes an advanced NVIDIA GeForce MX150 dedicated graphics card and an Intel i5-8250U processor with 8GB of RAM, which is capable of handling the majority of heavy tasks.

The dedicated MX150 is Nvidia’s latest generation budget mobile GPU, outperforming the 940MX. Multitasking will also be a breeze, as the RAM will enable you to run a large number of apps and browser windows concurrently, but an upgrade to 16GB of RAM is also available (see our buying guide below). It comes with a very modest SSD, providing just 256GB of storage, but you may always upgrade to a larger SSD or HDD if necessary.

While the E15 features a Full-HD IPS display, some users have complained that it is quite dim in comparison to higher-end displays. Regardless, you’ll have reasonable viewing angles and the matte surface will eliminate any glare. It has a solid battery life of around 8 hours and 30 minutes, with Acer claiming up to 15 hours, though it will drain the battery much faster with heavier applications and games. The NVIDIA GeForce MX150 is far from a beast in comparison to higher-end cards, and most current AAA games may struggle somewhat, but reducing the graphical settings will allow you to play even next-gen games.

Both the keyboard and trackpad have received rave reviews from the majority of those who have this laptop. There was a great deal of criticism directed at quality control since many users received faulty computers. While this may be a small number of reviewers, it is always worth noting to ensure you qualify for a free return. If you’re searching for an affordable gaming laptop with a strong graphics card and long battery life, the E 15 E5-576G-5762 is a one-of-a-kind suggestion.

Pros
  • Good Intel i5-8250U CPU
  • SSD
  • Full-HD Display
  • Decent 8GB of RAM
  • Price
Cons
  • Limited storage capacity
  • Potential quality control issues
  • Dim screen

Specs

Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5
Intel Core i5-8250U 1.6GHz
15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
256GB SSD
8GB DDR3L RAM
5.27 lbs
15 hours battery life
Windows 10 Home

Summary & Score

The Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576G-5762 15.6-inch laptop is reasonably priced and equipped with a capable CPU and speedy SSD, but storage space is rather restricted, and the matte Full-HD display may not be to everyone’s taste.

5. Acer Aspire 5 A515-51G-53V6 15.6-inch

acer aspire 5 a515 51g 53v6 15.6 inch

Another Acer Aspire laptop, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-51G-53V6, is one of the good gaming laptops under 500 dollars and a budget gaming choice powered by the GeForce MX150. It is one of the most recent additions to Acer’s Aspire line in 2018, sporting an 8th generation Intel CPU.

A 1.60GHz Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 256GB SSD hard drive were mentioned in the full specifications. The most significant difference between the A515 and the E 15 models is that the A515 is nearly a full pound lighter, making it a good choice for someone who is often on the go.

As with the E 15, the inclusion of a backlit keyboard is a welcome touch for such a low-cost laptop, and users have also reported decent battery life.

With a weight of just 4.4 pounds, the design is portable enough to be used as a school or work laptop, but it is not as slim as the newest ultrabooks.

While the GeForce MX150 performs well for its price, it will struggle with newer titles, making this laptop ideal for playing somewhat older games or those with lower visual requirements.

For about $200 more, the performance difference is fairly noticeable, so if you’re considering recent games, it may be worth investing some more time to maximise your savings.

Pros
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Sleek design
  • Decent battery life off load
  • Great specs for the price
  • More portable compared to previous models
Cons
  • Average touchpad
  • Struggles with the latest games
  • Dim screen

Specs

Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5
Intel Core i5-8250U 1.6GHz
15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
256GB SSD
8GB DDR3L RAM
5.27 lbs
15 hours battery life
Windows 10 Home

Summary & Score

The Acer Aspire 5 A515-51G-53V6 features a GeForce MX150 that is an ideal and cheap gaming laptop under 500 dollars for budget players without incurring too many sacrifices.

Integrated Graphics or Dedicated? What to look for?

One thing that may be challenging at this price point in the budget gaming laptop market is deciding between systems with integrated graphics which are built into the CPU, and laptops with dedicated (separable) graphics, which are powered by dedicated hardware.

The truth is that if pricing allows, a dedicated graphics card is nearly always preferable. Unfortunately, a gaming laptop with a dedicated graphics card under $500 is very uncommon. Only gaming laptops priced at or above $600 will have dedicated graphics, so if you can afford it, we strongly advise you to check out one of our other recommendations.

Recently, CPU makers have improved integrated graphics to the point that they are still a viable choice, but you will be restricted to older games. If you choose the integrated option, go for AMD Ryzen CPUs, which provide the greatest integrated performance in their class.

Upgrading RAM on your laptop

Oftentimes, cheap gaming laptops ship with a little amount of RAM but provide simple upgrade options that are strongly recommended. While increasing RAM could appear like something from a science fiction film to some, it is really very simple and just takes a few minutes on most laptops.

Takeaway

This concludes our list of the best cheap gaming laptop under $500. If you have a few more bucks to invest, check out the best gaming laptops with more powerful machines that will raise the ante and elevate your gaming experience.

While these cheap gaming laptops may not be able to run the latest games at their maximum settings, it does not take away from the pleasure of gaming on the go without breaking the budget. In any case, in comparison to the number of games available (both classics and current releases), you’d be amazed at how the number of games you can play measures up against those you can’t. These best gaming laptops will breeze through famous titles such as Minecraft and DOTA 2, as well as a slew of newer titles.