When most users think of PC gaming, they tend to consider those from the 'PC Master Race' who find themselves so superior to everyone else - especially console users. That makes entering the world of PC gaming to be a tad bit unapproachable or ominous, as no one wants to lose their soul to the cult of the master race.
That being said, you don't need to spend $2000 in order to run the latest and greatest video games. In fact, there are plenty of affordable gaming laptops for under $500 that could serve your purposes quite well.
A budget gaming laptop may sound a bit cheap, and perhaps your friends will make fun of you at first, but soon, as you're running the latest Call of Duty at 60 frames-per-second, they will stop laughing long enough to check out the system and its internal components.
Now, that's not to say every affordable gaming laptop featured on this list will run the newest games at 60 FPS. Some may, while others won't. It is as simple as what parts are put into some of the best gaming laptops from 2016. The year is still young, though, so expect new releases around the holiday season, too.
Of course, not everyone is interested in playing new releases. Some people, myself included, are more than happy enjoying older classics or games released a few years back. More often than not, these titles can be purchased for under $10 via Steam, GoG, Green Man Gaming, or any other digital service offer game keys. These laptops will run those and more.
Trust us, there is no point in breaking the bank entirely. A pre-built package can be just as good as a custom-built gaming computer.
The Acer Aspire F15 is one of the best examples of an affordable gaming laptop. The low price, which comes in under $500, is one of the newest releases from Acer, a renowned company known for their quality builds.
Despite being relatively cheap, the entire package was built with high performance in mind. The internal components were picked from a wide selection to ensure the system runs smoothly and as quick as possible. Specifically, the high amount of RAM featured straight out of the box is capable of handling most video games without a single framerate issue. Some new releases may tax the system slightly, but this beast is future-proofed for a few years at the very least.
The biggest downside, however, especially through heavy gaming usage, is the battery life. Some users report only receiving around two hours of life from the lithium-ion battery. You can replace said battery, though, so upgrading to a more powerful option could be beneficial in the long run.
If you're looking to just play Minecraft, some gaming laptop reviews report over 130 frames-per-second in-game. That is better than some desktop computers!
Processor: Intel Core i5 1.7 GHz
Memory: 8GB DDR3 SDRAM
Storage: 1 TB 5400 RPM
GPU: Intel Integrated Graphics
Extras: SD Card Reader, 4-Cell Lithium-Ion Battery, Integrated Webcam, Bluetooth Capability
For those working with a tight budget, swapping out an Intel processor for an AMD processor can be a highly beneficial move. AMD tends to offer cheap options, but without sacrificing a lot of the power Intel is known for. In fact, some AMD options tend to be a bit more powerful.
The HP 15-d020nr is an AMD gaming laptop, pure and simple. HP usually receives a bad reputation amongst gamers, as most of their computers tend to be work machines and nothing more. This affordable laptop, however, bridges the gap quite well.
The internal pieces are chosen for other uses, honestly, but they work extremely well for gaming. The quad-core processor, for instance, is powerful enough to run the most loved video games.
One of the best perks of this particular laptop comes in the form of the touchscreen. For games that utilize touchscreen - mostly mobile or casual titles - that is a godsend. The ease of use cannot be beaten by many other options.
Processor: AMD A4 5000 1.5 GHz
Memory: 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM
Storage: 500 GB 5400 RPM
GPU: AMD Radeon HD 8330
Extras: Touchscreen, 25 GB Lifetime Cloud Storage, CD/DVD Burner, HDMI Port, Media Card Reader
Anyone who knows anything about laptops will find their mouth watering at some of the features included in the Lenovo Flex 2, specifically the hyper-threading featured in the already strong processor from Intel. The i5 was built with performance on the mind, so you can bet your bottom dollar high-end games can be run with ease on this beauty.
The price, which is just under $400, is certainly far from the most expensive option out there. There are similarly priced options on the market right now, but some of those have far lower performance. Compared to the Dell counterpart, the prices tend to match, but the internal performance cannot be beat here.
The laptop has the unique capability of being entirely convertible. Basically, this means you can flip the screen completely around and use it as an oversized touchscreen tablet, albeit one with a keyboard attached on the opposite side. This is perfect for casual games, such as Plants vs. Zombies.
Processor: Intel Core i5 1.7 GHz
Memory: 4 GB DDR3
Storage: 500 GB 5400 RPM
GPU: Intel Integrated
Extras: Lithium-Ion Battery, Built-In Bluetooth,
Okay, the price tag on the Acer Aspire E 15 may deter some people from buying, simply because most gamers feel you are paying for performance. That may be the case with some options, but this affordable gaming laptop can still handle video games with ease. While you won't be running all the latest releases at max settings, you can still handle such titles as World of Warcraft or Minecraft while on the go.
Another selling point many buyers are raving about includes the battery. While some gaming laptops of the same style and price range tend to feature a battery with a measly 2-3 hour life, this little monster is capable of 7 hours of playtime with the lithium-ion battery.
This is the perfect laptop option for anyone interested in playing older games while on long road trips or while traveling. Again, Steam has a wide variety of such titles for affordable prices, so take advantage of those deals and the occasional sale with titles for under $5 or $10.
Pick and choose carefully, as the 500 GB hard drive will fill quickly if you're anything like us.
Processor: Intel Celeron N2840 2.16 GHz
Memory: 4 GB DDR3L
Storage: 500 GB 5400 RPM
GPU: Intel HD
Extras: Lithium-Ion Battery, USB 3.0, Bluetooth
If you're looking for one of the best gaming laptops of 2016 for under $500, this is honestly your best option. Not only is the 17-inch screen larger than any other listed previously here, but the internal components are just a smidgen better, too. That means you are getting more bang for your buck by a long shot for under $400.
Tech savvy individuals looking to play their games with ease will turn to the G70, like most other people who spend time reading the reviews on sites like Amazon. For example, one user claims this is the fastest laptop they have used, while another shouts outright that you cannot beat the price. We wholeheartedly agree with these statements.
While integrated graphics are not the most ideal option, even in a laptop, they will do the job for the time being. Honestly, you're paying a fraction of the cost for a custom built computer.
Processor: 5th Gen Intel Core i3 2.2 GHz
Memory: 4GB DDR3L SDRAM
Storage: 1 TB HDD 5400 RPM
GPU: Intel HD 5500
Extras: CD/DVD Drive, Windows 10, HD Webcam
Sure, you could save up some more money and spend an extra thousand dollars or more to buy a gaming laptop, or you could save some cash for new games and spend under $500 with one of these.
These five affordable gaming laptops should peak your interest a bit, especially if you want to manage your budget a little better. As you may have noticed, most of these didn't even come close to the $500 barrier we put in place.
Alienware, the most expensive option on the market, can sure play the very best games without sacrificing any quality on day one of a new release. But for such performance, you're going to pay for an arm and a leg. Most don't want to lose that chunk of change in a single day.
Which of these five laptops would you choose to buy?