Cheap gaming laptops were once far from being the ideal way to play games. And it seemed that the only good gaming laptops required a very hefty investment. This meant the average gamer had no choice but to pick up a regular computer due to gaming laptops costing way too much. With the ability to upgrade individual parts in order to keep up with increasing specs, standard PCs became the norm.
Of course, regular PCs are terrible when it comes to portability. If you were on a tight budget, your choice was either a bulky regular PC to keep in one place or a laptop that was light and sleek but could only play new titles at the lowest settings, if at all.
But times have changed! Now it’s possible to find a cheap gaming laptop with the specs needed to play today’s hottest games. The market is full of excellent laptops that aren’t overpriced while still featuring cutting-edge graphics cards, powerful processors, large storage space, and plenty of support for PC gaming accessories. We’re here to help you choose the best out of all of them.
What should you look for in a cheap gaming laptop?
Before we get to our list of the best affordable gaming laptops, let’s talk about what we were looking for when making our selections. We wouldn’t recommend a laptop for it’s price alone. After all, what’s the point of spending a few hundred bucks on one if it isn’t even able to play newly-released games?
In other words, going for something too cheap can mean your laptop will go out of date quickly. This will prevent you from playing the latest entry in your favorite franchise down the road. To avoid this, we looked carefully at the following when selecting our choice of best cheap gaming laptop.
Video games have come a long way from when 3D graphics first became the industry standard. Just like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Final Fantasy VII did back in the 90s, today’s games continue blowing us away with worlds and visuals that immerse us for hours on end.
The difference, of course, is that recent titles require far more horsepower to run. You’ll need something strong to run demanding games like Overwatch, The Witcher 3, and Fallout 4 at a satisfying graphic setting. Opt for a a weak CPU and you may not even be able to play the game at all.
That is why four out of five of our recommended gaming laptops have an Intel Core i7 quad-core processor. It’s more than enough to run the latest games and those to come in the next few years. Only the Inspiron 15 on this list has a Intel i5 processor, which can still play big-budget titles but may not remain your go-to PC gaming device for as long.
Good RAM / Memory
Having a decent amount of RAM on a gaming laptop is important if you also plan on using it for things other than gaming. RAM is what stores temporary content and data so that it can be used than if it were being pulled from the hard drive. So while RAM doesn’t necessarily make your CPU faster, it lets you do more things at once with less wait.
This is why having plenty of RAM can improve your PC gaming experience. With more RAM, you’ll have faster loading times and a smoother experience even while other programs are open. This is especially useful if you plan to use programs outside of your game to communicate with friends and teammates, as is the case with many MMORPG players.
The standard these days is 8GB of RAM, which is enough to play today’s high-end games. Three of the gaming laptops on this list have 8GB, with the other two offering an impressive 16GB of RAM. Combined with a strong processor, both 8GB and 16GB are more than enough to have an amazing PC gaming experience.
Resolution refers to the number of pixels in each dimension that a television or monitor can display natively. If your HDTV has a resolution of 1080P, it will be able to produce pictures with more detail than a TV with 720P. While resolution alone doesn’t determine picture quality, it’s important one when it comes to how pretty your games look.
Nowadays, anything less than 1080P is seen as unacceptable to those who really care about their games’ graphic quality. Even though a gaming laptop with 720P resolution can still produce great images, the average gamer wants to see the characters, stories, and worlds as crisp and detailed as possible. Fortunately, 1080P is nowhere near as expensive as it used to be.
All five of our recommended cheap gaming laptops come with 1080P resolution. If you’re interested in something better, like 3K or 4K resolution, get ready to spend way more money. Laptops that support those high resolutions also require the latest graphics processors since they have to work several times harder. The picture is clearer, sure, but in our opinion not enough to shell out several hundred dollars more.
Unless you don’t mind installing games after you’re done with the, you’re going to want a good-sized hard drive. This is because most titles these days require several gigs of storage to keep on your computer. A typical big-budget game can take up several dozen gigs, as is the case with Batman: Arkham Knight and its 45 GB file size.
A good laptop for gaming should have at least 256GB of hard drive space, which is the case with all of our recommendations. But whether the laptop you choose has 256GB or 1TB, you can always pick up an external hard drive to boost your storage space.
You’ll also notice that all of our selections feature a solid state drive, or SSD. Solid state drives are proven to have faster start up speeds and no moving parts, allowing them to not only reduce boot up times but also prove more durable than regular hard drives. In other words, your data won’t be as likely to corrupt upon damage. SDDs also provide lower temperatures, better battery life, and are capable of improving overall system performance.
The Best Cheap Gaming Laptop
If you’re in the market for a laptop for gaming that won’t leave your wallet empty, look no further. We’ve compiled for you the best cheap gaming laptops currently available online. These are guaranteed to let you play the latest games for several years to come, free of the credit card debt buyers of expensive gaming laptops end up with.
ASUS 15.6-inch Full-HD Gaming Laptop
ASUS K501UW-AB78 15.6-inch Full-HD Gaming Laptop (Intel Core i7, GTX 960M, 8GB DDR4, 512GB SSD) Glacier Grey
ASUS has made a name for themselves in recent years when it comes to providing high-quality computer hardware and electronics. From desktops, laptops, and netbooks to monitors, motherboards, and graphics cards, the Taiwanese company has earned its spot as the fourth largest PC vendor in the world. If you have your heart set on the best laptop for gaming, ASUS’ excellent line of products is a great place to start.
The ASUS K501 Multimedia Laptop is easily one of the best gaming laptops under 1000 you can buy. Few gaming laptops will give you as much bang for your buck as this one. Don’t make the mistake of investing in an overpriced machine when this cheap gaming laptop is just as good, if not better.
When it comes to processing power, this Asus laptop has got you covered. A cutting-edge Intel Core i7 2.5GHz processor delivers an amazing level of performance and can even turbo up to 3.1GHz. You’ll be able to run the latest HD games without a problem, even if you have other tasks and programs open at the same time. The ability to multitask without a drop in performance make this an excellent choice if you plan to use your new laptop for more than just gaming.
Combined with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics and DirectX 11, you’ll never have to worry about graphical hiccups while playing games or watching Full HD movies and shows. 8GB of RAM also does its part to make sure this great, affordable gaming laptop serves you well for many years to come. The large 15.6 inches screen is also the perfect size for getting the most out of the great visuals from your games and movies.
Innovative NVIDIA Optimus Technology comes included with the ASUS K501 Multimedia Laptop. This feature automatically adjusts the GPU of your laptop depending on your current task. While playing a big-budget game or streaming HD content, you’ll get a boost in graphics performance without having to touch any settings yourselves. Similarly, the GPU will go into a battery-boosting mode when it detects you’re running low on battery and require efficiency.
ASUS has also added their own unique technology into this fantastic device in the form of ASUS Splendid Technology. You’ll experience sharper colors and rich hues as this technology enhances the display of your notebook panel. Your games will look more alive and immersive than ever before.
Boasting a 512 GB SSD, you can store large amounts of data and access it in an instant. Most cheap gaming laptops in the price range of the K501 only have a 256GB SSD, making this an amazing deal as you’re getting double. You’ll never have to worry about storage space when the next Steam sale comes.
There’s nothing worse than having to cut your gaming session short because your laptop is overheating. That is why the K501 comes equipped with an enhanced cooling system that uses independent copper fans designed to focus on cooling the CPU and GPU. This state-of-the-art cooling system keeps your laptop’s insides cool, preventing overheating and guaranteeing system stability. The cooling system also works with ASUS IceCool Technology— a clever internal layout that keeps the surfaces where your palms rest at a comfortable temperature.
While you probably will be sticking to your gaming mouse, the Smart Gesture multi touchpad isn’t a bad option for when you’re just checking out your favorite sites and social media pages. The pad is very intuitive and does an amazing job of identifying even the slightest fingertip input, which means incredible accuracy.
Other features include two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0, making it a total of four. USB 3.0 delivers the new transfer rate known as SuperSpeed USB, which means a whopping 625 MB per second. This is roughly ten times faster than a standard USB 2.0 port. You also get one headphone-out and audio-in combo jack, one HDMI port, one RJ45 LAN jack for LAN insert, and one Card Reader port.
ASUS ships the K501 preinstalled with Windows 10. Microsoft has put tremendous effort in unifying their PC and Xbox live communities. With Windows 10, you can connect with your Xbox One friends, play cross-device multiplayer titles, stream Xbox One games to your laptop, and more. Windows 10 also offers a host of great features, including Cortana in select markets.
By purchasing this awesome gaming laptop you’re also getting one year of accidental damage protection. Liquid spills and physical damage won’t spell the end of your gaming laptop experience. More importantly, unexpected damage from electrical surges is also covered, giving you complete peace of mind.
Dell 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop
Dell 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop (6th Gen Intel Quad-Core i5-6300HQ Processor up to 3.2GHz, 8GB DDR3, 256GB SSD, Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M, Windows 10)
Dell is one of those companies that needs no introduction. As a leader in computer technology since the early 80s, they’ve been behind some of the greatest advancements in the field. This includes leading microprocessors, handhelds, printers, and of course, computers.
The Dell Inspiron i7559 is perfect if you want the most affordable gaming laptops on the market that won’t have any issues running visually-demanding games. It comes with a powerful Intel i5 2.3GHz quad core processor with 6M Cache and turbo up to 3.2 GHz. This 6th Gen processor is more than enough to have a smooth experience while multi-tasking different programs and playing your favorite games.
With the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card, you’ll be able to push those games to their limit. 4GB GDDR5 of discrete memory means you’ll receive the highest FPS (frame per second) rates, eliminating the chance of a slow down causing you to miss your target and get a bullet between the eyes instead. A performance-class graphics card like this one is also perfect if you want a cheap gaming laptop that is also good for video editing, streaming, and other demanding tasks.
A 256GB solid state drive provides enough storage to keep plenty of games, movies, and pics. But if you’re the kind of gamer who goes crazy during good sales or simply enjoys buying new titles frequently, fret not. These days there are plenty of external storage solutions that won’t set you back a lot of cash. Many (if not all) of our recommended external hard drives for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are also an excellent choice for the PC gamer who knows 256GB won’t be enough.
A good laptop for gaming also needs to have decent battery life.The 6-cell 74Whr battery provides more than 10 hours of battery life even while streaming videos and playing online games. A unique thermal cooling design keeps your laptop from overheating thanks to three exhausts, two cooling fans, and large vents with 240 thermal fins. This includes making sure your palms don’t become hot and irritated after extended use.
A full HD screen with anti-glare IPS wide angle display means your games will look amazing no matter what kind of lighting you’re playing in. A backlit keyboard helps you hit every keystroke even while gaming in the dark while an advanced touchpad offers accuracy and responsiveness when you’re giving the gaming mouse a rest.
If sound quality is an important part of your gaming experience, this may be the best gaming laptop for you. A combination of advanced Dell speakers and built-in subwoofer make sure you feel every explosion while the game’s soundtrack helps immerse you into the action. Waves MaxxAudio Pro, a studio-quality audio processing software, also comes installed.
Other features include a sleek 1 inch thin design for portability, a gorgeous 15.6 inch screen, and a light weight of only 6 pounds. Available ports and slots include: three USB 3.0 ports, a media card reader, HDMI port, ethernet jack port, headphone port, and security lock.
Last but not least, the Dell Inspiron i7559 comes with the new Windows 10 and DirectX 12 technology. Microsoft’s latest operating system was designed with the gamer in mind, allowing you to switch between games faster and experience better FPS and visual quality. Only with Windows 10 can you also play a number of cross-platform Xbox One games
Acer Aspire E 15
Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6 Full HD, Intel Core i5, NVIDIA 940MX, 8GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, Windows 10, E5-575G-53VG
The Acer Aspire E 15 stands as one of the bestselling gaming laptops for providing everything a PC gamer needs. That includes being available in two different versions: one with an Intel Core i5 processor and the other with a Core i7. While the latter delivers more kick in the performance department, the Core i5 version can play the latest games just fine and is less expensive. With both choices you can expect near-instant boot time and high-speed connectivity for all your gaming and multitasking needs
Acer E Series laptops come equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce 940MX with 2GB of DDR5 memory. These graphics cards are crafted to give users a seamless experience even while using today’s demanding programs. This includes anything from watching videos and movies to streaming yourself playing games.
Your online games will also go uninterrupted thanks to cutting-edge 802.11ac wireless featuring MU-MIMO technology. Connect to an 802.11ac MU-MIMO based router and you’ll experience performance speeds up to three times faster. For the Acer E Series owner, gone are the days of losing connection in the middle of a match.
A 256GB solid-state drive gives you peace of mind as you watch your gaming collection grow. Unless you’re the kind of person who buys every game they see on sale, you won’t have to worry about other storage options for a while. And as we’ve mentioned before, solid-state drives are far more efficient and reliable than traditional hard drives.
For the gamer who plans on exploring their favorite virtual worlds in the dark, The Aspire E 15 has got you covered. A backlit keyboard complete with a spacious key layout lets you stay in control even in a dim room. The Precision Touchpad also provides accurate control that’s comparable to the most intuitive touchscreens. Touchpad isn’t the best way to play PC games but it can prove handy when doing other tasks like browsing the web, looking at photos, etc.
The best laptops for gaming also must have a good battery life, and this one is no exception. With a full battery charge you can play games and run programs for up to 12 hours, giving you an entire day of usage. If you like taking your laptop with you wherever you go, even if it’s just from the bedroom to the kitchen, this is an excellent choice.
An impressive 15.6 inch LED-backlit LCD display will leave you speechless as you watch 3D characters and worlds come alive. 16.9 widescreen aspect ratio allows you to get the best from your gaming laptop no matter what angle you rest it, while the Acer BluelightShield feature reduces blue-light emissions. This is a big advantage if you’re prone to eye strain and fatigue when using a computer for too long.
Other awesome features include Acer ColorBlast and ExaColor support for superior color quality. Acer TrueHarmony speakers do their part to give you a wide range of sounds and bass. A host of ports and slots, including four different USB ports (on 3.1, two 3.0, and one 2.0), and other details make buy this a no-brainer if you want an affordable gaming laptop that has it all.
ASUS ROG 15-Inch Gaming Laptop
ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH74 15-Inch Gaming Laptop, Discrete GPU GeForce GTX 960M 4GB VRAM, 16GB DDR4, 1TB, 128GB SSD (ROG Metallic)
This amazing gaming laptop delivers powerful gaming performance comparable to a high-end PC. A 6th generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processor coupled with a discrete NVIDIA GTX 960 graphics card join forces to display games they way the developers intended you to see them. With Full DirectX 12 support as well, you’re looking at a strong contender for the best gaming laptop currently on the market that won’t leave your cash reserves dry.
While previous entries on this list offered 6GB, the ASUS ROG GL552 boasts a an impressive 16GB of lighting-fast DDR4 RAM. With double the memory, you’ll experience unmatched gaming performance when while switching between other demanding programs as well.
Did we mention the whopping 1TB solid-state drive? That’s more than a thousand gigabyte of storage space for your video games, music, movies, and everything else. Ultra-fast m.2 PCIe SSD technology guaranteed your SSD functions efficiently with your operating system for even faster loading times.
Unlike most other cheap gaming laptops, this one as a slide-off panel that allow upgrades to be made with little effort. There won’t be any pains or frustration when you decide to replace the storage or memory with something else. Of course, seeing as this excellent laptop already comes equipped with high performance components, we don’t see that happening for another several years— if ever at all.
The GL552 also comes with a keyboard reinforced with nearly a hundred solder points. This gives you maximum durability and lets your keys enjoy a much longer life than those on competing laptops. Red backlit keys help you game at night or in dark areas, while the specially-designed WASD keys give you complete control while playing input-demanding titles.
A Full HD IPS panel means you won’t suffer from annoying glare no matter what kind of lighting you’re playing in. You can always expect sharp, accurate colors while playing games or watching videos. Sound quality issues will also be a thing of the past with the SonicMaster technology this laptop comes with. Crystal-clear audio from any of your five custom preset settings will leave you captivated by the game’s music and sounds.
And if nothing grinds your gears more than lag, the ROG GL552VW was made for you. ASUS GameFirst III Technology prioritizes game data flow across your network, leaving games running smoother and significantly reducing the chance of lag.
Other features include the newest in USB technology, USB 3.1, along with a number of other slots and port types. Also worth mentioning is the sleek, attractive laptop design complete with angles surfaces and lines inspired by F-22 stealth fighters. Whoever said affordable gaming laptops can’t look amazing hasn’t set their eyes on this ASUS model.
Acer Predator 17
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-735A 17.3-inch Full HD Gaming Notebook (Windows 10)
Last on our list is an Acer notebook that was clearly designed from the ground up to meet the needs of PC gamers. A 6th generation Intel Core i7 quad core processor offers the best in gaming performance no matter what setting you’re playing on. It works alongside an NVIDIA GTX 970M graphics card for unrivaled graphics. With these two cutting-edge pieces, the Predator will be your main PC gaming device for years to come.
16GB of DDR4 dual-channel memory is there to prevent any slowdown while running several programs and games at the same time. Our recommended Acer Predator 17 version also features a 1TB hard drive and 256GB solid-state drive. This gives you the option of using the SSD for games alone in order to have the highest loading times possible.
Killer DoubleShot Pro technology helps reduce lag by helping your laptop take advantage of your high speed ethernet and Wi-Fi networks. You can select which programs get bandwidth priority. Set your game applications at the top to never experience lag when an unexpected program pops up or starts running.
Unique to this great, affordable gaming laptop is the PredatorSense control panel. This feature allows you to customize and control various game features so your games run and play to your desire. This includes macro programmable keys, in-game shortcuts, light control settings, and more.
Of course, arguably one of the most impressive things about the Predator is its awesome 17.3-inch full HD widescreen IPS display. You can finally enjoy your game’s jaw dropping visuals with the sharpest colors and details possible. 16:9 cinematic format support also turns your gaming laptop into the perfect movie-watching device.
But with so much power under the hood, overheating can be a concern. The Predator does away with his problem via the Predator FrostCore. This Acer-exclusive extra serves as an additional optical disk drive fan so there’s more air flow, reducing your laptop’s temperature. Other features include four USB 3.0 ports, one FUll USB 3.1 Type C port, TrueHarmony Premium sound system, four built-in stereo speakers complete with two subwoofers, Bluetooth 4.1, and more.
Acer Predator laptops come installed with Windows 10, the platform that’s quickly becoming a must-have for gamers. Windows 10 lets you play and connect with other gamers, whether they’re using a PC or Xbox One.