Best budget laptops for gaming

Gaming a on a budget and looking for an affordable laptop for gaming?…we know how frustrating it can be, since most gaming laptops start way above the 1000$ mark. However, finding a cheap budget laptop for gaming isn’t impossible, and that’s why we made this guide!

Before we dive in, let’s first look at some of the things you should pay attention to when shopping for a gaming laptop and a budget gaming laptop particularly. If you’re new to buying laptops, you can also read our general laptop buying guide here. If you are already familiar with gaming laptop you can scroll down to our budget gaming laptops list.

What to look for when choosing a gaming laptop?

Because gaming laptops have higher end components, the price is usually the factor that will determine how powerful a gaming system is. It is important to clearly define your needs before making your purchase, especially if you’re on a budget: if you only play retro games, 2D games, or browser based games; then you don’t need to spend money on a gaming laptop, even a budget laptop with integrated graphics will be able to run those games just fine. On the other hand, if you want to play any newer 3D games, then be prepared to spend some extra bucks on a laptop with dedicated graphics. To help you choose the best budget laptop for gaming, here are the most important components to look at:

Graphics card: the GPU is the most important component in any gaming system and that is particularly true for gaming laptops, since unlike desktops, the graphics card is soldered to the motherboard and cannot be upgraded. Below are some of the most popular graphics cards you can buy in 2018:

  • GeForce 940MX :As of 2018, the Nvidia GeForce 940MX is the minimum you can go by for gaming if you’re on a strict budget; it is capable of running most games at a playable 30fps at low to medium setting depending on the game.
  • GeForce GTX 950M / GeForce MX150: While still being an entry level GPU, you will have more power to run newer titles, and you will definitely see an improvement in FPS in comparison to the 940M
  • GeForce GTX 1050 / GeForce GTX 1050 Ti: The 1050 is one of the most popular GPUs on mid-range gaming laptops, capable of running most recent games at medium settings. The 1050Ti share a lot of things in common with the 1050 since they are both based on Nvidia’s latest GPU architecture, but the 1050Ti offers a slight improvement in performance since it has more cores and has a higher clock speed.
  • GeForce GTX 1060: The 1060 is probably the best gaming GPU to buy right now; it is relatively affordable, is VR ready (capable of working with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets), and has way more power and more longevity than the 1050Ti.
  • GeForce GTX 1070: The 1070 shares a lot in common with the 1060, but it has more VRAM and is way more capable when it comes to VR.
  • GeForce GTX 1080: The most powerful gaming GPU right now. The 1080 is capable of running triple A titles at 4K resolution and can handle more work load than the 1070.

Processor:  When you’re on the hunt for a gaming laptop, the processor should not be a priority. However, we recommend getting a laptop with at least an Intel Core i5 processor for any gaming system, and if you will be getting a higher end GPU, an i7 is highly recommended if you don’t want to bottleneck the performance.

Storage type and capacity: SSDs provide responsiveness and fast boot times to your laptop but they are still expensive. Knowing that some games can require more than 50GB of your drive, it is usually better to go for a standard hard drive instead of an SSD. You can read about the differences between SSD and HDD here.

Display:  There are three factors to consider here: the display size, resolution, and type. While the display size is usually a matter of personal preference, it is recommended to get at least a screen with Full HD resolution. Laptops with 4K displays are still expensive, but it’s worth spending the extra bucks if you will do more than just gaming. Another thing to consider is the display type; there are two types of displays out there: TN and IPS panels; the former offers better response times (which is better for gaming) but has limited colors and viewing angles, and the latter has better color reproduction and viewing angles but it comes at the cost of a lower refresh rate.

Now that you have an idea about the things you should consider when choosing a gaming laptop, here are some of the best budget laptops for gaming as of 2018:

 

Best gaming laptops under 800:

 

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 5577 Gaming Laptop

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First on our list, the Dell Inspiron 5577 is one of the most affordable gaming laptops you can find with a GTX 1050. The specs include a 7th gen Intel i5 7300HQ processor, 8GB of RAM, and a standard 1TB hard drive. The Inspiron 5577 has all it takes to be your main computer for your daily tasks, and thanks to its subtle professional look, you can also carry it to school or work.

When it comes to gaming, the Dell Inspiron 5577 delivers a very good overall performance. Thanks to the dedicated Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 with 4GB VRAM, you can high end games in mid to high settings with no lags or freezing. On high settings, we got an average of 62FPS on GTA 5, 44FPS on Doom, 54FPS on overWatch, 47FPS on F1 2017, and a very respectable 44FPS on Battlefield 1.

Processor Intel Core i5-7300HQ Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 1TB HDD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB of GDDR5
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920 x 1080 TN
Connectivity and Ports 3- USB 3.0 ports

1 – HDMI Port , Ethernet

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1

Battery Up to 8 hours battery life

 

 Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-75MD

 

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The Acer Aspire E15 comes in different versions, and they all offer the best bang for the bucks! The Aspire E 15 E5-575G-75MD is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a laptop for light gaming and you’re on a tight budget. It comes with a 7th Gen Intel i7 7500U processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and a dedicated Nvidia Geforce 940MX graphics card with 2GB of DDR5 video memory.

While the 940MX is an entry level graphics card, it still manages to do a very good job at most games, as long as the settings are kept medium to low, with frame rates between 30FPS and 60FPS.

There are however two things to consider before buying this laptop for casual gaming: it runs hot when gaming; and the 256GB SSD can become quite limited for storing your game data files. The  Aspire E 15 E5-575G-75MD comes however with a free SATA slot, and you can easily add a second hard drive.

Processor Intel Core i7-7500U Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB SSD, (with a free slot to add a second drive)
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce MX 940MX with 2GB of VRAM
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB 3.1 (Type C) port

2 – USB 3.0 ports

1 – USB 2.0 port

1 – HDMI port

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1, DVD-RW

Battery Up to 12 hours battery life

 

Lenovo IdeaPad 15 Y700

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Powered by a 6th Generation Core i5 processor, the Lenovo IdeaPad 15 Y700 is a serious gaming laptop as you can tell by its looks. Under the hood you will find a Core i5 6300HQ Processor, 8GB of RAM, a dedicated Nvidia GeForce 960M graphics card, and a 128GB SSD + 1TB hard drive.  The Lenovo Y700 can run most of today’s games on medium to high settings, which makes it still a great value in 2018. As long as you’re not on ultra settings, expect frame rates between 30-60 FPS depending on the title.

The IdeaPad Y700 also sports a gorgeous 15,6 inch Full HD screen, which delivers vivid colors and great viewing angles thanks to the IPS technology. The speakers are also exceptionally good considering the price.

 

Processor Intel Core i5-6300HQ Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce 960M with 4GB of VRAM
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920X1080 IPS
Connectivity and Ports 2 – USB 3.0 ports

1 – USB 2.0 port

1 – HDMI port, Ethernet

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.1, DVD-RW

Battery Up to 6 hours battery life

 

Acer Nitro 5 AN515-51-504A

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The Nitro 5 AN515-51-504A is a budget friendly gaming laptop that comes with an Intel core i5 7300HQ processor, 16GB of RAM, a fast 256GB solid state drive, and a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX  graphics card. The Nitro 5 will run most games you’ll throw at it at great frame rates, averaging 45FPS on Tomb Raider, and 43FPS on Shadow of Moroder, both on high settings.

The screen on the Acer Nitro 5 has a Full HD resolution and produces sharp and beautiful images thanks to the presence of an IPS panel. Color accuracy is also very good, and viewing angles are very stable.

Another thing that makes the Nitro 5 a great buy for the money is the build quality: the chassis is made of a mix of aluminum and high quality plastic, and the design clearly resembles the Asus Rog.

Processor Intel Core i5-7300HQ Processor
RAM 16GB
Storage 256 SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB of GDDR5
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920 x 1080 IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB Type C

1 – USB 3.0 port

2 – USB 2.0 ports

1 – HDMI port

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.0

Battery Up to 7 hours battery life

 

 

Best gaming laptops under 1000:

 

Eluktronics N850HP6 Pro-X:

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Looking for a solidly built, powerful, yet affordable gaming laptop? Here is the Eluktronics N850HP6 Pro-X. It comes with a 7th Generation core i7 7700HQ processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB SSD, and most importantly a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 video memory.  Thanks to the GTX 1060, The Pro-X is capable of running any game you throw at it at the highest settings. On Ultra settings, Fornite 2018 runs at 78 FPS, Call of Duty WWII 2017 at 70FPS, and F1 2017 at 60FPS.

The build quality is also remarkable, with a chassis made of aluminum plastic, and a design that remains subtle, unlike most high end gaming laptops.

Processor Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 128 SSD ( Free Slot to add an extra drive, mounting included)
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB of GDDR5
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920 x 1080 IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB Type C

2 – USB 3.0 port

1 – USB 2.0 ports

1 – HDMI port , 2 Mini Display ports, Ethernet

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.0

Battery Up to 6 hours battery life

 

HP Omen 15-ax250wm:

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The HP Omen 15-ax250wm is a mid-range notebook directed at casual gamers. It comes with a 7th Gen core i7 7700HQ processor, 12GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive (free M2 slot to add a faster SSD), and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX1050Ti graphics card. The HP Omen 15t (2017) offers reliable gaming performance, as long as the settings are not on Ultra.

The chassis is entirely made of plastic, which is no deal breaker, but we expected better from HP’s gaming lineup. The build quality on the other hand is still decent.

 

Processor Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor
RAM 12GB
Storage 1TB HDD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti with 4GB of GDDR5
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920 x 1080 IPS
Connectivity and Ports 2 – USB 3.1 port

1 – USB 2.0 ports

1 – HDMI port , Ethernet

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.0

Battery Up to 8 hours battery life

 

Dell Inspiron 15 7567:

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The Dell Inspiron 15 7567 comes with a 7th Gen Quad Core i5-7300HQ processor, 6GB of RAM, a solid state 256GB drive, and a dedicated GeForce 1050Ti graphics card. The reason why the Inspiron 7567 is one of the best gaming laptops under 1000$ you can find is not only because it comes with a powerful GTX 1050Ti that can run all current games with high or very high settings, but also because it does very well as an all purpose laptop and also offers great battery life in normal use.

The chassis is well built with a matte and slightly rubberized texture that feels good to the touch. There is however something you should be aware of before buying the Inspiron 7567: lack of ports. Despite it being a 15 inch gaming laptop, the Inspiron 7567 only comes with 2 USB ports( with no USB type C support), HDMI and RJ45.

 

Processor Intel Core i5-7300HQ Processor
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB SSD
Graphics Dedicated, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti with 4GB of GDDR5
Screen 15,6 inch, 1920 x 1080 IPS
Connectivity and Ports 1 – USB 3.0 port

1 – USB 2.0 ports

1 – HDMI port , Ethernet

Card reader, Bluetooth 4.0

Battery Up to 8 hours battery life

 

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