4 Great Gaming Laptops Under $500

men playing video games on laptop

With a budget of under $500, finding a laptop capable of gaming is going to be difficult.

While not wholly impossible, playing modern games on a laptop in this price range is not going to be optimal.

Let’s take a look at the top contenders in this price range, and why each is unique and capable in its own way.

Quick Summary

  • If you plan on using an emulator or playing only 2D games, the ASUS Vivobook F705QA is a great choice. It has enough gaming prowess to play lite games and classic console emulation without a hitch.
  • If you want as much SSD storage as possible for this price range, the Acer Aspire 3 is the way to go. It has a full 512GB SSD onboard, making it best-in-class.
  • If you are looking for a gaming laptop that looks like a business laptop, the Lenovo 330S has you covered. It has a clean grey finish that you could carry right into your next business meeting.
  • If you want the best processor and integrated graphics solution and don’t mind skimping in other areas, the HP 15.6” HD has it. While the other specs may be lower, it can play games at high-level thanks to the powerful processor.

Who Should Get This?

If you are on an extremely strict budget and can’t muster up any more money than $500, these are the choices you have for gaming laptops. You should definitely temper your expectations in this price range, however.

You will not be playing the newest 3D games at max settings at 1080p resolution on any of them. You may be able to play some newer games on 720p and lower settings, if that is good with you. On the smaller screen size of the laptops, 720p is definitely an acceptable resolution.

Best Gaming Laptop Under $500: What to Consider

Lower Resolution

As mentioned previously, you will need to lower the resolution to 720p to play most games on these machines. This will give you much better framerates than running on 1080p.

Battery Life

Know that when you play games on a laptop the battery life will drain extremely fast. You will want to stay close to a wall outlet so that you can keep the battery topped up.

Compromise

In order to get a computer capable of playing games with this budget, you will need to make compromises on things like build quality and storage space.

Best Gaming Laptop Under $500: Our Picks in 2019

1. ASUS Vivobook F705QA


The fact that you can get a 17-inch laptop for under $500 is incredible. Add that with its ability to play lite games (2D and esports titles) and emulate old consoles, and you have a heck of a deal for the price. The older AMD A12 processor is still plenty capable, and it comes with a full 1TB hard drive.

Don’t expect to play the newest games on this model however, it simply doesn’t have the power to do so. But if you want to enjoy some older games on a nice, large 17-inch screen, this is the laptop for you.

  • Processor: AMD A12-9720P
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • GPU: AMD Radeon R7
  • Storage: 1TB Hybrid HDD

>> Learn More on Amazon <<

2. Acer Aspire 3


The Acer Aspire 3 has last generations Ryzen 5 processor, but by doing so they were able to put in a nice large 512GB SSD in this laptop. That is a hefty amount of storage for a laptop that is so affordable.

The Ryzen 5 2500U processor is still much more capable with it’s Vega 8 graphics than any Intel mobile CPU. This makes it a great companion to this Acer model, allowing you to play even newer games at 720p.

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • GPU: Radeon Vega 8
  • Storage: 512GB SSD

>> Learn More on Amazon <<

3. Lenovo 330S


While this Lenovo laptop gives you a Ryzen 5 processor, it pays for it by reducing your storage space all the way to 128GB. But the powerful processor is not the only reason for the cut back in storage space.

This laptop is sleek and slim, with a very minimal design. The 1080p screen is nice, and all of these great design decisions is just another reason they skimped in some areas. Overall, this laptop is fantastic for the price.

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • GPU: Radeon Vega 8
  • Storage: 128GB SSD

>> Learn More on Amazon <<

4. HP 15.6” HD


HP put in a nice new Ryzen 5 processor in this laptop, but again they were forced to cut back on the storage space. That seems to be the common cost for upping the processor and graphical capabilities while keeping the price down.

Another area they cut the price was in the build quality. It just feels a bit flimsy and plasticky. Combine that with the lower resolution screen, and the overall build is definitely lacking. That doesn’t make it a bad choice, it is just a different way they cut their cost compared to the competitors.

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3500U
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • GPU: Radeon Vega 8
  • Storage: 128GB SSD

>> Learn More on Amazon <<

Useful Tips and Resources

If you are purchasing a gaming laptop, the best thing you can do is keep it cool. You can do so by purchasing a cooling pad or with a vacuum cooler. They clip right on the exhaust of the laptop, sucking the hot air out and making it easier for the laptop fans to cool the computer.


Another thing that would be helpful is to make sure you have a good laptop backpack to carry your new computer. Without one, you risk dropping or damaging your laptop which could be catastrophic. There are some great laptop backpacks on the market, such as this one, which will make carrying your computer a breeze.

If you are solely into a laptop that has a built-in solid-state drive, read our review of the best SSD laptops.

Final Words

Finding the perfect laptop for gaming under $500 is a difficult task, but the five we listed above are all good choices. They will play lite games at native resolution, and even some newer games if you drop the resolution.

Are you willing to lower your resolution to save some money? Or would you be willing to pay more to get something better? Let us know below.

Chris is a computer geek for a decade. He loved talking to computers via codes, and now he finds it more interesting communicating with the real people. He now writes everything related to computer issues and loves helping people solve problems.

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