Although top spec gaming machines can run into the thousands, it’s perfectly possible to find a decent laptop with good gaming capabilities for under $500, without too many compromises.
It’s worth considering buying extra peripheries at a later date; extra RAM are readily available, and at budget friendly prices, so if you find your original purchase lacking as your gaming prowess and demands grow, there’s no need to get a whole new machine.
What to look for in a new gaming laptop for under $500?
- Processor: For under $500, there’s no need to compromise on power, and even though top spec games can be resource-hungry, a processor of 2GHz is perfectly adequate for all but the greediest
- RAM: 4GB of RAM is the standard offering, and there’s nothing to stop you upping this further down your gaming road
- Battery Life: For any laptop, this is always going to be an important question, and it depends on how often you plan to be out and about with your machine, away from a power source
- Screen Size: While bigger is frequently considered better, you can still get a decent game-playing sized screen for under $500
- Graphics Card: For most gamers, a dedicated card, that produces superior graphics, is preferable; however, if you need to compromise, and go with an integrated one, a dedicated card can be installed later.
We’ve found some great gaming laptops for under the $500 mark; have a look through our featured machines
1) Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
The Acer Aspire 5 is powered by an Intel Core i5-8265U at 3.9GHz, packs 8GB DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD, features a fingerprint reader, and comes with Windows 10 Home installed. That is more than enough for most tasks, and it can definitely game with its intel UHD Graphics 620, which can certainly run most titles smoothly. It has a USB 3.1 Type C port, 2 USB 3.1 ports, a USB 2.0 port, and an HDMI port for all your peripherals. But its real party piece is the 15.6-inch IPS display at 1920×1080 resolution with narrow bezels. For under $500, this laptop packs an incredible punch.
Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6 Inches FHD IPS Display, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8265U, 8GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, Fingerprint Reader, Windows 10 Home, A515-54-51DJ
4 used from $599.00
- 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8265U Processor (Upto 3.9 gram Hz) | 8 GB DDR4 Memory | 256 GB PCIe NVMe SSD
- 15.6 Inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen LED-backlit IPS Display | Intel UHD Graphics 620
- 1 - USB 3.1 Type C Gen 1 port, 2 - USB 3.1 Gen 1 Ports (one with Power-off Charging), 1 - USB 2.0 Port & 1 - HDMI Port with HDCP Support
- 802.11ac WiFi | Backlit Keyboard | Fingerprint Reader | Upto 9.5 Hours Battery Life
The 2020 HP Premium Business Laptop may have “business” in its name, but there is no reason for it to not be used for gaming. It is powered by an Intel i3-7100U dual core processor with Hyperthreading, 8GB DDR4 RAM, and 1TB HDD to fit all your games in. This laptop can certainly run esports titles quite smoothly and even older AAA titles. The 15.6-inch WLED-backlit display at 1366×768 resolution can make those games look good. It also comes with USB 3.1, HDMI, WiFi, Bluetooth, Windows 10, backpack, and mouse pad to make the most of your $500.
2019 HP 15.6 Inch HD Premium Business Laptop PC, Intel Dual-core i3-7100U, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB HDD, USB 3.1, HDMI, WiFi, Bluetooth, Windows 10, W/ Legendary Computer Backpack & Mouse Pad Bundle
- 7th Generation Intel Core i3-7100U (2.4 GHz base frequency, 3 MB cache, 2 cores)
- 15.6" diagonal HD SVA BrightView micro-edge WLED-backlit (1366 x 768), Intel HD Graphics 620
- 8GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB Hard Drive; Legendary Backpack & Mouse Pad ($47.98 value) Back to School Bundle
- 802.11AC WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 Combo, HDMI, 1 x Headphone output/Microphone input combo, 2 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB 2.0, 1xMulti-format SD media card reader, HP TrueVision HD Camera with integrated digital microphone, Dual speakers, No Optical Drive
- Windows 10 Home, 4-cell 41 Wh battery, up to 10 hours and 45 minutes battery life (mixed usage), weight 4.52 lbs, Silver
3) Asus Vivobook 15 Thin and Light Laptop
The ASUS VivoBook 15 is a thin And light laptop powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U quad-core CPU at 3.6GHz, AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics, and 8GB DDR4 RAM, making it quite a powerhouse for under $500. The 256GB m.2 NVME SSD gives it lightning-fast boot and loading times, so you can just enjoy gaming without the wait. Everything comes out crisp and clear through its 15.6-inch 4-way NanoEdge bezel display in Full HD, giving you a lot of real estate in such a small package. The ergonomic backlit keyboard with fingerprint sensor also feels pretty good. It also comes with USB 3.2 Type-C, USB 3.2, and USB 2.0 ports for your peripherals, as well as HDMI and 802.11ac Wi-Fi for connectivity.
ASUS VivoBook 15 Thin and Light Laptop, 15.6” Full HD, AMD Quad Core R5-3500U CPU, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB PCIe SSD, AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics, Windows 10 Home, F512DA-EB51, Slate Gray
4 used from $529.99
- 15.6 inch FHD 4 way NanoEdge bezel display with a stunning 88% screen-to-body ratio
- Powerful AMD Quad Core Ryzen 5 3500U Processor (2M Cache, up to 3.6 GHz)
- AMD Radeon Vega 8 discrete graphics with Windows 10 Home
- 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
- Ergonomic backlit keyboard with fingerprint sensor activated via Windows Hello
Want to see what other gaming laptops we recommend? Why not check out these pages too!