In this guide we’ll take a look at the best cheap gaming laptops for 2017. We’ve rated and reviewed the most affordable gaming laptops under $500, under $750, and under $1,000, by performance, features, & value.
I have always recommended that PC gamers build their own gaming computer rather than buying a pre-built gaming computer or a gaming laptop. And, this is especially true for gamers who are working with a tight budget. The reasoning is simple: building your own gaming computer offers you more performance for the price you pay.
However, certain gamers have different needs and a desktop may not be the best option for everyone. Fortunately, if you are a PC gamer who needs the mobility of a laptop, thanks to the ever-increasing performance of gaming laptops, there are plenty of options out there.
Even if you have less than $1,000 to spend on a gaming laptop there are options that will allow you to max-out most modern games. And, there are even a few gaming laptops under $500 that will at least allow you to play most games on lower-to-medium settings.
Ultimately, for those of you gamers who need the versatility of a laptop, but who still want to be able to play your favorite games without spending thousands of dollars, this guide will give you plenty of options to choose between, regardless of your budget.
I’ll be honest here… if you have less than $500 to spend on a laptop, you shouldn’t be expecting to get a machine that can max out today’s top games.
None of the laptops listed under $500 come with a dedicated graphics card and, as such, rely on integrated graphics. And, while integrated graphics have come a long way, you shouldn’t expect to be running today’s most demanding games on high settings.
Fortunately, though, there are a couple of cheap gaming laptops under $500 that come with a 1366×768 resolution screen, rather than a 1080p screen, which will take less of a load off of your system and allow you to play games at a higher FPS.
If you don’t want to sacrifice performance and you want something that can play today’s games on higher settings, I highly recommend that you consider building your own PC. A $500 gaming PC build will allow you to max-out most games on a 1080p monitor… which is pretty remarkable for the price.
However, if you absolutely must have a laptop and you only have $500 to spend, these will at least serve as entry-level machines.
Affordable Laptop Comparison Chart (Click “Read Review” to Expand)While the under $500 range for laptops isn’t too exciting, if you have $500-$750 to spend on a gaming laptop, you have some pretty good budget-friendly options to choose between.
The biggest difference between this price range and the under-$500 price range is the fact that in this range the laptops actually come with dedicated graphics cards, rather than having to use integrated graphics.
In fact, the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro sports a GTX 950M graphics card, which is capable of being able to handle pretty much any game on at least lower settings, and it can play most non-demanding games on higher settings.
And, the Acer Aspire V Nitro is probably the best laptop on this list in terms of price-to-performance, as for just under $750 you get a machine that is capable of playing game on medium-to-high settings.
Ultimately, if you have a more moderate budget, these laptops will give you some good options to choose between.
Affordable Laptop Comparison Chart (Click “Read Review” to Expand)Surprisingly, there isn’t a whole lot of differences between the gaming laptops under $1,000 listed below.
For the most part all of them have an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and a GTX 960M graphics card. And, since the biggest determining factor in in-game performance is your graphics card, all of these laptops will perform on par with each other.
However, there are some minor differences between these machines that help differentiate between them and give us a better idea of which is the better buy.
Things like price, the inclusion of an SSD, and the VRAM on the GTX 960M help push a couple of these laptops above the others.
Ultimately, if it were up to me, I’d be looking at the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 as it is probably the best all-around laptop on this list in terms of performance and value.
Affordable Laptop Comparison Chart (Click “Read Review” to Expand)
WHICH Affordable Gaming Laptop IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
I’ll say it again… if you want the absolute most performance but you are strapped for cash, your best option is to build yourself a gaming desktop. Even for $500 you can build a solid gaming PC that is capable of maxing out just about anything on a 1080p monitor.
However, I realize that there are a lot of gamers out there who need (or prefer) the mobility and versatility of a laptop. And, for those of you who are looking for an affordable gaming laptop, this guide has plenty of options for you to choose between.
Ultimately, just remember that you get what you spend and so if you aren’t looking to spend ~$600 or more, you won’t get an option that delivers ideal in-game performance. Still, though, even some of the ~$500-$600 options will serve as decent entry-level gaming machines and will at least let you get your feet in the door.