Laptops under 500 gaming: cheap gaming laptop options 2023

6 Budget Laptops for Gamers

We rated and reviewed six of the best gaming laptops under $500. These are not great long-term solutions, but if you need a cheap gaming laptop that can run non-demanding games, these budget-friendly laptops should work.

Here’s the cold hard honest truth: you’re not going to find a great gaming laptop under $500. If you need a more serious gaming machine and you can’t spend more than $500, you’d be much better off getting a gaming desktop (check out this $500 gaming PC build). If you absolutely need a laptop that will serve you well for gaming, though, you’re going to want to spend a little more. (Check out our post on the Best Gaming Laptops Under $1,000 for higher-performing options.)

However, if you are a casual gamer, or you mainly play non-demanding games, you should be able to get by with a $500 gaming laptop.

At this price range, you can still find a budget-friendly laptop that will allow you to play games like League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Minecraft, Hearthstone, etc.

So, if you need a gaming laptop under $500 and you can’t go with a desktop instead, the options below are your best bets.

The Best Gaming Laptops Under $500

1. Top Pick: HP 14″

2. Runner-Up: Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15.6″

3. Ultra-Cheap: Acer Aspire 5 15.6″

4. Honorable Mentions

A Quick Look at the Best Gaming Laptops Under $500

If you just want a quick look at our top three selections for the best gaming laptops under $500, check out the table below.



HP 14

  • Ryzen 5500U
  • Vega 7 GPU
  • 256GB SSD
  • 8GB RAM

Check Price

Read Review »


Lenovo IdeaPad 3

  • i3-1115G4
  • Intel UHD
  • 256GB SSD
  • 8GB RAM
7. 5/10

Check Price

Read Review »

Acer Aspire 5

  • Ryzen 3350U
  • 15.6″ Screen
  • 128GB SSD
  • 4GB RAM

Check Price

Read Review »

*To read about the laptops in the table above, click the “Read Review »” link to jump to our overview on that laptop. You can also keep scrolling to check out our Honorable Mention picks.

Best Gaming Laptop Under $500:

HP 14

Our Rating: 7.6/10

Check Price on Amazon

This HP 14 is our pick for the best gaming laptop under $500 currently available. The laptop comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor with Vega 7 integrated graphics, 8GB of DDR4 memory, and a 256GB SSD. It also comes with a 14-inch 1080P display and Windows 11. And, it weighs in at just under 3.5 pounds.

A case could be made for our Runner-Up pick listed below, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3, as it essentially offers the same specs as this HP laptop, with the only difference being that the IdeaPad 3 has an Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor and a 15. 6-inch screen.

So, if you prefer a bigger screen and/or an Intel processor, the IdeaPad listed below might be the better option for you. However, the better GPU on the Ryzen 5 5500U and the lower pricetag help make the HP 14 the best option under $500 as of right now.

In terms of in-game performance, with the Ryzen 5 5500U and the integrated Vega 7 graphics, this laptop will be able to easily handle non-demanding esports titles (like Fortnite, League of Legends, Dota 2, Rocket League, etc.) on medium-to-higher settings with a high framerate. It should even be able to play some more demanding titles on lower settings with a playable framerate as well.

Ultimately, if you’re strapped for cash, but you need a laptop that will allow you to play your favorite games, the HP 14 is probably your best bet. However, if you opted for a desktop instead, you could build an affordable gaming computer that will be able to run pretty much anything on higher settings on a 1080P monitor.

Our Runner-Up Pick:

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 15.6″

Our Rating: 7.5/10

Check Price on Amazon

Our Runner-Up pick is as about as good of a sub-$500 gaming laptop as you’ll find. As we pointed out above, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 has essentially the same specs as the HP 14. It comes with an Intel Core i3-1115G4 CPU that has Intel UHD integrated graphics on it. It also has a 15.6″ 1080P display, too. Like the HP 14, it also comes with a 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM.

However, if gaming is your primary concern, the integrated graphics that the Ryzen 5 5500U in the HP 14 will be more powerful than the integrated graphics found on the Intel processor in this Lenovo laptop. And, since the HP 14 comes in at ~$50 cheaper, we felt it was the better option right now for gamers.

Ultimately, this Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a solid sub-$500 laptop that will work well for playing non-demanding games. However, if you’re looking for a better overall option for gaming, the HP 14 is probably your best bet.

Ultra-Cheap Laptop for Gaming:

Acer Aspire 3 15.6″

Our Rating: 6.9/10

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If you’re looking for an even more affordable laptop, the Acer Aspire 5 is an option worth considering. The Aspire 5 comes with an AMD Ryzen 3 3350U processor that has Vega 6 integrated graphics on it. It also comes with a 128GB SSD and 4GB of DDR4 RAM.

While the performance on this Acer laptop will lag behind the options listed above, it does come with a significantly lower pricetag. In fact, you can grab this laptop for a little over ~$350.

Of course, the downside of this option is the fact that it only has 4GB of RAM. This will hurt it quite a bit, even in non-demanding titles. However, with settings turned down, this laptop should still be able to handle games like League of Legends. And, if you are willing to install an additional 4GB of RAM (~$20), you can help mitigate that performance loss.

The bottom line is that, if you’re looking for a bare minimum laptop that will allow you to play some non-demanding titles, this Acer Aspire laptop will work.

NOTE: As an alternative option, for a similar price you could build a $400 gaming PC that would be able to handle pretty much any game on a 1080P monitor on at least medium settings.

Honorable Mention #1:

Dell Inspiron 3000 15.6″

Our Rating: 6.8/10

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*This model is outdated. Please refer to the options listed above for more up-to-date options.

Dell’s Inspiron 3000 is probably the best option on this list if you require a lot of storage. The Inspiron comes with 8GB of DDR4 memory, a 2TB hard drive, and Windows 10 Home.

And, its Intel Core i5-7200U and integrated Intel HD 620 graphics are good enough to push most games on at least lower-to-medium settings on its 1366×768 screen.

However, in terms of in-game performance, the Vega 8 integrated graphics on the Ryzen 5 2500U that is found on our top two picks on this list will offer similar-or-better performance on a 1080P display. So, whereas this Dell Inspiron 3000 might serve well for running non-demanding games on a 1366 x 768 laptop, the Lenovo Ideapad and Dell Inspiron 15 will be able to run most games on a higher resolution display.

Ultimately, though, no $500 gaming laptop is going to give you an ideal gaming experience. So, if you mainly play non-demanding games, the Dell Inspiron 3000 might make sense as an option if you require the larger 2TB hard drive.

Honorable Mention #2:

HP 14-CF0014DX 14.0″

Our Rating: 6.8/10

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*This model is outdated. Please refer to the options listed above for more up-to-date options.

Another ultra-cheap sub-$400 laptop that could work for light gaming is the HP 14-CF0014DX. Like the Acer Aspire 3, the HP 14-CF0014DX comes in at ~$460. However, unlike the Acer Aspire 3, this HP laptop opts for an Intel Core processor (an i3-7100U) instead of an AMD processor.

The i3-7100U comes with Intel HD 620 integrated graphics which are onpar with the Vega 3 integrated graphics that come on the Ryzen 3 2200U processor found in the Acer Aspire 3.

And, since this HP laptop also comes with a 1366 x 768 display, both this laptop and the Acer Aspire 3 should perform fairly similarly in games. This laptop does come with a 128GB SSD, though, whereas the Aspire 3 comes with a 1TB hard drive. So, if you need more storage, this HP laptop might be the better option.

Although, if screen size is important to you, just note that this HP laptop only comes with a 14″ display, whereas all of the other options on this list come with a 15.6″ display.

Honorable Mention #3:

ASUS VivoBook 15.6″

Our Rating: 6.7/10

Check Price on Amazon

*This model is outdated. Please refer to the options listed above for more up-to-date options.

Our final Honorable Mention pick is the ASUS VivoBook. Suprisingly, the VivoBook comes with the best processor out of all of the laptops on this list. However, its main downfall is that it relies on Intel HD 620 integrated graphics to try and run games on a 1080P display.

The Intel HD 620 graphics can’t compete with the Vega 8 graphics found in the top two laptops on this list and so this ASUS laptop will struggle to run games on its 1080P display. Of course, you could always just scale down the resolution so that you get better performance while gaming.

Still, though, this laptop comes in at just a bit above $500, which makes it the second most expensive option on this list. And, for ~$40 less, you could land either of the top two laptop options on this list. So, if it were my money and I was looking for the best gaming laptop under $500, I’d go for the less expensive Lenovo Ideapad or Dell Inspiron 15 instead.

Is A Gaming Laptop Under $500 Worth It?

I’ve said this throughout this post and I’ll say it again: if you’re a gamer and you only have $500 to spend on a computer, your money would get you a whole lot more performance if you built your own gaming desktop or you got a prebuilt gaming PC.

However, a lot of gamers need the mobility that a laptop offers for various reasons (school & work). So, if you’re someone who is working with an extremely tight budget and you need the mobility of a laptop, but you still want to be able to play games, I’d recommend looking at the top two options on this list.

The other options would only be okay if you are a very casual gamer and you will primarily stick to playing non-demanding games.

Best gaming laptop under $500 in 2023


Images via Acer

PC Games

You’ll want to know the best gaming laptop under $500, as if you’re on a budget, you won’t have the big bucks to spend on the top of the line, dedicated gaming laptops produced by Razer or Alienware. 

It’s worth noting that for under $500, you’re not going to be getting very powerful hardware, and it will struggle to run the latest games on even the lowest of settings. However, it can make for a perfect machine to play older titles, less graphically intense ones, or indie games.  

So, if you need to know the best gaming laptop under $500 that you can purchase right now, we’ve got you covered. 

  • Make sure you also check out the best wireless gaming mouse you can buy right now. 

Best gaming laptop under $500: Bmax X14

Click to enlarge

Our first and most expensive choice for the best gaming laptop under $500 is the Bmax X14, which narrowly makes this list, as it comes at $499.99. However, you can use a $100 Amazon voucher to get it even lower by checking the link below. 

This gaming laptop comes with a standard. fairly strong AMD Ryzen 5 3450U CPU, which is one of the best budget laptop CPUs you can buy. Along with the integrated graphics, you’ll struggle to run the most modern games with this, but it will serve you well on a number of older titles at 1080p/60 FPS. 

With the added 8 GB of RAM and a sizeable 512 GB SSD that can be expanded to 1 TB, the Bmax X14 fits a lot into its budget build. 

Buy for $499. 99 (Amazon)

Best gaming laptop under $500: Lenovo IdeaPad

Click to enlarge

Coming in at roughly $80 cheaper, the Lenovo IdeaPad has some decently high specs that you wouldn’t expect, but this results in trade-offs that make it inferior for those looking to play more graphically challenging games. 

The whopping 20 GB of RAM and 1 TB SSD will ensure you have all the memory and storage you need to keep things running smoothly, especially loading screens, which will blitz by thanks to these specs. 

The slightly reduced screen size (1366×768) should help with running some more modern games, and the AMD Athlon 2.3 GHz CPU isn’t a slacker either, providing some decent speed, but it’s best to keep in mind you won’t be running something like Elden Ring at 60 FPS anytime soon. 

Buy for $419.65 (Amazon)

Best gaming laptop under $500: Acer Aspire 5

Click to enlarge

Our cheapest budget gaming laptop is the Acer Aspire 5, which goes in a different direction from the previous laptop, sacrificing RAM and storage for the most powerful CPU of the bunch.

Boasting the AMD Ryzen 5500 U, the Acer Aspire 5’s mid-range CPU is great for running games that prioritise the CPU over the GPU, such as grand strategy games from Paradox, or Football Manager for example. 

This does come with the downside of only 8 GB of RAM, and a small 256 GB SSD which means you’ll quickly fill your storage, but if you know exactly what you are going to use this laptop for it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Buy for $402.99 (Best Buy)

That’s all for our breakdown of the best gaming laptop under $500, and now you know three of the best budget picks that you can purchase right now.

Need some audio equipment? Check out the best Razer headset you can get right now. 







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