How To Choose a Budget Gaming Laptop


Find out what an inexpensive laptop should be, which pulls modern games on medium-high graphics settings.

What to expect from a budget gaming laptop

A budget laptop for gamers is in the $700-$1000 range. If you saw a $400-$450 “gaming” model in a store, don’t believe the ads. For such money you can count on relatively powerful components that will run modern games on minimum graphics settings, in low resolution and with lags.

In addition to standard tasks like Internet surfing, playing music and video, on budget models you can mount videos or work with complex graphics in bulky programs. True, this requires at least 16 GB of RAM, and ideally – 32 GB.

Budget gaming laptop will be able to easily run modern games for 2-3 years. Further such a model will have to replace or lower personal requirements to the level of graphics. For example, the game will go not on high, and on medium or low settings. If you are satisfied with it, then count on a maximum of five years of use.

What to pay attention to when choosing


The standard screen size in this segment is 15.6 inches. Very rarely – 17 inches.

Inexpensive gamer models often have a TN-matrix. Compared to other types of displays, it has small viewing angles and relatively pale colors. A slightly better solution would be SVA-screen, and the ideal – IPS. True, the average user the difference between them will be noticeable only in a comparison with other gaming models. Try to find a laptop with an IPS-screen – get excellent viewing angles and richer colors. But be prepared to pay more money.

The minimum resolution of the gaming laptop display – 1 920 × 1 080 pixels (Full HD), less common. You can also find a model with a QHD screen (2 560 × 1 440 pixels). About 4K display in the budget segment is out of the question.

The processor

As a rule, inexpensive gaming laptops use processors Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 series of eighth or ninth generation. A popular model is the Core i5-8250U. Not the most powerful option, but cheap and at the same time productive.

There are gamer laptops with AMD chips, but they are less. Choosing such a model, you can save money, because the components of this company are cheaper, but just as powerful. The main lines of this manufacturer for budget laptops – Ryzen 3 and 5.

The graphics card and the amount of video memory

In gaming laptops installed a discrete graphics card. It is needed to run games and heavy graphics applications. In the budget segment put models Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, 1050 Ti and 1060.

The minimum amount of video memory, which is needed to adequately run modern games – 3 GB (eg, GTX 1060). There are also variants with 4 GB (Radeon RX560X, GTX 1050 or 1050 Ti). You can find models with 6 GB, but it is rare for the marked price.

The amount of RAM and the ability to replace it

The optimal amount of RAM is 8 GB, then it can be expanded to 32 GB and sometimes even up to 64 GB. Pay attention to the number of available slots for RAM (usually there are two) and its maximum limit.

The type and amount of main memory, the possibility of its replacement

The cheapest laptops do not have an SSD drive. Usually the manufacturer puts 1 TB of slower and more budget HDD memory. True, in such models there is room for self-installation of the SSD-drive, so you can buy it later.

The optimal configuration is 1-2 TB HDD-memory and 256-512 GB of SSD memory. In this case, you can put games on the SSD drive to run them faster, and store files and multimedia on the HDD.

What you don’t need to pay attention to

Chassis thickness

All gaming laptops have a thick chassis because of the large graphics card and bulky cooling system. So don’t look for thin gamer models: they simply don’t exist.


Most gadgets have multicolored keyboard backlighting and sharp, massive design elements, so fans of minimalism will be difficult to pick something appropriate. If you are one of them, pay attention to almost all gaming budget models HP. This manufacturer makes an intentionally simple design, but even their laptops have a color keyboard.

Frames around the display

Find a budget gaming laptop with thin bezels around the chassis is almost impossible. They are usually 1-2 cm. There are exceptions to the rule, but they are few. For example, Lenovo Legion Y530 or Asus TUF Gaming FX505GE.


The battery life of a gaming model rarely exceeds 2 hours in game mode and 6 hours of internet surfing and multimedia watching. The reason for this is the most powerful hardware, which is needed to run games. It requires a huge amount of energy, so do not count on a long game away from the outlet.

Chassis noise and heat at maximum load

When running productive games, the laptop begins to make a lot of noise. At this point, the system is running at maximum load and generates a lot of heat. Therefore, the built-in fans are turned on full blast to cool the iron and prevent it from overheating.

Many users quickly get used to the noise and stop noticing it in a week, but the player’s environment may not like it. However, there are models that, without exaggeration, roar like airplanes, causing inconvenience to everyone, including the owner. Whether to put up with this disadvantage – everyone decides for himself.

Buyer’s checklist

  1. Consider gadgets costing $700-1000.
  2. Give preference to models with an IPS matrix, if you want to get juicy colors and a large viewing angle. But such a laptop will cost more.
  3. Make sure the video card has 3-4 GB of video memory.
  4. Choose laptops with at least 8GB of RAM. Increase the RAM later if you’re on a tight budget right now.
  5. Pay attention to the built-in memory. The optimal solution is a 1TB HDD and a 256GB SSD drive. If you don’t have an SSD initially, make sure your laptop has room for one. Get one when you can.


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