|1. Acer Aspire 5||2. Acer Aspire E15||3. Asus VivoBook|
Alright, quick question, who doesn’t like games? Let me answer that for you, people who are not reading this article. (duh!) Everyone, especially game lovers, would love to own a gaming laptop because these machines are built for performing under graphic demanding situations. Although not everyone can afford such gaming hardwares but that shouldn’t stop us from digging the internet to find laptops that can perform well during gaming and also doesn’t dry your piggy bank (Anyone here still using those?..no!.. Just me?..alright!). The best gaming laptop under 500 will come with various configurations .
If you get one factor better then you might have compromised on the other factor (factors to look for in a gaming laptop are discussed later) because of the cost constraint. But no worries, because they can perform for most of the games without any issues.
Games like Far Cry 5 and Watchdogs are very graphic-intensive games that demand premium configurations from your device. To play these games at maximum quality settings but those machines cost way more than $500. What’s the solution to this you ask? You don’t play these games at maximum settings (as simple as that).
The thing is the laptops in this list may not be able to run Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare at ultra settings but these devices will perform well if played at low or medium settings. And of course, it goes without saying that they can handle less graphics-intensive games with ease. But before we jump into the list of best gaming laptops under $500 you should know about a few factors that you need to consider before deciding which one to go for.
Factors To Consider While Buying Gaming Laptops Under $500
1. RAM and VRAM
This is one of the most important aspects of any computer. RAM (Random Access Memory) is a temporary memory which keeps all the data needed to run a particular program while the program is running the larger the size of the ram the more data it can store and hence the program can run that much smoother.
When it comes to gaming the 8GB or higher is ideal as it can hold the huge data that is required to run the game. Anything less than that is not ideal for graphic-intensive games, although it can handle low graphics game smoothly without any lag.
Now coming to VRAM, it’s not a physical component like RAM. VRAM (Video RAM) uses a part of the RAM to process the graphics part of the game only. For example, in an 8GB RAM 256MB will used as VRAM and the rest acts as RAM.
Now RAM can be of different types, which you need to check for in the laptop you are looking at. Currently, in the market, there are four types of RAM available, namely DDR1, DDR2, DDR3, and DDR4. Out of these four DDR1 and DDR2 have become obsolete, hence go for either of the other two. DDR4 performs better than DDR3 as it is a bit advanced.
Before diving into what a processor is and which ones are the best, let’s just take a moment to appreciate the ingenuity of these marvels. Did you know that a processing chip which has a size smaller than your thumb has billions of transistors inside of it (transistors are basically tiny switches and the processor works when these switches work in sync with the action in hand).
Another fun fact: If you lay all the transistors inside that chip side by side, it would go around the Earth’s equator twice (but I wouldn’t recommend that you do that because that’s not at all required or practical…trust me on that one!)
Processor is basically the brain of the computer. All the information in an executable program are sent to the processor for analysis and then create a relevant output. Now coming back to the quality. There are primarily two manufactures which produce premium quality processors. Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).intel produces processors like Pentium, Celeron and Core i series whereas AMD produces chips like Phenom, Athlon and Sempron. And again these cores can be single-core or multicore.
The speed of the processor is measured in GHz (GigaHertz). The faster the speed of the processor, the better it is going to perform and the intense work (like games having very high graphics) it will be able to handle with ease. Now the processor doesn’t take instructions directly from the hard drive, instead, it takes all the instructions from the memory (or RAM) which increases the speed of the processor exponentially (that is why the size of the RAM should be larger in order to accommodate more data to be processed by the processor easily)
Now let’s chat (unidirectionally!) a little bit about single-core and multi-core processors. The processing power of a computer increases exponentially (arguably) when dual, triple or quad-core processor is used. As the name suggests, in a multi-core processor, multiple cores are placed in the same motherboard and they communicate with each other to divide various tasks among themselves. This makes multitasking easier and also they communicate with RAM more effectively.
3. Graphics Card (GPU)
It is a chip which contains a logical program and is specially designed for display function such as rendering images, videos and various animations.
It helps with processing huge data blocks very efficiently and in parallel structures. Sony introduced the name as “GPU” in 1994.
It is either included with the same chip which is same as the CPU or are located in the plug-in ports of cards.
The best thing about GPU is that it can perform various types of parallel operations and is usually applied for 2D data and also helps in panning and zooming the screen. The function also depends on the type of GPU used, for example, if a sophisticated GPU is used then it functions smoothly while decoding the data and also helps to render 3D videos or animations etc. The GPU along cache memory makes the overall performance of the device better.
The two types of GPU which also have synonyms.
Dedicated graphics card is also called discrete due to its discrete data.
Integrated graphics which is also known as shared graphics has two kinds of graphics such as UMA that stands for unified memory architecture, and IGP that is integrated graphics processor.
There’re various usage of specific GPU such as mass calculations or 3-D graphics.
There are various GPU used for gaming purposes like GeForce GTX, RTX and Nvidia Titan X, AMD Radeon R5, R7, R6, RX OR VEGA, and the Navi series, AMD Radeon HD.
Other GPU used for cloud gaming is AMD Radeon Sky and Nvidia grid.A different kind of GPU is used for workstation purposes includes Nvidia Titan X and Nvidia Quadro AMD Radeon Pro and AMD FirePro, AMD Radeon VII.
The cloud workstation uses AMD fire stream. Nvidia Tesla is used for both cloud workstation purposes as well as artificial intelligence cloud which also uses AMD Radeon instinct. Nvidia Drive PX is used in automated or driverless car.
The dedicated GPUs aren’t removable and also they don’t have typical interface with the motherboard. Here the RAM is mainly dedicated for the purpose of proper working of the graphic cards and that is why they are known as dedicated GPU. There are technologies which allows the GPU used to perform parallel operations such as drawing images in a single screen. Search technologies include SLI developed by Nvidia which has increased processing power which are suitable as well as available for graphics.
IGP i.e. integrated graphics processor or UMA are used for the purpose of utilising a portion of the RAM of the computer system.
4. Screen Size and Display
This factor will help to narrow your decision down to a few laptops. This will also define whether you are buying a laptop for gaming or for other purposes like office work. Generally smaller screen laptops are low performing as they are great for portability but not enough space to fit the high performing hardware. But this trend is changing as advanced technology is becoming more capable of putting performance-based hardware into smaller spaces.
14” laptop is a midway, they are portable and can also give you decent performance. But they are most ideal for office work. 15.6”, which is the most common screen size for a laptop is good for gaming and watching movies. The largest is 17.3” screen which makes your experience richer but they are expensive in general.
Now coming to the resolution of your screen. Full HD (1080p) screens are great for gaming and movies, and apart from that it also enhances your daily browsing experience as it’s very sharp and detailed. The standard HD resolution(720p) is good for everyday use but it won’t provide you with the best display experience.
Some displays offer a touchscreen and some don’t. Touchscreen does improve your overall user experience with the device by letting you use the device as a tablet but it won’t be much of a help if you are looking for laptops specifically for games.
5. Operating System
An operating system (OS) is basically a software that makes a bridge of communication between the hardware of the computer and us humans. An OS has an interface that makes this communication possible.it also determines the type of files that can be executable in the system.
There are mainly three operating systems in the market that has created very user-friendly UI for the masses and each comes with their own set of pros and cons. A brief knowledge about each of these systems will help you decide the laptop you actually want to go for. The three OS are Windows, macOS and ChromeOS.
Amongst the above mentioned three OS, this is the most popular one. If you have previously owned or even used one chances are it ran Windows on it. It has a very user-friendly UI which makes navigation through files and folders quite easy.
It works with every kind of software that you already have so there’s no need to change any files. It’s the most popular OS amongst gamers because it can any game and most games are built keeping PC users in mind. It has inbuilt antivirus so as long as it’s valid it will protect your device from any malicious attacks, viruses and phishing.
One of the cons is that if you’re a first time user of this OS you will need time to get the hang of this but once you do it will be a pretty fluid experience.
This OS is exclusively designed and made available for Apple devices. This one is very user-friendly and designed to keep all your data very safe. it works flawlessly amongst all apple device without any issues. But not all Softwares are designed with this OS in mind so you won’t be able to get all the software of your choice. That goes for games as well. You won’t be able to find many games of your choice if you opt for this OS, but in the recent times, the rising popularity of this OS among users has forced developers to consider it while building their products.
This OS is the most simple of all the three. It’s designed keeping your web-presence in mind and hence anything that’s unnecessary is out. This OS is built to get you online fast, get your web-based work done fast and to make your online presence as easy and efficient as possible. You will be able to accomplish your web-based work pretty fast. This OS gives you access to Google Playstore which has over a million applications available for you to download with a single click.
The downside of this OS is, it is designed keeping web related activities in mind and hence it won’t be able to run most of the other applications. So most of your favourite games won’t be able to run on this device (which is a huge bummer for me personally).
Storage is basically the amount of space you have in your machine to save your files, documents and everything else. The following are the types of storage that are available in various laptops.
1. HDD (Hard Disc Drive)
It is a pretty basic type of storage that is provided in most of the laptops. There’s a wide range of storage sizes that HDD can offer that comes with laptops. If you have lots of large files (like various game files or any other large software) then go for at least 1TB HDD space. The speed of these storage systems is slower compared to SSD which is probably the only disadvantage it has.
2. SDD (Solid-State Drive)
It’s a bit advanced storage system as it has no moving parts, they are much thinner and also it can transfer files to and fro much faster compared to HDD. But these types of storage dont have more capacity and the price of these storage systems are considerably high. So these kind of storage comes with premium laptops which are performance-focused and if they are provided in budget laptops then the capacity will be very low (sometimes shockingly low!)
3. SSHD(Solid-State Hybrid Drive)
It’s kind of the best of both worlds. It has the speed of the SSD and the storage capacity of HDD. what it does it makes up a cache memory for the files and folders that are frequently accessed so that the process of accessing them becomes much faster. It’s not as soundproof as the SSD (but who cares about that right?) and they cost much less compared to SSD as well (which is a huge yes!).
Weight can be a very decisive factor while buying a laptop. If you know you will be using the laptop on the go more often, then a lightweight laptop is a must as it reduces the strain of carrying extra weight. Laptops below 4 pounds are easy to carry.
Inherently gaming laptops weigh more as they have many performance-enhancing hardware that are heavier. This makes them less portable and more suitable for desk use rather than on the go.
Top 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $500 in 2020
1. Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L
Right off the bat, this laptop is slim and it’s light (a little less than 4 pounds!) so you can carry it with you literally anywhere (except to Area 51… for security reasons) without getting any cramps. It has 4GB RAM which will be able to handle most of the games in medium setting.
This is also powered by AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Dual-Core Processor which makes the experience smoother and also cheaper compared to its Intel counterpart. It also has AMD Radeon Vega 3 graphics card for games.
That’s not all, it also sports a 15.6” Full HD touchscreen display which just makes your overall experience better. For storage, it provides you with 128GB SSD. this machine also has a boosted clock speed of 3.5GHz which helps it catch up with your gaming demands.
About looks? It has a matte silver finish which makes it standout of other laptop sharing the same price range. Also, the ergonomics of this product are really good at making it easy to hold.
One of the drawbacks of this laptop is that it comes with Microsoft Windows 10S which doesn’t allow the full Windows experience.
Benefits of this product are it has a touchscreen. It has a dedicated graphics card which will enhance the gaming experience. It’s a dual-core processor so the machine will be running smoothly for most parts. The display is 1080p so it will produce way sharper image and hence improve the gaming as well as the movie experience.
The drawbacks of the system is that it has only 4GB RAM which is a bit low for a gaming laptop as it won’t be able to handle graphic-intensive games and would lag at doing so. The storage is way too low as most of the games need a lot of space to keep its system files 128GB won’t be able to accommodate more than 3-4 games at a time. This is one of the best picks for the Best Gaming Laptop Under 500.
2. Acer Aspire E15 Notebook
This one is another gaming laptop from Acer. A little bump in price have been compensated by bumping up almost all the specs as compared to the previous laptop. This laptop has a glossy finish with an all-black exterior, which gives it a classy look. It has a 15.6” full HD IPS display which makes both gaming and the movie experience amazing.
For storage, you will be getting 512GB SSD which all your transferring and other daily stuff that much faster. This device has a 6GB RAM and UHD graphics 620 graphics card, which means you can play most of the games at medium or higher settings. It also has a boosted clock speed of 3.4GHz and it is powered by Intel Core i5 8th gen, thus giving it a huge processing power. It also comes with Windows 10 Pro, which is pretty cool.
A benefit of this product is that the storage is impressive as it is an SSD. The display is full HD as well so the overall gaming experience will be great. It comes with a 6 GB RAM which is good but still won’t be able to play a high graphics game at high or ultra settings.
The processor is very good as it is the 8th generation, which performs much better than most of the processors out there in the market. The graphics card is not up to the mark as UHD Graphics is a pretty basic level graphics processing system which won’t be able to handle games as smoothly as its Nvidia or AMD counterpart. On the other hand, the clock speed is very good. This deserves its high spot in the list for the Best Gaming Laptop Under 500.
3. Asus VivoBook F510UA-AH50
Before discussing how good this laptop is for gaming, let me take a moment to appreciate its looks. The device itself is very thin and the display is amazing, with a nano-edge screen, meaning it has a very thin bezel which gives it a very sophisticated and modern look. It is also very light weighing only 3.7 pounds, which makes it very portable as compared to other laptops
Now coming to the specifications, it is powered by Intel i5 7th generation. It has a RAM of 8GB along with an integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 which makes the gaming experience good (but it’s no Nvidia or AMD). It has a clock speed of 2.5GHz, but during games, it gets boosted upto 3.1 GHz. You will get storage space of 1TB HDD. Also, this device comes with an inbuilt fingerprint reader.
This device has a few drawbacks, like the battery life is a bit low, and there is no backlight for the keyboard. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but you might need to consider this if you play games in the dark.
A few pros and cons of his laptops are, the thin bezel makes this device aesthetically pleasing, and the lightweight makes it ergonomically enjoyable as well. RAM of 8GB is good for gaming and the processor is good too. The storage capacity of the laptop is at par with the gaming laptops. This device, just like the previous one, suffers from a slightly low performing GPU. Asus has provided us with a contender for the Best Gaming Laptop Under 500.
4. HP Pavilion X360
There’s your tablet. This device is powerful as well, equipped with 4GB RAM plus an additional 16GB of Optane (quick fact: Optane is not RAM per se, but it acts like a cache memory making the RAM and thus processing faster) along with Intel Core i3 8th gen, makes it ideal for gaming.
It has a base clock speed of 2.2GHz and it can go turbo upto 3.4GHz during gaming and it offers a storage of 1TB HDD. One of the most striking features of this convertible, which is kind of a Christmas bonus, is that it comes with a digital pen, so you can just go wild with your creativity with this device.
This device has a few pros and cons. Having the 2-in-1 feature is great, as it can be used as a tablet whenever it is required. The display is FHD. It has a 4GB RAM which is again pretty low by the standards of a gaming laptop and the added 16GB will not be contributing much during intensive gaming.
It will just act as a buffer for the RAM to perform relatively faster. This device also does not have a dedicated GPU, which is a huge drawback if considered as a gaming laptop.
The digital pen that comes with this product is pretty responsive, according to many satisfied customers.
5. Lenovo Ideapad
This smooth Platinum Gray matte finish laptop is equipped with AMD quad-core processor with a clock speed of 2.7GHz. This machine is also powered by 8GB DDR4 RAM which makes it capable of handling graphic intensive games at high graphics settings. Also, it has ample storage space offering a 1TB HDD.
Now coming to a few drawbacks. It’s a bit heavy weighing a little over 5 pounds, making it a bit strainful to carry around. Also, it comes with an HD display rather than a Full HD one.
As it comes with a quad-core processor the smoothness and ease of work in this device increases significantly but there will be a cut in the overall experience as it doesn’t have Full HD display but a 720p one. The storage of this device is good, and will be able to keep all your data in a single device without any issues.
The weight of the device is a bit high but as it is embedded with such high-performing hardware it is reasonable (and certainly not a dealbreaker) and furthermore, if you are using it solely for gaming purposes the weight won’t be an issue.
6. HP 2020 Newest Premium
This laptop got a generic black glossy finish, but what it couldn’t have in looks have it in its specs. This device is a great option when it comes to gaming as it has an 8GB RAM along with AMD Radeon R4. It comes with a 720p 15.6” display and has the AMD A6-9225 Dual-Core processor having a clock speed of 2.6GHz.
The in-built audio system is also good, giving you a rich gaming experience without headphones. This also comes with a 1TB HDD and Bluetooth. It’s not a heavy laptop but it isn’t light either, making its portability limited.
As it houses both an 8GB RAM and an AMD graphics card and an AMD dual-processor it is going to perform very smoothly. But this experience won’t be perfect, as it doesn’t have a Full HD display – it features an HD display which fails to achieve that immersive experience of a game or even movie for that matter. The clock speed is good but it doesn’t have the turbo mode, so it won’t perform extraordinarily during those demanding situations.
7. Dell Inspiron 15 5000
This device has a 15 inch full HD touchscreen display and also a backlit keyboard. Now coming to the specs that will actually do all the heavy lifting. It has 8GB DDR4 RAM, along with Intel UHD Graphics 620 for better gaming experience.it is powered by 8th Gen Intel Quad Core i5-8250U Processor having a clock speed of 1.6GHz and a boosted speed upto 3.4GHz during gaming.
Cherry on top it also has Bluetooth 4.2 which makes all the other mundane file transfer activities faster. Coming to the pros and cons of this device, the touchscreen adds a nice touch to this device (pun intended!) and also, it sports an i5 quad-core processor along with 8GB RAM.
So you can expect nothing less than a smooth gaming experience from this laptop. But like a few of the previous laptops in this list, it features UHD as its graphical processor, which won’t be able to handle the graphical demands as graciously as either Nvidia or AMD.
8. Asus VivoBook 15
Straight-up coming to the looks. This device looks amazing with its Slat grey finish and nano edge 15.6” FHD display and it has an astonishing 88% screen-to-body ratio. The laptop is thin and light weighing only 3.75 pounds making it ergonomically amazing to work on and conveniently portable. It is powered by Intel Core i3-8145U Processor and 8GB RAM. It has a backlit chiclet keyboard and also a fingerprint sensor.
This device has a few snags though. It comes with Windows 10S (which is upgradable to Windows 10 by spending extra bucks) and also it offers only 128GB SSD, which is a bit low.
But apart from that, a laptop which is light and powerful to play games on? Yes please!
One of the drawbacks here is the Core i3 which is great but i5 is the gaming standard for any laptops. i3 is more like an office-use processor but as it is an 8th gen Intel core so should be able to handle stress beyond reasonable doubts.
Another let down is the Windows 10S, which won’t provide you with the full Windows experience. The storage is a bit low as some games that this device can run have the size of about 30-35 GB, which is almost 30-40% of the entire storage.
The aesthetics of the device are one of the best in this list.
9. Asus VivoBook Flip 401MA-YS02
This is another convertible (that means you can use it both as a laptop and tablet) in this list. Unlike the rest of the laptops here, this has a 14 inch 720p screen. This screen is a touchscreen with a viewing angle of upto 178° (which is crazy!) which has been optimized for maximum entertainment (be it gaming or watching movies). This one is very thin and light, weighing only 3.3 pounds as it has an aluminium chassis. It also offers you a 1 year Office 365 subscription free and it has a RAM of 4GB.
Coming to the cons. It offers you a mere 64GB of Hybrid storage which is shockingly low by today’s standard. Also, it comes with Windows 10S, so you won’t be getting the full Windows experience.
Frankly, this is not much of a gaming laptop and more like gaming on the go laptop but it can only handle small low graphics games gracefully (because for high graphics games this laptop will start to lag which is not a pretty experience). Its hyper-portability comes from the fact that it weighs less than my jacket (yup! Not an exaggeration).
From a gaming laptop point of view it has more unchecked boxes than checked ones.the 14” 720p screen won’t be able to provide much of an immersive experience. Also, the RAM of the device is only 4GB, which cannot run most of the high graphics game added with the fact that it doesn’t feature any dedicated GPU for handling graphics. And the fact that it sports only 64GB of storage is a huge letdown.
But again, this list features laptops which are able to run high graphics games as well as laptops which can run games on the go and keep you entertained. This laptop comes in the latter category. So if you need a light device which can play small enjoyable games on the go, this is the laptop you are looking for.
10. Lenovo Flex 81SQ000EUS
This like the previous one is also a 14” device which is a convertible but unlike any other device in this list, this one is the lightest of all. It weighs only 1.87 pounds (that’s just ridiculously light! I mean I’ve had lunch weighing more than this! ) and with its new recharge technology, you can charge it up to 80% in just an hour. It has 4GB DDR4 RAM so it can handle low-graphics games easily.
The reason it can’t perform for graphic-intensive games because it is powered by Intel Pentium Gold and not the Core i-series which are much superior to their Pentium counterparts.
It has a storage capacity of 128GB SSD and a clock speed of 2.3GHz.
Benefits of this device is that it is best to consider if you are a student who is always on the go and plays light games. The storage is fine, judging by the weight of this laptop. As its a 2-in-1 device, using it as a tablet (considering its next-to-nothing weight) is very easy and convenient. But the processor could have been better, as Pentium has become obsolete.
So there you go! These were the best gaming laptops under $500. Now that you know there are budget laptops out there, go ahead and grab one for yourself. Because every game lover should have a chance to experience their favourite game on the best laptops they can afford.
That’s why we kept the price range of these devices wide so that you can have more options to look through. As you also know the pros and cons to each laptop mentioned here, you can make an informed decision to get your first best gaming laptop under $500.