Top 5: Best Gaming Laptops Under $500 in 2018

Updated: September 8th, 2018Author: BrantonCategory: Laptops27 Comments

best gaming laptops under 500

Laptops aren’t always ideal for gaming, especially without spending more than $500. They’ll only be able to handle light gaming and not very well at that. So, it can be pretty hard to choose the best gaming laptop.

Before we go any further, I have to tell you that laptops under $500 are not meant for gaming. None of them come with dedicated graphics cards and subsequently won’t be able to handle high-level (or even mid-level) gaming.

Basically, spending  $500 on a laptop is going to get you something that can run games on low settings, anywhere you want – as long as there is power. Like I said, you won’t be able to get a laptop with a discrete graphics card at this price, so expect everything on this list to have integrated graphics.

Let’s get down to our picks of the best gaming laptops under $500! We’ll start with the cheapest, most bare-bones laptop you can get for under $500 and from where we’ll work our way to the absolute best one you can get.

Looking for something with a little more power? Check out the best laptops for gaming under $1000! You might find that spending just a little more is going to get you wayyyyy more power.

#5

Acer Aspire E5-575-33BM 15.6″

best gaming laptop under 500
$597.11 USD
At Amazon

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The Acer Aspire E5-575-33BM is a good entry-level laptop with a 15.6″ 1080p display, an i3 7100u processor, 4GB of RAM and a 1TB 5400RPM HDD. Although it’s not kitted to handle graphically demanding games, it will work for basic games like those with pixel-art and things of that nature.

The i3 7100u is a year old now and it’s age shows when compared to newer processors like the i3 8130u and A12 9720p. That said, it and its integrated Intel HD 620 graphics are still capable of handling some light duty gaming. The one major limitation on this laptop is RAM; it only has 4GB of DDR4 RAM at 2133MHz. That said, it is possible to add more RAM, however you’re likely better off grabbing a laptop with more to begin with.

Overall, the Acer Aspire E5-575-33BM is a good, inexpensive option if you’re looking for a 15.6″ 1080p display and something that can handle some light duty gaming without breaking the bank. In regards to schoolwork, browsing the web, and things like that, this laptop will have no problems at all.

The Good
  • Works well for very basic games
  • No problems with browsing the web, homework and things like that
  • Webcam + mic
  • 1TB of storage
The Bad
  • Only 4GB of RAM
  • Won’t do well in demanding games
Specs
...for nerds
  • Processor: Intel i3 7100u
  • Graphics: Intel HD 620
  • RAM: 4GB DDR4 2133MHz
  • Storage: 1TB 5400RPM HDD
  • Display: 15.6″, 1920×1080
    (1080p)
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Weight: 5.27 lbs
  • Battery Life: Up to 12 hours

#4

HP 15-BW040NR 15.6″

gaming laptop under 500
$465.00 USD
At Amazon

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The HP HP 15-BW040NR is a great 15.6″ laptop for a student on a student’s budget who also wants to game out from time to time. It’s packing a powerful AMD A12 9720P processor that’s running Radeon R7 integrated graphics. It’s also boasting a solid 8GB of DDR4 RAM at 1866MHz which isn’t bad at all. It also comes with an okay backpack and a semi-decent mouse, so there’s that too!

Like all laptops under $500, the one major limiting factor to this one’s gaming performance is the fact that it’s not running a dedicated graphics card. Instead, it relies on the integrated R7 graphics that are packaged with the A12 9720P. That’s to say, it’s not going to blow your mind when it comes to in-game performance, but it’ll do well enough regardless. Another slight downside is going to be the 720p display, however it’s not all bad considering this laptop will run games a lot better in 720p than it would in 1080p.

Overall, the HP 15-BW040NR is a good entry-level laptop with a modest amount of power. Popular games like Minecraft, and DOTA2 or even CS:GO would run well on the HP 15-BW040NR. If you’re looking to spend around $400 on a laptop to use for gaming, homework, and browsing the web, this one should be right near the top of your list!

The Good
  • 8GB of DDR4 RAM
  • Will work for games like CS:GO, DOTA2 and LoL
  • 1TB of storage
  • Webcam + mic
  • Touchscreen
  • Comes with a backpack and a mouse!
The Bad
  • Will have trouble with newer AAA/demanding games
  • 720p display
Specs
...for nerds
  • Processor: AMD A12 9720P
  • Graphics: Radeon R7
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 1866MHz
  • Storage: 1TB 5400RPM HDD
  • Display: 15.6″, 1366×768 (basically 720p)
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Weight: 4.41 lbs
  • Battery Life: Up to 8 hours

#3

HP 15-BS095MS 15.6″

best gaming laptops under 500 dollars
$536.00 USD
At Amazon

Get Yours

The HP 15-BS095MS is a slightly different version of the aforementioned BW040NR. Instead of 1866MHz DDR4 RAM, this one has 8GB of 2133MHz DDR4 RAM; and instead of just 1TB of storage, the BS095MS has a whopping 2TB! There’s also the more obvious difference in processors with the BS095MS running an Intel i5 7200u compared to the AMD A12 9720P in the previous laptop.

Like all laptops in the sub-$500 price range, the BS095MS is more suited to 720p gaming than it is 1080p, so it’s not bad that it only has a 720p display. It’s probably not ideal for people who don’t game a lot and mostly browse the web, etc, but when you’re trying to go cheap you have to make some sacrifices! This laptop will have no problem handling light-duty gaming in titles like CS:GO, Terraria, Stardew Valley, League of Legends, DOTA2, and games like that. Where it will have issues is in more graphically demanding (usually AAA) games.

Overall, if you need a ton of storage and good, fast RAM to handle multitasking, the HP 15-BS095MS should definitely be a laptop you consider!

The Good
  • 2TB of storage!
  • 8GB of DDR4 RAM at 2133MHz
  • Intel i5 processor (7th gen)
  • Webcam + mic
  • Touchscreen
The Bad
  • Won’t be enough to handle demanding games on good settings
  • 720p display
Specs
...for nerds
  • Processor: Intel i5-7200u
  • Graphics: Intel HD 620
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 @ 2133MHz
  • Storage: 2TB 5400RPM HDD
  • Display: 15.6″, 1366×768 (basically 720p)
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Weight: 4.52 lbs
  • Battery Life: Up to 8 hours

#2

Acer Aspire E5-576-392H 15.6″

laptops for gaming under 500
$379.99 USD
At Amazon

Get Yours

The Acer Aspire E5-576-392H is a great entry-level laptop which works pretty good for gaming, and will allow you to do anything else you would want to do on a laptop. It’s the newest model of our #5 pick and packs quite a bit more power.

Featuring a powerful i3 8130u processor, 6GB of 1600MHz RAM and an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620, this little laptop surprisingly only weighs 5.27 pounds but it still packs a punch and will run the majority of games on low-medium settings. Newer games, or games that are more graphically demanding will have some trouble running well (60fps) on this laptop.

If you’re in the market for a kickass laptop in the $500 range that’s also going to work well for gaming, then the Acer Aspire E5-576-392H should definitely be on your list of considerations.

The Good
  • Powerful CPU & Integrated graphics
  • Built-in mic & webcam
  • Integrated Bluetooth & WiFi
  • Will work for basic gaming
The Bad
  • Only 6GB of RAM
  • DDR3L RAM instead of DDR4
Specs
...for nerds
  • Processor: Intel i3 8130u
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • RAM: 6GB DDR3L 1600MHz
  • Storage: 1TB 5400RPM HDD
  • Display: 15.6″, 1366×768 (basically 720p)
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Weight: 5.27 lbs
  • Battery Life: Up to 13.5 hours

#1

Lenovo 320-15ABR 15.6″

best laptop for gaming under 500
$369.99 USD
At Amazon

Get Yours

Lenovo’s 320-15ABR is a great entry-level laptop for gaming under $500. Not only is it under $500, it’s actually under $400! And that’s why it has our #1 spot even though it’s packing a lot of the same components as laptops lower in the ranks. You can’t argue with price, and the Lenovo 320-15ABR has an extremely attractive price to say the least.

Like lesser ranked builds, the Lenovo 320-15ABR is running an AMD A12 9720P processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM at 2133MHz and has 1TB of 5400RPM HDD storage. The display is relatively standard for this level of build at a size of 15.6″ and a 16:9 resolution of 1366×768 (basically 720p).

It’s packing enough power to handle light-duty games, but anything that’s more graphically demanding than say CS:GO is going to have a hard time running well on this laptop. By well I mean in the range of 60fps, 30fps is completely doable in most games at 720p.

Overall, the Lenovo 320-15ABR is a great entry-level option in terms of a laptop you could use for gaming under $500. It has a very attractive price and should not be overlooked as it compared to builds closer to the $500 mark!

The Good
  • Very good price for what you get
  • Good for light-duty gaming
  • Webcam + mic
  • Easy to add more RAM
The Bad
  • Not good for graphically demanding games
  • Short battery life
Specs
...for nerds
  • Processor: AMD A12 9720P
  • GPU: Radeon R7
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 2133MHz
  • Storage: 1TB 5400RPM HDD
  • Display: 15.6″, 1366×768 (basically 720p)
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs
  • Battery Life: Up to 5 hours

Conclusion

Not everyone can justify spending massive amounts of money on a gaming computer, especially if you’re going to school or you’re on a fixed income. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some light-duty PC gaming all the same!

Although none of these laptops are going to be the best for gaming on, they’ll still be able to manage games with CS:GO levels of graphics without an issue. Popular MOBAs will run well just like pixel-based, or most isometric-style games will run awesome as well. I’m talking games like Terraria, Stardew Valley, and even games like Oxygen Not Included.

Something you should always keep in mind while gaming on a laptop is: don’t restrict your airflow. It might be convenient to put your laptop on a pillow on your lap or something and game out, but trust me, that’s a bad idea, and you’re slowly smothering your laptop. You should almost always use a cooling pad when actively gaming on your laptop, if not just a hard surface.

You might want to consider getting yourself a mouse also, gaming with a trackpad can be a nuisance at best. Since there are so many mice on the market, I’ve put together top 5 lists for both mice under $50 and mice under $100. You’re almost guaranteed to find the mouse you need within one of those lists.

Another addition you might want to consider is a good gaming headset. For that purpose, I’ve put together a list of the best gaming headsets under $100 and the best gaming headsets under $50!

If nothing else, I hope this list of the laptops you can use for gaming while spending under $500 helped you in some way! If you’re not impressed by the level of performance you’re seeing in this list, check out the top 5 laptops for gaming under $1000!

Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comment section!

About the Author

Branton

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Hey there! I'm Branton, the founder and lead editor here at PC Game Haven. Since our launch in 2015, we've helped thousands upon thousands of gamers build their dream desktops, find the perfect peripherals, and more. Thanks for stopping by!

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Gerry
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Gerry

Hey Branton, any suggestion to play games like WoW, LoL, Rocket League and maybe fortnite? I really don’t know if any of those laptops above are good for that, but my budget is in the $500-ish, thanks for the awesome work!

Tori
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Tori

Can any of these laptop run The Isle type games? Been looking for something, but I’m new to the gaming world.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Would any of these work for fortnite?

Jordan
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Jordan

Do you think any of these could handle fallout 4 on lowest settings?

Jaskaran
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Jaskaran

Yo I need your help Brandon. I am looking for a gaming laptop for $800 or less and I can’t find anything. I’ve been searching for months but the problem is that I live in Canada so basically everything is 25% or more cost. Please help I just need a really good gaming laptop for $800. Thanks

Anonymous
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Anonymous

get an acer nitro 5 I live in canada too I feel you man but the nitro 5 max out is only like 779 CAD on amazon.ca

Bob
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Bob

Do you have a recommendation on the cheapest I could go to run CS:S decently? Many of us still love it, its not dead! 🙂

Christian
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Christian

How much better would the 579$ Acer Aspire Or The Asus x550ZA

Compared to the ASUS X550ZA you have here.

And what are the top games it could run with best setting for FPS.