best gaming laptop under 500

Best Gaming Laptop Under 500: Reviews and Buyers Guide 2016

You do not have to spend an arm and a leg when it comes to laptop gaming. The idea of being able to access your game library while you’re out of the house is something every PC gamers has thought about at some point. The price of technology comes down as the years go and the same can be said with laptop specs. An I5 processor in 2012 would have cost you an arm and leg but when you look at the price today, it’s only a fraction of the original price. For those looking for the best gaming laptop under 500 dollars, you surprisingly have a ton of options to choose from.

Please note that the pricing on the laptop can go up or down at any given time. A laptop that was $450 in price one day can increase to $550 the next. That said, expect most of the laptops we have reviewed to be within reasonable range of the $500 mark

August 2016’s 5 Best Gaming Laptops Under 500

1. Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG

best gaming laptop under 500

Laptop Specifications

  • Intel Core i5-6200U Processor
  • 8GB DDR4 Ram
  • 250GB Solid State Hard Drive
  • Dedicated NVIDIA 940M Graphics Card with 2GB DDR5 VRAM
  • 15.6 inch full HD display at 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • BackLit Keyboard
  • Windows 10 operation system.

Editors Rating

  • Price 82%
  • Specs 92%
  • Build Quality 90%
  • Battery Life 85%
  • Screen Quality 95%
  • Gaming Performance 94%
  • Overall Rating 90%

2.  Lenovo Ideapad 500 2016

best gaming laptop under 500

Laptop Specifications

  • AMD A10-8700P Quad-core processor
  • 8GB DDR3 Ram
  • 1 Terabyte Hard drive
  • Dedicated AMD Radeon R6 Graphics
  • 15.6 inch full HD display at 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Windows 10 operation system

Editors Rating

  • Price     88%
  • Specs 91%
  • Build Quality 92%
  • Battery Life 85%
  • Screen Quality 95%
  • Gaming Performance 88%
  • Overall Rating 90%

3. Dell Inspiron 15 i5555-2866SL

best gaming laptop under 500

Laptop Specifications

  • AMD A10-8700P Quad-core processor
  • 8GB DDR3 Ram
  • 1 Terabyte Hard drive
  • Dedicated AMD Radeon R6 Graphics
  • 15.6 inch Touch Screen LED with 1366 x 768 Resolution
  • Backlit Keyboard
  • Windows 10 operation system

Editors Rating

  • Price   85%
  • Specs 84%
  • Build Quality 86%
  • Battery Life 82%
  • Screen Quality 83%
  • Gaming Performance 87%
  • Overall Rating 87%

4. Asus X550ZA-WH11

best gaming laptop under 500

Laptop Specifications

  • AMD Quad Core A10-7400P Processor
  • 8GB DDR3 Ram
  • 1 Terabyte Hard Drive
  • Dedicated AMD Radeon R6 Graphics Card
  • 15.6 inch Backlit LED Display 1366 x 768 Resolution
  • Windows 10 operation system

Editors Rating

  • Price   83%
  • Specs 85%
  • Build Quality 82%
  • Battery Life 75%
  • Screen Quality 84%
  • Gaming Performance 85%
  • Overall Rating 85%

5. 2016 Newest HP Pavilion 15 Laptopbest gaming laptop under 500

Laptop Specifications

  • AMD Quad-Core A6-6310 Processor
  • 8GB DDR3 Ram
  • 1 Terabyte Hard Drive
  • Dedicated AMD Radeon R4 Graphics Card
  • 15.6-inch diagonal backlit WLED Touch Screen Display at WLED Touchscreen display at 1366x768
  • Windows 10 operation system

Editors Rating

  • Price     90%
  • Specs 85%
  • Build Quality 83%
  • Battery Life 78%
  • Screen Quality 83%
  • Gaming Performance 84%
  • Overall Rating 84%

Things to consider when shopping for the Best gaming laptop under 500

 

Choosing the best gaming laptop under 500 is not a simple process. Due to the constraint in price, you must now pick and choose between some of the features and specifications you will be sacrificing. A Lenovo laptop might have an SSD but the graphics card is integrated whereas the 500-hundred-dollar Acer laptop lacks an SSD but has dedicated graphics. It’s important to purchase a gaming laptop that is tailored to your needs. Some people prefer a Full HD screen while others prefer a laptop with 10 hours of battery. That being said, when it comes to specific gaming performance, certain specs must be present if you want the best experience possible without spending an arm and a leg.

Choosing the appropriate processor

new gaming laptop

A laptop’s processor is the most important piece of tech inside your laptop. The best gaming laptop under 500 all have one thing in common, a wicked processor. When it comes to gaming performance, we recommend a good processor as it will have a major impact on gaming performance. Some processors perform much better than others which is why you should look into the processors specific benchmark before purchasing your gaming laptop. When it comes to Intel vs AMD, both processors have their respective pros and cons. Intel processors are known for running at lower speeds with few cores while AMD processors have been known to also run at lower speeds but with higher multi core and hyper-threading support. It’s important to research the processor you choose as it will have a massive impact on gaming performance.

The Amount of memory inside the Laptop

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Another specification that makes a massive impact on gaming performance is RAM. The best gaming laptop under 500 must have at least 8GB of ram if you plan on doing sort of current and last gen gaming. Also, you’ll notice a few of the newer laptops having DDR4 ram instead of the standard DDR3. Right now we are in the transition phase when it comes to ram which means the differences won’t be to massive. That being said, DDR4 will eventually beat DDR3 but it won’t be for quite a while. In conclusion, its essential to have at least 8GB of ram if you want to run any modern games on your budget laptop.

Dedicated Graphics Card Vs Integrated Graphics Card

gaming pc laptops

A dedicated GPU has its own source of video memory whereas the integrated card will utilize the systems Ram. A laptop with dedicated graphics and video memory will do a much better job than an integrated card. That said, both have their benefits and drawbacks and both have a place when it comes to gaming. A laptop with an integrated graphics card is generally much cheaper and will produce less heat as it consumes less power which also improves battery life. An integrated card might be appropriate if the game you plan on running is fairly old. That being said, when it comes to gaming performance, the best gaming laptop under 500 will have a dedicated card. Like I mentioned for the 50th time, be sure to check the specifications of the games you plan on running and see what laptop you will need.

Choosing The Right Size Screen

top gaming laptop

Your Laptop’s Screen size is also another important buying factor on your quest to finding the best gaming laptop under 500. When shopping for a budget gaming laptop, you will notice the screen dimensions on the laptop are generally from 11 inches to 17 inches. A larger screen size is ideal for a gamer but keep in mind that batter life will also be impacted. A larger laptop screen will consume a lot more power which means a reduction in battery life. Some gamers prefer a larger laptop screen while others want a longer battery life.

When it comes to the laptop’s display resolution, the laptops you will come across will have a resolution of 1366x768, 1600x900 and 1920x1080. The 1366x768 resolution is the standard resolution you will find in almost all entry level laptop and is good for older games. 1600x900 does a better job and is fairly good when it comes to gaming. 1920x1080 is the best resolution of the three and will give you the best level of detail. The best gaming laptop under 500 should have a 1920x1080 display and nothing lower. That being said, it’s important to consider what games you plan on running on this laptop. A higher resolution in a laptop generally means a higher price tag which might not be worth it if your laptop is going to be used for older games.

Laptops With Touchscreen Capability

affordable gaming laptop

When choosing the best gaming laptop under 500, you will notice a few of these laptops having touchscreens. Touchscreens have their pros and cons but when you look at for gaming, there’s not really much use. Also, depending on the touch screen build quality and the design, it may impact the laptop’s battery life and ultimately reduce. In addition, touchscreens will often times make the laptop a lot heavier due to the added technology in the display. If you’re interested in a laptop that has a touch screen, be sure to check out the laptop’s battery performance and the weight of the laptop.

The Hard Drive Size inside your laptop

pc gaming laptops

Storage is also another important factor when it comes to choosing the best gaming laptop under 500. Your gaming pc laptop’s storage should be fairly large if you want to store multiple games00. Your gaming pc laptop’s storage should be fairly large if you want to store multiple games inside your laptop. Keep in mind that some games are a lot larger than others. For example, GTA V is around 70 gigs while portal 2 is only 10 gigs. When looking at some of the top gaming laptop in the market, they may include an SSD which is an awesome feature when it comes to gaming. An SSD will speed up your laptop and make it lightning fast but it does a few drawbacks. The storage size for an SSD is a lot lower than your hard disk and the price of the laptop will increase when an SSD is added. It’s important to tailor the laptop purchase on the games you plan on running and storing.

The laptop’s Weight, Design look and Overall Build quality

gaming laptop brands

When searching for the best gaming laptop under 500, be aware of the laptop’s weight, design and build quality. Even if you’re on a budget, the laptop you end up going should not weigh a kilogram, look like a cereal boxed and break within a month. The top gaming laptops under 500 should be reasonably lightweight, designed fairly nice and are built to last. The days of the big bulky laptop are coming to an end which means that your 500-dollar gaming laptop should weigh, look and be built reasonably well. Although its not an important buying factor like the processor or graphics card, the laptops design should strongly be considered before making the purchase.

The Laptop’s Battery Life and Performance

best gaming laptop under 500

Battery life is another big consideration when shopping for the best gaming laptop under 500. Some laptops have better overall performance than others. Many of the new gaming laptops that are priced under 500 have a standard battery life of 4-6 hours. Gaming is very intensive on a laptop and will drain your battery considerably fast. If battery performance is a big concern and you want your laptop to last much longer, consider purchasing rechargeable power pack. Some of the Power packs sold in the market today are fairly light weight that can extend your laptop’s battery life by multiple hours.

Keyboard Build Quality, Laptop Sound Quality and Other Features

cheap laptop for gaming

A few things that are overlooked when purchasing an affordable gaming laptop is the keyboard build and the laptop’s sound quality. The best gaming laptop under 500 should have a fairly decent keyboard because you will be gaming on it. If the keyboard is flimsy or designed awkwardly, how exactly are you going to game? People often forget this fact and regret it when they pick up their laptop. Also, if you don’t plan on wearing headphones when you game on your laptop, be sure to pick up a laptop with a decent sound card. It’s important to check out what other people are saying about the laptop’s keyboard quality and what the sound quality is like on the laptop. Although it’s not an important factor like processing power or graphics card, it should at least be given a quick look before a purchase is made.

Some of the other features that people often times miss is the amount of USB ports the laptop has. When researching your affordable gaming laptop, make sure the laptop has at least 2 USB 3.0 ports. Due to the $500 price tag, some laptop manufacturers have to cut amount of USB ports on a laptop. In addition, some of other features that are worth looking at when choosing the best gaming laptop under 500 is whether or not the laptop has any HDMI ports, USB-C ports, Lan ports, VGA ports, a media card reader, the Bluetooth quality and it’s the wireless card.

Comparing the different Laptop Brands

gaming laptop under 500

It’s important to research the laptop brand before making a purchase. Certain brands are better to deal with than others when it comes to laptop repairing and warranties. It’s important to take a look at the different laptop manufactures and the reputation they may or may not carry. Some laptops from certain brands have been known to last a lot longer than laptops from other brands. Be sure to check out reviews, consumer reports and warranty information when choosing your laptop. The laptops brand should seriously be considered when choosing the best gaming laptop under 500.

Optimizing your Laptop for gaming

best gaming laptop under 500

One thing every laptop owner should do is optimize their laptop in order to get the best possible performance out of their laptop. No matter how good the best gaming laptop under 500 is, it can always improve with a bit of setting tweaking and optimization. Optimization your laptop is not difficult and is actually fairly simple. You will be removing bloatware that comes preinstalled inside the laptop, make a backup copy/system image and then tweak the gpu settings so you can get the best possible performance

Preinstalled software packages or “bloat ware” is a piece of software the manufacture packages in with your laptop. A lot of the times, the software that is preinstalled bogs down and dampens PC performance. To make life easier, you can download a dedicated software that removes this specific bloatware. A mere google search will yield you a dozen different results. That said, I recommend looking into CCleaner due to the high praise and high reviews it has gotten over the past decade

Once you have you have uninstalled the bloatware software inside your laptop, you must now tweak the processor and GPU settings inside your laptop. If you have an Nvidia GPU in your laptop, open Nvidia Control Panel and Tweak the settings to suit your needs. For this with an AMD chipset, open the AMD/ATI Control Center and change the settings accordingly. It is recommended that you uninstall the manufacture bloatware and immediately make a backup copy. A backup ensures that you can always restore back if anything were to happen to your laptop. No matter what the best gaming laptop is, it always has rooms for improvement.

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Wrapping it Up 

Best gaming laptop under 500

Now that you have seen the list, you should have no problem picking up the best gaming laptop under 500. Make sure to careful read user reviews before pulling the trigger and making the purchase. Each gaming laptop has a set of pros and cons of its own. The best gaming laptop under 500 from HP will be extremely different from the best gaming laptop under 500 from dell so be well aware of you are purchasing.When you do finally pick up your laptop, make sure to optimize careful so you increase its longevity like we mentioned above. I have come across dozens amongst dozens of people that have replaced their laptops due to poor overall optimization.