Don’t Get a Cheap Laptop, Get a Low-Price Gaming Laptop

A smart man is playing a video game and sitting in front of his

Key Points

  • Gaming laptops are much more expensive than gaming desktops or regular laptops.

  • When buying a low-price gaming laptop, it's vital the computer has the specs you need.

  • Acer, MSI, Lenovo, and HP are reliable, inexpensive gaming laptop brands.

Games are constantly improving with better graphics, controls, and open-world situations. To power these improvements, you need substantial computing power. Lack of processing power prevents many cheap laptops from playing newer games. Instead of settling for a cheap laptop, consider a low-price gaming laptop.

Low-price gaming laptops don't have the best graphics and speed, but they're powerful enough to run popular games, such as PUBG: Battlegrounds and Witcher 3. If you're tech-savvy, upgrade these bargain basement laptops to keep up with the demands of the newest AAA games.

The Minimum Specs for a Gaming Laptop

There are thousands of games out there. Some need so little computing power that they run on a calculator. Others need the best computer available to run even half decently.

These minimum specs are necessary for your computer to run any game from any category:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 (H series) or AMD Ryzen 5 (H series)

  • GPU: GeForce GTX 1060 by NVidia or Radeon RX 480 by AMD

  • RAM: 8 GB

  • SSD: 128 GB

These minimum specs give you the computing power to run a game, but that's all they do. Reducing the graphics, render distance, and other details in the game are necessary to play smoothly.

Matthew Smith at IGN explains this point well:

"You can buy a gaming laptop for just under $1,000 … that offers enough performance to play competitive online games like CS:GO and Overwatch 2. However, budget gaming laptops this cheap come with the lowest tier specs, including an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU paired with Nvidia’s lowest-tier RTX 3050 Ti mobile graphics."

Smith advises, "If you’re looking for a gaming laptop with more grunt, expect to spend closer to $1,700 to $2000 for a machine with an Nvidia RTX 3080 or better."

Young boy plays a video gaming laptop

The Best Low-Price Laptops for Gaming

Gaming laptops are known for being expensive. You can spend several thousand dollars on a great gaming setup.

These laptops are the complete package for a reasonably low price. They aren't the fastest laptops out there, but they still work well.

The Most Upgradable Laptop

The Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop is the cheapest laptop on this list. As of 2023, the Nitro 5 lists for $710.

The computer comes with basic specs that play most standard games. It has 8 GB of DDR4 RAM and 256 GB SSD. The laptop has a ninth-generation Intel Core i5 processor and an NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card.

This laptop is unsuitable for intensive AAA games like PUBG, Witcher 3, or World of Warcraft. While it meets the minimum specs, and the games are playable on this laptop, this Acer struggles with the more intense parts of games.

Noticeable issues include lag, freezing, and slow loading times.

A few extra minutes of loading and the occasional lag in an online game aren't big deals for those planning to upgrade later.

Instead of buying a cheap computer now and a completely new one in a few years — ultimately costing more than just buying a good laptop in the first place — this Acer offers a solution. The memory and storage are upgradeable. When you have the money, upgrade this system instead of buying a new one.

This laptop is the one to buy if you want a powerful system for cheap but want to improve it down the line rather than replace your system.

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming LaptopPhoto source:

The Laptop With the Coolest Name

The Acer Predator Helios takes gaming laptops a step further with a name appropriate for a powerful laptop that runs intensive games. Most other laptops designed for power just say they're gaming laptops. This laptop's name makes you feel like a true gamer, with RGB lights, a clear display with a 144 Hz refresh rate, and powerful cooling fans.

The Predator Helios offers an 11th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, an NVidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card, 512 GB SSD, and 16 GB DDR4 RAM. This laptop plays games with high requirements and has a speedy 3ms response time.

Another unique benefit is letting your computer connect to the internet via WiFi and ethernet simultaneously. If one form of internet lags, the laptop seamlessly uses the other source to maximize speed and stability.

AI technologies in the laptop improve the visuals and optimization. The PredatorSense program allows you to monitor the entire system, overclocking, and customizable settings.

Acer Predator HeliosPhoto source:

The Laptop With the Most Transparency

Unless you understand how computers run and the exact specs you need for a game to run smoothly, it's frustrating to pick out the best gaming laptop.

First, you must compare the recommended game settings and the computer's specs. These specs aren't always accurate. Bloatware can make the actual RAM and memory much lower than the company claims.

People may buy computers to play a game only to realize they can't. This isn't a problem with the HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop. It lists its specs for anyone to see. It also provides a list of games the computer plays at the lowest and recommended settings with no problems.

With this handy infographic, even casual gamers get the information they need.

The HP Pavilion has an Intel Core i5 processor, an NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, 12 GB RAM, and a 512 GB SSD.

HP Pavilion Gaming LaptopPhoto source:

The Most Powerful Laptop

If you want a low-price gaming laptop that plays any game without a struggle, the MSI Pulse GL66 Gaming Laptop is the one for you. Its $1,350 price tag is higher than others on the list, but it has the 2023's most up-to-date graphics and enough RAM and storage to handle any load.

In addition to a 144 Hz refresh rate and a 1080p display, this laptop has an 11th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and the NVidia GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card. It also has 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage.

The system, including the keys, is also fully customizable to allow access to all your favorite shortcuts.

Overclocking is possible with both the CPU and GPU. Though the fans are loud in this mode, they keep the system running and prevent overheating.

For those needing more than 512 GB of storage, an open slot is available for upgrades inside the laptop. It's easy to upgrade to a TB or two to keep all your games installed. There are four USB ports for external storage.

While the MSI laptop has no display port, it does offer an HDMI port and a USB-C port for display options.

MSI Pulse GL66 Gaming LaptopPhoto source:

The Red Team Processor Laptop

If you prefer AMD over Intel for your processor, then the Lenovo Legion 5 Gaming Laptop delivers. It's an inexpensive laptop with many features that other low-price gaming laptops don't have.

With an AMD Ryzen 7 processor and an NVidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card, you have a system that powers through any intensive game. The graphics card has second-generation ray tracing and third-generation AI Tensor Cores for the most efficient and brilliant graphics possible.

It also has 16 GB DDR4 RAM and 512 GB of SSD.

Other key features include a 100 percent sRGB color gamut, 3ms response time, and a 165 Hz refresh rate. The laptop also features the Legion AI Engine for auto-optimization and balancing CPU and GPU loads for your game's needs.

This is an excellent laptop if you aren't a fan of the loud sound of fans while you're playing. Unless you overclock it, the laptop is pretty quiet. You no longer have to turn your music up full blast to hide the sound of your laptop trying to fly away.

Lenovo Legion 5 Gaming LaptopPhoto source:

Notable Mentions

If these laptops aren't quite what you're looking for, a few other gaming laptops out there deserve a notable mention.

The first is the ASUS 2022 TUF F17 Flagship Gaming Laptop. This one offers powerful memory with 32 GB of RAM. It also has more storage than any casual gamer needs at one and a half TB of SSD while still being a relatively cheap gaming laptop.

The EVOO Gaming Laptop is a lesser-known brand but has decent specs with 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage. It uses an AMD Ryzen 7 for the processor and NVidia GeForce RTX 2060 for the graphics card.

Game on a Budget

These laptops toe the line between getting an affordable system and one that plays games. These don't provide you with the best graphics or the fastest speeds, but they offer a system that runs every game you want.

If you don't mind waiting a few extra minutes for a game to load or slightly downgraded graphics, these computers deliver everything you need and are well worth their low cost.

Most of them are also upgradeable, making them a potential long-time companion.

If you want more information about gaming accessories or the latest tech reviews, subscribe to SmartScreens.

Was this article helpful?