A few years ago, finding a gaming laptop under $500 was a difficult task. With the advancement in technology and fierce competition between AMD and Intel, finding one is manageable.
$500 laptops aren’t yet able to run modern gaming titles at 1080p resolution, Ultra settings, and smooth frame rates. With the absence of a dedicated graphics card, you don’t get the best experience while playing games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Far Cry 5, and Assassins Creed Odyssey.
However, if you’re budget is fixed, then we’ve selected the 8 best gaming laptops under $500 for you. Most of these laptops consist of AMD CPUs with integrated Vega graphics. The Vega graphics offer better gaming performance compared to Intel’s UHD graphics.
With Vega graphics, you can play games like Forza Horizon 4, Battlefield V, FIFA 2020, GTA 5, Rocket League, and more at 720p resolution with Low to Medium graphics
The Acer Aspire 5 A515-44-R41B is the best spec’d gaming laptop you can currently buy under $500.
The Acer Aspire features AMD’s latest Ryzen 5 4500U CPU, a 6-core processor with 6 threads. This processor offers a base clock of 2.3GHz and a boost clock of 4.0GHz for peak performance.
For graphical performance, this processor features AMD’s Vega 6 integrated graphics. The Vega 6 integrated graphics has 6 graphic cores and an operating frequency of 1500MHz. In simple terms, the integrated graphics in Acer Aspire provides comparable performance to a dedicated graphics card.
Moreover, the AMD Ryzen 5 4500U draws 15W of power on average. Thus, you get excellent CPU and GPU performance without draining your Acer Aspire laptop’s battery life.
This Acer Aspire laptop comes with 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB NVMe SSD drive to support this powerful CPU. Luckily, Acer offers an additional slot to add an extra RAM module. Hence, to squeeze out the best performance from this laptop, I recommend adding another 8GB DDR4 RAM to this laptop.
Consequently, if you feel the 256GB SSD drive is low for your daily usage. You can swap it with a bigger SSD drive. You also get extra space to add a 2.5-inch HDD or SSD drive into this laptop. In terms of upgradability, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-44-R41B has covered you from all sides.
Design-wise, this Acer Aspire laptop looks very modern and somber yet feels premium. It is available in silver color, and the screen bezels are black. This color combination offers a soothing contrast. Thus, you can use the Acer Aspire 5 A515-44-R41B in a professional or educational environment.
Aesthetically, you get a beautiful 15.6-inch Full HD screen with an IPS display. The Acer Aspire screen offers vibrant colors; hence, playing games or watching movies is extremely enjoyable. It features a full-size backlit keyboard and moderate-size touchpad.
You also get connectivity options like 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, 1x USB 2.0 port, HDMI port, Bluetooth, and WiFi 6 in this Acer Aspire.
It weighs 4.2 pounds and comes with a 720p webcam, stereo speakers, and preinstalled Windows 10 Home OS.
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Hexa-Core
8 GB DDR4
256GB NVMe SSD
15.6″ Full HD
Windows 10 Home
Powerful and latest AMD Ryzen 5 4500U CPU
The GPU offers dedicated graphics card-like performance
Upgradable RAM and SSD storage slots
Sleek looks and premium design
Poor audio quality through the stereo speakers
The battery life isn’t long lasting
“If you don’t want to fuss about buying the best gaming laptop under $500? Then the Acer Aspire 5 A515-44-R41B is the right pick for you. It offers a powerful CPU with potent integrated graphics and tons of features at a pocket-friendly price.”
At first look, the Asus Vivobook X512DA looks extremely sleeks and offers a premium laptop feel under $500. You get very slim bezels on all 4 sides, and the 15.6-inch screen offers good color contrast and relatively bright for daytime usage.
The display offers an ergo lift feature, which lifts the laptop base once you open the screen. The ergo lift feature tends to offer an inclined typing position and extra space for appropriate airflow.
It comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U CPU with Vega 8 integrated graphics. Alongside, you also get 8GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB NVMe SSD drive.
In terms of weight, the Asus Vivobook X512DA weighs just 3.86 pounds and is the lightest 15.6-inch laptop on our list. However, to keep the weight low, Asus has opted for a smaller battery life; hence, expect 3-5 hours of battery life depending on your usage.
Being a lightweight laptop, the Asus Vivobook X512DA has a strong build quality. You get a full-size keyboard with white backlighting. The fingerprint scanner is integrated within the touchpad, and the touchpad is of moderate size with satisfactory performance.
When it comes to gaming, you can play few modern games at smooth frame rates on this Acer aspire – thanks to the Vega 8 integrated graphics. You can get 30+ fps on games like Witcher 3, Resident Evil 3, Assasin’s Creed Origins, Far Cry New Dawn, Need for Speed Heat, and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War at 720p resolution with Medium or High settings.
Whereas, on games like GTA V, Rocket League, and FIFA 20, you can get close to 60 FPS with or 720p or 1080p resolution and at Low to Medium settings.
AMD Ryzen 5
AMD Radeon Vega 8
Windows 10 Home
Sleek & premium design
512GB NVMe SSD drive
It weighs just 3.86 pounds
Slim screen bezels on all 4 sides
Low battery life
The silver-colored keyboard keys are hard to see while typing because of the non-contrasting color with the laptop’s body
“The Asus Vivobook X512DA is a sleek-looking laptop that offers value-for-money gaming performance. Moreover, it has a sleek and premium design coupled with a low weight of 3.86 pounds. These features make the Asus Vivobook X512DA a perfect gaming laptop for students.”
The Lenovo Ideapad 3 laptop is one of the best 14-inch compact gaming laptops under 500 that packs in worthy hardware. It comes with AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor, which is a quad-core processor and gets 8 threads.
This processor offers a base clock of 2.1GHz and a boost clock of 3.7GHz. During regular tasks, this processor doesn’t drain your battery life. However, during gaming or heavy tasks, the processor offers the power that you need. On average, it consumes 15W of power.
You get Vega 8 integrated graphics with 8 GPU cores. The Vega 8 is clocked at 1200MHz and offers better performance than the latest generation AMD Ryzen 5 4500U CPU.
The CPU is coupled with 8GB DDR4 RAM and a 256GB NVMe SSD drive. In terms of hardware upgradability, the Lenovo Ideapad 3 offers an extra RAM slot. However, being a 14-inch laptop, there isn’t an additional HDD/SSD drive slot.
Design-wise, this laptop is available in Abyss Blue color and has a brushed metal finish on the top lid and keyboard area. There’s a TKL keyboard that offers nicely spaced-out keys and a better typing experience. There’s a moderate size touchpad that works well with Windows precision drivers.
Once you open the lid, you’ll see the 14-inch Full HD screen. This screen has slim bezels on the left and right size; however, the bottom bezel look pretty thick against modern design standards.
Since it’s a 14-inch laptop, it weighs just 3.3 pounds; hence carrying it around won’t be an issue. Moreover, you get plenty of wired and wireless connectivity options to keep you satiated.
AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Processor
8 GB RAM
256 GB SSD
AMD Radeon Vega 8
Windows 10 Home
The brushed metal design gives it a premium look
Unique color choice
Full HD screen in a 14-inch form factor
Additional RAM slot
Thick top and bottom bezels
Inferior webcam quality
“The Lenovo Ideapad 3 is a compact version of a $500 gaming laptop. You get favorable specs that will run your favorite games at playable frame rates. Moreover, the lightweight design makes it easier to carry around this laptop.”
Aesthetically, the Asus Vivobook F512DA is similar to the above-mentioned Asus Vivobook X512DA. However, this laptop model has slimmer bezels, a low screen-to-body ratio, and a lightweight design.
It is available in Slate Gray color with a metal-like design on the top lid and keyboard area. It comes with a 15.6-inch Full HD screen with an IPS display. This display offers an immersive viewing experience due to its extremely slim bezels. With the slim bezels, the Asus Vivobook F512DA offers an 88% screen-to-body ratio. With such slim bezels, Asus has managed to get in a 720p webcam.
On the inside, you get AMD Ryzen 5 3500U CPU, coupled with AMD Vega 8 integrated graphics. The Vega 8 offers dedicated card-like performance.
With the Vega 8 graphics, you can play modern games at 720p resolution with Low to Medium settings. Moreover, you can play a few years’ older games with 1080p resolution and up to 60 fps.
Additionally, you get 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB NVMe SSD drive. You can also add an additional RAM module and an additional HDD/SSD drive to improve storage size.
The Asus Vivobook F512DA is a power-packed laptop; however, it weighs just 3.5 pounds. The low weight makes it lighter than many 14-inch laptops available in the market.
The screen hinge features an Ergolift design. Once you open the screen lid, it raises the laptop base by 2°, thereby, improving airflow and typing experience.
You also get connectivity options like a USB 3.2 Type-C port, USB 3.2 Type-A port, USB 2.0 port, HDMI port, microSD card, and a combo audio jack. In terms of wireless connectivity options, you get Bluetooth 4.2 and WiFi 5.
AMD Quad Core R5-3500U CPU
8 GB DDR4
256GBGB SSD storage
AMD Radeon Vega 8
15.6” Full HD
Windows 10 Home
88% screen-to-body ratio
Loud stereo speakers
The keyboard doesn’t offer the best typing experience
Battery life is not the best
“The Asus Vivobook F512DA laptop is a sleek designed laptop that weighs just 3.5 pounds and offers an immersive viewing experience due to its 88% screen-to-body ratio. In terms of gaming, you get a potent AMD Ryzen 5 3500U CPU that can play most games you throw at it.”
The HP Pavilion 15-EH0090WM laptop is a ‘true’ casual gaming laptop disguised as a business laptop due to its minimalist design and sleek body.
This laptop is available in Horizon Blue color, making it a perfect fit for work environment. Moreover, if you’re a student, you can use it as your primary system because it is very lightweight. The HP Pavilion 15-EH0090WM is a full-size laptop and weighs just 3.86 pounds. Thus, carrying it around won’t be an issue.
On the inside, you get AMD’s latest Ryzen 5 4500U processor. As mentioned above, this processor comes with Vega 6 integrated that offers top-most graphical performance.
The integrated graphics offer better performance during web browsing, image/video editing, programming, AR/VR applications, and 3D design for regular usage.
However, we can use the same integrated graphics to our advantage and play many modern games at 720p resolution with Low to Medium settings. Suppose you plan on playing older games or less demanding modern games like FIFA 20, Polybridge, Cities: Skylines, Among Us, and Fall Guys. In that case, it’s the perfect laptop choice for you.
Having said that, integrated graphics eat into the laptop’s RAM. This laptop comes with 8GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB NVMe SSD storage. The RAM slots are user upgradable. You can install up to 32GB DDR4 RAM in dual-channel memory to improve everyday performance.
Design-wise, it has a very modern aesthetic feel to it. You get very slim bezels surrounding the 15.6-inch Full HD IPS screen. The screen offers vibrant colors and ideal for daily work usage and watching movies or playing games.
The full-size keyboard is backlit and offers a pleasant typing experience. Alongside, you get a reasonably large size trackpad. With Windows Precision drivers, the trackpad works like a charm.
As seen in most HP laptops, the HP Pavilion 15-EH0090WM comes with Bang & Olufsen stereo speakers. The stereo speakers are situated at the base and offer decent sound quality.
AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
15.6″ FHD Anti-Glare
You can upgrade the RAM up to 32GB
It weighs just 3.86 pounds
Fairly large trackpad
Ample wired and wireless connectivity options
Poor webcam quality
A fingerprint reader is absent
“The HP Pavilion 15-EH0090WM is a complete package if you’re considering a power-packed laptop, with great design, and at a budget price point. The only reason it’s sitting lower in this list is because it costs slightly over the $500 price mark.”
When it comes to gaming on a sub-$500 laptop, Chromebook is the least expected option. Honestly, Chromebooks can’t even compete with regular laptops in terms of hardware or software capabilities.
However, if you plan on playing casual games, there are tons of opportunities while using a Chromebook. For starters, you have all the games listed on the Google Play store at your disposal. Thus, you can play mobile versions of Pubg, Fortnite, Call of Duty, etc. Moreover, games like Asphalt, Free Fire, Shadowgun Legends, and Tekken Mobile will be a feast to your eyes when playing on a bigger screen.
Consequently, you also have the option of using this laptop for cloud gaming. Using cloud gaming services like Google Stadia or Nvidia’s GeForce Now, you can play many modern games at their full potential.
Suppose you have a decent internet connection. In that case, you can play games like Resident Evil 8, FIFA 21, Cyberpunk 2077, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla right from your Chromebook by using the Google Stadia cloud gaming service. You can either buy a single game on Stadia or play multiple games using their monthly subscription service.
Talking about the laptop, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is a premium offering in the Chromebook space. It is a 2-in-1 convertible laptop offered with a touch screen. The touch screen is 13.3-inch in size and has Full HD resolution for an enhanced viewing experience.
On the inside, it sports a low-powered Intel Core i3-10110U processor clubbed with a 4GB DDR4 RAM module and a tiny 64GB SSD drive.
This laptop costs close to $350 and weighs less than 3 pounds. You also get a backlit TKL keyboard and a moderate-sized touchpad. The typing experience is good on the keyboard, and the touchscreen offers an excellent response while using it.
Intel Core i3-10110U Processor
64GB SSD storage
Full HD screen on a 13.3-inch laptop
The entire game library of Android games available at your disposal
Offered in a 2-in-1 form factor
The TKL keyboard is backlit
Low storage for the price
Screen bleeding issue is present
“With cloud gaming services like Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now, you can play demanding games on the go. The Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is light on your shoulders and pocket. Thus, you can invest the money saved into the modern way of playing AAA gaming titles.”
The HP 15-EF0022NR is a unique laptop proposition available under $500. In comparison, most laptops in our list come with 3rd and 4th generation Ryzen 5 processors. On the contrary, the HP 15-EF0022NR comes with AMD Ryzen 7 3700U processor.
The Ryzen 7 3700U is a quad-core chip with 8 threads for extreme multitasking performance. This has a base clock of 2.3GHz and a boost clock of 4.0GHz to perform gaming and everyday tasks with ease.
To further improve gaming performance, this chip is equipped with Vega 10 integrated. The Vega 10 has a 1400MHz operating frequency with 10 Cores.
With the Vega 10, you can play GTA V with 30+ FPS at 1080p resolution and Normal settings. Whereas, with 720p resolution and Low to Medium settings, you can get 30+ FPS on games like Battlefield V, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Forza Horizon 4, Resident Evil 3, and Red Dead Redemption 2.
If you like playing Valorant, you can expect over 60 FPS with 1080p resolution and Low to Medium settings.
Design-wise, it is very similar to the HP Pavilion 15-EH0090WM mentioned above with slight changes. This laptop features an 82% screen-to-body ratio. It has an upward-firing stereo speakers, though not from Bang & Olufsen.
On the inside, you get 8GB DDR4 memory and a 256GB SSD drive. You can upgrade both the RAM and SSD storage straight away once you get the laptop.
It is available in a beautiful Silver color with a brushed metal finish on the top lid and keyboard area. The full-size keyboard offers excellent typing feedback, and the moderate-sized touchpad supports gestures.
AMD Ryzen 7 3700U
8GB Dual-Channel DDR4
256GB NVMe SSD storage
AMD Radeon RX Vega 10
15.6″ Full HD 1080P
Win 10 Home
It comes with a powerful AMD Ryzen 7 3700U processor
Vega 10 graphics can run most modern games respectably
It weighs 3.75 pounds
Upgradable SSD slots
Features 1366 x 768p resolution screen
The full-size keyboard isn’t backlit
“The HP 15-EF0022NR offers a powerful AMD Ryzen 7 3700U with Vega 10. The integrated graphics can play most modern game at respectable framerates. Moreover, the laptop looks stunning in the design department and is ideal for students or professional work.”
The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 features the tried and tested design of Dell Inspiron laptops. However, the design looks outdated now, yet Dell laptops are incredibly reliable compared to laptops from other brands.
Instead of the AMD Ryzen featured in the above laptops, the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 comes with Intel’s 10th generation Core i3-1005G1 with 2 cores and 4 threads. It is an exceedingly power-efficient CPU that helps in extending battery life.
This chip has a 1.2GHz base clock and Turbo boost up to 3.4GHz for improved performance. In terms of graphics, you get Intel’s UHD. In comparison, Intel’s UHD graphics isn’t as sophisticated as AMD’s Vega range. However, there are many casual games you can play on Intel UHD on Dell Inspiron.
If you prefer playing FIFA games, you can run FIFA 18 smoothly on Intel UHD. Moreover, games like CS:GO, Rocket League, Bioshock Infinite, Diablo III, Portal 2, and League of Legends work without a hitch on the Intel UHD graphics.
Talking about the Dell Inspiron laptop, it is available in a matte black design that improves this laptop’s overall aesthetics. The top lid and keyboard area features a dotted texture and, in turn, improves grip. You get a full-size keyboard coupled with a moderate-size touchpad on this Dell Inspiron.
The Dell Inspiron keyboard offers an excellent typing experience, but the usage is limited due to the absence of backlighting. Additionally, you get 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB NVMe SSD drive. You can upgrade RAM and SSD storage at your convenience.
The Dell Inspiron comes with Windows 10 Home operating system preinstalled and coupled with plenty of wired and wireless connectivity options in best gaming laptops.
Intel Core i3-1005G1
8GB Dual-Channel DDR4
256GB NVMe SSD storage
15.6″ HD Non-Touch
Win 10 Home
Sturdy built quality
Excellent typing experience
Better webcam quality compared to the competition
Keyboard is backlit
Features 1366 x 768p resolution
Very thick bezels on all 4 sides and doesn’t look modern
“The Dell Inspiron 15 3593 is a decently configured laptop with the power efficiency of an Intel card. The UHD card isn’t as powerful as AMD’s counterpart; however, you can play few casual games. Moreover, the option of cloud gaming is always available to you in these best gaming laptops.”
Things to Consider Before Buying Best Gaming Laptops under $500
In gaming laptops under 500 dollars price, the processor is the most crucial component. At $500, it isn’t feasible for laptop manufacturers to add a dedicated graphics card. However, nowadays, all processors come with integrated card.
Moreover, modern gaming laptops under 500 dollar price processors are extremely power efficient. The most popular processor on our list is the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U. While doing everyday tasks, the processor saves battery life by operating at its base frequency of 2.1GHz, making it a good battery life in a laptop.
Although, in times of extreme needs or gaming, the processor can overclock itself to 3.7GHz. Hence, you get a great mix of power efficiency and performance from a single processor.
2. Integrated Graphics
Most laptops mentioned in the above list come with AMD processors. A few years ago, AMD shook the whole world by integrating powerful graphics cores within the processor in gaming laptops under 500.
Over time, the Vega integrated graphics in AMD processors has improved considerably. Thus, you can get dedicated graphics card-like performance from AMD’s Vega integrated graphics.
The processor used in the above laptops come with Vega 6, 8, or 10 integrated graphics – depending on the processor in gaming laptops under 500.
Vega 10 is the top-of-the-line integrated graphics from AMD. It can run most modern games like Battlefield V, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Forza Horizon 4, Resident Evil 3, and Red Dead Redemption 2 at 720p resolution with Medium to High graphics and achieve 30+ FPS. Furthermore, you can play GTA V at 1080p resolution with Normal settings and get between 30-40 fps on average.
While the Vega integrated graphics can’t compete head-to-head with Nvidia’s GTX and RTX dedicated graphics card range. However, it offers much better graphical performance when compared to Intel’s UHD.
3. Game supported by your Laptop
Before you buy best gaming laptops, it is essential to know what games your laptop hardware can play. Wouldn’t it be great if you’d know what games you can smoothly play with approximate FPS and at what resolution?
You can use a free online tool called ‘Can I Run It.’ Using this tool, you can enter your preferred laptop’s hardware details and the games you want to play on your best gaming laptops. Using the above data, the tool will showcase which games you can easily play on your laptop, at what resolution, and the adequate FPS number in your best gaming laptops.
4. Cloud Gaming Services
Cloud Gaming is relatively new, with only very few companies offering such services. Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now are the two major cloud gaming platforms available right now.
Cloud gaming services do not rely on your laptop’s hardware for gaming. It uses the processing and graphical powers from high-performance data centers with extreme hardware setup to play any games you throw at it smoothly. You only need a fast internet connection to play games without any lag.
For a flat monthly fee, you can play numerous games on the Google Stadia platform. Otherwise, you can purchase a single game and not bother with monthly payments.
5. RAM Upgrade
Integrated graphics do not have dedicated RAM modules. Hence, the AMD Vega and Intel UHD use memory from the primary RAM module. On average, Vega graphics use 2GB RAM space, limiting RAM space for other tasks.
To improve gaming performance further, you can add another RAM module and enjoy smoother gameplay. Thus, the money you save by buying a sub-$500 price gaming laptop can be invested into upgrading RAM.
6. Beware of laptop overheating
Gaming laptops tend to get extremely hot while gaming. Hence why, gaming laptops come with sophisticated cooling system. When it comes to $500 gaming laptops, they aren’t specifically meant for gaming.
However, you play games for a long time, the laptop will get extremely hot. The $500 gaming laptop comes with smaller cooling fan and basic heat vents. Hence, the laptop can get exceedingly hot due to basic heat exhaust system.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Ryzen Processors suitable for Budget Gaming?
Currently, Ryzen offer the best value-for-money in terms of budget gaming. Compared to Intel processors, Ryzen processors come with powerful integrated graphics that can play most modern games easily.
How much RAM is enough for gaming?
All laptops mentioned above come with 8GB DDR4 RAM with room to add an extra RAM slot as required. As mentioned above, Vega integrated use memory from the primary RAM module. Hence, if possible, you can upgrade your RAM to squeeze better performance from the laptop’s hardware. Nevertheless, 8GB RAM is enough, but having more RAM will be more beneficial.
Can I add a graphics card into a laptop?
Unlike aftermarket RAM and HDD/SSD, you can’t add graphics card into a laptop. Dedicated card in a laptop is integrated right into the motherboard itself. Nor do card manufacturer sell aftermarket graphics card for laptop.
In such modern times, don’t let your budget get into your way of gaming. As you’ve seen above, you can find the best gaming laptop under $500 with capability to play modern AAA gaming titles.
With a sub-$500 price gaming laptop, there are few limitations like battery life because you will need to play games at a lower resolution and less details. However, the vital factor is – you can play your favorite games.
Moreover, with cloud gaming platforms, the laptop’s hardware becomes redundant. With a high speed internet connection, you can games like Cyberpunk 2077, Battlefield V and Assassins Creed Valhalla at their full potential.