Are you a big fan of video games, and need a portable solution or dislike the size of gaming PCs? Laptops with gaming capabilities offer a worthy replacement. Unfortunately, they are also usually much more expensive than gaming PCs with the equivalent specifications. In fact, those that are capable of pushing maximum settings are known to cost upward of $2000! In our opinion, that’s too much. Regardless, we plan on showcasing the best gaming laptops when finances aren’t an issue in a separate article. Today, our focus is on the best gaming budget laptop that’s under or around $1000 with regular discounts.
Although on the higher end among budget gaming laptops, Acer Predator Helios 300 has the best price-to-performance ratio. It ships with an Nvidia RTX 2060 GDDR6, which can also be replaced by RTX 2070 Max-Q. As for the CPU, you can only pick a 6-core Intel i7-10750H, which boosts up to 5 GHz with proper cooling. The main selling point is the IPS LED 1080p screen with 3 options, 15.6-inch 144 Hz and 240 Hz, or 17.3-inch with a refresh rate of 144 Hz. The laptop also ships with 16 GB DDR4 20933 dual-channel gaming RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD.
When selecting the 2nd best budget laptop for gaming, we considered both A15 (15.6”) and A17 (17.3”). However, the screen size of the latter seemed to have a lower brightness, and you’re still getting a Full HD 144 Hz IPS display either way. It also has a very energy efficient CPU, Ryzen 7 4800H, with only 45 W TDP, 8M cache, and a boost of up to 4.2 GHz. As for the GPU, you have a choice between Nvidia GTX 1660 and RTX 2060, followed by a storage choice between 512 GB or 1 TB NVMe M.2 SSD. Since Ryzen CPUs benefit from overclocking RAM, you get 2x 8 GB 3200 MHz DDR4 sticks.
Another cheap gaming laptop is Gigabyte Aorus 5 (2020). Since a well-known gaming brand manufactures it, you know they’ve taken care of cooling. And, although limited to a 15.6-inch screen size, you’re getting a Full HD IPS screen. Even better, the first model starts at a 144 Hz refresh rate but is also sold in 240 Hz and 300 Hz variants. The GPU choice starts at Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti, but quickly rises to RTX 2060, RTX 2070, and goes up to RTX 2080 SUPER MAX-Q. As for the CPU, you have 3 choices, Intel’s i7-10750H, i7-10875H, and i9-10980HK. The RAM options are 16 GB and 32 GB DDR4.
4. HP Omen 15
We’re slowly winding down in prices and getting closer to a $999 price with discounts. Additionally, we’re switching back to AMD, in this case, Ryzen 7 4800H, coupled with 16 GB of 3200 MHz DDR RAM. You’re getting what looks like a price point standard. We mean the 15.6-inch FHD 144 Hz IPS WLED screen. Additionally, HP Omen 15 ships with two 8 GB 3200 MHz DDR4 sticks, an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6 GB GDDR6, and one 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD. Those that have bought it also praise its battery life, thermals that rarely exceed 75 C, and build quality.
Need a laptop for gaming on a budget? Lenovo Legion Y545 might be precisely what you need. It comes with a 15.6-inch 144 Hz Full HD IPS LED screen that is, unlike laptops above, nearly edgeless. It’s an excellent choice for many reasons, especially storage – 1TB HDD + 512GB SSD is a great combination. The CPU could use an upgrade since it’s only 9th gen. Intel i7-9750H, but at least you’re getting an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti coupled with 16 GB 2666 MHz DDR4 RAM. Its battery life could use an improvement too. However, Lenovo Legion Y545 ships with a Windows 10 license, so we can’t complain.
6. Acer Nitro 5
Another cheap laptop for gaming in the HP Omen 15 price range is Acer Nitro 5. It surprises no one at this point that it comes with a 15.6″ IPS display with a 144 Hz refresh rate. However, this time a response time of 3 ms is also present, as well as a 17.3″ screen size variant. Furthermore, Acer Nitro 5 comes in 2 CPU/GPU variants – i5-10300H and a GTX 1650 Ti or i7-9750H and RTX 2060. The latter is obviously a little more expensive, but better suited for gaming. The only 2 compromises with this laptop are storage – only 256 GB PCIe NVMe SSD and only 8 GB DDR4 2933MHz in the cheaper variant.
We couldn’t miss MSI when talking about both video games and laptops. They have many high-end models, but this one is their budget-oriented option. MSI GF75 Thin (2020) ships with an i5-10300H CPU, Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU, and only 8 GB of 2666 MHz DDR4 RAM. It’s not as impressive, but the regular price is between $200 and $400 lower than the 5 laptops above. You’re still getting a 17.3-inch Full HD screen, and a 512 GB NVMe SSD. Plus, it ships with a Windows 10 license. That means you don’t have additional expenses and can log in to Epic Games and begin playing online games right away.
Ask us to sum up Dell G5 SE 5505 and we’d call it “energy efficient”. It’s not the most powerful budget laptop out there, but a combination of Ryzen 5 4600H CPU and AMD Radeon RX 5600M offers great power with low power consumption. That extends to battery life too – around 7 hours on average. The laptop is also equipped with a 15.6-inch 1080p display, although only 60 Hz. It also lacks in RAM department, only 8 GB DDR4, and storage, since it only has a single 256GB PCIe SSD. Those that hate paying upward of $100 will love the fact that the Windows 10 Home 64-bit license comes with it.
We’re revisiting Lenovo, this time to present for an even more affordable option. Lenovo IdeaPad L340 15 doesn’t have that many compromises, and there’s no doubt you’ll get a bang for your buck. The areas that the laptop could be improved upon are the storage since you only get a 256 GB SSD, and RAM since you only get 8 GB in a single-channel. The laptop also ships with an i5-9300HF CPU paired with an Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU. Its 15.6-inch 1080p screen is non-IPS and limited to 60 Hz. Once again, the laptop ships with Windows 10, which is a big plus.
10. HP Pavilion 15.6
At the end of the list, we present a budget gaming laptop with the lowest price point. HP Pavilion comes with a 15.6″ Full HD IPS LED screen, a 2nd gen AMD Ryzen 5 3550H CPU, and uses NVIDIA GTX 1050 3GB to boost gaming performance. It’s a little outdated in 2021, but for budged aficionados, this laptop is cost-effective. Also, if you’re strapped for cash, the 8 GB of DDR4 RAM and 256 GB SSD will serve as an excellent starting point. The fact that it’s not as powerful also means that it stays cool under load. Also, the battery lasts 6 hours on one charge on average.