Powerful Laptops for Gaming Under $500 Budget
If you are looking for laptop under 500 dollars that is capable of playing games such as DOTA 2 Reborn, then you are on the right page. I will try my best to make this laptop buying guide much easier for you to understand, from getting the best budget gaming laptop under 500 bucks, the pros and cons of each laptops, supported game titles that you can install and play, advanced/special features equipped on every laptop, and what you can expect with your laptop machine during actual gaming.
I also want to emphasize that the laptops/notebooks you will see here are not premium gaming laptops like Alienware gaming laptop, Razer Blade Professional Gaming Laptop, ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) gaming notebook, but laptops or notebooks with basic features with a decent amount of processing power overall that’s why they can able to support most of the games that are not resource-hungry or in other words, games that don’t require high-end graphics card and processor power.
Thanks to the advancement in technology these laptops are powerful enough to play most of the popular game titles released in the past few years such as Dota 2, League of Legends, Call of Duty, Battlefield, NBA 2k15 and some newer games that are released this year.
I hope this site can help you decide on your laptop buying journey and make you more knowledgeable with laptop computers after reading the full article. Before you continue reading this article, I just want to give you a short introduction about myself and what I do.
I’m a B.S. IT graduate and my passion is all about computers – from building gaming desktop computer systems, desktop and laptop troubleshooting, custom modifications such as installing all-in-one water cooling solutions, installing custom loop liquid cooling for gaming rig, case modification such as window side panel conversion, lighting set-up, and etc. I’ve also love to test new laptops available, and playing with overclocking capabilities of processors and graphics card.
In addition, I also write short tech reviews for the past 7 years until now for different tech products such as processor, graphics cards, computer system casing, hard drives, memory modules, and other gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, drones, robotics, etc. I’ve also personally review some of the gadgets I’ve acquired online to give my readers an unbiased reviews of the product.
I’m very happy to share my knowledge with computers with you, just comment down below if you have some technical questions or you can email me via contact page.
What is a Good Gaming Laptop Under $500
These laptop computers under 500 dollars are not really made for sole purpose of gaming like the premium gaming laptops I’ve mentioned above, however due to the fact that they were equipped with decent amount of processing power, they can play majority of the games that does not require mid-range to high-end graphics processing power.
Back in 2012 up to 2014, you really can’t find a best laptop under 500 dollars that can be used as a gaming machine or system, simply because the price of dual core or core 2 duo systems are really expensive, specially the quad core systems that’s why there is no way you can buy such system under that price range. Even when you try to find good laptop deals from sites that offers black Friday deals or coupon discounts for gaming laptops, you will never find a single deal.
The good thing is after those years, computer prices same with desktop and laptop computer systems seems to decreased, well maybe because of the competition among manufacturers – to be able to hold their top position on the growing market they need to find ways how to lower the costs of these systems such as changing of laptop parts suppliers, upgrading a new components that is cheap yet can perform even more better, and many more possible reasons.
Nowadays prices for premium gaming laptop machines are still quite high ranging from thousands of dollars. These kinds of laptops are the one equipped with a powerful high-end dedicated graphics card, mechanical keyboards, larger battery, better-cooling performance, Ultra-wide HD display, powerful speakers, glowing keyboards, and even liquid-cooling technology for laptops are now available in the market.
What to Look for When Buying $500 Laptop for Gaming
- CPU/Processor – This will be the heart of your laptop and It is possible for you to get as good as an i5 laptop deal under 500 bucks. Yes, trust me there are lots of i5 laptops under $500 price range nowadays. Having a dual core or quad core processor is the best choice if you want to enjoy your overall gaming experience as it will greatly reduce the lag while you are on the game because of multi-threading and multi-core of your processor. This 2016, the latest generation of Core i5 is already 6th generation with HD graphics and even some Iris Pro graphics on other laptop. I don’t recommend Intel core i3 for gaming specially if the laptop doesn’t have dedicated graphics. On the other hand, If you can also find at least A8 or A10 laptop under $500, then that is also a good choice because the overall processing power of AMD APU series processors are great both processor and graphics. AMD’s latest A-series APUs comes in different variants such as A4, A6, A8, and A10 processor.
- Graphics/Graphics Card/GPU/Video Card – In terms of graphics, as much as possible you might want to buy a laptop under $500 with dedicated graphics card, as this is like the partner of your processor and it is one of the most important computer hardware that you might want to learn if you are into gaming. This is the one that will decide whether you can play a game or not on your laptop aside from the processor. If you are window shopping for a laptop under 500 US dollars budget, no doubt – the one with a dedicated graphics is much better compared to the laptops that only have built-in graphics, because this part is the one responsible for rendering gaming graphics. The powerful it is – the more detailed the game will be displayed on the laptop’s such as the textures, pixels, frame per second, etc. This will also greatly affects the overall gaming performance and you will likely experience minimum lag if the graphics processing power of your machine is dedicated as the processor will be able to the task it must do and let the gpu handle the rendering job. The laptops that you will be able to buy within the range of $350-$500 budget comes with an integrated graphics such as Intel HD graphics from Intel, and R4, R5, R6 graphics for AMD. Again, in my opinion and based from experienced as well I will definitely go with AMD’s APU series if my budget is at $500 maximum as I’ve already tried it and I was really amazed how powerful their APU technology is. Most of the gamers out there will also recommend this line-up, specially if the user has a limited budget.But if you have budget more than $500, no doubt I will personally recommend an Intel-powered laptop with dedicated Nvidia Graphics, it will be much powerful, tried and tested.
- Display/Screen – The higher the resolution of the screen, the more graphics processing power needed, so for this guide I would recommend 15.6-inch with a resolution of 1366*768 and if the laptop comes with dedicated graphics, you can opt with 17-inch displays for a Full HD gaming experience. In my experienced as well for budget of 500 bucks, only glossy finished displays are available only few matte-finished are available for these budget range.
- RAM/Memory – To avoid bottle necking issues with the processor and graphics, I personally recommend getting a laptop with 4GB DDR3 Memory @1600MHz, then upgrade it to 8GB to maximize the laptop’s overall performance as majority of the games nowadays minimum requirement is 4GB, and if your machine comes with integrated graphics part of the RAM will be shared to this to help with processing.
- Storage/Hard Drive/SSD – In terms of storage, the laptops that I’ve featured here only comes with a regular 500GB to 1TB hard drive, but it doesn’t mean you can’t find laptop under $500 with SSD (Solid State Drive). Remember you want to have a laptop with huge storage, for you to install several games. Take note most of the game titles nowadays would require you 2GB to 20GB per game and some even reached to 35GB per installation, so a good amount of storage is a must. Again if you have budget above $500, you can opt with a laptop that comes with a solid state drive or SSD as these types of drives have faster read and write speeds and can affect the performance of the laptop such as faster opening of applications, games, faster copy/paste of files, and not to mention it is much durable compared to regular hard drives with movable parts inside.
2016 Top 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $500
I have personally handpicked and compiled the top 10 laptops under 500 USD price range in Amazon website. These laptops have the specifications I personally recommend and I believe these are the best bang for the buck deals you will find online for your budget. I will update this list every week or every month when I think there are new laptop brands more deserving on the current list. I also accept recommendations from you, just message me personally.
ASUS Budget Laptops for Gaming
Check out the detailed specifications for the following ASUS laptops as well as pricing and customer reviews on laptops under $500 by ASUS.
ASUS X550ZA-WB11 is a $500 laptop with dedicated graphics. It comes with a 15.6″ display with quad core processor inside. Core features of this Asus laptop include AMD’s A10-7400P APU with a powerful Radeon R6 GPU and 8GB of memory to handle heavy resource usage applications and games. Few of the unique features of this ASUS gaming laptop include ASUS Splendid Technology to satisfy your personal viewing standards, SonicMaster technology for improve audio quality, and Smart Gesture technology for accurate and fast response using its touch pad.
Other core specifications of the X550ZA-WB11 include 8GB DDR3L memory, 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN, DVD drive, VGA web camera, 1 x Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack, 1 x HDMI, 1 x VGA, 2 x USB ports, and battery that can lasts up to 5 hours of usage.
- Brushed Aluminum Slim Design
- Full Keyboard Layout
- Good Graphics Card
- Quadcore Processor
- 8GB RAM Limit
- VGA camera
- 5 Hours of Battery
Asus F555LA-AB31 is one of the best choice for customers who are looking for a budget gaming laptop below 500 USD, as this laptop is only price for less than $400 actually. It comes with a 15.6-inch Full HD display with processing power coming from a 5th Gen Broadwell Core i3 Processor, Intel HD GPU capable of running and is good enough for running older game titles such as Battlefield 4 at 30+ fps.
The F555LA-AB31 also comes with 4GB RAM which can be easily upgrade up to 16GB, 500GB storage, WiFi 802.11ac, and connectivity ports such as the following: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI and VGA ports. In addition, it also features IceCool technology, common to ASUS laptops that keeps the palm rest at a cool temperature everytime.
- Full HD Matte Display
- Full Keyboard with Numpad
- 802.11ac wireless connectivity
- USB 3.0 port
- Minimalist Design
- 3 to 4 Hours Battery Life
Dell Good for Gaming Laptops
Check out the core specifications of the Dell notebooks below with pricing posted in Amazon and customer reviews on laptops under $500 by Dell.
Dell Inspiron 5000 Series
Dell Inspiron 5000 Laptop Series is one of the best laptop under $500 with dedicated graphics because of its Radeon R5 GPU combined with its processing power of AMD Quad-Core A8-7410 with 2M cache, base clock of 847 MHz, and a turbo boost of 2.28GHz. This laptop is also one of the best touchscreen laptops under 500 dollars available this 2016.
Other core features of the Inspiron 5000 include 15.6″ diagonal TrueLife LED-backlit HD display, 8GB DDR3L RAM which can be expanded up to 16GB, 1TB 5400 RPM SATA hard disk drive perfect to accommodate games that has a huge installation files. The laptop is also equipped with stereo speakers with Waves MaxxAudio to give you more incredible gaming experience.
Other specifications of Inspiron 5000 laptop include tray load DVD drive, 720p HD camera, 4-cell Lithium Ion battery that can lasts up to 8.5 hours run time, and ports such as 1 x 3.0 USB port, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, 1 x HDMI ports, 1 x RJ-45 Ethernet port, 1 x Kensington Lock slot, 3-in-1 card reader 1 x (SD Memory Card), 1 x (SDHC), 1 x (SDXC), wireless LAN, ethernet port, and Bluetooth.
Dell Inspiron 15 i5555-2866SLV
Dell Inspiron 15 i5555-2866SLV is a 15-6-inch laptop under $500 with good graphics card as it is powered by AMD’s A10-8700P 1.80 GHz processor (3.2GHz Turbo Mode) combined with Radeon R6 graphics. This laptop is one of the best gaming laptops under 500 dollars because of its specifications.
This laptop also comes with 1TB HDD, 8GB of memory, Waves MaxxAudio Pro Audio, 4-cell lithium-ion battery, built-in webcam, and ports such as 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, HDMI, Headphone output/Microphone input combo, LAN (10/100), and SD card reader. In terms of connectivity, the i555-2866SLV is equipped with 802.11b/g/n wireless with Miracast enabled and Bluetooth 4.0.
HP Gaming Notebooks Under $500
Check out the full details of the HP notebooks below with pricing included and customer reviews on laptops below $500 by Hewlett Packard.
HP 15-ay011nr is the best i5 laptop under $500 because of its superb specifications which includes 6th-Generation Intel Core i5 2.3GHz dual-core 64 bit architecture processor with turbo up to 2.8GHz, built on 14nm technology with 4 threads and 3MB Intel smart cache. This HP gaming laptop is also equipped with an integrated Intel HD 520 graphics card, 8GB RAM, 1TB storage (optional 128GB SSD, according to other HP 15-ay011nr reviews) and a Full HD display.
Other features of the HP 15-ay011nr laptop include 802.11.ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, LAN port, 1 x USB 3.0 port, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, and a 3.5mm headset jack. In addition it has also SD card slot, DVD burner, and can lasts up to 7 hours according to the company. Take note this laptop has a Full HD display and for 6-7 hours of usage, that is really a great feature!
HP Pavilion 17 Series
The 2016 HP Pavilion 17 series is the best 17 inch laptop under $500 that you can get these days. It comes with an Intel Haswell Core i5-4210U dual core processor with clock speed of 1.7GHz (turbo speed up to 2.7GHz) and 3MB cache. It also features a Full HD crisp display on a wide 17″ BrightView WLED-backlit Display. BrightView technology helps delivering crystal clear pictures on the laptop’s display.
Other important features of this HP Pavilion 17 series laptop include an integrated HD graphics 4400, 4GB of memory which can be expanded, 1TB HDD, built-in dual speakers, 2 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x USB 2.0 port, HDMI port, Wireless LAN, LAN port, front-facing HP TrueVision HD camera with integrated dual-array digital microphones, full-size keyboard, DVD burner, and heaphone out/mic in combination jack.
HP Star Wars Special Edition 15-an050nr
If you are looking for a laptop under $500 with backlit keyboard, then this deal is for you. The HP Star Wars Special Edition 15-an050nr is one of the best i5 laptop deals below 500 USD that you can get nowadays, not because of the glowing keyboard, but because of the specs.
It is powered by Intel Core i5-6200U 2.3 GHz Processor with Intel HD Graphics 520, 6GB DDR3L memory, 1TB HDD, and 15.6-inches HD display.
Other core specifications of the HP 15-an050nr Star Wars Edition include 802.11 A/C wireless connectivity, SuperMulti DVD Burner, Windows 10 Operating System, USB 3.0 port, LAN, HDMI, Headphone and Mic combo jack, SD card reader, and optical drive.
2016 HP Pavilion 15 Touch Series
This newest 2016 HP Pavilion Series laptop is powered by AMD Quad-Core A6-6310 APU 1.8GHz Processor with up to 2.4GHz turbo mode and Radeon R4 graphics with up to 4352MB total Graphics Memory. It is also equipped with 8GB DDR3L memory, 1TB 5400 RPM HDD, and a 15.6-inch diagonal HD WLED-backlit touchscreen display.
Other core specifications of this latest HP Pavilion 15 laptop include B&O PLAY with dual speakers, Full-size island-style keyboard with numeric keypad, 4-cell 41WHr 2.8Ah lithium-ion battery, Front-facing HP TrueVision HD Webcam with integrated dual array digital microphones, and SuperMulti DVD burner. It has also 802.11b/g/n WLAN, LAN port, Multi-Format Digital Media Card Reader, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and Headphone-out/microphone-in combo jack.
Lenovo Laptop Computers Under 500 USD
Check out other important details of every Lenovo laptops below with customer reviews on laptops under $500 by Lenovo and current pricing on Amazon Prime.
Lenovo G70 Series
Lenovo G70 series is an i3 5th Generation gaming laptop with clock speed of 2.2GHz with Intel HD Graphics 5500. The main highlight of this budget laptop is its 17.3-inch wide BrightView WLED-backlit Full HD display.
Other core features of this laptop include 4GB DDR3L memory, 1TB 5400 RPM Hard drive, Stereo speakers, Full-size keyboard with numpad, high definition webcam, and removable 4-Cell Battery that can lasts up to 7 hours.
In addition, it also comes with Window 10 Home 64-bit preinstalled and ports such as HDMI, VGA, USB 3.0, RJ-45 and Wi-Fi: 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0, Dual Band 2.4&5 GHz connectivity.
Acer Laptop for Computer Gaming Below $500
Check out the core specifications of the Acer laptop below with pricing included and customer reviews on Acer laptops under $500.
Acer Aspire F 15
Acer Aspire F 15 gaming laptop is also one of the best touch screen laptop under $500 with backlit keyboard. Its core features include Intel Core i5-4210U 1.70 GHz processor with Turbo Boost Technology up to 2.70 GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4400, 8GB DDR3L memory, and 1TB hard drive.
Other specifications of the Aspire F 15 series laptop are 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, Headphone output/Microphone input combo, LAN Port, 802.11ac wireless with miracast enabled, Bluetooth, Integrated webcam, 4-cell lithium-ion battery, Precision Touchpad, and Windows 10 Home 64-bit preinstalled.
Most Popular Game Titles Supported
The games listed below are the most popular games released in the past few years which are supported(low-medium settings) by laptops I’ve featured here.
- DOTA 2 Reborn
- League of Legends
- GTA IV
- Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3
- Call of Duty Modern Warfare 4
- NFS Rivals
- Sleeping Dogs
- Heroes of Newerth
- Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
- Max Payne 2
- Street Fighter IV
- Left for Dead 1
- Left for Dead 2
- Counter Strike: Global Offensive
- Devil May Cry
- Dark Souls
- Prototype 1
- Prototype 2
- Dragonball Xenoverse
- Castlevania: Lord of Shadows 2