Gaming laptops don’t always cost an arm an a leg, we’ve picked out the best budget gaming laptops that will let you game for years on the cheap.

Gaming laptops don’t always cost an arm an a leg, we’ve picked out the best budget gaming laptops that will let you game for years on the cheap.

Gaming laptops no longer need to be the big hulking machines you might have seen years ago. While some ultra-powerful rigs still show up, more and more gaming laptops are finding ways to be both thin and light while offering decent gaming performance.Modern mobile graphics processors have started doing a better job offering performance comparable to their desktop counterparts while keeping thermals down, and laptop manufacturers have found more effective ways to cool their high-power components. That combination has led to plenty of thin and light gaming laptops. A good many of them use Nvidia’s 16-Series GPUs to offer compelling gameplay at 1080p.We’ve picked out a wide range of gaming laptops that deliver solid performance on a modest budget. Most of them manage to fit within a sub-$1,000 price range, though prices can vary a bit depending on frequent deals available. So, if you like a model but don’t see a current discount, just keep your eye on it for a little while.
TL; DR These are the Best Budget Gaming Laptops:
1. MSI GF63 Thin
Best Budget Gaming Laptop
Display: 15.6 FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS 120Hz CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 (4GB GDDR5 VRAM) RAM: 8GB DDR4 (2,666MHz) Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD Weight: 4.10 pounds Size: 14.13″ x 9.99″ x 0.85″
The Turing-based GTX 1650 debuted as a low price yet high-performance mobile GPU, and MSI’s GF63 Thin delivers on that promise. Priced at about $800, the GF63 Thin comes with an Intel Core i5-8300H, GTX 1650, 8GB of memory, 256GB SSD, and a 15.6-inch 1080p display. Naturally, the MSI GF63 Thin has the same tried-and-true look that MSI’s gaming laptops are known for: A black housing, sharp edges, bright red highlights, and a bright red keyboard. Oh, and this one weighs in at a fairly light 4.1 pounds.2. HP Pavilion Gaming
Best Ultra Cheap Gaming Laptop
Display: 15.6 FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS 60Hz CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 (4GB GDDR5 VRAM) RAM: 8GB DDR4 (2,666MHz) Storage: 256GB SSD (7,200rpm) Weight: 4.92 pounds Size: 14.4 x 10.1 x 0.92
If you’re looking to save every dollar you can, you should check out the HP Pavilion Gaming. It costs just $50 less than our top pick and it features the same Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics. The only real difference you’ll notice about this cheap gaming laptop is it’s slightly larger and heavier, so it won’t be near as portable.$50 might not sound like a lot, but you can buy yourself a great gaming mouse or a bushel of indie games with all that moolah you saved. This is the lowest priced budget gaming laptop we’ve found that’s still seaworthy and it’s a looker too thanks to its a green, backlit keyboard and sharp, aggressive angles.
3. Asus TUF FX505
Best Budget AMD-Powered Gaming Laptop
Display: 15.6 FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS 120Hz CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3750H GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 (8GB GDDR6 VRAM) RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2,400MHz) Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD Weight: 4.85 pounds Size: 14.2″ x 10.3″ x 1″
As with gaming PCs, going with an AMD processor is a great way of getting a powerful rig at a discount. Nothing sums up this up better than the Asus TUF FX505 that comes with Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics for just over a grand.This is pretty much the cheapest RTX-powered gaming laptop you’re going to find out there and it’s all thanks to this machine’s AMD Ryzen R7 3750H processor. What’s more you get double the memory and storagespecially 16GB and 512GB, respectivelycompared to most of the Intel-powered options on this list.
4. HP Omen 15t
Best Budget 15-inch Gaming Laptop
Display: 15.6 FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS 60Hz CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 (4GB GDDR5 VRAM) RAM: 8GB DDR4 (2,666MHz) Storage: 1TB HDD (7200rpm) Weight: 5.26 pounds Size: 14.17 x 10.35 x 0.98
Another gaming laptop with a GTX 1650 is the HP Omen 15t. Currently listed at $850, it checks off all the boxes to make our list. There’s an Intel Core i5-9300H inside powering 8GB of memory, a 1TB 7200 RPM hard drive, and a 15.6-inch 1080p display.For an extra $70, you can bump up to a 144Hz panel and stay under the a grand. Avid Fortnite players will appreciate the free 2,000 V-Bucks, outfit, glider, pickaxe, and back bling that is included when you purchase the Omen 15t right now.
5. Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming
Best Budget 17-inch Gaming Laptop
Display: 17.3 FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS 60Hz CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 (4GB GDDR5 VRAM) RAM: 8GB DDR4 Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD, Weight: 6.16 pounds Size: 16.26″ x 11.21″ x 1.00″
Lenovo’s Ideapad L340 Gaming was recently upgraded to include an Nvidia GTX 1650 alongside an up to 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor. Like most gaming laptops you can find the L340 gaming in 15- and 17-inch models, however, it wont cost you a single extra dime to get the big version of this machine.In fact, this 17-incher only costs $850, making it as affordable as most of our 15-inch gaming laptop picks. So, if a little extra screen real estate without the guilt is what you’re looking for, the 17-inch Ideapad L340 might just be what you’re looking for.
6. Acer Nitro 5
Most Customizable Budget Gaming Laptop
Display: 15.6 FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS 60Hz CPU: Intel Core i5-9300H GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 (4GB GDDR5 VRAM) RAM: 8GB DDR4 Storage: 128GB SSD Weight: 5.51 pounds Size: 14.3 x 10 x 1
The Acer Nitro 5 is configurable with AMD and Intel processors, but we really like the Intel variants. Specifically, the (normally) $830 model strikes a good balance of affordability and performance. At that price you get an i5-9300H, a GTX 1650, 8GB of memory, 128GB SSD and a 1TB HDD in a housing that fits a 15.6-inch display. It’s just over 5.5 pounds, so it’s not the most portable laptop on this list, but you’re still able to throw it in a bag and take it wherever you go.7. Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502
Best Budget Everday Gaming Laptop
Display: 15.6 FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS 120Hz CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3750H GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti (6GB GDDR6 VRAM) RAM: 8GB DDR4 (2,400MHz) Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD Weight: 4.63 pounds Size: 14.2 x 9.9 x 0.8
Okay, Im might be breaking my own rule here by picking out this $1,049 gaming laptop, but its still on helluva machine even if it costs over a grand. For your money, youre getting a machine with a high-end AMD Ryzen 7 3750H CPU, Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti graphics, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.With these specs it blows any other budget gaming laptop on this out of the wateras well it should for the $200-400 premium youre paying here. Best of all, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502 has a rated 7 hours of battery life to get you through school and your other everyday tasks when youre not gaming.
8. Dell G3 15 Gaming
Best Budget Thin Gaming Laptop
Display: 15.6 FHD (1,920 x 1,080) VA 60Hz CPU: Core i5-9300H GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 (4GB GDDR5 VRAM) RAM: 8GB DDR4 (2,666MHz) Storage: 128GB NVMe SSD, 1TB HDD (5,400rpm) Weight: 5.18 pounds Size: 14.4″ x 10 x 0.85
Dell has been building up a strong fleeting of affordable gaming laptops and it’s latest G3 15 Gaming laptop is one of the best it has ever made. It’s thinner and lighter than ever at just 0.85-inches thick and 5.18 pounds. At the same time, this 15-inch gaming laptop comes packing the latest components with the combination of an i5-9300H and a GTX 1650. The base 128GB SSD is a little bit on the small side, but that’s nothing you can’t fix by selecting a larger drive at checkout or installing an inexpensive aftermarket SSD yourself.The Dell G3 15 should also be of interest to those looking for a sleeper gaming laptop. Nothing about this machine screams the fact that your living the gamer life. If anything this machine’s sleek blue lines make it look more like a budget school laptop, which can be a good thing if you plan to take it out every day.
9. HP Pavilion Gaming 15
Better Graphics, Better Price
Display: 15.6 FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS 144Hz CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti (6GB GDDR6 VRAM) RAM: 8GB DDR4 (2,666 MHz) Storage: 256GB SSD Weight: 4.92 pounds Size: 14.17″ x 10.07″ x 0.92″
We know, we know this is the second time we’re putting the HP Pavilion Gaming on this list but it’s hard to pass up getting better graphics for just a little more money. Whereas our ultra-cheap pick featured Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics, this model costs just $50 more and you get an Intel Core i7 processor paired with Nvidia’s most powerful Turing GTX graphics, the GTX 1660 Ti. It’s also well specced in other places sporting 8GB of memory with a 256GB SSD. You also get one helluva gaming screen with this unit’s Full HD 144Hz display.The black housing isn’t the most exciting, but the overall design has seen a massive update recently. HP granted its affordable gaming laptop some seriously slimmed down bezels and reducing its overall thickness by 20mm. The slimmer redesign also gave the Pavilion Gaming 15 some serious and stylish vents, so it looks more aggressive and runs cooler at the same time.
10. Acer Predator Helios 300
Best Budget 144Hz Gaming Laptop
Display: 15.6 FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS 144Hz CPU: Intel Core i9-9750H GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti (6GB GDDR5 VRAM) RAM: 16GB DDR4 Storage: 256GB NVMe SDD Weight: 5.07 pounds Size: 14.2″ x 10 x 0.9
Arguably, Acers Predator Helios 300 (read our review) is a little pricier than most of the gaming laptops on this list, but wow is it worth it. It’s headlining feature is a Full HD monitor gives you a 144Hz high-frame rate experience and great colors that only an IPS panel such as this can provide. The Helios 300 also comes loaded with a 9th Generation Intel Core i9 processor and the latest Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti, two specs that honestly should demand a higher price.With an ample 16GB of memorybut only a 256GB SSDthis budget gaming laptop offers a lot at a low price. It also helps this machine was built for gaming from the ground up with one of the industry’s most competent cooling systems and an easy, one-button overclocking model.
What to Look for in a Budget Gaming Laptop
Below I’ve sketched out which graphics card and what other specs you need in a cheap gaming laptop. I also go over the main features to consider when shopping for a cheap gaming notebook.For screen resolution, a 1080p display hits the sweet spot between price and required GPU beefiness. It is really the only option for a value-oriented gaming laptop. Even if you could score a cheap laptop with a high-resolution 4K panel, the GPU inside won’t be able to run games at that resolution, so prepare yourself for 1080p gaming.
When it comes to storage, try to steer clear of laptops with a lone solid-state drive. Heck, even a model with a 256GB SSD offers barely enough space to keep multiple games installed and at the ready, so you might be stuck getting a system with a slower, yet much more spacious, spinning hard drive.
You can also get a sweet deal by going with something older sporting previous generation processors, as they are usually available at fire-sale prices and there’s not a huge difference in performance between 8th Gen Coffee Lake and 9th Gen Coffee Lake Refresh for gaming. You won’t be quite as future-proof down the line, but you’ll still enjoy several years of solid 1080p gaming at a low price.
One more thing: just because it’s a laptop doesn’t mean you need to take its name literally. The best experience with a laptop usually isn’t on your lap but a desk. Do yourself a favor and check out my guide to the best computer desks to find one to suit your needsand perhaps a laptop cooling pad to boost your performanceand don’t forget to check out the best gaming chairs to sit in with your new laptop.
Jason Cipriani has covered technology full-time for the past 8 years. During that time he has freelanced for the likes of CNET, Fortune, Time, ZDNet, Macworld, Wired, and TechRadar.
Mark Knapp is a regular contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark

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