Best gaming laptop under $500 in 2024

We take a look at the contenders for best gaming laptop for $500 and under

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If you’re looking for the best gaming laptop under $500, then we have gathered the best options from across the web for you to peruse. These are true budget offerings, so won’t be able to play the latest AAA games on the highest settings, however, they may still be worth your while.

This page will cover laptops around the $500 mark – be aware that prices on online retailers do fluctuate, so if you don’t see the model you want for your desired price, it may be worth checking back for a price drop or having a look at our deals page. Without further ado, let’s get stuck in!

Can you get a good gaming laptop for $500?

$500 is really the bottom of what you can pay and have a device that can legitimately be called a ‘gaming laptop’, and even then this can be a stretch. For this amount of money, many machines won’t even come with a dedicated graphics card (usually the first requirement for the ‘gaming laptop’ title) nor will they necessarily have a refresh rate higher than 60Hz (the second major requirement). Still, if you’re only interested in playing older games or newer, but very undemanding titles, then $500 might be enough to cover your needs.

The best gaming laptop for around $500

MSI Thin GF63 (GTX 1650)

CPU

Intel i7-8750H / i5-9300H / i5-10300H

GPU

GTX 1650

RAM

12GB / 16GB DDR4

Storage Space

512GB SSD

Screen Size

15.6″

Dimensions (LxWxH)

14.13 x 9.99 x 0.85 in

Pros
  • Powerful GTX 1650 GPU for the price
  • Solid Intel CPU options
Cons
  • Only 256GB SSD
  • Only 8GB DDR4 RAM

Top of the shop is the MSI GF63 Thin. This laptop comes with an array of CPU load-outs, including the Intel Core i7-8750H, i5-9300H, and i5-10300H – all of which are decent options at this price point. The key feature is that all models should be equipped with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, which is easily the most powerful GPU you will find in a laptop for this price.

This dedicated graphics card won’t do much than play older games on the lower settings, but it’s certainly better than the integrated (iGPU) graphics that most devices for this price come with. Like every pick here, it remains limited to a 60Hz maximum refresh rate sadly, though in more modern games you’ll struggle to get an FPS substantially above 60FPS anyway.

Admittedly this laptop is slightly out of the price range of this guide at the time of writing, but we have seen it discounted within it, and it’s worthwhile to know what you can get if you spend a bit more money / wait for a price reduction.

The next best gaming laptop for $500

Lenovo Ideapad L340 (GTX 1050, i7-9750H)

CPU

Intel Core i7-9750H

GPU

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050

Memory

8GB DDR4 RAM

Storage

256GB SSD + 1TB SSD

Resolution

1920 x 1080

Refresh rate

60Hz

Pros
  • Reasonably powerful GTX 1050 GPU for the price
  • Powerful Intel Core i7-9750H CPU for the price
  • 1TB HDD
Cons
  • Only 256GB SSD
  • Only 8GB DDR4 RAM

This Lenovo Ideapad L340 comes with a powerful Intel Core i7-9750H processor (the best CPU loadout on this page) and Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card (not the most powerful, but still a dedicated GPU).

Besides this you also get a whopping 1TB HDD alongside the usual 256GB SSD. Obviously, we’d rather have a bigger SSD given this would be much faster to game on, but for slower-paced titles and storing your other files, this is a very nice feature for the price.

Once again the laptop only comes with the option for 8GB of DDR4 memory and a 60Hz maximum refresh rate display, but that’s the bet you can hope for for this amount of money. Other features include a 720p webcam, 2x USB-A 3.0 ports, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

An alternative budget gaming laptop for under $500

HP Pavilion Gaming 15 (Ryzen 5 3550H, Nvidia GTX 1050)

Processor

AMD Ryzen 5 3550H

GPU

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 3GB GDDR5

RAM

8GB DDR4 SDRAM

Storage

256GB SSD

Display

15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS Widescreen LED-backlit Display

Weight

4.96 lbs

Pros
  • Reasonably powerful GTX 1050 GPU for the price
  • Reasonably powerful AMD Ryzen 5 3550H CPU for the price
Cons
  • A bit heavy

This HP Pavilion Gaming 15 laptop again has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, but with a slightly less powerful AMD Ryzen 5 3550H CPU compared to our second pick, though if you prefer AMD processors this might be favorable for you.

As with our other selections, you get your standard 60Hz 15.6-inch 1080p IPS screen plus 256GB of SSD storage. memory is again limited to 8GB of DDR4 RAM, which we’d advise upgrading yourself after the point of purchase to 16GB.

The main comparative downside of this laptop is that it’s a bit on the heavier side at 4.96lbs. Still, this isn’t too bad, and the understated design makes it suitable for an office machine alongside gaming.

A cheap gaming laptop for under $500 with iGPU

ASUS F512DA-EB51 VivoBook 15 Thin And Light Laptop

CPU

AMD Quad Core R5-3500U

Graphics

AMD RX Vega 8

RAM

8GB

Storage

256GB SSD

Screen Size

15.6”

Max Refresh Rate

60Hz

Pros
  • Lightweight and slimline
  • Decent keyboard
Cons
  • No dedicated graphics card

If your idea of gaming is limited to very undemanding, older titles, then the Asus F512DA-EB51 VivoBook 15 may be the pick for you. It’s the only option here that doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card, instead relying on integrated/onboard graphics in the form of AMD RX Vega 8, which is held within the AMD Quad Core R5-3500U processor.

The processor is the least powerful on this page, but it is designed specifically for thin and light laptops, meaning that the weight (3.7lbs) and dimensions (14.1″ x 9.1″ x 0.75″) are the lightest and most slimline of any device on this page. The backlit keyboard is also the best on this page for typing, coming with raised ‘ErgoLift’ support, meaning this is the best dual-use office machine here, though sadly it doesn’t come with an SD card reader.

As ever you get 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256GB SSD, and 1080p 60Hz screen.

What specs will a gaming laptop under $500 come with?

As mentioned, most gaming laptops under $500 come with integrated graphics (iGPUs) which are part of the CPU, and are less powerful than a separate, dedicated graphics card. We’ve tried to include as many exceptions to this as possible in the list above.

Besides this, the majority of $500 gaming laptops will be limited to a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz (again with some exceptions), to 256GB of SSD storage, and 8GB of RAM (usually DDR4). Exceptions to these sorts of specs are more likely if you spend more money – check out our best gaming laptop under $700 guide for some examples.

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Consider a refurbished gaming laptop for $500 (or wait for a deal)

If you have a hard budget of $500, often the best way of getting more for your money is to buy refurbished laptops (i.e. previously owned but made new), which will allow you to pick up better-specced machines than you would if you limited yourself to brand new devices. Besides this, keeping an eye out for deals / waiting until the big sales periods is another way to get a more powerful laptop for the same amount of money. Keep an eye on our deals page for the latest examples.

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