Cheap gaming laptops don’t have to be all compromises and drawbacks. When you know what you’re looking for, it’s possible to get a cheap gaming laptop that does all the things you want it to do while still remaining affordable. Here are some tips for buying a cheap gaming laptops that won’t leave you feeling disappointed.
1) Get a Solid State Drive (SSD)
If your next computer is going to be a laptop, then seriously consider getting one with an SSD instead of a conventional hard drive. Installing an SSD will really improve the performance of your machine compared with installing one in a regular hard drive. It may even be enough to let you play modern games at reasonable settings on lower-end machines if combined with other optimizations we’ll discuss later.
2) Choose a Laptop With an IPS Display (if possible)
IPS, or In-Plane Switching, is a type of display technology that offers superior color and wider viewing angles compared to the cheaper TN displays commonly found in laptops. It’s not essential for all gamers though, so don’t go looking specifically for an IPS screen if you aren’t a stickler for color accuracy. If you are though, this might just be one of the most important things about your next laptop.
3) Get a Good Graphics Card
In general, it’s better to have a good graphics card instead of a fast processor. A fast processor can bottleneck performance when playing games requiring high framerates, but even budget gaming laptops with only integrated graphics are able to run very modern games if paired with a good dedicated GPU.
If you plan on playing games that require high frame rates or smooth frame rates at lower resolutions, then getting a laptop with an AMD Radeon R7 M360 GPU is definitely your best bet.
4) Avoid Integrated Graphics
While we said it doesn’t matter as much as having a good dedicated graphics card, it’s still important to stay away from laptops using an integrated graphics chip. Integrated graphics chips are made for doing everyday things like surfing the web and checking your email, but they definitely won’t be able to handle modern games at reasonable framerates. At best, you’ll only get 30-40 frames per second in most games with one of these chips, which can already be unplayable in some games.
5) Get Enough Storage for Your Games
For many gamers, storage is just as important as the other parts of your computer, if not more important. This isn’t just because of how much games are starting to cost these days either.
Having enough storage will allow you to keep your favorite games installed without having to delete or overwrite anything in order to do so. So get at least a 1TB hard drive if possible, especially if you have multiple people in your household who might want to play different things on different days.
The only downside with this tip is that upgrading storage later can sometimes be difficult, but there are always available for internal drives so it isn’t such a big deal.
6) Pick the Right Screen Size for You
This is probably quite obvious, but you should pay attention to the size of your laptop’s screen and its resolution as these days more gamers are discovering that they like using bigger screens on their laptops.
What matters more than anything else though is how far back you’ll be sitting from that screen and if it’ll provide a comfortable viewing experience. If you’re getting a reasonably sized laptop with an IPS display, then chances are it already has good colors and viewing angles even if the resolution isn’t technically impressive.
So don’t go looking specifically for something with 4K or better because this isn’t really important in most cases when buying budget gaming laptops under 500 dollars.
7) Don’t Forget About Portability
If you’re a gamer who’s often on the move, then it might be worth going with a smaller laptop even if that means compromising some performance. This is especially true for gamers who go to LAN parties or other events where they’ll be using their laptops for an extended period of time instead of bringing it home to hook up to their desktop monitors.
In this case, it’s probably best to get something with a good 11 to 13-inch display size paired with at least 8GB of RAM and an SSD. These components are usually enough to keep most modern games running smoothly while also allowing for portability. Of course, if you can manage without sacrificing performance too much, then something like 14 inches will give you extra comfort both at home and away.
Those are seven important things you should remember when looking for your next laptop. As previously mentioned though these tips don’t apply to everyone so the best thing to do is actually figure out what kind of games you want to play before making any rash decisions about which machine would be best for you. If you’re not planning on playing more than one game, then simply build a list of what’s available and try to find the cheapest laptop with all those components. But if you plan on playing more than four or five different types of games on high settings, then it might be better to look at machines that score highly on most if not all of the tips above. Sure they might cost a little bit more money but in this case, having 4K.