Fast and Cheap: The Best Gaming Laptops and PCs Under 500 Bucks

Gaming PCs are all of the craze, and if you’re a PC devotee, but don’t exactly have the budget to match your favorite competitive player’s build, you’ll want to continue reading to find the best gaming PC under $500.

Buyer’s Guide: The Best Gaming PC and Laptop Under $500

Gaming PCs are all of the craze, and if you’re a PC devotee, but don’t exactly have the budget to match your favorite competitive player’s build, you’ll want to continue reading to find the best gaming PC under $500. We’ll even throw in the best gaming laptop under $500 for those that are more portable in their day to day lives, but still want to play a MOBA or their favorite first-person shooter here and there.

While gaming laptops are convenient, it’s no secret that $500 in a desktop can get you a little bit more than $500 with a gaming laptop. While you can get a decent pre-built for less, it’s always good to have a set of realistic expectations as you enter the world of PC and laptop gaming. If portability isn’t a key factor, you have a look at these fantastic gaming PCs now.

The Best Gaming Laptop Under $500 Mini Reviews

Portability a key factor in what you buy? We’ve gathered some of the better gaming laptops that’ll give you the most power for your budget. Check out the best gaming laptops under $500 below:

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ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip 12.5-inch...
HP Notebook 15.6 Inch Touchscreen Premium Laptop...
Top Pick
2018 HP 15.6'' HD Touchscreen Laptop, Intel Dual...
Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6" Full HD, 8th Gen Intel...
Product
ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip 12.5-inch...
HP Notebook 15.6 Inch Touchscreen Premium Laptop...
2018 HP 15.6'' HD Touchscreen Laptop, Intel Dual...
Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6" Full HD, 8th Gen Intel...
Processor
Intel Core m3
Intel Core i3-7100U
Intel Core i5-7200U
Intel Core i5-8250U
RAM
4GB
8GB
8GB
8GB
Rating
Price
from $497.07
from $428.88
from $428.88
from $769.99
Image
ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip 12.5-inch...
Product
ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip 12.5-inch...
Processor
Intel Core m3
RAM
4GB
Rating
Price
from $497.07
Find on Amazon
Image
HP Notebook 15.6 Inch Touchscreen Premium Laptop...
Product
HP Notebook 15.6 Inch Touchscreen Premium Laptop...
Processor
Intel Core i3-7100U
RAM
8GB
Rating
Price
from $428.88
Find on Amazon
Top Pick
Image
2018 HP 15.6'' HD Touchscreen Laptop, Intel Dual...
Product
2018 HP 15.6'' HD Touchscreen Laptop, Intel Dual...
Processor
Intel Core i5-7200U
RAM
8GB
Rating
Price
from $428.88
Find on Amazon
Image
Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6" Full HD, 8th Gen Intel...
Product
Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6" Full HD, 8th Gen Intel...
Processor
Intel Core i5-8250U
RAM
8GB
Rating
Price
from $769.99
Find on Amazon

 

ASUS Chromebook Flip C3204CA-DHm4 12.5-Inch Touchscreen

 

 

First on our list is the ASUS Chromebook Flip, great laptop that’s a decent amount under the $500 budget set in place. There are a number of features to this laptop, including 4GB of ram, an m3 core, Corning Gorilla glass, and more. While this gaming laptop is portable, it does have quite a bit of power behind it for those that want to do a little extra gaming on the side. While not marketed towards gamers, this is a great balance for those that are casual gamers, and also want a laptop for work and school. Featuring USB ports, Gorilla Class, an Intel core, you still have a decent amount of power behind this small, 2.65lb. package.

There are also options for purchasing the same Chrombook but with an m5 core, as well as a G Suite subscription. While only one of those options is still within your budget, if you’re willing to splurge, you can get a bit more power and functionality. The full, HD 12.5-inch monitor will give you a crisp viewing experience at 60 frames per second.

The Advantages of the Product

  • Portable body that’s lightweight and perfect for a traveler, student on the go (2.65lbs. total)
  • Battery life lasts up to 10 hours on one charge
  • Intel core processor within this unit

The Disadvantages of the Product

  • Runs off of a Chrome operating system – might not be compatible with most games unless you find a way to mod and run Windows
  • Touchscreen may get annoying for gaming
  • Screen is quite small (12.5-inches) for playing shooter-styled games
  • Only 64gb of internal storage – not a lot of room for games unless you play short indie walking simulators

There are some definite pros and cons to using this gaming PC, and ultimately it depends on the intensity of the games you play, but for the price, it’s decent for those that casually game. It may not tick off all the boxes for the more hardcore gamers, but there are others on this list that may be better for you.

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HP Notebook 15.6-inch Touchscreen Premium Laptop

Next on our list is something with a bit more power behind the unit, as well as a larger viewing display. The touchscreen that comes with this laptop is 15.-6inches of high-definition display, and the laptop comes with 8GB of SDRAM. There’s also a 1TB SATA hard drive included, giving you much more bang for your buck in comparison with the ASUS we just mentioned. The 7-th generation i3 core features a dual-core presentation and has an HD graphics 620 card. While it’s not the most glamorous, it can still give a decent amount of power for a few games.

There is a headphone/microphone output for those very particular about their peripherals, and there’s even a TrueVision HD webcam for those that want to go on Discord’s new video feature and have a blast gaming or cosplaying. Unlike the ASUS laptop, this one comes with Windows 10, which is compatible with many more video games. Thankfully, the hard drive of this laptop is upgradable, and this laptop is WiFi compatible for the college kids who need a computer on the go.

The Advantages of the Product

  • 1TB hard drive included
  • 6-inch display – only 4.6lbs in weight; quite portable while powerful
  • Can purchase a higher i5 processor for a little more money that’s only slightly over the budget – might be worth it if you’re serious about gaming, but don’t have double or triple the budget

The Disadvantages of the Product

  • Only an i3, dual core processor – not the most powerful, CPU-intensive games or quality streaming may be a no-go
  • Buyers have had issues with the length of performance – computer has gone to waste within 6-12 months of buying

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While this is a decent model in comparison with the first we’ve mentioned, the quality still may have a long way to go before you pull the trigger and purchase. We have one more laptop to show you within your $500 budget that may give you a serious case of heart-eyes.

 

 

HP 2018 Touchscreen Laptop, Intel Dual-Core i3-7200U Processor

 

 

We’ve got the most powerful laptop right here for your budget. While it initially comes with an i3 processor, you can spend a little more to get the i5 – and it’s won’t be that much over your budget. While it’s still technically going over your budget, the amount of power you get in return is huge. The i3 version of this laptop comes with a 15.-6inch display, and the resolution is 1366×768. A dual core processor with a 620-graphics card, the i5 is quite the upgrade in comparison. The i5 has a faster processor speed and is capable of turbo boosting from 2.5Ghz to 3.2Ghz. This makes all the difference with some video games, and the Intel HD graphics 620 has shared graphics memory.

The Advantages of the Product

  • Comes with 8GB of ram, 1TB HDD
  • Has HDMI capabilities and comes with a DVD burner – although it may be wasted space
  • Comes equipped with Windows 10
  • Weighs only 4.8lbs. – quite portable

The Disadvantages of the Product

  • We aren’t sure if anyone quite needs a DVD burner, but it might be fun to get some old childhood videos offline and send them off to family members – this does not mean you can burn games, so please do not try

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We’ve got a little secret up our sleeve to show you if you’re willing to splurge and go a little over budget, but not too much over your budget.

Acer Aspire E, Intel Core i5 w/ NVIDIA GeForce MX150

 

 

One of the better laptops on the market for price, especially for gaming, this Acer Aspire comes equipped with an NVIDIA graphics card – a leader in the industry for gaming. It’s not common for most other computers to come with an AMD Radeon, but NVIDIA is by far superior, so if you have the chance to up your budget by $100, this baby can be yours. Coming with 8GB of ram and a 256gb solid state drive, you’ll be able to have quite a bit more power behind your gaming than some of the aforementioned models we’ve told you about already.

For college kids, this is a huge deal. Within this laptop though, other specifics include 15-hours of battery life, a 15.6-inch HD display that goes for a 1920 x1080 resolution, and even comes with turbo boost capabilities for faster processing. With ports for your peripherals, this laptop should give you more than enough power until you can afford a bigger and better rig.

The Advantages of the Product

  • Has turbo boost to take it up a notch
  • Can upgrade to an i7 model which is even more powerful
  • Has 8GB of ram and automatically equipped with Windows 10 – great for those players that have a bunch of Steam games they want to run

The Disadvantages of the Product

  • A little over the $500 budget, but monthly payments may be an option
  • Only 256GB for the solid-state drive

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Now that we’ve shown you a diverse selection of laptops ranging from ok to even better, let’s take a look at some of the desktops you can get for the same price.

The Best Gaming PC Under $500 Mini Reviews

Finding a gaming PC for under $500 isn’t that hard, but you may have to sacrifice a bit of quality and limit what you’ll be able to do. The market is extremely competitive, and because of the different prices and products, many people have turned to console since they don’t have the budget to keep up. If you’re still adamant on buying the best gaming PC on a strict budget, continue reading for our top picks. Maybe you’re just moving into a new place and are also looking for a quality gaming desk, as it’s important that your new gaming rig is well-supported.

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CybertronPC Borg-Q Gaming Desktop - AMD FX-4300...
Top Pick
Acer Aspire Desktop, 7th Gen Intel Core i3-7100,...
Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop i5675 AMD Ryzen(TM) 3...
Product
CybertronPC Borg-Q Gaming Desktop - AMD FX-4300...
Acer Aspire Desktop, 7th Gen Intel Core i3-7100,...
Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop i5675 AMD Ryzen(TM) 3...
Processor
AMD FX-4300 Quad-Core 3.80GHz
Intel Core i3-7100 Processor (3.9GHz)
AMD Ryzen 3 1200
RAM
8GB
8GB
8GB
Rating
Price
from $799.98
$339.99
from $659.00
Image
CybertronPC Borg-Q Gaming Desktop - AMD FX-4300...
Product
CybertronPC Borg-Q Gaming Desktop - AMD FX-4300...
Processor
AMD FX-4300 Quad-Core 3.80GHz
RAM
8GB
Rating
Price
from $799.98
Find on Amazon
Top Pick
Image
Acer Aspire Desktop, 7th Gen Intel Core i3-7100,...
Product
Acer Aspire Desktop, 7th Gen Intel Core i3-7100,...
Processor
Intel Core i3-7100 Processor (3.9GHz)
RAM
8GB
Rating
Price
$339.99
Find on Amazon
Image
Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop i5675 AMD Ryzen(TM) 3...
Product
Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop i5675 AMD Ryzen(TM) 3...
Processor
AMD Ryzen 3 1200
RAM
8GB
Rating
Price
from $659.00
Find on Amazon

Cybertron PC Bor-Q Gaming Desktop – AMD FX-4300 3.8GHz

 

 

First on our list of gaming PCs is the Cybertron PC Borg-Q. Despite the title saying AMD, this desktop actually comes with an NVIDIA GeForce GT-710! Furthermore, you get 8GB of DDR3 memory, a 1TB hard drive, as well as a DVD drive, you can enjoy many games without even upgrading your hardware. The quad-core processor will give you a ton of power to play some of today’s hottest games like Horizon Zero Dawn, Overwatch, and Hellblade: Sensua’s Sacrifice. Graphically intensive FPS games like Overwatch and Battlefield 1 are also great contenders to try with this desktop.

Pre-loaded with Windows 10 that’s genuine, as well as DDR3 memory and a 1TB hard disk drive, you’ll be able to get the best basics for your money, along with a keyboard and mouse. The keyboard that comes with highlighted keys like W A S D for those that use those as their main walking controls. Precision control has never been easier (and inexpensive), although, if you’re like me, you may want to purchase specific peripherals for even more precision control that lights up on your command.

The desktop itself is capable of supporting up to 16gb of DDR3 if you want to upgrade eventually. IUt’s unfortunate that this desktop doesn’t have wireless capabilities up front, and you’ll have to purchase the adapter separately, which can cost even more money; however, a long cat5 cable is less expensive and a great solution for those that have access to their router. Those in college may not be able to use this at all unless you invest in a WiFi adapter.

The Advantages of the Product

  • 1TB hard disk drive
  • Comes with an NVIDIA GT-710
  • Comes with a keyboard and mouse in the package
  • Quad core processor for powerful and fast gaming – great for the price

The Disadvantages of the Product

  • This doesn’t come with a monitor, so you will have to purchase that separately. For the price already, it may be an annoyance because it will be well over budget
  • Doesn’t come with wireless capabilities – must invest in an ethernet cable or wireless adapter

While a great solution to having no gaming desktop, there are some flaws. Hopefully our next choice will solve whatever issues you’ve had with the aforementioned Borg-Q.

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Acer Aspire Desktop – 7th Gen Intel Core i3-7100, Windows 10

 

Next on our list is the Acer Aspire desktop version. Featuring an intel core i3, you may not get as much power as you wish, but the processor is still decent for the price – while significantly below our budget. With that left over cash, you can get a monitor and possibly better peripherals. Maybe you can even buy that game you’ve been wanting for months! Featuring a 1TB SATA3 hard drive and 8GB of DDR4 memory, the graphics card is a little better than the laptop version – being the 630 model.

If you’d like the office 365 suite (for those college kids or those that work from home freelancing), you can purchase this with the cost of the computer, and it’s still under the $500 budget. For the convenience it offers, it’s certainly worth it; however, since there’s no monitor, if you don’t already have one, you may eventually go over your budget.

The sleek tower doesn’t light up, but it presents simplicity in design, as well as the keyboard and mouse included. While it’s not a mechanical gaming computer, and we aren’t sure how high the DPI goes on the mouse, so you may have to purchase different peripherals or use your old ones. This may not be a deal breaker to some, but for those that don’t have any equipment at all, you may be reaching the top of your budget.

Great for the photo, music, and game lover, you’ll be able to multi-task with ease, as well as better expandability. You can also access the front panel media with ease, since the case is so minimalistic, sleek, and easy to use.

The Advantages of the Product

  • Features a fast 1 TB SATA3 hard drive, 7200 RPM
  • Already ahs Windows 10 on the desktop, you also have the option for Office 365
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports in the rear, 3 USB 3.0 ports (2 in the front, 1 in the back)
  • DVD writer is included
  • 8GB of DDR4 memory – 2400Mhz
  • Capable of wireless playing thanks to the high-speed wireless LAN hardware included

The Disadvantages of the Product

  • Doesn’t come with monitor
  • Only an i3 processor – no turbo boost as far as we can see

If you’re a college student and find that wireless is imperative or else you can’t use your desktop, then this option is fantastic for you compared to our last option.

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Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop i5676 AMD Ryzen

 

 

Last on our list is a gaming specific Dell desktop that is inexpensive and does exactly what it says it will. Featuring an AMD Radeon RX 560, along with 6GB of graphics memory, and 8GB of DDR4, you’ll be able to play a decent amount of games without lag – but you have to make sure to take care of the computer or it can slow down a bit. The Ryzen 3 1200 processor is okay, and not the best, but it will do for the budget. This computer does support Bluetooth and you can even mod the unit to be liquid cooled. The case is unique in design, and you are capable of upgrade your processor options depending on how much you want to spend and what seller you trust.

The Advantages of the Product

  • Options available to upgrade processor from the Ryzen 3 to the Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7
  • Comes with a 1TB SATA HDD, 7200 RPM
  • Comes with an i5 processor

The Disadvantages of the Product

  • Despite the Amazon listing saying it comes with an RX580 Polaris, some customers did not receive this, as stated in their reviews – you must check to confirm
  • You cannot get this from the current Amazon listing, and you may have to purchase elsewhere, which can be a bit of an inconvenience if you like what you see
  • Graphics card memory is a little low – check which games you want for compatibility before purchasing

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Factors to Consider Before Buying a Budget Gaming PC

One of the biggest factors one must consider before investing in a gaming PC or laptop is what you play. If you’re trying to stream and play video games from one laptop, you’re not going to have much fun, nor will the quality of the stream be that great. With streaming and gaming on a budget computer, you have to sacrifice here and there. Streaming takes a lot of GPU power, and so does the game itself, leaving you with skipped frames to your audience, and not-so-great gameplay that will leave you on the lowest non-epic setting.

Hardware becomes a priority when it comes to buying a PC as a first-person shooter lover. In order to be able to hit those flick shots and get the most real-time, live, non-laggy experience, one must have a great processor, and an even better graphics card. Games that aren’t so CPU intensive with combat will have a more balanced ratio between the graphics card and the CPU, such as story-rich games like Life is Strange, and low-intensity MOBAs.

If you’re aiming more for a desktop computer, and not a laptop, you should look for a monitor that’s capable of running more than 60 frames per second. How do you tell this? Simple: when a monitor says it’s only 60Hz, it means that it can’t show any more than 60 frames per second. While your NVIDIA graphics card may have the capability of outputting 120+ frames per second, it won’t translate to your monitor. Because of this, you’ll have to purchase a 144Hz monitor to begin pulling in 120+ true frames.

Frames are imperative when playing video games, especially those that are graphic intensive, such as Assassin’s Creed, Overwatch, Horizon Zero Dawn, and more. Half of the gaming experience is about visuals now, and you don’t want to miss out on the crisp and smooth quality that a better monitor can give you; however, 144Hz monitors can be quite expensive, depending on the brand, so you might have to settle for 75hz. Just remember: 60Hz will give you no more than 60 frames per second. A better graphics card won’t translate and automatically give you more frames.

Another extremely important aspect to remember when buying a budget gaming PC is the memory that it has. You won’t be able to run most games on 2-4gb of ram, and you should aim for 8gb if you’re playing the newest and hottest games (like Overwatch for example). Bioshock Infinite won’t run well on something under 4GB, either.

For your hard drive to run intensive first-person shooter games without lagging or being pixelated, you’ll want something at least with 256GB. We suggest something higher, but that’s not always possible with better brands for your budget. Your processor is extremely important, as well, and most games are too intensive for some i5’s, leaving an i7 to be the choice; however, this isn’t the only factor you should consider, as the number of cores will ultimately determine how good your processor will be for the games you need. Dual cores are simply not enough in this era, and quad-cores are very popular. There are some streamers and hardcore gamers that spend a ton of money on getting octa-cores and more for the best experience possible.

Choosing the Best PC Around the $500 Mark for Your Needs

Finding a worthwhile gaming PC or laptop isn’t hard, and it mostly depends on your intended uses with the gaming PC. If you’re new to the world of gaming hardware, you may think, “well, duh, I just want to game!!’ But since there are a vast majority of games that require vastly different levels of hardware, knowing the genre(s) you’ll be playing is imperative to your experience.

If you’re looking for something that’s VR compatible, you may be spending most of your money on that aspect, rather than a desktop or laptop with quality parts for an all-around gaming experience. Since VR is still quite new, it can be quite costly and might not even be possible with the budget in mind. Virtual reality is still quite new, and there are many inexpensive but ineffective ways to attempt this experience; however, your best bet is to save up to build or buy your own that’s compatible and gives a fantastic experience all at once.

Other things you should take into account as you purchase an inexpensive gaming rig are the peripherals you’ll need. Headphones, microphone, and mouse are extremely important in gaming. For those that are into first person shooters or like to immerse themselves in the audio portion of a story-rich narrative game, you’ll want a great headset and a mouse capable of DPI adjustment. Dots per inch is important in shooter games so that you can adjust this on top of the sensitivity. In doing so, you can get better accuracy in your fire rate and actually make those shots you see professionals consistently hitting.

It’s worth mentioning that if you’re going to go compact, do it right. Buying a pre-built desktop with a slightly or much smaller design is fine, but if you plan on modding it in the future and putting better hardware inside, you might have trouble finding parts that will fit. If you want to go portable, try the laptop route first, unless you know you can find hardware that will fit in your chosen case.

We hope our buyer’s guide has helped you make a decision on which is the best budget gaming PC, or the best gaming laptop that doesn’t hurt your pocketbook too much at least.

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Gaming EquipmentReviews

Instead of constantly gaming and not working, I've decided to try and work in the world of gaming. While I don't design games, or write for them, I test accessories and gaming products out and bring quality content directly to you – in an unbiased fashion.

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