How to Choose a Budget Gaming Laptop

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Gaming laptops typically cost well over a $1,000. However, it is possible to buy so-called “budget” gaming laptops for a price between $500 and $1,000. Don’t worry; we are not talking about cheap Chinese knockoffs. There are genuine gaming laptops suitable for casual to moderate gaming in the budget range. If you are a gamer strapped for cash, here are several useful tips for choosing a budget-range gaming laptop:

Forget the Brand Name; Focus on the Specs

Don’t bother looking for budget Alienware gaming laptops. You won’t find any. Stop bothering with looking for a brand name for your gaming laptop. What truly matters are the specs offered with the machine. Learn to value laptops based on capability instead of the brand name slapped on it. Once you do, you will find that there are plenty of gaming laptops that work just as good as the original ones. Scour the internet for great budget gaming laptop models. Brands like MSI are not famous, but are great for low-cost but high-quality gaming products.

Spend Money on the Graphics Card

The graphics card is what distinguishes gaming laptops from regular ones. So, naturally, this is where you need to spend most of your money. Gamers usually only have two choices for GPUS: either NVIDIA or AMD. NVIDIA cards tend to be a bit more expensive than AMD. The GPU you will need will depend on your gaming requirements. You will need a state-of-the-art graphics card for playing 4K games. 4K budget gaming laptops will cost close to $1,000. For HD gaming, you can most likely settle on a gaming laptop in the $600 to $800 range.

Choose a Newer Processor

Intel is the processor most gamers end up choosing. Intel Core i7 is widely considered ideal for gaming needs. However, Core i5 chips are more than sufficient for casual to moderate gaming, so you may not need to dish out a $1,000 for a laptop with an i7. Intel Core processors easily outperform AMD chips of equivalent power. The only exception is AMD’s newly announced Ryzen processor, which tests have shown to remarkably outperform Core i7. Ryzen only costs a fraction of the price as well. AMD has announced a Ryzen computer costing about $1,000 in the near future. It will probably be a desktop. So, until Ryzen gaming laptops come out, you will have to stick with Intel.

Choose Higher RAM

Go with 8GB of RAM at least for the gaming laptop you buy. Most budget range laptops offer this RAM capacity. 16GB of RAM is ideal, but these gaming laptops tend to cost a bit more. But if possible, it’s worthwhile to spend some cash on a 16GB RAM to future proof your laptop.

Pick Solid State Drives over Hard Disk Drives

Gamers should always go with SSDs if the choice is available. SSDs are significantly faster than traditional HDDs. As SSDs have become affordable in recent times, you will definitely find a number of budget gaming laptops with SSDs. If buying an HDD, go with 1TB of storage. 500GB is the traditional size, but it will not last for long with modern, bulky gaming files.

You may also want to think about the keyboard that comes with the gaming laptop too. Unfortunately, most budget gaming laptops only offer standard keyboards. You will have to buy an external gaming keyboard and a mouse to get the ideal gaming experience.