Best budget gaming laptop in 2023 – the top cheap gaming laptops
If you’re looking for the best budget gaming laptop, we have you covered right here.
As a priority, a gaming laptop should come with a discrete graphics card and a powerful processor. When you’re on a limited budget, you can try to find a laptop with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3000 series, paired with an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU processor. These CPUs should be able to stand up to the latest titles, albeit without ultra-high graphics settings.
In addition, an ideal budget gaming laptop should have enough RAM and ample storage to handle modern games. In general, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD are minimum requirements for a budget gaming laptop. A screen with a high refresh rate (at least 120hz) will help ensure the smoothest gaming experience possible as well.
If you’re sticking to a budget, the good news is that you can still enjoy gaming on the go, and you can find plenty of cheaper gaming laptops that pack plenty of power for playing AAA titles at solid frame rates. However, with many options available, getting an affordable laptop for gaming with the right specs can be a slightly daunting task.
To help kick-start your search in the best way possible, we’ve selected what we think are the best budget gaming laptops available on the market today, which we think are well worth considering. We’ve also included an easy-to-understand buyer’s guide so you can find what you’re looking for and answer the most frequently asked questions when it comes to budget gaming laptops.
Early Christmas laptop deals
Before we continue, we’ve spotted these early Christmas laptop deals, which could be good options if you want to save some money on your new purchase.
- MSI GF63 15.6″ 144 Hz Gaming Laptop – $608 (Save $391)
- Lenovo LOQ Gaming Laptop, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 – $1,379 (Save $360)
- ASUS ROG Strix G15 (2022) Gaming Laptop – $879 (Save $120)
- Acer Aspire 3 A314-23P-R3QA – $349 (save $100)
Products at a Glance
How we picked the best budget gaming laptop
To produce our guide on the best budget gaming laptops, we took a close look at the best the market has to offer in this category. We looked at their specifications, value for money, and other unique features that make these gaming laptops stand out for a lower price point relative to other more expensive options. On an ongoing basis, we are staying abreast of the market and all its new releases, in order to keep this guide as up-to-date as possible. Make sure you come back again soon and stay updated on the best budget gaming laptops available.
Best budget gaming laptop in 2023 – the top cheap gaming laptops
- Powerful RTX 3050 GPU
- Ryzen 5 CPU great for gaming or editing
- Very affordable considering its high spec
- Weighs 7.5 lbs
If you’re searching for the best budget gaming laptop overall, then the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 is what you need.
Powered by an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU with 2nd-gen Ray Tracing cores and 3rd-gen Tensor cores, the laptop lets you play the latest AAA games at 1080p and on the highest settings.
Furthermore, it has an AMD Ryzen 5 6600H CPU processor with 6 cores and 12 threads. The processor delivers a turbo boost of 4.5GHz, which is ideal for gaming and content creation, providing a smooth experience for both. The base model has a standard 8GB DDR5 RAM and 256GB SSD storage space for efficient multitasking and fast performance. However, if you want to run more games or applications, you can upgrade up to 64GB RAM and 2TB SSD for a higher price.
When it comes to the display, you have a 15.6-inch FHD display with a remarkable 120Hz refresh rate for smooth, blur-free gameplay. Plus, the IPS display delivers vibrant and sharp visuals at 1080p gaming.
We think it’s one of the best gaming laptops under $700 available you can get today, and well worth considering if you’re looking for great value for money.
- Intel Core 12th-generation CPU
- High-end RTX 3050 graphics
- 144Hz refresh rate screen
- Mediocre battery life
The Acer Nitro 5 is the best-value budget gaming laptop in this guide, and it even makes the cut as one of the best Acer gaming laptops in general.
The laptop features an Intel Core i5-12500H CPU processor combined with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, which should provide enough processing and graphical power for the most current AAA titles. Plus, the graphics card has 4GB of dedicated GDDR6 VRAM for smooth gameplay at 1080p resolution.
On top of that, you get a 512GB SSD storage space for all your games and personal files and an 8GB DDR4 RAM for running multiple games and applications seamlessly.
As far as the display is concerned, you have a 15.6-inch FHD display with a lightning-quick 144Hz refresh rate for a blur-free gaming experience, even on fast-paced scenes. Plus, the IPS display guarantees high clarity and color accuracy.
Another nice touch is that the laptop boasts a red-backlit keyboard for gaming or typing in dim or dark rooms. We can’t fail to mention the dual-fan cooling system, which will help keep your laptop cool during lengthy gaming sessions.
- Great spec for low budget gaming
- Smooth 144hz refresh rate display
- Weighs just over 4lbs
- Older generation GPU
Our pick for the best low-budget gaming laptop is the MSI Thin GF63, and here’s why.
For such an affordable price, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2050 graphics card and Intel Core i5 CPU processor combo are welcomed, even if the GPU is from the older RTX 2000 series. They are able to deliver impressive efficiency in gameplay, productivity, and multi-task work. Along with this, you have 8GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD storage space, which is more than enough for running multiple games or applications smoothly and provides enough room for your other personal files.
On the outside, you get a 15.6-inch FHD display with thin bezels and an amazing 144Hz refresh rate for playing modern games with smooth visuals and gameplay.
As far as the aesthetics are concerned, the laptop boasts a red-backlit keyboard and various connectivity options. Further, the Cooler Boost 5 with 6 heat pipes and 2 fans keeps your CPU and GPU at optimal temperatures when gaming for extended sessions.
As with many of the best MSI gaming laptops, we think the GF63 offers serious bang for your buck and makes for a worthy consideration for anyone looking to game on the go.
How to pick the best budget gaming laptop for you
Buying any type of laptop is a big deal for most people, especially those who may not live and breathe technology. So, let’s go over what we feel are the four key areas to focus on when considering a new budget gaming laptop. This way, you can make the best decision possible.
In order to play the latest games on your budget gaming laptop, you will need a powerful graphics card. Certain laptops will use onboard graphics built into the processor which is fine if you are not a gamer, but dedicated game enthusiasts will have higher demands. You should look for an affordable gaming laptop that includes an RTX 3000 series graphics card, or at the very least, an RTX 2000 series model. Unsurprisingly, more powerful graphics cards will cost more. For reference, most of the best gaming laptops under $800 use the RTX 3000 series GPU.
For a budget gaming laptop to stand up to the latest games, it is essential to have a high-powered CPU. Look for a 12th-generation Intel processor or AMD Ryzen 7 ideally, but the 11th-generation and Ryzen 5 models can offer fantastic value for money as well. Older CPUs or other series such as the Intel Celeron might struggle to keep up with modern games.
When it comes to gaming, a higher refresh rate screen is very beneficial. Look for laptops that have a rate of 120hz or higher, preferably over 144hz. This will give you the best bang for your buck, and the smoothest experience possible. Also, higher resolution screens are preferable, as they will help your gaming experience look the best it can. Arguably, you want to look for budget gaming laptops that can handle 2K resolutions.
If you’ll be carrying your laptop around a lot, then you should certainly pay attention to the weight of your future purchase. While some portable computers can weigh as little as 4 lbs, some of the higher-spec machines can be quite weighty – upwards of 6 lbs. Therefore, you could go for a lighter model if you will be on the go, but you can opt for a heavier model if it will be mostly staying at home. That being said, it’s slightly rarer to find gaming laptops that are lighter weight, so if portability is super important to you we’d suggest checking out our picks for the best lightweight laptops.
Frequently asked questions
When it comes to finding the best budget gaming laptop, there are always a few extra questions that come up, and it’s best to be as informed as possible before buying your new laptop. Let’s try and answer these in order to help you in your search.
Are budget gaming laptops worth it?
Budget gaming laptops are definitely worth it for many people, and you can find plenty of options to balance great performance with high affordability. You don’t necessarily have to be tied down to a larger desktop setup in order to have fun playing games. Gaming laptops in general are a focal point for many manufacturers, and you can find a number of suitable models to fit your budget.
For us, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 stands as the best budget gaming laptop in 2023. For its price, it presents an amazing overall package for gaming, combining a very capable AMD Ryzen 5 CPU with a powerful RTX 3050 GPU, backed up by sufficient DDR4 memory and SSD storage. Finding this combination of high-spec components is not always easy, especially when sticking to a budget. However, Lenovo has managed to pull it off and present us with a great gaming laptop without needing to break the bank.