Best Budget Gaming Laptops 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

best affordable gaming laptopsMany gamers are looking for the most affordable gaming laptops on the market. They want to get the best gaming laptop for the money without sacrificing too much performance; this can be a CHALLENGE!

You see, buying a gaming laptop can be super EXPENSIVE because games are always demanding a higher performance from the machine to get the realism that gamers desire today.

When you’re looking for budget gaming laptops, you need to look at the price to performance ratio. If you spend more than $1000 for the portable rig, then you might as well save up a more for the top of the line models for a couple more hundred dollars.

What Should You Look For In Budget Gaming Laptops?

When purchasing a gaming laptop on a budget, you need to evaluate several components to make sure that they are capable of handling the demands of the games you want to play but also not become obsolete in a year.

The most important specs you need to consider are:

Graphics CardCPU & RamStorageDisplayBattery
When it comes to gaming, the graphics card is the most important component in your rig. It is what determines how fast your gameplay will be and how well it can handle rendering a crisp image. If your card cannot handle the FPS demands of the game, then you are going to have a slower game experience.

The laptops I review below have either the Nividia GeForce 960M, Nividia GeForce 1050, or Nividia 1050Ti; which are all cards that can handle the High Settings in today’s games.

Better cards will result in a larger ticket price, and smaller cards such as the Nividia 950M will not be able to handle games in high settings today nor in the future.

The CPU is an important supporting component for a gaming laptop as you do not want your CPU bottlenecking your graphics card.

You are spending all this cash on your rig to make sure it is fast and efficient so the last thing you want is to have your game bogged down because you got the laptop with the sweet graphics card and the CPU that just couldn’t keep up. You will be all set if you get a laptop with at least a 6th Generation Intel I5 Quad Core processor or better. You will also need DDR Ram with at least 8 GBs to keep up.

Storage is an important part of the system as it will be storing your levels and game saves. The current standard is to move past the old Hard Disk Drives and onto the faster loading Solid State Drives (SSD).

Having a better storage drive allows you store more games, load levels, and games faster, and have an overall better experience.

In today’s games, the graphics are so advanced and detailed that the experience almost feels real.

If you want to get the full experience of the games you are going to be playing, then you should invest in getting a laptop with Full HD resolution and possibly even a matte screen.

The matte screens have made playing in sunny areas better than I could have with a typical laptop screen and Full HD resolution is usually like icing on the cake.

You have an expensive, powerful graphics card; it does not make sense to have a display that doesn’t honor the power of the rig.

The battery life of a gaming laptop is a hard category to excel in. It takes so much energy to match the demands of the high-performance laptop. Therefore most of these machines typically only last 3-4 hours in battery life.

The last thing you want is to be playing a game on the go, and the rig dies on you right before you beat the level you are on. Unfortunately, even the best batteries do not last long on these types of machines so you may have to compromise to keep it in the budget; I always say just aim for the best in this category yet meet your budget.

Gaming Laptop’s Common Issues

Gaming laptops are powerful portable rigs that allow you to enjoy beautiful modern gaming on the go! Because of the power needed to run these laptops, it is common to run into a few discomforts that traditional laptops lack.

  1. Overheating: Heat is the biggest issue with any gaming machine. A desktop gaming rig and many people get laptop tables for your lap that come with fans to cool the components inside.
  2. Heavy: Toting around gaming laptops can suck! Where typically a regular laptop will weigh 3-5 pounds a gaming laptop is pushing 7-8 pounds.
  3. Battery Life: As we discussed earlier the battery life of a portable gaming computer is short-lived which takes away from the mobile convenience.
  4. Cost: With high-performance components comes a high-performances price. Gaming laptops are not the cheapest on the market, but you can find one on the lower end of the budget that gets the job done today and a year or two down the road.

Best Affordable Gaming Laptop 2017

Now that you know the factors that you should consider when buying a budget gaming laptop let’s compare the best gaming laptops for a budget.

1. Asus ZX53VW – Most Affordable Gaming Laptop

The Asus ZX53VW is a great mobile gaming rig that doesn’t drain your bank account.

The 6th generation Intel i5 CPU and GeForce 960 allows enough performance to do what you need at a fraction of the cost. Each of the other laptops offers a little more power in a few categories each.

The closest matchup of the four would be the Acer Aspire VX15 (VX5-519G-5652) which cost about the same price. Where the Asus lacks is it does not have as good of a graphics card nor processor as the Acer Aspire, but the Asus boasts more SSD storage space.

Therefore if you have a huge game collection and it is important for you to have much space, you may want to get the Asus because it is powerful enough to handle most of the games you want to play.

This laptop is also very light for a gaming rig, weighing in at 5.1 pounds you should not worry too much about carrying it on the go.

Asus ZX53VW Specs

Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 4GB discrete graphics
CPU: 6th generation Intel i5-6300HQ 2.3 GHz Processor (Turbo to 3.2 GHz)
RAM: 8 GB DDR3
Storage: 512 SSD
Weight: 5.5 Pounds
Display: 1920 x 1080 pixels

Pros and Cons of the Asus ZX53VW

  • Lots of storage space
  • Lightweight
  • Cost effective
  • Short Battery Life
  • CPU/GPU On the Lower End

2. Acer Aspire VX15 (VX5-519G-5652) – Another Cheap but Decent Gaming Laptop

The Aspire VX15 is one of the best budget PCs on the market. It stretches the dollar to get you loads of power.

This laptop has many configurations at different pricing. It is important to know that this particular configuration is the core set up. We also review the high power configuration on the end of the roundup.

This set up is the same price as the Asus ZX53VW with a significantly better graphics card and 7th generation CPU.

The VX15 is the combination of cost meeting the demands of power all while sacrificing storage space. If you have a bunch of games, then you may consider buying a portable hard drive to save games and information.

Acer Aspire VX15 Specs

Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
CPU: 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7300HQ Processor (Up to 3.5GHz)
RAM: 8GB DDR4 Memory
Storage: 256GB SSD
Weight: 5.1 Pounds
Display: 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS Display

Pros and Cons of the Acer Aspire VX15

  • Fast Performance
  • Lightweight
  • Cost
  • Poor Screen
  • Minimal Storage Space

3. Asus K501UW-AB78 – Great Price, Great Spec Gaming Laptop

The Asus K501UW-AB78 laptop is an excellent balance of cost, power, and an attractive design. The CPU is better than the Asus ZX53VW and Acer Aspire VX15.

There is also a lot more storage on the SSD compared to the Acer Aspire VX15 which will allow you to store so many more games without an alternative solution.

Even though there is a boost in power, the laptop is the lightest in weight improving the ease of mobility.

If you are looking for a machine that has the second best power yet the best storage space for a little bit higher of a price than the previous two, this one is for you.

Asus K501UW-AB78 Specs

Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M discrete graphics
CPU: Intel Core i7 processor
RAM: 8GB memory
Storage: 512GB Solid State Storage
Weight: 4.4 Pounds
Display: 15.6” Full HD anti-glare display

Pros and Cons of the Asus K501UW-AB78

  • Anti-glare display
  • Lightest in weight
  • Fast CPU
  • Short Battery Life

4. Acer Aspire VX5-591G-54VG – Best Budget Gaming Laptop (most powerful)

The upgraded version of the Aspire VX15 is the best laptop when it comes to the specs as it has a significant amount of power over the rest for only a little bit more in cost.

The laptop is the same as the core version of the VX15 that we looked at earlier except it boost the performance with a total of 16 GBs of RAM – WOAH – the same 7th gen I5 processor and the powerful Nividia GeForce GTX 1050Ti.

The Nividia GeForce GTZ 1050 Ti is one of the best dedicated graphic cards on the market and gives you the performance of higher end gaming laptop for a BUDGET.

Check out the test on these cards here:

Out of all the laptops, we have looked at this one is the HULK, but just like the stripped down version of it, it lacks in storage capacity, so if you have many games then you may want to look into upgrading the drive space.

The screen on this device is also not the best on the market and has generated many complaints about the quality.

Asus Aspire VX5-519G-54VG Specs

Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
CPU: 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7300HQ Processor (Up to 3.5GHz)
RAM: 16 GB DDR4
Storage: 256 GB SSD
Weight: 5.5 Pounds
Display: 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS Display

Pros and Cons of the Acer Aspire VX5-591G-54VG

  • Loaded with Memory and Processing Power
  • Lightweight
  • Cost effective
  • Short Battery Life
  • Minimal storage capacity
  • Screen is not the best quality

Final Thoughts

The bottom line with these 4 gaming laptops is that they’re all a great choice if you aren’t a hardcore gamer but are looking for something sufficient enough for moderate gameplay. Something else we haven’t mentioned is that these are also fantastic laptops for general use. If you’re in need for a super efficient laptop to browse the internet, watch videos you own or on sites such as YouTube or Netflix, catch up with friends on social media and play games, the laptops in this list are a perfect choice.

Let us know which laptop in this list is your favorite or if there’s others you think we should add.

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