Gaming laptops have come a long way in recent years, especially as full-sized graphics cards made the jump to these portable gaming machines. But when it comes to choosing a budget gaming laptop, there’s a lot of bad mixed in with the good. These five laptops are only the good.
Mind you, none of these machines are going to offer 4K gaming, and we’re aiming for a price tag under $1,000, as we don’t want to break the bank when purchasing a new gaming laptop. Still, at under $1,000, all of the options you’ll find below are more than powerful enough to power some of today’s latest games, though you might have to fidget with your settings for the best performance.
ASUS TUF A15CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HGPU: Nvidia RTX 3050 TiRam: 16GBStorage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSDOperating System: Windows 11Display: 15.6 inches, 1920 x 1080 at 144HzBattery Life: Up to 12 hours
ASUS is a well-trusted name in the gaming industry, and for good reason. The company not only makes great hardware for desktop computers, but it also offers more than its fair share of great gaming laptops to boot. The ASUS TUF A15 is one of the best budget options on the market right now, thanks to its support for raytracing graphics with the RTX 3050 Ti, 144Hz refresh rate, and up to 12 hours of battery life. It’s that battery life that makes it really easy to recommend this laptop, as most of the options you’ll find on lists like this range between six to eight hours on average.
The ASUS TUF A15 also comes equipped with 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. For the price, the ASUS TUF A15 is a strong contender, even if it’s running some older hardware inside.
MSI Bravo 15CPU: AMD Ryzen R7-5800HGPU: AMD RX 5500MRam: 16GBStorage: 512GB NVMe SSDOperating System: Windows 11Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 at 144HzBattery Life: Six hours
Another well-known name in the gaming sphere, MSI continues to offer great options for its gaming laptops, including some solid budget options. The MSI Bravo 15 has much going for it, though its battery life lags behind the ASUS TUF A15. Despite that, though, this system is fully AMD, which means you can expect to find an AMD Ryzen processor and AMD graphics powering this machine.
Those components are more than enough to offer solid gaming on a 15.6-inch full HD display, with support for up to 144Hz for those who want the smoothest frames while playing the latest games. It also comes with Windows 11, and a 512GB SSD, which will provide fast loading times on whatever games you install on it.
Acer Nitro 5CPU: Intel Core i5-11400HGPU: GeForce RTX 3050Ram: 16GBStorage: 1TB PCIe SSDOperating System: Windows 10Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 144HzBattery Life: 8-10 hours
Acer might not be as well-known as ASUS and MSI, but the company still has a lot to offer gamers looking for a solid budget system. The Acer Nitro 5 offers the power of an Nvidia RTX 3050, which has been paired with Intel’s mid-range 11th-generation i5 processor. We used to see this processor in a lot of gaming laptops, and while the Acer Nitro 5 isn’t the top-of-the-line anymore, its 8-10 hours of battery life more than make up for any of its shortcomings. It’s also equipped with a massive 1TB SSD, which is larger than what is seen in most other budget gaming laptops.
The 15.6-inch full HD display sports support for 144Hz, allowing for the highest frame rates possible while providing a smooth gaming experience filled with vivid, bright colors.
MSI Thin GF63CPU: Intel Core i7-12650HGPU: Nvidia RTX 4050Ram: 16GBStorage: 512Gb NVMe SSDOperating System: Windows 11Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 144HzBattery Life: Five to six hours
The MSI Thin GF63 might not look like much with its average five-hour battery life, but this beast of a gaming laptop from MSI is often found on sale for sub $700, making it a fantastic deal, especially with its 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor. It’s also paired with one of the newest graphics cards on the market, the Nvidia RTX 4050, making it a hard case to beat.
Of course, the rest of the specs on this machine are pretty on par with what is seen elsewhere on our list, so don’t expect it to be the biggest power hog out there. Still, there is more than enough juice to keep you gaming through the night. Just don’t expect this gaming laptop to be that portable, as it weighs in at almost five pounds.
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 6600HGPU: Nvidia RTX 3050Ram: 8GBStorage: 256GB NVMe SSDOperating System: Windows 11Display: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 120HzBattery Life: Six to eight hours
It might seem weird to see a Lenovo laptop on this list that isn’t one of the company’s main gaming brand: The IdeaPad Gaming 3 is held back by its lack of 16GB ram, topping off at a total of 8GB out the box. You can upgrade that, if you choose to, but it isn’t going to be the easiest task. Even without that upgrade, you’re also looking at a smaller hard drive compared to the other options on our list. So, how did this one end up here?
Well, the real strength of the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 comes in its multitasking nature. Equipped with a powerful, but affordable, Ryzen 5 6600H, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 is a perfect mix between workhorse and gaming laptop. It’s not the most powerful option on the market by any means, but it does come relatively cheap—one of the cheapest options on our list, as it’s often available for under $600.
Check out all the budget gaming laptops on our list: