Bang For The Buck – Gaming Laptops Under 500 Reviews 2013

gaming laptop under 500
Just like at any price point, there are good and not-so-good laptops. Finding a gaming laptop at the sub-$500 point can be a real challenge. But guided by our threshold GPU, here are few great value laptops at this price point that can satisfy a casual gamer.

Despite discouragements from time to time by hardcore gamers, it is possible to acquire a wallet friendly gaming computer. There are some great value gaming laptops which you can obtain for under 500.  They may not be able to fully serve the demanding needs of sophisticated RPG and FSP games released over the last two years, but a few gaming laptops under $500 can still provide enough muscle to play many of them at their lowest game settings.

What you should consider.

Being aware of what you need is very essential if you are to satisfy your gaming need. Your desktop gaming computer defines what games you play and having a laptop can be a back-up or alternative gaming station that you can bring with you on a camping trip or a visit to your friend.  If you want an exact duplicate, nothing less than a high end gaming laptop will do.  But if you just do casual gaming while on the road, are budget-constrained, or don’t mind using the lowest game setting for your favorite game, a more affordable laptop like those in the sub-$500 range will do.

Having said that, there is not a perfect machine in existence.  Various laptops even in the same price point  have different features and it is not unlikely that one has a feature the other does not have.  This is just how the brands spread the appeal of their products to as wide a market as possible for a given demographics. Do you want the largest laptop screen for your money?  The most powerful CPU and GPU?  The largest hard disk capacity? The largest RAM?  The longest battery life?  Or the lightest and slimmest?  You can’t have all of these unless you’re prepared to go into the $2000 plus price points.  You will have to juggle them towards a compromised mix that will give you the gaming experience under $500.

Today’s dual and quad core engines can play all the games released to date with the higher clock speeds doing a better job than others.  Unfortunately, for most practical purposes, manufacturers of general use laptops leave out the graphics engine or GPU since it is not as important as the CPU in most computing tasks.  It is the GPU that distinguishes gaming laptops from the rest. In fact, the most expensive top of the line or flagship laptop from any consumer computer maker is almost always a gaming laptop.  That’s because apart from video editing, the most resource-intensive consumer application for a computer comes from games. Not just any game, but games like Battlefield 3, Crysis 3 Metro 2033, Alan Wake or Max Payne 3.

A screen which is 15” should serve you well but a 17” would be better. Just be aware that prices go up with the screen size with all things equal.  Nearly all laptop screens sport a widescreen (16:9)  aspect ratio and high definition starting at 1366 x 768 to full 1920 x 1080, with 1600 x 900 as the most common among 17-inch screens. Also be aware that your laptop’s gaming muscle will also depend on the resolution.

Indeed the limiting factor for a laptop to be a gaming laptop is GPU.  They provide the computational processing muscle that renders the polygonal shapes and colors that paint the images frame by frame on your monitor.  The higher the screen resolution, the more computing demands are placed on the GPU.  A good GPU should at least be able to paint at around 30 frames per second (fps) so that no image judder or puttering can get you to miss the action and fail in your scoring.

It is unlikely you will find midrange GPU cards under $500.  Our threshold is the Intel HD Graphics 4000 which is quite common at this price point and lower but still has enough juice to satisfy a casual gamer who don’t mind using a lower game setting for some of the more demanding games released since 2011/2012.

Hard disk storage is another area to consider.  Solid state drives are great for a diminished weight and slimmer body but you rarely will find them at this price point.  A 500GB capacity is quite common in the SATA standard, followed by 750 GB drives.  In addition, there is now an increasing trend to forego with optical drives but gamers who download games or use USB drives shouldn’t worry.

Just like at any price point, there are good and not-so-good laptops. Finding a gaming laptop at the sub-$500 point can be a real challenge.  But guided by our threshold GPU, here are few great value laptops at this price point that can satisfy a casual gamer.

laptop comparison under 500

 

Bang For The Buck – Gaming Laptops Under 500 Reviews 2013

 

 

Acer Aspire E1-572-6870 15.6 Inch Laptop reviews

Acer Aspire E1-572-6870 15.6 Inch Laptop

 

 

Laptops below the $500 price point are getting scarcer. But the mid-year summer is often a good time to consider getting laptops released during the immediately preceding year as most retailers slash their prices to make room for new models.  Here is one example: the Acer Aspire E1-572-6870 with a list price of $579 at Amazon now retails at the site for just $459.99.  What in our view qualifies this as a respectable gaming laptop for the non-demanding casual gamer is its Intel HD Graphics 4400 graphics engine with its own 128MB dedicated video memory and in-built with the 4th generation Haswell dual core Intel Core i5-4200U 3 clocked at 1.6GHz or 2.6GHz with Turbo Boost.  This GPU is 20% to 30% faster than the HD4000 (for 3rd generation Ivy multi-core processors) we consider the minimum for a gaming laptop. It even comes bundled with a 64-bit Windows 8 OS.   Without an optical drive, its slim 1-inch thick “Clarinet Black” body weighs a backpack-friendly 5.2lbs and houses the following:

  • Ÿ 15.6-inch LED-backlit HD Widescreen CineCrytal with  a mid-HD resolution of 1366 x 768
  • Ÿ 4GB DDR3L (low power) dual channel RAM
  • Ÿ 500GB SATA hard drive running at 5400 RPM
  • Ÿ Stereo Speakers
  • Ÿ Digital media car reader
  • Ÿ HD Webcam
  • Ÿ Wireless data connectivity options: Bluetooth 4+HS, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
  • Ÿ Wired Data Connectivity: USD 2.0 (2 ports), USB 3.0 (1 port), and an HDMI port

Battery life is typical at 4-hours of continuous use before the next charge.  Interestingly enough, Aspire has a new model for this (Acer E1-472-6688 with same CPU, GPU, hard drive, RAM and other features except that it comes in “Misty Silver”)  but only sporting a 14-inch screen. Amazon has a refurbished unit at only $398 as of this writing. You can buy it here.

 

HP Pavilion 14-n019nr review

HP Pavilion 14-n019nr 

 

 

This HP Pavilion is an excellent choice for a decent gaming laptop.  Its modest gaming muscle comes from the Intel HD Graphics 4400 graphics engine built into the 4th generation Haswell dual core Intel Core i5-4200U clocked at 1.6GHz or 2.6GHz with Turbo Boost technology engaged. You won’t be able to play Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Light, Woflenstein: The New Order, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Dog, or Thief, but you can play The Elder Scrolls Online, Titanfall and Grid: Autosport at their lowest gaming configuration or lower resolution. Most games in the market released last year will play at the medium to lowest game setting. The added bonus is the touchscreen feature of its 14-inch LED backlit display with a mid-HR resolution of 1366 x 768.  Gamers generally have no use for a touchscreen, but the feature can come in handy when you have to use this laptop outside of the gaming domain.  Sporting a slim 0.91 inch body and weighing just 4.6lbs, this Silver HP comes bundled with the Windows 8 OS and houses the following:

  • Ÿ  4GB DDR3L (low power) SDRAM expandable to 8GB
  • Ÿ 500GB SATA hard drive running at 5400 RPM
  • Ÿ SuperMulti DVD writer optical drive
  • Ÿ Digital media car reader
  • Ÿ Wireless data connectivity options: Bluetooth 4+HS, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
  • Ÿ Wired Data Connectivity: USD 2.0 (2 ports), USB 3.0 (1 port), and an HDMI port

Average life from its 4-cell Lithium Ion battery is a commendable 6.25 hours and is supported by a 1-year limited hardware warrantee and a free 25GB lifetime cloud storage service. You can buy it here.

 

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 15D 15.6 review

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 15D 15.6

 

 

Lenovo has been providing several models below the $1000 mark that are excellent gaming stations. Here’s one that is priced normally at $539.99 on Amazon.   Its gaming muscle comes from the ATI Radeon HD8330 integrated with the quad core Apple (AMD) A4 processor with 1.5GHZ clock speed and 2MB cache.  It is essentially the equivalent of the Intel HD Graphics 4000 which is our minimum GPU in a gaming laptop, though benchmarked to be 2% faster in most tests and only 3% slower than the newer HD Graphics 4200.  It won’t play The Elder Scrolls Online, Wildenstein: The New Order, or last year’s Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Call of Duty: Ghost, but it can play Grid: Autosport, F1 2013, Grid 2 , Dead Space 3 and most 2012 games at the lowest game setting or resolution.  Bundled with the Windows 8 OS but sporting no optical drive, this black Lenovo’s slim 0.87-inch body weighing just 5.1lbs comes with the following hardware advantages:

  • Ÿ 15.6-inch LED-backlit display with mid-HD resolution of 1366 x 768 that flips 300 degrees in touchscreen mode with 10-point multitouch feature
  • Ÿ 4GB DDR3 RAM expandable to 8GB
  • Ÿ 500GB SATA hard drive running at 5400 RPM
  • Ÿ Stereo Speakers using Dolby Advanced Audio
  • Ÿ Wireless data connectivity options: Bluetooth 4+HS, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
  • Ÿ Wired Data Connectivity: USD 2.0 (2 ports), USB 3.0 (1 port)

Average life from its Lithium Ion battery is 5hours using its proprietor Lenovo Energy Management system. You can buy it here.

 

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E545 20B20011US review

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E545 20B20011US 

 

 

Without a discount, this Lenovo ThinkPad rests right smack on the $500 price point at a list price of $502.99 at Amazon. Powered by the AMD dual core A6 530M clocked at 2.9GHz (up to 3.5GHZ on AMD Turbo Core) with 4GB DDR3 RAM, its gaming muscle comes from the AMD Radeon HD 8450G which sits roughly between the Intel Graphics 4400 and the Intel HD Graphics 4000 which is our minimum threshold for a laptop to be considered decent enough for gaming. Don’t expect it to play Company of Heroes 2 or most of the latest sophisticated RPG and FSP, but 2014 games like The Elder Scrolls Online, and Titanfall and many older games can play at the mid-to-lowest possible game setting and resolution. Bundled with the Windows 7 Professional OS upgradable to Win 8 Pro, this matte black 1.4-inch thick ThinkPad weighs 5.2lbs and comes with the following hardware features:

  • Ÿ 15.6-inch LED-backlit display with mid-HD resolution of 1366 x 768
  • Ÿ 320GB SATA hard drive running at 5400 RPM
  • Ÿ DVD reader/writer optical drive
  • Ÿ  4-in-1 Digital Media Card Reade
  • Ÿ Stereo Speakers using Dolby Advanced Audio
  • Ÿ Wireless data connectivity options: Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
  • Ÿ Wired Data Connectivity: USD 2.0 (1 port), USB 3.0 (3 ports)

Average life from its Lithium Ion battery is an excellent 6.2 hours between charging using its proprietor Lenovo Energy Management system. Another Lenovo ThinkPad, the model E545 20B2001CUS with the same specs but with a 720p Webcam is priced even cheaper at $402.98. You can buy it here.

 

HP ProBook 13.3 Ultrabook review

HP ProBook 13.3″ Ultrabook 

 

 

Not a sub-$500 notebook, but what’s a trifling few dollars more when you can have twice as much in value?  What gives this unit the gaming muscle is its Intel HD Graphics 4400 integrated into a 4th generation dual core Intel Core i3-4010U clocked at 1.7GHz and served by a 4GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM.  That’s around 20% to 30% faster than our minimum recommended Intel HD Graphics 4000 integrated in Ivy architected processors.  But what makes this laptop stand out is that instead of a mechanical hard drive, it comes with a 128GB Solid State Drive. That should be enough to house your 64-bit Windows 7  Pro which comes bundled with it, and a few games that are sure to launch and change sceneries faster than from a standard hard drive.  In addition, you get the following hardware features:

  • Ÿ 13.3-inch LED-backlit display with mid-HD resolution of 1366 x 768
  • Ÿ 720p HD Webcam and dual-array microphone
  • Ÿ Stereo Speakers with support for DTS sound
  • Ÿ Wireless data connectivity options: Bluetooth 4.0 Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Ÿ Wired Data Connectivity: USD 2.0 (1 port), USB 3.0 (2 ports), VGA and HDMI

So you would need to spend another $50-$60 for an external 500GB drive.  If you are into multimedia housing movie files or editing large photo images, this laptop may not be for you.  But if you like to play your favourite 2-3 games with a laptop while on the road, you will appreciate why serious gamers prefer a solid state drive over conventional ones. You can buy it here.

 

Lenovo G500 15.6-Inch Laptop (Black) reviewLenovo G500 15.6-Inch Laptop (Black)

 

Just a few dollars above this price point, this Lenovo G500 model offers one of the better value laptops at $513.00 discounted from its list price of $539.00.  Powered by a high-end dual core 3rd generation Intel Core i5 3230M clocked at 2.6 GHz with 3 MB Cache and supported by a 4 GB DDR3 system RAM, it offers a 15.6-inch LED backlit display with a low HD resolution of 1366 x 768. What qualifies this as a modest gaming laptop is its Intel HD 4000 GPU integrated to the core processor, our minimum recommended GPU for a gaming laptop. Hardware-wise, it comes with the 802.11b/g/n WiFi, a 500 GB SATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, a DVD-rewritable optical drive, a webcam, and a5-hour battery housed in a light 5.7lbs body.  It comes pre-loaded with the Windows 8 OS.

Another HP Pavilion G500 offers a more wallet friendly $399.99 discounted from $469.99. The only difference is that this model is powered down to a lower-end dual core i3-3120M clocked at 2.5 GHz with the same 3 MB Cache.  It also comes with the same 4GB DDR3 system RAM, a 500GB SATA drive running at 5400 rpm and an optical drive housed in the same 5.7lb body.  The 15-6-inch display features the same low HD resolution and LED backlighting and is driven by the same Intel HD 4000 GPU that makes it just as muscles as a modest gaming laptop of casual gamers.

 

HP Pavilion 17-e040us 17.3-Inch Laptop reviewHP Pavilion 17-e040us 17.3-Inch Laptop

 

Not exactly a sub-$500 laptop, but we would be remiss in not giving credit for this highly able laptop that is just $529.83 discounted from a list price that is closer to a $1000 laptop at $844.  With a gorgeous 17.3-inch LED-backlit display having a medium HD resolution of 1600 x 900, this HP Pavilion is powered by a 4th generation mid-performance dual core Intel Core i3-4000M clocked at 2.4 GHz.  Never mind that it is only dual core, as even some of the most demanding games are not designed to fully take advantage of quad core processing. But what sets it as a powerful gaming laptop at its humble price is the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4600 which has become standard for many dual core Haswell-architected laptops.  Depending on the clock speed setting and the games, this GPU is roughly 30% – 60% faster than the HD Graphics 4000 which is our recommended minimum graphics engine for a decent gaming laptop.  That means that while it won’t play Company of Heroes 2, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, and Need for Speed: Rivals, it can play Battlefield 4, BioShock Infinite, Metro: Last Light, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Saints Row 4, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, Crysis 3 and a few others at low game settings. It should have no problem playing Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Grid 2, Dead Space 3, Dishonored, World of Tanks 8 and many more at medium to high game settings at default or lower screen resolution.  As far hardware features are concerned, it has 6 GB DIMM System Ram, a 750 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive, and comes bundled with the Windows 8 OS.

 

HP Pavilion 17-e030us 17.3-Inch Laptop reviewHP Pavilion 17-e030us 17.3-Inch Laptop

Pared down to $489.99 from its MSRP of $739, this HP Pavilion is powered by the AMD Quad-core A6-5200 clocked at 2 GHz and supported by a 4 GB DIMM system RAM. It comes with a widescreen 17.3-inch LED backlit display with a medium HD resolution of 1600 x 900.  One of the few sub-$500 laptops that can be considered a poor man’s gaming workstation, its graphics engine is the AMD Radeon HD8400 integrated with the A-Series processor.  Its game graphics performance is at the top of the Radeon 8000 series, considered on par with a dedicated Radeon HD 6490M, and is roughly the equivalent of the Intel HD Graphics 4000, our minimum GPU to be considered a gaming laptop.  What this means is that it won’t play Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Light, Crysis 3, Hitman: Absolution, Total War: Rome 2 or Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and a few others, but it can play Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4, Batman: Arkham Origins, Diablo 3, Far Cry 3 The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, Anno 2070 and a many more at low game settings.  Others like Dead Space 3, CounterStrike: GO and Fifa 2011 can be played at medium settings, while games like Fifa 12 and 13 can be played at high game settings at default or lower screen resolution. Hardware features include a 500 GB SATA drive running at 5400 rpm, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, and the HP TrueVision HD webcam housed in a body weighing only 6 lbs. It comes bundled with the Windows 8 OS.

Acer Aspire V3 551G-X419 review
Great Bang for the Buck Gaming Laptop packed with Quadcore A10 processor with dual graphics card – This one’s a must have if you are looking for gaming laptop around 500 dollars.

Acer Aspire V3 551G-X419

 

 

[dropcaps type=”light”]N[/dropcaps]ot exactly under $500, but with a few dollars more at $574.95, we could not overlook the value of this laptop at this price point.  Powered by the quad core AMD Trinity A-Series A10-4600M with 6 MB cache, clocked at 2.3GHz, and supported by a 6GB DDR3 system RAM, this Acer Aspire model offers a typical 15.6-inch LED backlit screen with the lowest HD resolution (1366 x 768)  driven by two graphics engines in asymmetric Crossfire configuration  – the AMD Radeon HD 7660G integrated with the A10 CPU and a dedicated entry level HD 7670M  GPU with its own 2GB video memory.  This configuaratn puts it at par with the GeForce GT 650M and slightly less muscled than the GeForce GTX 480M or Radeon HD 8790M. In some games, users can experience micro stuttering which is typical of dual cards that perform alternate frame rendering. It comes with a 750GB SATA drive running at 5400 RPM and a DVD multilayers optical drive, all packaged in a 1.3-inch profile and weighing only 5.74 lbs.  The purchase price included a preloaded Windows 8 OS. 

 

 

 

ASUS K55 Series K55N-DB81 AMD A-Series Review
At 440 This Laptop Kicks Arse – It’s extremely fast and could run new games in mid settings.

ASUS K55 Series K55N-DB81 AMD A-Series

 

[dropcaps type=”light”]W[/dropcaps]ith a bargain basement price of $449.99, this Asus offers the casual gamer with what could be the best gaming moments without breaking his/her bank.  Offering a modest 1366 x 768 HD screen resolution on a 15.6-inch display, this Asus model is powered by a poor man’s  processor, the AMD Trinity A-Series A8-4500M clocked at 1.90GHz with 6GB DDR3 system RAM. With an AMD Radeon HD 7640G in the mid-tier Class 3 Category GPUs integrated into the A8 CPU, this Asus offers reasonable gaming muscle just slightly better than the Intel HD Graphics 4400 integrated in some Haswell CPUs. Casual gamers can play some of the more demanding RPG and FSP games at the low to medium game details at the default or lower screen resolution.  Don’t expect Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Light, Hitman: Absolution, Dishonored, Call of Duty: black Ops 2, Crysis 3 or Far Cry to play on this machine.  However, Fifa 13, Counterstrike: Go, and SIM3 will play at the high game setting It is installed with a 750GB SATA hard disk drive and a dual layer DVD optical drive and comes bundled with a 64-bit Windows 8.0.

 

 

 

Acer Aspire V5-552G-8632 AMD A-Series Review
Awesome dedicated card that could run 2012 games on max settings plus its a DUAL Graphics Card laptop with Quadcore Processor.

Acer Aspire V5-552G-8632 AMD A-Series

 

 

[dropcaps type=”light”]T[/dropcaps]his is another Asus Aspire we can’t pass up with just $29.00 above the $500 price point.  Powered by the AMD Trinity A8-5557M clocked at 2.1 GHz, this laptop has a bare minimum 4GB onboard RAM (upgradable to 12 GB RAM with an 8GB DDR3 added to its single SODIMM socket). Its typical 15.6-inch LED backlit screen with the lowest HD resolution (1377 x 768) is driven by a competent Class 2 AMD Radeon HD 8750 graphics engine with its own 2GB video RAM . This is slightly below the NVidia GeForce GT 640M/ GT 735M and  at par with the HD Graphics 5200 integrated with the Haswell CPUs.  At this price point, we were delighted that it could play nearly all demanding games at low to medium game settings at the default resolution, while only a few like the Assassin’s Creed 3, and Hitman: Absolution couldn’t play at all. Even the highly demanding Crysis 3, Metro: Last Light, and Company of Heroes 2 can play at low settings.  Data storage is served with a modest 500GB SATA drive running at 5400 RPM, and no optical drive. At 4.5 lbs light, this Aspire certainly has several hardware compromise to get the price down but  you are essentially paying for its graphics ability that makes it an excellent choice not only among casual gamers but even among young gamers on their way to becoming serious.

 

 

MSI C Series CX61 0OC-833US Review
i5 quadcore processor fast graphics card and It’s MSI known for their gaming laptops.

MSI C Series CX61 0OC-833US

 

[dropcaps type=”light”]K[/dropcaps]nown for its upscale gaming laptops, MSI enters the budget markets with the C Series priced close to the $500 range.  This model is powered by a 3rd generation Intel Core i5 3230M clocked at 2.60GHz and supported by a 6GB DDR3 system RAM.  It typical 15.6-inch LED backlit screen sports the lowest HD resolution at 1377 x 768 and is driven by a competent Class 3 Category NVidia GeForce GT 710M , putting it at par or  slightly lower than the Intel HD Graphics 5000 and more muscled than the AMD Radeon HD 6630M/7650M.  It can’t play Company of Heroes 2, Crysis 3, Assassin’s Creed 3, or Metro: Last Light, but it can play most other recent game releases at low to medium game settings at the default resolution. It can play CounterStrike: Go, Sims 3 and Fifa 13 at its highest game settings, while Diablo 3, Dishonored and Dead Space 3 can be played at their next to highest settings.  It comes with modest 500GB hard disk running at 5400 RPM, an optical super-multi optical drive, and is bundled with a 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium edition.

 

 

 

TOSHIBA Satellite L55-A5278 review
Quadcore I5 Processor with 740M – Ideal entry level gaming laptop and on the positive side, it looks really awesome.

TOSHIBA Satellite L55-A5278

 

[dropcaps type=”light”]A[/dropcaps]t $579.99, this Toshiba Satellite doesn’t really qualify as being under $500, but why quibble over a few dollars more when you can have an excellent gaming value at that price?   It is powered by the a 3rd generation ULV processor Intel Core i5 3337U clocked at 1.80GHz with its integrated HD Graphics 4000.  But rather than use this, Toshiba installed a dedicated Class 2 graphics engine in the NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M to drive its standard 1366 x 768 resolution 15.6-inch LED backlit TruBrite screen.  With the exception of Company of Heroes 2 and Metro: Last Light, it can play all the video games released to date at medium to high settings at the default resolution. It comes with a 4GB DDR3 system RAM upgradeable to 16GB on a dual SODIMM slot.  With a modest 500GB SATA drive running at 5400 RPM , a 4-in-one multimedia card reader, and the DVD super-multi optical drive, this Satellite L55-A5278 weighs slightly less than 5 lbs with a thin 0.96-inch profile.  It has WiFi, 2 USB 3.0 and 1 US 2.0 as well as VGA and HDMI ports. and can process DTS sound over two speakers. It comes bundled with Windows 8 OS.

 

 

 

HP Pavilion G6t (A4G30AV#ABA) review
3rd Gen I5 with 7670M bang for the buck great specs for the price.

HP Pavilion G6t

 

[dropcaps type=”light”]P[/dropcaps]owered by a 3rd generation Intel Core i5-3210M CPU clocked at 2.5 GHz (up to 3.1 GHZ on turbo boost) with 6GB DDR3 system RAM upgradable to 16GB on  its dual SODIMM slots, this sub $500 HP Pavilion with its 15.6-inch low HD resolution (1366 x 768) display makes for a delightful gaming option among budget conscious gamers thanks to its Class 3 category AMD Radeon HD 7670M using its own 1GB video RAM. It can’t play the recently released Company of Heroes 2, or Hitman: Absolution game titles but can play all the other demanding RPG and FSP games at low to medium game settings at the default resolution. It can even play Counterstrike: Go, SIMS 3, World of Warcraft and  Fifa 13 at their highest settings as well as Grid 2, BioShake Infinite, Dead Space 3, Diablo 3,  Dishonored,  and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm at the second to the highest game settings.   It comes with a 500 GB SATA hard drive running at 5400 RPM, a DVD super-multi optical drive, and a multiformat media card for a backpack friendly 5.46 lbs and a slim 1.43-inch profile. It comes bundled with the 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium edition OS.

 

 

 

Lenovo G505s (59378837) review
A laptop to casual and the not so serious gamers.

Lenovo G505s

[dropcaps type=”light”]T[/dropcaps]his Lenovo G505s is powered by the AMD Trinity A-Series A8-5550M clocked at 2.1GHz and supported by a 4GB DD3 system RAM  upgradable to 8GB on a single SODIMM slot.  Sporting a 15.6-inch display with the lowest HD resolution (1377 x 728), what can endear  this laptop to casual and the not so serious gamers is its dedicated Class 3 AMD Radeon HD 8570M with its dedicated 2GB video card.  This is roughly the equivalent of the NVidia GeForce GT 630M and performs slightly better than the GeForce GT 720M.   It can’t play the recent Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Light, Guild Wars 2, and Crysis 3, but it can seamlessly play all the other the demanding games released over the last 2 years at low to medium settings. Some games like Counterstrike: Go, Diablo 3, Fifa 13 and SIMS 3 can be played at their highest game settings at the default resolution, while games like Dead Space 3, Dishonored and World of Warcarft can be played at a step lower than their Ultra-High game settings.  Data storage comes with a modest 500GB SATA hard drive running at 5400 RPM and a standard DVD writer/reader optical drive. It has a 720p HD webcam, built-in stereo speakers, and a 2-in01 media card read, along with a VGA, HDMI, and USB 3 /2 ports to add to its light 5.3-lb weight and a slime 1-inch profile.  It comes preloaded with the Windows 8 OS.

 

ASUS A55VD-NS51 Review
This Asus A55VD is powered by the 3rd generation Intel Core i5 3230M clocked at 2.60GHz (up to 3.5 with turbo boost) supported by a 6GB DDR3 system memory upgradable to 8GB on two sockets.

ASUS A55VD-NS51

 

 

[dropcaps type=”light”]T[/dropcaps]his Asus A55VD is powered by the 3rd generation  Intel Core i5 3230M clocked at 2.60GHz (up to 3.5 with turbo boost) supported by a 6GB DDR3 system memory upgradable to 8GB on two sockets.  Its 15.6-inch LED backlit display sports a modest 1366 x 768 HD resolution driven by a dedicated class 4 NVidia GeForce GT 610 graphics engine, allowing it to play only a few of the most demanding RPG and FDP games released over the last 2 years at low game settings at the default resolution. Admittedly, this Asus A55VD NS51 offers one of the least bang for the buck as a gaming laptop at this price point.  Company of Heroes 2, Crysis 3, Metro: Last Light, BiodShock: Infinite, SimCity cannot be played, while Grid 2 and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm can only be played at the lowest setting.  Its class 4 GPU is several notches below the threshold  HD Graphic 4000 and should be considered only by the least demanding of casual gamers.  Data storage is most with its 500GB SATA hard drive running at 5400 ROM, It has a webcam, a VGA and HDMI port, a  single USB 2.0  and a dual USB 3.0  port. It comes preloaded with a 64-bit Windows 8 OS.

 

 

 

HP Pavilion G7-2238nr review
At $478.31, the HP Pavilion G7-2238nr sports a large 17.3” LED-backlit display with 1600 x 900 resolution that makes for a superlative HD video watching experience.

HP Pavilion G7-2238nr

 

 

[dropcaps type=”light”]A[/dropcaps]t $478.31, the HP Pavilion G7-2238nr sports a large 17.3” LED-backlit display with 1600 x 900 resolution that makes for a superlative HD video watching experience. Powered by the AMD Dual core A6-4400M clocked at 2.7 GHz and supported by a 4 GB DDR RAM, this laptop comes with its own separate AMD Radeon HD 7520G graphic engine which is about 11% faster than the Intel HD Graphics 4000 – our minimum threshold to be considered a gaming laptop.  It provides above average gaming abilities for some of the sophisticated FPS games and RPGs on the market at low to medium setting while some like Fifa 12/13, Diablo 3 and Counter Strike: Go can be played in their highest game settings..

 

 

 

 

 

 

HP Pavilion G7-2220us review
Best recommended for the casual gamer who don’t mind playing some of the most demanding games released in 2011-12 in medium game settings

HP Pavilion G7-2220us

 

 

[dropcaps type=”light”]D[/dropcaps]iscounted to $489.99 from its $549.99 regular price, the HP Pavilion G7-2220us sports a 17.3-inch LED-backlit LCD display driven by a discrete AMD Radeon HD 7520 GPU with its own 2GB graphic memory. Best recommended for the casual gamer who don’t mind playing some of the most demanding games released in 2010-12 in low to medium game settings, this pavilion is powered by the AMD dual core A6-4400M clocked at 2.7GHz and a system RAM of 4 GB DDR3. It comes with a 500GB SATA drive and DVD writer/readers housed in a 6.6-lb body.

 

 

 

 

acer aspire review
Bang for the buck midrange gaming laptop – probably best laptop under 500

Acer Aspire V3-551-8469

 

 

[dropcaps type=”light”]S[/dropcaps]lightly more able than the Pavilion G7-222us is the Acer Aspire V3-551-8469 thanks to a 10% beefier AMD Radeon HD 7640G graphics engine with its own 512MB video RAM that drives its 15.6-inch LED backlit screen with 1366 x 768 HD resolution. Despite a cheaper $439.91, it is powered by a more muscled AMD quad core A8-4500M clocked at 1.9GHz and a 4GB SDRAM.  It is likewise recommended for casual PC gamers who don’t mind playing RPG and FSP games released 2010 onwards at low to medium game settings that will not maximize its HD screen resolution. Read our in depth review on Acer Aspire V3-551-8469 best gaming laptop under 500.

 

 

 

Asus A55A-AH51 review
Powered by a 3rd generation dual core i5-3210M clocked at 2.5GHz with 4GB DDR3 system RAM.

Asus A55A-AH51

 

 

[dropcaps type=”light”]A[/dropcaps]t a cent less than $500,the Asus A55A-AH51 has been heavily discounted from its $689.99 suggested retail price and can be considered a good value for a slim 1-incvh thick laptop, weighing just 5.8 lbs and powered by a 3rd generation dual core i5-310M clocked at 2.5GHz with 4GB DDR3 system RAM.  Its 15/6-inch LED backlit display with 1366 x68 resolution is powered by an integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000, the minimum threshold to be considered a gaming laptop for 2013.

 

 

 

Dell Inspiron 15 i15RV-10000BLK review
Lightweight and uncomplicated – even your 90 year old grandma can use this laptop at ease.

Dell Inspiron 15 i15RV-10000BLK

 

 

At $469 (others at $425, new),  this Dell Inspiron runs on a 3rd generation dual core Intel Core i5-3337U with a 3 Mb L3 cache and clocked at 1.8HGz that can be boosted up to 2.7 GHZ   It comes with a 4 GB DDR3 system RAM while its 15.6-inch LED backlit screen has 1366 x 768 HD resolution driven by the Intel HD Graphics 4000 integrated with the Ivy Bridge CPU.  This is our minimum GPU to qualify a laptop for casual gamers, enabling it to play many of the most demanding RPG and FSP games released in 2011/12 at low settings while a few can be played at medium settings. .  Some games like Eder Scrolls V, Allan Wake, Hitman: Absolution and Assassin’s Creed III, however, will not play, while games like Fifa 13 can be played at high game settings. There’s a 500 GB SATA drive running at 5400 rpm and an 8x DVD writer optical drive and housed in superb texture matte black finish on a body.  It comes bundled with Windows 8, 32-bit OS.

 

HP Pavilion g6-2278DX review
It comes with AMD quadcore processor, with much faster HDD clock and Windows 8 OS. Its designed for speed and performance, with a great price!

HP Pavilion g6-2278DX

 

 

HP’s G-series covers an entire range of laptops that can satisfy casual gamers and even enable serious gamers to play some of the demanding games at low to medium game setting while away from their gaming workstations at home.  The G6 line sports a 15.6 inch BrightView HD screen at 1366 x 768 resolution and this particular model is powered by the AMD quad core A8-4500 CPU with a 4GB DDR3 system RAM.  At a wallet-friendly price of $479.95, the HP Pavilion G6-2278DX uses the AMD Radeon HD 7640G discrete-class GPU which is more muscled than the Intel HD Graphics 4000. While it may be challenged to play Elder Scrolls V even at low game settings, laptops with the HD 7640G GPU can play many other sophisticated RPG and FSP games released in 2012 at low to medium game settings. The G6-2268DX comes with a 640GB SATA hard drive and a multi-format DVD/CD writer optical drive. It is preinstalled with Windows 8 and a one-year WebRoot SecureAnywhere internet security software licensed for 3 PCs.

 

HP Pavilion g7-2243us review
Much quicker than other laptops on this price range, you could run multiple programs simultaneously and could kick some decent fps on modern games on medium settings.

HP Pavilion g7-2243us

 

 

 

 

Powered by an AMD quad core A8-4500M clocked at 1.9GHz that can be accelerated to 2.8 GHZ, with a 4 MB L2 cache and supported by a 6GB DDR3 SDRAM,  this $488.99 gaming laptop sports a 17.3-inch BrightView HD display with 1600 x 900 HD resolution and driven by a competent discrete-class  AMD Radeon HD 7640G graphics engine which is 20% faster than our minimum Intel HD Graphics 4000.  This gives it enough gaming muscle to play may of the demanding games released in 2012 at low to medium game settings, with the exception of  a handful of games such as Elder Scrolls V, Hitman: Absolution, and Assassin’s Creed III.  This Pavilion comes with 500GB SATA hard disk running at 5400 rpm,.  It does not have an optical drives but comes bundled with Windows 8.

 

 

 

 

Toshiba Satellite S855D-S5148 review
One of the bestsellers on this price range, it packs with quadcore cpu clocked at 3.2ghz, with 8gb of ddr3 ram + 7660g GPU, clearly this laptop is made for gaming. It has 15.6″ laptop screen, separate numeric keypad, and is light and compact enough for traveling. Toshiba satellite s855d is one of my picks for this price range.

Toshiba Satellite S855D-S5148

 

 

 

With an MSRP of $639 now discounted to $499, you can get a high performance laptop sporting a 15.6-inch 1366 x 768 HD resolution LED-backlit screen with a gaming muscle powered by the AMD Radeon HD 7660G.  This GPU is the top-of-the-line  card in the Trinity line of APUs integrated with the A10 series and is significantly more powerful (about 30% faster) than the Intel Graphics 4000 which is our minimum GPU for a gaming laptop.  It can play just about all the most demanding RPG and FSP gams at low to medium settings with just a few like Hitman: Absolution, Secret World, Max Payne 3, and Assassin’s Creed III that will not play.  Its CPU  is the AMD quad core A10-4600M with 8 GB DIMM RAM and a generous 1 TB SATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm.  It comes with a SuperMulti optical drive that supports 11 formats and all these are housed in a superbly crafted ice blue brushed aluminum body that is only 1.3-inches thick and weighing just 5.5 lbs. It comes bundled with Windows  8. EDIT : This laptop is no longer discounted. Price is now 620$.

 

 

 

Sony VAIO E Series SVE1513TCXW review
Maybe the best looking laptop on this price range, perfect for everyday users.

Sony VAIO E Series SVE1513TCXW

 

 

At just a cent below $500, this Sony VAIO E series SVE 1513TCXW sports a 15-5 inch 1366 x 768 resolution LED backlit display driven by the Intel HD Graphics 4000 integrated with the CPU, the minimum graphics engine that we can consider for a gaming laptop.  Under the hood, this VAIO is powered by an Intel Pentium 2020M dual core clocked at 2.4 GHz and supported by a 4GB DDR3 system RAM.  It comes with a modest 320GB SATA Drive running at 5400 rpm and is bundled with a consumer edition of Windows 8 OS.  Its most appealing point is the 1-inch profile when closed and a 5.9-lb backpack-friendly weight and should satisfy casual gamers.

 

 

 

 

Acer Aspire E1-571-6811
More durable – packed with 3rd Gen i3 and 4gb ddr3 ram its a lil stronger than your average 400 dollar laptop.

Acer Aspire E1-571-6811

 

At $479.99 (refurbished at $359.99), this Aspire model can be considered the more expensive Intel-powered sibling of the AMD-powered V3-551-8469 mentioned above.  But rather than use a quad care, the E1-571-6811 is powered by a 2nd generation Intel dual core i3-2328M clocked at 2.2 GHz with the same 4 GB SDRAM.  It shares the same features such as the 15.6-inch LED backlit display with 1366 x 768 HD resolution and the same superb glossy black body housing a 500 GB SATA drive running at 5400 rpm and an 8x DVD optical drive. This one, however, has a lighter 5.4 lbs compared to 5.7 lbs in the V3, while the graphics engine has been scaled a notch down from the discrete class AMD Radeon 7640G in the V3 to the Intel HD Graphics 4000 in the E1-571  making it less muscled to play the most demanding games released in 2012/11. Nevertheless, it still qualifies as a gaming laptop under the $500 price point.

 

 

 

 

Asus K55N-DS81 review
The cheapest in the pack priced at around 360 – it packs power and style perfect for everyday needs.

Asus K55N-DS81

 

 

At a list price of $499 and now discounted to $379, this Asus K55N has to be the most affordable gaming laptop with a 15.6-inch 1366 x 768 LED backlit screen powered by a muscled AMD Radeon HD 7640G graphics engine integrated into the Trinity A8 series and is 20%-24%  faster than the Intel HD Graphics 4000.  Other laptops that cost more or even going beyond the $500 price point can’t touch it.  This same laptop had been featured in laptops below $400 and also recommended for college students. Under the hood is an AMD quad core A8-4500M CPU clocked at 1.9 GHz and supported by a 4GB DDR3 system RAM.  Data storage is served by a 500GB SATA drives running at 5400 rpm and is bundled with a 32-bit Windows 8. An added bonus is its 1.3-inch profile on a lightweight 5.3-lb body.

Here are a few other notebooks that can handle current PC games well, as well:

49 thoughts on “Bang For The Buck – Gaming Laptops Under 500 Reviews 2013”

  1. These are not gaming laptops, their heat sinks are not nearly big enough to expel the heat generated during gaming sessions. As for hp they are unreliable, every hp I owned stoped working after about eight to eleven months, and that was top of the range models used for simple games like Warcraft and Warhammer 40k dark crusade. For office work they are briliant, not the hp models, but the others will be perfect.

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