PC Gaming revolves around fantastic graphics and quick response times. High performance is a must and the technology to play these games at their best doesn’t come cheap. Most good gaming laptops can start at $500 and run into the $1000s. While the latest games usually demand technology from the higher end of the scale, there is still plenty of gaming to be had for gamers on a budget.
Features To Look For In A Gaming Laptop Under $300
When looking for a laptop to play games, it’s best to keep certain features in mind:
Your processor powers your laptop. Most processors on the market are either going to be an intel core (i5, i7, etc.) or AMD. Intel does win the battle of the processors, but it doesn’t mean that certain AMDs aren’t good either. The more recent processors tend to be the best and in intel’s case, the higher the number, the better the performance.
Your hard drive size determines how much data you can carry in your laptop. The larger the size the more things you can fit. Games tend to have great amounts of data and can range from 20 GB to up to 60 GB. A hard drive size of at least 500 GB is highly recommended. Thankfully, you can find budget options with hard drive sizes of up to 1TB.
Random Access Memory or RAM allows programs to run smoothly on your laptop. Usually 8GBs of RAM is enough to get by whether you’re gaming or not. However, those who want to stream their games completely might want to invest in getting a bit more RAM.
Once your laptop starts to lag or freeze, it’s usually time for some more. Most laptops come with an empty slot or two that you can place additional RAM once you realize that you’ve reached your current capacity. This is a simple and easy process.
Perhaps the most important part of the gaming experience, everyone strives to have the best graphics possible. However, the graphic cards on everyday laptops usually aren’t equipped to handle the load of what games need to run on their highest graphic setting. When purchasing a budget-friendly laptop there aren’t much options when it comes to graphic cards so it’s best to play most games on the lowest graphic setting.
There are other aspects of a gaming computer that you should take into consideration when purchasing such as battery life. If you’ll be playing at home on a regular basis having a low battery life wouldn’t be a problem. However, games tend to eat through a laptop’s battery when played on it’s best settings no matter how good the battery is. A battery back-up pack is recommended in these situations.
The Best Gaming Laptops Under $300 – Reviews
Finding a good gaming laptop for a reasonable price can be an exhausting process. However, here are some options that can satisfy a casual gamer that won’t break the bank.
The 15.6 inch Lenovo comes with an A6-7310 Quad Core processor. A 500GB hard drive, 4GB of RAM and an AMD Radeon R4 graphic card round out the specs on this laptop. The biggest drawback on this laptop is it’s small RAM. It is possible to play some games, however, for best performance 6 to 8GBs of RAM is usually recommended.
The 500GB hard drive should be sufficient for the casual gamer, and it’s a great find for the price. If you keep a large number of movies on your hard drive, you might want to consider investing in an external hard drive to free up more space for the games.
The A6 processor will have a hard time dealing with more recent games, as would the graphic card. However, playing will be fine if the graphics are on the lowest setting. Overall, it’s not a bad gaming laptop for older games, but the low RAM and overall processor might be a problem depending upon what games you’re trying to play.
This HP comes with unique features like a Multi DVD Burner and a numeric keypad next to the normal keyboard. It’s 500 GB hard drive is more than sufficient to the casual user but the 4GB of RAM might be a problem later on. Take advantage of the option to upgrade your memory by adding 4 more GBS.
The laptop holds an AMD Quad-Core processor, and although an Intel processor would have been better, you are still able to play a few games on the lowest graphic setting. Casual gaming is suggested, as hardcore gaming or any type of constant use may cause your laptop’s temperature to rise and your fan to be overworked. There are better laptop’s for the value although this one is a much better buy than the other HP on the list.
The Acer Aspire houses some great software for its price tag. The AMD Ryzen 3 3200U chip and Vega 3 graphics card make this is a fast running cheap gaming laptop.
The Aspire isn’t a bad laptop to use for gaming although there would be lag if run at the highest graphic setting. The amount of RAM is pretty good for casual gaming, but don’t expect it to hold up for more hardcore experiences.
This laptop features a numerical keypad in addition to the QWERTY keyboard. It’s slim design does come with one drawback; the removal of the CD / DVD drive. As almost everything is internet based this shouldn’t be a problem for most users. However, it is worth taking into consideration before purchasing.
One of the best values of this list, Lenovo’s T430 has some serious equipment under its keyboard. The Intel Core i5 processor helps this laptop run like lightning. Along with 8 GB of RAM, this laptop should be able to run games like a breeze. However, there are some specifics that may hold you back from running out to get one right away.
This laptop only comes equipped with a 320 GB hard drive. It’s not huge by any means, but a quick fix would be to invest in an external hard drive to store large files that would take up too much room. Harder to get around is the size of the laptop. At only 14” it is smaller than normal gaming laptops. It also has a running battery life of only 1 hour. This isn’t a laptop to take with you on the go defeating the purpose of its compact size.
The Latitude is another computer with a great processor. The i7 processor is the largest factor in the laptop’s speed considering that, unfortunately, it only contains 4GB of RAM. If you’re running too many programs or large programs at one time, you’ll eventually notice the lack of Memory. Another drawback is the smaller screen size. Although it makes it easier to bring the laptop on the go, playing games on a smaller screen doesn’t tend to be as fun.
Thankfully, Dell ensured that the Latitude had some other great features, including a 500 GB hard drive and an array of long life battery options. The laptop’s graphic card is built more for business application so it won’t showcase the best graphics. However, if you play your games like Battlefield 3 on the lowest graphic settings you’ll be impressed what this budget-friendly laptop will do.
The Lenovo is a popular option for those looking for a budget friendly computer. However, it’s far from the best option for PC gaming. It features a 500 GB HDD hard drive. HDD hard drives run slower than SDD drives, which are typically used for gaming. With only 4GB of RAM and an A6 Quad Core Processor, it will be difficult to stream games online.
It is highly recommended to both play games on lower graphic settings as well as upgrade the RAM to it’s maximum 8 GB before gaming. This will greatly reduce lag and allow for a smoother gaming experience. This laptop isn’t overpriced or a bad value, however, there are better options for almost the same amount of money.
Acer’s Aspire ES series features an Intel Core i3 processor along with an Intel HD 520 Graphics card. It’s RAM starts at 4GB with the option to add more to a maximum of 16GB. It’s hard drive capacity sits at a hefty 1TB.
Don’t expect the best graphics with the 520 graphics card, but it can run games like Overwatch or Minecraft on the lowest graphic settings. Although 4GB can run certain games, it’s usually recommended to have 8GBs of RAM to avoid any performance issues so be sure to upgrade before you start to play.
The best feature about this laptop has to be it’s large hard drive. This amount of space as well as the i3 processor is sufficient for some casual gaming. However, the above listed, Acer Aspire beats this one in almost every category.