Even though laptops trail behind desktops in terms of their performance to value, there are still some excellent gaming laptops under 600 that will be able to run a lot of popular games. There was a time when this wasn’t the case at all, but those days are long behind us.
In this price range, you won’t find laptops that are pumping out massive frame rates at max settings for newly released AAA titles, but that’s okay because displaying very high frame rates requires a high-end monitor that often costs more than these entire laptops do.
The key to being very happy with your purchase is managing your expectations and having a reasonable understanding of what cheaper gaming laptops can and cannot do. If you know what to expect and what you’re buying, you’ll be very satisfied with any of these choices, especially our top pick below.
Before recent advancements, a gaming laptop for around $600 was unheard of, but since many of today’s popular PC games came out years ago, they’ll run on systems that don’t have the absolute latest and greatest specs. Games like CS:GO, League of Legends, Minecraft, Among Us, Fall Guys, and many other titles can run on laptops quite easily now.
There’s never been a better time to be a laptop gamer on a tight budget.
Of course, if you can spend a bit more, that will open up the door to playing a more comprehensive range of newer games getting better performance, graphics, and framerates – but if you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with any of these gaming laptops for under $600. We’ve included a couple of notebooks that go slightly above this budget, and they’re well worth it if you can afford a little extra. But first, let’s start with the very best gaming laptop under $600
TOP CHOICE: Evoo Gaming
The Evoo gaming laptop featured on this page is our top pick for many reasons. It rises above the competition in terms of value and performance.
Most importantly, this Evoo Gaming Laptop has its own dedicated graphics card, and it’s the most budget-friendly laptop on this list that meets these criteria. This trait alone will elevate your gaming experience to something very passable for many different titles, which is a huge accomplishment in this price range.
We Review The 5 Top Rated Gaming Laptops Under $600
5th Place. ASUS VivoBook 17.3″
|Processor||AMD Ryzen3 3250U|
|RAM||8GB DDR4 RAM|
|Graphics||AMD Radeon On-Processor Graphics|
|Operating System||Windows 10|
|Battery Life||5-hour life|
This version of the ASUS VivoBook isn’t explicitly designed for gaming, but at this price, and with these specs, you’ll be able to run a solid handful of games, especially on lower graphics settings.
You won’t be able to cut through newer triple-A titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 or Call of Duty. However, as this laptop doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card, the on-processor graphics will handle games like Minecraft, browser and flash games, emulators, and specific newer titles that aren’t too demanding.
The main perk here is the massive 17.3 inch IPS monitor, so your games will look huge and vivid. Your games will look great at 1080p, and you’ll have decent color accuracy for light video editing, like putting together clips and highlights from your gaming sessions. The mobile processor means you’ll save power to keep you gaming for longer on a battery charge. With two cores and four threads, it’s not the biggest powerhouse in the world, but at 3.5 GHz, it will certainly get the job done.
8GB of ram leaves a bit to be desired for serious multitasking, but it’s not a bad starting point in this price range, and you can always upgrade to add more ram down the road. You can also upgrade the SSD drive to something with more storage if you decide that you need more space.
If you plan on using your gaming laptop for watching movies and streams, you’ll appreciate the larger screen size. If you plan to bump down your resolution to 720p for better performance, it might be better to find something with a 15-inch display instead of this 17-inch gaming laptop.
4th Place. HP Pavilion 15.6″ Gaming Laptop
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 5 4600H|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650|
|Operating System||Windows 10|
|Battery Life||3-cell, 52.5 Wh Lithium-ion prismatic|
This HP Pavilion gaming laptop comes in a bit above our budget, but if you can spring for it, it’ll be well worth the extra cost so it’s still worth considering. There isn’t a gaming laptop under $600 that can compete with this one, so while it doesn’t fit the exact criteria, it’s still your best option in this price range.
This HP Pavilion is worthwhile because it has its own dedicated graphics card, the very-capable GTX 1650. It’s not the most powerful card in the world, but it will open up the gates for you to enjoy a lot of newer titles or to turn up your graphic settings on some of the easier-to-run games. In terms of cost to performance, this package is hard to beat.
Editor’s Note: The Evoo Gaming Laptop also uses this same graphics card and comes in closer to budget, so if you have to spend $600 or less, then the Evoo will be your best option.
Unless they’re incredibly resource-hungry, most newer games will be very playable on low or even medium settings using this laptop, at an adequate resolution of 1080p. As always, you can move the resolution lower to get smoother gameplay.
You’ll be able to enjoy titles such as Red Dead Redemption 2, ARK: Survival Evolved, Apex Legends, Valiant, Call of Duty, Fortnite, and many more.
If you decide that you need more than 256GB of storage down the road, there’s room for an additional SSD drive to be added.
3rd Place. Acer Aspire 5 Slim
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 3 3350U at 2.6 GHz|
|RAM||8GB – 12GB|
|Operating System||Windows 10|
|Battery Life||7.5 hours|
Here’s another one that flirts with the upper limit of our budget. There’s also an 8GB version for just under budget, but it’s worth the upgrade to this model for the extra memory and because it comes with a faster hard drive (NVMe instead of PCIe).
These two upgrades put the 12GB model a step or two above the 8GB model, but if you are absolutely firm in your budget, the 8GB version will still get the job done.
A huge plus for this laptop is how easy it is to upgrade certain aspects of its performance. However, the major downside for anybody who wants to do some higher-end gaming will be the integrated graphics, which cannot be upgraded.
The Ryzen CPU has decent integrated graphics, but at the end of the day they’re still integrated graphics and not a proper GPU, and that’s not ideal if you prefer to play the latest AAA titles on high settings.
The 512GB of storage is double what the other laptops on this list offer, which is certainly a major plus. If your goal is gaming and you had to choose between 512GB or a dedicated graphics card, however, you’ll be better off with the dedicated graphics card. If storage matters to you more, then this is the one to get.
On the other hand, if you’re someone who likes to play indie games, emulators, browser games, and genres that are relatively low in spec requirements, you’ll be happy with this laptop.
2nd Place. Lenovo IdeaPad 3
|Processor||Ryzen 5 5500U|
|Graphics||AMD Radeon 7|
|Operating System||Windows 10|
|Battery Life||5 hours for light work, less for gaming|
Here’s a compact, affordable laptop that can handle light gaming duties. If you’re looking for something on the cheaper side, that’s also smaller and light weight, this is a good option.
The Radeon 7 on-board graphics can handle a number of older titles and some newer ones on lower settings. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, as long as you temper your expectations and understand that on-board graphics will almost universally underperform a dedicated GPU, and you recognize that you won’t always be able to play all the latest and greatest games, you can still have a great gaming experience on a laptop like this.
This laptop packs the standard 8GB DDR4 memory that we’ve seen on most of these options, save for one. It also has 256GB of fast hard drive storage so that you can load up your games quickly.
The IdeaPad 3 boasts a smaller form factor and lighter weight than the other laptops on our list, which can make it easier to carry around with you. The downside is that this leaves less room for battery, so this one won’t give you as much playtime on a single charge as the other laptops on this list.
Gaming laptops aren’t known for having long battery lives either way, but it’s something to keep in mind.
1st Place. Evoo Gaming 15.6”
|Processor||Intel Core i5-10300H|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650|
|Operating System||Windows 10|
|Battery Life||5 hours|
Here’s a fantastic gaming laptop that punches well above its weight class. What you’re missing in brand recognition by going with the Evoo name instead of something like Asus, Acer, or HP is made up for in power and features.
This laptop has a dedicated GPU, making it a top-performer in its class. It has a great Intel i5 processor, decent battery life, and some extra features that gamers will love.
With 256GB of storage space, you’ll have plenty of room for games, movies, and projects. You can also attach an external USB drive or a thumbstick.
The GTX 1650 graphics card is the star of the show here, and it’s impressive to find this in a gaming laptop under $600. This is a surprisingly capable graphics card, especially if you bump down the screen resolution to 720p. You’ll be able to play all sorts of newer titles. For older games, you can enjoy them in their full HD glory at 1080p while still maxing out the 60 frames per second that this laptop is capable of displaying.
This gaming laptop is on the heavier side, tipping the scales at 7.28 pounds, but it’s got a lot of oomph to justify the heftiness. Along with a backlit LED keyboard, this laptop boasts high-quality audio by THX. While Evoo may not be the most well-known brand name in the space, they’ve put together an impressive offering with leading parts made by strong technology partners.
Buyer’s Guide for Gaming Laptops Under $600
When you’re shopping for a gaming laptop under $600, there are a few things you’ll need to remember. It’s entirely possible to find something that can scratch your gaming itch, but there are some things you’ll need to understand.
The newer a game is, typically, the lower down you’ll need to adjust the graphics settings. You simply aren’t going to get ultra-quality graphics on new titles on a cheap laptop, since you need a top-tier gaming PC or an extremely high-end laptop to handle that. It’s just not a realistic expectation otherwise.
Also, you shouldn’t expect to get 144 frames per second or even more than 60. Even if you’re playing a game with low requirements and you can get a fast framerate, the displays themselves aren’t meant to showcase more than 60 frames per second, in most cases, when we’re talking about budget gaming laptops.
Specifications to Consider in a Cheap Gaming Laptop
Screen size and resolution
The size of the screen comes down to your preference. The larger the screen is, the higher you’ll want the resolution to be in general, but for games, you may end up playing at a lower resolution in order to get better graphics or a faster framerate. 1080p is still a standard resolution for cheaper gaming laptops, and it looks great on a 15 or even a 17-inch screen.
Many of the options in our budget here will use a mobile processor, which is less power-hungry than a full desktop processor and generally doesn’t generate as much heat. The downside is that they’re not as powerful, nor capable for multitasking, but they can still chew through a lot of different games, especially if you don’t have a ton of tabs and windows open behind your game.
You’ll want to avoid anything that’s still using DDR3 ram because it’ll be a lot older, and not as powerful as DDR4. Every option on our list here uses DDR4. In this price range, you’ll be lucky to get more than 8GB of memory but aim for more, if you can, because it can help a lot with multitasking. If you’re just going to be playing your game and maybe listening to some music in the background, 8GB should be just fine.
You’ll want to go with a laptop that has a current version of Windows. Windows 10 has been out long enough that anything coming with an older version is going to be quite dated. Linux is always an option, but you’ll have limited compatibility when it comes to games, and there’s more of a learning curve. Having said that, it can be very rewarding to learn the ropes of how to use Linux, as long as your games of choice are compatible with Linux.
If you’re mostly going to be gaming in one place, with your laptop plugged in, then battery life isn’t a major concern. If you’re gaming on the go, and you won’t always be near a power outlet, or if you don’t want to lug around your charging cable, then you’ll want to look for longer battery life from the laptop you choose.
This is another spec that doesn’t matter as much if you’re just keeping your laptop in one place, but where you may want something a bit lighter if you plan on carrying your gaming laptop around with you. It comes down to personal choice and weighing the importance of which specs matter most to you. If you’re always in one place, don’t worry too much about the weight.
With most of these laptops, you won’t be able to play on max graphics settings while enjoying peak frame rates unless you’re playing older games, but you’ll be able to run things like LoL on higher settings or Fortnite on lower settings in very playable quality. For under $600, that’s perfectly acceptable.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the pros and cons of gaming laptops?
Gaming on a laptop has its advantages, such as being able to take it with you for gaming on the go, and the fact that a gaming laptop takes up a lot less space in your room compared to a full gaming PC rig, making laptops a great option for smaller areas.
Back in the earlier days of PC gaming and LAN parties, everyone would have to drag their entire PC, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and accessories with them. Nowadays, you can just fold up your laptop, and you’re good to game.
Should I get a desktop or a gaming laptop?
If you’re always doing your gaming in one location, then a gaming desktop will get you a lot more bang for your bucks. A $600 gaming desktop will be beefier than a laptop for the same price. Just keep in mind that with a desktop, you’ll still need to buy a monitor, speakers, a keyboard, and a mouse.
Can I upgrade my gaming laptop?
Your upgrade path will vary depending on which laptop you go with. Generally speaking, less expensive models like the ones we’re focusing on today don’t always have as much wiggle room when it comes to adding upgrades.
Despite that, many of them will allow you to add additional storage or replace the existing hard drive with a larger one. Some will allow you to add additional RAM. It’s less common for there to be an easy way to upgrade the processor, and there’s rarely any way to add a graphics card to a laptop that doesn’t have one.
If your ultimate goal is to buy something cheaper now and upgrade components as you go, then a desktop is a much better option. Or, just buying an affordable gaming laptop now, and replacing it down the road when you have a bigger budget could also work. But buying one of these laptops with plans to upgrade things like the CPU and the graphics card just isn’t a possibility.
What are on-board or on-processor graphics?
Typically, the graphics on any higher-end system are managed via a standalone graphics card (or GPU for short).
In laptops, especially in this range, it’s common for the graphics processor to be on-board or on-processor, which means that the graphics are handled by the main CPU rather than having an independent card.
This isn’t as powerful as most stand-alone GPUs, but it’s a lot more affordable and it keeps the power usage down, leading to better battery life.
If gaming is your plan, you’re better off finding a laptop with a GPU independent of the CPU, but it’s rare to find that in this price range. With budget gaming laptops, the on-processor graphics will be okay for a lot of less demanding titles and older games.
You’ll be able to play most of the classics with no problem, but understand that you’re going to be underpowered when it comes to playing the latest and greatest games on higher settings.
Is it worth it to buy a gaming laptop for a serious gamer?
Suppose you’re serious about gaming and plan to play competitive online games, or you want the peak experience in single-player games. In that case, you’ll need to consider the necessary specs for this.
For instance, for the smoothest experience, you’ll want to aim for 144Hz (a 144 framerate) or even higher. This means getting a premium monitor capable of displaying such a framerate, and it also means choosing hardware capable of pushing that many frames to the display.
These higher-end specs can be very expensive to achieve in a laptop. Gaming laptops are great when you have limited space or you want to take them with you to different places. Otherwise, a desktop is the way to go when your main priorities are either significant value and bang for your buck or getting the beefiest rig possible.
Laptops for gaming don’t offer the best bang for your buck, and they don’t provide the ability to get the absolute top-of-the-line specs. If you’re okay with that and appreciate the other pros of a laptop (portable, small form factor, all-in-one without needing additional peripherals), then it’s a great choice.
At the end of the day, it’s all about managing your expectations and understanding that you aren’t going to get world-beating performance out of an affordable laptop – but these days, you can get something that will be great for “basic” gaming tasks. By “basic,” we mean games with low system requirements, older games, or somewhat newer games at low graphics settings.
No matter which affordable laptop you choose, you simply won’t be able to play all of the latest top-tier games at max settings, which usually requires a desktop that will cost thousands of dollars. Having said all this, there’s plenty of gaming fun to be had on an affordable gaming laptop, and you’ll be surprised how much you can do with today’s laptops compared to what you used to be able to get for $600 (which was very underwhelming by today’s standards.)
It’s a great time for gaming on the go, and a laptop is a versatile tool for playing games and working, browsing the web, keeping in touch with family and friends, doing homework or remote work, and much more. Compare this to a console that comes in around the same price, and you’ll have a much more versatile and practical device if you grab a gaming laptop instead, even if it’s a budget gaming laptop under $600.