LOOKING FOR THE BEST GAMING LAPTOP UNDER $600?
Laptops have advanced rapidly in the past few years! They are no longer just scaled-down, portable machines that are only good for running Microsoft Office; many are fully-fledged gaming machines with high-end graphics cards, fast CPUs, and lots of RAM. These specific devices can handle downloading and running games with fewer struggles compared to regular laptops.
Gaming laptops are typically thicker and heavier than standard laptops because they contain more powerful hardware. But despite this additional weight, they are still relatively light and easy to transport.
This article will look at the best gaming laptops under $600 to help you choose a fantastic gaming machine with all the features you need to have fun while gaming.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A GAMING LAPTOP
There are certain features that gaming laptops must contain to run modern games well. Here’s a breakdown of each feature and the elements to look for to suit your preferences and budget.
A POWERFUL CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT (CPU)
The CPU is the component of the computer that performs calculations and controls input/output operations. Modern computer games typically require a fast and responsive CPU that can perform calculations for the game.
If you play online multiplayer games, a fast CPU is particularly important because it is used to accurately track the locations of dozens of players and process data packets from remote servers. For a budget of $600, Core i5 is a great option for gamers, and you’ll find that this can handle intensive tasks such as gaming and playing multimedia simultaneously. If you choose a lower-specification CPU, this will reduce the game’s speed. If your CPU is not fast enough to process the incoming data correctly, you may begin to lag.
AN EXTREMELY POWERFUL GRAPHICS PROCESSING UNIT (GPU)
For modern games, the graphics card is usually the most important component of a gaming laptop. It is the device that processes the game’s graphics to make them look more stunning. The GPU handles most of those high-fidelity textures, particle effects, animations, and physics effects. Essentially, the more powerful your GPU is, the better the game will look!
If you are playing older or less graphically intensive games, a GPU is less important. However, if you are playing a graphically intensive game like a first-person shooter (Battlefield, Far Cry, Titanfall), having a high-end GPU is essential.
The amount of VRAM on the graphics card is also important in a gaming laptop and an extension of GPU. The VRAM provides temporary storage space for the graphics card works, such as frames, textures, and other graphics data. If there is insufficient VRAM on the graphics card, it will have to wait for space to store files, which causes the game to stutter. You should look for a graphics card with at least 2GB of VRAM, considering the budget we’re looking at. However, you’ll need at least 1080P resolution on your gaming laptop for this to maintain the different frames for your monitor.
There is no point in having a high-end graphics card that delivers beautiful graphics if the screen cannot render them well! Ideally, a gaming laptop should have a screen of 1920 x 1080). This data allows you to view fine details on the screen without any blurriness, making it perfect for gaming. If possible, get one with an in-plane switching (IPS) LED screen with a fast refresh rate. An LED screen also improves the screen’s vibrancy no matter what angle you view your laptop screen. This technology also improves the color quality of your images.
However, a higher-resolution screen doesn’t come without its disadvantages. As the images and videos are sharper and clearer, this uses more of your laptop’s battery life which can be an inconvenience.
A GOOD AMOUNT OF MEMORY (RAM)
RAM works similarly to VRAM: it is a temporary location for the computer to store information. However, instead of being used by the GPU, the computer’s RAM is used by the CPU.
RAM is one of the most important factors when purchasing a laptop. This is a computer memory system that temporarily saves your laptop’s information, but it’s not to be confused with a hard drive, which stores information for long periods. Without sufficient RAM, your device will run much slower and could even make gaming almost impossible. However, just having RAM isn’t enough, as you need to have a sufficient amount for your games to download efficiently and not lag.
If you do not have enough RAM, your laptop cannot quickly store the information it uses when making calculations. When this happens, the CPU resorts to storing data on the hard drive, leading to in-game lag and a less responsive computer.
In recent years, the price of RAM has dramatically dropped, so you can now easily obtain 4 or 8 GB of RAM for your laptop. This is the minimum amount of RAM you should have in your laptop for gaming so your games load quickly and the information is saved promptly. However, all games come in different sizes and require a different RAM size, so check the manufacturer guide on your chosen game for the minimum requirement. You might find that you can also watch YouTube videos or video call your friends while playing games. Consider if you ordinarily multitask while playing games. Otherwise, a large size isn’t essential for you.
A FAST AND SPACIOUS HARD DRIVE
Your hard drive is a permanent storage location for your computer’s data and game files. Games can be quite large and require as much as 50 or 60 GB of storage space. If you intend to play a variety of different games, a large hard drive will be required.
The two most common types of hard drives found in gaming laptops are Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and Solid State Drives (SSD). HDDs use rapidly rotating metal discs coated with a magnetic material to store data. The platters have to spin while you are storing or accessing data constantly. SSD uses integrated circuit assemblies as memory. They have no spinning parts, and they don’t have to scan a spinning disk to find data so that they can retrieve and store data very quickly.
Typically, for the same amount of money, the HDD will have more storage space, while the SSD will be much faster. A 1TB HDD (1000GB) costs about the same as a 256GB SSD. However, the SSD will increase substantially faster which means the computer boots up faster, games will open faster, and games can write data to the drive faster. On average, an SSD takes 10 to 13 seconds to load a laptop, while a HDD takes 30 to 40 seconds. An SSD also runs a lot quieter and smoother with no audible clicks, spinning, or vibrating parts that could distract you from gaming.
The laptop’s battery is also important if you are gaming while traveling or somewhere without access to power. Gaming laptops use larger amounts of power than regular laptops to improve the graphics and create high-definition results. As a result, your device can quickly run out of battery even after very little use. This might not be an issue if you intend to play games with the charger plugged in, but if you wish to travel and play, you need to consider what power source will be available.
It’s a fact that the best gaming laptops only last a couple of hours without needing to be charged since they have to generate such high-quality images and refresh constantly. Although you’ll likely want a good battery life, consider that this will mean reducing the picture quality, so ask yourself if this is really essential to your gaming.
Are Cooling Pads for Gaming Laptops Worth It?
Gaming laptops are designed to deliver high-performance computing, often pushing the hardware’s limits to provide immersive gaming experiences. However, this intensive usage can increase heat generation, potentially affecting performance and longevity.
Cooling pads for gaming laptops have emerged as accessories to address this issue. While their effectiveness can vary depending on the laptop’s design and the specific cooling pad’s quality, they generally offer a few key advantages. Cooling pads provide additional airflow beneath the laptop, helping to dissipate heat more efficiently and preventing components from overheating during extended gaming sessions. This can lead to improved thermal management, which can enhance overall performance by preventing thermal throttling—a situation where the laptop reduces performance to manage heat.
Additionally, a cooling pad can extend the lifespan of internal components by maintaining more consistent temperatures and reducing wear and tear caused by excessive heat. While cooling pads might not transform a mid-range laptop into a high-end gaming rig, they can contribute positively to a laptop’s thermal management strategy. It’s important to choose a cooling pad designed for your laptop’s size, ensure proper positioning for optimal airflow, and consider factors like noise level and build quality. In the end, if you’re a serious gamer or regularly engage in resource-intensive tasks, a well-chosen cooling pad could be a valuable investment to enhance performance and safeguard your gaming laptop’s longevity.
Acer Aspire E15
CPU: 6th Generation Intel Core i5-6200U Processor (Up to 2.8GHz)
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 940MX with 2GB DDR5 VRAM
Display: 15.6-inch Full HD Display 1920*1080 pixels
RAM: 8GB DDR4 Memory
Hard Drive: 256GB SSD
Battery: 6-cell Li-Ion (2800 mAh) Battery with up to 12-hours Battery Life
The Acer E15 is the best of the laptops reviewed, with a super-fast Intel Core i5-6200U Processor, 8GB of RAM, a 1080p display, and a 256GB SSD. It boots up quickly, is responsive, and a real pleasure to use. It has a large 6-cell Li-ion battery that is capable of an astonishing 12 hours of battery life — more than the other laptops reviewed.
This is the only laptop reviewed here that has a dedicated graphics card, the GeForce 940MX — making it ideal for games with more advanced graphics. Of the laptops reviewed, this is the one most likely to run a game like Battlefield or Titanfall at high frames per second (fps). With an average of loading 30 fps, this Acer laptop might struggle loading games such as Black Ops 4, but it’ll present graphics in high definition.
With many gaming laptops, cooling can be a huge issue, but we’re pleased that this Acer laptop doesn’t overheat meaning you can comfortably sit it on your legs while continuing play. This is all down to the CPU and GPU to keep the laptop running efficiently while downloading graphics.
The graphics card, SSD drive, and outstanding display are the major selling points of this laptop. It is a substantial offering from Acer and incredible value for money.
CPU: Intel i5-6200U 2.3 GHz Processor (Turbo to 2.8 GHz)
GPU: Integrated Intel HD 520
Display: 15.6-Inch Full-HD Display 1920*1080 pixels
RAM: 8GB DDR3
Hard Drive: 256GB SSD
Battery: 38 Watt/hr Li-polymer battery (2.5 times the lifespan of standard Li-ion)
This ASUS shares some similar specifications to the Acer Aspire E15, with the same Intel i5-6200U process and an incredibly fast 256GB SSD. It has a stunning 1080p screen that renders games beautifully.
The long-lasting Li-Polymer battery can provide more than 700 charge cycles, which is more than 2.5 times what a standard Li-ion provides. It is also highly efficient at retaining its charge capacity, keeping up to 80% of the full charge of a new battery.
It is a very attractive laptop that is only 1 inch high. If you are frequently traveling, you can fit it into your rucksack or bag very easily as it only weighs 2.3kg! The high-quality battery means you will get plenty of gaming from the laptop before you need to recharge.
The only downside to having such a low-profile laptop is that it doesn’t have enough room for a stand-alone graphics card. It uses an integrated Intel HD 520. This card may be fine for older games and less graphically intensive games. So you could run Starcraft, League of Legends, or CS: GO well, but it might struggle with the latest Battlefield or Titanfall game.
Dell Inspiron 7000
CPU: Intel Core i5-5200U Processor (3M Cache, up to 2.70 GHz)
GPU: Intel HD Graphics 5500
Display: 15.6″ High Resolution LED Backlight, HD (1366 x 768) Truelife Touchscreen Display
RAM: 8GB DDR3L SDRAM
Hard Drive: 1TB SATA hard drive
Battery: 3-cell battery with up to 8 hours of battery life
Dell offers an excellent range of value-for-money laptops that often come with innovative features. This Dell Inspiron is no exception, coming with a 15.6″ touchscreen display. It has a beautiful display to use, and Windows 10 Home comes with excellent touch screen support. This easy-to-use touchscreen makes gaming more accessible to everyone, and you can quickly navigate through levels without having to click the mouse.
While games look fantastic on this display, it does not run on 1920×1080, instead only reaching 1366×768. This only becomes an issue if you intend to play games with advanced graphics (Battlefield and Titanfall). If you are playing something like The Sims, CS: GO Scarcraft, the game renders beautifully.
It comes with a huge 1TB SATA HDD, which is large enough to store hundreds of movies or thousands of videos. It has plenty of RAM, and the Intel Core i5 is a solid processor. The battery life is great also, coming in at 8 hours, which makes it one of the best gaming laptops on the market right now. This laptop is a great choice if you want one with a touchscreen and sufficient RAM.
Jumper 14″ Laptop
CPU: 3.6GHz Intel Core i5
GPU: Intel UHD Graphics
Display: Full HD IPS display. The Full HD resolution typically refers to 1920×1080 pixels.
RAM: 24GB of LPDDR4X RAM
Hard Drive: 1024GB NVMe SSD (Solid State Drive)
Battery: 51.3WH battery
Introducing the “Jumper 14” Laptop, a powerful computing solution designed to elevate your digital experience. Boasting impressive specifications, this laptop is equipped with 24GB of LPDDR4X RAM and a capacious 1024GB NVMe SSD, ensuring swift multitasking and ample storage for your files and applications.
The heart of this machine is a robust 3.6GHz Intel Core i5 CPU that promises seamless performance across various tasks. The Full HD IPS display brings your visuals to life with vibrant colors and sharp details. Running on Windows 11, the laptop offers an intuitive and modern interface.
What sets the “Jumper 14” apart is its exceptional audio quality delivered by the four stereo speakers, engulfing you in immersive sound. Connectivity is a breeze with USB 3.0 ports, Type-C compatibility, and the convenience of three USB ports. The laptop’s thoughtful design extends to its cooling fan, maintaining optimal performance during intensive tasks. With a durable metal construction and a 51.3WH battery, the “Jumper 14” combines power and portability for a well-rounded computing experience.
HAVE ANY OF THESE LAPTOPS CAUGHT YOUR EYE?
Choosing a gaming laptop isn’t easy when there are so many factors to consider and an array of products, but the above selections show a variety of resolutions, battery life, storage, and more. Also, refer back to the amount of RAM and storage space you need to play your favorite games, or you risk choosing a laptop that isn’t suitable for your specific needs.
If we had to recommend only one gaming laptop, it would be the Dell Inspiron 7000 model since it offers a sleek and streamlined design. The device is comfortable and ergonomically designed for hours of use, thanks to the keyboard’s shallow feel. The buttons are soft, and the touchpad is responsive, so you can enjoy playing games. But from the remaining gaming laptops, have any caught your eye? Share your thoughts or further recommendations in the comments.