While a desktop PC can also serve for gaming, many opt for laptops because of their portability. Choosing a new gaming laptop can be daunting because there are plenty of options in the market. Also, you need to prioritize some essential features like power, performance, battery life, display and build quality. Some notable gaming laptop brands include Asus, Acer, MSI, Lenovo, HP, and Razer. Are you looking for the right gaming laptop for your needs and budget? If yes, check out our comprehensive buying guide to help you find the most affordable laptop.

1. Budget

You’ll hardly find cheap gaming laptops in the market. Besides, some of the best are usually expensive, with a price range of $500-$5000. If you’re on a tight budget, you can opt for a cheap gaming laptop. However, try not to compromise on essential features like power and performance. That being said, the mere fact that it’s an affordable laptop doesn’t make it less viable and efficient. If we’re to go by the latest market trends, the best affordable gaming laptop list would include the Dell G5, MSI GS66 Stealth, Dell G3, and ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14, rather than more expensive options like Alienware.

2. CPU/GPU

When buying a laptop, CPU and GPU are essential components to consider. CPU stands for central processing unit, whilst GPU refers to graphics processing unit—otherwise known as a graphic card. Choosing a CPU shouldn’t be done lightly, bearing in mind that you can’t upgrade a CPU. This is because it complements the GPU and takes care of any game-related calculation. On the other hand, the GPU is responsible for accelerating a laptop’s creation of images. Between CPU and GPU, the former is one feature you should pay more attention to, but the latter is still crucial for gaming. Most modern games with AAA titles are GPU-dependent, and an integrated GPU in a cheaper laptop may not be up to the task.

3. Screen Resolution

Many gamers tend to overlook displays when buying gaming laptops. If you’re not using a full HD external monitor, the size and resolution of your laptop’s built-in display will significantly impact your gaming experience. Most of the best gaming laptop brands outfit their systems with 15.6-inch or 17-inch displays. Display size is more or less influenced by the gamer’s preference. Besides, large screens tend to affect the portability of the laptop.

Many of the gaming laptops in the market will have a 1080p display resolution and a 60Hz refresh rate. We’ve witnessed the emergence of new laptop models with 1440p, 3K, and 4K resolutions in recent years. The refresh rate for these end of the line gaming laptops ranges from 120Hz, 144Hz, 240Hz, to 360Hz. If you want clear eye-candy images and a smooth gaming experience, it’s best to opt for gaming laptops with high resolutions. These kinds of laptops require powerful GPUs for optimum performance.

4. VRAM

RAM and VRAM don’t mean the same thing. A laptop or desktop PC uses the RAM to store computational data while the VRAM stores graphic data. VRAM plays an integral role in the performance of a laptop’s GPU. What’s more, it can impact your frame rate and response time.

Regardless of your gaming needs, 8GB of RAM should be OK for most modern games. However, running a demanding game can take a toll on your laptop. This is because of the metric ton of images it processes at a given time. That’s why you need a discrete GPU with a dedicated graphics card for better performance.

Beyond size, the clock rate, shader count, and architecture are other essential factors to consider in VRAM. Brands like Nvidia, Intel, or AMD processor can serve. The AMD Ryzen, Nvidia GeForce GTX, Intel Core i5 processor, and Nvidia Geforce RTX offer excellent performance and handle high display resolutions.