Top 4 Cheapest Gaming Laptop Deals Under $1,000 in March 2021
|(Image credit: Future)|
Today's best gaming laptop deals offer considerable markdowns frugal PC gamers will love. There are plenty of discounts on gaming laptops for the taking right now. So if you're shopping for a new gaming notebook on a budget, you've come to the right place.
Earlier this year, laptop manufacturers announced the next-generation of gaming PCs. This translates to steep discounts on previous-gen gaming laptops which is great news if you're gaming on a budget. Retailers are scrambling to clear out their inventory to make way for 2021's next-gen laptops for PC gaming.
Right now, we're seeing excellent markdowns on various configurations — from the affordable Gateway Creator Series 15 to the beastly Alienware Area-51m.
Retailers from Amazon to Walmart are offering generous discounts on the industry's best gaming laptops. Not to be outdone, laptop manufacturers are also counting down the end of the season with excellent gaming laptop deals. This translates into aggressive discounts on previous-gen gaming rigs especially.
Deals less than $700 for Gaming Laptop
Gateway Creator Series 15.6-inch gaming laptop:
$899 $599 at Walmart
Save $300 - Walmart leads the way by offering the cheapest (good) gaming laptop deal we've found this week so far. With an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor, GTX 1650 graphics card, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, this Gateway is a great starter machine if you're looking for something that's more suited to casual or lower-spec games like Minecraft or Fortnite.VIEW DEAL
Dell G3 15 gaming laptop:
$859.99 $649.99 at Dell
Save $210 - A big price cut makes this Dell G3 15 a really, really competitive pick this week over at the official Dell store. With a GTX 1650 Ti graphics card, 8GB of RAM, Intel Core i5-10300H processor, and 256GB SSD, you're getting up-to-date specs here with a graphics card that's definitely a little bit better than what you normally see at this price point.VIEW DEAL
HP Pavilion 15.6-inch gaming laptop: $698 at Amazon
Amazon's best cheap gaming laptop offering this week is this HP Pavilion 15, which features a beefy Ryzen 5-4600H processor and GTX 1650 graphics card while still coming in at under $700. Alongside those respectable specs, you're also getting 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD here, which aren't amazing, but decent for the price.VIEW DEAL
Deals less than $800 for Gaming Laptop
Acer Nitro 5 17.3-inch gaming laptop:
$799.99 $719 at Best Buy
This gaming laptop deal at Best Buy is for a 17.3-inch machine - a much rarer proposition than the usual 15.6-inchers we see at this price point. With an Intel Core i5-10300H, GTX 1650 Ti, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD, you're not just paying for that extra screen real estate here either, but securing plenty of power and space under the hood too.VIEW DEAL
HP Pavilion 15.6-inch gaming laptop:
$749.99 $739 at Amazon
Save $12 - A nice little price cut from Amazon makes this HP Pavilion a very sensible cheap gaming laptop buy this week. For the money, the GTX 1650, AMD Ryzen 5 4600H, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD give you a really nice balance of both performance and plenty of space for your games too.VIEW DEAL
Dell G5 15 gaming laptop:
$1,009 $749.99 at Dell
Save $260 - Here's yet another fantastic gaming laptop deal from Dell this week, this time on a G5 15 machine with a GTX 1650 Ti, Intel Core i7-10750H, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. The processor is particularly beefy here and a good component to have if you're thinking about playing those real processor-heavy games down the line.VIEW DEAL
Gateway Creator Series 15.6-inch gaming laptop:
$999 $799 at Walmart
Save $200 - Here's something you don't see every day - an RTX 2060 in a laptop for under $800. That's exactly what you're getting here with this Gateway Creator at Walmart, as well as an Intel Core i5-10300H, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Without that GPU this gaming laptop deal would be unremarkable, but with it, it's simply excellent value for the money.VIEW DEAL
HP Pavilion 15.6-inch gaming laptop: $799 at Amazon
Another good HP Pavilion gaming laptop deal from Amazon this week, this variant swaps out that i5 for a Ryzen 5-4600H processor. It's also packing 16GB of RAM, a GTX 1650, and also a combination of a 256GB SSD and 1TB hard drive under the hood. This one's a good buy if you want tons of space on the drives plus plenty of grunt for multi-tasking outside of gaming.VIEW DEAL
Deals less than $900 for Gaming Laptop
Asus TUF 15.6-inch gaming laptop:
$899 $819 at Newegg
Save $80 - Bump up that price just a little bit this week with this Asus TUF at Newegg and you'll secure yourself a GTX 1660 Ti graphics card - significantly faster than the GTX 1650 previously mentioned on the list. A Ryzen 5 4600H processor, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD also make this one speedy contender when it comes to the other components too.VIEW DEAL
MSI GF65 15.6-inch gaming laptop:
$999.99 $849.99 at Best Buy
Save $150 - New this week at Best Buy, this freshly reduced MSI GF65 looks to offer a very well-rounded set of specs for the money. With an Intel Core i7-9750H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD, you're getting plenty of power under the hood here and a great 1080p performer all around.VIEW DEAL
Acer Nitro 5 15.6-inch gaming laptop: $899.99 at Newegg
Save $30 - This mid-range Acer Nitro 5 comes with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD - components normally found on higher-end laptops though the Intel Core i5-10300H and GTX 1650 Ti are fairly standard for the price. Still, this one's a fine choice for a machine that's not too expensive, but still pretty damn powerful.VIEW DEAL
Deals less than $1,000 for Gaming Laptop
Gateway Creator Series 15.6" Performance Notebook: was $899 now $599 @ Walmart
At $300 off, the Gateway Creator Series Performance Notebook is a great value. It packs a 15.6-inch 1080p display at 120Hz, 3.0-GHz AMD Ryzen 5 4600H 6-core CPU, 8GB of RAM, NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU with 4GB of VRAM and a 256GB SSD. It comes with 1 free month of Xbox Game Pass for PC. VIEW DEAL
Gateway Creator Series 15.6" Performance Notebook (RTX 2060): was $999 now $799 @ Walmart
If you have more room in your budget, you can save $200 on the Gateway Creator Series Performance Notebook with RTX 2060 GPU.
It packs a 15.6-inch 1080p display at 120Hz, 2.5-GHz i5-10300H quad-core CPU, 8GB of RAM, RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB of vRAM and 256GB SSD. It also includes 1 free month of Xbox Game Pass for PC. VIEW DEAL
Lenovo Legion 5 15" Gaming Laptop: was $1,000 now $810 @ Lenovo
Lenovo takes $190 off the Legion 5 gaming laptop this week. It packs a 15.6-inch (1920 x 1080) 120Hz display, 3.0-GHz AMD Ryzen 5 4600H 6-core CPU, GTX 1650 GPU, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a secondary 1TB HDD. VIEW DEAL
What does a cheap gaming laptop offer?
This is completely subjective, depending on what type of games you want to play and what kind of level of performance you want. Specs-wise, we'd recommend determining the level of specs you need by checking out the recommended and minimum system requirements of your favorite or upcoming games. This can give you a general idea of what you need, as well as stop you from buying that new gaming laptop that's not going to be able to play new releases.
Just for good measure, however, we'd recommend the following as a minimum if you're strictly on a budget:
- Minimum - Intel Core i5 (9th gen) / AMD Ryzen 5 (3rd gen) processor or later
- Minimum - Nvidia GTX 1050 / AMD RX 560x graphics card or later
- Minimum - 8GB of RAM
- Optional - 512GB solid-state drive
- Optional - 120Hz refresh rate display monitor
Anything lower than the above and you'll tend to struggle with modern games at 1080p settings. You can, of course, get away with lower-level or older components if you're just planning on playing older games, but for new releases, definitely consider the above as a bare minimum.
How to pick the parts you need
For the most part, gaming PCs have the same components as non-gaming PCs. The biggest difference is that the components in a gaming PC are chosen according to their ability to deliver a great gaming experience -- which usually means faster speeds, and larger capacities, wherever possible. But while bigger is better when it comes to gaming, it isn’t always a necessity. Depending on the kind of games you prefer, having a scorching, top-of-the-line CPU may be overkill. Why spend that extra money if it doesn’t result in a better gaming experience for the games you actually play?
At the same time, it’s all about balance: If you pick a low-to-mid range CPU, pairing it with a high-powered GPU will cause bottlenecking, in the same way that even the most expensive headphones will sound terrible if you use them to listen to scratchy vinyl, or low-quality MP3 files.
Whether you’re buying a gaming laptop, or desktop, these are the parts you’ll need, an how you can save money when choosing them.
There’s a tendency amongst all computer users -- not just gamers -- to get overly focused on the CPU in their machines. And while the latest Intel Core processors are fire-breathing monsters, they’re nearly $2,000 for the chip alone. Most gamers don’t need one. We recommend that you look up the minimum and recommended specs for your favorite games, before you configure your gaming PC. Many popular titles, like Skyrim, Fallout 4, World of Warcraft and the highly addictive Fortnite, will run on a budget-friendly Core i3 CPU, even without the support of discrete graphics. But to make these games really perform, the publishers recommend a machine with a Core i5, and a discrete graphics card.
It could be that it’s your non-gaming tasks that end up dictating which CPU you should get. Adobe Photoshop, for instance, can place very high demands on a CPU, most of which cannot be shared with the GPU.
For many gamers, the graphics card, and its attendant GPU, has become the be-all and end-all of components inside a gaming PC. There’s good reason for that: Assuming your CPU is sufficiently powerful, a GPU is the component that has the greatest effect on how your games look. Resolution, frame-rates, colors, and the number of polygons are all handled by the GPU. However, there’s no need to spring for a top-of-the-line graphics card to enjoy amazing looking games.
As with the CPU, your choice of game will be a strong indicator of the kind of GPU you should be considering. First-person shooters, like Crysis 3, or Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, with their fast and complex visuals, will benefit the most from a powerful graphics chip, while strategy titles need less help in this department. Your choice of display plays a role too. If you’re content to play your favorite games at lower resolutions (say 720p or 1080p, instead of 1440p or 2160p), with quality settings that won’t push your PC to the breaking point, a mid-level graphics card -- or a higher end card from a few years ago -- is a great way to save some money.
A PC’s memory, or RAM, might the most misunderstood component, from a performance point of view. There are two main factors that affect how memory helps or hinders computing performance: Size and speed. Size determines how much information the computer can work with at any given time, but speed determines how fast it can work with that information.
If you’re the type of person who likes to keep dozens of browser tabs open, while running an email client, word processor, spreadsheet, and a media server, all at the same time, more RAM can be very helpful -- but it doesn’t need to be super fast RAM, as none of these applications will be placing a heavy computational burden on the CPU. But games are a different beast. They ask the CPU to do some seriously heavy lifting, and if your memory is too slow, it limits how fast your CPU can do that work. As long as you’re prepared to close some of those browser tabs while you game, a smaller amount of fast memory, can save you money while ensuring you get performance where you need it most.
Hard drives: SSD vs HDD
Every computer can benefit from a solid-state drive (SSD) -- these devices use a similar form of memory chip as RAM, but let you store information even after the computer shuts down. With much faster read and write speeds than a traditional hard disk drive (HDD), an SSD can deliver nearly instant boot times, and launch apps in a snap. These features make them perfect for gamers too, but they also carry a big price tag, when compared to HDDs. You’ll want to find a balance between having an SSD that’s large enough to store your OS, and your most intensive games, but not so big that you’re spending money to store programs or documents that won’t benefit from this faster drive. Instead, bulk up your storage using traditional HDDs, which are plenty fast enough for day-to-day computing, and cost way less per GB than SSDs.
Where to look for cheap gaming laptops?
Generally speaking, the most reliable retailers that have plenty of options and the best prices are Best Buy and Amazon, although Dell and HP often have great sales on Holiday events like Black Friday. You might get lucky on Ebay or another auction site, but we definitely recommend picking up your cheap gaming laptop from one of the big official retailers, as you're sure to be getting a decent warranty, as well as the latest components more or less.
Newegg, B&H Photo, and Adorama are also worthy mentions, and definitely worth a quick comparative glance. They don't tend to price match quite as well as Amazon and Best Buy however, unless they're doing a closeout deal.
Here are some quick links to the best gaming laptop deals retailers, in case you want to head over to their sites and check them out yourself.
- Best Buy - often has the best gaming laptop deals nationwide.
- Amazon - great marketplace options, plus exclusive gaming laptop deals.
- Dell - only sells own brand, but excellent price cuts all year round.
- Lenovo - particularly good for flash sales around Black Friday.
- Newegg - often not the best, but occasionally has gold.
- HP - great options for cheaper gaming laptops especially.
- Acer - often sells out, but another great cheap option.
- Adorama - has lower-priced options mostly.
- B&H Photo - another top contender and a viable alternative retailer.
Concerns to address if you want to use gaming laptops every day
If you want to play games on your laptop, you’re going to need something with decent processor and graphics inside. Powerful hardware requires more battery power to operate though.
For most people, I think everyday use doesn’t actually mean actively playing games. In my opinion, playing games on battery power is a bad experience and generally not recommended. The battery can only output so much power at once, if you need optimal performance, use AC power.
Do you need to bring the power adapter?
You can of course take the power brick and cables with you, it just depends what you’re doing. If you’re doing some resource heavy tasks, it will probably be worth it just for the improved performance. If you’re just taking some notes and have a decent battery, you might not need to use it.
Size and Weight
More cooling is required to house powerful hardware. This takes up more space, which also results in a heavier laptop. This is of course seen as a negative for a device that’s designed to be portable.
Size and weight will vary wildly by machine. There are your crazy options like the MSI GT76 Titan, but much more reasonable options like the Lenovo Y540, for example.
There are definitely reasonable options available that aren’t too heavy, still offering a good mix of performance and portability. It will depend on personal preference as to whether or not you want a thicker or thinner laptop.
This one may come as a surprise, but many people don’t want to take a flashing RGB machine covered in red accenting into a professional environment.
In the past, gaming laptops have been the only option for people who needed these higher levels of power in a portable package. Since Nvidia Studio laptops were launched at Computex 2019, laptop manufacturers have started offering a wider variety of options with cleaner designs.
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