Budget Gaming Laptop For My Daughter

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Feb 11, 2018
My 17yr old daughter wants a gaming laptop for her birthday and the budget is $500. Willing to buy refurbished. I know some about computers but have never been a gamer of any type. Looking for suggestions. What are the video card minimum requirements I should be looking at so that she can play about any game she wants on lower settings. And is there any reason not to get Intel vs AMD? Looking for any advice. Specific laptop models or certain specs to look for. Whatever.



Take a look at this list from laptopunderbudget (February 2018):

And make sure to read the opening comments about what to expect in this price range. These are all new models, but you can get lots of refurbished laptops - although most of them will be business machines. Actual gaming laptops, even refurbished ones, start at $700.

Which leads me to a few questions about the intended recipient (my apologies in advance if I sound a bit patronizing):

- When your daughter says 'gaming laptop' does she mean she wants to play Sims 4 and Minecraft (and similar games)?
- Or does she want an actual gaming rig to play Rise of the Tomb Raider or The Witcher 3?
- Is she a dedicated 'gamer' spending 4 to 5 hours every day playing games (possibly aiming for a career as a pro-gamer)?
- Or is she, pardon my saying so, a typical 17-year-old American girl that spends most of her time socializing on her smartphone and now needs a laptop to match her life-style?

As you can probably glean from my tone, I leaning towards the last point, in which case you'll find a host of stylish and capable notebooks (even 2-in-1 models) in this price range. They will typically feature a dual-core CPU and no dedicated GPU. A few will come with a quad-core AMD APU but even then gaming will be limited to Minecraft or League of Legends at best.

Here's one, attractive, example from Amazon US:

At $509 it's marginally over budget, but you do get the latest Intel quad-core CPU and very good battery life.

Best of luck to both of you,


May 18, 2007

For decent gaming at 1080p if you don't mind toning down graphics in more demanding games as necessary to maintain acceptable performance, I wouldn't consider anything below the RX460/560 (or GTX1050 on Nvidia's side) worth looking at.

A laptop based on AMD's Ryzen 2500U may also do the job, but those are another ~$100 more expensive, sparse in availability and laptop model selection at the moment.
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