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The best cheap gaming laptop deals for September 2022: affordable options for all budgets up to $1,000

Various gaming laptops from Acer, MSI, and Alienware on teal background with TechRadar logo
(Image credit: Future)

Regardless of whether you're just starting out or looking for something with a bit of power, our roundup of this week's best cheap gaming laptop deals will get you what you need. We've sorted through literally hundreds of listings at the top retailers to find only the best value options this week - including on many of our favorite gaming laptops here at TechRadar.

Our cheap gaming laptop deals recommendations focus on sales from trusted retailers like Amazon, Dell, HP, Best Buy, and a few other wild-cards as well. Of course, we're always scanning these retailers' pages every week so we don't miss a single sale, and we're always comparing their offerings to weed out any sub-par choices. 

Brand-wise, you'll find worthy machines from gaming laptop deals veterans like Acer, Dell, Lenovo, and Asus, though we never let big brand recognition totally sway our choices - value for money is the most important factor. Speaking of value, you'll find listings ranging all the way from around $600 to $1,000 with our choices, with plenty of options should you want to spend a little more to score yourself one of the machines reviewed on our best gaming laptop (opens in new tab) buyers guide.

And if you get stuck or need some additional guidance, simply scroll down to our cheap gaming laptop deals FAQ section. There, you'll find unbiased advice from TechRadar's experts to get you up to speed if you don't know your RAM from your refresh rate. It'll also help you out if you're not sure how much to spend.

Cheap gaming laptop deal of the week

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MSI GF65 15.6-inch gaming laptop: $859 $799.75 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
This MSI GF65 is easily the cheapest RTX 3060 gaming laptop deal we've found this week. Not only is it at its lowest ever price at Amazon right now, but a combination of a powerful graphics card, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an Intel Core i5-10500H make it a stellar machine for the money. Slightly older processor aside, there's a lot to work with here if you don't mind spending a little more to get a machine with plenty of power under the hood.

Gaming laptop deals under $700

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MSI GF63 15.6-inch gaming laptop: $629 $499.99 at Best Buy (opens in new tab)
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The cheapest of the cheap, this 15.6-inch MSI at Best Buy will get you started if you're looking to spend as little as possible. With an Intel Core i5-10500H processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a GTX 1650 graphics card, this one is very basic and a little on the older side now, but it will play a surprisingly large catalog of titles if you don't mind pulling those settings down. For low requirement indy titles in particular this MSI will suffice, even if it may struggle on the more intensive modern games out there.

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Dell G15 gaming laptop: $1,068.99 $699.99 at Dell (opens in new tab)
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Dell has posted a new clearance deal on this G15 model this week, which features an RTX 3050 graphics card, Intel Core i5-11260H processor, 256GB SSD, and 8GB of RAM. These are great starter specs if you're looking for decent performance at 1080p resolution without breaking the bank. Bear in mind, however, that the storage drive on this one is a little on the small side, so you'll have to be fairly selective about what games you have installed at any one time.

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Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 15.6-inch gaming laptop: $699.99 at Walmart (opens in new tab)
Another really strong budget gaming laptop deal is this Lenovo IdeaPad at Walmart. With a Ryzen 5-5600H processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and an RTX 3050 graphics card, this one is capable if you're on a budget but need a machine that will handle 1080p gaming. This one is roughly equivalent in power to the Dell G15 above but the CPU is a little older. Because of this, we'd recommend going for the Dell primarily and consider this one as a backup choice.

Gaming laptop deals under $800

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Asus TUF F15 gaming laptop: $899 $720 at Walmart (opens in new tab)
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If you want a bigger storage drive then this Asus TUF at Walmart features a beefier 512GB SSD as well as an RTX 3050 graphics card, Intel Core i5-11260H processor, and 8GB of RAM. Again, these components are great 'starter specs' for those who want a decent 1080p performance without breaking the bank. You'll have to tweak a few settings here or there but you should be able to play most games at medium.

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MSI GF65 15.6-inch gaming laptop: $859 $799.75 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
This MSI GF65 is easily the cheapest RTX 3060 gaming laptop deal we've found this week. Not only is it at its lowest ever price at Amazon right now, but a combination of a powerful graphics card, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an Intel Core i5-10500H make it a stellar machine for the money. Slightly older processor aside, there's a lot to work with here if you don't mind spending a little more to get a machine with plenty of power under the hood.

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Dell G15 gaming laptop: $1,099.99 $799.99 at Dell (opens in new tab)
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A solid gaming laptop deal that's somewhat over-shadowed by the MSI at Amazon above, this Dell G15 features an RTX 3050 Ti graphics card, 512GB SSD, 8GB of RAM, and an Intel Core i5-12500H processor. These are great specs - and really up-to-date - but the RTX 3060 in the MSI above just edges that one out this week. We would, however, rate this one highly as a backup choice.

Gaming laptop deals under $900

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HP Victus 15.6-inch gaming laptop: $1,099.99 $849.99 at Best Buy (opens in new tab)
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The biggest selling point of this heavily reduced HP Victus at Best Buy this week is its powerful Intel Core i7-12650H CPU - a super up-to-date component. Unfortunately, to get such a powerful processor at this budget means you'll have to drop down to an RTX 3050 Ti - which isn't quite as speedy as the RTX 3060 featured on similarly priced machines. Still, a 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM round this one out to make a really, really powerful laptop all around.

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Gigabyte G5 15.6-inch gaming laptop: $1,299 $899 at Best Buy (opens in new tab)
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One of the better gaming laptop deals on our list this week, this heavily reduced Gigabyte G5 at Best Buy features an RTX 3060 graphics card, Intel Core i5-11400H processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. These specs are both fairly up-to-date and powerful for the money and should afford you a decent level of performance on most titles.

Gaming laptop deals under $1,000

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Asus TUF Dash F15 gaming laptop: $906 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
This Asus TUF Dash is a great choice if you're looking for a more lightweight gaming laptop. With a slim-line build and a combination of an RTX 3050 Ti, Intel Core i7-11370H, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD, you're getting a nice balance of power and portability with this machine. It's a little on the pricey side for a machine with an RTX 3050 Ti but definitely worth considering.

Gaming laptop deals over $1000

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Dell G15 15.6-inch gaming laptop: $1,468 $1,049 at Dell (opens in new tab)
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While it's not the cheapest RTX 3060 gaming laptop deal on the market, we'd still recommend checking out this DelL G15 if you're interested in 1080p performance. Not only does it feature a respectable 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, but a Ryzen 7-5800H CPU ensures it's got plenty of power to back up that RTX 3060. 

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HP Omen 15.6-inch gaming laptop: $1,449 $1,249 at Walmart (opens in new tab)
While pricey, this heavily reduced HP Omen is offering incredible value this week if you're looking for a higher-end machine. This price is fantastic considering you're getting a speedy RTX 3070, AMD Ryzen 7-5800H processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Put together, you're looking at a machine that's capable of really fast frame rates and should also last a few good years down the line too.

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Lenovo Legion 5 Pro 16-inch gaming laptop: $1,699 $1,299 at Walmart (opens in new tab)
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Walmart has a respectable price cut on this Lenovo Legion 5 machine this week - which features an RTX 3070, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a Ryzen 7-5800H to boot. This is one of the cheaper RTX 3070 gaming laptops out there right now and definitely worth considering if you're really looking for some powerful performance.

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MSI GL66 15.6-inch gaming laptop: $1,499 $1,399 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
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If you're looking for some serious power, this MSI GL66 at Amazon is one of the cheapest RTX 3070 gaming laptop deals on the market currently. With such a powerful GPU, an Intel Core i7-11800H, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD, this is one machine that's going to get you some great performance for a good few years down the line. It's pricey but well worth considering if you happen to have the scratch.

Buying advice

Two alienware gaming laptops on teal and grey background with techradar logo

(Image credit: Future)

How to get a cheap (but good) gaming laptop

1. Determine how much power you need

You'll be able to play a surprisingly large amount of titles well with an RTX 3050 gaming laptop

First thing's first, make a list of all the games you're planning on playing with your shiny new gaming laptop. Got your list ready? Good. You'll now need to determine the recommended and minimum specs for each of your titles. We'd recommend looking your list of games up on the Steam web store as it has a very easily visible list of minimum specs for each title. If you're buying on behalf of a friend or child, get them to list their favorite games out for you and take it from there.

As a general rule of thumb, the older the game, the less power you'll need. If you're planning on playing strategy games, eSports titles, or indie games then you might find that a machine with an RTX 3050 or similar entry-level graphics card is more than enough. Conversely, if you're looking to play CyberPunk 2077 or a similar big studio blockbuster title on max graphical settings, then you'll probably want to look at a machine with an RTX 3070 graphics card or equivalent. Again, use the games recommended specs as general guide line for how much grunt you'll need.

It's worth noting that you'll be able to play a surprisingly large amount of titles well with an RTX 3050 gaming laptop. Just because it's a budget option doesn't mean it'll exclude you from playing all the latest games. Just remember though, you may have to sacrifice a fair amount of graphical fidelity to get those games running smoothly. 

2. Set your budget

We'd recommend spending somewhere between $650 to $850 for a first time buyer

Ok, so you've got your wish list of specs. Now let's set a budget and go from there. You may find that your budget is bang on for your requirements here. Conversely, it could be the case that the machine of your dreams is a little out of your budget range, for now at least.

As a starting point, we'd recommend spending somewhere between $650 to $850 for a first time buyer. Most of the best 'bang for the buck' machines tend to land within this budget range, with fairly decent graphics cards for 1080p gaming. Cheaper options do crop up occasionally, but often feature older specs and smaller storage. Your mileage may vary, but we'd generally recommend spending a bit more if you can to get a machine that will last a few more years down the line.

3. Shop around... or let us do it for you

Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, Dell, and HP are the best retailers

Now you're clued in and know what you need, it's time to shop around. In the US, the best retailers to check for gaming laptop deals are Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, Dell, and HP, all of which will have fairly cheap machines up for grabs at any one time. Patience will be rewarded here, especially if you're coming up to a big sales event like Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday. Before you jump in, it's always worth it staking out a listing and seeing if the other retailers are offering something better.

Alternatively, you can simply bookmark this page and let us do all the hard work for you. We update this page every week, generally on a Monday or Tuesday with the best gaming laptop deals we can find - many of which we've personally tested here at TechRadar.

What specs are most important?

Prioritize these specs

Spooky graphics cards do battle against down to earth laptops and pcs

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1. Graphics card (GPU)
2. Processor (CPU)
3. RAM
4. Storage
5. Display

The graphics card is by far the most important component for gaming laptop deals in 2022. It's the heart of the machine and the part that's most responsible for pushing out smooth gameplay. If you're going for maximum bang for the buck, you'll generally want to prioritize getting a better GPU over other components.

That's not to say the other specs aren't important though. The processor is going to be responsible for fast loading times, smooth general use, and supporting your graphics card in game. It's the second most important component to prioritise, and, depending on your game, can make a huge difference to your overall performance. The RAM is also an essential supporting component for boosting frames per second and loading times in game. We would, however, rank it third in importance because it's fairly cheap and easy to upgrade this component yourself with a bit of know how.

Depending on your use case, we'd rank the storage and screen as the next important specs to consider. Both of these are more quality of life improvements but there are many gamers who consider a 512GB SSD, for example, to be an essential requirement for a laptop. Some budget laptops will ship with 256GB storage drives, which isn't enough to hold more than a few modern games at once, depending on genre. The overall quality of screen, and especially refresh rate, is obviously important if you're going to be primarily using your laptop as is without an external monitor. As a general rule of thumb, we'd say go for a display with a refresh rate of 120Hz or greater. It's extremely rare to find a 60Hz monitor on a gaming laptop these days but they're best avoided if possible as this will make your gameplay feel sluggish in comparison.

What are the bare minimum specs?

This is completely subjective, depending on what type of games you want to play and what kind of level of performance you want. Just for good measure however, we'd recommend the following as a minimum if you're strictly on a budget:

  • Minimum - Intel Core i5 (10th gen) / AMD Ryzen 5 (3rd gen) processor or later
  • Minimum - Nvidia GTX 1650 / AMD RX 5500 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.

Can I get a gaming laptop deal for under $500?

Unlikely, to be honest. There are occasional listings on Walmart especially that get close to $500 but they often feature last-gen components and are often not the best value in context. At any one time you'll often also find third-party listings on Amazon, eBay, or Newegg that advertise 'gaming laptops' but are in fact office computers or ultrabooks. If the laptop being advertised doesn't have a dedicated graphics card like an Nvidia RTX or AMD Radeon RX then it's a dead give away that it's being falsely advertised as a gaming laptop. Usually these listings may run from around $350 to $600, which is suspiciously cheap for a gaming laptop. In general, our advice is to ignore these third party listings like the plague. 

When's the best time to pick up a gaming laptop deal?

Luckily for gamers on a budget, gaming laptop deals tend to be a weekly feature over at most of the big retailers so there's always plenty to chose from. That said, there are definitely high points throughout the year, namely big sales events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Amazon Prime day which can yield great results for those willing to wait. And as several of our picks from this week show, Labor Day sales have provided some excellent savings, as well.

Our top tip - do your research. Narrow down which model and specs you want and check-in at your favorite retailers each week. Alternatively, let TechRadar simply do all the work for you and become a regular visitor to this page or our dedicated deals feed (opens in new tab).

Alex Whitelock
Deals Editor

Alex is deals editor at Future PLC and an all-around expert at one thing - saving readers as much cash as possible while scoring them the best products for their needs. With content that's always packed full of helpful information, no-nonsense expertise, and of course deals, Alex has also written for other leading sites such as T3 and GamesRadar. At work, you'll find him mostly covering computing, gaming, and advising people on how to save on their cell phone plans. Outside of work, you'll find him playing guitar, indulging his love for music, or down at the local climbing gym mostly hanging off boulders far too difficult for his abilities.