If you know what you’re doing, you can run great old and new PC games on an inexpensive laptop.
Cheap laptops are great for budget gamers because you presumably already have one for work or school. If you’re absorbed in a superb game, you can overlook lousy graphics.
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We’ve used several inexpensive laptops to play everything from old “high-end” games to recent indie games and even tried a few modern high-end titles (to mixed success, turns out the latest Total War doesn’t run on a potato), so we’ve learned a few things about pushing a cheap laptop to its maximum.
Here are some of our best PC gaming suggestions for older or budget laptops. We have several recommendations for gaming on “excellent” laptops like MSI Gaming gs63, but this advice is for budget gamers who can’t buy one.
First, the bad news: even with optimization, a cheap laptop won’t be able to play all games. Before buying a game, evaluate if you can handle it. Some challenging games are unattainable.
First, check game system requirements. Steam, Epic Games Store, and game publishers frequently have these. See the minimal specs (and while you do, dream of the day you can look at the recommended specs list).
RAM is crucial, so match it to your laptops. If you’re using Windows 10, search “RAM” and click the first result. 8GB RAM can handle low- and mid-tier games, but less may be difficult.
Buy a mouse.
As an ultra-budget PC player, you don’t want to buy many peripherals, but a mouse is essential.
Yes, laptops have a touchpad, but try playing a fast-paced FPS or strategy game with a pointer that only covers half the screen. For any game that needs more than a keyboard, using a mouse improves game play speed and mobility.
A cheap USB mouse will work, but spending the extra money will improve your laptop experience.
Always play plugged in Gaming PCs use a lot of power, and inexpensive laptops will drain their batteries quickly.
Make sure your laptop always has electricity if you’ve finally gotten a high-end game to operate.
For short gaming sessions, a portable laptop battery charger can help.
If you want to maximize your cheap laptop’s processing power, you’ll have to kill all background tasks. Everything.
That means shutting all background windows, Chrome and its 4,000 tabs (Chrome uses a lot of RAM), Spotify, and possibly Discord or Skype.
Running loading in the background can slow down your game. If your inexpensive laptop simply runs your PC game, it will be easy and you may be able to increase the visuals.
Your cheap laptop can play PC games, but is the game ready? If the game is difficult, it may need additional encouragement (although some, like older games or those with simplistic art styles, will be fine).
Start your game by slashing everything in the options menu. Remove all aesthetic effects, disable shadows and ambient motions, and set graphics to “brutalist.”
After this, your cheap laptop should be able to handle decent games, and you may even be able to increase these settings.
If you follow these guidelines, you can get the most out of an inexpensive laptop for PC gaming.
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