Question Is 500 too little for a decent midrange laptop?

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Sep 22, 2020
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I am 17, and considering buying myself a laptop so as to free up/stop having to use the 7-year-old family clunker. I'm looking for something that can comfortably have Steam, Discord, Roblox and Minecraft, run them reasonably well and have room to grow/ save for school projects. I'm not willing to spend any more than about $500. Would a <$500 laptop do the job? Or am I just being a choosing beggar? I'm not looking for something super fancy, again, just something that I can play games with my friends and use for school, and not have to break the bank.
 
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Feb 17, 2020
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You're unlikely to find something with dedicated graphics for that price, which means gaming will be very limited.

The best you're likely to find would be something with AMD's Vega graphics which are a cut above Intel's mainstream integrated graphics, but are still not a patch on a dedicated GPU.

Something like this has Vega 8 in a 3500U

As a rough indicator of performance, see this article which reviews the Ryzen 5 4500U but also includes the older 3500U in the benchmarks (i.e the CPU in that laptop above).

You're dealing with a price range where the hardware isn't intended for gaming, during a pandemic with both escalated demand and supply issues, and also during back to school season.

Although if you get lucky and find something with a GTX graphics card in it in that price range, pounce on it.

Also be aware if you're not already that laptop graphics can't be upgraded unlike in a desktop, so once your laptop's graphics horsepower isn't enough to do what you want them to, you need to buy a while new system to get more gaming performance. That's the nature of laptops and if you need a laptop, you need a laptop, but it's worth being aware of the limitation :)
 
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Brian Boru

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In your situation, I'd look at the second-hand market—you won't find anything new for $500 which will give a pleasant gaming experience.

Either someone local, so you can visit and test, or an online seller with a big positive rating.
 
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Sep 25, 2020
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I agree with Brian. It's best to check out second-hand listings and I have seen instances where barely used laptops are listed at good prices. As a reference I'd say it's possible to get a 700USD laptop for second hand at around 500USD if you're lucky.
 
Feb 17, 2020
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If you're unlucky of course, your 2nd hand laptop develops a fault that renders it useless and takes your ~$500 with it. With no warranty.
 
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