Should You Get A Windows Laptop Or Chromebook
Whether youre shopping online or in-store, over recent years, youll have increasingly come across Chromebooks. These are laptops powered by Googles Chrome OS and they work slightly differently from your typical Windows laptop.
Put simply, using a Chromebook is similar to using a laptop that only runs the Google Chrome web browser there are some additional features like task and notification bars, similar to what you get on Windows but this is the basic gist of it. This simplicity enables Chromebooks to require lower amounts of power but still run speedily. These factors can lead to cut prices and thin designs even some innovative ones like the Lenovo IdeaPad Chromebook Duet . However, ChromeOS does limit the types of programs you can use so, if you often work outside of a browser then it may not be for you.
So, when it comes to choosing between a Chromebook and Windows laptops, you need to consider how you intend to use the device. Windows laptops may be something you are used to and you like the flexibility of being able to use a full suite of programs. But, if youre looking for something new, cheap and simple, dont overlook a Chromebook.
Cpu With Integrated Gpu: Amd Ryzen 5 3400g
This quad-core budget processor brings hyperthreading, boost clock up to 4.2GHz, and 11 GPU cores for its Vega integrated graphics. It can handle even high-end games on low settings, and it will absolutely crush Minecraft as long as you’re not getting involved with shaders. A stock cooler is included that will handle thermals.
Time For Fun: What About Graphics And Games
Just because you’re selecting from among relatively slow processors and limited memory capacities doesn’t mean that gaming is out of the question when your kid is done with his or her schoolwork. Some games are, of course, even educational. For instance, Microsoft has an education version of its immensely popular open-world construction game Minecraft. Students can use it to explore real-world history like the Oregon Trail, solving math problems as they begin to understand how long and challenging the trail was, researching fur-trading companies to learn about the economic concepts of monopolies and supply and demand, and more.
Minecraft and other similar games will run on Core i3 systems with as little as 4GB of RAM, but if your kid is looking forward to playing them, you’ll make the experience much more enjoyable by selecting a laptop with 8GB. If your child is planning on doing more intense gaming, you’ll need to step up the power and the price to a full-fledged gaming laptop or gaming desktop. These are laptops with a dedicated graphics chip, which will be dubbed GeForce GTX, GeForce RTX, or Radeon RX.
You won’t find current-generation gaming laptops for less than $700. However, $750 to $800 is really the on-ramp for machines with game-worthy GeForce or Radeon dedicated graphics chips, and prices rise rapidly from there as you add features and power. Most kids will be satisfied with a budget model under $1,000, however.
Read Also: 24 7 Free Server Hosting Minecraft
What Is The Best Laptop To Play Minecraft On
The best laptop to play Minecraft on would need to have hardware higher than the recommended system requirements of the Minecraft version you wish to play.
A gaming laptop with an Intel i5 or i7 processor, ideally a 10th or 11th gen would be great for playing Minecraft. Or, an AMD 3000 series mobile processor. Better still a Ryzen 4000.
As for the graphics card, an NVIDIA GTX 16 series mobile chip would be superb for playing Minecraft, even better, an NVIDIA 20 series chip. Again, not necessary. But if you are looking to play Minecraft Ray Tracing, your laptop needs to be running an RTX NVIDIA GPU.
Furthermore, I think the best laptop for playing Minecraft on, without going to the extreme of purchasing a gaming laptop with an RTX graphics card would be to have a processor higher than the Intel i5 5th generation.
Just like the HUAWEI MateBook D 15 above.
Whereas discrete graphics cards although would great, they are not totally required for playing Minecraft But, the best graphics card would be the one your budget allows.
On top of that, you must be running Windows 10 and have more than 4GB storage space on an SSD with 8GB RAM, even though 4 GB RAM is ok. Just as long as you dont plan to play a more intense game.
And you dont need to be paying thousands for a laptop to play Minecraft on, you can buy a reasonably priced gaming laptop with the graphics, RAM, storage and processing power to crush Minecraft.
How Do I Upgrade The Hard Drive On My Laptop
Upgrading your laptop hard drive is slightly harder than the RAM but is still relatively easy on most laptop models. Whats very important is to find out if there is an extra hard drive bay available for a new hard drive, or if youll need to take out your current one and replace it which also involves reinstalling Windows.
Some laptops will have a spare slot available, and older laptops with DVD drives can swap out the DVD drive for an additional hard drive caddy on most laptop models. The benefit of course is a lot of extra space for your files, and in the case of laptop SSD hard drive upgrades, a large boost in loading times and overall performance too.
Don’t Miss: How To Redeem Minecraft Code
Good Price Good Performance: Acer Swift 3
This affordable laptop is powered by AMD’s 4000-series Ryzen mobile CPUs, bringing excellent performance at a great price. This model includes an 8-core Ryzen 7 4700U, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. The FHD display is sized at 14 inches for a nice mix of size and portability, and there’s a decent port selection for connected external gaming accessories. For playing Minecraft and handling productivity work, the Acer Swift 3 is a great choice.
How Do I Upgrade The Ram On My Laptop
Often budget gaming laptops will come with a minimum amount of RAM but offer easy upgrade options which are highly recommended. Upgrading RAM may seem like something out of a science fiction movie to some, but upgrading your RAM is actually very easy on most laptops and usually only takes a few minutes. Read our guide on boosting laptop performance by adding RAM for full notes and instructions on what to expect and to see if an upgrade is possible for your laptop.
Recommended Reading: How To Make A Free Minecraft Server With Mods
Best Gaming Laptops Under $500 In 2021
Is it even possible to get a good gaming laptop under $500?
The answer is yes, and no.
Youre going to have to sacrifice some things to be able to play the newest games on a cheaper laptop, but you can definitely get a good machine for that price.
If youre willing to spend slightly more, your gaming experience will be slightly better check out the best gaming laptop under 600 dollars.
- Slim Laptop 15.6″ FHD IPS Display
- AMD Ryzen 3 3200u
- Vega 3 Graphics
The Acer Aspire 5 is a visible upgrade compared to other Acer machines. Its 15.6 inch screen is full HD with an LED backlist IPS display.
You get an AMD Radeon Vega 3 graphics card which will easily support gaming and other heavy use.
The Aspire 5 comes with 8GB DDR4 RAM for even more multitasking and gaming capabilities.
This gaming laptop comes with nicely built keyboard that has a number pad. It comes with multiple USB ports, an HDMI to give you easy access to plug in headsets and other gaming accessories.
The Aspire 5 battery can manage around 7.5 hours of normal use like internet browsing, listening to music and doing office-based work.
- Intel Dual-Core i3-8130U Up to 3.4GHz
- 8GB DDR4
The Lenovo IdeaPad 330 is a well-designed, high performance and portable notebook
The body is made of aluminum which makes this laptop look like it is expensive, even though it comes in under $500.
The Hard disk of 1TB gives you adequate space to store your important games, videos, and other files.
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 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.
Read Also: How To Customize Banners In Minecraft
The Best Around: Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop
If you’re just looking for the absolute best gaming laptop around, all things considered, you can’t go wrong with the Razer Blade 15. It was recently refreshed with 11th Gen Intel H-series CPUs and paired up with RTX 30-series Laptop GPUs. You still get the best design around, Chroma RGB lighting, tons of ports, and top-of-the-line gaming displays with refresh rates and low response times. You’ll pay more for these PCs, but they’re worth it if you have the budget.
Dell Inspiron 15 3000
What makes the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 stand out in comparison to its competitors is its large 512 GB of storage space and its 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, which when compared to our top pick, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14-inch that only comes with 8GB of RAM, is quite a step up. This means that you will have a workhorse laptop well capable of multitasking, making it perfect for the modern day productivity-orientated individual. The slower Intel N4020 Dual-Core Processor is a slight drawback, and will stifle the laptops overall potential somewhat, however at this price you will be hard pressed to find a laptop with better value. Games requiring more intensive CPU usage will suffer, and therefore casual gaming will fare better on this system. Older games such as DOTA 2 and WOW should run fine on lower settings, and even modern titles should run at lower settings on lower resolutions.
The laptops lightweight design makes it very portable, weighing in at 3.64 pounds. On top of this, its dimension of 14.11 x 9.27 x 0.74 inches means itll easily slip into a backpack and go unnoticed. The case is made of all plastic and some reviewers directed criticism towards its cheap feel. The large 15.6-inch display is only 1366 x 768 pixels, which is disappointing given that most laptops in this guide come with 1080p displays. However, the other options dont come with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, which gives this machine an edge in performance.
Also Check: Free Minecraft Server Logo Maker
The Best Laptop Deals For Kids This Week*
*Deals are selected by our partner, TechBargains
If your child is also of the age that they may be looking to play PC games on the same machine that they’ll use for schoolwork, that is a whole other set of considerations. We’ll address that in a section near the end of this article, but know that gaming machines cost more than our other picks here.
How We Test The Best Laptops Under 500
Testing budget laptops is very similar to testing a laptop of any price, aside from the fact that the value proposition of the system gets more weighting than usual, while the absence of features less weighting.
This is because these systems are designed to offer solid core functionality first and foremost at a price that the vast majority of people can afford. These are systems that despite their low price point are perfect for students and professionals who can’t spend thousands on a system.
So if a laptop under £500 doesn’t have a touchscreen, or biometric sign-in option, then we don’t hold it against the system, as it is not in its wheelhouse to do so. We want to see strong and solid core functionality, as well as decent build quality and performance from budget laptops.
That said, this doesn’t mean that budget laptops get a free pass on things like build quality, and if a rival system delivers more for the same price point then we’re sure to tell you.
Our testing process involves judging a system’s built quality and design, performance and features, screen and software, and then price and crucially price in relation to other similarly specced systems.
Only once all these things have been rated do we proceed to assign a budget laptop a star score, with high ranking systems then considered for our best laptops under £500 buying guide.
Don’t Miss: How To Install Minecraft Mods On A Server
Asus Vivobook S15 Best Budget Laptop For Minecraft Windows 10 Edition
CPU : Intel Core i5-8265U | GPU : Nvidia GeForce MX250 with 2GB VRAM | RAM : 8 GB | STORAGE : 256 GB SSD | DISPLAY : 15.6 Full HD IPS | WEIGHT : 4 lbs
The Asus VivoBook is one of the lightest budget laptops that runs Minecraft Windows 10 edition with zero lag and constant FPS.
The build quality is decent for the price and uses plastic with an Aluminium finish that looks premium. It is not that sturdy but not susceptible to damage under low pressure.
The VivoBook has thin bezels and the lid is easy to open and close. The thickness is around 0.71 inches which is quite slim and sleek for a budget laptop.
The overall hardware is very good with a combination of i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and Nvidia MX250 graphics card. It runs Minecraft and Roblox easily without lags. However, this is not a great option for AAA titles on medium or high graphics.
The Display is FULL HD IPS but the color contrast is poor. The thin bezels give you good viewing angles but the color accuracy and saturation are not great. For the price, I would say the display is okay.
The storage capacity is low with around 256GB space. However, the good thing is that it has an SSD hard drive which gives you faster load times and boot times.
Asus VivoBook S15 has a 3-cell 42Wh battery which has a battery life of around 5.5 hours for normal use and less than 1 hour for gaming. The overall battery life is poor.
Great Performance for the Price.
Good Build Quality.
Display is not great with poor color contrast.
Consider A Refurbished Laptop
Typically, we do not actually recommend refurbished products on WePC: although theyre usually worth considering, there is a general assumption you will almost always be able to get any product we recommend in a refurbished state for less money so to list them all would be redundant. We review products brand new we leave it up to you to decide if you want to get them second-hand or not!
Nevertheless, as below budgets of $500 the FPS performing of laptops is severely restricted, we think it is occasionally worth suggesting the odd refurbished model for under $500 , just to illustrate the fact it may be the better option here.
We would also advise looking at our Best Gaming Laptops under $600, $700, and $800 guides and seeing if you can find some of the options listed there at refurbished prices. Bear in mind that a refurbished gaming laptop will rarely come with a warranty or the other such benefits you would get with a brand new model.
Also Check: How Much Are Ps4s At Walmart
Acer Aspire 5 Slim A515
The Acer Aspire 5 Slim A515-43-R19L is a bestselling budget laptop with a Full-HD high quality IPS display and high quality audio engine as well as AMD Vega 3 Mobile Graphics.
Unfortunately, its integrated AMD graphics card wont be able to handle newer games that are more demanding. That said, many top tier titles from 2017 or earlier will be able to run fine at acceptable framerates medium settings at 1366×768 resolution. These include popular games such as Dota 2, League of Legends and CS:GO. For more playable titles be sure to check framerates at the link below.
If you are happy playing older titles, then this Acer Aspire 5 Slim model has the best looking screen you can get for the price. To boot it features a low key premium lightweight design including a backlit keyboard.
On the down side, some reviewers were critical of a below average touchpad and slightly shorter than advertised battery life.
Overall, if screen quality is top of your gaming requirements and youd like to enjoy older games, the A515-43-R19L will get the job done. Otherwise you may be better off looking at some more pricey alternatives for gaming.
If you are still not sure on getting a gaming laptop or a desktop gaming pc, our guide to the best cheap gaming desktops over on our sister site DesktopNinja may also help.
Help Me Laptop: I Need A Cheap Laptop For Minecraft
ByRami Tabari22 December 2018
The holidays are upon us once again, and you have some last-minute shopping to do. What better present is there to offer your loved ones than the gift of Minecraft. Not outdated, unmoddable console-Minecraft, but glorious PC Minecraft. It just so happens that a Tom’s Guide forum user asked our help in finding the best cheap laptop for Mojang’s popular world-building game.
christinahoward24 writes, “Any recommendations for a cheap laptop or tablet that will mainly be used for playing Minecraft, Roblox, and watching YouTube. It’s a Christmas gift for a kid. I was thinking about a Chromebook, but I read that you can’t play Minecraft on a Chromebook.
Don’t worry, Christina, we got you covered. While Minecraft isn’t graphically demanding, it devours RAM faster than Google Chrome does, so that’ll be one of the main factors when choosing the right laptop. Also, you’ll want to check out our top cheap gaming mice, since you can’t game on a touchpad alone.
Minecraft System Requirements
Mojang’s Minecraft: Java Edition system requirements are listed on its website as such:
You may want to take these requirements with a grain of salt, mostly because this covers basic Minecraft, and that’s about it. Popular mods, such as SkyFactory or All the Mods, are known to gobble up tons of RAM.
Acer Aspire E 15: Best Value for Playability
Acer Spin 3 : Best Battery Life
Lenovo Legion Y530: Best Keyboard and Graphics