November 12, 2020
Best Buy


OK so before the torches are lit and pitchforks raised, here me out……

I was looking for an entry gaming laptop for my son, who at this point does not require heavy graphics (it would just be nice to have). Price-wise, I was trying to keep it as low as possible and originally thought of just getting a regular Ryzen 4500u laptop with integrated graphics, assuming it would be enough. I stumbled upon this open box Acer with an i5-9300h and GTX 1650 card. … x/14672707

This is my thesis as to why it’s a decent deal (at least for me):

– I figured the GTX 1650 card was sufficient for his needs, and much better than the RTX 1050 I’ve seen in the same price range (without speaking of integrated graphics). It’ll buy me a few years before he gets into really graphics-intensive games and then we can build a desktop PC together.

– Price is great for a gaming laptop. Yes, it’s Open Box but Best Buy’s Certified Open Box are basically as good as new.

– While the 4500u is a significantly more powerful chip than the 9300h, the CPU isn’t necessarily the bottleneck in this application with the GTX 1650. Here are some bottleneck calculators with:
i5-9300h and GTX 1650
Ryzen 5 3550h and GTX 1650 (there was an Asus TUF laptop with this combo on sale for $750, but sold out)
Ryzen 5 4600h and GTX 1650 (the current standard, almost $200 more if you get the Asus TUF version for $899)
I don’t think you give up much, if anything, as it’s mostly the GPU that will bottleneck first.

– Since we won’t be upgrading any parts on this laptop (maybe the RAM if warranted), there’s no need to future-proof the CPU. One could argue that a more powerful CPU could give him headroom to multitask while keeping FPS up but, well, you know. (shrug) Tight-fisted folk like me can’t be choosers.

I was originally angling for that 3550h TUF model ( link ) , but that was more for aesthetics than anything else.

A few caveats here:

– Bilingual keyboard (we have a spare gaming keyboard he’s going to plug in when mostly using as a desktop, so no issue for us)
– screen (apparently mediocre, but that’s to be expected in this range. I just look at the price again and I’m good)
– 256gb SSD. I *believe* that there’s space to add a second drive, but I’ll have to confirm that when I get it.

Here are the full specs: … .Q5UAA.006

I’m pretty happy with the purchase, but will still hang on to it and wait for BF sales to see if there are other alternatives (or an even better price!).

Anyway, hopefully someone who’s looking for an economical gaming laptop for their youngsters will find this a decent deal. Happy shopping everyone!