Specs are usually overrated when it comes to picking a PC, but not when it comes to gaming systems. Purchasing a cheap gaming laptop is definitely a case where you have to get the most bang for the fewest bucks. It's a careful balance, though, as doubling your RAM or getting a better graphics card will impact your budget. The closer you get to the $1,000 price point, the more likely you'll be able to get more than just the basic gaming laptop specs: maybe a newer processor or 16GB of RAM or a 512GB solid-state drive. However, if you're watching every dollar, you'll have to make do with those bare minimum specs.
Two other important considerations are weight and battery life, neither of which is a gaming laptop's specialty. The notebooks on this list fall on either side of the 5-pound mark, but if you're planning to take the laptop with you on the go often, a lighter system might be of greater importance to you. You also shouldn't expect miracles when it comes to battery life, as more powerful components being pushed to the max by games will chew through a charge. However, if staying unplugged as long as possible is crucial, serious consideration should be given to the Acer Nitro 5's superior battery numbers.
If you want...
Asus ROG Strix G15
The best overall option
Dell G15 Ryzen Edition
A gaming laptop with the most value
HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop
Impressive battery life
Acer Nitro 5
A gaming laptop for beginners
To customize your laptop for under $1,000