The HP 14, as of this posting, is currently sitting at $450 on Amazon. The laptop currently boasts a Ryzen 5 5500U with Radeon Graphics. With 8GB and the 256GB NVME SSD, is this laptop good enough for gaming on a budget? The Ryzen 5 5500U sports 6 cores and 12 threads running at 2.1GHz, boosting up to 4.0GHz when needed. It has an integrated GPU, the Radeon RX Vega 7 running at 400MHz and boosting to 1.8GHz when needed.
So given the specs above, it begs the question; Can this laptop do any kind of gaming? Well, yes actually - though you wont be playing Call of Duty, Cyberpunk, or many other AAA titles. You can still game on this tiny little laptop (or other laptop with the same processor, and similar specs).
In order to game on this laptop, I'd recommend you upgrade the RAM at the very least to 16GB (using BOTH slots on the motherboard so the RAM is operating in DUAL CHANNEL mode). Using Dual Channel mode makes the Ryzen CPU in this laptop sing when it comes to emulation and gaming.
First, let's talk about modern gaming. As I said before, you wont be running many AAA titles, if any. However, there are a few titles you can get into pretty easily on this laptop. Fortnite, Diablo 1, 2, & 3, Rocket League, CS =GO all run well on a low-medium (but lean more towards low) graphics settings.
For Fortnite, you can easily get over 120 FPS in game (menu, and smaller creative maps) and between 60 and 90 FPS in regular battle royal if you are willing to make compromises. Fornite has a beta Performance Mode which works GREAT on the Ryzen 5 Graphics. All you do is go into settings, then just toggle in the first tab, towards the bottom. Restart the game and you will be able to compete with even the pros! ;) If the game looks pixelated, make sure to set the 3D Resolution to 100% and restart the game again.
For other games, you may need to experiment with different settings. One game that is most surprising is Forza Horizon 4 and 5 both run well on this laptop. However, you need to very much compromise on the settings. All low, locked 30 vsync enabled. However totally playable if using the laptop on a plane, or away from your main rig.
Emulation is a very good selling point for this laptop. If you are into retro gaming, this laptop can run anything from early atari to PS2 with relative ease. For PS2, GameCube, and Dreamcast I'd use their standalone emulators since they are a bit easier to configure. But for anything retro, RetroArch does best (NES, SNES, Megadrive, etc etc). In PS2 emulation, for the games I've tried, this laptop did pretty well, with minor hiccups. GameCube Emulation is damn near flawless. Even The Simpsons Hit & Run runs at full speed. Dreamcast runs the games I want at full speed too, that's really just Sonic Adventure (1/2) and Jet Set. If you're feeling frisky, some YouTubers have gotten PS3 emulation working moderately OK, but I don't have any discs to emulate legally to test.
The laptop has 802.11ax wifi and Bluetooth. The wifi works amazing on 5GHz band. My average speed test over wifi is over 430Mbps. On ethernet (USB3 adapter) easily going over 1Gbps. This makes the laptop really good for game streaming. Both in-house and cloud gaming. I've tried the Steam Play and Stadia and both are just amazing on this laptop. Steam Play has very low latency, you can't tell most of the time you're not playing on your main rig. Stadia is pretty close as well, however since it's cloud gaming, results may very depending on your ISP.
Using office applications is a cake for this laptop. Latest Office 365 apps run flawlessly, GIMP photo editing for most tasks runs just as well. Web browsing, YouTube, Google Docs, etc all good too. If you need this laptop for School, it will perform.
~ Fin ~