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The 5 best desktop PCs under $500 in 2024

The HP Victus 15L gaming PC on a desk.
HP

A reliable desktop PC is a necessity for professionals and students alike. They’re not portable like laptops, but desktop computers provide stable performance that you can improve over time by upgrading with newer components. Some desktop PCs can go over thousands of dollars, but there are also budget-friendly options that you can buy right now. To help you make a decision, we’ve rounded up our top picks for desktop computers that cost less than $500.

While some of the cheap desktop PCs sacrifice too much to keep their prices low, we’ve identified desktop computers that are still capable of handling your daily activities. While they’re not going to challenge the best desktop computers in terms of their performance, our recommendations below are dependable enough in helping you complete your tasks efficiently. There’s something for everyone among the desktop PCs below, so read on to determine what purchase you should make on a budget of less than $500.

The best desktop PCs under $500 in 2024

  • Buy the if you want a general purpose desktop PC under $500.
  • Buy the if you want a desktop PC under $500 with a slim design.
  • Buy the if you want a desktop PC under $500 for gaming.
  • Buy the if you want a desktop PC under $500 with no cables.
  • Buy the if you want a desktop PC under $500 with ChromeOS.

Acer Aspire TC-1780-UA92

Best desktop PC under $500 for most people

The Acer Aspire TC-1780-UA92 desktop PC with a keyboard and mouse.
Acer
Pros Cons
13th-generation Intel processor No standout features or design elements
Traditional chassis
Relatively large storage space

The Acer Aspire TC-1780-UA92 punches above its price range with the power provided by the 13th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Intel UHD Graphics 730, and 8GB of RAM that’s enough if you’re not planning to do demanding activities like editing videos. Professionals and students who mostly do online research, type reports, manage spreadsheets, and build presentations will find that the performance of this desktop computer will be more than enough for their everyday tasks.

The desktop PC comes with a traditional but sleek-looking design, with Windows 11 Home pre-loaded in its 512GB SSD. It doesn’t stand out aesthetically, but if it’s more important that you get a machine that can get the job done, then you won’t regret going for this desktop computer. If you’re a person who prefers substance over style, then the Acer Aspire TC-1780-UA92 is the perfect desktop computer for you.

Specifications
Processor 13th-generation Intel Core i5
RAM 8GB
Storage 512GB

Dell Inspiron Small Desktop

Best desktop PC under $500 for narrow spaces

The Dell Inspiron Small Desktop on a white background.
Dell
Pros Cons
Small chassis without sacrificing performance Only 256GB of storage space
Frees up space for bigger monitor
13th-generation Intel processor

If you don’t have much space on your workstation, you can still get a new desktop PC if you buy the Dell Inspiron Small Desktop. With dimensions of 11.4 inches in height, 3.7 inches in width, and 11.5 inches in depth, this desktop computer will be able to fit in narrow spaces, and it could allow you to instead get a bigger monitor if that’s what you prefer. You could even get this desktop PC if you like having lots of empty areas on your desk, so you have space for food, personal items, and the like while you’re working.

The Dell Inspiron Small Desktop doesn’t sacrifice performance to maintain a small chassis though, as it comes with the 13th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, Intel UHD Graphics 730, and 8GB of RAM. These specifications are enough for dealing with basic tasks, so it may struggle with more complicated processes. The desktop PC ships with Windows 11 Home in a 256GB SSD, so you won’t have to deal with installing an operating system yourself.

Specifications
Processor 13th-generation Intel Core i3
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB

HP Victus 15L

Best desktop PC under $500 for gamers

The black version of the HP Victus 15L gaming PC.
HP
Pros Cons
PC gaming on a budget Need to go with lowest settings for certain games
AMD Radeon RX 6400 graphics card Only 256GB of storage space
Omen Gaming Hub

Gamers may not think that it’s possible to get a desktop computer that can play the best PC games for less than $500, but the HP Victus 15L makes that dream come true. You may have to select the lowest graphic settings for some of the more demanding titles, as the desktop PC is only equipped with the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G processor, the AMD Radeon RX 6400 graphics card, and 8GB of RAM, but that should be an acceptable trade-off for a gaming PC this cheap.

The HP Victus 15L comes with Windows 11 Home in its 256GB SSD, which should be enough for a few video games installed at the same time. The desktop PC also gives you access to the Omen Gaming Hub where you can make adjustments for software enhancements and hardware controls, including overclocking, lighting control, fan control, and many more. The HP Victus 15L may not be the most powerful gaming PC, but with the Omen Gaming Hub, you’ll be able to squeeze out as much as you can from its components.

Specifications
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB

Dell Inspiron 24 All-in-One

Best desktop PC under $500 with an all-in-one design

The Dell Inspiron 24 All-in-One PC with a colorful image on the screen.
Dell
Pros Cons
Less cables to deal with Only 256GB of storage space
Built-in 23.8-inch screen
AMD Ryzen 3 processor

One of the disadvantages of a desktop computer over a laptop is that you need to deal with a lot of cables — including the cable that connects the desktop PC to your monitor, and the monitor’s power plug. The Dell Inspiron 24 All-in-One eliminates them by integrating a 23.8-inch Full HD display into the computer. If you use a wireless keyboard and mouse with this desktop PC instead of the wired keyboard and mouse that it comes bundled with, the only cable that you’ll see would be the power plug for the entire system, which will drastically reduce the clutter on your workstation.

The performance of the Dell Inspiron 24 All-in-One is enough for basic tasks, as it comes with the AMD Ryzen 3 7330U processor, integrated AMD Radeon Graphics, and 8GB of RAM. It also ships with Windows 11 Home in its 256GB SSD, so once you plug it in, you can already start using it — no need to connect the necessary cables and figure out how to organize them.

Specifications
Processor AMD Ryzen 3 7330U
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB

HP Chromebox G4

Best desktop PC under $500 for ChromeOS fans

The HP Chromebox G4 on a white background.
HP
Pros Cons
ChromeOS on a desktop PC Only 64GB of storage
Mini PC design
Dual HDMI ports

If you’re a fan of Google’s ChromeOS from using Chromebooks, you can get a desktop computer that uses the web-based operating system by going for the HP Chromebox G4. It’s powered by the Intel Celeron 7305 processor, Intel UHD Graphics, and 4GB of RAM, which may not look like much on paper, but ChromeOS will allow the desktop PC to still work smoothly. It also only comes with a 64GB eMMC for storage, but that won’t be an issue if you’re willing to save your files on Google Drive.

Another perk of the HP Chromebook G4 is that it’s a mini PC, a design that was popularized by Apple’s Mac Mini. While it’s nowhere hear Apple’s miniature computer in terms of performance and features, you can place it anywhere as it measures just 5.9 inches by 5.9 inches by 1.6 inches. You can even hide it somewhere on your desk if you want it out of your sight. It has two HDMI ports and a USB-C port though, to maintain connectivity.

Specifications
Processor Intel Celeron 7305
RAM 4GB
Storage 64GB

How we chose these desktop PCs under $500

In gathering our recommendations for the best desktop PCs that you can get for less than $500, we made sure that you’ll be getting a machine that will be able to meet your needs. While those are going to be different for each person who wants to buy a desktop computer, there are several important factors that we considered in selecting these devices to make sure that they are able to fulfill their intended purpose. You shouldn’t expect otherworldly performance and top-of-the-line features from desktop PCs under $500, but we made sure that you’ll be getting your money’s worth and more if you purchase one of these desktop computers.

Performance

A desktop PC for less than $500 won’t have the latest and most powerful components inside it, but we selected machines that will get you as far as the budget can go. Whether it’s equipped with an Intel or AMD processor, getting enough RAM is important so you can get an experience that’s as smooth as possible. We also wanted for you to have enough space for your files, but you may want to check out cloud storage services in case you need them. You should manage your expectations here, but rest assured that we wouldn’t want you to spend cash on a desktop computer that will be nothing more than a paperweight. At the very least, these desktop PCs will get you through your daily tasks.

Design

Desktop computers come with different designs, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. While they may share certain parts, the design of desktop PCs make them unique from each other. We chose desktop computers less than $500 that look different from one another so that you can select the one that’s a perfect fit for where you’re planning to place the device. Whether you’ve got lots of space or barely enough wiggle room on your desk, or if you like machines with a certain type of aesthetic, we made sure that you have lots of options here.

Durability

You may not be spending thousands of dollars on these desktop PCs, but that doesn’t mean it will be fine if they don’t last for a long time. Some cheap desktop computers break down after just a few months’ use, so we stuck with trustworthy brands to make sure that you’ll be getting a device that will work for at least a few years. These brands offer proper support channels in case you need help with anything, for your peace of mind. They may cost less than $500, but we chose desktop computers that won’t make you feel that you’re on a tight budget.

Upgradeability

One of the major advantages of desktop computers over laptops is that they’re much easier to upgrade with better components over time. While you’re going to spend less than $500 in these desktop PCs, it would be a waste if this feature isn’t available. Some people buy an affordable desktop computer then slowly spend on upgrades whenever they get extra cash, and you can follow this same path with these machines. You can go as slow or as fast as you want in swapping out components for better ones, so there’s no pressure, especially if you don’t need the performance boost any time soon.

Value for money

When selecting desktop PCs under $500, we went with devices that will make you think that you spent much more. Whether that’s in terms of performance or design, the important thing is that you’re impressed by what you got with your hard-earned money. Desktop computers for this cheap already give you excellent value just from their price alone, but our recommendations go the extra mile of making sure that you’re extremely satisfied with your purchase.

This article is managed and created separately from the Digital Trends Editorial team.

Editors' Recommendations

Aaron Mamiit

Aaron received a NES and a copy of Super Mario Bros. for Christmas when he was 4 years old, and he has been fascinated with tech ever since. A gamer at heart, Aaron believes that while the tech industry is often dealing with side quests and boss fights, it always remains on track with the mission to save the world.

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