Gaming PCs can get pretty pricey, especially if you want to get something that’s able to run 4k+ at high refresh rates. While there are a lot of options out there, and we would usually make picks based on the MSRP, desktop computers are unique in that anybody can just wake up, make one from scratch, and sell it. That means that, unlike phones, where we could say, “The Fold Z 5 is the best foldable phone out there,” or laptops where saying, “The Dell G16 is a good gaming laptop,” is straightforward, desktops are not as unique. It’s even more complicated with every single big brand getting in on the game, and as of right now, the main distinguishing feature of any gaming PC is the deal it has on it.
As such, we’ve scoured the internet to find the best deals on gaming PCs so that you don’t have to buy anything at MSRP. If you’re considering doing the latter, take a look at our list below, and you’ll probably find something better for the same price or the same specs for cheaper.
If you’re looking for the cheapest gaming PC that’s still a viable
If you’re willing to add a little bit more, then bumping up to the Lenovo Legion Tower 5 nets you an RTX 4060, a solid 1080p card that will be able to handle a lot more games with higher graphical settings and refresh rates. It also gives you access to the latest DLSS 3.0 since you didn’t get that on the previous generations. Ram is a bit on the lower end with just 8GB, but at least it’s DDR5 Memory, so it’s a bit faster, while the 512Gb should be more than enough to get you started. As for the processor, the AMD Ryzen 5-7600 is a mid-range CPU that’s perfectly paired with the RTX 4060 and is fine for other tasks like productivity and general use.
While the ROG Compact 10L only has an RTX 3060, it does have a more powerful Intel Core i7-13700F, which is a mid-to-high-end CPU that can handle both gaming and streaming at the same time. You’ll still be playing and streaming at 1080p, but it’s a good starter desktop, especially since Twitch and YouTube lock you at lower resolutions and refresh rates when you’re starting out, so you don’t need something powerful. The 16Gb should also be more than enough, along with the CPU, to run OBS or other streaming software.
The Lenovo Legion Tower 5i comes with an RTX 4070, a powerful 1440p card that will let you play most games at 100+ fps on reasonably good graphical settings. Also, since it is within the RTX family, you get access to DLSS 3.0, so you could potentially increase the graphics quality of the games it supports. While the RTX 4060 also gives you access to DLSS 3.0, it doesn’t have as much raw power, and the RTX 4080 can be prohibitively expensive, so this is a great middle ground. You also get a powerful Intel Core i7-13700F and 16GB of DDR5 RAM, which is also pretty fast.
If you don’t care as much about DLSS 3.0 and are willing to go with an RTX 30 series card, then this PC comes with an RTX 3080, which is good for both 1440p gaming at a very high refresh rate and graphics or 4k gaming at lower graphical settings and refresh rate. Either way, you have a lot more options for how you want to prioritize your gaming with the raw power from the RTX 3080 the only big problem is that it only has 8GB of VRAM, which will probably not be enough in two or three years. That said, you can just upgrade it at that point if you’d like; GPU switches aren’t difficult. Besides that, you get an Intel Core i7-12700F and 16GB of DDR5 RAM, so it’s a powerful PC otherwise.
- : This is a solid alternative to our entry-level pick above if you’d rather go with AMD. It’s still a sold graphics card that will handle older games fine and is a solid 1080p gaming PC, especially for under $1,000. It also has a mid-range AMD Ryzen 5 5600 CPU which makes it very versatile, and even has 16GB of RAM, surprisingly, so it’s well worth picking up if you’re an AMD fan since all-AMD setups are quite rare.
- : Even though the CLX set didn’t make the cut, it has a powerful RTX 3070, but more importantly, a high-end AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, one of the most powerful CPUs on the market. That makes it great for any CPU-heavy applications like strategy and simulation games, music editing, and potentially some graphical editing as well. You also get an impressive 960GB SSD and 4TB of HDD, which is a huge amount of storage.
- : This one is a bit more on the expensive side, but it’s probably one of the cheapest desktop PCs you’ll find that has an RTX 4080, which is already a very expensive GPU. This is a great option if you want to game at 1440p or 4k, and the mid-to-high-end AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D is perfectly paired so as not to cause any bottlenecks. We’re also very impressed with the 32GB of RAM, making this a PC great for programming or CAD work.
- Legion Tower 7i Gen 8: If you prefer going with an Intel system, then this Tower 7i has an RTX 3080 and an Intel Core i7-13700KF, so essentially the same sort of power and performance but with an Intel CPU. It has an impressive 32GB of DDR5 RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage. It also has a much more muted look than the similar Thermaltake, so if you want something less flashy, this is a great option.
- : Another pricey option, the Vengeance i7500 is a good alternative if you’re more interested in better RAM. It has an Intel Core i7 14700KF, while the GPU is only a slight step down with an RTX 4070Ti. For that, you get 16GB of the faster 6,000Mhz DDR5 RAM out of it. We’re not sure that’s an ideal trade, but if you value RAM and having an Intel CPU more than a slightly better GPU, then this is a solid option.
- : While we feel that Alienware desktops are, by definition, quite expensive since you’re very much paying for the brand, if you want one of its cool desktops, this is likely the cheapest option you’re going to find. It comes with an RTX 4060, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and the pretty powerful Intel Core i7 13700F. It’s not a bad desktop for it’s price, but you could potentially get something slightly better with another deal, although it won’t be as cool looking.
- : If you’re willing to spend an extra $400, you can bump up the specs across the board significantly, and we think it’s well worth the extra cost. You get an upgraded RTX 4070, a slightly better Intel Core i7 13700KF, and 1Tb of storage, which is double the version with an RTX 4060. You still only get 16Gb of RAM, which is really excellent regardless.
- : This is realistically going to be the cheapest Alienware with an RTX 4080, and it still sits just below $2,000. Still, if you want brand recognition and a high-end GPU, then this is the choice to go for. The rest of the specs are pretty much the same, with an Intel Core i7 13700KF, 16Gb of DDR5 RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 1TB HDD.
What is the cheapest but still good gaming PC?
The Lenovo Legion Tower 5 is a good entry-level option, especially if you go with the configuration that has an RTX 4060, which is a solid 1080p GPU at a good price and gives you access to DLSS 3.0, where it’s supported. This Legion Tower 5 configuration also comes with an AMD Ryzen 5-7600, which is an excellent mid-range CPU, and 8GB of RAM, which is a good starting point.
Is $500 good for a gaming PC?
While you can certainly find gaming PC deals around that price, they aren’t going to be able to play the most modern games, and you will have to compromise when it comes to graphical quality and refresh rate. That said, they are a good starting point, and if it has a powerful enough power supply, you could always upgrade the GPU down the line to get better performance.
Is 1650 good for gaming?
The GTX 1650 is a very entry-level gaming card, and while it will play casual and indie games, it might struggle to play more modern games. That said, it’s a good way to get started if that’s all you have the budget for, and it should be able to handle popular free-to-play games like CS:GO and Team Fortress 2.
Is PC gaming a cheap hobby?
It can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be; it all depends on what sort of graphics you can be happy with. If you’re only aiming for 1080p at 60Hz, then you can certainly find a good gaming PC to hit that at a budget, but if you’re aiming for 4k with 100+ frames, then you can easily spend thousands of dollars on that. The good thing is, regardless of how much you spend, a
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