Even in the age of mobile tech, few can deny that no laptops really offer the same comfort and utility of a desktop PC. When you’re settling in for a long day of work or a comfy evening gaming session, it’s always better to have a nice big monitor, a full-sized keyboard, and a proper mouse at your command — and that’s before you even consider the future-proofing and upgradeability that a desktop tower gives you. Building a PC is a good idea for enthusiasts, but if you’d rather skip the hassle, then you can find some great pre-built desktops right now. We’ve put together a roundup of the best desktop computer deals so you can jump right in:
Best desktop computer deals
- HP Slim Desktop —
- Dell Inspiron Desktop —
- iBUYPOWER Slate MR2140 Gaming Desktop —
- Apple Mac Mini (2020) —
- Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14 Gaming Desktop —
HP Slim Desktop — $430, was $600
- Latest-generation Intel processor
- Slim and durable chassis
- Dual storage with 256GB SSD and 1TB SATA HDD
- Accessible ports at the front
The HP Slim Desktop is also relatively affordable, but it features modern specifications that should let it last a bit longer before it requires upgrades. Inside the computer are the 12th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, integrated Intel UHD Graphics 730, and 8GB of RAM, which will provide decent performance for your everyday requirements for the office or school. These components are protected by a slim but durable chassis — it won’t take up much space in your working area, and it’s designed to last for years.
You won’t run out of space for your software and files with the HP Slim Desktop, as it’s got a a 256GB SSD for primary storage and a 1TB SATA HDD for secondary storage. The computer also has Windows 11 Home pre-installed, so it’s ready to roll out of the box, and a one-month trial of various productivity apps from Adobe that will let you create and edit photos, videos, graphics, webpages, PDFs, and more. Every purchase also comes with a wired mouse and a wired keyboard, so to start using it, you’ll only need to plug in the computer and connect it to your monitor.
At the front of the HP Slim Desktop, there are four USB Type-A ports, a headphone jack, and a media reader for different kinds of memory cards. You also have the option of wirelessly transferring photos, videos, documents, and other types of files between the PC and your mobile device through the HP QuickDrop feature.
Dell Inspiron Desktop — $620, was $700
- Latest-generation Intel processor
- Compact chassis
- Multiple ports at the front
- 30-day trial to McAfee LiveSafe
Take another step up in terms of performance with the Dell Inspiron Desktop, which is powered by the 12th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, integrated Intel UHD Graphics 730, and 12GB of RAM. With these specifications, you’ll be able to multitask between several apps without suffering from slowdowns and crashes, and the computer is better equipped for light gaming for whenever you’ll be taking a break from your workload.
The Dell Inspiron Desktop features a 14.7-liter chassis that’s got just enough space for its components. It’s compact enough to fit anywhere you place it, without sacrificing performance. The computer has two USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.2 Type-A port, and a USB 3.2 Type-C port at the front, alongside a media card reader and a headset jack.
Windows 11 Home is pre-installed in the Dell Inspiron Desktop’s 512GB SSD, so there’s no need to fidget with the operating system yourself. Additionally, the computer comes with a 30-day trial to McAfee LiveSafe, which is security software that will protect your PC from cyberattacks.
iBUYPOWER Slate MR Gaming Desktop — $880, was $980
- Intel i5 processor for gaming
- Play modern games at up to high settings
- Large capacity with 500GB SSD
- Stylish design
If you’re planning to buy a desktop computer for gaming, you shouldn’t settle for a PC that’s not designed for that purpose. You’ll need a gaming desktop like the iBUYPOWER Slate MR, which will be able to handle all the modern video games with its Intel i5 processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 3050 graphics card, and 8 GB of RAM — though you may have to go with medium to high settings to make sure that they run properly.
The iBUYPOWER Slate MR gaming desktop comes with Windows 11 pre-installed in its 500GB SSD, which can fit several AAA titles with all their necessary updates and optional DLCs. Gaming PCs with less storage space will require you to delete games and other files whenever you think about installing a new one, but with this PC’s capacity, you’ll have multiple titles to choose from whenever you have time to play.
Style is another consideration when buying a gaming desktop — it’s not going to affect performance, but a cool-looking computer will elevate your gaming setup. For the iBUYPOWER Slate MR, it will capture anybody’s attention with its transparent chassis and colorful lights.
Apple Mac Mini (2020) — $750, was $899
- Powerful M1 chip
- Very compact design
- Excellent build quality
- Runs on MacOS
The Apple Mac Mini (2020) is a significant upgrade from its previous model because it’s powered by Apple’s M1 chip. The miniature desktop computer also features Apple’s unified memory architecture, which reduces the overhead for both the CPU and GPU by allowing them to draw from a single pool of memory. This results in snappy performance that can handle even the most demanding tasks, supported by 8GB of RAM.
One of the most important traits of the Mac Mini is that it’s very compact. Measuring just 7.7 inches wide and 1.4 inches tall, you can slide the desktop computer under a monitor, or place it in any small space that you have available. It also features excellent build quality, with its surface covered in matte aluminum and no kind of flexing or bending anywhere. If you need to bring it along with you, such as between offices, it will be easy to do so — something that’s not possible with a traditional desktop PC.
The Mac Mini comes with a 512GB SSD for storage, with speeds of up to 3.4 GB/s that will make launching apps and files almost instant. The computer can be upgraded to run on Apple’s MacOS Ventura, and it’s capable of handling all the best Mac apps.
Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14 Gaming Desktop — $1,800, was $2,200
- Powerful AMD processor and 16GB of RAM
- 256GB boot drive, 1TB SATA HDD for storage
- Access to Alienware Command Center
- Design prioritizes proper cooling
Dell’s gaming-focused Alienware brand is known for products that can challenge the best gaming desktops, such as the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14. You’ll be able to run the best PC games at the highest settings with its AMD Ryzen 7 5800 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti graphics card, plus 16 GB of RAM that’s recommended by our guide on how much RAM do you need as the best place to start for a gaming PC.
Enjoy fast loading times and ample space with the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14’s 256GB SSD boot drive and 1TB SATA HDD for storage. You can have multiple AAA titles installed at the same time, so you won’t have to keep re-installing games that you deleted because you wanted to make way for a new one. The gaming PC also comes with the Alienware Command Center, through which you’ll be able to access auto-tuned game profiles, overclocking options, and AlienFX settings that will allow you to change the colors of the computer’s lighting system.
One of the benefits of a gaming PC is that you can eventually upgrade its components, and with the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14, that will be easy because of its Legend 2.0 design that provides more space and the ability to swap parts without the need for tools. The computer also features a reorganized internal layout that reduces airflow obstructions and a thermal architecture that enables up to four system fans, so it won’t overheat even after hours of playing.
How to choose a cheap desktop computer
After setting your budget, it’s time to decide what exactly you’re looking for in a good cheap desktop computer. First, is this PC going to be primarily for work and general daily use, primarily for gaming, or a fairly even split between these? This will naturally determine what sort of specs you’re looking at — such as, for instance, whether you need a discrete graphics card or not — but the good news is that in the sub-$1,000 category, you can find many good desktop PCs packing solid up-to-date hardware that won’t be outdated within two years.
Another important consideration is peripherals. What monitor (or monitors) is your desktop computer going to be connected to? Do you already have a mouse and keyboard; if not, do you want a desktop PC that comes with these included, or do you plan to buy nicer ones separately? Bear in mind that while many desktop towers come with accessories, you’ll still need to decide how much you’re budgeting for things like a mouse , a keyboard, a monitor, mouse pad, speakers, and other peripherals you might need.
The bottom line is this: Don’t merely look at the price and basic hardware specs when shopping for a cheap desktop computer. Set your budget, know exactly what features you want (write this down if you need to) and then work from there.
What makes a good cheap desktop computer?
When shopping for any sort of cheap computer, be it a laptop or desktop PC, the biggest risk you’ll face is ending up with something that is running on outdated hardware (or hardware that will be outdated very soon). This is what happens when you consider only the price and don’t familiarize yourself with the current state of computer hardware. Thankfully, there’s not too much to remember.
First, when looking at CPUs, it’s best to stick with 11th- and 12th-generation Intel Core processors and AMD Ryzen (also known as “Zen”) processors, as these are more recent and will keep your system – even a relatively basic one – reasonably “future-proof.” We also suggest a minimum of 8GB of RAM unless you’re sailing into sub-$300 waters and 16GB is even more strongly recommended for something like a gaming desktop. Finally, solid-state drives (now common even on cheap computers) are generally preferable to traditional hard drives. These SSDs are generally more reliable and considerably faster than old-school HDDs, although they offer less storage space per dollar.
Are cheap desktop computers good for gaming?
Any PC packing an up-to-date CPU, GPU, and SSD (or at least a 7,200rpm HDD) should be good to go for gaming, and there are plenty of good cheap desktop computers that fit this bill nicely. Along with the processors we mentioned, modern graphics card generations include Nvidia’s 16- and 30-series cards, although you’ll most likely be sticking with the GTX 16-series GPUs in the sub-$800 price bracket. These replaced Nvidia’s 10-series cards as entry- and mid-level GPUs, and while there are still PCs with those older cards floating around, we don’t recommend them.
AMD’s Radeon family of budget-tier graphics card includes the RX 5000 series, with GPUs like the RX 5500 offering good performance capabilities for 1080p gaming. The RX 6000 series GPUs are better for higher-end gaming. You’re not likely to achieve 4K or even 1440p gaming with most cheap desktop computers, but that is a sacrifice you make for keeping costs down. Also, remember that an SSD will load games (and everything else) noticeably faster than an HDD.
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