Even the best gaming laptop deals won’t be enough to pull seasoned PC gamers away from their desktop battle stations. When it comes to fully immersing yourself in the gaming world, full-sized monitors, dedicated accessories such as gaming keyboards and gaming headsets, and the easy customizability of desktop towers aren’t worth trading for laptop portability. And while many gamers opt to build a PC themselves, buying a good pre-made machine is often times a better way to go.
Time is coin, after all, so it might prove more economical to shop for pre-built desktop computer deals instead — and we can save you even more. We’ve already combed the web to bring you this up-to-date list of the six best cheap gaming PC deals available this week, and better still, each one costs less than a grand.
Today’s Best Cheap Gaming PC Deals
- — $450, was $550
- — $500
- — $599
- — $650, was $800
- — $800
- — $850
— $450, was $550
Years ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find any sort of gaming-capable rig for less than $600 owing to the cost of discrete graphics cards. AMD crafted a unique solution to that problem in its APUs, or accelerated processing units, which are basically CPUs that pack built-in graphics processing capabilities. This cheap desktop PC from HP features an AMD Ryzen 3 CPU with Radeon Vega 8 graphics that allows for some light gaming. Don’t expect to run the latest AAA games at high settings, but it’ll get the job done for those with modest needs.
Along with the Ryzen APU, this desktop PC comes with a full 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 128GB solid-state system drive, and a 1TB storage drive — and like most of our other picks, it comes with a wired mouse and keyboard. This cheap gaming PC can be yours for just $450 after a $100 price cut.
AMD’s CPU-integrated Radeon Vega graphics are a fine entry point for basic gaming, but if your needs are modest and you still want a dedicated graphics card (perhaps for tasks like video editing along with light gaming), this Kepler Systems Genesis gaming desktop is a cost-effective and very attractive option. This tower features an Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 graphics card, which, while a very basic GPU with 2GB VRAM, is one of the cheapest discrete GPUs on the market right now. That card works with a Core i5 CPU and respectable 8GB of RAM to deliver sufficient performance for work and for less resource-heavy games like Fornite and Minecraft.
For storage, you’ve got a 500GB SSD, which is nice to see at this price point and gives you better performance for loading and running games than what you get with normal HDDs. Its standard case design allows you to easily upgrade components like RAM in the future, as well. You can grab this high-value gaming PC for a cheap $500 right now.
Moving more than halfway towards the $1,000 budget limit brings us to the Nvidia GTX 16-series Super and Ti graphics cards, which is in the upper range of mid-level GPUs that you should be looking for if you’re paying more than $500. This AVGPC MS30 gaming desktop checks all the boxes: An AMD Ryzen 3 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a GTX 1650 GPU are capable of handling 1080p gaming at 60 frames per second, so if 30 fps isn’t cutting it for you in 2021, this PC is a worthy upgrade over most other cheap gaming PCs.
A 240GB SSD gives you some high-speed storage for installing your games and loading things quickly. It’s also got a nice-looking case that adds some modern style to your setup without being too loud or gaudy. This gaming PC rig comes in at $599 (including a mouse and keyboard), fitting well within our budget.
— $650, was $800
ABS may be a lesser-known brand compared to others like HP or Dell, but it makes some surprisingly solid gaming PCs and you’ll see its name frequently when shopping around for gaming systems. This ABS Challenger gaming tower runs on a 10th-gen Core i3 CPU paired with a GeForce GTX 1650 Super graphics card, which are very capable specs for a cheap gaming PC at this price point. For memory, you’ve got a full 8GB of RAM (which can be upgraded even further if need be) along with a nice big 512GB solid-state drive for storage.
This desktop tower rings in at just $650 with a $150 savings, and it’s one of the best pre-built gaming PC deals with a dedicated GPU that you’ll find for around this price at the moment. And, like most of our other picks, it also comes bundled with a mouse and keyboard.
As another lesser-known brand, SkyTech also has some very nice desktops for gaming enthusiasts on a budget. Its Blaze II gaming PC tower offers a lot of bang for the buck: It’s got a six-core Ryzen 5 CPU, 8GB DDR4 RAM, and most impressively, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 GPU which is one of the best mid-range graphics cards on the market right now (although you may want to consider adding another 8GB of RAM in the future, which is an easy way to get even more juice out of this thing).
You’ve also got a nice big 500GB solid-state system drive. A basic gaming mouse and keyboard are included as well, although you should think about upgrading to a mechanical keyboard and gaming mouse to get the best experience out of a desktop at this price point. This gaming PC deal rings in at $800, hitting our budget limit comfortably below the mark.
CyberPowerPC builds many well-priced gaming computers (you’ll almost always find at least one of its offerings on this roundup), and the Gamer Xtreme desktop doesn’t disappoint if you want a nice GPU upgrade over our previous picks. It packs an Intel Core i5-10600KF CPU and a GeForce GTX 1660 Super GPU with 6GB VRAM, which is easily one of the best processor/graphics card combos for HD gaming in 2021, along with 8GB of RAM. It comes with 240GB of high-speed solid-state storage plus a 1TB HDD for overflow as well.
The PC tower’s LED-accented case looks striking on any desk, and it’s customizable and upgradeable like most desktop towers. At $850, this is a great enthusiast-tier gaming PC with some nice future-proofing — meaning you won’t have to upgrade it any time soon.
How To Choose A Cheap Gaming PC
As with any big purchase, make sure you know exactly what you want when buying a gaming computer. It’s not a bad idea to write down a checklist. It’s also important when looking specifically at cheap gaming PCs (i.e. those coming in at less than $1,000) to have realistic expectations — you’re not going to get multi-monitor 4K gaming at this price point. That said, it’s easy to achieve great results with 1080p/60fps gaming at high settings even for modern releases, and even for 1440p gaming when you move towards the upper end of our $1,000 price limit.
If playing at 1080p/60fps on one or two monitors is good enough, then you won’t have a hard time finding a good cheap gaming PC to meet your needs. If your demands are a bit higher, though, then expect to have to shop around a bit for the right deal. Also, be sure to bring yourself up to speed with the latest hardware — don’t just jump on the first attractive deal you find that meets your budget only to end up with a last-gen GPU that will feel long in the tooth in 2021. Know what you want and what to expect from a cheap gaming PC that’s within your set budget and you won’t be disappointed, and for a more detailed breakdown of the sort of hardware you should look for, read on.
What Makes A Good Cheap Gaming PC?
The short answer is that a good price-to-performance ratio is what makes a cheap gaming PC “good,” and the good news here is that desktop computers already provide this sort of value by their very nature — it’s simply easier to fit all that beefy hardware into a desktop tower, whereas the scaled-down components of laptops (not to mention their built-in displays and keyboards) make those mobile PCs more expensive. That said, it’s still important to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck if you’re buying a pre-assembled desktop computer, as some are built better than others.
The three main hardware components that drive performance are the CPU, GPU (or graphics card), and RAM. Our recommendations: For your CPU, stick with a 9th, 10th, or 11th-gen Intel Core or one of the newer AMD Ryzen (sometimes called “Zen”) processors. For RAM, a minimum of 8GB is recommended for all but the cheapest gaming PCs, and 16GB is even better — but remember you can almost always add more RAM and this is one of the easiest (if not the easiest) components to. GPUs are arguably the heart of a gaming computer; modern models include AMD’s Radeon 500, 5000, and 6000 series as well as Nvidia’s GTX 16-series and RTX 20- and 30-series GPUs.
Nvidia replaced their older 10-series GPUs in recent years, but there are still cheap gaming PCs floating around with these cards. Our advice: Avoid them unless your needs are modest and you can snag one for a seriously good deal. Even the entry-level 16-series Nvidia cards are faster and are ideal for 1080p gaming. For 1440p gaming, you’ll be better served with one of the 20-series cards such as the GTX 2060 or 2070. If anything bottlenecks your gaming PC’s performance, it will be an underpowered GPU, so this is the one component you don’t want to skimp on. One final thing to consider is upgradeability: If you plan to keep your chosen PC tower for a while, look at what sort of case and motherboard it’s using to determine if you can easily add and swap parts in the future. Some desktop PCs from brands like HP use proprietary components which will limit what parts you can add and can be costly to replace.
Are Cheap Gaming PCs Good For Work?
It’s safe to say that running modern video games at good settings is generally a much more demanding job than most work tasks you’d normally need a computer for, so any gaming computer — even a cheap gaming PC — will be as well-suited for work and study as it is for play. The faster processors and high-speed RAM will make short work of simple tasks like web browsing, word processing, making spreadsheets, and so on, and the discrete GPU is also nice to have for graphical tasks such as video rendering. Another advantage of a desktop PC, particularly one with a graphics card, is the option to create a multi-monitor setup that can increase your productivity (and even a single monitor will still give you more screen real estate than a laptop display).
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