If you're new to PC gaming, there are two choices you're likely to be faced with when searching for the best budget gaming PC: Whether to build your own PC or go for a pre-built gaming PC. Of course, both options have their upsides and downsides, and it all depends on what you're looking for. However, in this case, we'd advise going for a prebuilt gaming pc.
Though building your PC can save you money in the long run, it does take time and requires a lot of patience. On the other hand, pre-built gaming PCs require you only to know what you're looking for as they already come equipped.
The best budget gaming PC should first and foremost be capable of playing modern games 1080p and have good graphics settings. Most cheap gaming desktops will come with 8GB RAM, but ideally, you're looking at at least 16 GB. The key factor is that the pc should be upgradeable to customize to suit your needs if need be.
We discussed the best budget gaming PCs and outlined features to consider when buying them.
What Is A Gaming PC?
Gaming PCs are custom-made desktops designed for gaming. They can have up to 32 GB of RAM and the fastest CPU and GPU chips that are often no more than one generation behind.
There's a large and vibrant PC game market on Steam and Itch.io, so you can play everything PC with a gaming PC except Nintendo. Another great feature of gaming desktops is they tend to go out of date much slower than Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft consoles. Their uniqueness is that you can update the hardware as game tech improves. This can be both an advantage or disadvantage, considering gamers tend to change systems every two years.
They are also pretty versatile and can double up as reliable home offices. Lastly, they can also be used as entertainment systems allowing you to connect controllers and play couch co-op or local multiplayer games. Alternatively, watch Netflix on it or listen to your favorite playlist.
We reviewed the best budget gaming pcs and listed our top 5 picks below.
Best Budget Gaming Pcs
1. CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme
- System: Intel Core i5-9400f 2. 9GHz 6-Core | Intel B360 Chipset | 8GB DDR4 |...
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 6GB Video Card | 1x HDMI | 1x DisplayPort
- Connectivity: 6 x USB 3. 1 | 2 x USB 2. 0 | 1x RJ-45 Network Ethernet...
- Special Feature: window side Case Panel | Custom RGB Case Lighting | RGB 7...
Though this may be the most expensive gaming pc on our list, it does boast some pretty cool features that make it worthwhile.
The gaming computer is best suited if you've got a little room in your budget and are willing to spend more for extra value and quality. It's also the best gaming PC for hardcore gamers.
The tower features 4 RGB case fans that keep the system cool but add an interesting edge with the case lighting. The RGB comes in 7 colors. The prebuilt gaming pc also comes with a keyboard and mouse.
The gaming computerhas 8GB of DDR4 RAM. Though this is sufficient for gaming, you're likely to require more if you're streaming.
The prebuilt gaming Pc runs on Intel Core i5-9400f 2. 9GHz 6-Core with an Intel B360 Chipset. It's also paired with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 6GB card. This can easily handle 2018's and 2019's games like Assassin Creed, Forza Horizon 4, and Apex Legends. In addition, the prebuilt PC can handle games at 1080 resolution/high-ultra without going under 60FPS.
However, as with every gaming computer, the aim is to find a graphics card that works for you. Hence further down the line, you can always upgrade to a better card to bring the gaming performance up with the best gaming Pcs out there.
The prebuilt gaming PC comes with an SSD of 120GB, allowing you to save your favorite games. However, with pc gaming, it won't be long before you need to upgrade to SSD with more storage. Nevertheless, the SSD assures you of faster load times and responsive gameplay, and you can save the rest of the files on the 1TB hard drive.
2. SkyTech Archangel Gaming Computer
- AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 12-Thread 3.6GHz (4.2 GHz Max Boost) CPU | 500GB SSD...
- GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5 Graphics Card (Brand May Varies) | 8GB DDR4 3200MHz...
- 802.11AC Wi-Fi | No Bloatware | 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI Guaranteed | HD Audio...
- 3 x RGB RING Fans for Maximum Air Flow | Skytech New Archangel Gaming Case with...
Skytech may not be the most recognizable in the prebuilt gaming PCs world, but the company offers some of the best deals for budget gaming PCs.
The gaming computer is the best budget gaming PC for a new gamer as it's affordable and capable of running most games in 1080p on high settings. It can also be easily upgraded, with the current memory being at 8GB. The operating system is Windows 10.
The processor is AMD Ryzen 5 3600 12-Thread 3.6GHz, which can support Virtual Reality and 4K. Something else that's pretty cool is that, unlike other brands, the gaming computer doesn't have any built-in bloatware. As a result, the AMD Ryzen can easily be upgraded to a 5 0r 7 later on if need be.
The gaming computer comes with a free keyboard and mouse.
3. HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop
- FREE UPGRADE TO WINDOWS 11 (1) (when available, see below)
- CUSTOMIZABLE AND COMPACT – This sleek, space-saving tower allows you to expand...
- 4K READY – Outstanding performance and immersive multimedia entertainment with...
- STUNNING GRAPHICS – With the all-new NVIDIA Turing architecture and 4 GB GDDR5...
HP is known for its affordable PCs that offer decent power. They may not be the first company you think of when it comes to gaming, but they are a great choice when searching for the best budget gaming PC.
The HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop is stunning with its black and LED-powered green. It's sure to look great on any table or desk. In addition, the tower is designed to be space-saving and allows you to expand and upgrade with customizable LED lights and system optimization in the OMEN Command Center.
The gaming desktop is equipped to be 4K ready courtesy of the 10th Generation Intel Core i5-10400F processor. The operating system is Windows 10 Home.
The HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop features Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 graphics card and 4 GB GDDR5 dedicated memory. This is ideal for the PC gamer who enjoys AAA experiences and competitive online games like Apex Legends. In addition, the cheap gaming PC can be upgraded up to Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060.
The gaming desktop comes with 8GB of RAM and SSD storage of 256 GB.
4. Acer Aspire Desktop Aspire TC-780-UR1E
- 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7400 Processor (Up to 3.5GHz)
- 8GB DDR4 2400MHz Memory
- 2TB 7200RPM SATA3 Hard Drive
- Intel HD Graphics 630
For the PC gamer on a tight budget, the Acer Aspire is the best budget gaming pc and is also a good place to start.
The budget PC is powered by a 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7400 Processor and features Intel HD Graphics 630 card. These two are capable of handling 1080 gaming on medium settings. Though they are unlikely to go beyond further than that, it is a good place to start for a budget PC as it can be easily upgraded. In addition, Acer tends to offer great support that can be useful for new PC gaming users.
The budget PC comes with 8GB RAM, and the hard drive offers 2TB. In addition, upgrading to a newer graphic card will allow the PC to handle the gaming demands of a modern game.
5. Lenovo Legion Tower 5 Gaming Desktop
- 【Upgraded】RAM is upgraded to 32GB high-bandwidth RAM to smoothly run...
- 【Processor】11th Generation Intel Core i5-11500 Processor (6 Cores, 2.70GHz,...
- 【Graphics】NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super
- 【Tech Specs】2 x USB 3.2 (Gen 1)| 1 x Audio Combo Jack | 2 x USB 3.2 (Gen 1)...
The Lenovo brand offers some great choices when shopping for the best budget gaming PCs.
The Legion Tower 5i gaming PC is equipped with a 10th Generation Intel Core i5-10400F Processor. In addition, the tower features NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650. The operating system is Windows 10.
The cheap gaming PC offers 32 GB of RAM, which is ideal if you're looking to play some pretty demanding games. It also features a 256GB SSD paired with a 1TB HDD for storage.
Features To Consider When Buying Best Budget Gaming PCs
a) Discrete GPU
There are several remarkable discrete graphics cards out there that are ideal for gaming. The best part, they are affordable, with Nvidia and AMD trying to outdo each in performance and price. Hence the aim is to find what works for you. The top recommendations would be the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1660 Super for budget gaming. In addition, the AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT and AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT are also worthy recommendations.
Something else to consider is the type of gaming experience you're after. If you're after a 1080p/60fps experience, you'll need a gaming PC with a Core i5 processor and a GeForce 2060 or AMD Radeon RX 5600 GPU. Graphics cards like the Radeon RX 5700 and GeForce 2080 are suitable for dependable 1440p gaming. If interested in 4k gaming, you'll want a machine such as an RTX 3080 or AMD RX 6800.
When it comes to PC gaming, the speed and amount of RAM in your PC matters more than your PC's processor. Hence this is a key feature right after the graphics card to consider when buying the best budget gaming PC.
The standard memory you're likely to come across is 8G of DDR4. However, it's advisable to select machines with 16GB RAM when shopping for the best gaming pcs. This will aid in speeding up your computer.
However, if you decide on a gaming machine that is less than 16 GB, it shouldn't cost much to upgrade.
The processor counts as it can determine the type of gaming experience you have. Ideally, the newer the processor, the better. For instance, with next-generation Intel and AMD processors, newer models tend to be faster than the previous year processors. However, newer doesn't necessarily equate to the best value when looking for a cheap gaming PC.
For instance, a budget gaming machine with an Intel Core i5 can suffice and is offer you a good experience. However, if there's room in your budget, you can always upgrade to an Intel Core i7.
AMD chips tend to be slightly different. Generally, AMD releases budget and mid-range processors that are accessible regardless of one's budget. The clock speed is what you should be paying keen attention to. Anywhere from 3.5 GHz to 4.0 GHz will be great for gaming.
d) Easy To Upgrade
The Gaming PC world is constantly evolving, and the best budget gaming PCs can easily be upgraded with new parts over time. Certain machines are easy to open up even you consider yourself less tech-savvy. While others, like the Corsair One, can be quite tricky to navigate and harder to open up. So when deciding on the best budget gaming PCs, this is something to keep in mind.
e) VR Compatibility
If you're all about gaming in VR (virtual reality), then you'll want to ensure that your machine can meet the requirements before you invest in it. The requirements for headsets such as the Oculus Rift S start at a Ryzen 3 processor, 8GB of RAM, or an Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti or AMD Radeon RX 470 GPU, an Intel Core i3.
f) Have Realistic Expectations
It's always important to know what you want before you set to buy a gaming computer. It would help to have a checklist to ensure you stick to your requirements and don't get sidetracked. In addition, when shopping for the best budget gaming PCs, it's advisable to have realistic expectations. You might not get a multi-monitor 4K gaming unit at this price, but you can still get quality machines with 1080p/60fps gaming at high settings and even 1440p gaming.