Building a high-end gaming device can easily cost a few thousand dollars, and pre-built models are often at the end of the pricing spectrum due to the convenience factor. But there are plenty of cheap gaming PCs out there that can run modern games at decent settings and still achieve smooth frame rates.
To help make your entry into PC gaming simpler, we’ve researched several manufacturers and hardware settings to find the best cheap gaming PCs you can buy right now. Our picks range from around $500 to just under $1,500. $1,500 might sound expensive, but given that you can easily spend double or triple that on a top-tier gaming machine — and in some cases on the graphics card alone — that range is as low as possible if you want gaming performance.
The computers we picked aren’t designed for 4K gaming, and some have little internal storage and RAM. This will limit the number of games you can install and how quickly they can load, and make streaming and content creation more difficult — especially if you’re playing and recording gameplay at the same time. Most low-end PCs can’t handle VR well either.
However, going for a gaming device on a budget is a viable option for first-time PC buyers and people on a strict budget. These computers will perform better when playing games at 1080p, and a few of them can handle games at 1440p at decent frame rates. You can also upgrade the specs on some of these models if you have the cash to spare. Just note that none of the computers on our list come with a monitor and only a few include a mouse and keyboard, so be sure to factor these additional costs into your budget as well.
(Note that availability of these devices can vary due to an ongoing shortage of chips, among other factors.)
HP Wing TG01-2170m
HP’s Pavilion TG01-2170m is an excellent gaming PC. Its basic AMD configuration costs about the same as a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, and includes a Ryzen 3 5300G CPU and RX 5500 4GB GPU, as well as an 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. You can get the Nvidia GTX 1660 Super for an extra $90, or upgrade to the next tiers of CPU or RAM for $100 if you want more power, but the standard set can play games like Fortnite or Apex Legends with seamless gameplay on 1080p screen.
The only potential drawback is the somewhat unremarkable TGo1-2170m case, the same matte black turret that HP uses for all of its current Pavilion desktop computers. There are a few small RBG headlights on the front panel, but that’s the only notable component of the case. Some people will appreciate the humble look, but look elsewhere if you’re looking for something flashy. Fortunately, the chassis is large and many components can be easily upgraded in the future.
OMEN 25L GT12-1340M
The Omen 25L is a great choice for those with smaller desktops, at just 6.50 inches wide, 17.05 inches tall and 15.53 inches tall.
We recommend configuring all AMD’s $979 if you’re aiming for less than $1,000. It starts with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X and 4GB Radeon RX 5500 GPU. This particular model can also be boosted with up to a Ryzen 9 5900X and 8GB Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti if you want to splurge (or prefer Nvidia GPUs). There are other component options with varying power between these price points, as well as other 10th generation (starting at $799) or 11th generation (starting at $1,350) Intel i5 chips if that suits your preference (or budget).
That said, the base specs abound if you’re playing new games at lower 1080p settings – though we’d suggest spending a little more to upgrade beyond the standard 8GB RAM or 256GB SSD if you can. Each model has several options for extended RAM and SSD sizes, and you can also add a wired mouse and keyboard for just $14.
Acer Predator Aurion 3000 PO3-630G-UW9
Acer’s Predator Orion 3000 features an 11th-generation Intel hexa-core CPU and Nvidia GTX 1660 Super. While the GTX 1660 is a budget GPU that lacks Nvidia’s RTX line features like ray tracing and Nvidia streaming support, it’s powerful enough to play in 1080p. The 8GB of RAM and 512GB SSD are a trickle, but that’s not out of the ordinary for cheaper pre-purchases. Besides, RAM and storage are the most easily upgradeable components of a computer, and you can always choose one of the more expensive configurations if they are not enough.
Like other pre-built desktop PCs, the Acer Predator Orion 3000 doesn’t ship with a monitor, so you’ll need to purchase one to complete your setup. The bundle includes a keyboard and mouse – it’s nothing special, but that at least saves you a few bucks. The unique case also feels aptly ‘player’ thanks to its angular shape and customizable RGB lighting elements.
Skytech Gaming Blaze II
Like the other preloads listed here, Skyech Gaming’s Blaze II comes in multiple configurations, but the model featuring an Intel i5 10400F processor and Nvidia GTX 1660 GPU offers great entry-level specs, a sleek case, and the ability to make future upgrades for $1,089.
To be fair, this model’s CPU and GPU aren’t much different than the hardware on the less expensive models we’ve covered, but the 1TB solid state drive and 16GB RAM make this a device. More powerful in general. It can deliver higher quality visuals slightly in-game and handle other memory-intensive processes better than its less expensive competitors. These specs make this a solid choice for aspiring content creators in particular, since video editing and even streaming will be much smoother thanks to the higher memory.
The computer also looks great too. The case features a tempered glass side panel that shows the internal components illuminated by the RGB ring light of the rear exhaust fan. Two additional RGB ring lights adorn the front of the case, and they are all fully customizable. There’s plenty of room inside the case too, and the built-in 600W power supply will be able to power bulkier components you might upgrade to in the future, like a more powerful GPU.
NZXT Starter Pro BLD Kit
At just a hundred dollars shy of $1,500, it might seem odd to call NZXT’s Starter Pro BLD Kit a “cheap” gaming PC, but it’s a relatively powerful device that will take you to the next level of gaming performance without really breaking the bank.
The only catch is that you need to build it yourself.
Don’t worry, though: NZXT’s BLD kits include everything you need, including well-written instructions, step-by-step videos, a toolkit, and all the necessary hardware. The only things that don’t come in the box are the monitor, keyboard, and mouse (plus any other accessories you need), which puts this in the pricey category if you don’t already have these components handy. However, this is a great option for anyone interested in building their own PC but not sure where to start.
Once assembled, the Starter Pro BLD Kit includes an Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti graphics card, Intel i5-11400F CPU, 1TB SSD, and 16GB of RAM — specs powerful enough for high frame rates in 1080p or 1440p, as well as to enhanced visual features such as ray tracing. This is also another PC with a large case – complete with a clear glass side panel – and a powerful power supply unit, so it’s also more future-friendly than other entry-level units.