Getting a PC for gaming can be an intimidating experience. There are so many moving parts, and it can be so easy to make a costly mistake when shopping for your gaming rig. However:
Shopping for a gaming PC doesn’t have to be unnerving or costly. 😌
Whether you are looking to set up an entry-level gaming rig, or a VR-ready gaming setup, this guide ensures you don’t need to know the difference between a CL15 and CL17 RAM
These days, an above-average gaming setup is a must-have, especially as virtual reality goes mainstream. Even if you are on a tight budget, you can still get one of the best budget gaming PCs in the market if you know what to look out for when shopping.
Moreover, if you’re willing to shell out $700-$800, you can even get a VR-ready gaming PC that can utilize an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset. This is one of the factors gamers look out for when selecting a gaming PC.
5 Best Budget PCs for Gaming
Take a look at the six best cheap gaming PC builds on the market. They aren’t the best overall, but at their price points, they can guarantee you an unbelievable performance while gaming.
Best Choice: CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme
Pros & Cons
- Great GPU for the price
- Can run modern titles without overheating
- No SSD
- Intel Core i5-9400F
- AMD Radeon RX 580 4GB GPU
- VR ready | Front Access VR Port
- Nahimic Sound System
- 8GB DDR4 RAM
- 1TB HDD
CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme Review
Known for its reliable performance and features, the CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme is a great budget PC that handles most of your gaming needs. It’s fully VR ready, enabling you to use virtual reality headsets like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
The Intel i5-9400F that comes with the Gamer Xtreme is a powerful piece of work and at clocking speeds of 2.9 GHz. Coupled with the midrange AMD Radeon RX 580, you will have more than enough power for most games you plan to run on your gaming rig.
The Gamer Xtreme comes with a decent 7200RPM 1TB HDD storage, which could be better when you look at the options in the best HDD for gaming. It also lacks an SSD, which could mean slow loading times. You can always upgrade this though, but this ends up increasing the overall cost.
The cabinet is also well designed, sporting a nice dark mirror finish that lends an air of mysteriousness to the gaming PC. At $779, the CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme is a bargain, considering its performance per dollar and high-quality features.
You would be hard-pressed to find a better price point for a similar gaming PC. Overall, it’s effortless to set up, and best of all, you can easily upgrade the components.
Premium Pick: CYBERPOWER PC SLC8260A2
Pros & Cons
- Great aesthetics
- Loads of power
- Expensive for some
- i7-9700k 8-Core 3.6 GHz
- Geforce RTX 2070 8GB
- Liquid Cooling
- 16GB DDR4 RAM
- 1 TB SSD
CYBERPOWER PC SLC8260A2 Review
Powerful and affordable, the CYBERPOWER PC SLC8260A2 is one of the best budget gaming PCs you can buy – even in 2020. Its Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce 2070, which is one of the best graphics cards for gaming, can give you more power than any gaming console.
This is a capable gaming machine that delivers a high-quality playable experience across numerous titles, including the ever-taxing Assassins Creed: Origins and The Witcher.
CYBERPOWER PC SLC8260A2 is a tastefully designed machine, with an RGB lighting system that tries not to go overboard, unlike some other gaming PC manufacturers. Its compact size means its roughly about the same size as the original Xbox One – which means you can place this comfortably within a TV stand, or on your small computer desk.
This is by far one of the best budget gaming PCs you can buy.
Best Value: SkyTech Archangel
Pros & Cons
- Great value
- Easy to upgrade
- Can be a bit loud
- No included SSD
- AMD Ryzen 3 Series
- Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti 4GB Video card
- Free Gaming Keyboard & Mouse
- 1 x Dual-link DVI, 1 x DisplayPort (version 1.4) 1 x HDMI
- 1TB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
- 8GB DDR4 RAM
SkyTech Archangel Review
The futuristic-looking SkyTech Archangel is a well-designed performance focused PC – and reasonably priced too. It isn’t much of a looker like the CYBERPOWER Gamer Xtreme, or as compact as the MSI Trident 3, but it does turn heads with its white and blue panes.
This gaming PC gives you incredible power for much less, featuring a six-core AMD Ryzen 3.5GHz processor (turbo up to 4.1GHz), Nvidia’s GTX 1050 Ti (4GB DDR5) graphics card, and an 8GB DDR4 system memory.
It also tots along a 1TB 7200RPM HDD, which is quite typical for an entry-level gaming PC. It doesn’t measure up to the best gaming PCs under $1000, but it stands tall comfortably amongst its peers.
It is one of the best budget gaming desktops you can get and should get you started, thanks to a great combination of features.
Best for Work: CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme GXiVR8060A8
Pros & Cons
- Low profile
- Not future-proof
- CPU: i5-9400F, 6-core, 2,9 GHz
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 6GB
- 8 GB DDR4 RAM
- 1 TB HDD + 240 GB SSD
- One-year warranty
CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme GXiVR8060A8 Review
The CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme GXiVR8060A8 is a highly competent gaming PC, with an awesome GPU. Generally, it’s quiet and easily upgradeable. Backed by a one-year warranty, it’s hard not to look the way of this horsepower packed budget gaming PC.
In full flow, this is a powerful PC. Its i5-9400F 6-Core processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 6GB GPU can hold up superbly during 1080p gaming on medium and high settings.
The casing is similar to other CYBERPOWERPC prebuilt rigs, with the well-known RGB design. The lighting default to a red-and-blue color scheme but can be easily changed to other hues and with different flow patterns.
Sounds great, right? It is a great gaming PC; however, the downside is the future. The barebones unit (this comes without a RAM, storage and OS) only costs $479.99 but will not be able to run games that come out 3-4 years from now – upgrading ups the cost north of $1000 fast, and at that price, you can get a lot of other great and better options in best gaming PCs.
Best GTX Ti Build: iBUYPOWER Element 9260
Pros & Cons
- Great value for the price
- HDD + SSD both included
- There are better GPUs out there
- Intel Core i7-9700F 3.0Ghz
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB
- 16 GB DDR4 RAM
- 1 TB SSD + 240 GB SSD
iBUYPOWER Element 9260 Review
The iBUYPOWER Element 9260 is a gaming PC that offers reliable performance for its price and sleek design. Although it’s not as powerful as our best choice CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme, it’s a great option for full HD gaming.
It comes with an i7-9700F processor, which is extremely capable of supporting the latest AAA titles; as is usually the case with i7 CPUs.
16 GB DDR4 memory and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card mean that this PC is no slouch when it comes to basic gaming. However, expect some freezing or shaky graphics if you plan to use it for playing 2020 games on the highest-possible settings.
Reasonably priced, well-designed and upgradeable, the Element 9260 is a great wallet-friendly HD gaming PC. If you don’t play games that will punish your graphics card, this is a solid choice.
Best Budget Gaming PC: Buying Guide
Specifications: Performance Is Everything
When looking to purchase a gaming PC—regardless of whether it’s prebuilt or not—specifications are everything. Modern prebuilt gaming PCs like the ones on our list are designed to run even the most demanding titles thanks to their powerful CPU, GPU and extra RAM. But what exactly should you look for?
For extremely smooth frame rates, we suggest purchasing a PC with a GTX 1060, 1070, 1080 or 1080 Ti GPU. Sure, they are expensive, but it’ll last for the coming years and will allow you to use a VR headset. When it comes to RAM, you should aim for at least 8GB. If you’re a core gamer looking for a godly rig, opt for an Intel Core i7 processor or even better.
On the contrary, if you’re a casual gamer looking to play some older, less demanding games, an Intel Pentium processor will do. When looking for a GPU on a budget, we recommend Nvidia’s GTX 1050 or 1050 Ti. For further information on budget-friendly components, why not check out our guide to the best GPUs under $150?
Tower: Does Size Really Matter?
Today, desktops come in all shapes and sizes
(Small form factors, mini-tower, mid-tower, and full-tower), but does size really matter? In this instance, we say it does. The tower size you choose completely depends on the size of your room and what components you wish to purchase. A full tower case gives you much more freedom to add a bunch of GPUs, fans and even a sweet cooling system. On the other hand, small form factor PCs don’t offer much space for upgrading your hardware.
Still unsure of which one to buy? We think you’ll enjoy our ATX mid-tower vs full tower comparison guide.
Upgradability: Can I Upgrade in the Future?
As computer components are becoming more powerful than ever, you’re going to want to swap out some parts in the future to keep up-to-date. Which is why when purchasing a gaming PC, it’s important that you can easily access the interior.
More specifically, you should be able to easily swap out the RAM, storage, GPU and motherboard. You should also opt for a prebuilt PC that doesn’t require many tools to open up and swap out the parts.
Ports: Does It Have the Ports I Need?
When purchasing a computer for gaming, we say the more ports, the better. Or, maybe we’re just being greedy? But what exactly should you look for when it comes to ports? Firstly, you want to make sure that the PC you buy has at least several USB 3.0 ports, a few DisplayPorts and at least one HDMI port. When looking for a modern PC, you should also look for one with a USB-C and Thunderbolt port.
Best Budget Gaming PC: Frequently Asked Questions
Are Prebuilt Gaming PCs Worth It?
Prebuild PCs are definitely worth buying in 2020 for a variety of different reasons. First of all, if you’re new to gaming or you’re on a tight budget, a prebuilt gaming PC is often cheaper and more practical than building your own. Plus, there are some really sweet prebuilt PCs out there, as proven by the ones on our list.
Today, modern prebuilt gaming PCs are built to run even the most demanding titles. But before you purchase a computer for gaming, you should first know what you wish to play. This way, you’ll know if it’s worth it or not. If you’re a casual gamer, a prebuilt PC with an i5 CPU for gaming is a good place to start. If you’re a core gamer, our premium pick prebuilt PC is the way to go.
Can You Use a Regular PC for Gaming?
Unlike a regular PC used for browsing the web, gaming PCs often come armed with a more powerful CPU, GPU, and more RAM. But do you really need a gaming PC to play games? Well, not exactly. Older, more casual games will run just fine on a regular computer used for basic tasks. Albeit, if you want to play more intensive games that require more power, you will need to invest in a good gaming PC.
With that said, before you purchase a PC for gaming, we suggest checking the system requirements for the games you wish to play. This way, you’ll know exactly what to look for.
Is It Cheaper to Build Your Own Gaming PC?
One of the main advantages of building a PC rather than buying one is the fact that you can pick out every single component. This way, you’ll be able to choose parts that fit into your budget and so the amount you spend totally depends on what components you choose.
If you pick out a flagship CPU and a 1080 Ti GPU for gaming, the overall cost of your rig is going to be high. On the contrary, if you purchase second hand or cheap components, such as a budget-friendly gaming CPU, it may be cheaper to build rather than buy a PC.
How Much Does It Cost for a Decent Gaming PC?
As we have briefly covered, the cost of a decent gaming PC completely depends on what you consider ‘decent’. If you’re a casual gamer, you won’t require the latest and greatest hardware to run the games you wish to play.
On the other hand, if you’re a core gamer looking to run the latest demanding titles, you’ll need a high-end gaming PC. How much the PC will cost completely depends on the components you buy and where you buy them from. Roughly speaking, a ‘decent’ PC for gaming will cost anywhere from $400 to over $2,000.
If you’re a gamer on a tight budget, the above budget gaming PCs are the way to go. When choosing the prebuilt PCs on our list, we made sure to consider the performance, design and overall value. This way, you won’t end up spending your hard-earned cash on a pile of junk. With all of that said, we still recommend building one of yourself.
This way, you’ll be able to choose every component that goes into the case of your choice. If you’re unsure how to do this, we highly suggest reading our comprehensive guide on how to build a gaming PC. We’ve even included some common shopping mistakes to avoid so that you don’t waste your time or money.