Are you looking to switch to PC gaming but aren’t sure your $1000 budget can get you up and running? Alternatively, maybe you plan to gift an entry-level gamer an affordable gaming PC?
Well – a $1000 budget limit is not the end of the world. There are several high-quality gaming PCs under 1000 dollars that get the job done well enough.
Best PC for Gaming Under $1000
You can buy one of these gaming PCs we review here, use them for the next two years while you save, and then upgrade to the best gaming PC once you have the money. Alternatively, directly upgrade the components of these affordable rigs – the CPU and graphics card should be your first upgrades – and extend their lifetime to maybe four years. Here’s a guide to the best gaming CPU and the best graphics card for gaming.
Some graphic-intensive games such as Witcher 3 will struggle to run on these rigs, so expect to play games that run on low – medium 1080P/768P resolution settings.
Something always must give…This guide will show you what to look for when shopping for a new gaming PC, and we’ll also provide you with a list of the best gaming PCs under $1000 currently available.
Best Choice: CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8060A8
Pros & Cons
- Hassle-free upgradability
- Strong all-around performance
- Convenient port layout
- GPU could use an upgrade
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 6GB
- Intel i5-9400F 2.9GHz CPU
- 8GB DDR4 RAM
- 1 TB HDD/240 GB SSD
CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8060A8 Review
CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8500A is one of the most attractive gaming PCs you can buy under $1000, sporting a case LED-lights look that is unique to CYBERPOWERPC.
If both the price and performance are attractive to you, we recommend you check out the best prebuilt gaming rigs under $800 that we reviewed.
It also packs in enough horsepower for high-quality gaming, with an excellent Intel i5-9400F 2.9GHz CPU, a high-end GTX 1660, and plenty of RAM. It plays numerous recent games at a steady frame rate and medium-high settings.
Its 1 TB HDD ensures you can store a massive number of games on your computer, especially games with frequent updates and many files. So, if you enjoy playing League of Legends, you should be fine with this gaming PC, no matter the number of updates they throw at you.
Premium Pick: iBUYPOWER Elite Gaming PC Slate2
Pros & Cons
- Loads of configuration options
- Respectable design with decent cooling
- Easy upgradeability
- A fair bit of overclocking headroom
- Value isn’t as strong with upper-tier configurations
- Intel Core i5-9400f 8-Core Processor 2.90 GHz
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB
- 8GB DDR4-2666 RAM
- 480 GB SSD
iBUYPOWER Elite Gaming PC Slate2 Review
iBUYPOWER Elite Gaming PC Slate2 is a traditional tower-style VR-Ready gaming PC that is highly configurable. From a visual standpoint, it is built in a bit of “gamers style” – a smart-looking chassis with angular and interesting curves and an illuminated curve on the front.
It is positioned as a gaming PC for gamers on a budget who still want a machine capable of playing the latest AAA titles. The Omen features one of the best Intel processors for gaming, Intel Core i5-9400f 8-Core, and an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti GPU, which guarantees you enough horsepower for most titles.
One of the Slate2 significant strengths, besides its looks, is its comprehensive range of configurable options. It’s not the best mix of price and performance, but it has plenty of room to expand.
If you are planning to purchase a gaming PC under 1000 dollars that ranks performance over outlandish designs, this is a great choice.
Best Value: SkyTech Archangel
Pros & Cons
- Well matched components for great all-around performance
- Great chassis for airflow
- A standout power supply
- No SSD
- Ryzen 1200 3.1GHz Quad-Core
- GTX 1060 3GB
- 8GB DDR4 2400
- 1TB HDD
SkyTech Archangel Review
The SkyTech Archangel gaming PC is an affordable and visually stunning powerhouse. Its blue LED detailing and clear panel casing offers a compelling spectacle, and it matches that with a performance that outpaces its price.
While this beauty might struggle with demanding AAA titles, the AMD Ryzen 3 1200 CPU allows you clock speeds of 3.1GHz, supported by an Nvidia GTX 1060. Furthermore, the desktop comes loaded with an 8GB DDR4 RAM from the start. This should quell the need to upgrade and save you some coins.
The SSD does help boost game load times and comes in handy when handling the frame rates per second of graphic-intensive games.
While it costs a bit over the mark, we recommend looking at the best gaming PCs under $600 if you liked the Archangel. Overall, the manufacturers – SkyTech Gaming – have a good habit of using quality components, so this PC should give you good value for the dollar.
Best for Beginners: Dell Inspiron 5680
Pros & Cons
- Modern, functional design
- Powerful processor for gaming and streaming
- Dell Mobile Connect
- The optical drive is not standard
- Intel Core i5 8400 (6-Core/6-Thread, 9MB Cache, up to 4GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology)
- Nvidia GTX 1060 3GB
- 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR4 at 2400MHz
- 128GB M.2 SATA SSD (Boot) + 1TB 7200Rpm SATA 6GB/s (storage)
Dell Inspiron 5680 Review
The Inspiron is a modern and functional gaming PC, similar in design to Dell XPS Tower Special Edition, but with a bit more of the “gamer style” visual flair.
Its compact plastic case packs in one of the best i5 CPU for gaming and a Nvidia GTX 1060 3GB, which guarantees you a capable 1080P gaming PC. The Inspiron is a reliable desktop and can hit highs of 120 frame rates per second in specific titles.
The storage is however limited, as Dell doesn’t provide customizable storage options, so you are stuck with the 128GB M.2 SATA SSD (Boot) + 1TB 7200Rpm SATA 6GB/s HDD out of the box. Some games come with large files and won’t even fit on a 128GB SSD (after accounting for the typical Windows OS files).
Nevertheless, the Inspiron Gaming PC is a budget-friendly desktop that performs great, while still sitting pretty.
Best Over $1000: iBUYPOWER Elite Gaming PC 070i
Pros & Cons
- Great at multi-tasking
- Ability to clock high speeds
- Awesome GPU
- Over $1000
- Intel i7 8700 3.2GHz
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
- 16GB DDR4-2666 RAM
- 1TB HDD, 240GB SSD
iBUYPOWER Elite Gaming PC 070i Review
The iBUYPOWER Elite Gaming PC 070i is a reliable and easily upgradable gaming PC. It’s a compact, VR-ready, performance-focused desktop – and a well designed one too. However, there’s one small issue.
It costs a little bit over $1000.
This awesome gaming rig is often discounted, so I couldn’t help but include it in this list even though it actually costs $1,099. You might have extra leeway in your budget to get it, or you can wait for the discount. Either way, I recommend it over the other options on this list.
Featuring an excellent Intel processor and a 1060 3 GB graphics card, the iBUYPOWER Elite Gaming PC 070i is pretty future-proof for a budget gaming PC. Seeing that both HDD and SSD are present, you’re also going to be spared of humongous loading times.
The iBUYPOWER Elite Gaming PC 070i is well built and has no bloatware like most pre-built gaming PCs. It’s a good performer for its price, and most of all, you can easily upgrade later.
How to Choose a Gaming PC Under $1000
Thankfully, when you’re choosing a pre-built gaming PC at the $1000 mark, you don’t really have to make too many compromises in terms of hardware. That being said, there are still a few things you should consider before diving in headfirst.
One issue that I sometimes find with pre-built PCs is that they don’t always pick the right GPU/CPU combo. Since both of these are the most likely to be bottlenecks in any setup, it’s important to choose a pre-built computer that balances both of these out.
For example, there’s no point buying a PC with a GTX 1080 if you’re only going to get an i5 since the CPU will be a big bottleneck in this case. Similarly, there’s no point getting a GTX 1050 with an i9, since the GPU will be the main bottleneck with gaming.
All that being said, the options listed above are actually pretty well balanced, so you shouldn’t worry too much about that.
Another issue that I tend to find with pre-built PCs is that they don’t really put a ton of RAM inside the thing, usually being a pretty big bottleneck when it comes to gaming and general usage. For the most part, you want to aim to have at least 16GB of high-quality DDR4 RAM, and preferably running at as high a memory rate as you can get it.
Unfortunately, this is a big issue, and even the PCs listed above have this issue, even though they’re the best-in-class, so may consider purchasing an extra stick or RAM package to put inside it.
Again, pre-built PCs tend to never put more storage than they absolutely have to, which starts to be a problem in a world with increasingly larger file-sizes. Plus, they don’t often have the best hard drive management out there, as ideally, you’ll want to keep your OS and day-to-day apps such as anti-viruses on their own hard drive, preferably an SSD.
So, when you’re purchasing any pre-built PC, it’s important to think about how much space you’re going to need and whether you’ll have to buy additional hard drives, either when you make the initial purchase, or sometime down the line.
Gaming PC Under $1000: FAQ
Is It Better to Buy a Prebuilt Gaming PC?
If you don’t have a lot or any experience building PCs, then going for a pre-built one is almost always the better option. That way, you don’t run the risk of buying the wrong hardware set up or installing things improperly.
That being said, pre-built PCs tend to have their own issues, as outlined in the buying guide above. So at the end of the day, it can be a bit of a mixed bag.
Is It Cheaper to Buy a Gaming PC or Build One?
For the most part, building your own PC can be much cheaper, but generally only if you have some experience of PC building. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try your hand at it, just make sure to read up on it first, so you know where you can get the best deals, and what is the best hardware setup for your needs. No point splurging on high-end GPU or CPU if you’re never going to use them to their potential.
Is Buying a Gaming PC Worth It?
Absolutely, especially if you tend to play newer games or more complex ones like from AAA publishers. This is due to the fact that they generally have better GPUs and CPUs than you’ll find on your average computer. In-fact, some non-gaming PCs don’t even have a GPU, and therefore can’t run pretty much any game that doesn’t work on a browser.
How Cheap Can You Build a Gaming PC?
Well, I’ve seen people spend as little as $250 to build a PC, but the effort and time taken in sourcing the parts (which are usually second-hand), usually doubles that cost anyway. Of course, you can absolutely build a PC with completely new parts and still have a reasonably good PC, such as gaming PCs for under $500.
As you can see, there are some really great options for pre-built gaming PCs at the $1000 range, with a variety of specs and hardware to choose from. They’re a great option if you don’t have the experience or the interest to deal with building your own, plus you can always get your local computer shop to add parts or service it whenever you need to.
Whichever option you go for though, I hope you get the exact right PC for your needs, whatever they may be!