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Last Update: Apr 30, 2019

Top 6 Desktops for Gaming Under $800

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Building your own custom gaming rig can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. 🖥️ 💸

It’s particularly hard for novices and beginners. Do you start with the chassis or the motherboard? What’s the best hard drive for gaming? Is Intel better than AMD? So many questions need to be answered (these are just some of the simplest ones) before you can start building your own custom unit – effectively.

That’s why it’s advisable for new users to start off with a fresh pre-built rig. Doing this will not completely eliminate all the questions but it will minimize and simplify them.

You don’t need to break the bank to join the ranks of the very upper echelons of PC gaming. All you need is the right information and a discerning eye. Since knowing is half the battle, we’re here to give you 50% of what you’ll need to win the war.

For over the last decade, Virtual Reality has embedded itself in the very zeitgeist of the PC gaming community. It’s important to note that a majority of the PCs discussed on this list are VR-Ready.

While they may not be the very best pre-built PCs that money can buy, it’s also significant to note that the majority of them are upgradeable. Which means that while they provide a decent gaming experience right now, it would not be hard to replace or add an additional graphics card or hard drive. Having your wallet in mind, you really can find the best budget gaming PCs, if you know where to look.


Top 6 Pre-Built PCs for Gaming Under $800

To decide which rigs were worth your hard earned money, we reviewed their specs, their upgradeability, warranty, and even their aesthetics.

The specs were the most important aspect because they helped us determine each PC’s performance per dollar. You want to ensure that you’re stretching your money as far as possible while you have the best components under the hood.

Since $800 can only take you so far, another crucial element that helped us decide is how easy the PC is to upgrade. Upgradeability is one of the advantages of PC gaming.

While console gamers have to basically discard their older systems for the next generation, PC gamers can simply upgrade key components and keep it moving.

Speaking of consoles, the PCs listed here won’t just compete with them, they’ll demolish them.  What more could you ask for?

1

Best Choice: HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop 690-0024

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Key Features:

  • AMD Ryzen 5 2400G quad-core processor 3.6 GHz
  • AMD Radeon RX 580 4GB Graphics Card
  • 128 GB PCIe NVMe TLC M.2 Solid State Drive
  • 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD
  • 8 – 32 GB DDR4 RAM
  • 3-in-1 memory card reader
  • 8x (Read/Write) DVD-RW
  • VR-Ready

HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop 690-0024 Review

Hewlett-Packard needs no introduction, they’ve been around for over 80 years. Although it’s one of the last names you’re likely to hear for suggestions for good gaming rigs, HP has really delivered a budget-friendly gem for PC gamers.

While most gaming PC case manufacturers and vendors choose to make their exteriors resemble the interior of a1980s disco, HP forgoes the glossy light show and offers a tightly designed machine with a black and green color scheme.

However, it doesn’t completely lack LED presence. It has a tasteful green LED light bar running down the middle of its façade.

While its cabinet is well designed, what lurks underneath the bonnet is what counts the most here. It utilizes the AMD Ryzen 5, a quad-core processor that delivers pretty decent performance. The processor complements and works well with the AMD Radeon Rx 580 graphics card.

While the HP Pavilion comes with a standard wired mouse and keyboard, they’re certainly not the best gaming mouse and keyboard. We suggest that you replace them as soon as you can.

This delivers current generation console graphics and a little more. While it’s a capable entry-level buy, it has pretty decent upgradeability too. It’s easy to set up and comes with Windows 10 Home pre-installed. It’s a great rig for the budding gamer.

+Pros
  • Includes an optical drive
  • Extensive front panel connections
  • Great performance out of the box
  • Affordable
  • Functions well as both a gaming PC and workstation
  • Great front facing port layout
  • Includes keyboard and mouse
-Cons
  • Although it’s compact, it’s still slightly bulkier than the alternatives
  • Utilizes a vertical optical drive as opposed to a horizontal one
  • The fan is a little loud
2

Premium Pick: Centaurus Hunter Gaming Computer

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Key Features

  • Overclocked AMD Ryzen 5 2600 CPU
  • Radeon RX 570 4GB Graphics Card
  • 240 GB SSD
  • 1 TB HDD
  • AMD B350 motherboard

Centaurus Hunter Gaming Computer Review

Centaurus Computers is known to deliver some of the best builds for gaming. Its Hunter computer is a great budget buy with enough aptitude to handle most of your gaming needs.

It will handle these needs while remaining relatively quiet because of its 120 MM fans. Aesthetically, it resembles a fireplace. I mean that in the coolest way possible. When you’re facing the case from the front, it looks like there’s a fire burning on the inside.

Even the fans have a light LED glow. Speaking of which, users have a choice of three different colored trims and LED lights: blue, orange and purple.

Centaurus Hunter Gaming Computer uses an Overclocked AMD Ryzen 5 2600 CPU in conjunction with a Radeon RX 570 4GB Graphics Card to deliver a smooth gaming experience. You should be able to play most modern games in their low-to-medium settings.

However, it uses an older Radeon RX 570 graphics card which may not be VR-Ready. Because of the rig’s easy upgradeability, it should be no hassle to replace the graphics card completely.

Some poor choices in button, slot and port layout is where this computer fails the most. The power button along with its front USB ports are located on top of the computer. Some users may not find this setup ideal.

Not only does it lack an optical drive but it doesn’t have a slot for one either. This may not matter to some users. You could easily get an external optical drive to overcome this problem if you feel like you really need one.

The Hunter gaming PC comes with an SSD which means faster boot times and game load times. Despite its flaws, it’s a great alternative gaming PC that looks fantastic and handles games well.

+Pros
  • Easy to configure
  • Comes with a mouse and keyboard
  • Customers have three case trims to choose from
  • Comes with Windows 10 Pro pre-installed
  • High Upgradeability
  • 120 MM Fans make for quiet cooling
  • Includes a three-year warranty
-Cons
  • Lacks VR Support
  • Does not come with an optical drive
  • A bit on the bulky side
  • The graphics card could be a lot better
  • Some buttons and ports are situated on top of the case
3

Best Value: CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme GXIVR8020A5

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Key Features

  • Intel i5-8400 2.8GHz
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
  • 120GB SSD
  • 1TB HDD
  • 8 GB DDR4 RAM

CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme GXIVR8020A5 Desktop Gaming PC Review

CyberPowerPC is the industry standard for gaming PCs. Its budget offering, the GXIVR8020A5 is a truly beautiful machine.

The case is largely translucent which makes it easier to see its front three RGB ring fans. Yes, the cabinet is gorgeous but its true beauty lies in its internal components.

It uses an eighth generation i5 processor that will give you the ability to multitask faster and get the best performance from everything you do on your PC. The Gamer Xtreme is VR-Ready and optimized for the HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift.

It uses a GTX 1060 graphics card which is powered by Pascal to deliver up to 3x the performance of previous gen graphics cards. It’s fully optimized and will support the mid-to-high settings of most games without overheating.

This rig comes with a gaming mouse and keyboard. It also has PS/2 ports for mice and keyboards. The computers port layout is well devised. It has six 3.1 USB ports, two of them are situated on the front of the computer.

In addition to its 120GB SSD, it has a 1TB HDD. So there should be no issues in performance or space.

Ultimately, this is a solid buy for both beginners and seasoned gaming veterans with a limited budget. Although it’s very easy to upgrade, you could run this computer for years without needing to upgrade it.

+Pros
  • Comes with a gaming keyboard and mouse
  • Hassle-free upgradability
  • It comes with 6x 3.1 USB Ports
  • Well organized Port Layout
  • Has PS2 keyboard and mouse connection
  • Fully Addressable RGB Ring Fans
  • 8th generation Intel Core Processor
  • Fully Addressable RGB Ring Fans
-Cons
  • The case is a bit bulky
  • No slot/frame for an optical drive
4

MSI Trident 3 8RC-005US

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Key Features

  • Core i5-8400 6 core 2.8 GHz 9M Cache
  • GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
  • 8GB (8GB x 1) DDR4 SO-DIMM DDR5
  • 1 TB Hard Drive
  • VR Ready
  • Nahimic Sound System

MSI Trident 3 8RC-005US Review

Micro-Star International (MSI) primarily built its reputation from producing and manufacturing motherboards and graphics cards. Now, it provides a variety of products from gaming laptops to servers.

The MSI Trident 3 utilizes a Mid Tower Form Factor design that makes its aesthetics reminiscent to the original Sony PlayStation 2. Which means it will fit better into your living room, games room or bedroom than it will in your office.

This is not to say that it won’t work as a simple desktop computer. It has 8GB RAM and an 8th generation i5 processor which means not even Google Chrome can make it sweat.

In conjunction with the GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card, it promises to deliver high-range graphics settings for older games and medium settings for new ones. It will have no qualms in running Fortnite at 60 FPS or delivering true HD graphics.

It will do this while remaining remarkably cool and quiet. MSI’s proprietary cooling system ensures this. The computer’s tower can be set vertically or horizontally and comes in two color schemes: black and white.

In terms of upgradeability, it comes with two slots for RAM and a frame/slot for an additional 2.5-inch hard drive. The unit doesn’t come with an internal optical drive or space for any. Unfortunately, it uses a laptop-style power supply that may limit its upgradeability.

In terms of accessories, the MSI Trident 3 comes with a keyboard and mouse. Its Nahimic delivers an immersive virtual 7.1 channel sound experience.

While it looks like a console, it gives you a lot more. It’s definitely worth the buy (if you can afford it).

+Pros
  • Comes with a front access VR Port
  • Compact and portable
  • Its proprietary cooling system is remarkably silent
  • Comes with a gaming keyboard and mouse
-Cons
  • Harder to upgrade than its competitors
  • A little pricier than its competitors
  • Lacks any space for an optical drive
5

SkyTech Venus Desktop Gaming Computer PC

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Key Features

  • AMD RYZEN 3 1200 4-Core 3.1 GHz (3.4 GHz Turbo)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB Video Card
  • 8GB DDR4 2400 Gaming Memory
  • 1TB HDD
  • 120 GB SSD
  • A320 Motherboard

SkyTech Venus Desktop Gaming Computer PC Review

SkyTech is another recognizable name among the gaming community. Their Venus desktop gaming computer offers a great gaming experience at an affordable price.

Don’t let its quiet barebones exterior fool you. It has a pretty nondescript and minimalistic cabinet design. As a matter of fact, the front face of its case is completely blank. It has two USB ports on the top and a port for a microphone and earphones/speakers.

It’s one of the few pre-built models on this list that uses an AMD processor with an NVidia graphics card. It’s believed that AMD Ryzen processors are optimized to work with AMD graphics cards.

But still, the Ryzen processor co-operates well enough with the graphics cards to deliver ultra-settings for older games and mid-high settings for newer ones. The Ryzen processor uses wraith stealth cooling to prevent it from overheating. Plus an SSD ensures that your operating system and games load faster.

While it doesn’t have a frame to hold an internal optical drive, most gamers won’t be bothered by this information. Despite this, the computer has decent upgradeability. You won’t need to upgrade it any time soon though.

While its slightly effeminate design may put some gamers off, this rig’s affordability and power is why it’s worth checking out.

+Pros
  • Includes 3 x 120mm In Win Polaris RGB Quiet
  • Comes with free keyboard and mouse
  • High Upgradeability
  • Comes pre-installed with Windows 10 Home
-Cons
  • No frame or slot for an internal optical drive
6

CLX SET TGASETGXE8501BR Gaming PC

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Key Features

  • AMD Ryzen 3 2200G 3.5GHz
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 2GB Video Card
  • Tempered Glass Side Panel
  • 16GB DDR4
  • 120GB SSD (Primary)
  • 2 TB HDD (Secondary)
  • A320 Motherboard

CLX SET TGASETGXE8501BR Gaming PC Review

The CLX gaming PC from CybotronPC looks mean (for lack of a better word). Its DarkMirror front panel and RGB fans make it look like a bomb designed by an advanced race of aliens.

Along with its AMD Ryzen processor, it uses an older NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 2GB Video Card. This won’t deliver the same punch as its other competitors on this list but it’s still a capable build.

It’s a low-mid tier card with no VR support. We suggest that you upgrade the graphics card first if you plan on buying this rig. Other than that, it includes a 120GB SSD, a 2TB HDD, and 16GB of RAM. While upgradeability is high here, there is no reason to replace anything but the graphics card.

Because of its memory and space, it will work well as both a media center, desktop, and workstation. Its RGB LED lighting can be controlled via remote control. Although it uses fans for its cooling system, it still runs quietly. At its price and performance, it’s definitely worth the buy. I just wish it had a better graphics card.

+Pros
  • Features RGB LED Lighting that can be controlled via RF Remote
  • Comes with free USB keyboard and mouse
  • Comes pre-installed with Windows 10 Home
  • High Upgradeability
  • Comes with two hard drives that equate to 2.12 TB of space
  • Free Lifetime Tech Support
-Cons
  • Doesn’t come with any slots for an optical drive
  • Isn’t VR Ready

Best Gaming PCs Under $800: Buying Guide

Whether you’re a casual gamer or seasoned veteran, when you’re looking for a budget computer, you want to strike a balance between speed, performance, and upgradeability.

While you can get yourself a mid-tier pre-built rig at this price, you need to ensure that it has decent upgradability. When you buy a computer, you need to think about the next five years.

three pcs yellow blue and red

Since the value of a computer is in the sum of its parts, picking the right gaming PC means understanding the different components that go into it. This includes the Processor (CPU), RAM, graphics card, storage, and the power supply unit.

These features can help you decide whether a PC is worth the purchase or not.

The CPU: Supports Your Gaming PC’s Performance

The CPU (central processing unit) or main central processor is your computer’s nucleus.

Intel and AMD are the two primary CPU manufacturers. Both utilize different specifications but very similar architecture. While Intel is more trusted and remains on the cusp of innovation, AMD provides great value for money.

cpu

For gaming, the key features you would be concerned with most are the clocking speeds and cache sizes.

RAM: Impacts Load Time

While hard drive space can be thought of as long term memory, RAM (Random Access Memory) can be thought of as short term memory. In terms of gaming, the size of the RAM is a vital element for speed and loading times on a gaming PC.

Although, choosing RAM for gaming isn’t as difficult as it used to be, getting an extra edge on the opposition can come down to the components you select.

ram

Our guide on the best RAM for gaming can help you decide which manufacturers and types to choose.

Graphics Card: Crucial To Your Gaming Experience

The quality of the graphics affects how you’ll experience and play the game. For many, the GPU is understood to be the most important component for PC gaming. After all, your GPU is what renders the scenes, animations, and images that you see while gaming.

The biggest game card manufacturers are AMD and NVidia. Although NVidia graphics cards are slightly more popular and supported, AMD has a decent offering GPUs in their own right.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti

Storage: You Need Enough Space to Store Your Games

Your gaming PC’s storage is likely to come in the form of either an HDD (Hard Disk Drive) or SSD (Solid State Drive). It can also come as both.

SSDs once held a reputation for being unreliable and prone to failure. Today’s SSDs are faster and offer more space. A key advantage that SSDs hold over HDDs is their fast loading times. They’re also a lot quieter. If SSD is what meets your needs, it’s important for you to pick the best SSD for gaming, so everything runs smoothly.

HDDs provide more space and are more economical. When looking at the storage of the gaming desktop you’re interested in, try to find gaming PCs that have an SSD and preferably a high-capacity HDD. Just as SSD, you should know which one is the best HDD for gaming, so you can play your games without any trouble.

hdd storage


Gaming PCs Under $800: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few questions you should consider when buying a gaming PC under $800.

Is It Easier to Build or Buy a Gaming PC?

While building a gaming PC may be less expensive than buying one, it’s far easier to buy one. Building one can be compared to cooking a meal while buying one can be compared to ordering food at a restaurant.

You don’t have to find the right ingredients or cook it, you can simply order what you need from the menu according to your budget and specifications.

How Much Does a Decent Gaming PC Cost?

A decent gaming computer can cost you anywhere between $500 and $1000. This depends on a number of factors. For instance, if you require a PC that has VR support.

Digital Storm Aventum X

However, becoming a PC gamer doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. The best part about it is you can build your rig over time, beginning with the most fundamental parts. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing enterprise.

You can start off with an inexpensive computer as a foundation and upgrade it bit by bit over time.

Is it Cheaper to Build or Buy a PC?

If you know where to look, in most cases building a PC can be slightly cheaper than buying one. It takes more time to build a PC though and if you take into account the time it takes to build one compared to the time it takes to buy one, buying one would seem slightly cheaper than building one.

The real answer depends on your skills and abilities.


Conclusion

If your budget is just under $800 dollars and you need a great gaming PC, the computers listed in this guide should provide you with all the information you need.

Now, you have to decide if an SSD is necessary or if you plan on actually upgrading it in the future. We suggest you match the units in this guide to your own specifications, expectations, and needs.

It’s also good to remember that with a good gaming PC, you’ll need the very best gaming monitor as well. You shouldn’t waste all that power on a screen with a low refresh rate. The latency can actually affect your performance, especially on online games.

Additionally, it’s important to note that no one uses gaming PCs just for gaming. I can almost guarantee that you’ll be using it to stream/watch videos, browse the internet or run non-game related applications and programs. You just have to ensure that your PC adheres and conforms to all of your requirements and desires.


Sources:

  1. What is Computer System Cooling, Webopedia
  2. Custom vs. Prebuilt PC, Razer Forums
  3. Jeff Tyson & Dave Coustan, How RAM Works, How Stuff Works
  4. Matt Koble, How Much Will it Cost to Build a Gaming PC, Chron
  5. How Computers Work: The CPU and Memory
  6. Best Specs for a Gaming PC, Crucial US
  7. Build a PC, InstallGentoo Wiki
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