We previously wrote on the best gaming PCs under $500, but as technology grows faster and reaches much greater heights, so do our budgets for better gaming equipment. Holding on to a purchasing restriction of only $500 is a great way to save money on your favorite hobby, but eventually you’ll need to upgrade to keep up with the latest games.
Note: At the bottom of this list is a handy side-by-side comparison we’ve built up for you on our list of 2016’s top gaming machines. Also, some of these desktops have separate reviews on a different page. Make sure you also check those out!
Here are 5 of the best budget gaming PCs under 1000 dollars:
Best Gaming Desktops Under $1000: Lenovo IdeaCentre K450
The affordable IdeaCentre K450 by Lenovo retailed for roughly $899 on Amazon (prices may vary!) at the time of this posting, which fits our sub-$1000 budget perfectly. This is a tough machine, boasting a widely recommended Intel i7-4770 processor and a GTX 650 graphics card by NVIDIA. Oh, and you don’t have to worry about eating up storage space with all the games and media you’ll be downloading, because the K450 includes a 2 TB hard drive that runs at the standard 7200 RPM. You can always add your own SSD afterward.
The 12 GB of DDR3 RAM, if you are the type to require at least 16 GB of RAM from your PC, is probably the only downside to this beast of a computer, though hardly one at all considering you always have the option of upgrading. With a bit of tinkering, you can replace or add to the RAM easily. Lenovo also has the option to purchase a 16GB version of the same pre-built computer if you’d rather have it already come with the extended RAM.
— For more details, read our IdeaCentre K450 review here —
Best Gaming PC Under $1000: Acer Predator AG3-605-UR1D Desktop
If the Lenovo above was not your cup of tea, let’s take a look at the new Acer Predator. Acer is another company that has good credentials with the gaming community. This model particularly has been a fan-favorite in many online forum boards and has been recommended to me by a lot of my peers.
Its Intel Core i7-4770 3.4 GHz is good enough to handle many tasks well and in an efficient manner. Windows 8 is the default operating system that it comes with, but you can obviously downgrade to Windows 7 or upgrade to Windows 10 for free, courtesy of Microsoft.
All the power this computer packs is nicely complemented by the excellent and reliable GeForce GTX 760 graphics card. Personally, this video card has lasted me a couple years and I have been able to run the latest games on at least medium settings all the way through, which, on a crisp 32″ monitor like mine, looks wonderful.
The price tag on this machine may intimidate you, but that’s all part of the investment. If you want all this power and speed, you’ll need to either pay for it or buy it slowly but surely over the years as you try to build your own. You can either wait for the Acer to go on sale or buy a cheaper version of this model. Otherwise, it’s just so much simpler to let this Acer Predator be the finished product for you.
Best Gaming Computers Under $1000: Dell XPS 8700
The XPS 8700 is one of my favorite pre-built computers because of how simple it is. It doesn’t try to do too much with the hardware and the style is definitely for casual fans. The price is also under our budget, making room for optional upgrades like graphics cards, more storage space, or a better monitor.
Here are some of the specs of the XPS 8700. This is for the vanilla version, but of course you can choose to upgrade.
- Intel Core i7-4790 processor at 3.60Ghz
- 8GB of DDR3 RAM
- 1 TB of storage space
- GeForce GT720 with 1GB of video memory
A monitor is not included, so since the computer as a whole leaves some room in our spending limit, I would suggest buying a somewhat affordable monitor to pair with this. If you already have a monitor, however, I would suggest considering upgrading the entire package, as it opens up more doors with better specs:
- Intel Core i7-4770 processor at up to 4.0Ghz
- 32GB of DDR3 RAM
- 1 TB of storage space
- GeForce GT720 with 1GB of video memory
The above specs are available in the premium Dell XPS 8700 desktop (product link), but for all intents and purposes, to stay under budget, I would recommend the regular XPS 8700. The link for the product is provided below; be sure to read customer reviews before buying as well, since those are quite useful in finding insight before making a big decision like this.
Best Gaming Desktops Under $1000: Microtel TI9081 Liquid Cooling Gaming Desktop
Okay, fine. So we cheated a little. This gaming desktop by Microtel is not under $1000 and it isn’t cheap, assuming your budget is strictly a grand. But it’s one hell of a machine for the price. Check out the specs: a 3.4 Ghz Intel i7 processor, 16 GB RAM, a NVIDIA Geforce GTX 650 TI 1GB GDDR5 graphics card, and 2 TB of hard drive space. These specs closely mirror or even up those of the Alienware Aurora R4, which we reviewed a while ago.
Not to mention, this thing has liquid cooling, keeping it chill and quiet during your peak gaming sessions. It has easily become one of the better prebuilt setups available for purchase.
Pro tip: Pair this gaming powerhouse with one of our top gaming computer monitors of the year for the ultimate experience.
Best Gaming PCs Under $1000: CybertronPC Hellion GM1213B Desktop
CybertronPC, to me, is one of the companies that specialize in something and take pride in it. That something in this case is affordability. They make reliable computers and have become a trustworthy gaming hardware manufacturer while also undeniably giving amazing bang for your buck.
That continues with their inexpensive Hellion GM1213B desktop. This baby’s AMD FX 6300 3.50 Ghz processor has 6 cores to go along with a large amount of RAM (16 GB DDR3) and a hefty video card that boasts 2 GB of memory. This also comes with a fresh Windows 8 install disc which you can later upgrade to Windows 10 for free.
At only around $750 at the time of publishing, this is a great budget purchase. With an extra $50, you can get a 4-year warranty on the computer that will cover it for a long period of time if you’re concerned about hardware failure — useful if you are weary about trying a new company; rest assured, however, I have tried at least 5 or so computers from CybertronPC from both personal experience and thorough performance tests I had to do for clients, and all of them worked without faulty. Even with the extended warranty, $800 for a powerful machine that can breeze through most video games is a steal.
Below is an easy-to-view comparison chart for our selection of the best budget desktop builds.
Best Gaming Desktops Under $1000 2014
|Best Gaming Desktops 2014||Processor||Video Card||RAM (Random Access Memory)||Price||Amazon.com Customer Rating|
|Lenovo IdeaCentre K450||Intel Core i7-4770, 3.4 GHz||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650||16 GB DDR3||See full price on Amazon||4.1 out of 5.0 (39 customers)|
|CybertronPC GM2242D Assassin||AMD FX 4170 4.20GHz Quad Core||2 x AMD Radeon HD6570 1GB Cards||8 GB DDR3||See full price on Amazon||4.3 out of 5.0 (22 customers)|
|CybertronPC 5150 Unleashed GM1223H Desktop||AMD FX 4100 3.60GHz Quad-Core||Radeon HD 6670 1GB||8 GB DDR3||See full discounted price on Amazon||4.4 out of 5.0 (83 customers)|
|Microtel TI9081 Liquid Cooling Gaming Desktop||Intel Core i7 4770K Processor 3.4GHz||NVIDIA Geforce 650 GTX TI 1GB GDDR5||16 GB DDR3||See full price on Amazon||4.4 out of 5.0 (34 customers)|
|CybertronPC Hellion GM1213B Desktop||AMD FX 6300 3.50GHz 6-Core||NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 2GB||16GB DDR3||See full price on Amazon||4.5 out of 5.0 (62 customers)|