Although laptops dominate the PC market in today’s fast-paced mobile world, it’s clear that desktop computers still fill an important role. As convenient as the portability of your Windows laptop or MacBook may be, when you’re sitting at your workstation for hours, nothing about a laptop can compare to the comfort and utility of a full-sized desktop display (or multiple displays if you’re into that) and a traditional keyboard.
That’s not likely to change any time soon, and that’s saying nothing of the value that desktop PCs represent in contrast to their laptop counterparts. It’s simply easier to find a good cheap desktop computer as it’s much easier to fit all that beefy hardware into a desktop tower — that’s even truer when you start looking at gaming PCs — ultimately giving you more bang for your buck.
Once you start including things like monitors and peripherals, though, the cost can add up quickly, so it behooves those shopping for a desktop PC to take the time to sniff out a good deal. If that’s what you’re after, then you’ve found the right place. Below, we rounded up a half dozen of the best cheap desktop computer deals out there right now, covering a nice spectrum of features and price points.
Today’s best cheap desktop computer deals
- — $ 279 ($ 20 off)
- — $ 360 ($ 40 off)
- — $ 580 ($ 190 off)
- — $ 791 ($ 85 off)
- — $ 850 ($ 100 off)
- — $ 999 ($ 400 off)
— $ 279 ($ 20 off)
Desktop computers aren’t exactly known for their small footprints (relative to laptops, anyway), but this pint-sized PC from HP can free up some desk space a bit. An AMD A4 CPU and 4GB of RAM are decent enough specs for basic work and web browsing, and you also get a nice large 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive for plenty of storage — not quite as fast as a solid-state drive, but faster than the 5,400rpm HDDs of yesteryear.
What really sells the HP Slim desktop computer is its small size and its price, which offers even more value when you consider that this bundle includes a mouse and keyboard right out of the box: Amazon has it on sale for a super-cheap $ 279 right now. Just add a display and you’re ready to roll.
— $ 360 ($ 40 off)
Moving up in power a bit (but not too much in price), the Acer Aspire is another great cheap desktop computer that won’t break the bank. It packs a ninth-generation Intel Core i3 CPU and 8GB of RAM — the minimum specs we typically recommend if you’re spending more than $ 300 — along with a 1TB 7,200rpm HDD and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.
Like the HP Slim desktop, this Acer Aspire PC also includes a wired keyboard and mouse to get you started, which only adds to its excellent value. A 10% discount of $ 40 knocks this cheap desktop down to $ 360 on Amazon.
— $ 580 ($ 190 off)
You no longer have to pay out the nose for a gaming PC, and if you’re looking for a cheap one, a desktop like this HP Pavilion is your best bet. Its AMD Ryzen 4 2400G CPU and RX 580 4GB GPU will handily tackle modern games at 1080p with good settings (although you may want to consider adding more RAM to its 8GB in the future), and the 1TB 7,200rpm HDD offers a nice amount of storage at a reasonable speed. A wired mouse and keyboard are included, as well.
A $ 190 savings means you can score the HP Pavilion gaming desktop for $ 580 from Amazon at the moment. If you’re willing to pay a little more for boosted specs, however, then you canwith an Intel i5-9400F CPU, Nvidia GTX 1660Ti GPU, and 256GB SSD for $ 620 instead.
— $ 791 ($ 85 off)
Laptops aren’t the only machines to benefit from PC hardware getting smaller and smaller, and desktop designs like the Legion C530 now allow you to enjoy some impressive gaming capabilities in a more portable package. This desktop “tower” (if you can call it that) packs a ninth-generation Intel Core i5-9400 CPU, 8GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, a 256GB SSD, and a 1TB SSD into an impressively compact cube.
It even has a handle on top for carrying it to your next LAN party if you’re so inclined. The hardware alone is pretty impressive at this price, but the Lenovo C530’s compact design truly sells it. Use the coupon code OUTLETEXTRA5 to score it for $ 792 ($ 85 off) from Lenovo.
— $ 850 ($ 100 off)
Along with a PC tower, you typically need a minimum of three peripherals to actually complete your desktop computer setup: a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse. These are additional costs, but if you want everything in a single package – and one that won’t take up much space on your desk – then an all-in-one system like this HP Pavilion is a great option for a super-sleek workstation fit for the 2020s.
The HP Pavilion all-in-one comes equipped with an eighth-gen Intel Core i5 CPU, 12GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, all of which sit right inside the 24-inch 1080p touchscreen monitor housing (that means there’s no PC tower to fuss with). That design, plus the included mouse and keyboard, gives you everything you need right out of the box, and for a great price of just $ 850 right now after a $ 100 discount.
— $ 999 ($ 400 off)
Tip-toeing up to our $ 1,000 limit brings us to the MSI Codex XE Plus, which has pretty much everything we’d want in a gaming desktop at this price. It boasts a ninth-generation Intel Core i7-9700K processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6GB of VRAM, and 16GB of DDR4 RAM, which work together to deliver excellent gaming performance at 1080p and even 1440p with a suitable monitor.
On top of that, you’ve got a nicely sized 512GB solid-state drive for plenty of high-speed storage. A very nice $ 400 discount knocks this beefy MSI gaming desktop down to $ 999 from Adorama.
How to choose a cheap desktop computer
After setting your budget, it’s time to decide what exactly you’re looking for in a good cheap desktop computer. First, is this PC going to be primarily for work and general daily use, primarily for gaming, or a fairly even split between these? This will naturally determine what sort of specs you’re looking at — such as, for instance, whether you need a discrete graphics card or not — but the good news is that in the sub-$ 1,000 category, you can find many good desktop PCs packing solid up-to-date hardware that won’t be totally outdated within two years.
Another important consideration is peripherals. What monitor (or monitors) is your desktop computer going to be connected to? Do you already have a mouse and keyboard; if not, do you want a desktop PC that comes with these included, or do you plan to buy nicer ones separately? Bear in mind that while many desktop towers come with accessories, you’ll still need to decide how much you’re budgeting for things like a monitor, a keyboard, a mouse, mouse pad, speakers, and other peripherals you might need.
The bottom line is this: Don’t merely look at the price and basic hardware specs when shopping for a cheap desktop computer. Set your budget, know exactly what features you want (write this down if you need to) and then work from there.
What makes a good cheap desktop computer?
When shopping for any sort of cheap computer, be it a laptop or desktop PC, the biggest risk you’ll face is ending up with something that is running on outdated hardware (or hardware that will be outdated very soon). This is what happens when you consider only the price and don’t familiarize yourself with the current state of computer hardware. Thankfully, there’s not too much to remember.
More Laptop Deals
First, when looking at CPUs, it’s best to stick with ninth- and 10th-generation Intel Core processors and AMD Ryzen (also known as “Zen”) processors, as these are more recent and will keep your system – even a relatively basic one – reasonably “future-proof.” We also suggest a minimum of 8GB of RAM unless you’re sailing into sub-$ 300 waters and 16GB is even more strongly recommended for something like a gaming desktop. Finally, solid-state drives (now common even on cheap computers) are generally preferable to traditional hard drives. These SSDs are generally more reliable and considerably faster than old-school HDDs, although they offer less storage space per dollar.
Are cheap desktop computers good for gaming?
Any PC packing an up-to-date CPU, GPU, and SSD (or at least a 7,200rpm HDD) should be good to go for gaming, and there are plenty of good cheap desktop computers that fit this bill nicely. Along with the processors we mentioned, modern graphics card generations include Nvidia’s 16- and 20-series cards, although you’ll be sticking with the 16-series GPUs in the sub-$ 1,000 price bracket. These replaced Nvidia’s 10-series cards as entry- and mid-level GPUs last year, and while there are still PCs with those older cards floating around, we don’t recommend them in 2020.
AMD’s Radeon family of budget- and mid-tier graphics card includes the RX 500 series, with GPUs like the RX 570, 580, and 590 offering good performance capabilities for 1080p gaming. You’re not likely to achieve 4K or even 1440p gaming with most cheap desktop computers, but that is a sacrifice you make for keeping costs down. Also, remember that an SSD will load games (and everything else) noticeably faster than an HDD.
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