For old-school PC users, no MacBook or Windows laptop can compare to the comfort and utility of a good desktop computer and a full-sized display (or even a few monitors if you’re a true multi-tasker). Even in an age of cheap mobile hardware, desktop PCs still give you the most bang for your buck, and many techies even opt buy the components separately and build their own computer towers. Even the best laptops can’t offer that.
While building is a fine option for many, it’s not an easy task for the uninitiated (and unless your time is worthless, you might not save money, anyway). Thankfully, there are plenty of cheap desktop computer deals floating around out there, and we’ve got the best ones right here. These six hand-picked PCs include everything from super-cheap towers to beefy gaming systems, and all of them are priced at competitively priced.
Today’s best cheap desktop computer deals
— $380, was $450
You don’t have to pay out the nose for a desktop PC that can handle your daily workloads. If you’re looking for a cheap one, this HP Slim desktop is your best bet for around 400 bucks: An AMD Ryzen 3 CPU and 8GB of RAM are fairly basic but nonetheless offer enough juice for everyday use, while the 256GB solid-state system drive paired with a 1TB 7,200rpm HDD (faster than the 5,400rpm drives of years past) might be the perfect combo of speed and storage space.
A wired mouse and keyboard are included, as well. A $70 savings means you can score this cheap desktop computer deal for a super affordable $380 at the moment. If you’re willing to pay more for boosted specs, however, then be sure to check out our other picks.
— $524, was $764
Moving down in size a bit (but not up in price) from standard desktop towers, the HP EliteDesk 705 G4 mini PC is a great cheap desktop computer with a small footprint. It packs an AMD Ryzen 5 2400GE CPU with 8GB of RAM — the minimum specs we typically recommend if you’re spending more than $300 — along with a fast 256GB SSD and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.
Unlike many mini PCs that don’t come with a keyboard and mouse, this one comes with both, and the Ryzen CPU’s built-in Radeon Vega 11 graphics even give you a bit of light gaming muscle. A very nice $240 discount means you can grab this cheap desktop for a highly affordable $524 right now.
— $599, was $799
While gaming laptops have narrowed the gap in recent years, affordable desktop PCs like the iBuyPower Trace2 are still the best way to enjoy some impressive gaming capabilities on a budget. This desktop tower packs an Intel Core i3-9100 CPU, 8GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, and a 240GB SSD, which is impressive power for a cheap 1080p/60fps PC gaming machine at this price point.
The hardware alone is pretty solid, but to sweeten this cheap desktop deal even further, the computer also comes with a wired keyboard and optical mouse (all you need is a monitor and audio output and you’re ready to rock). This solid gaming PC is an unbeatable value at is current sale price of just $599 that saves you $200.
Along with a PC tower, you typically need a minimum of three peripherals to 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 Lenovo IdeaCentre 24-inch desktop is a great option for a super-sleek workstation fit for the 2020s.
The Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO comes equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 CPU with Radeon Vega graphics plus 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD — all of which sits right inside the 24-inch 1080p 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 $699 right now.
— $750, was $799
Desktop computers aren’t exactly known for their small footprints (relative to laptops, anyway), but the pint-sized Mac Mini from Apple can free up some desk space a bit. A quad-core Intel Core i3 CPU and 8GB of DDR4 RAM are very nice specs for work, browsing, and streaming, and you also get a snappy 128GB SSD for storage — not quite as large as a traditional hard drive, but much faster than those HDDs of yesteryear (and you can upgrade this at extra cost, of course).
What sells the Apple Mac Mini desktop computer is not just its small size, but its value: It’s on sale for $750 right now, making it far and away one of the cheapest brand new MacOS computers you can find at the moment. Just plug in your peripherals and you’re ready to roll.
— $950, was $1,100
Tip-toeing up to our $1,000 limit brings us to the beefy ABS Master gaming tower, which has pretty much everything we want in a desktop at this price. It boasts an Intel Core i5-10400 processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM (one of our favorite high-end graphics cards), and 16GB of DDR4 RAM, which all work together to deliver excellent gaming performance for playing the latest titles at 1440p or even 4K with a suitable monitor.
On top of that, you’ve got a 512GB solid-state system drive that’s both big and fast and offers plenty of storage. This solid gaming desktop is a great value at $950 after a $150 price cut.
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 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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