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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Best Budget Gaming PC 2023

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We picked the Lenovo Legion 5i Tower Gen 7 as our top-choice for a budget gaming PC, and for a detailed look at it and others, click here to jump to our picks for the best budget gaming PCs, or just check out the list below. And if you’re looking to show the father figures in your life how much you care, an affordable gaming PC is one way to do it. Otherwise, there are plenty of other Father’s Day deals on tech and gaming to be found.

TL;DR – These are the Best Budget Gaming PCs

PC Gaming might seem prohibitively expensive to get into, but budget gaming PCs offer a surprisingly affordable way into the hobby. You don’t have to spend a full (or multiple) month’s salary to afford a gaming PC to play the best PC games. You can easily get a capable rig with a shiny new CPU and graphics card for a grand or less.

An affordable rig is all you need to get you through the PC gaming door to play AAA and indie games. You might get a rig with a small SSD or only one stick of RAM, but you can easily upgrade or replace these components down the line. The same goes with your gaming experience, if you want to upgrade to a 4K gaming monitor you can always buy a more powerful GPU in the future. With that said, these are the best budget gaming PCs to get your PC gaming life started – and click here and to find them in the UK. And even if you don't want to be weighed down by a giant tower, you can find the best gaming laptop deals here

Looking for discounts? Take a look at our guide to the best gaming PC deals for the latest savings.

The Best Budget Gaming PCs

Lenovo Legion 5i Tower Gen 8

Best Budget Gaming PC

Lenovo Legion 5i Tower Gen 8Lenovo Legion 5i Tower Gen 8

The Lenovo Legion 5i Tower Gen 8 might be a couple of ticks over $1,000, but the small added expense is well worth it for Intel’s 13th Generation Core i7 processor. That 16-core CPU gives this gaming PC a ton of extra processing headroom and excellent efficiency when you’re not gaming. Additionally, you get plenty of fast, upgradeable DDR5 memory, while the Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics onboard will see you through plenty of 1080p gaming.

Lenovo ensures that the Legion 5i Tower Gen 8 is ready to keep up with all your games by including two front intake fans behind a mesh facade and an exhaust fan at the back. Those fans also feature ARGB lighting, which shines through thanks to the glass side panel. The case is even relatively spacious, letting you do some tinkering, like adding to the storage for some speedy loads.

HP Omen 25L Gaming Desktop

Best Gaming PC Under $1000

HP Omen 25L Gaming DesktopHP Omen 25L Gaming Desktop

The HP Omen 25L Gaming Desktop is a fantastic gaming PC if you have a hard budget limit of $1,000. It packs a 12th gen Intel Core i5-12400 processor, which is a fantastic midrange gaming CPU with six P-cores and 12 threads that can overclock like it’s nobody’s business. You’ll have no issue cruising through everyday tasks, and it’s a gaming workhorse. Of course, pairing that processor with Nvidia RTX 3050 graphics makes this machine a 1080p gaming champion, though if you want to game at higher resolutions, it’ll cost you the frame rate.

This gaming PC isn’t quite full-featured, with only DDR4 RAM and a PCIe 3.0 SSD, but you have everything you need to start playing PC games with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage space. If that doesn’t seem like enough, the HP Omen 25L offers plenty of custom upgrades you can make when purchasing, or it totes a pretty cavernous PC case, so you can easily swap your components later on.

HP Victus 15L

Cheapest Gaming PC

HP Victus 15LHP Victus 15L

For a price south of $700, the HP Victus 15L is one of the absolute cheapest PCs for gaming available that’s actually worth buying. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600G is a fantastically powerful CPU, and even the low-power AMD Radeon RX 6400 delivers a surprising amount of graphical grunt. You should achieve about 60fps gaming on AAA titles at a 1080p resolution and your visual quality set to high, which isn’t too shabby when considering the price.

The HP Victus 15L is a tiny little rig, so it’s perfect if you also don’t have much space for a desktop. It even offers a bit of RGB lighting in the front panel for that gamer aesthetic, while nine USB ports are available to hook up all your peripherals. The only downside is it comes with a baseline of 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage, but that’s all you need to start playing games, and you can always upgrade down the road.

CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme Gaming Desktop

Best Budget PC for 1440p Gaming

CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme Gaming DesktopCyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme Gaming Desktop

1440p gaming might seem impossible on a budget, but the CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme is a fantastic, albeit limited, deal at just under $1,500. It’s fully loaded with the latest Intel Core i5-13600KF processor, which offers 14 cores and outstanding single-threaded performance perfect for games. When you pair that with the Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti graphics, you get a machine ready to make your QHD and ray-traced gaming dreams a reality—and it’s capable of some high FPS in 1080p gaming when you’re in the mood.

Furthering along that epic level of performance is 16GB of DDR4 memory to keep everything running smoothly, even while multitasking with graphics-heavy programs, and 1TB of SSD storage ensures your games boot up quickly. To keep all those powerful components from overheating, the CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme has a ventilated case and a liquid cooling system in place. It also comes with a gaming keyboard and mouse, adding to the PC's value, while eight USB ports and two DisplayPorts mean you can hook up a bunch of other peripherals.

NZXT Player: One

Best Budget PC for 1080p Gaming

NZXT Player: One NZXT Player: One

If you don’t want to sacrifice frame rates, 1080p is the way to go when gaming on a budget, and the NZXT Player: One offers stellar performance at that resolution for a fair price. Toting a capable Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics card, you can enjoy playing games at a silky 1080p with ray tracing enabled and the highest settings. That GPU pairs perfectly with the Intel Core i5 12400F processor for solid single-threaded performance.

Beyond its processors, the NZXT Player: One also comes with 16GB of memory and 500GB of speedy SSD storage, which is plenty for anyone just starting in the PC gaming space or casual gamers. Those components and others are also easily upgradeable in the roomy case. There’s even a Player One: Prime model for a couple hundred more that includes a better GPU and more storage if you’re looking for something with more power.

Where to Get the Best Budget Gaming PC in the UK

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i i7 16GB 1TB RTX3060Ti Gaming PCLenovo Legion Tower 5i i7 16GB 1TB RTX3060Ti Gaming PC £1,699.00Gamer XtremeCyberPowerGamer Xtreme Best budget gaming PC£561.60HP Omen 25L Gaming DesktopHP Omen 25L Gaming Desktop HP Victus 15LHP Victus 15L NZXT Streaming PCNZXT Streaming PC

What to Look For in a Budget Gaming PC

The best gaming PCs will invariably be pricey, especially if you plan to play graphically-intensive games at high or ultra settings, but finding a decent and affordable gaming rig isn’t impossible.

Just take our picks above as an example, it’s entirely possible to find desktops to help you get started with PC gaming without having to spend more than $1,000. The most important thing is you need to find configurations with a strong enough processor and graphics cards to meet your needs. We’ll break down what to look for on a per-component basis.

Discrete GPU

Thanks to the renewed competition between AMD and Nvidia, graphics cards have never been more powerful and affordable. The downside to this is that there are a lot of options out there, and it can get pretty overwhelming to choose when you’re not familiar with them.

On the budget spectrum, the Nvidia RTX 3060 has become the defacto graphics card for most people. Of course, you can shoot a little lower with the Nvidia RTX 3050 for a bit more savings, but this GPU is best for competitive like CS:GO and League of Legends. Some slightly more affordable Nvidia RTX 40 series cards are also beginning to get released.

As for AMD, the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT and AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT — or their slightly updated successors — often come with even lower-priced rigs. You'll also find some affordable Radeon RX 7000 line of GPUs, like the Radeon RX 7600 on newer budget builds. If you’re looking for something dirt-cheap, the AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT is a solid bargain-basement performer.

Processor

The second thing you should consider about your gaming PC is the processor. While the CPU doesn’t directly drive how your games will look, they do determine how well they will run.

Having the latest processor is less important than having the latest graphics cards, however, Intel’s 12th Generation and AMD’s 5th Generation CPUs represent the largest CPU improvements we’ve seen in years past. Intel's 13th gen chips also offer a solid upgrade in perfromance. So it’s worth seeking out the newest chips you can find if you can afford them.

With that said, you should ideally find a gaming PC with either an Intel Core i5-12400 or AMD Ryzen 5 5600X. While shopping for a budget gaming PC you also might also come across configurations with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600G or Ryzen 7 5700G. These are essentially AMD’s APUs that offer great performance, amazing integrated graphics, and often extra savings, so there’s no reason to avoid options with these CPUs.

RAM

The speed and amount of RAM you have in your gaming PC is the third most important factor. At the very least you want to have a minimum of 8GB of DDR4 RAM, but most gaming PCs these days come with at least 16GB of memory. Also keep in mind that it’s usually cheaper to upgrade your RAM then to do it at check out, so you might find it more economical to pick a configuration with less memory and buy a separate kit to install.


Kevin Lee is IGN's SEO Updates Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam.

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