Best Gaming PCs Under $1000 in 2021

The Best Gaming PCs Under $1000

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Looking for the best gaming PCs at an affordable price?

If there’s anything that can spoil your fun while gaming, it’s a PC that can’t keep up with your favorite games. Low framerates, frame skips, overheating, and more significant issues like system crashes — we’ve all been there. If this sounds like your gaming sessions more often than not, it might be time to get a solid desktop that can keep up with your gaming habits.

Building a PC from scratch is not for everyone, and with the state of the current market, it’s almost impossible. Getting a pre-built gaming PC is a simpler option that can also serve you well. There are plenty of good desktops in the under $1500 range, so you’ll have some options to choose from.

Gaming PCs are diverse, and you can burn yourself if you choose the wrong desktop. This risk is why I’ve prepared this guide — to show you precisely what you need to look for in a pre-built computer. I will also share some of my favorite pre-built PCs. One thing to note, in this absolutely crazy market, prices flucuate constantly, so some of these models are now more than our $1000 limits, that aside… 

Let’s goooooo!

An overview of the best gaming PCs under $1000

A few things to consider when buying a gaming PC

As I said above, buying a desktop can be tricky if you aren’t sure what to look for while shopping. Making the wrong choice on a spec might result in anything from a drop in performance to frequent crashes or the need to replace components that turned out to be incompatible. To better inform you, here are a handful of points to look for when shopping for a new PC under $1000.

Specifications

Specifications (or specs for short) are a big one — and no wonder. Whether you know everything about PC components or not, it’s crucial to look carefully at some of the specs and consider what is necessary for gaming. Let’s go over them one by one to help you understand what you need to spot.

Processor (CPU)

Your processor is at the center of your PC build. A decent gaming desktop should have, at the minimum, an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 3 processor. However, going up to a Core i7 or a Ryzen 5 often doesn’t affect the budget too much and might bring a much-needed boost to more budget machines. The faster your CPU is, the quicker it can process everything you are doing, so do not skimp out on a budget CPU. 

Graphics card (GPU)

Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t need a dedicated graphics card for a gaming PC — you absolutely do. Some computers (primarily laptops) come with integrated GPUs that can’t perform as well as their dedicated-equivalent cards would.

Budget systems often feature a GeForce GTX 1660 or 1650, which are decent cards for their price range but are on the lower end. For AMD fans, the Radeon RX 5500 XT EVO and related series cards are a solid option.

Memory (RAM)

RAM plays a crucial role in how well your PC handles performing multiple tasks at once. Keep in mind that every application you have open will be using RAM, and your OS itself will take up a chunk of your total RAM any time your computer is running. We recommend looking for a pre-built PC that allows for RAM upgrades and comes with no less than 8GB of RAM. 

Storage (SSD and/or HDD)

A solid-state drive (SSD) will improve your game load times considerably. You’ll experience fewer laggy situations in-game if the game is installed on an SSD. The downside is that they tend to have a smaller storage capacity and are more expensive. An ideal combo to look for would be an SSD with a decent storage capacity to install your OS and your most-played games on, and a large capacity SATA HDD for storing your data and lesser played games. 

Component quality

This is a major consideration when buying a pre-built desktop. Some manufacturers will try to lure you in with high-end graphics cards and processors but will cheap out on a sufficient power supply or cooling system. The result? An unstable computer that is prone to power and overheating issues.

To avoid this problem, I’ve only included computers made by manufacturers who pay attention to those critical details.

The best gaming PCs in the $1000 range

Now that you’re armed with knowledge — the only thing that remains is to look up some cool desktops for your gaming needs. Here’s a lineup of five of my favorites, each solid in its own way.

1. CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme

A well-rounded PC made by a well-known and respected manufacturer. If you’ve got a little bit more than $1000 to spend, this is a great way to get the best bang for your buck.

CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR Gaming PC

Specs:

  • Processor: Intel i5-10400F 2.9GHz
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 500 GB PCI-E NVMe SSD
  • Connectivity: 6 USB 3.1 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports; Ethernet, Wi-Fi
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home

If you’re going with a pre-built, you usually can’t go wrong with CyberPowerPC. You’ll be able to play most new titles with decent framerates. Of course, there’s a large gap between the GeForce GTX 1660 Super and one of the latest graphics cards, but for a budget desktop, this is as good as it gets. CyberPowerPC advertises this desktop as a VR gaming PC, and admittedly, that might be a bit of a stretch. However, it can handle some VR just fine.

The CPU is solid, although it only comes with a stock cooler, so you may see the temperatures rising over time. I recommend replacing the stock cooler as your first investment when upgrading components somewhere down the line.

The PC comes with a sizeable SSD. 500GB gives you enough space to run the operating system, all of your important applications, and a few of your favorite games. You won’t get much in terms of storage as there is no HDD, so an external drive is a good idea here if you’ve got loads of movies, photos, or more games than the SSD can fit.

I like that this system provides built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. This isn’t the default in desktops, so it’s definitely nice to have. I also appreciate the pre-installation of Windows 10, which saves you money and time right off the bat.

All in all, this is a terrific deal for the money. You’re not getting a high-quality power supply or extra cooling, so those may need replacing one day. If you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks in a year or two, I definitely recommend this PC for all kinds of gaming.

Pros

  • One of the best graphics cards in this price range
  • Reliable processor
  • Large SSD
  • Pre-installed Windows 10

Cons

  • No extra CPU cooler
  • No hard drive
  • 8GB RAM is not ideal for many

2. SkyTech Blaze II

Coming up just shy of the $1000 mark, the SkyTech is a powerful alternative to the CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme for AMD fans. Also, it looks really sleek.

SkyTech Blaze II Gaming Computer PC Desktop

Specs:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super 4GB
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 3000MHz
  • Disk drive: 500GB SSD
  • Connectivity: PCIe AC Wi-Fi, Ethernet; 4 x USB 3.1, 2x USB 2.0; 1x HDMI, 1x Display Port
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home

AMD vs. Intel is the Android vs. iPhone of the PC world — it’s ultimately all down to preference. However, there’s no denying that lately, AMD has caught up to Intel in terms of producing top-notch processors. In some cases, AMD Ryzen pulls ahead, offering better or equal quality at a reasonable price. This is why I have no problem recommending this PC — built around the Ryzen 5 3600; it’s a good option if you want a break from Intel.

Ryzen 5 3600, the CPU included in this build, is a 6-core, 12-thread processor that’s good for gaming and multitasking. Compared to the Intel in CyberPower’s desktop, it offers about the same performance, but it wins at multi-core tasks. To put it simply, you can do several things at once on this PC, so if you’re a fan of the good ol’ gaming, Twitch, and Discord combo, you’ll have no issues here.

The GPU in this model is not as powerful as the one in CyberPower’s, but it’s a relatively small margin. In benchmarks, the GeForce GTX 1650 Super is around 5-10% worse than the GTX 1660 Super.

One thing that I like is the emphasis SkyTech places on proper cooling — a standout amongst pre-builts. The 8GB of RAM has its own heat spreader, and the fancy RGB-lit case has three extra 120mm fans. If you don’t mind the worse GPU and want to go with AMD, this is a good option.

Pros

  • Good cooling system
  • Solid CPU for multitasking
  • High-frequency RAM
  • Large SSD

Cons

  • No HDD
  • Worse graphics card than the CyberPowerPC above
  • Only 8GB of RAM

3. 2021 HP Pavilion Gaming Computer

Gaming on a budget hasn’t been easily accessible in this past year or two. If you’re looking to save some money to get yourself a new headset or a monitor, here’s my recommendation for you — a budget-conscious HP Pavilion gaming PC.

2021 HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop Computer

Specs:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3500
  • Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super 4GB
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Disk drive: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth combo, Ethernet; 4x USB 3.1, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, 4x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home

HP is not a brand traditionally known for its gaming products. It’s more often associated with office computers and printers. While I agree that this is new territory for the brand, I also have to say that I’m rather impressed with the HP Pavilion.

For a low price, you’re getting a 6-core AMD Ryzen 5 processor. The graphics card is, once again, a GeForce GTX 1650 Super, which is a surprisingly decent choice for such a budget desktop.

This PC comes with a standard 8GB of RAM, which will suffice, but 16GB would be a recommended next upgrade. The money-saving aspect comes into play when it comes to storage. HP Pavilion only has a 256GB SSD and no extra drives. In addition to that, it has no additional SATA ports, which means you will need an external drive if you want more storage.

HP Pavilion has a relatively small case that feels a little bit crowded. There’s not much room for air to move around and keep things cool. As such, you may run into some temperature issues down the road if you don’t buy a stronger fan.

Where it matters the most, HP Pavilion doesn’t fall behind the other builds on this list too much. It’s a budget PC that will serve you well if you don’t need to play Cyberpunk 2077 on max settings.

Pros

  • Extremely affordable
  • Solid CPU and GPU
  • Comes with a mouse and keyboard

Cons

  • Minimal storage options
  • Small case with limited airflow
  • Difficult to upgrade

4. iBUYPOWER Pro Gaming PC

Arguably the best-looking PC on this list, iBUYPOWER Pro delivers quite a punch, neatly packed into a stylish package.

iBUYPOWER Pro Gaming PC Trace 4 MR 9340

Specs:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6GHz
  • Graphics card: AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Disk drive: 240GB SSD
  • Connectivity: Ethernet; 4x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home

With its large case fitted with RGB fans, iBUYPOWER Pro looks like a high-end desktop made for a true gamer. What hides inside? A decent set of components and just about what you can expect in a mid-range budget PC. All in all, for this price, I’d call it a good deal.

This is a system for a true AMD fan, what with the Ryzen 5 3600 combined with an AMD graphics card — the Radeon RX 5500 XT. While most benchmarks point to the GTX 1660 Super being the better option, the RX 5500 XT is OK for most popular games, even those released last year.

A few things are missing from this build that the previous ones offer, such as Wi-Fi connectivity or a larger SSD. It is a shame, but don’t let it sway you. This PC is a solution if you want something good right now and you’re interested in improving it over time. Alternatively, if you’re not a demanding gamer, you’re likely to be satisfied with it as is.

One of the perks of this PC is that it’s straightforward to upgrade. I personally couldn’t deal with just the 240GB SSD for too long, so I’d recommend upgrading to more storage if that’s important to you. You can also pick up more RAM somewhere down the line. The important thing is that you don’t have to. iBUYPOWER Pro runs just fine right out of the box, although there is definitely room to make it better if your budget can stretch to it.

Pros

  • Affordable PC for gamers
  • Stylish, roomy case
  • Extra case fans for better cooling

Cons

  • No built-in Wi-Fi
  • Small SSD and no other storage
  • Not-so-powerful graphics card

5. Omen 25L

If you can afford to spend a bit more, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal than the Omen 25L. This is my high-end pick for this list of gaming desktops under $1000.

OMEN - GT12-0030 25L Gaming Desktop PC

Specs:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Graphics card: AMD Radeon RX 5500
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Disk drive: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth; 7 USB Type-A, 1 USB Type-C
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home

It’s not so easy to find a dependable gaming PC when you’re on a budget. Adding just a bit more gets you a few huge improvements in the Omen 25L. This elegant PC with a matte chrome case doesn’t look like a gaming computer, but it definitely performs like one.

Omen 25L comes with the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X processor, which is an 8-core, 16-thread CPU. It’s a strong multitasker. In some benchmarks, it proves to be up to 65% more powerful than some Intel Core CPUs when it comes to multi-core tasks. Once again, if you like doing several things at once, get your hands on this one.

The RX 5500 is not the most powerful GPU out there, but it does the job, and it is combined with a good CPU and — finally! — 16GB of HyperX RAM. The extra memory alone somewhat makes up for the higher price of this PC, as you’re saving on a major upgrade. You’re also getting a 512GB SSD, although it’s a shame there’s no added HDD option.

Omen 25L offers toolless access if you do choose to upgrade it someday. If you do, I’d recommend that you get yourself a good Noctua fan or two to start with, as the stock cooling it comes with is not the greatest. I can see that becoming a problem eventually.

All in all, you are paying a bit extra, but you’re getting a solid set of specs that can support most gaming habits. If you’re willing to make that investment, I’d recommend the Omen 25L any day of the week.

Pros

  • Dependable processor for multitasking
  • 16GB of RAM
  • Easy access for upgrades
  • Elegant case that doesn’t scream “gamer”

Cons

  • Not the most outstanding GPU
  • The cooling could be better
  • No extra HDD

Picking the Right Gaming PC for Your Needs

You’ve now learned what to look for in a gaming PC and seen some great options for the $1000 budget. If the choices are getting jumbled in your head, no worries — here’s a quick recap on each of the reviewed computers.

Your choice in a gaming PC can potentially impact the next few years of gaming for you, which is why I’ve only picked PCs that I know you can trust. Whether you splurge on the Omen 25L or keep your budget mostly intact with one of the other four, you can’t go wrong with these. Take the plunge and try your favorite games in higher quality with a new PC — just don’t forget to sleep sometimes.

About Squishface

Squishface is the co-founder and owner of Corrosion Hour; a RUST community and website dedicated to helping server owners with the administration and navigation of the ever-changing landscape of RUST. As a tech professional with over a decade in the field and a deep love of gaming, she spends much of her time in code researching and developing ways to bring meaningful content to players and readers.

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