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The best cheap gaming PCs: Affordable rigs under $1,500

Brands like MSI, Omen, and HP have budget-friendly gaming PCs packed with powerful components so you can take on the hottest indie and triple-A titles.
Written by Taylor Clemons, Staff Writer on
Reviewed by Emery Wright

Even with the end of the crypto craze causing prices to fall for GPUs and processors, it's still easy to spend a lot of money on a prebuilt gaming PC. Fortunately, brands like HP, MSI, and Lenovo offer cheap gaming PC configurations for budget-conscious gamers. Just because you're spending less doesn't mean you have to skip out on things like up-to-date CPUs and graphics cards or storage options. 

Many budget-friendly prebuilt gaming PCs offer SSD storage for faster boot times and program launching as well as RTX 30 series graphics cards. They also have extra RAM slots and storage drive bays to give you ways to upgrade your gaming PC down the line as your needs change.

Also: The best gaming PCs: Top rigs for pros, casual games, and creators

To help you find the best cheap gaming PC, I've put together a list of the best you can buy. I've also broken down their features and price points to help you decide which is the right fit for your gaming needs and budget.

Pros & Cons
  • Tons of upgrade options
  • Lots of USB ports
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • RTX 3060 GPU
  • No Thunderbolt support
  • No microSD card reader
More Details

Tech specs: CPU: Intel Core i5-12400F | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB SSD 

The HP Omen 40L tower is a great option for PC gamers looking to upgrade their current setup, as well as first-time gaming PC buyers looking to get a prebuilt rig without spending a fortune. It's built with an Intel Core i5-12400F processor, 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card, and a 1TB SSD. And with four RAM slots, four drive bays, and three M.2 SSD slots, there are plenty of ways to upgrade the Omen 40L as your needs change down the line. 

The tower case features RGB lighting that can be customized to show off your style or match other RGB peripherals as well as 10 USB ports for connecting keyboards, mice, headsets, and external storage devices. The HP Omen 40L also supports Wi-Fi 6 for ultra-fast wireless internet speeds, so you can keep up in online matches and multiplayer games with friends while Bluetooth lets you set up wireless peripherals. The tower case also has plenty of room inside for liquid cooling options if you opt for more powerful components that need extra heat dissipation.

Pros & Cons
  • Supports 3 displays
  • Plenty of USB ports
  • Decent CPU and GPU
  • Keyboard and mouse included
  • Only one USB-C port
  • No Wi-Fi 6 support
More Details

Tech specs: CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G | GPU: AMD Radeon RX 5500 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD 

If you're an AMD loyalist, the HP Pavilion tower is a great, affordable option for a new gaming rig. It uses a Ryzen 5 5600G processor as well as an AMD Radeon RX 5500 graphics card to allow you to play just about any game on the market. It also has 16GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD for faster boot times and game launching. 

It also comes bundled with a basic keyboard and mouse so you can get started playing games right away. Plus, it supports Bluetooth connectivity if you prefer wireless peripherals. 

The front of the tower features multiple USB 3.1 ports, a USB-C port, and a microSD card reader to give you plenty of ways to connect peripherals and external storage devices. The back of the tower has four more USB 2.0 ports as well as an HDMI input and two DisplayPort inputs to support up to three displays. 

Pros & Cons
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Supports 4 displays
  • 12th gen Intel Core i5
  • RTX 3050 GPU
  • Tons of USB ports
  • Micro ATX form factor makes upgrading a bit difficult
  • No room for liquid cooling options
More Details

Tech specs: CPU: Intel Core i5-12400F | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 500GB SSD 

Intel loyalists looking to save a bit of money on a prebuilt gaming PC should check out the MSI Aegis R. It's built with a 12th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 500GB SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card. And if you need even more memory and RAM, the Aegis R supports up to 128GB of RAM and features four storage drive bays as well as two M.2 slots for all of the configuration possibilities you can think of. 

It also supports Wi-Fi 6 for ultra-fast wireless internet speeds and Bluetooth 5.2 for more reliable and stable wireless peripheral connections. The RTX 3050 GPU has three DisplayPort inputs and one HDMI port, letting you connect up to four monitors for the ultimate gaming and multitasking setup. The tower itself has seven USB 3.1 ports, two USB 2.0 inputs, and two USB-C ports for connecting peripherals and charging mobile devices.

Pros & Cons
  • Under $1500
  • RTX 3060 GPU
  • 12th gen Intel Core i7 CPU
  • Upgradeable design
  • No M.2 slots
  • No Wi-Fi 6 support
More Details

Tech specs: CPU: Intel Core i7-12700 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD 

Even with the decline of the Crypto Craze, prebuilt gaming PC configurations still cost at least $1000 for a decent build, and if you want things like multiple storage drives or an up-to-date GPU, you'll have to spend even more. The Lenovo Legion Tower 5i retails for under $1500, making it a great option if you have a flexible budget. It's built with an Intel Core i7-12700 processor, 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, as well as both a 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD. 

This configuration gives you plenty of power to play the latest games as well as old favorites in your library with plenty of storage for new and old games. And if you need even more power and storage, the Legion Tower 5i supports up to 128GB of RAM and features three storage drive bays to give you plenty of upgrade options down the line. The tower case itself also features RGB lighting that can be customized to show off your personal style or match other RGB peripherals.

Pros & Cons
  • Under $1000
  • Expandable RAM and storage
  • 12th gen Intel Core i3 CPU
  • Somewhat limited power supply
More Details

Tech specs: CPU: Intel Core i3-12100F | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB SSD 

You may be working with a very limited budget when shopping for a new gaming PC. And fortunately, the HP Victus is priced under $1000 while still giving you what you need. It's built with an Intel Core i3-12100F CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 16050 graphics card. And just because it has an older GPU, that doesn't mean you can't still play all of the latest triple-A and indie games. 

There is a second RAM slot as well as three storage drive bays, meaning you can quickly upgrade your tower later if your needs change. The HP Victus can support up to 32GB of RAM and however much storage you want, which means that you can save a good bit of cash buying the prebuilt configuration and upgrading piecemeal as time goes on. The one drawback is that the power supply is only rated for 350 watts, so if you want to add a second storage drive or a more powerful GPU, you'll need to drop in a more powerful PSU as well.

What is the best cheap gaming PC?

The best cheap gaming PC is the HP Omen 40L because it features an excellent CPU and GPU, along with abundant USB ports and upgrade options. It supports Wi-Fi 6 for extremely fast speeds and features RGB lighting that can be customized to show off your style.

Cheap gaming PC




HP Omen 40L


Intel Core i5-12400F

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060

HP Pavilion


AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

AMD Radeon RX 5500

MSI Aegis R


Intel Core i5-12400F

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen 7


Intel Core i7-12700

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060

HP Victus Tower


Intel Core i3-12100F

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650

Which budget gaming PC is right for you?

Once you've finalized your budget, you'll want to choose a gaming PC that has enough storage space for a small library of your favorite games as well as plenty of RAM for smooth gameplay. You'll also want to make sure that the included GPU is powerful enough to handle most popular games, and that the power supply is able to keep up with your needs as you swap out components or add things like secondary storage drives or more RAM sticks.

Choose this cheap gaming PC...

If you need...

HP Omen 40L

A well-rounded and budget-friendly gaming PC

HP Pavilion

A budget AMD-based gaming PC

MSI Aegis R

A budget Intel-based gaming PC

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i Gen 7

A gaming PC under $1500

HP Victus Tower

An ultra budget-friendly gaming PC

How did we choose these budget gaming PCs?

Along with the price, I looked at PC builds that can handle popular games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Overwatch while also providing plenty of storage for downloads, photos, and videos. I also chose builds that can be configured on the brand website, so anyone with flexibility in their budget can create their ideal gaming PC.

What should I look for in a gaming PC?

No matter what gaming PC you choose, make sure the product has a good processor, a great GPU, and a decent cooling system. 

Is it better to buy or build a gaming PC?

While you can find some affordable prebuilt gaming PCs, you can also save yourself a bit more cash by building your own PC. By building your own, you can take advantage of sales and deals on components in order to get the best parts for the cheapest prices. The trade-off is taking the time to put everything together yourself, so you'll have to decide if you're comfortable enough building your own PC, and whether or not you have the time and energy to do so.

Is a laptop cheaper than a gaming PC?

Unfortunately, a laptop designed for gaming is going to cost more than a PC tower. They use the same processors and graphics cards, which contribute to the cost, as well as options like OLED or 4K touch screens, which are difficult and expensive to produce -- the final price of the laptop will reflect that. There are some great budget gaming laptops if that's what you're looking for, but they won't be much cheaper than a traditional PC tower.

What is a good budget for a gaming PC?

Even before the chip shortages, you couldn't find many prebuilt gaming PCs under $1,000. Now, with GPUs harder and harder to come by, a prebuilt PC is about the only way to get your hands on one, even older ones like the GTX 1660 Super. And they definitely come with a cost. You can still get a decent build for around $1,000, or even less if you put in the work to find them, but you may want to build out your budget to around $1,200 to account for rising component costs.

How much RAM do I need for gaming?

How much RAM you need depends on what you're looking to get out of your gaming experience. You can get a lot of games with just 8GB of RAM, and 16GB is just about perfect for handling even the most technically demanding titles and programs. You can find configurations with 32GB or even up to 128GB of RAM, but not only does this considerably increase the cost of the build, but it's also overkill. Higher RAM configurations are best used by creative professionals rendering 3D art and animation, and for gaming, you start to see diminishing returns after 32GB. 

Do I need a dedicated GPU to play PC games?

You do, actually. Many new CPU chips have some sort of integrated graphics processing unit, but it's best used for very casual home use like streaming Netflix or looking at your aunt's vacation photo album on Facebook. To launch the most popular game titles, you need a dedicated GPU, but it doesn't have to be a fancy, expensive one. You can use an older card like a GTX 1650 or Radeon RX 5500 and still get a lot of mileage out of your build.

Are there alternative cheap gaming PCs worth considering?

There are budget-friendly prebuilt gaming PCs available from other brands, too. If you're willing to spend just a bit more, here's a short list of other options that are also worth considering:

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