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The best cheap gaming PCs: Top picks from HP, Lenovo, and more

The best cheap gaming PCs don't sacrifice quality for price and are packed with powerful components, so you can stay on budget and take on the hottest titles.
Written by Taylor Clemons, Staff Writer
HP Omen 25L | Best cheap gaming PC overall
An HP Omen 25L gaming PC, keyboard, and mouse on a grey background
HP Omen 25L
Best cheap gaming PC overall
View now View at HP
Lenovo LOQ Tower | Best cheap Intel gaming PC
A Lenovo LOQ Tower on a grey background
Lenovo LOQ Tower
Best cheap Intel gaming PC
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Lenovo Legion Tower 5 Gen 8 | Best cheap gaming PC under $1500
A Lenovo Legion Tower 5 AMD gaming desktop on a grey background
Lenovo Legion Tower 5 Gen 8
Best cheap gaming PC under $1500
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HP Victus desktop | Best cheap gaming PC under $800
An HP Victus gaming desktop on a grey background
HP Victus desktop
Best cheap gaming PC under $800
View now View at HP

Prebuilt gaming PCs don't have to be expensive, especially if you're looking for an entry-level gaming rig. Brands like HP, MSI, and Lenovo offer cheap gaming PC configurations for gamers who don't want to sacrifice their budget for a capable performance suite like up-to date CPUs, brilliant graphics, and comprehensive storage options. They're also great options for kids and teens looking to get their own gaming PC, or dual purpose rig for games and school work.

Many of the budget gaming PC models also offer SSD storage for faster boot times and program launching in addition to RTX 30 and lower RTX 40 series graphics cards. And if you're looking for ways to upgrade your gaming PC down the line, many models also come equipped with extra RAM slots and storage drive bays so you can tailor your PC to your needs as they change. 

Also: The best gaming PCs you can buy: Expert tested

What is the best cheap gaming PC right now?

As an avid gamer myself, I rounded up the best gaming PC models on the on the market that won't cost you an arm and a leg, with my pick for the best cheap gaming PC overall going to the HP Omen 25L, thanks to its affordable price tag, support for up to 128GB of RAM, and RTX 3060 graphics card. Read to see which other budget gaming PC models match your CPU, GPU, gaming and budget preferences. 

The best cheap gaming PCs of 2024

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Around $1,000
  • RTX 3060 graphics card
  • Supports up to 4 displays
  • Supports up to 128GB of RAM
Cons
  • Included keyboard and mouse are very basic
  • No Thunderbolt support
More Details

The HP Omen 25L retails for around $900 while still offering top-tier components and excellent performance for PC gaming. It's built with a 13th generation Intel Core i5 CPU, 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card, and a 1TB solid state drive for storage. It supports up to 128GB of memory, so if your needs change, you can always upgrade your RAM as you go. And with three slots for M.2 SSDs, and a 3.5-inch drive bay, you can drop in additional storage as your game library grows.

The HP Omen 25L also supports up to four displays with 3 DisplayPort inputs and an HDMI 2.0 port. The tower comes packaged with a basic keyboard and mouse, so you can start playing your favorite games right out of the box. Verified reviewers from Best Buy and HP all agree that the Omen 25L is an excellent 13th gen Intel gaming PC for the money. Though you may want to spring for the 16GB RAM option to make sure you are able to play more graphically demanding games.

HP Omen 25L specs: CPU: Intel Core i5-1300F | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB SSD 

CyberPowerPC Gamer Master

Best cheap AMD gaming PC

A CyberPowerPC Gamer Master desktop, mouse, and keyboard on a grey background
CyberPowerPC/ZDNET
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Incredibly customizable
  • Very affordable
  • 7.1CH audio
  • Keyboard and mouse included
Cons
  • Higher configurations get costly
  • No Ryzen 7000 processor options
More Details

The CyberPowerPC Gamer Master is a great AMD-based gaming rig that's also easy on your wallet. You can buy one preconfigured for around $900, or you can customize your build on CyberPowerPC's website to get the best value for your budget. You can choose up to a Ryzen 9 5900X processor, either an RTX 4090 or RX 7900XT graphics card, up to 64GB of RAM, and up to 10TB of storage across two SSDs -- though do note that more powerful configurations will quickly run up final costs. 

The mid-tower case features a clear window panel to show off the internal components as well as RGB lighting from case fans and LED strips. And it comes packaged with a basic mouse and keyboard so you can get started setting up your PC and playing your favorite games right out of the box. The Gamer Master also uses 7.1CH audio for a more immersive gaming experience without a headset or expensive speaker system.

CyberPowerPC Gamer Master specs: CPU: Up to Ryzen 9 5900X | GPU: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 or AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT | RAM: Up to 64GB | Storage: Up to 10TB 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Dual storage drives
  • 3 months Xbox GamePass included
Cons
  • RAM support capped at 16GB
  • No AMD option
More Details

The Lenovo LOQ Tower is a new, budget-friendly offering from the brand. With a 13th generation Intel Core i7 CPU and up to 16GB of RAM, you'll have plenty of power and memory performance to handle the latest triple-A titles as well as classic favorites in your library. You can also configure the tower with up to a 512GB SSD and a 1TB HDD for all the storage space you need for an expanding game library.

It supports Wi-Fi 6 connectivity for faster wireless internet speeds as well as Bluetooth 5.1 for more reliable connections to wireless peripherals like headsets and mice. The tower comes packaged with a basic keyboard and mouse as well as a 3-month subscription to Xbox Game Pass so you can start playing the latest games right out of the box. Verified reviews on Levovo's website agree that the LOQ tower is an excellent choice for budget-conscious gamers who may not be interested in keeping up with the most recent components. 

Lenovo LOQ Tower specs: CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-13700F | GPU: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 | RAM: Up to 16GB | Storage: Up to 512GB SSD and 1TB HDD

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Just over $1000
  • RTX 3050 GPU
  • AMD Ryzen 7000 CPU
  • Upgradeable design
Cons
  • AMD CPU runs warmer than Intel processors
  • Limited USB inputs
More Details

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 5 retails for just over $1000, making it a great option if you have a flexible budget. It's built with an AMD Ryzen 5 7600 processor, 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, as well as a 512GB SSD. 

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 5 has extra RAM slots and drive bays to give multiple future upgrade options. The tower case itself also features RGB lighting that can be customized to show off your personal style or match other RGB peripherals. 

Verified reviews on Lenovo's site all agree that the tower runs fairly quietly and does a good job of dissipating waste heat to prevent overheating and damage to delicate components.

Lenovo Legion Tower 5 Gen 8 specs: CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 7600 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD 

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

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 AMD Ryzen 5 5600G CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and an AMD Radeon RX 6400 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. 

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. And speaking of upgrades, this model features a second RAM slot along with three storage drive bays, which makes upgrading a relatively fast and easy process. 

This PC's one drawback is the 350 watt power rating, 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. Customers who purchased this gaming PC on HP's website call out the company's reliable customer service for troubleshooting any issues you may have during setup or your warranty period as well as the fact that the Victus 15L is a great option for kids and teens looking to buy their first gaming PC.

HP Victus specs: CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600G | GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6400 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD 

What is the best cheap gaming PC?

My pick for the best cheap gaming PC is the HP Omen 25L. Along with a price tag that sits just around $1,000, it's built with a 13th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. It supports up to 128GB of RAM and has multiple slots for M.2 and 3.5-inch storage drives, allowing you to upgrade your memory and storage space as your needs change.

However, the best budget gaming PC for you will depend on what price you're looking to spend and how much storage you need.

Cheap gaming PC

Price

CPU

GPU

HP 25L

$950

Intel Core i5-1300F

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060

CyberPowerPC Gamer Master

$899

Up to AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

Up to RTX 4090 or Radeon RX 7900 XT

Lenovo LOQ Tower

$700

Intel Core i5-13400F

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050

Lenovo Legion Tower 5 Gen 8 

$870

AMD Ryzen 5 7600

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050

HP Victus Tower

$520

AMD Ryzen 5 5600G

AMD Radeon RX 6400

*MSRP at time of writing. Please note that actual prices may vary depending on retailer as well as available deals and promotions.

Which cheap 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 25L

A well-rounded and budget-friendly gaming PC. It supports up to 128GB of RAM and allows for storage expansion.

CyberPowerPC Gamer Master

A budget AMD-based gaming PC. You can configure this gaming PC with up to a Ryzen 9 5900X processor and your choice of RTX 4090 or Radeon RX 7900 XT GPU.

Lenovo LOQ Tower

A budget Intel-based gaming PC. It's built with a 13th gen Intel Core i5 processor as well as an RTX 3050 graphics card.

Lenovo Legion Tower 5 Gen 8

A gaming PC under $1500. This gaming PC retails for about $1000 while still offering great features like an AMD Radeon RX 6400 graphics card and dual storage drives.

HP Victus Tower

An ultra budget-friendly gaming PC. If your budget is so tight it squeaks, the HP Victus can be yours for under $600.

Factors to consider when choosing the best cheap gaming PCs:

If you're in the market for a budget gaming PC, there are several factors to consider besides a lower price tag. That includes the following: 

  • CPU: You'll want a CPU that's been released within the last 5 years to ensure your PC can play just about anything in your library.
  • GPU: If you're working with a tight budget, opt for an older GPU like an RTX 16 series or Radeon RX 5000 series. You'll still be able to play almost anything while saving a bit of money.
  • Connectivity: Make sure that the gaming PC you want has enough USB, HDMI, and DisplayPort inputs to support all of your displays, peripherals, and storage devices.
  • Upgrade options: As preferences change, you may want to upgrade your gaming PC, which can also cost you. We included options with components that make for a swift, budget-friendly upgrade.

How did we choose these budget gaming PCs?

While researching each budget-friendly gaming PC option on this list, I and other ZDNET experts kept these criteria in mind:

  • Brand integrity: While it's tempting to spring for one of those ultra-cheap desktops or laptops from a brand you've never heard of, you'll end up spending more in the long run to replace low-quality components or the entire computer. Unknown and smaller brands may also not have the greatest customer service experience for returns, exchanges, and refunds.
  • Multi-purpose: Not everyone has the luxury of being able to maintain separate PCs for gaming and work. Each PC on this list has been ensured to be compatible with most Windows and/or Linux-based programs for work and school.
  • Tower size: It's important to note what type of tower your gaming PC is housed in, as some components like motherboards and GPUs, have to be specifically sized for micro-ATX cases. Mid-size towers are some of the most popular options, and can house all but the very largest of graphics cards. Full-size towers won't have any issue housing any components, but the trade-off is that your PC will be fairly large (at least 2 feet tall).

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. Laptops use the same powerful processors and graphics cards as towers (which contribute to the cost) and pack in premium features that have a higher production cost, like OLED and 4K touchscreens. These "extras" are reflected in the final price. 

While there are some great budget gaming laptops, don't expect them to 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 that 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, 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?

Yes. 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.

How do I best choose a gaming PC for my child/teen?

Whether you're looking to get a computer strictly for school work or a rig that can handle gaming as well as class projects, it's important to know what your child wants out of their PC as well as what will work with your budget and house rules. 

ZDNET's Jason Cipriani wrote up a handy guide for how to choose a computer for your child if you want a more in-depth explanation.

How much power does a cheap gaming PC use?

Since a more budget-friendly gaming PC isn't going to use high-end parts, that means the components won't be as powerful or power-hungry. If you're looking to spend less than $1500 on a new gaming PC, you can expect it to have a power supply between 500 and 750 watts. 

This size PSU is plenty for most entry-level and mid-range gaming PCs, but if you're planning on dropping in more powerful components down the line (like graphics cards), you'll also want to upgrade your power supply to help prevent electrical issues or damaging delicate components.

What's the best cheap gaming PC for Fortnite?

Fortnite has some pretty forgiving baseline PC spec requirements for running the game, needing just 2GB of VRAM, 16GB of RAM, and featuring support older, DirectX 11-supported GPUs as well as 7th gen Intel and 3rd gen AMD Ryzen processors. 

So with this in mind, you can scope out some truly cheap gaming rigs if you're willing to work with older hardware. And older hardware is a great way to go if you're looking for a starter gaming PC for younger kids and teens.


More cheap gaming PCs to consider

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