Cheap gaming PC deals: jump links
Whether you’re looking for a super-basic machine to play some indy titles on or a machine that’s capable of maxing out CyberPunk 2077, our best cheap gaming PC deals list contains options for both. We’re generally aiming at spending as little as possible here, but you’ll find good value options across the board should you be looking for something with a bit of power.
Because buying a new gaming PC is a big commitment, we’ve also stacked this article full of helpful, unbiased buyer’s advice. First time buying a PC? Perhaps you’re a parent looking to buy a gaming PC for your son or daughter. Regardless of your knowledge level or expertise, you’ll find a detailed guide on how much you should spend and what to look out for at the bottom of the page. The cheap gaming PC deals market tends to be littered with sub-par third-party choices on sites like Amazon, Newegg, and eBay, so a bit of research can go a long way if you’re not technically inclined.
While you’re here, why not swing by our main guide to the best budget gaming PC of 2022. That page is light on deals but includes plenty more buying advice plus a rundown of all the best machines we’ve personally reviewed here at TechRadar .
Best cheap gaming PC deals in the US: under $1,000
Best cheap gaming deals in the US: over $1,000
More cheap gaming PC deals in the US
Best cheap gaming PC deals in the UK: under £1,000
Best cheap gaming deals in the UK: over £1,000
More cheap gaming PC deals in the UK
Cheap gaming PC deals: FAQ
Buying a pre-built gaming PC vs building your own
- Buying pre-built
- Pros: cost, ease of use, system warranty
- Cons: cut corners, generic parts
- Building your own
- Pros: easily customizable and upgradable
- Cons: price, warranty on individual parts only
A few years ago, the best advice was always to build your own PC, if you could. Components were cheap and readily available, and nearly every company cut corners while charging you a premium for the associated labor costs of building. In the past couple of years, however, pre-builds have come a very long way indeed when it comes to overall value.
While it’s still commonplace for companies to cut costs on things like CPU coolers, RAM, and other minor (but essential) components, generally speaking, it’s now cheaper to buy your machine from one of the bigger companies versus buying everything separately.
Since big manufacturers like Dell, HP, and other well-known builders can buy components either in bulk or wholesale, they’re not paying the same graphics card prices on the street as you do. While RAM and storage upgrades are cheap and abundant, we all know how much of an issue getting ahold of a reasonably priced GPU has been in the past two years. For those on a budget, it’s often been cheaper and easier to buy a pre-built gaming PC.
However, all this isn’t to say you shouldn’t build your own. If you’re confident you can (It’s pretty easy), then it’s well worth the time and money. There’s a satisfaction in building your own that’s hard to get with simply buying a pre-built gaming PC, and it’s a fulfilling hobby all in itself. Just remember that if anything goes wrong, it’ll be on you to fix it.
How much should I spend on a cheap gaming PC?
|Level||Cost (US)||Cost (UK)||Games / settings|
|Basic 1080p||$650 to $900||£700 to £800||Indy, Minecraft, Fortnite|
|Standard 1080p||$900 to $1,200||£800 to £1,100||eSports, strategy, FPS|
|Enthusiast 1440p||$1,200 to $2,000||£1,200 to £2,000||All (high to ultra settings)|
|Performance 4K||$2,000+||£2,000+||All (ultra)|
As a general rule of thumb, you can get a great barebones system for 1080p gaming for around $800 (£800) as of early 2022. While you can get cheaper (much cheaper) machines on Amazon and eBay, we think it’s generally worth spending a little more to get a machine that will last a bit longer down the line. Unfortunately, the market is flooded with terrible cheap pre-built gaming PCs that feature really old components and are even missing dedicated graphics cards in some cases. You get what you pay for with gaming PCs – plus, there’s a case for spending a bit more to get a decent platform for upgrading, should you want to swap out components in a year or two.
If you’re aiming for ultra settings at 1440p, you’ll need to be willing to fork out the cash – at least $1,000 if you want a truly smooth experience. A larger resolution demands a much beefier graphics card (the most expensive component), so budget gamers can often save a lot of cash by settling on 1080p.
What specs do I need in a cheap gaming PC?
- Minimum – Intel Core i3 (10th gen) / AMD Ryzen 3 (3rd gen)
- Minimum – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 / AMD RX 6500
- Minimum – 8GB of RAM
- Minimum – 256GB SSD / 1TB HDD
- Recommended – Intel Core i5 (11th gen) / AMD Ryzen 5 (5th gen)
- Recommended – Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 / AMD RX 6600 XT
- Recommended – 16GB of RAM
- Recommended – 512GB SSD
Above are the specs that we consider the bare minimum for a gaming PC in 2022, alongside the specs that we’d recommend for a much smoother experience and better graphics in-game. These are just rough ballparks, however. Your mileage will vary massively depending on your desired setup and what kinds of games you’re planning on playing.
For example, suppose you’re looking to play lower-requirement games like Minecraft, Fortnite, or most strategy games. In that case, you’ll generally be able to get by with a fairly basic graphics card like a GTX 1650 or GTX 1660 and a relatively modest Core i3 CPU. If you’re planning to play CyberPunk 2077, Elden Ring, or another blockbuster triple-A title at ultra settings, you’ll probably want to consider an RTX 3060 or RX 6600 XT and Core i5 / Ryzen 5 CPU as a bare minimum. Generally speaking, you can get by with 8GB of RAM, although 16GB is quickly becoming the new standard – plus, it’s a fairly cheap upgrade to make.
Remember that you’ll want to get good mileage out of your machine down the line, so it’s a good idea to have some headroom for future releases. Getting a machine with a generous (500 to 600 watt) power supply and a decent case can help make potential upgrades down the line a lot easier.