Believe it or not, some of the best gaming PCs are under $1000. However, they face stiff competition from Microsoft and Sony, both who produce excellent gaming consoles for less than $500.
Thankfully, many of the top premade PC manufacturers have realized that in order to keep up with their living room competition, they must bring the cost of entry down to remain competitive. So, here are our picks for the 5 top gaming PCs under $1,000.
Top Gaming PC Under $1,000 in 2018
CyberPower PC’s Gamer Dragon
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Dragon is the best pick for 4K gamer’s budget.
Among the PC gaming community, the customizers and builders at CyberPowerPC are legend. The company is one of the longest running in the business, offering insane deals and discounts on some of the best gaming hardware that assures you you’re always going to get the best possible bang for your buck.
Thanks to wholesale buying practices and a dedicated workforce, often the price you’ll pay to build your own comparative system is only around $50 less than what you’d get for CyberPower to build, customize, and ship the whole package to you in one plug-and-play piece. The company offers dozens of different models that feature a range of specific options you can use to refine what you need out of your machine, but in the pre-built category at least, few offer as strong a value as you’ll find in the latest Gamer Dragon.
With an AMD R9 380 4GB graphics card and an 8-core AMD FX8320 processor, the Dragon streams through AAA titles at 4K resolution without slipping a frame. Of course, if those specs aren’t up to your bar, the best thing about shopping at CyberPowerPC is nearly every single component on the PC you buy is customizable, giving you the option to add or remove any parts to get the power-to-cost ratio exactly where you want it on the dial.
Syber Vapor One
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Syber One is a PC made for the console convert.
When Steam OS was first announced by Valve back in 2013, dozens of desktop manufacturers rushed out products that were primed to take advantage of the new and exciting operating system. In the case of Syber’s Vapor I, it’s a bit of a “counting your chickens before they hatch” scenario, where potential Steam Machines were commissioned and built before Valve had even confirmed their OS was in beta, leaving them to ship the computer running a regular build of Windows instead.
Nonetheless, the company pushed on, pairing their lineup of console competitors with Windows 10 and Steam’s “Big Picture Mode” installed from the start. The gamble paid off, and the Vapor I is a well-priced PC that makes itself just as much at home under your desk as it does sharing a little space next to the PS4 or Xbox One in your living room. It’s got all the power you need to compare to what a console puts out, and a form factor that simply can’t be beat by anything else in its class.
Alienware X51 R3
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Alienware is built to perform in any condition.
As one of the oldest prebuilt desktop computer manufacturers around, Alienware has worked long and hard to shake off the rep that it only makes “overpriced, underpowered machines for people who don’t know any better”. Simply uttering the name in an PC enthusiast forum is enough to get you shadowbanned for life, but over the past several years the company has made immense strides in creating products that look just as good as they perform – all for a price that won’t send your wallet limping off to the hospital.
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The X51 R3 is the latest PC gaming desktop that is endlessly customizable from the minute you sign on to the website, giving you the option to add as much horsepower as you think you might need and shave off any of the extra noise that doesn’t result in smooth, polygon-packed gaming at its finest. With an Intel 6th-generation Core i7 Skylake processor, it’s rocking the most up-to-date processor of all the other options listed here, not to mention the addition of 8GB of DDR4 RAM clocked to a whopping 2133MHz.
If you want the cutting edge of what’s out there right now, look no further than Alienware’s latest and greatest desktop gaming lineup.
Digital Storm Vanquish 4
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Digital Storm Vanquish is an all-around star.
Digital Storm has always been known for their attention to detail and quality, and the latest addition to the Vanquish 4 lineup is no different. While it may not be the sleekest or the most stylish of the bunch, it still offers a solid combination of hardware features that will churn out 1080p graphics on medium-to-max settings, depending on the game of your choice.
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The Vanquish manages to pack in a 5th-generation Intel i5 6500 CPU alongside an Nvidia GTX950 2GB graphics card, both considered to be some of the best valued peripherals that crank out power like nothing else in the business. Best of all, the Vapor I starts at just $899, leaving a solid Benjamin of room for any extra customization options you might want to add on before you hit the checkout.
Lenovo Erazer X315
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Lenovo offers serious power for multitaskers everywhere.
Although Lenovo may not exactly be well-known for their gaming pedigree, in recent years the company has shifted its focus onto making solid, reliable, and powerful gaming PCs that don’t cost an arm and a leg but still post impressive specs and an even more impressive all-around build quality.
The Erazer X315 is the best of this latest collection of high-powered desktops to enter the fray, featuring a whopping 12GB of DDR3 RAM, an R9 260 2GB graphics card, and an AMD A10-7850K processor. Sure, it may not be the prettiest girl at the ball or feature all the sex appeal you might get with the Vapor I, but what it lacks in raw aesthetics it more than makes up for in pure, unadulterated power. The Erazer X315 is a beast beneath the hood, and runs at just under our limit for a cool $999 USD.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
When shopping on a budget, especially in the realm of PC gaming, you’re always going to want to choose substance over flash. Sure, a lot of prebuilt boxes out there pride themselves on spectacular design and more LEDs lining the case than you can shake a stick at, but it’s important to remember that all these extra design elements don’t come cheap.
As such, you’ll want to avoid things like custom case modifications, laser engraving, or “special anodized materials”, because at the end of the day all these frills do is cut into money that could be better spent on beefing up the graphics card, RAM, or processor. Gaming PCs need all the power they can get, and while the urge to show them off to your friends at the local LAN party may be strong,
Features to Look For
- Although more often than not we’d split these two categories up, when it comes to prebuilt gaming PCs it’s rare that you’ll find two different brands of either installed in the same machine. This is to say that if you get a machine with an AMD processor, almost always that’s going to be paired with an AMD video card, and the same goes for Intel/Nvidia.
- One bottlenecks the other in gaming, and it isn’t recommended that you try and mix them up as both will have more options to work with their companion component if you keep them paired up. Nvidia cards work like a charm with Intel CPUs, and AMD processors work like a charm with cards under the same name.
- Obviously, no gamer worth their salt is going to pack in anything less than 8GB of RAM into their machine, and in the sub-$1,000 range you usually aren’t going to find faster than two sticks clocked at 2400MHz.
- 1833MHz is fine as well, but the majority of demanding AAA titles these days will struggle if you try and kick this all the way down to 1600MHz.
Hard Drive Space
- This is a big one. Many times the biggest mistake that budget gamers make when picking up a new PC is skimping on hard drive space, or simply grabbing an SSD and forgetting about a secondary HDD altogether.
- If you plan on gaming, you have to plan on setting aside at least 500GB (1TB ideally) of extra space to fit many of the popular games that are being released today.
- For example, the base version of The Witcher III takes up a whopping 40GB of space on its own, let alone the extra add-ons with DLC and expansion packs.
Internal/External WiFi Adapter
- If you plan on keeping your PC right next to your home’s networking modem, this isn’t a consideration, however if it’s going anywhere else, you need to make sure to either use a USB or internal WiFi card to pick up a wireless signal.
- With USB 3.0, most adapters can handle any speed you throw at them, although some people do still prefer the internal card in order to reduce the cable noise around their gaming station.
So Which Gaming PC Under $1,000 is Right For You
In a sentence: any of them!
The great thing about PC gaming (outside of the beautiful graphics, endless customization, mods, reliable multiplayer, the list goes on), is unlike consoles, you’re never shoehorned into picking either one or the other. If you want something that looks sleek and plays clean, the Vanquish 4 has got the job covered. Want as much power as you can squeeze out of your budget? The AMD 8-core from CyberPower is an unparalleled beast of a machine. PC gaming gives you the option to play how you want to play, and never compromise for anything less than the best.