1. Alienware Aurora R5
The Aurora gaming desktop has been refreshed to give its customers more value and better quality without having to hike its prices. It comes in many configurations, but the base model perfectly fits in our $1000 dollar cap. The metallic colored casing seems bulky but the LED accents make it a bit of an attention getter. Inside, it is powered by an Intel Core i5-8400 which has a stock 2.7 GHz and can be overclocked at 3.3 GHz.
Its graphics card has also received an added boost and now comes with a Nvidia GTX 970 coupled with an 8 GB dual-channel DDR4 RAM. On the other hand, this PC’s storage has at least 1 TB of memory. Based on independent testers, the Aurora R5 was able to record 78 FPS while playing GTA V on ultra settings.
One of the few things that the Aurora R5 has that few systems in this price range have is a tray-loading DVD burner, which some people may still find useful. Another nifty feature is the liquid cooling system that keeps the whole system cool as a cucumber. Not to mention, it has more than enough ports for your connectivity needs.
However, the Aurora R5 also has some minor issues. The cooling system is partially obstructed which makes the CPU a bit noisy. The chassis lid is also a bit difficult to close. The 8 GB RAM is also a bit under our benchmark for gaming.
Overall, the Aurora R5 is an outstanding choice for gamers who want an upgrade from their entry level rigs. It delivers an exciting gaming experience that justifies its price.
Processor: 2.7 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5-6400
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 with 4 GB Memory
Storage: 1 TB Hard Drive
RAM: 8GB DDR4
- Convenient port layout
- Powerful CPU and GPU combo
- Top marks for upgradability
- Sleek and head-turning design
- Expensive; at the borderline of the $1000 price cap
- Finicky chassis lid
2. Asus ROG GR8 II- T044Z
When we think of a gaming PC, the first thing that comes to mind is this bulky box-type computer that just simply sits next to or below your monitor. The ROG GR8 II isn’t like your stereotypical PC rigs, because it’s thinner and looks much like any gaming console such as the PS4 or the XBox. The metallic casing is highlighted with colorful plastic accents that shows where the important ports are. On the inside, it has a slightly more powerful Intel Core i5-7400 which delivers a base frequency of 3.0 GHz.
The combination of the Nvidia GTX 1060 and a respectable 8 GB DDR4 RAM allows it to play many of the current top-rated games with relative ease. According to independent testers, the ROG GR8 II played Rise of the Tomb Raider in Full HD setting at a flawless 85 FPS.
The 1 TB storage space is more than ample; however, if you’re OS is Windows 10 it needs to have an additional SSD. Despite being thinner, this PC has tons of port at the rear such as a USB 3.1 Type C, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, DisplayPort, and an optical S/PDIF.
However, because of its uniquely thin construction, one issue it has is proper airflow. When turned on and even at idle, you can hear a bit of humming noise coming from the unit. To fully unlock this rigs potential you need a couple of quick upgrades including adding an M.2 SSD.
Overall, the ROG GR8 II is a small but powerful gaming system which can run the latest games at QHD resolutions smoothly; plus points, also, for its space-saver size.
Processor: 3.0 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5-7400
Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX 1060 with 3 GB Memory
Storage: 1 TB HDD
RAM: 8 GB DDR4 RAM
- Eye-catching case
- Great CPU performance
- Has a 3-year warranty
- Space saver design
- Lack of SSD drive
- Ho-hum 3GB video card memory
3. CyberPower Xtreme VR
The Xtreme VR is one of those you may call a budget build PC where you get a lot of discount from buying the whole pre-built system rather than buying each component. While the case design is boxy, it does have honeycomb railings and LED lights to keep you a bit interested in its aesthetics. Inside, it runs on a quad-core Intel Core i5-6402P processor which is rated at 2.8 GHz and can be overclocked at 3.2 GHz.
Here is where it gets interesting. The graphics card is an AMD Radeon RX 480, which is decent, coupled with an 8 GB DDR4 RAM. You don’t often see AMD and Intel components in the same built-in PC, but CyberPower’s builds are one of the few exceptions. However, this particular combination works as revealed by independent testers who played Fallout 4 at 1080p ultra settings in this PC and got a respectable 60 FPS average.
The storage capacity is at 1 TB HDD with acceptable transfer speeds. Additionally, this PC has the required ports such as audio jacks, USB 3.1 ports, LAN port, HDMI, and DVI-D. This PC is also virtual reality (VR) ready.
Despite these great merits, the Xtreme VR also has a number of flaws. The lack of SSD means it doesn’t boot just as fast as those with it. There is also only one PCI slot which cuts away its SLI potential. Finally, some of its components such as the keyboard and mouse are of subpar quality as its competitors.
Overall, this gaming rig from CyberPower meets almost all of our standards and thus worthy of your consideration especially if you are on a tight budget.
Processor: 2.8 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5-6402P
Graphics Card: AMD Radeon RX 480
Storage: 1 TB HDD 7200 RPM SATA
RAM: 8GB DDR4
- The fine budget graphics card in the Radeon RX 480
- Larger LED case fans
- Easily upgradable
- Affordable price
- Low-quality keyboard and mouse
- The fan is always resulting in added power consumption
4. Dell Inspiron 5680 Gaming Desktop
The first thing you will notice about the Inspiron 5680 is its futuristic and edgy design that goes along well with its silver fascia and blue LED. This handsome exterior is matched with an equally satisfying interior composed of the powerful 8th generation 2.8 GHz i5 8400 processor which can be overclocked at 4.0 GHz. The system is equipped with Intel’s Turbo Boost Technology which allows the unit to reach such speeds.
It also comes equipped with the Nvidia GTX 1060 with 3 GB memory which is a staple in a mid-range gaming rig. This is combined with an 8 GB DDR4 RAM, which although is smaller than most is enough to run the latest gaming titles at higher settings. According to independent test results, you can average 50 FPS in 1440p Epic settings in Fortnite which is quite impressive.
Additionally, the Inspiron 5680 comes with a 1 TB SATA storage and an extra 128 GB SSD, which allows it to boot faster. The fact that this machine also has 6-cores and has well-balanced components means you can easily multitask without having to worry about lag or freezing. It also has tons of the latest ports most notably- four USB-A 3.1, a couple of USB0A 2.0 three display ports, HDMI and an Ethernet jack.
If we have one gripe about this pre-built PC, though, it’s how messy it was arranged on the inside. There is a couple of components that are piled on top of each other, which prevents easily upgrading the computer part at the bottom. Moreover, the 8 GB RAM feels inadequate and needs to be upgraded, but it too is one of the hard to reach parts.
Overall, the Inspiron 5680 is a great gaming PC that offers both solid performance and lots of functionality. If you can do away with the clutter on the inside, then this gaming rig is an excellent choice.
Processor: 2.8 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i5 8400
Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX 1060 3GB
Storage: 1 TB 7200 RPM SATA + 128 GB SSD
RAM: 8 GB DDR4
- Very attractive design
- Overwhelming gaming performance
- Great value for money
- Lots of ports
- The messy interior which makes it hard to upgrade
- Subpar 8GB RAM
5. HP Pavilion 580 Power Series
Much like its laptop brethren, the Pavilion 580 power series also looks classy. The black casing looks sleek and professional. Inside, it’s powered by the 3.2 GHz Quadcore Ryzen 5 1400, which delivers excellent gaming performance. This system also comes with the latest AMD SenseMI technology which helps you customize your applications.
Aside from that, this pre-built PC also comes with the Nvidia GTX graphics card with 3 GB of dedicated memory and a 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM. These components allow the PC to run more reliably and efficiently at faster speeds. This allows uninterrupted gaming at mid to high resolution.
More importantly, this unit also has a 1 TB of SATA hard drive and an additional 128 GB solid-state-drive which allows it to boot quicker. This PC also has a number of ports including USB 3.0s in the front and back, headphone/ microphone, HDMI, display port and HP’s 7-in-1 card reader. HP also throws in its USB wired keyboard that has volume control and a wired optical mouse into the mix.
However, the Pavilion 580 also has a few bumps here and there. With only 3GB of video memory, you may experience some lagging on graphics intensive games at high-resolution or better settings. The CPU’s unique motherboard might make it hard for future upgrades, same can be said to its less-spacious casing.
Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 1400
Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX 1060
Storage: 16 GB DDR4
RAM: 1 TB HDD + 128 GB SSD
- Low temperature and power usage
- Highly capable graphics card
- Casing lacks space for future upgrades
- Graphics card has low memory
6. iBuyPower Gaming Elite
You’ve got to handle it to iBuyPower for coming up with a high spec desktop gaming PC which they market at the price of a mid-level rig. Their Gaming Elite unit is a great example that you don’t need much to have a mind-blowing gaming center. The computer’s design is well crafted and has the balance of being classy and modern at the same time. While it does have a boxy case, the see-through glass panel and RGB Light accents give it character. Inside lies the 6-core Intel Core i7-8700 which easily clocks in at 3.2 GHz.
Following the suit of its powertrain, this pre-build PC also comes with a powerful AMD Radeon RX graphics card with 4 GB memory and an 8 GB DDR4 RAM. Moreover, you also get 1 TB HDD storage so you can store more games and other files. According to independent testers, the Gaming Elite can run Overwatch on epic settings at 1080p and still get a comfortable 60 FPS.
When it comes to connectivity, this PC also has several useful ones such as four USB 3.0s, a couple of USB 2.0s, Ethernet, HDMI, and a display port. Moreover, it also has its own WiFi card and comes with a mouse and gaming keyboard.
However, there are a couple of issues that may hamper your gaming experience. First, the cooling fan feels underpowered and the airflow mediocre which eventually slows down the computer a bit due to occasional heat buildup. Second, the WiFi is really a USB stuck inside the PC which means it’s not as fast a PCI WiFi Adapter.
Overall, the iBuyPower Gaming Elite is still a competitive pre-build PC with solid performance coming from a powerful processor. Except for a couple of misses to consider, this one should be on your shortlist.
Processor: 3.2 GHz Hexacore Intel Core i7-8700
Graphics Card: AMD Radeon RX 580 with 3 GB memory
Storage: 1 TB HDD
RAM: 8 GB DDR4
- Powerful 6-core processor
- Very capable graphics card
- Well-crafted casing design
- Comes with mouse and keyboard
- Underpowered 1 case fan
- Slower WiFi connection
7. Lenovo Erazer X315
Lenovo may be marketing it as a beginner or entry level pre-built PC, but there is no doubt the Erazer X315 is something more. The design of the casing is both edgy and stout which resembles a knight’s armor. Among its highlight is the triangular power button that sits in the middle with the Lenovo inscription just beside it. Underneath its casing is a beasty AMD A10-7850K processor which easily clocks in as one of the most powerful in this list with 3.7 GHz.
Inside its hefty exterior is the AMD ATI Radeon R9 260 graphics card which is paired with a 12 GB DDR3 RAM. While the DDR3 may have been shadowed by the latest DDR4 RAM, the former is just a few steps behind the latter. Moreover, this PC also has high memory storage of 2 TB HDD and an additional 48 GB of SSD which is much smaller compared to others on the list with 128 GB of SSD or more. Using the Heaven 4.0 test at Medium Quality, the Erazer X315 performed 60 FPS which is quite exemplary for its price range.
Aside from the usual ports- four USB 3.0s, microphone, line in/ out, DisplayPort, HDMI this PC also comes with additional VGA, a wireless card and DVI-D which can all be useful to some people. Its also supported by an HD Audio from Realtek.
The Erazer X315, however, also has its own Achilles heel. The multimedia performance of this PC is subpar and the GPU choices are at the lower end which can drive away veteran gamers.
Overall, this pre-built gaming PC is excellent if you want an inexpensive desktop rig that can perform better than its entry-level kin.
Processor: 3.7 GHz AMD A10-7850K
Graphics Card: AMD Radeon R9 260 with 2GB memory
Storage: 2 TB HDD + 48 GB SSD
RAM: 12 GB DDR3
- AC Bluetooth and WiFi
- Includes an SSD storage
- Well performing CPU
- Unique and stylish design
- Subpar GPU unit with only 2 GB memory
- Still uses a DDR3 RAM
8. Skytech Gaming Shadow II
You can tell by its looks alone that the Gaming Shadow II is specifically designed for gamers. A sporty black or white casing provides structure for the components which are quite visible on the inside thanks to its red LED lights. It’s equipped with the latest Ryzen 5 1400 CPU which may not be as quick as Intel Core i5-8400 but provides stable processing speeds at 3.2 GHz.
The combination of Nvidia GTX 1060 and a 16 GB RAM together with a solid CPU unit, allows it to reach considerably high FPS counts in most gaming titles at medium to high settings. According to the manufacturer’s test, you can play Witcher 3 at ultra high settings with 60-80 FPS.
Furthermore, this PC comes with 1 TB HDD of storage space and is VR ready. Hence, you can also seamlessly perform other tasks such as video and graphics editing. The Shadow II also has several ports where you can attach USBs, HDMI, and audio. The manufacturer also has thrown in a mouse and keyboard to somewhat sweeten the deal.
However, this PC doesn’t have its own WiFi card and hence you have to rely on the included WiFi USB adapter or buy and install one yourself. The keyboard and mouse aren’t of the best quality either. Add to that, the CPU can be a bit noisy especially when used for a long period of time.
Overall, the Gaming Shadow II is a pretty nice pre-built gaming rig which has a fast processor that minimizes lag and freezing in-game. While it could have better accessories that doesn’t take away the fact that it can run pretty much any game without any trouble.
Processor: 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Ryzen 5 1400
Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX 1060
Storage: 1 TB HDD at 7200 RPM
RAM: 16 GB DDR4
- Smooth graphics thanks to GTX 1060 card
- Has 16 GB RAM which is the minimum in gaming
- VR Ready
- High FPS counts at 1080p resolution
- Generic mouse and keyboard
- Doesn’t come with a WiFi card
Gaming PC Under $1000 Buying Guide
Now let’s have a quick review of the most important components there is in a PC and how it affects your gaming experience.
1. CPU or Processor
The faster the CPU, the more capable it is in running the game smoothly. For this list we recommend, an Intel Core i5 and higher or an AMD A8 series or higher. The minimum frequency should be 2.1 GHz or more.
2. GPU or Graphics Card
This component processes the graphics, images, and videos that are displayed on your computer. A Nvidia GTX 1060 is considered a stable GPU along with its AMD Radeon RX 480 counterpart. The higher the series, the better.
Refers to the limit of data that the PC can store. There are common types of HDD and SSD. HDD is common and many on the list are at least 1 TB. Meanwhile, not all the PCs have SSDs which speeds up the booting of the system and hastens other processes.
Random Access Memory affects many operations of your computer especially in handling large amounts of data brought by multitasking. It works in tandem with the GPU and CPU, in processing the data. The minimum should be 8 GB of RAM, but if you ever feel that this is not enough for some games, then you should upgrade it to 16 GB which is more suited for gaming. The latest models are DDR4, however, the DDR3 units are still relevant and are only a tad bit slower than the former.
Investing in pre-built gaming PC can often be more rewarding than building your own PC rig, especially if you have a tighter budget. Your success in finding a desktop PC that can satisfy your gaming needs depend on thoroughly researching the available options in the market. Hence, it pays to do your research first before buying one that has the lowest sticker price.