Best Gaming PC Under $1,000: Complete Reviews with Comparisons

Best Gaming PC Under $1,000
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What are you looking for in the best gaming PC under $1,000? Do you want it to run the latest Tomb Raider at ultra-settings or are you looking to score 200+ FPS in CS:GO and League of Legends? Depending on what games you play you’ll have to pick a certain combination of components to get the most performance on a budget.

Pre-built gaming PCs are generally well-balanced and very few of them come with bottlenecking issues for either the CPU or the GPU. But that doesn’t mean that any cheap configuration can give you a smooth performance.

To help you make an informed decision we’ve prepared the top 10 pre-built gaming PCs that are capable of running most popular online games as well as most triple A titles on the market today. But the best thing about them is that they’re pretty economical for today’s market conditions and can last you a couple more years of new releases.

Gaming PC Under $1,000 Comparison Chart

Best Gaming PC Under $1,000 Reviews

1. CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme GXIVR8020A5

LEDs sometimes make you think your PC is running smoother than it actually is. Luckily, the GXIVR8020A5 also has some decent components to go along with the cool lighting.

Product Highlights

The GXIVR8020A5 is a strong contender for the title of best gaming PC under $1,000. Although it doesn’t have the most amazing spec sheet, it looks like every modern gaming PC should look, whether it’s cheap or not.

The lighting is taken care of by bright red LEDs. These are visible on the front of the case and on the exhaust fan at the back. The black and red theme is further complemented by the CyberpowerPC keyboard and mouse which share the same color combo.

In terms of performance, this PC is about what you would expect. With an Intel i5-8400 6 Core CPU, you’re able to play most AAA games on medium settings. It’s important to realize that the CPU speed is locked around 2.8-3 GHz and there’s no way to overclock the 8400, not on the standard Intel B360 chipset anyway.

The system is completed by a medium-range AMD Radeon RX580, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB HDD as your sole storage option out of the box. A nice addition is the OEM Windows 10 Home 64-bit OS. While it’s not the most optimum OS for a pure gaming system, there are plenty of upgrades that can improve its performance.

What's to like about the CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme GXIVR8020A5

Perhaps the best thing about this gaming PC is not the price tag but that its configuration allows it to run games in 1440p, albeit at medium quality. As far as price to performance ratio, the AMD RX580 is a very good card and always a good alternative to the NVidia 1060 if you’re looking to play games on a budget.

What's not to like about the CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme GXIVR8020A5

Any pre-built gaming PC should have an SSD in 2018. Although there is an option to add one to the GXIVR8020A5’s configuration, it’s a bit of a disappointment not to see it included from the start. With the low CPU speed and the absence of an SSD to house your OS, loading times in some games will be a pain to deal with.

PROS

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    Medium-range GPU
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    2 display ports
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    6 cores
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    Cool red LED lighting
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    Keyboard and mouse included
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    Win10 OS included

CONS

  • No SSD
  • Can’t overclock CPU

2. Dell Inspiron 5680

Dell has a history of putting together workstations and gaming rigs at excellent prices. But, can the Dell Inspiron 5680 actually be the best gaming PC under $1,000? Let’s find out.

Product Highlights

Dell gaming PCs are usually well-balanced. This configuration comes with an NVidia GTX 1060 GPU, 1TB HDD, 128 GB M.2 SSD, and your choice of two CPUs. You can choose between Intel’s i7-8700 and i5-8400, both of which are non-K chips.

Regardless of which one you choose you’ll still be under the $1,000 threshold. Now, the 8700 CPU has some obvious advantages. Its 6-Core/12-Thread configuration makes it a lot better at multitasking which means that this gaming rig is designed for gaming, recording, streaming, all at the same time.

An M.2 SSD in this price range is almost unheard of on pre-made gaming rigs. However, the size is as low as it gets so don’t be surprised if you need an upgrade sooner than later.

Because the 8700 is a non-K chip it will come with its own cooler. However, if you want to use the Intel Turbo Boost technology and push its speed to 4.6 GHz, you definitely need an aftermarket cooling system.

The configuration squeezes as much power as it can from the components without breaking the $1,000 threshold. But, as with all things Dell, the design doesn’t seem to have a high priority. There’s no denying that the Inspiron 5680 looks more like an office PC than a gaming PC with its traditional hard case covering the components, but you do get the Dell blue light work on the lower left of the chassis.

What's to like about the Dell Inspiron 5680

The highlight of the Inspiron 5680 is the 128 GB M.2 SSD used as the boot drive. For the average gamer, a 128 GB SSD should be more than enough. Just make sure you don’t start filling the OS drive with your Steam or Origin games too.

What's not to like about the Dell Inspiron 5680

The NVidia GTX 1060 cards have been in a weird place since they hit the market. While the card is perfectly capable of running AAA titles in 2018 at high FPS, it does require serious tinkering with in-game graphic details. Furthermore, the 1060 used in this PC is the low-end 3GB VRAM edition which is barely better than some of the cheaper AMD RX GPUs.

PROS

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    Two CPU options
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    128 GB M.2 SSD
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    OS included
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    Intel Turbo Boost available
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    Solid PC case

CONS

  • Poor ventilation
  • Weak stock CPU cooler

3. Skytech Gaming Oracle

Skytech Gaming has a good habit of using quality components even with the motherboard, PSU, and case fans. Here’s what the Oracle has to offer.

Product Highlights

Visually, the Skytech Gaming Oracle is simply stunning. The Cooler Master case does most of the work with a clear panel at the front and side. After that, the blue LED detailing on the coolers, cables, and motherboard make things even better. While not everyone may be a fan of white highlights on PC cases, for all intents and purposes this is how a gaming PC should look these days.

But now to the more important stuff. The CPU is an AMD 1st Gen Ryzen 3 1200. It has just 4 cores at a stock speed of 3.1 GHz. The good news here is that all Ryzen chips are unlocked and should be easy to overclock even on an OEM motherboard, so you should be able to run most of the time at a clock speed of 3.4 GHz.

As for the GPU, you have a choice. There’s a configuration that uses the NVidia GTX 1050 Ti and one that uses the GTX 1060 6GB. Obviously, if you’re going for a lower cost the 1050 Ti is the better option even though you get more VRAM with the 1060. Keep in mind that both are low-end NVidia GPUs so the differences in performance when coupled with a Ryzen 3 CPU may not be noticeable.

Furthermore, you’ll get either system with 16 GB DDR4 RAM from the start. This should quell the upgrade bug and save you some money.

Either way, you have to remember that this gaming rig won’t handle much over medium graphic settings since the 2400 MHz memory speed is a bit low for a 1st gen Ryzen CPU.

What's to like about the Skytech Gaming Oracle

The best thing about the Skytech Oracle is that it comes with 16 GB DDR4 memory. Although both the GTX 1050 Ti and the 1060 6G are not amazing cards when paired with a Ryzen CPU, the extra memory certainly helps boost the FPS and may prevent the cards from bottlenecking the CPU in demanding AAA games.

What's not to like about the Skytech Gaming Oracle

The Oracle may look cool in its Cooler Master case but its components are hard to justify at this price range. From the low-end 1st gen Ryzen CPU to the GTX 1050 Ti GPU, which looks cool but is at the bottom of the FPS performance charts, nothing in the configuration seems to make this the best choice in this price range, unless you’re a contrarian and might try it for yourself.

PROS

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    Good airflow
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    Cool bright blue side and frontal display
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    16 GB RAM
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    120 GB SSD

CONS

  • Expensive for the performance
  • Low-end Ryzen CPU
  • Low memory speed

4. Skytech Gaming Shadow

The Skytech Shadow is a durable PC with quality components and plenty of room for future upgrades.

Product Highlights

The price tag on the Shadow is very good considering what the configuration can achieve. Again, you’ll have to choose between the NVidia GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1060, only this time the 1060 only has 3 GB of VRAM.

The CPU of choice is the Ryzen 3 1200 with a 3.1 GHz base clock speed and a maximum of 3.4 GHz turbo. Given the quality of the motherboard you may be able to push the CPU over 3.4 GHz but probably not at the basic cooling setup.

What’s very interesting is that the Shadow comes with an optical drive. Needless to say, this is not something you really get to see anymore since most everything can usually be downloaded from the internet.

The memory speed is just 2400 MHz and there’s no way to overclock the RAM on the A320M motherboard. But for playing most online titles, this PC has got you covered.

But, if you want to play AAA games like Far Cry 5 or GTA V at more than low to mid settings, you’ll need to add more RAM since 8 GB might not cut it.

What's to like about the Skytech Gaming Shadow

Unlike most pre-configured gaming PCs, the Skytech Shadow comes with quality components beyond the CPU and GPU. It’s nice to see that the RAM is not a random OEM card but instead a G.Skill card. The same goes for the motherboard which is an AsRock with a pretty good heatsink and enough blue cables to match the general theme.

What's not to like about the Skytech Gaming Shadow

The front cooling is not ideal. There’s very little exposed space that allows air to be pulled in. Even with three front coolers and an elevated base which allows the PSU to draw in more air than usual, the overall airflow is not as optimized as it could’ve been even at this price range.

PROS

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    Budget friendly
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    Quality components
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    Eye-catching case
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    Optical drive included
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    Keyboard and mouse included

CONS

  • No SSD
  • Some cables are yellow or red
  • Average cooling

5. HP Pavilion Power 580-023w

Although this PC is described as a gaming tower, considering its specs, design, and components it looks more like a hybrid workstation/gaming PC.

Product Highlights

The Pavilion is small but packs quite a punch for a casual gaming setup. The Intel i5-7400 CPU may only have 4 cores but it has no problem reaching up to 3.5 GHz after a boost. The GPU of choice is the NVidia GTX 1060 3GB which is able to handle VR and 1440p gaming at low to medium graphic settings.

The 8 GB of RAM max out at 2400 MHz but for an Intel configuration that’s more than enough. As far as storage options, you only get a SATA HDD of 1 TB. There’s not a lot more you can do for storage other than add an SSD since another hard drive may not be feasible.

A keyboard and a mouse are included but they don’t have many gaming-specific functions on them. For workstation needs you’ll also get a DVD writer which is nice to see.

On paper, the 580-023w looks ok but there are some things that limit its customer base. For one, the case is tiny and there’s little room to upgrade other than maybe adding some RAM and an SSD. Secondly, the air flow is not ideal for gaming 8+ hours each day.

What's to like about the HP Pavilion Power 580-023w

The best thing about this rig is probably that it manages to pack quite a bit of power under a tiny hood. Measuring just 6.5x14.88x14.33 inches, this rig can easily sit on the smallest desks without interfering with your range of motion.

What's not to like about the HP Pavilion Power 580-023w

The PSU is a standard OEM component. Although it has a bronze rating it has just 300 watts, which is very low if you want to add more stuff to this PC.

PROS

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    Tiny case
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    Good mid-range graphics
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    Dependable CPU
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    DVD-writer included
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    Peripherals included

CONS

  • Average cooling
  • No real room for upgrading components

6. Skytech Gaming ST-Shadow-II-002

One of the most balanced gaming rigs on the market, the ST-Shadow-II-002 may just be the best gaming PC under $1,000 for any gamer looking to take a break from Intel’s premium prices and poor cooling.

Product Highlights

This gaming rig makes the AMD Ryzen 5 1400 the star of the show. This CPU has 4 cores and 8 threads and operates at a maximum speed of 3.4 GHz in Turbo mode. Unlike Intel’s processors in this range, the Ryzen 5 1400 is far superior at multithreading while still being able to pull off good FPS numbers in popular games.

What helps the CPU shine, even more, are the 16 gigs of RAM courtesy of G.Skill. Clocked at 2400 MHz and fitted with a heat spreader, the memory is high and fast enough to support the memory-hungry nature of 1st gen Ryzen processors.

The GPU of choice is pretty much what you were expecting to see, the GTX 1060 3GB. Not the best but probably the best in this price range.

Other great features include the Cooler Master 500W PSU, the popular ASRock A320M, and the Cooler Master case with excellent display features for the LED fans.

What's to like about the Skytech Gaming ST-Shadow-II-002

The 16 GB G.Skill Ripjaws are a real surprise in this configuration. They’re not generic RAM cards. They come with a heat spreader which gives the cards extra life and consistency when running at maximum clock speed, which would allow the CPU to perform even better.

What's not to like about the Skytech Gaming ST-Shadow-II-002

Probably the worst feature about the ST-Shadow-II-002, even more so than the absence of an SSD, is the video card manufacturer. Zotac doesn’t have an amazing track record when it comes to high performance. Their cards are known for coming a few FPS short of EVGA, MSI, or Gigabyte.

PROS

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    16 GB G.Skill Ripjaws with heat spreader
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    Cooler Master bronze-rated PSU
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    Stunning case display
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    Unlocked CPU
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    Keyboard and mouse included

CONS

  • No SSD
  • Average quality graphics card manufacturer

7. HP Omen

If you’re a fan of HP or you’re just nostalgic, you might like this HP Omen. Does that mean that you should choose it over the others? Find out now.

Product Highlights

The HP Omen comes with either the AMD Radeon RX580 or the Nvidia GTX 1060 3GB. Although the RX580 is a tempting option, it is a bit more expensive and not necessarily the better choice. A lot of games are still optimized for NVidia’s Pascal technology so in the case of the HP Omen, the cheapest configuration is also the best one.

The CPU is an AMD Ryzen 5 1400 which gives you decent performance in games and also enough multithreading power for school projects or work-related programs.

The 8 GB of memory may be enough for most games if you’re not looking to play at 1080p at high settings, but the upgrade path is limited. The memory is made up of two generic RAM cards with a bandwidth of 2400 MHz. So, if you want to squeeze a bit more juice out, you’ll have to replace both cards with 8GB single channel cards.

What's to like about the HP Omen

The case for the HP Omen PC looks amazing. It’s molded in a futuristic style and has peripheral ports on the side rather than the front. At the top of the case, you’ll also notice that the buttons are covered by easy-access panels, which add a bit of flair to the case design.

What's not to like about the HP Omen

The Omen is quite balanced but the lack of an SSD, non-generic motherboard, and extra 8 GB of memory begs the question as to why the price is so close to the $1,000 threshold.

PROS

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    Very cool case design
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    Red LED lighting
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    Unlocked processor
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    Decent graphic performance
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    Peripherals included

CONS

  • Two generic 4 GB RAM slots
  • No SSD
  • Average quality PSU

8. Skytech Gaming Archangel

The Archangel does have a heavenly case and very cool lighting. As far as its gaming performance is concerned, it delivers on that too, at least for the casual gamer.

Product Highlights

The Archangel uses the last pre-Ryzen AMD CPU, the FX-6300. Although not as good as the new Zen technology CPUs, the FX-6300 still runs at a base clock speed of 3.5 GHz which goes up to 4.1 GHz in Turbo mode. It also has 6 cores so it can handle a wide range of triple A games.

However, there is something that’s preventing it from achieving more. The system’s memory is not exactly great, to begin with. Although the 8 GB RAM comes on heat spreader cards, the memory has a maximum bandwidth of 1866 MHz which isn’t much to brag about.

The PSU is quite ok as the 430 wattage is more than enough for the mid-range components used in this build. The video card is decent but not even the 1050 Ti can give you significant performance due to the low RAM speed.

What's to like about the Skytech Gaming Archangel

The price and the case design are the two best features of this gaming system. The combination of the blue LED fans and full-white PC case with an elevated bottom goes well with the Archangel name.

What's not to like about the Skytech Gaming Archangel

The RAM speed is obviously the main thing that hinders the Archangel’s performance. 1866 MHz simply doesn’t it cut it these days for a lot of games.

PROS

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    NVidia Ti edition GPU
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    Peripherals included
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    Awesome-looking case
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    Non-generic memory
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    Decent power supply

CONS

  • 1866 MHz RAM
  • Average quality CPU

9. HP Omen VR Ready

VR ready doesn’t seem like much these days. However, for people shopping on a budget, a VR gaming PC is harder to find than you think.

Product Highlights

This PC is configured to handle HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift in budget-friendly fashion. The Intel i5-7500 is a 7th gen processor with a decent performance. The CPU is ranked 130th in speed according to Userbenchmark which puts it in a good place. The fact that it has just 4 cores and 4 threads doesn’t matter too much for VR just yet.

Helping the CPU is the NVidia GTX 1060 3GB and 8 GB of DDR4 RAM. This card is usually the go-to choice for gaming PC makers due to its good balance of value and performance. To keep your PC under $1,000 it’s hard to get anything better.

A 1TB HDD takes care of your storage needs, although you might want to add an SSD since there are two SSD docks in the case.

In terms of case design, the VR Ready Omen is not too special. It’s a lot classier than most gaming PCs because of the aluminum polish. But you can be the judge about the red LED stripes that cut the case in half from front to back.

What's to like about the HP Omen VR Ready

The combination of high-speed memory and good Pascal-based GPU allows you to enjoy VR games on a budget while at the same time being able to play most AA or AAA games released so far, but of course on medium settings.

What's not to like about the HP Omen VR Ready

With the lack of an SSD and better airflow optimization, HP may be charging a bit too much for this VR-Ready Omen system.

PROS

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    Decent CPU speed
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    Fast generic memory
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    Good graphics card
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    Optimized for VR performance
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    HP standard of quality

CONS

  • Average quality PSU
  • No SSD
  • No side-case display

10. CyberpowerPC Gamer Master GMA2600A

This gaming rig combines high-end and low- to mid-range components to create an affordable gaming PC for casual gamers.

Product Highlights

The GMA2600A is powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 1600 CPU with a base clock speed of 3.2 GHz. 6 cores and 12 threads make this CPU one of the best mid-range choices for budget gaming rigs. Even better, the AMD A320 motherboard supports CPU boosting without overheating.

On the graphics front, you’ll find the Nvidia GeForce GT 730 2GB video card. Don’t let its speed rank fool you. Although this GPU is a bit below average according to most benchmarks, it’s still able to run GTA V at low settings and maintain over 30 FPS.

You also get 8 GB of memory and a 1 TB HDD which is enough storage to keep a bunch of AAA games installed at the same time. As part of the package you’ll also get a Windows 10 Home OEM license as well as an RGB 7-color keyboard. There’s even more LED lighting going on inside the case.

What's to like about the CyberpowerPC Gamer Master GMA2600A

The best thing about this gaming rig, apart from the pricing, is the excellent case that’s designed for airflow. The mesh on the front allows the intake fans to pull in more than enough air. The top and the back of the case are also fitted with thin mesh to allow maximum air circulation and a look at the LED fans.

What's not to like about the CyberpowerPC Gamer Master GMA2600A

Although the GT 730 can run some newer games, the GPU is outdated. There are a number of video cards that could have taken its place even at this price range.

PROS

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    Excellent case design
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    Very good CPU
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    Peripherals included
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    LED keyboard

CONS

  • Below average GPU
  • Low quality PSU
  • No USB 3.1 slot

BUYER'S GUIDE

Premade Gaming PCs

Pre-configured gaming PCs were all that people had access to until about a decade ago. These days, building your own gaming rig is the popular choice for a lot of gamers because the price-to-performance ratio would often end up far superior.

However, when building a gaming rig on a budget, sometimes it’s still better to go with a pre-built PC. There are two reasons for this. For one, not everyone knows or wants to get down and dirty and link PC parts together.

Secondly, when buying your PC piece by piece you don’t have access to very cheap components like OEM motherboards, generic RAM cards, and OEM operating systems. A lot of DIY budget PC-builds don’t add all the peripherals and tiny details to the final tally which is why they can be misleading.

CPU vs. GPU – Which Deserves More Money?

This is the eternal question that has been debated for years, but people still don’t seem to get it. You always need to strike a balance between your CPU, GPU, and most importantly, your memory bandwidth.

Certain games run smoother with a stronger CPU while others are more dependent on the graphics card. Because of this, you have to find the right balance between the two. That is unless you want to play only CPU-hungry or GPU-hungry video games.

If you’re a gamer who likes variety, you can’t compromise on either component.

Peripherals

It’s no secret that most pre-built systems come with average quality peripherals. The mouse never has more than 3-4 buttons and the keyboards rarely have LED lighting or advanced key features. However, unless you’re addicted to creating personalized scripts and bindings for each game, you won’t have to pay extra for peripherals.

Lighting

Technically, LEDs are not important. But, they sure do take the boredom out of staring at a blank PC case. And sometimes the extra lighting might even come in handy when playing through the night. The good news is that LED case fans have become the norm these days, so this feature doesn’t cost you more just because you’re buying a pre-configured system.

PSUs and Motherboards

These two components are essential to keeping your PC running for a long, long time. This is one area that pre-built PC retailers try to cut corners which is why seasoned gamers prefer to pick their own components.

Most PSUs and motherboards you’ll find in gaming PCs are of average quality. OEM motherboards, in particular, can make the difference between playing your games on high settings or low settings. That’s because most of them don’t really let you overclock the CPU, GPU, or the memory.

And, those that do might not be able to handle the extra heat. PSUs are also important for two things. The first one is being able to run your system without frying your components from, which can happen from power supply component failures and power surges.

The second thing that makes or breaks a PSU for gamers is the cable design. Is the PSU modular, semi-modular, or neither? Having access to a modular PSU is important if you want to hide your cables as best as possible.

PSUs and Motherboards

These two components are essential to keeping your PC running for a long, long time. This is one area that pre-built PC retailers try to cut corners which is why seasoned gamers prefer to pick their own components.

Most PSUs and motherboards you’ll find in gaming PCs are of average quality. OEM motherboards, in particular, can make the difference between playing your games on high settings or low settings. That’s because most of them don’t really let you overclock the CPU, GPU, or the memory.

And, those that do might not be able to handle the extra heat. PSUs are also important for two things. The first one is being able to run your system without frying your components from, which can happen from power supply component failures and power surges.

The second thing that makes or breaks a PSU for gamers is the cable design. Is the PSU modular, semi-modular, or neither? Having access to a modular PSU is important if you want to hide your cables as best as possible.

Importance of Case Design

The case design is more than just having something pretty to look at. As cool as side panel windows are, they aren’t the most essential component of PC cases.

A good gaming case needs to have a couple of things: a good dust filter mesh at the front and the back. It also has to be elevated enough from the ground or the desk to allow the PSU to draw in plenty of air.

Another important feature is how many case fans it supports. Most gaming PC cases these days allow at least three fans in the front, one in the back, and two or three on top.

As far as upgrade path is concerned, the bigger the case the better. High-end components are big so if you eventually want to upgrade from a mid-range gaming rig to a monster gaming rig you’ll want a case that supports a full-ATX motherboard maybe.

You’ll want plenty of open slots for SSDs, HDDs, and enough cracks to hide your cables. Better cable management enhances airflow, and this is essential if you want to cool off your components enough to make use of overclocking.

Gaming PCs F.A.Q.

What’s the best gaming PC for under $1,000?

The best PC in this category is the one that delivers the most performance for your budget. You need to understand what each component does in order to influence the gaming performance. Once you have that down, you’ll be able to select the best pre-built system for your needs.

But one thing to keep in mind is that sometimes you’ll end up paying a couple hundred more just for the brand. Don’t think that this is the same as comparing Nikes and replicas.

For gaming rigs, only the interior components matter and not the brand that assembled and distributed the system.

Are pre-built gaming PCs worth it?

It depends on what type of gamer you are, how much money you have, and how tech savvy you are. Hardcore gamers either order expensive custom-built gaming rigs or build their own system from scratch.

However, if you’re on a tight budget, you may be better off with a pre-built system. Going this route keeps you from overspending on components and also cuts down on the cost of certain parts such as RAM, motherboard, PSU, case fans etc.

If you’re building from scratch, you won’t have access to cheap OEM components. At the end of the day, the labor cost of pre-built gaming PCs might be cheaper than what you can build on your own.

Do gaming PCs come with everything?

Gaming PCs generally come with a mouse and keyboard at the very least. While they’re usually wired, they should still be good enough for entry-level gaming needs.

However, monitors aren’t usually included in gaming PC rigs even in the mid-range category.

Which gaming PC has the best case?

While it’s true that some case manufacturers always seem to hit it out of the park, there’s no such thing as the best gaming PC case. If you’re looking at pre-built systems, you should probably just opt for the best combination of quality components and good ventilation.

FINAL VERDICT

After all is said and done, there are plenty of choices if you want to get yourself a gaming rig on the cheap. However, the Dell Inspiron 5680 is perhaps the best gaming PC under $1,000 part for part.

Although you pay a little premium for buying a Dell-assembled gaming rig, the configuration is well worth the money. The Intel i7-8700 6-core/12-thread CPU is still one of the fastest on the market and the Nvidia GTX 1060 remains nothing short of impressive after all these years.

Add to that the M.2 SSD boot drive and the high-speed DDR4 memory, and it’s hard to find anything that comes close to this level of performance for casual and hardcore gamers alike.

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