Getting a solid desktop PC for cheap is easy. On this list, we’ve included a variety of machines climbing from price points as low as $150 or so, up to $999. If you need a PC for getting the basics done, such as editing documents, web browsing, and other basic PC uses, then one can definitely get away with spending a very reasonable amount of cash. That said, if you’re looking to use your PC to edit video or play games, one will want to opt for something a bit pricier.
No matter your needs, however, there is a machine on this list that should live up to your desires at a great price. PC’s and their price per performance are better than ever before.
Here’s the 10 best desktop PCs for cheap from lowest to highest price.
1. Asus Chromebox M004U Mini PC
Processor / Passmark Speed Celeron 2955U / 1444 | RAM 2GB DDR3 | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 16GB SSD | Weight 1.3lbs |
If you’ve ever been using the Chrome browser and had the thought, “Do I really need anything more than this?”, this may be the machine for you. This Chromebox boasts the barest of bones specs, but considering how lightweight Chrome OS, it’s actually faster than the next PC on our list (which is running a full version of Windows 10). This Chromebox is great for doing tasks with Chrome, but that’s about it; Chrome OS is basically an operating system that solely consists of Chrome, though it does have some file management capabilities. Still, if you’re familiar with Google Docs, Sheets, and plenty of other completely web-based applications, this functionality may not be limiting at all. There’s even sites now that very closely mimic the functionality of Photoshop (Pixlr.com)!
- Good price for the performance
- If all you use is Chrome, then this is a great buy
- Fanless PC means it’s silent
- Capable of outputting 1080P without any issues
- Doesn’t generate heat
- Chrome only; can’t run a single other app
- No Windows apps or games
- A wee percentage of users had Wi-Fi issues
2. Zotac ZBox CI325 Mini PC
Processor / Passmark Speed Intel N3160 / 1699 | RAM 4GB RAM | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 32GB SSD | Weight 3lbs |
If having only Chrome OS seems too limiting, this Zotac Zbox boasts decent specs for a decent and affordable Windows 10 setup. With 4GB of RAM, and a decently fast Intel processor, this is a great PC for those who want an affordable Windows machine. Some nice perks over the Chromebox include twice as much storage space, and the ability to run normal Windows apps (Photoshop, Word, etc).
- Outputs 4k; great for watching movies
- Zero moving parts means it’s more reliable and stable
- RAM can go up to 16GB
- Superb device for streaming media
- Doesn’t get hot
- No fan so it’s quiet
- Some had issues with overheating
- Might be worth it to just spend more on a full PC
3. HP Slimline 260 (Editor’s Choice)
Processor / Passmark Speed i3-6100T / 4835 | RAM 8GB | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 1TB (7200RPM) | Weight 9.7lbs | Extras Dimensions: 3.94 x 15.89 x 12.59 in |
Stepping out of the mini-pc department into the full computer zone, this slim and attractive HP PC has a nice bundle of specs. With a huge 1TB data drive, solid RAM for multitasking, and a decent processor, it won’t leave anyone wanting for more in the student or office department. Some negatives include that 7200RPM while faster than some hard drives, still isn’t an SSD. Also, it bears mentioning that this PC won’t be good for editing video, though it should suffice for photo editing and other tasks, though it may be a bit sluggish for editing 4K or adding graphics to 1080p footage.
That said, if all you need a simple office PC for browsing the web and creating documents, this PC offers a really nice set of specs at a great price.
- DVD drive can read and write
- Windows 10 device with soild processor; this is a real computer
- Good value
- Has tons of outputs, including 3 USB 3.0
- Not small for a mini PC
- Boot time can be a bit slow
4. Acer Aspire
Processor / Passmark Speed i5-7400, 4 cores at 3.0ghz | RAM 8GB DDR4 | Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 630 (Integrated) | Hard Drive 2TB HDD |
This Acer Aspire ups the ante a fair amount. Boasting a more powerful i5 processor, similar RAM, and adding a much larger hard drive, it’s very much in the same league as the HP above it, albeit a bit more expensive. If you want a bit of extra processor power and a larger internal drive, this is definitely worth the extra bucks. That said, for most spending an extra $30 won’t really impact most uses of the machine. Only grab this if you need the extra data or plan on using the processor intensely.
- Quiet with good performance
- Great value
- Can add graphics card to play games etc.
- 1 year warranty includes labor and parts
- Customer service could be better
- Windows updates can be time-consuming and frequent
5. HP Elite Mini 8300 (Certified Refurbished)
Processor / Passmark Speed i7-3770 / 9308 | RAM 16GB DDR3 | Graphics Card Radeon 6350 | Hard Drive 240GB SSD + 2TB | Weight 16.7lbs |
While used PCs aren’t for everyone, holy smokes, this PC offers so much value. Don’t dismiss it at face value! Sure, its exterior may have some signs of usage, but just look at those specs. Boasting a fast i7 processor, SSD, and a 2TB data drive, this PC will make for an excellent workstation. Its graphics card is nothing impressive, but it definitely helps if you’re editing video or outputting to multiple displays. Anytime we recommend a used PC, we STRONGLY advise one purchase this with the attitude of backing everything up (I recommend Backblaze.com, it’s only $5 a month and puts your whole machine in the cloud).
For those want to spend a low amount, but also get a fast PC, this is the machine to beat.
- Great value
- Awesome business or student PC; this is one powerful workstation
- Blazing fast SSD with a robust data drive
- Fast for editing photos
- Graphics card can’t be used for gaming
- Used hard drives are a risk factor
6. Jeff’s Custom Gaming Computer
Processor / Passmark Speed AMD FX-8300, 8 cores at 3.3GHZ | RAM 16GB DDR3 | Graphics Card GTX 1050Ti 4GB | Hard Drive 120 GB SSD (fits OS only), 1 TB HDD |
You crazy for this one, Jeff! For users who want a gaming PC with robust specs, this PC has it all. At a reasonable price of $749, it includes the OS on a hard drive, and a formidable GTX 1050Ti. This PC will be great for video editing and virtually any application since it also has a solid processor and 16GB of RAM. The biggest downside with this PC for the gamers out there is that the 1050Ti isn’t the best card on the market. Still, for most modern games, it will be able to run them at medium to high settings, so it’s hardly a sacrifice.
- Includes DVD-RW drive, Wi-Fi and tons of ports
- Great for gamers
- Fast and affordable
- Godo for multitasking since it has eight cores
- Great customer service
- Can struggle with newest games at higher settings
7. HP Pavilion All-in-One
Processor / Passmark Speed i5-7400T (Quad Core, 2.4ghz) | RAM 8GB DDR4 | Graphics Card Integrated | Hard Drive 1TB 7200RPM | Display 23.8″, 1080P | Extras Webcam |
For those who want a machine with no set-up time nor complications, this all-in-one is ready to go. Boasting a great display, fast i5 processor, and large one terabyte data drive, one won’t have to worry about running out of room nor having a PC that will struggle with any workstation task. Users love it for its simple setup and lack of bloatware (unnecessary software that is included with some PCs). This is a great way to go if you don’t want to further invest in a monitor, and you’re fine with paying a bit for the simplicity.
- PC includes very little bloatware
- Monitor has good detail
- Great workstation
- Good for basic editing of video or audio
- Fast and decently abundant RAM
- Simple setup
- Does not have a graphics card
8. Gamer Xtreme
Processor / Passmark Speed Intel i5-7600 / 10815 | RAM 8GB DDR4 | Graphics Card GTX 1060 – 6GB | Hard Drive 1TB 7200RPM | Extras 4 x USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0 |
This gamer PC comes with no sacrifices. Boasting a blazing fast i5 that will leave some wondering, “Why did I think I needed an i7?”, 8GB of RAM, and a large one terabyte hard drive, it truly has it all. While the price is a bit amplified, what you’re really paying for here is the GTX 1060. This card is considerably faster than the GTX 1050Ti and can play modern games at high to ultra settings. This is a beast of a PC for gamers out there, and if you want a monstrous workstation PC, it’s just as powerful (though the 8GB of RAM and hard disk could be upgraded to really max things out). It’s a good value.
- Can render games at high settings
- Great multitasking performance
- Good for YouTubers and those who want to play games
- Keyboard is colorful
- Can edit video at high resolutions
- SSD is sorely missed
- RAM could be more abundant
9. Dell XPS 8920
Processor / Passmark Speed i7-7700 / 10810 | RAM 24GB DDR4 | Graphics Card AMD Radeon RX 480 | Hard Drive 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD | Weight 28.2lbs |
Dell is a reliable brand and their XPS line has some solid deals. This PC brings a ton of value to the table with a fast i7 processor, and an SSD with a hard drive. The real selling point, however, is its huge glut of RAM. 24GB makes video editing and other high memory tasks much faster. Plus, with a RX 480, one will be all set to play modern games at medium to high setting. If you like Dell and want a high performance PC, this is a great one to go with. This model (with some variation) is precisely what I own. It’s excellent for virtually all tasks and having the fast processor really does impact the smoothness of pretty much every task.
It is a lot to spend though unless you really need a powerful PC. If you do, however, this is a great way to go.
- Blazing fast, powerful powerful processor
- DVD burner for those who need it
- Robust graphics card for playing modern games at high to ultra settings
- Solid RAM for multitasking
- Can edit video of virtually any resolution
- Probably too much for anyone but power users
- Fans can get loud
10. Apple iMac MK452LL/A 21.5-Inch
Processor / Passmark Speed i5-7360U / 6080 | RAM 8GB DDR3 | Graphics Card Intel Iris Pro (Integrated) | Hard Drive 1TB (5400 RPM) | Weight 24lbs | Display 21.5″, 4096 x 2304 IPS | Extras Mac OSX |
For those who like what Cupertino’s cooking, this iMac has solid performance in every regard (though nothing outstanding) except the 5400RPM hard drive. Still, for most use cases, having an HD like this in a Mac won’t kill the pleasure of using its absolutely stunning display. This Mac has it all to get the job done for any office or student applications. That said, it won’t be best for video editing, or even heavy photo editing, because it just plainly doesn’t have that much power under the hood. Still, what it lacks in substance, it makes up for in sweet 4K screen (if that’s what you’re after, anyway). For editing documents and any student or office use, the iMac is a great productivity tool, but on the inside, it’s more of a Prius than a Lamborghini.
- Refurbished, but includes one year Apple warranty
- Amazing full 4K display
- OSx is the most reliable operating system
- Can also run Windows if one chooses
- One can purchase Apple Care for additional protection
- 5400RPM is bad for a machine this expensive
- No video card means no gaming
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