- Buying desktop computers for under $1000 is possible due to advancements in chip technology.
- The Dell Optiplex 3000 is the Best Overall option with a variety of features, but it may not be as powerful as other desktops for gaming.
- Important factors to consider when choosing a desktop computer under $1000 include processing power, connectivity, design, and customizability.
- Buyers should be aware that budget desktop computers may have limitations in terms of processing power, graphics, portability, and customization.
- Modern budget desktop computers offer more power and functionality than in previous years, making them a reliable choice for most consumers.
It may appear to most people that buying a desktop computer requires thousands of dollars. That may be the case for a supercharged machine, but due to steady advancements in chip technology, a competent, consistent desktop computer can be had for easily under $1000. Whether you need it for business, schoolwork, or even a little gaming, there are a ton of great, dependable desktop machines that can be bought on a budget. Let’s take a look at the best options.
- Best Overall: Dell OptiPlex 3000 Full Size Tower Business Desktop
- Best Value: Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA92
- Best for Gaming: Skytech Archangel 3.0 Gaming PC Desktop
- Best All-in-One: Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3 All-in-One Computer
- Best for Students: Apple 2023 Mac Mini
#1 Best Overall: Dell OptiPlex 3000 Full Size Tower Business Desktop
- Intel Core i5-12500K Processor
- 16GB DDR RAM
- Comes with Windows 11 Pro
- Features enough ports
The Dell OptiPlex 3000 Full Size Tower Business Desktop takes the number one spot due to its deceptive power and customizability. Though other desktops on this list may be better geared for gaming or complicated computing, the Dell Optiplex 3000 has a little bit of everything without much skimping on features. Featuring an Intel Core i5-12500K, 16GB of RAM, and an Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 770 graphics card, the Optiplex 3000 has enough juice to handle a variety of computing tasks such as coding, video production, and even some gaming.
Another benefit of the Dell Optiplex 3000 is its sheer number of ports. It features front USB-C ports as well as ports for a dual monitor setup. While the standard model is priced well, the beauty of this desktop is its potential. It could end up costing a lot more if you incorporate Dell’s range of customizability and redlining of processing power for the Optiplex.
The Optiplex does have some limitations. At its base price, it cannot compete with other desktops that offer technically more power for things like gaming at a lower price. Plus, the Optiplex is tiny, lacking the room to make any major upgrades. Customers also complain about its unreliable keyboard. Beyond that, it’s hard to find much fault with the Dell Optiplex 3000. It can be used seamlessly for gaming, business, schoolwork, or just as a home computer.
|Deceptive power and potential in a tiny box.
|Outperformed in terms of things like gaming by cheaper desktop computers.
|It has the potential to become any kind of computer you like, and the reliability to carry you the rest of the way.
|Many complaints about the disfunctional keyboard.
Check out the Dell OptiPlex 3000 Full Size Tower Business Desktop on Amazon.
Best Value: Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA92
- 12th generation Intel Core i5-12400
- Intel UHD graphics 730
- 12GB 3200MHz DDR4 memory
- 512GB M.2 2280 NVMe SSD storage
- DVD-RW optical drive
- Windows 11 Home
It’s hard to find a better desktop computer for the price than the Acer Aspire TC-1769-UA92. For less than half the max budget, the Aspire comes packed with an Intel Core i5-12400 processor, a hefty 512GB solid-state drive, and support for two HDMI monitors. Plus, with its WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 capabilities, streaming is a breeze. The Acer Aspire shows that shopping on a budget doesn’t have to look like it. The Aspire’s sleek design competes with the aesthetics of computers more than double in price but in a functional way. The Acer Aspire TC-1769-UA92 incorporates its range of USB ports, audio and microphone jacks, ethernet, and even a DVD burner into its case effortlessly.
Again, on this type of budget, a desktop like the Acer Inspire cannot compete with other computers in terms of processing power. With a price this low, that’s to be expected. The Acer Aspire TC-1769-UA92 can, however, compete formidably in just about every other computing arena. It’s the perfect all-around budget desktop computer, even if its cooling fan can get a bit noisy.
|Comes equipped with a solid Intel Core i5 CPU, a 512GB SSD drive, and WiFi 6 as well as Bluetooth 5.2 capabilities.
|Not powerful enough to do any kind of modern gaming.
|It has an incredible price, and works well within its limitations.
|Cooling Fan can get quite loud.
Take a look at the Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA92 on Amazon.
Best for Gaming: Skytech Archangel 3.0 Gaming PC Desktop
- AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-core 3.6 GHz CPU
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8GB graphics card
- Features Airflow RGB lighting fans
- 1 Year Warranty on Parts and Labor
More than anything, modern gaming requires some serious firepower, and the Skytech Archangel 3.0 Gaming PC Desktop has just that. This PC meets those needs and more while still clocking in just under the $1,000 budget. Featuring 16 GB of memory, an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-core 3.6 GHz CPU, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8GB graphics card, the Skytech Shadow Gaming PC can play just about any current game effortlessly. This means you can play games at 60fps/1080p without overheating your computer, thanks to its Airflow RGB lighting fans. It will be hard to find a desktop computer for under $1000 that can give an immersive gaming experience like the Skytech.
The problem with PC gaming is that by the time you’ve gotten your top-of-the-line processor and graphics card, there’s already a new generation of games that your computer can’t handle. While the Skytech Shadow can currently compete with its GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card, in less than a year the computer will be out of date. Plus, many reviewers note that the Skytech Archangel is often buggy, with constant crashing being a common theme in negative reviews.
|With the combined power of its AMD Ryzen 5 CPU and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card, the Skytech Shadow can play any modern game at maxed-out settings.
|Impressive processor and graphics for the price, but will require an upgrade to play any future game releases.
|Features Airflow RGB lighting fans, which protect the computer from overheating due to processor use.
|It has problems with constantly crashing.
Check out the Skytech Archangel 3.0 Gaming PC Desktop on Amazon.
Best All-In-One Desktop Computer: Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3 All-in-One Computer
When looking for an all-in-one desktop computer, look no further than the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3 All-in-One Computer. Featuring a 256GB solid-state drive, 8GB of RAM, and an AMD Ryzen 3 4300U CPU, the IdeaCentre 3 is a formidable all-in-one computer for its price tag. It also features a sleek design, with a C-shaped base holding up its beveled-edge, 23.8-inch HD screen. Though the computer looks like a business terminal, it can serve a wide variety of needs such as being the family computer.
The Lenovo IdeaCentre 3 is not entirely without its faults. For one, its large HD screen has a dimmer backlight compared to similar all-in-one desktops. It also features no USB-C ports, which means you’ll have to rely on its outdated DVD-RW drive to input certain data. Plus, with only the capability for Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 2.0, there’s a chance any kind of streaming performance will be impeded.
|Priced well for its power and memory, with its AMD Ryzen 3 4300U CPU and 256 SSD drive.
|Lacks many modern ports and is a generation behind with its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability.
|Equipped with a large, 23.8-inch HD screen, and an overall stylish, sleek design.
|Screen is dimly backlit compared to similarly-priced all-in-one desktop computers.
Take a look at the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3 All-in-One Computer on Amazon.
Best for Students: Apple 2023 Mac Mini
It’s hard to argue with Apple’s consistency and composition, and it’s evident in the Apple 2023 Mac Mini. The Apple Mac Mini M2 comes equipped with 256GB of storage, 8GB of RAM, and Apple’s dependable M2 processor, all encased in a classic, minimalist design. The Mac Mini M2 is also cheaper and more powerful than its previous model. It packs a punch, even with its modest dimensions. Though tiny, it includes two Thunderbolt ports, an HDMI port, two USB-As, as well as a headphone jack and ethernet. The Mac Mini M2 is the perfect computer for a student due to its incredible portability, consistent processing power, and range of connectivity options.
Like any other Apple computer of this caliber, the Mac Mini M2 will not wow in any high-powered arenas such as gaming or heavy computer animation. What you see is what you’ll get, and without many USB options, plus no external hardware included like a screen or keyboard, the Mac Mini M2 won’t reinvent the wheel. It will, however, excel in meeting students’ computing needs.
|Cheaper and more powerful than previous iterations with an M2 core processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
|It lacks USB-C ports and does not having enough processing power for serious computing.
|Small, lightweight, and portable without sacrificing too much connectivity.
|Good price for what it is, but will quickly become a more expensive investment if a keyboard or screen is included.
Check out the Apple 2023 Mac Mini on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best Desktop Computers Under $1000: Step-by-Step
When searching for the best desktop computers under $1000, there are four important factors to consider:
- Processing Power
Let’s explore these factors in more detail.
A computer is nothing without its processor. That’s why it’s important to have an understanding of processing power and what you can get for your budget. Though it may appear that a computer for under $1000 would lack processing power, that’s no longer the case. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to find a top-of-the-line processor in a budget desktop computer. That’s why having an understanding of processors and what kind of work you need the computer for will go a long way in finding the best option.
There are many types of ports with just as many purposes, and luckily, modern budget desktops perform pretty well in this department. Nearly all the desktop computers on this list feature a nice range of ports, audio jacks, SD card readers, and even DVD-RW disk drives. With connectivity, it’s the details that count, so it’s important to understand just what kind of ports you will need. The Apple Mac Mini M2 may have plenty of Thunderbolt and HDMI ports but it lacks the most common USB-C port. This is a major factor to consider when buying a budget desktop computer.
The aesthetics of your desktop computer is a factor that may go overlooked, but it can be an essential priority in getting the computer that works best for you. Arguably the Lenovo IdeaCentre or the Apple Mac Mini M2 have the sleekest designs of any budget desktop, but that design is rigid. This means you will be sacrificing a lot of functionality and customization for the sake of appearance.
While not as customizable as a top-shelf desktop computer, many computers sold for under $1000 have a surprising range of options. The only limitation in this department is the kind of budget desktop you get and what kind of future potential the computer holds for you. The Mac Mini M2 is sleek but a brick. It can’t be customized in the same way that the Dell XPS tower desktop can.
What to Know Before Buying Desktop Computers Under $1000
Before buying desktop computers under $1000, it’s important to ask yourself what you are willing to sacrifice. High-quality things have a high price tag, so buying a desktop computer for under $1000 means that some aspects of the computer will be lacking. If you want an all-in-one desktop like the Lenovo IdeaCentre, you will not have the processing power or graphics card to do any serious gaming. If you want to play modern games, chances are your desktop will not be portable or as customizable as other competing computers. It’s a matter of preference, but a preference you should have a clear idea of before you wade into the world of budget desktop computers.
Using Desktop Computers Under $1000: What It’s Like
Luckily, modern desktop computers with a budget price only seem to get more and more powerful. Thanks to the near-exponential growth of processing power, even $500 will get you a lot more computer power than a couple of years ago. Desktop computers under $1000 may not have as many frills, but they’re functional enough to work well for the majority of consumers.
|Dell OptiPlex 3000
|Deceptive power and potential in a tiny box. It has the potential to become any kind of computer you like, and the reliability to carry you the rest of the way.
|Outperformed in terms of things like gaming by cheaper desktop computers. Many complaints about the disfunctional keyboard.
|Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA92
|Comes equipped with a solid Intel Core i5 CPU, a 512GB SSD drive, and WiFi 6 as well as Bluetooth 5.2 capabilities. It has an incredible price, and works well within its limitations.
|Not powerful enough to do any kind of modern gaming. Cooling Fan can get quite loud.
|Best for Gaming
|Skytech Shadow Gaming PC Desktop
|With the combined power of its AMD Ryzen 5 CPU and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card, the Skytech Shadow can play any modern game at maxed-out settings. Features Airflow RGB lighting fans, which protect the computer from overheating due to processor use.
|Impressive processor and graphics for the price, but will require an upgrade to play any future game releases. It has problems with constantly crashing.
|Lenovo IdeaCentre 3 AIO
|Priced well for its power and memory, with its AMD Ryzen 3 4300U CPU and 256 SSD drive. Equipped with a large, 23.8-inch HD screen, and an overall stylish, sleek design.
|Lacks many modern ports and is a generation behind with its Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability. Screen is dimly backlit compared to similiarly-priced all-in-one desktop computers.
|Best for Students
|Apple Mac Mini M2
|Cheaper and more powerful than previous iterations with an M2 core processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Small, lightweight, and portable without sacrificing too much connectivity.
|It lacks USB-C ports and does not having enough processing power for serious computing. Good price for what it is, but will quickly become a more expensive investment if a keyboard or screen is included.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Janis Abolins/Shutterstock.com.