- The Skytech Shadow 3.0 offers stand-out gaming PC performance at a budget-friendly price, with an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 processor and NVIDIA RTX 3060 GPU.
- The HP OMEN 25L is a strong competitor with a beautifully designed white case, AMD Ryzen 5 5600G processor, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 GPU.
- The Skytech Azure is a budget-friendly option with an Intel Core i3 processor, NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU, and the ability to handle popular AAA games.
- The Lenovo IdeaCentre Gaming 5i offers great value with an Intel i5 12400 processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, and a PC case that looks more like a productivity setup.
- The Acer Nitro 5 is the best gaming laptop under $1,000, featuring a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, and Ethernet E2600 and Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 for seamless online gaming.
- The CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR is perfect for virtual reality enthusiasts, with an NVIDIA RTX 3050 GPU, Intel Core i5 processor, and the ability to run games at ultra-high settings and resolutions.
When you start looking for a new gaming PC, it’s easy to get caught up with what you would like to spend and what you should actually spend.
If you really want the best gaming PC, you can easily pay close to $5,000 for a computer that can do everything but make you lunch. However, if you’re not looking to play every AAA game at its very best settings, having a budget of $1,000 for your first or next gaming PC can still get a really great setup.
With that in mind, let’s jump right into the six best gaming PCs you can buy today for under $1,000.
- Best Overall: Skytech Shadow 3.0
- Best Runner-Up: HP OMEN 25L
- Best Budget-Friendly: Skytech Azure
- Best Value: Lenovo IdeaCentre Gaming 5i
- Best Laptop: Acer Nitro 5
- Best Virtual Reality: CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR
#1 Best Overall: Skytech Shadow 3.0
While the Skytech name is still relatively new to mainstream gaming PC life, the Skytech Shadow 3.0 is undoubtedly the best option you will find under $1,000.
Powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD, the Skytech Shadow 3.0 offers stand-out gaming PC performance at this price range. This level of power helps you play through AAA games at 60 FPS with 1080p resolution and is an easy reason why Shadow 3.0 really shines. Add to this the fact that the Shadow has enough power to stream your gameplay to the world, which is another big benefit for aspiring Twitch stars out there.
Assisting with this heightened level of gaming performance is the NVIDIA RTX 3060 GPU with its own 12GB of RAM. Built into the GPU is NVIDIA’s DLSS technology, which gives you a little bit more power from the GPU to crank up the settings while gaming and not see a dip in visual quality. As a bonus, if you want to edit your streaming videos after you’re done, the 3060 GPU can also handle 4K video edits with ease.
One final nicety from the team at Skytech is that they packed the Shadow 3.0 with RGB lighting that highlights the position of the airflow on the rear of the computer.
|Great cost-to-performance results||Not a well-known brand name|
|Comes with NVIDIA 3060 GPU||Doesn’t come with any accessories|
Check out Skytech Shadow 3.0 on Amazon.
Best Runner-Up: HP OMEN 25L
If you’d prefer to stick to a brand name for your next gaming PC under $1,000, the HP OMEN 25L is the way to go.
A strong competitor to the Skytech Shadow 3.0, the HP OMEN 25L offers a beautifully designed white case that helps it stand out from the sea of black gaming PC hardware. Inside this hardware is an AMD Ryzen 5 5600G processor with 16GB of DDR4 RAM plus a combined 512GB SSD and a 1TB HDD. All of this hardware comes together to give you plenty of power for both multitasking and gaming.
To give you even stronger gaming results, HP packed the OMEN 25L with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 GPU with its own 6GB of dedicated RAM. While not as strong as Skytech, you shouldn’t have any issues running games at medium 1080p resolution.
When you want to connect gaming peripherals to the OMEN, you can do so with the SuperSpeed USB-A inputs. This means you’re ready for the best mechanical keyboard you can think of to help enjoy gaming even more.
|Solid gaming performance with NVIDIA 1660 GPU||DDR4 RAM is somewhat outdated|
|The OMEN series has a good history.||No accessories included|
Check out HP OMEN 25L on Amazon.
Best Budget-Friendly: Skytech Azure
It shouldn’t be surprising to see another Skytech name on the list given the company’s prominent rise as of late and the Skytech Azure is proof they are on a roll.
In the budget arena, the Skytech Azure shows off with an Intel Core i3 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 500GB SSD. When combined with an NVIDIA GTX 1650 processor, you can expect this PC to cost around $650 and handle a large number of AA games with maybe a few AAA titles sprinkled in at low settings.
Skytech even commits to the Azure being ready to tackle popular titles like Call of Duty Warzone, Elden Ring, The Division 2, Overwatch, and Apex Legends at 1080p resolution with 60+ FPS. This is a pretty bold claim and all the more reason why Skytech is starting to really show up against its better-known competitors.
Add in 3 RGB RING fans for terrific airflow, Windows 11, and plenty of ports for adding gaming PC accessories, and the Skytech Azure is an easy recommendation.
|Excellent price point||Fans can get loud at times|
|Plays plenty of AAA games||No USB-C ports|
Check out Skytech Azure on Amazon.
Best Value: Lenovo IdeaCentre Gaming 5i
Finding the best value in the gaming world, especially under $1,000, isn’t easy, at least until you locate the Lenovo IdeaCentre Gaming 5i.
Lenovo is a big name in the gaming PC world and for all the right reasons as it knows how to make excellent hardware. This is exactly the case with the Lenovo IdeaCentre Gaming 5i, which offers terrific cost-to-price performance.
Right away the Lenovo 5i is highlighted by the Intel i5 12400 12th generation processor, which is already designed to provide superior gaming experiences over previous generations. Add to the processor 8GB of RAM (upgradeable) and a 512GB SSD, and you can easily see why the Lenovo is such a great value.
Once you add in the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, it becomes clear why this is an easy value recommendation. Ray-traced graphics are no problem for the 3050 as the Lenovo works overtime to keep things up to cool with a 65W CPU cooler and 50% better airflow than previous generation Lenovo hardware.
All of this is tucked away in a PC case that looks like it’s all about productivity and not gaming, which makes it ideal for various desktop setups.
|Great gaming performance for the price||The included keyboard is just okay.|
|The PC case is good for hiding gaming strengths.||Fans can get loud|
Check out Lenovo IdeaCentre Gaming 5i on Amazon.
Best Laptop: Acer Nitro 5
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card
- 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12500H processor
- 15.6-inch full HD IPS display with 144Hz refresh rate
- 16GB DDR4 3200MHz memory
- 512GB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
- Ethernet E2600 and Wi-Fi 6 AX1650
Among a sea of gaming laptops under $1,000, the Acer Nitro 5 is a consistent recommendation across Reddit and online reviews.
At the top of just about every online recommendation under $1,000, the Acer Nitro 5 offers excellent performance without breaking the bank. The highlight of the Acer is the 15.6-inch FHD IPS display, which offers a 144Hz refresh rate that really shines through with all types of gaming titles. The internet is full of praise for the display with its strong viewing angles and fluid gaming sessions.
Of course, the display isn’t the only thing to rave about with the Acer Nitro 5, as the inclusion of an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU ensures powerful gaming sessions. The GPU even offers DirectX 12 right out of the box for even stronger performance at this price point. Paired with a 12th-generation Intel Core i5 processor and 16GB of RAM, this gaming laptop deserves to get your best shot to slow it down.
Best of all, for online gaming sessions, Acer packed the Nitro 5 with Ethernet E2600 and Wi-Fi 6 AX1650, so multiplayer gaming should be totally seamless.
|Best-in-class gaming laptop for under $1,000||The keyboard is a bit clacky.|
|Great screen with good viewing angles||Fans can be loud|
Check out Acer Nitro 5 on Amazon.
Best Virtual Reality: CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR
- Intel Core i5-12400F 2.5GHz
- GeForce RTX 3050 8GB
- 16GB DDR4
- 500GB NVMe SSD
- Windows 11 Home
For many gamers, the thought of virtual reality gaming under $1,000 might seem unimaginable, but the CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR is here to change minds.
While it might seem as if virtual reality gaming at a sub $1,000 price point would be difficult, the CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR has you ready to go virtual as soon as it’s powered on. This good fortune is because of the NVIDIA RTX 3050 GPU, which is paired with 8GB of RAM to really power through any gaming title you can throw at the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.
Also helping the VR experience is an Intel Core i5 processor with 16GB of RAM and a 500GB SSD. When combined with the GPU, the Gamer Xtreme VR is able to bump up performance to 4.8 GHz as a max clock speed thanks to 6 cores and 12 threads on the 12th generation Intel processor. This means running games at ultra-high game settings and max resolutions is definitely something to try.
If the VR experience doesn’t win you over, the sharp-looking PC case with the CyberpowerPC might with its outstanding airflow and fun RGB lighting.
|Perfect for virtual reality fans||The included keyboard isn’t great.|
|New 12th-generation Intel processor helps with performance|
Check out CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best Gaming PC Under $1,000: Step-by-Step
When looking at the best gaming PCs under $1,000, there are 4 main considerations to look at before making a purchase.
- Graphics card
Let’s break them down below.
Ideally one of the biggest benefits of buying a gaming PC is the ability to perform upgrades down the road. Because of this, you want to make sure any gaming PC you buy has the right slots and storage for making both minor and major upgrades down the road. This might include adding more RAM or storage as well as increasing the size of the fan for better airflow.
Having the right amount of storage from the first minute you unbox your gaming PC is an important choice. At the minimum, you want a gaming PC with at least 512GB of storage, if not a 1TB SSD. The good news is that even with a gaming laptop, you can upgrade storage on just about every gaming PC.
This might seem counterintuitive since you already have a max budget of $1,000, but the real question is how close to that number you want to spend. What you might want to consider is spending a little under so you can focus on buying additional gaming accessories like a better keyboard or dedicated gaming mouse for a more solid gaming experience overall.
When it comes to PC gaming, the graphics card is everything as it determines the types of games you can play and at what settings. In a perfect world under $1,000, you would not go below an NVIDIA GTX 1660 or an NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti as your lowest GPU level. Anything above this will give you ample opportunity to play many AAA games at low to mid-range settings.
Using a Gaming PC Under $1,000: What It’s Like
For the most part, using a gaming PC that costs under $1,000 isn’t all that different from using one that costs 2 or 3 times more. Setting up your games will be the exact same no matter the price point. The biggest question is at what settings can games run.
The more expensive the gaming PC, the more likely it is to run games at a higher FPS. However, even though you are looking at a gaming PC under $1,000, you should still have the right expectations that your games will still run great with every computer on this list, all of which are more than capable of solid FPS performance.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com.