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Best budget gaming PC 2020: top gaming desktops for less

Best budget gaming PC

The best budget gaming PCs out there to prove that investing in a new gaming computer isn’t as expensive as you might think. And while the best gaming PCs may need you to take out a loan, the best budget gaming PCs can still deliver fantastic performance at more affordable price points. That should ease the pocketbooks of the more budget-conscious buyers out there.

And with all the latest internals unveiled or available on the market, like Intel Coffee Lake Refresh, AMD Ryzen 3nd Generation and AMD Navi, as well as the newly released Nvidia’s Super RTX series, this may be the best time to dive into one of the best budget gaming PCs.

We’ve compiled our selection of the best budget gaming PCs of 2020, which will leave the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X in the dust, which will have you gaming in no time and for not too much money.

Intel Hades Canyon NUC

1. Intel Hades Canyon NUC

Small, but dangerous

CPU: Intel Core i7-8705G - Core i7-8809G | Graphics: AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL - Vega M GH | RAM: N/A | Storage: N/A

Low profile 
No included RAM, Storage or OS 

If you’re looking for a cheap way to play your favorite PC games without having a gigantic tower taking up a ton of space in your apartment, you’re going to want to take a look at the Intel Hades Canyon NUC. Don’t assume that these onboard graphics won’t be able to handle real gaming either – these Vega graphics will see you through AAA games at 1080p no problem, with some light 1440p thrown in for good measure. The only drawback here is that you won’t have an SSD, RAM or an OS, but you should be able to make it a full system for under $1,000/£1,000, easy.

Read the full review: Intel Hades Canyon NUC 

HP Omen Desktop PC

(Image credit: Michelle Rae Uy)

2. HP Omen Desktop PC

Gaming PC powerhouse that’s worth the price

CPU: Intel Core i7-8700 – i7-9700K | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti – RTX 2080 Ti | RAM: Up to 64GB | Storage: 1TB HDD – 512GB SSD + 2TB HDD

High powered
Highly upgradable
Up to 165Hz refresh rates
Not the best looking PC

When souped up, the HP Omen Desktop PC isn’t what many would consider cheap (and understandably so, as powerful internals do tend to cost a lot). Yet there’s an HP Omen Desktop PC for everyone – yes, even the budget-minded. At less than $1,500, you’re scoring more than enough power to get you through AAA games, albeit probably not on Ultra, what with an Intel Core i7-8700 processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics and 8GB RAM. Plus, it’s very upgradeable should you come into a bit of money later, meaning it’s just the best budget gaming PC for gamers who like to plan for the future.

Read the full review: HP Omen Desktop PC

MSI Trident 3

3. MSI Trident 3

A great performer at the higher end of the budget spectrum

CPU: 7th-generation Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti - GTX 1070 | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Storage: 1TB HDD; Optional 256GB SSD

Looks great 
Plenty of power 
Last-generation processors 

MSI has long held a reputation for being a top-tier laptop and PC component manufacturer, and with the MSI Trident 3, it has combined the two to great effect. And, while this budget gaming PC features last-generation Kaby Lake processors, you’re still going to get fantastic gaming performance – especially at 1080p. Plus, unlike many small-form factor PCs like the Corsair One, you can easily upgrade the MSI Trident 3 in the future – making this purchase one that will last you a long time. 

Read the full review: MSI Trident 3 

Dell XPS Tower Special Edition

4. Dell XPS Tower Special Edition

It doesn’t look the part, but plays it well

CPU: Intel Core i5-8400 – Core i7-8700K | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB DDR4 (2,666MHz) | Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD – 256GB SSD; 2TB HDD

Compact, minimalistic design 
Affordably priced 
Non-K, locked processor 

The Dell XPS Tower Special Edition is a lesson in subtlety. This on-the-DL gaming rig looks like something you’d find in your dad’s office, rather than something powering the latest PC games. Rocking an Intel 8th generation Coffee Lake CPU and a Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti even at the lowest configuration option, you’re getting one of the best gaming PCs you can buy in 2020 with the Dell XPS Tower, and that’s without any of the off-putting ‘gamer aesthetic’. 

Read the full review: Dell XPS Tower Special Edition 

HP Omen Obelisk

(Image credit: Future)

5. HP Omen Obelisk

Tricked out stunner for the hardcore gamer

CPU: Intel Core i5-8400 – i9-9900 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti – RTX 2080 | RAM: Up to 32GB | Storage: 1TB HDD – 1TB SSD

Lots of power
Appealing, tool-less design
Highly upgradable
Software offer minimal personalization

The HP Omen line’s more affordable PC, the HP Omen Obelisk, is definitely well-deserving of the best budget gaming PC title, thanks to its low price of admission well under $1,000 and its decent specs at that configuration. And, if you customize before you buy, upgrading the base specs for more power, it won’t set you back a whole lot either. The best part? If you’re not into that over-the-top gaming aesthetic, this one has a classier-looking chassis so you can haul it to your office desk, and no one will be the wiser.

Read the full review: HP Omen Obelisk