The best cheap gaming PC deals for May 2022
Are you looking to get games on a budget? We’re here to help with a one-stop roundup of all the best cheap gaming PC deals this week. We’ve rated all the top retailers in the US and UK to put together a comprehensive list of all the best value gaming machines on the market right now.
Cheap Gaming PC Deals: Jump Links
Whether you’re looking for a super basic machine to play some indy titles or one that can max out CyberPunk 2077, our best cheap gaming PC deals list has options for both. We generally aim to spend as little as possible here, but you’ll find some good value options across the board if you’re looking for something with a bit of power.
Because buying a new gaming PC is a big commitment, we’ve also stacked this article full of helpful and unbiased shopping tips. Buying a PC for the first time? Maybe you’re a parent looking to buy a gaming PC for their son or daughter. Regardless of your level of knowledge or expertise, you’ll find a detailed guide on how much you should spend and what to look for at the bottom of the page. The market for cheap gaming PC deals tends to be littered with subpar third-party choices on sites like Amazon, Newegg, and eBay, so a little research can go a long way if you’re not technically inclined.
While you’re here, why not check out our main guide to the best budget gaming PC of 2022. This page is light on deals, but includes plenty of other buying advice as well as an overview of all the best machines that we have personally reviewed here at TechRadar.
Best cheap gaming PC deals in the US: Under $1,000
Best cheap game deals in the US: over $1,000
More cheap gaming PC deals in the US
Best cheap gaming PC deals in the UK: Under £1,000
Best UK cheap game deals: Over £1000
More cheap gaming PC deals in the UK
Cheap Gaming PC Deals: FAQs
Buy a pre-built gaming PC rather than build your own
- Buy pre-built
- Advantages: cost, ease of use, system warranty
- Cons: cut corners, generic parts
- Build your own
- Advantages: easily customizable and scalable
- Cons: price, warranty on individual parts only
A few years ago, the best advice was always to build your own PC, if you could. Components were cheap and readily available, and almost every company saved money while charging you a premium for the labor costs associated with construction. Over the past two years, however, pre-builds have come a very long way when it comes to overall value.
While it’s still common for businesses to cut costs on things like CPU coolers, RAM, and other minor (but essential) components, generally speaking it’s now cheaper to buying your machine from one of the bigger companies rather than buying everything separately.
Since big manufacturers like Dell, HP, and other well-known manufacturers can buy components in bulk or wholesale, they don’t pay the same high street graphics card prices you do. While RAM and storage upgrades are cheap and plentiful, we all know how difficult it has been to get a reasonably priced GPU over the past couple of years. For those on a budget, it’s often cheaper and easier to buy a pre-built gaming PC.
However, all that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t build your own. If you’re convinced you can (it’s easy enough), it’s well worth the time and money. There’s a satisfaction to building your own that’s hard to come by just buying a pre-built gaming PC, and it’s a fulfilling hobby in and of itself. Remember that if something goes wrong, it will be up to you to fix it.
How much should I spend on a cheap gaming PC?
|Level||cost us)||Cost (UK)||Games / settings|
|Basic 1080p||$650 to $900||£700 to £800||Indy, Minecraft, Fortnite|
|1080p standard||$900 to $1,200||£800 to £1,100||eSports, strategy, FPS|
|Passionate 1440p||$1,200 to $2,000||£1,200 to £2,000||All (high to ultra settings)|
|4K performance||$2,000+||£2,000+||Everything (super)|
Typically, you can get a great barebones system for 1080p gaming for around $800 (£800) in early 2022. While you can get cheaper (much cheaper) machines on Amazon and eBay, we think it’s usually worth spending a bit more to get a machine that will last a bit longer down the line. Unfortunately, the market is flooded with terrible cheap pre-built gaming PCs that feature very old components and even lack dedicated graphics cards in some cases. You get what you pay for with gaming PCs – plus, it’s worth spending a bit more to get a decent rig to upgrade to, if you want to swap out components in a year or two.
If you’re aiming for ultra settings at 1440p, you’ll have to be prepared to shell out the cash – at least $1000 if you want a really smooth experience. Higher resolution requires a much more powerful graphics card (the most expensive component), so gamers on a budget can often save a lot of money by going for 1080p.
What specs do I need in a cheap gaming PC?
- Minimum – Intel Core i3 (10th Gen) / AMD Ryzen 3 (3rd Gen)
- Minimum – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 / AMD RX 6500
- Minimum – 8 GB RAM
- Minimum – 256 GB SSD / 1 TB HDD
- Recommended – Intel Core i5 (11th Gen) / AMD Ryzen 5 (5th Gen)
- Recommended – Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 / AMD RX 6600 XT
- Recommended – 16 GB RAM
- Recommended – 512 GB SSD
Above are the specs we consider the bare minimum for a gaming PC in 2022, along with the specs we recommend for a much smoother experience and better in-game graphics. These are just stages, however. approximate. Your mileage will vary wildly depending on the configuration you want and the types of games you plan to play.
For example, let’s say you’re looking to play less demanding games like Minecraft, Fortnite, or most strategy games. In this case, you’ll usually be able to get by with a pretty basic graphics card like a GTX 1650 or GTX 1660 and a relatively modest Core i3 CPU. If you’re planning on playing CyberPunk 2077, Elden Ring, or another hit triple-A title on ultra settings, you’ll probably want to consider an RTX 3060 or RX 6600 XT CPU and Core i5/Ryzen 5 as a bare minimum. Generally speaking, you can get by with 8GB of RAM, although 16GB is quickly becoming the new norm – plus it’s a pretty cheap upgrade to make.
Remember, you’ll want to get the most out of your machine across the board, so it’s a good idea to have some wiggle room for future releases. Getting a machine with a generous power supply (500-600 watts) and a decent case can help make potential upgrades much easier.