Welcome to the Part II of our three part series: best gaming computers under 1000. Now that we’ve hit the Enthusiast price bracket, we’ll start to see more familiar faces. Part I (0-$500) can be found here. The $500 through $1000 gaming rigs are probably the best price range to get the most bang for your buck. You’re not going to get all the bells and whistles that a top tier system comes with, but you’re still going to get a rig that has enough power to play all the games out there. We don’t mean all the games on max settings mind you, but you’re going to squeak by. If you can’t settle for anything less than mind blowing performance and visuals keep making your regular contributions to the ole’ piggy bank for a bit longer and check out Part III of our series in the near distant future.
Advantages of the Under $1000 Price Range
These days, you can strike a pretty good balance of price and value in the under 1000 gaming computer category.
- Value. You’re definitely not going to have as many let downs as you would with a sub $500 PC. The truth is we as humans have great expectations for new purchases. Dishing a closer to $1000 will get you enough power to play all your favorite games. Manufacturers are aware that a large segment of potential buyers have set budgets in this range, that means a ton of competition to offer the best build for less.
- Solid GPU. Most computers in this price range have at least a 2GB Nvidia or Radeon card. You’re not going to be pumping a 4K monitor full of pixels at a high frame rate, but you’ll be doing pretty good for yourself.
- Sturdy. You can be confident that this computer will last a good couple years. You never know with those cheap models, they could burst into a ball of fire at any moment and put you out of the game for weeks.
The Best Gaming Desktops Under $1000
If you’re an Enthusiast, you’ve already made up your mind. You’re determined. You’re ready to buy into the world of gaming, but perhaps you don’t have bottomless reservoirs of cash to draw upon. What’s the next step beyond the Budget bracket in terms of performance that still won’t break the bank?
We picked out three of our favorite well-priced rigs of 2015. For the money you dish out, we felt these three systems were exceptional; you’re getting some great components that are professionally assembled. You don’t need to concern yourself with building it yourself, just take it out of the box and plug it in. We will continue to update this list as we come across juicy deals that seem too good to be true.
As you immerse yourself in the burgeoning e-sports scene, it’s hard to miss the massive impact of iBUYPOWER’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team. Some of the leading personalities in gaming fly the iBP banner, and with good reason—they stand tall and proud as one of the best gaming computer manufacturers in the industry today. The iBUYPOWER NA006 Desktop ($829.99) comes loaded with everything you need to get your game on at the Enthusiast’s price point. Under the hood, an AMD FX-6300 Six-Core processor ensures that there are plenty of lanes on the multithreaded highway, backed up by 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, a Radeon R7-240 graphics card w/2 GB dedicated VRAM, and a terabyte of 7200 RPM storage for your games and files.
It’s preloaded with Windows 8, and comes with a basic gaming keyboard and mouse set to get you up and fragging in a hurry. A 24X SATA DVD-RW means you can play movies or burn discs in a snap, while the four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 slots provide your peripherals with places to park. Of course, wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity give you the option to frag over the air, if that’s your cup of tea. Straight out of the box, it’s a powerful machine for mid-range gaming, and by throwing a better graphics card in it down the line, you can squeeze out another couple of years without breaking a sweat.
Don’t be deceived: it might look like just another iBuyPower rig, but this one’s a bit of a special snowflake. The AM730 Desktop ($899.99) makes a bold statement, most notably foregoing the massive hard drives common to gaming computers in favor of raw, unadulterated speed. Though measuring a measly 240 GB, the hard drive in this baby is solid-state, which means that the speed with which data can be read off or written to the hard drive runs around 2.5 times that of the standard hard disk drive.
It’s got the gaming standard 8 GB of DDR 3 RAM, a special Intel Pentium G 3258 Anniversary processor clocked at 4.0 GHz, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX760 graphics card with 2 GB of video memory. If you need the room, you’ve got four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports to plug in, a DVD-RW drive for media, a copy of Windows 8 preloaded, and a starter gaming mouse and keyboard. Wifi or wired—take your pick, and you’ll be fragging with the best of them in no time.
The Alienware Alpha ASM100-4980 ($799.99, on sale for $749.99 as of the time of this writing) is the brave little machine that could, packing the power of a desktop gaming machine into a package that’s meant to fit in with your home entertainment center. That’s right—it’s tailored to let you to play your favorite Steam games from the comfort of your couch, made especially convenient by the included Xbox 360 Wireless controller.
Under the hood, it’s loaded with a respectable Intel Quad-Core i5-4590T CPU, and a custom Nvidia “Maxwell” GPU sporting two gigabytes of dedicated video memory. Accompanied by 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, you should be set to handle most modern games with the graphics settings set to Medium, with certain games capable of cranking up to High. The Alpha boots into a unique UI upon boot, meant to work in tandem with Steam Big Picture mode, but if there are any non-Big Picture Steam games you would like to get down with, throw the mouse and keyboard of your choice into the two USB 2.0 ports and carry on. The icing on the gaming cake is a 1 TB Hard Drive @ 5400 RPM, and a dual-band Intel Wireless-AC 7265 integrated card with Bluetooth 4.0 support. Between the i5 and the powerful “Maxwell” Nvidia GPU, you shouldn’t have any problem running most games in 1080p resolution, renewing your living room as the nexus of leisure for the whole family.
That completes our discussion of the under $1000 enthusiast-bracket systems. So, what happens when you grow out of your Enthusiast gear or your looking for something with a bit more power? Maybe you’re finally ready for true commitment. Maybe your open division e-sports team is ready to take things a little more seriously. Maybe you just want to make your neighbor jealous the next time he swags in to show off something shiny and new. No matter the reason, it sounds like the time has come. Stand tall and proud—there’s no room for half-hearted gamers up here at the top.
This is the second in our best gaming computers series. Now, we’ve finally reached the 3rd in the series, for the Hardcore bracket of gamers. Buckle up, high roller—there’s a lot of big numbers in here.