Finding the Best Cheap Desktop Computers

Last Updated: February 17, 2017 by

The best Budget PCs

Welcome on our weekly updated list of the best desktop computers based on extensive market research, consumer feedback and expert reviews.

A good place to start would be giving CNet’s desktop buying guide a read through.  This will help you understand some of the technical terminology and assist you in making an informed decision when purchasing.

Under $500 >> Under $400 >> Under $300 >> Under $200 >>


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Best Budget Desktop Computers Under $200

Quantum-Byte-QS-1043-Q

Quantum Byte QS-1043-QB

The Quantum Byte QS-1043-QB is a reasonably priced desktop packing entry-level hardware components capable of efficiently running everyday applications along with the Windows 8.1. Weighing just 0.8 pounds and 5.9 x 1.5 x 4.1 inches in dimensions, it has a small footprint that doesn’t take much space on your desk. Most of its ports are neatly placed on the back and either side of the black box. It comes with three USB 2.0 ports, VGA, HDMI, Bluetooth, Ethernet and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi. Therefore, dual monitor configuration is possible on this machine. This small PC doesn’t have any moving parts like a mechanical hard drive or cooling fan, which means you will hardly hear any noise while working with it. An optical drive, keyboard and mouse are things that you’ll have to purchase separately. Intended for basic use, the QS-1043-QB has a Quad-Core Intel Atom Z3735F processor, which is a processor mostly used in small-sized laptops and mid-range tablets. Combined with 2 GB of RAM, it can run basic tasks without much problem. Users have also reported a smooth experience while streaming Netflix, web browsing and playing 1080p videos with many users reported their satisfaction with its boot up times. However, the default memory cannot be upgraded so users should be careful not to open too many apps at once. The system can tackle multimedia fairly well, but it’s not capable of running any game that is remotely demanding. Not a lot of files can be stored in its 32GB flash storage, however users have the option to add up to 128GB via an SD card. All in all, if you want a small windows desktop to work with as a media center or something cheap for your basic office related tasks, the QS-1043-QB is worth a look.

Specs

  • Windows 8
  • 0.12 lbs

Pros

  • Small form factor
  • Fanless design
  • Good basic performance
  • Low Price

Cons

  • Poor multitasking
  • Weak integrated graphics

Summary

A very affordable Windows 8 PC that is good for basic tasks but won't perform well if for anything more advanced.

Quantum Byte QS-1043-Q
from $169.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 23-03-2017 11:36 UTC) Details

Intel Compute Stick CS125 BOXSTK1AW32SCIntel Compute Stick CS125 BOXSTK1AW32SC

If you are looking at turning your HDTV into a media center that runs a full version of Windows 10, then the Intel Compute Stick CS125 BOXSTK1AW32SC is well worth considering for its price. You will get the same hardware that you will find in mid-range Windows based tablets, so don’t expect to be able to be playing any AAA gaming titles on this mini-PC. But it will allow you to enjoy Windows 10 apps such as VLC Player, Microsoft Office and Google Chrome on your HDTV. Powered by a Quad-Core Intel Atom x5-Z8300 processor and 2GB of DDR3L RAM, the Intel Compute Stick CS125 will run most of your apps with ease. The newer Intel processor offers slightly more power than its predecessor, the Intel Atom Z3735F processor. But the Atom processor and 2GB of RAM are underpowered for heavy multitasking and more intensive apps. The eMMC flash storage allows you to boot into Windows in seconds, But the 32GB of storage space is quite limiting as you only get about 18GB of space with Windows 10 installed. Luckily you can install a high-speed microSD card to expand the mini-PC’s internal storage. Don’t forget to format the card to NTFS so that you can copy multimedia files that are larger than 2GB. With two USB ports, you can easily connect a wireless keyboard and mouse and an external hard drive will all of your multimedia files. We recommend making use of the Intel Compute Stick CS125’s Bluetooth to connect your keyboard and mouse, allowing you to make full use of the two USB ports.

Specs

  • Display not included, pixels
  • Windows 10 Home 32-Bit
  • 0.83 lbs

Pros

  • Small and portable
  • Easy to install and setup
  • Fast eMMC flash memory
  • Dual-Band AC WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
  • Quad-Core Intel Atom processor

Cons

  • Limited storage space
  • Underpowered CPU
  • Only 2GB of RAM
  • Only two ports

Summary

The Intel Compute Stick CS125 is a mini-PC that will allow you to enjoy all of your favorite Windows 10 apps on your HDTV. But the limited storage space will require the use of a microSD card or an external hard drive.

Intel Compute Stick CS125 BOXSTK1AW32SC
from $126.19 $119.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 23-03-2017 11:37 UTC) Details

Quantum-Access-Windows-Mini-PC-Stick

Quantum Access Mini PC Stick

The Quantum Access Mini PC has a similar design like that of the Roku stick or Chromecast, but it is slightly larger and heavier because of extra ports and a Wi-Fi antenna. However, this device is actually a fully functional Windows PC encased in a 0.47 inch thick frame that weighs barely .4 pounds. It has a cheap plastic design with subtle textured surfaces on the sides, and its antenna particularly feels fragile. However, at this price, people are more concerned with usability and performance than the look of the device. Despite its size, the Mini PC has a full-sized USB 2.0 port, a microUSB port, a microSD card reader, built-in Wi-Fi and an HDMI output jack attached to one of the ends. The Mini PC is easily recognized, after it’s connected to an HDTV. Once connected, users will have to go through the initial setup with the help of a USB keyboard. Because there’s only USB port, a USB splitter is necessary if you want to attach multiple peripherals. The built-in Bluetooth also allows you to connect a wireless keyboard and mouse. The internal hardware is similar to what you’ll find in a mid-range tablet or other convertibles. It is powered by a Quad-Core Intel Atom Z3735F processor, with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. Users can rely on this this device for office applications, web browsing and high definition video streaming. While it performs better than expected for a budget device, keep your usage in check because anything remotely demanding in terms of RAM or processing power will cause significant lag. Since it meets the minimum requirement for Windows 10, upgrading its default operating system may slightly boost its performance. Overall, if you want to take some of your regular desktop work to a larger screen but don’t want to spend more than $150 on another PC, the Quantum Access Mini may suit your needs.

Specs

  • Windows 8.1
  • 0.4 lbs

Pros

  • Tiny size
  • Good basic performance
  • Built in Wifi

Cons

  • Only 1 USB port
  • Low amount of storage
  • Non upgradable

Summary

A pocket size PC with built-in WiFi that connects directly to your display via the built-in HDMI-male connector.

Quantum Access Mini PC Stick QS-1048-QA
from $97.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 23-03-2017 11:36 UTC) Details

ASUS CHROMEBOX-M004U Desktop

ASUS CHROMEBOX-M004U

In a world where streaming HD content over the web has become the future of television the Asus Chromebox M004U has found a niche as a home theatre PC. With the ability to stream media via the web with ease this PC is at its best hooked up to your HDTV as a central entertainment unit. The Chromebox is, however, much more than just a media player – it’s able to surf the web, play browser based games and even run applications like Netflix and still make use of all the Google applications such as Google Drive, Docs and Gmail. At this price the Chromebox M004U is a great alternative to a Windows machine especially if you mainly need a PC for browsing and streaming.

Specs

  • Display not included, pixels
  • Chrome OS
  • 1.3 lbs

Pros

  • Small size
  • Fast performance
  • Ease of use

Cons

  • Chrome OS limitations

Summary

A handy small Chromebox that runs smoothly and is incredibly easy to use however Chrome OS is limiting.

ASUS CHROMEBOX-M004U
from $159.00 $158.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 23-03-2017 11:36 UTC) Details

Lenovo ThinkCentre ChromeboxLenovo ThinkCentre Chromebox

If you are a user who is after a cost effective desktop computer for basic tasks at home or at work, then the Lenovo ThinkCentre Chromebox is worth looking at. The small size of the Lenovo ThinkCentre Chromebox allows it to be easily hidden behind a TV or a monitor for a cleaner look and more organised workspace. Running Chrome OS, the Lenovo ThinkCentre Chromebox is designed to use Google’s cloud based programs and storage. The fast eMMC flash storage offers good boot and app loading speeds, but with only 16GB of storage space it is extremely limited. Users can however connect an external hard disk drive to extend the Lenovo ThinkCentre Chromebox’s storage when offline. The Intel Celeron 3205U processor and 4GB of RAM will cope with everyday tasks with ease. But the processor will struggle a bit with more intensive apps and heavy multitasking. While many other cheap desktops running Windows 10 offer a vast array of apps, Chrome OS is slightly more limited to a handful of developers and Google’s own apps. You can connect the Lenovo ThinkCentre Chromebox to your TV or monitor via HDMI or the DisplayPort. If your monitor does not have an HDMI in or does not support a DisplayPort than you will need to purchase an adaptor separately.

Lenovo ThinkCentre Chromebox
from $169.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 23-03-2017 11:37 UTC) Details


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Best Budget Desktop Computers Under $300

 
Asus VM42-S075V

ASUS VM42-S075V

The Asus VM42-S075V is another fantastic sleek, cool and quiet Desktop PC perfectly suited to a Home theatre setup with its small size, expandable hard drive and ample connectivity powered by an Intel Celeron 1007U processor. While the CPU leaves a bit to be desired with a lower clock speed than many competing models the VivoPC-VM40B-02 still scored OK on benchmark tests and is perfectly capable of playing 1080p content at a smooth frame rate via the built in HDMI port. That said, we wouldn’t recommend trying to game on this machine as most newer games will probably run at a less than desirable frame rate. This desktop is more than competent as a office workstation  and will handle day to day business tasks with ease.

Specs

  • Windows 8
  • 2.6 lbs

Pros

  • Small form factor
  • Lightweight
  • Super fast WiFi 802.11ac

Cons

  • Mediocre processor

Summary

A tiny lightweight PC perfect for a HTPC.

ASUS VM42-S075V
from $249.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 20-02-2017 01:55 UTC) Details

Dell-Inspiron-i3646-1000BLK

Dell Inspiron i3646-1600BLK

The Dell Inspiron i3646-1000BLK is a small form factor desktop PC perfect for home or small office use that is currently a one of the top selling desktops at online retailers. It has a sleek and minimalistic design with an Intel Celeron J1800 processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a 500GB hard drive, hardware easily capable of running business orientated applications or functioning as a reliable family PC.The Inspiron i3646 won’t take up much space on your desk and is quiet as a whisper. While by no means a powerhouse, for its price it offers  a top performing value for money workhorse that can be used at home, in the office or home entertainment centre.

Specs

  • Windows 8.1
  • 11 lbs

Pros

  • Good performance
  • Quiet operation volume
  • Built-in wifi

Cons

  • Only 2 USB ports
  • Windows 8

Summary

A good all round PC that offers great value for the money although only having 2 USB ports is incredibly limiting.

Dell Inspiron i3646-1600BLK
from $279.99 $253.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 23-03-2017 11:36 UTC) Details


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Best Budget Desktop Computers Under $400

Acer Aspire ATC-780-AMZi5Acer Aspire ATC-780-AMZi5

The Acer Aspire ATC-780-AMZi5 replaces the Acer Aspire AT3-710-UR52 as a great desktop PC for home and office use. The same sixth generation Intel i5-6400 processor is now backed up by 8GB of DDR4 2133MHz RAM, which will easily cope with everyday tasks. You will even be able to run more hardware intensive apps such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. However, expect slower rendering speeds due to the integrated Intel HD Graphics 530 graphics card. The installed 300W power supply is way too underpowered for high and mid-range graphics cards, so we recommend looking at the AMD Radeon R7 240 as a good solution. While its predecessor only featured two HDMI ports, the Acer Aspire ATC-780-AMZi5 now features a single HDMI port and a VGA port for a greater range of monitors and projectors. The large 2TB 7200rpm mechanical hard drive offers ample storage space for larger work documents and for all your multimedia files. While there is limited space in the case, you will be able to add a superfast SSD. The Acer Aspire ATC-780-AMZi5 also features built in AC WiFi, which is 3x faster than wireless b/g/n cards and will be able to connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks. Overall the Acer Aspire ATC-780-AMZi5 is a great solution as a first PC for your kids or as a replacement for your aging desktop PC at home or at work.

Specs

  • Display not included, pixels
  • Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
  • 18.4 lbs

Pros

  • Skylake i5 processor
  • 2TB 7200rpm HDD
  • Fast AC WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • 5.1 Channel audio support
  • 1 free RAM slot

Cons

  • Integrated graphics
  • 300W power supply
  • Not for hardcore gamers
  • Small internal space

Summary

The Acer Aspire ATC-780-AMZi5 is a great mid-range desktop PC for home and office use. Its hardware will allow for a great computing experience and its hard drive offers ample storage space.

Acer Aspire ATC-780-AMZi5
from $449.99 $440.63 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 23-03-2017 11:39 UTC) Details

Lenovo S510 10KY002BUSLenovo S510 10KY002BUS

If you are after a small PC that will easily fit under your desk, then consider looking at the Lenovo S510 10KY002BUS. Known for their great business machines, Lenovo have once again created a small desktop PC that is perfect for a small business or for home use. The star feature of this PC is its Intel Core i5-6400 processor which offers a healthy amount of processing power. However, Lenovo have only fitted 4GB of RAM which will leave some of your applications feeling very sluggish. If you intend on running Chrome or Firefox as your default browser, then you might want to consider adding more RAM to the Lenovo S510 10KY002BUS. We recommend a single 4GB RAM module from Crucial as an affordable solution. The 500GB storage drive offers a good amount of space for everyday use, however many of its competitors offer double the storage space. You might want to consider adding a second hard drive if you have a large media collection to transfer to your new PC. Or, if you have a bigger budget you can look at adding a superfast M.2 SSD as the Lenovo S510 10KY002BUS sports one free M.2 slot. If you intend on using the Lenovo S510 10KY002BUS to play AAA gaming titles, then you will be left slightly disappointed as it only features Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 530 GPU. While this will let you enjoy some casual gaming, it is way too underpowered for intensive gaming. You will also not be able to add a powerful graphics card as the Lenovo S510 10KY002BUS only features a tiny 180w power supply unit.

Specs

  • Display not included, pixels
  • Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
  • 9.10 lbs

Pros

  • Intel i5 processor
  • Price
  • Size
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Free M.2 slot

Cons

  • Only 4GB of RAM
  • No WiFi or Bluetooth
  • Limited internal space
  • Tiny power supply unit

Summary

The Lenovo S510 10KY002BUS offers a good processor with a healthy amount of storage space, however the 4GB of RAM are the Achilles heel of this PC.

Lenovo S510 10KY002BUS
from $549.00 $399.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Newegg.com
(as of 17-02-2017 12:05 UTC) Details


Lenovo IdeaCentre H500s Slim Desktop

Lenovo IdeaCentre H500s Slim DesktopThe Lenovo IdeaCentre H500s Slim Desktop markets itself as a Student PC at its core, its capable of delivering a rich multimedia experience packaged with its stylish looks and small form. The H500s unfortunately lacks in performance for more power hungry tasks with its stock standard Intel Celeron J1800 and users were critical of the machine only having 1 USB 3 port, although it does feature a 7200 rpm hard drive which is a nice touch.  The included wireless mouse and keyboard are perfect to save space on the desk and leave room for text books and coffee mugs. Its priced at the right point for a student on a budget and will easily run all the apps you would need to work, study and relax.

Specs

  • 19.5 lbs

Pros

  • One touch recovery
  • Built in Wifi
  • Good performance

Cons

  • Limited connectivity ports

Summary

An entry level desktop computer that will perform well if you stick to basic day to day computing.

Lenovo IdeaCentre H500s Slim Desktop (57327931) Black
from $349.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 22-12-2015 20:57 UTC) Details

Intel-NUC-NUC5i5RYK

Intel NUC NUC5i5

The Intel NUC NUC5i5 is a mini PC equipped with an Intel processor on a custom motherboard designed by Intel. However, this is not a complete desktop as it lacks essential components like RAM, Hard Drive and Operating System. The system does provide easy access to the internal components so that even a non-technical user can add the necessary hardware without much effort. Comparing it to its predecessor, the NUC5i5 comes with a smaller frame, a more powerful processor and support for M.2 SSDs. This silver-black colored unit has a very basic look which can be easily mistaken for an ordinary set-top box. However, once you pick it up, you will find that it’s primarily made of solid metal with glossy black plastic lid on top. It is very light and measures barely an inch thick. Despite its miniscule size, all the standard ports are included. The front panel houses two USB 3.0 ports, a headphone jack, and the back has two more USB 3.0 ports, a mini DisplayPort, a mini HDMI and Ethernet. Both Bluetooth and a high speed 802.11ac Wi-Fi are built-in. After you’ve purchased the required amount of RAM and Hard Drive or SSD, you can add those components to the empty slots which can be accessed after removing the four screws on the bottom panel. Note that other internal components like processor and GPU cannot be upgraded since they’re soldered into the motherboard. This unit is equipped with an Intel Core i5-5250U processor clocked at 1.6GHz at base frequency and 2.7GHz at turbo boost. With enough memory and a fast SSD installed, this system will have no problem running daily tasks as well as even some heavy duty applications like Photo editing software. Though a fairly capable system, it is not cut out for hardcore gaming because it lacks a dedicated graphics card. However,games as of 2014/15 will run fluently mostly at low settings. If you want an affordable, fast and highly portable desktop to connect to your large screen TV, the NUC5i5 is a well-priced desktop for the included hardware and upgrade flexibility.

Specs

  • Not installed

Pros

  • Good price
  • Small form factor
  • Ample connectivity
  • 4K HD Support

Cons

  • RAM and HDD not included

Summary

An affordable barebone machine with ample connectivity ports, just add RAM and a hard drive.

Intel NUC NUC5i5RYK
from $423.99 $343.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from NewEgg.com
(as of 05-01-2016 16:35 UTC) Details

ASUS VivoPC M32CD-AS31ASUS VivoPC M32CD-AS31 Desktop

The ASUS VivoPC M32CD-AS31 is an entry level desktop tower that offers users a great everyday PC for under $400. While it is not designed for hardcore gamers, the ASUS VivoPC M32CD-AS31 fits well into a small business setup or at home for everyday use. The 6th generation Intel i3-6100 processor and 8GB of DDR4 RAM give the ASUS VivoPC M32CD-AS31 enough power to be used for more intensive apps such as Photoshop and AutoCAD. Its built in WiFi allows users to connect to their networks without the use of an Ethernet cable, furthermore it has Bluetooth 4.0 for extra connectivity. The integrated Intel HD Graphics 530 GPU will allow for casual gaming, but users can install a single PCIe graphics card for increased gaming performance. We recommend the NVIDIA GTX 750Ti as a good graphics card that will still run on the existing power supply unit. Please note that opening the tower will result in the loss of your limited 1 year warranty from ASUS. The ASUS VivoPC M32CD-AS31 also offers a great selection of ports for connectivity. 4x USB 3.0 (two front with AI Charging), 2x USB 2.0 for your keyboard and mouse and 2x USB 3.1 for 10GB/s transfer rates. For users who are looking at using it as a home entertainment system, the ASUS VivoPC M32CD-AS31 has an HDMI port for effortless connection to your flat screen TV or HD projector.

Specs

  • Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
  • 18.27 lbs

Pros

  • Price
  • Built in WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Skylake processor
  • Excellent port selection
  • 1TB 7200rpm drive

Cons

  • Warranty sealed
  • Integrated graphics
  • Only space for two HDD
  • Only one PCIe slot
  • Smaller PSU

Summary

The ASUS VivoPC M32CD-AS31 is a budget friendly desktop PC that can be used for home and office use. Users who are willing to void their warranties can upgrade the ASUS VivoPC M32CD-AS31 with more RAM and a dedicated graphics card.

ASUS VivoPC M32CD-AS31 Desktop
from $399.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 23-03-2017 11:37 UTC) Details

Dell Inspiron i3650-3111SLVDell Inspiron i3650-3111SLV

If you are after a solid desktop for home or office use, then the Dell Inspiron i3650-3111SLV is well worth a closer look. The sleek and elegant case is what you would expect from Dell, but the vertical DVD tray feels flimsy when you open it. Powered by a 6th generation Intel Core i3-6100 processor and 6GB of DDR3l RAM, the Dell Inspiron i3650-3111SLV will easily cope with web browsing, word processing and Skype. You can run more intensive apps, but it can feel sluggish and slow with heavy multitasking. A 1TB 7200rpm mechanical hard drive offers ample storage space to store all of your work and multimedia files. The Intel HD Graphics 530 GPU will handle casual gaming and you can install an entry level graphics card in the empty PCIe 16x slot. But with the primary purpose of the Dell Inspiron i3650-3111SLV being for work and general home use, this is not necessary as it will void your Dell warranty. If you after an affordable gaming desktop, then have a look at our Cheap Gaming Desktop guide. To connect to the net, the Dell Inspiron i3650-3111SLV comes with both Gigabit Ethernet and standard b/g/n WiFi. You also get Bluetooth 4.0 to connect all of your Bluetooth devices without having to purchase a separate USB device. You get a total of six USB ports, but only the front two ports are USB 3.0.

Specs

  • Display not included, pixels
  • Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
  • 16.50 lbs

Pros

  • Intel Skylake processor
  • 1TB hard drive
  • Elegant design
  • WiFi and Bluetooth

Cons

  • Flimsy DVD tray
  • Only two USB 3.0 ports
  • Limited audio ports
  • Warranty sealed

Summary

The Dell Inspiron i3650-3111SLV is an elegant desktop for home and office use. But the 6GB of RAM is slightly underpowered for more intensive apps and upgrading it will void your Dell warranty.

Dell Inspiron i3650-3111SLV
from $429.99 $367.00 Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 23-03-2017 11:37 UTC) Details

HP-Pavilion-Desktop-550-a14

HP Pavilion Desktop 550-a14

The HP Pavilion Desktop 550-a14 is a mid-range PC with a budget price tag designed for personal use, multimedia entertainment and basic office applications. Due to the lack of expansion bays and the compact arrangement of the internal hardware, its chassis has a relatively smaller and lighter footprint than standard CPU boxes. The lack of extensive upgrade options isn’t really a drawback because most budget PCs at this price are intended for purposes that do not require any significant upgrade in the future. The casing has a simple design with silver colored front with quick access USB ports, audio jacks, a media card reader and a vertical mounted DVD burner. Four more USB ports, an Ethernet port, a DVI/VGA port and an HDMI port are found on the back. This PC has high-speed wireless LAN 801.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 built-in. Included in the box is a USB Chiclet-style keyboard and a USB optical mouse: both these peripherals are standard affairs and get the job done despite having a cheap feel. A decent set of speakers connected to 550-a14’s 5.1 channel audio output delivers immersive audio for movies, music and games. The desktop is powered by an entry-level AMD A8-6410 Quad-Core processor, which coupled with 8GB of RAM delivers fast performance and quick response while running office applications, web browsers and basic multitasking. A fast spinning 7200RPM 1TB HDD provides plenty of space for your personal files. The integrated AMD Radeon R5 processor even lets you play casual games with ease and handles Full-HD videos without any lag. All in all, if you are looking for a desktop for general use, the 550-a14 has more than enough features that a basic user could ask for at this price range.

Specs

  • Windows 8.1 64-bit
  • 14.1 lbs

Pros

  • Good performance
  • Small form factor
  • Ample connectivity ports
  • Stylish design

Cons

  • Only RAM is upgradable
  • Plenty of Bloatware

Summary

A typical small form factor PC that suits a tight budget. Expect acceptable day to day performance for basic tasks.

HP Pavilion Desktop 550-a14
Price Currently Unavailable Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 23-03-2017 11:36 UTC) Details


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Best Budget Desktop Computers Under $500

Apple-Mac-Mini-MGEM2LLA-A

Apple Mac Mini MGEM2LL/A

Most Mac OS based machines are off limits to budget buyers because they’re built premium inside and out for high-paying customers. On the other hand, the Mac Mini MGEM2LL/A features the same mid-range hardware as entry level Macbooks but costs half as much. However, accessories such as a keyboard, mouse and display aren’t included in the box and have to be purchased separately, but you can save money by buying these accessories from a different manufacturer. While most Windows desktops of the same price come in cheap plastic cases, the Mac Mini uses a unibody aluminum chassis similar to the one on premium Macbook Air laptop. Occupying an area of 7.7 inches and weighing 2.6 pounds it’s smaller and lighter than Alienware Alpha, which is a compact gaming desktop with discrete graphics. Sticking to Apple’s minimalistic designs, the front panel contains only a power indicator and an IR sensor. The rear houses all the connections including four USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI, Mini Displayport, dual Thunderbolt ports, Ethernet and faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The Mini bundles all the software found on pricier Macs, including Keynote Office suite, Pages, Numbers, and multimedia apps like iMovie and iPhoto. The 2012 version had upgradeable memory, but this latest version has the RAM soldered into the motherboard. While users cannot upgrade the hardware after purchase, they can do so at the time of purchase. However, higher end configurations aren’t cheap. This base model features a 1.4GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 500GB HDD. According to a Cnet review, its performance in multitasking, multimedia and basic apps is similar to other desktops in the price range like the Alienware Alpha and HP Pavilion Mini.

Specs

  • Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite
  • 2.6 lbs

Pros

  • Premium metallic design
  • Small form factor
  • Good performance
  • Ample connectivity ports

Cons

  • Cant upgrade the RAM
  • No accessories included

Summary

A small, high quality desktop PC with plenty of connectivity ports and great performance however be prepared to purchase all the accessories separately.

Apple Mac Mini MGEM2LL/A
from $449.99 Read Reviews Order Now
from BHPhotovideo.com
(as of 22-12-2015 20:55 UTC) Details

Lenovo ThinkCentre M600Lenovo ThinkCentre M600

The Lenovo ThinkCentre M600 is a small form factor desktop computer that is perfect for those who have limited space or don’t want to have a big case on or under their desk. With its tiny case, it can even be slipped behind a monitor to create a pseudo all-in-one computer for small businesses and retail stores. The Intel Pentium N3700 processor and 8GB of RAM offers decent performance for basic tasks, but the Quad Core processor is slightly underpowered for heavy multitasking. The Pentium processor features Intel’s HD Graphics GPU from their Braswell architecture and will easily run apps and videos, but is in no way designed for gaming. If you are looking for a gaming computer then we recommend looking at our cheap desktop gaming guide. The M600 does not come with a VGA or an HDMI port and instead Lenovo has opted for two DisplayPorts. So you will need to use an adaptor in order to connect your M600 to a monitor or a TV. You can even use the M600 as a multimedia computer as you can easily be hidden behind your TV. The 1TB mechanical drive offers ample storage space to store all of your series, movies and music. But without an optical drive you will have to look at an external drive for your Blu-ray and DVD collection. So if you are after a small form factor desktop for your business or for home use, then the Lenovo ThinkCentre M600 is well worth looking at.

Specs

  • Display not included, pixels
  • Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
  • 2.9 lbs

Pros

  • Small
  • 8GB of RAM
  • Dual Band AC WiFi
  • Windows Professional
  • 1TB 7200rpm HDD

Cons

  • No HDMI or VGA
  • Entry level graphics
  • CPU is slightly underpowered
  • No optical drive

Summary

The Lenovo ThinkCentre M600 is a small compact computer that will easily fit behind a monitor and offers users decent hardware with ample storage space. But the M600 does not feature an HDMI or VGA port and will require an adapter to use these kinds of ports.

Lenovo ThinkCentre M600
Price Currently Unavailable Read Reviews Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 23-03-2017 11:37 UTC) Details

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Conclusion

This brings our list of the top budget desktop computers to a close. If you are after a slightly more powerful tower to upgrade your current setup at home, then head over to our Best All-Purpose PCs guide where you might find your next upgrade. For those who are after a desktop computer that is designed for gaming, then head over to our Best Cheap Gaming PCs guide if you have a tighter budget or our Best Gaming PCs guide for those who have a bigger budget.