The 6 best gaming computers under $1000

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What does a thousand dollars get you? Quite a bit, really, and when it comes to pre-built gaming PCs spending a just under a grand can buy one powerful, well-rounded, and heavily gaming-focused rig. 

Unlike most of the PCs in the previous The 5 best gaming PCs under $500 article, the computers here give a great balance between the all-important graphics card, processor, RAM, storage space and fancy chassis.

You may be spending more than double what you would pay for a Xbox One or PS4 but, when comparing each individual component, these computers can far outperform their console cousins. Moreover, with most of these PCs boasting so many high-quality parts, they’re future-proofed for a good few years. Chances are, the only component you would want to eventually upgrade would be the graphics card, and even that’s not really necessary in order to attain high-setting, 1080p gaming on these machines. 

"I could just build my own"

As I mentioned in the sub-$500 PC article, the benefits of building your own PC are numerous - but not everyone wants to do it. Warranties, cable management, pre-installed software, knowing very little about PC components; all of these can be major factors as to why someone would prefer to buy a computer that is ready to go straight out of the box. Plus, some people are just useless when it comes to building things - and that's ok!

So, here are the six best gaming PCs under $1000. Each entry contains a brief description of why I believe it should be on the list, a breakdown of its most gaming-specific components, and a link to the retailer.

6. Gaming PC desktop by Paradigm IT Network

Now this is what you want from an all-round computer. The Gaming PC Desktop from Paradigm IT Network covers all its bases when it comes to top quality components aimed at the PC gamer.

First of all, this PC packs a 6-core, AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz processor which, should you have the technical knowledge, can be overclocked to an incredible 5Ghz. The chip has a performance comparable to the much more expensive Intel i5-3570K, making it an excellent foundation for this gaming computer. 

Storage-wise, there’s a massive 2TB of hard drive space for your Steam library to swallow up. But the most significant element here is the inclusion of a 120GB SSD, meaning you can wave goodbye to laboriously slow boot-up times. Stick some of your most played games on this drive and watch loading between levels all but disappear.

The graphics card comes in the form of a super impressive EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB, which can hit 50-60 fps effortlessly on all but the most demanding PC title. This tiny card draws little wattage power from the PSU, making it efficient and powerful. 

The rest of the PC is rounded off with 8GB of DDR3-1600 G.Skill Ripjaws X Series memory, a very nice Apevia X-SNIPER2-GN ATX Mid Tower Case, a Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU cooler, and a frankly amazing 600W Corsair CX Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply - which means that should you want to upgrade any of this machine’s components in the future, the PSU isn't going to struggle to supply the amount of juice needed.

Specs:

Processor:  AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core

GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Superclocked

RAM:  G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)

Storage:  Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive & Seagate Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 ATX AM3+

PSU:  Corsair CX 600W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX

Case: Apevia X-SNIPER2-GN ATX Mid Tower

Notable extras: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer, Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler

You can buy this PC here.

5. MITXPC gaming PC

This gaming PC from MITXPC comes with some absolute killer components, including an excellent i7-4790s processor which can be turbo boosted up from its standard 3.2Ghz to 4Ghz. This is one item you’re not going to want to upgrade for a very, very long time. 

The PC’s packed into a beautiful, small form-factor Thermaltake Core V1 Extreme Mini ITX Cube Chassis that could happily sit in a bedroom or next to a living room TV. Like the previous Paradigm PC, MITXPC’s offering comes with a beefy, Geforce 750 Ti graphics card - this time from Gigabyte - and a 128GB solid state drive. Although, unlike the last entry on this list, there is no roomy hard drive, meaning you'll constantly have to be wary of how much space you have left.

MITXPC’s PC just manages to rise above Paradigm’s offering, thanks to that incredible i7 processor and the fact it uses the same gfx card as the previous entry. The one real caveat of this PC is the lack of a hard drive; although one can be added at a later date, and the inclusion of the i7 really does outweigh this drawback. 

Specs:

Processor:  Intel Core i7-4790S 3.2-4.0

GPU: Gigabyte GV-N75TOC-2GI GTX 750 Ti 2GB

RAM:   8GB DDR3

Storage:  128GB 2.5" Solid State Drive

Motherboard:  Intel Z97 board

Case: Thermaltake Core V1 Extreme Mini ITX

Notable extras: 1x Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201 Gigabit LAN NIC; 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.

You can buy this PC here.

4. Acer Predator AG3-605-UR2F

The Acer Predator AG3-605-UR2F Gaming Desktop ups MITXPC’s ante by not only boasting a slightly faster 3.6Ghz i7 processor, but by also adding a powerful Geforce 760 1.5GB graphics card.

The predator sacrifices the speed of a smaller solid state drive for the enormous space a 2TB hard drive provides. Like the MITXPC, this rig comes with 8GB of system memory, wireless LAN and Bluetooth connectivity. Some features of the Predator not found on its closest rival include a DVD drive (although they seem to be becoming more redundant every day), an SD card reader, and a keyboard and mouse combo. The chassis may not be the prettiest thing in the world, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that.

Ultimately, as this is a list of the best gaming PCs under $1000, the Predator beats the MITXPC thanks to that Geforce 760 graphics card paired with the 3.6Ghz i7 processor. With that combination alone, you’re looking at reaching over 60fps on most 1080p games with the settings on high. Additionally, the majority of titles should give smooth HD frame rates even with all the visual effects maxed out.

Specs:

Processor: Core i7-4790 Processor (3.6 GHz)

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX760 1.5GB

RAM: 8GB DDR3 1600

Storage: 2 TB 7200 rpm Hard Drive

Notable extras: Digital Media Card Reader -Secure Digital, 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.0, 8X DVD-SuperMulti Double-Layer Drive, acer keyboard and mouse.

You can buy this PC here.

3. CyberpowerPC Gamer Ultra GUA500

The Gamer Ultra GUA500 from CyberpowerPC boasts an AMD FX-Series Eight-Core FX-8350 processor running at 4.0GHz, which, while not quite matching Intel’s i7, still gives a slight improvement over the commonly used i5.

The two areas where this machine really stands out is the memory, which comes in the form of a massive 16GBs of DDR3, and the all-important graphics card – a top-end, overclocked MSI 2GB GTX 960. This is a card that can average 47 fps on Crysis 3 with the setting pushed up to ‘very high’ on 1080p. It can even manage a smooth 30fps on the same game in 1440p! Not an easy feat for a graphics card that doesn’t cost upwards of several hundred dollars.

The case is a very nice design and comes with a side window, some snazzy red lighting and adjustable controls for two of the four internal fans. There’s a spacious 2TB hard drive, DVD drive, wireless Bluetooth connectivity and a very cool looking gaming mouse and keyboard combo to round the whole thing off.

Specs:

Processor: 4 GHz FX-Series Eight-Core FX-8350

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX960 2GB

RAM: 16 GB DDR3

Storage: 2048 GB 7200 Hard Drive

Notable extras: 24x DVD±RW Dual-Layer Super-Multi Drive, Bluetooth 4.0, 

You can buy this PC here.

2. CyberpowerPC Desktop PC Gamer Xtreme 1507

The CyberpowerPC Desktop PC Gamer Xtreme 1507 really does check all the boxes: A magnificent Intel i7 5820K processor clocked at 3.3HHz, 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, 1TB Hard drive and a 120GB solid state drive, and the excellent Radeon R9 270 graphics card.

How all these top-spec components have been packed into this PC while the price has remained under £1000 is a total mystery. The rest of the entries on this list tend to be a case of either/or when comes to what’s under the hood; better graphics card or processor, large hard drive or small solid state, more system memory or extra features. The Xtreme really does manage to combine everything into one perfect PC.

It’s also the only computer on this list to use the K series of Intel processors, meaning it's fully unlocked which allows for very high overclocks - up to 5 GHz and above. The Xtreme is unique in this group in the fact that it uses the (fairly) new DDR4 memory; it may not give much of a noticeable improvement when it comes to gaming, but it’ll certainly help future-proof the machine and aid in processes outside of games.

Even though the AMD Radeon R9 270 2GB found in the Xtreme is a great gfx card that will give a very strong 1080p performance, it's still the weakest link in the machine. It'll probably give a lower fps count than the 960 and 760, but the PC, on the whole, compensates for this. 

Specs:

Processor: Intel Core i7-5820K 3.3 GHz

GPU: AMD Radeon R9 270 2GB

RAM: 8 GB DDR4 2133

Storage: 1 TB HDD + 120 GB SSD

Motherboard: Intel X99

PSU: 600W

Case: AZZA Cosmas Black Gaming Case

Notable extras: 24x DVD+-R/+-RW DUAL LAYER DRIVE, gaming keyboard and mouse

You can buy this PC here.

1. SYBER Vapor K-B

Just like the top three PCs in the best gaming computers under $500 list, the number one entry here comes packed inside a console-style chassis. At a quick glance you may wonder why it takes the top spot ahead of the Xtreme; an i5 processor (albeit another excellent K series), as opposed to the Xtreme's i7, DDR3 rather than DDR4 and no solid state drive, makes the Vapor K-B seem like the inferior rig. In most areas, it is, but seeing as this is a list of the best gaming computers, there’s one thing that lifts it above the rest: The Geforce GTX 970 graphics card.

The 970 is pretty much the best graphics component there is in the sub-enthusiast (ie. wallet-destroyingly expensive) world of gfx cards. I personally use a 970 in my gaming rig, and I can safely say it’s by far and away the best card I’ve ever owned. It will annihilate pretty much every game at 1080p with the settings on ultra, even the power-hungry Witcher 3 and GTA5 will run at a silky smooth 60fps+. The 970 is so powerful it can give excellent framerates when playing titles in beautiful 1440p, something that was once only possible with gfx cards that cost more than every machine on this list.  

As for the rest of the components on the SYBER Vapor - there’s the aforementioned i5 K series processor (another component on my own rig), 8 GB of DDR3, 1TB hard drive and some very nice gaming peripherals such as a gamepad and miniature keyboard.

The only caveat with this machine is - as with most of these pre-built, console-style PCs - upgrading components isn’t easy; but it really shouldn’t be necessary, considering what the Vapor’s already packing.

If you want to spend $1000 on a Windows PC to be used almost exclusively for games that can outperform a PS4 and XBOX One, then get this. If you want a ‘traditional style’ PC that gives a similar gaming performance alongside all the bells and whistles that come with an improved processor, solid state drive and DDR4, then get the Xtreme and upgrade its card to a 970.

Specs: 

Processor: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5 GHz

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970

RAM:   8 GB DDR3 1600

Storage: 1 TB HDD

Motherboard: Intel H81

PSU: 450W

Case: Syber Vapor Black PC Console Gaming Chassis

Notable extras: Logitech F710 gamepad, Miniature Keyboard with Touchpad

You can buy this PC here.

Published Aug. 13th 2015

Featured Correspondent

Lover of all things PC and a fan of inserting indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin. Remembers when 'geek' was an insult. Still passionately believes Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines was the greatest game ever made. Also works as a reporter/feature writer for TechSpot.com and a producer of YouTube video scripts.

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