Best Budget Desktop Computers for 2023: Affordable and High-Performance

Best Budget Desktop Computers for 2023: Affordable and High-Performance

Looking for a budget-friendly desktop computer that doesn’t compromise on performance? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we present the top 10 best budget desktop computers for 2023. Whether you’re a student, professional, or casual user, these affordable options offer impressive features and reliability without breaking the bank.

From speedy processors and ample storage to crisp displays and versatile connectivity, these desktop computers are designed to deliver exceptional value for your money. Join us as we explore the best budget desktop computers that combine affordability with top-notch performance, helping you make an informed decision for your computing needs in 2023.

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Look no further! Whether you’re replacing an aging PC, setting up a digital signage solution, or equipping a new office space, a budget or mini PC could be the perfect fit. Inflationary 2023 hasn’t dampened the availability of affordable options, with prices ranging from under $500 to a maximum of $800.

#Model
1Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA92
2HP Pavilion Desktop TP01-2060
3MSI Pro DP21
4Dell XPS Desktop (8950)
5Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3i

We’ve compiled a list of the top budget desktops for 2023, rigorously tested and evaluated to ensure they meet our standards. But don’t be fooled by their compact sizes – these small powerhouses are capable of web browsing, video streaming, running productivity tasks, and even handling web-based games. Additionally, larger towers provide all the features you’d expect from a modern home PC.

In our detailed buying guide, we’ll address common questions and provide insights to help you make an informed purchase. Whether you’re seeking a desktop for personal or professional use, our selection of affordable options ensures you don’t have to compromise on quality. Get ready to explore the best budget desktops for 2023, offering impressive performance and exceptional value for your computing needs.

What are the key components to consider when building a budget Desktop Computers?

When building or purchasing a budget PC, it’s essential to consider the components that will provide the best value for your money. While budget systems may have lower-power processors, recent advancements in CPU technology have elevated the performance of these processors. Nowadays, most budget PCs come with at least a dual-core CPU, and some even offer quad- or six-core chips, enabling quick startup times and smooth performance.

It’s important to note that certain budget PCs, particularly mini PCs and small mini-tower models, may utilize mobile-grade processors instead of desktop ones. To identify these systems, look for Intel or AMD CPUs with names ending in “G5,” “G7,” “H,” “U,” or “P.” While these mobile-grade processors are slower compared to entry-level desktop CPUs, they can still handle tasks such as web browsing, streaming video, and basic document work. They are suitable for children’s computers or basic streaming media servers, but they may not provide the necessary speed for heavy multitasking or professional work.

Performance, Tasks, and Considerations for Desktop Computers

If you require more demanding tasks from your budget PC, such as extensive multitasking, it’s advisable to opt for a system with a true desktop chip. These systems typically feature Intel Core i3 or i5 processors, or AMD Ryzen 3 or 5 chips, with model numbers ending in zero, “F,” “G,” “X,” or “T.” These processors provide superior performance for multitasking and are better suited for productivity-focused usage.

It’s also worth mentioning that Apple’s Mac mini has transitioned from Intel CPUs to its own impressive M1 or M2 processors, depending on the model’s age. These processors offer exceptional speed and efficiency for Mac users.

When selecting a budget PC, consider the specific tasks you plan to undertake and ensure that the system’s components can meet your requirements. While budget PCs may not be suitable for intensive professional work or media editing, they are ideal for everyday tasks, web browsing, and streaming media. By understanding the capabilities and limitations of budget Desktop Computers, you can make an informed decision that matches your needs and budget.

#1 – Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA92

Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA92
Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA92
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PROSCONS
Peppy everyday performanceCooling fan can get loud
Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2
Supports two HDMI monitors
512GB storage
Built-in DVD burner
ACER ASPIRE TC-1760-UA92 (2022, INTEL CORE I5-12400 12GB RAM) SPECS
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested)512
Boot Drive TypeSSD
Desktop ClassMainstream
Graphics CardIntel UHD Graphics 730
Operating SystemWindows 11 Home
Optical DriveDVD+/-RW
ProcessorIntel Core i5-12400
Processor Speed2.5
RAM (as Tested)12

Acer’s Aspire TC (model TC-1760-UA92) offers an impressive set of features at an affordable price while looking Desktop Computers, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious users. With its powerful 12th Generation Intel Core i5 processor, this desktop handles tasks such as homework and video streaming effortlessly. Unlike other budget options, the Aspire TC comes with a generous 512GB solid-state drive, ensuring ample storage space for your files and programs. Additionally, it supports Wi-Fi 6, enabling fast and reliable internet connectivity.

Read the Complete Review for Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA92

Although the integrated graphics of the Aspire TC limit its gaming capabilities, it outshines the HP Pavilion Desktop by featuring twin HDMI video outputs, ideal for setting up dual monitors for enhanced productivity. Moreover, this tower surpasses the Dell Inspiron Desktop in terms of upgradability and affordability. It offers a sleek and sophisticated design, with a faux brushed aluminum finish and a silver stripe on the front panel, setting it apart from its duller competitors. The micro tower is compact, measuring 13.4 by 6.4 by 13.8 inches (HWD), making it space-efficient. The front panel is made of plastic, while the rest of the tower is composed of thin steel. To ensure proper airflow, the left panel is perforated.

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#2 – HP Pavilion Desktop TP01-2060

HP Pavilion Desktop TP01-2060
HP Pavilion Desktop TP01-2060
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PROSCONS
Potent eight-core AMD Ryzen CPUOnly one HDMI video output
Ample, upgradable storageWi-Fi 5, not 6
Lots of front-panel portsPreloaded bloatware
Quiet operation
HP PAVILION DESKTOP TP01-2060 SPECS
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested)256
Boot Drive TypeSSD
Desktop ClassMainstream
Graphics CardAMD Radeon Graphics
Operating SystemWindows 11 Home
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 7 5700G
Processor Speed3.8
RAM (as Tested)16
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested)1
Secondary Drive TypeHard Drive

The Pavilion Desktop by HP is a popular choice found in major retail stores while looking Desktop Computers, offering a well-rounded package at an affordable price point. With ample performance for tasks like schoolwork and basic entertainment, along with a plethora of front-panel ports and dual storage drives, this budget-friendly desktop ensures you won’t run out of space. Its quiet operation and inclusion of a basic keyboard and mouse add to its appeal. However, it does have some drawbacks, such as featuring only one HDMI port and an older Wi-Fi 5 wireless card instead of the more advanced Wi-Fi 6 or 6E options. Nevertheless, if you don’t require multiple monitors or ultra-fast downloads, the Pavilion Desktop presents a viable alternative to our recommended Acer Aspire TC, which earned our Editors’ Choice award.

Design of Pavilion Desktop

In terms of design, the Pavilion Desktop (model TP01-2060) belongs to HP’s well-established consumer brand, sitting between the more budget-friendly Essential line and the premium Envy line. While HP offers various styles, including all-in-ones, the Pavilion Desktop follows the traditional tower design. Although the PC comes ready to use out of the box, you will need to separately purchase a monitor, as well as a set of speakers or headphones.

Measuring at a compact size of 13.3 by 6.1 by 12 inches (HWD), the Pavilion Desktop, comparing to other Desktop Computers, easily fits on a desk or can be placed on the floor. Its four rubber feet provide stability and prevent sliding. Comparatively, the Dell Inspiron Desktop is nearly identical in size, while the HP Slim Desktop from the Essential line is smaller but sacrifices performance and storage.

#3 – MSI Pro DP21

MSI Pro DP21
MSI Pro DP21
Amazon Buy Now
PROSCONS
Compact, VESA-mountable designNot the smallest mini PC
Well-priced
Peppy Core i3 processor
Ample connectivity including Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth
Easily upgradable
MSI PRO DP21 SPECS
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested)256
Boot Drive TypeSSD
Desktop ClassBusiness
Graphics CardIntel UHD Graphics 730
Operating SystemWindows 11 Home
ProcessorIntel Core i3-12100
Processor Speed3.3
RAM (as Tested)8

When it comes to budget desktop shopping from the list of Desktop Computers, mid-tower PC cases are the most common choice. However, considering the advantages of a smaller form factor, why not opt for a mini PC? The MSI Pro DP21, starting at $329 ($471 as tested), offers impressive capabilities in a compact design that occupies just a fraction of the space. With its VESA-mounting compatibility, this mini PC can be conveniently placed behind a monitor or under a desk while providing an abundance of ports, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and a snappy Intel Core i3 processor. Although there are even smaller options available like the ECS Liva Z3 and Intel NUC 12 Pro, the MSI Pro DP21 strikes the right balance between price and performance, making it the ideal choice among budget mini PCs and deserving of our Editors’ Choice award.

Using for Business as well as for Home

In terms of aesthetics, MSI’s Pro DP21 caters to both home and business users, meeting their everyday computing needs such as office productivity, web surfing, video streaming, and point-of-sale operations. Our entry-level review unit is equipped with a quad-core Intel Core i3-12100 processor, 8GB of memory, a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD), and Windows 11 Home. The PC is ready to use out of the box and comes with a basic USB keyboard and mouse, requiring only a monitor to complete the setup.

The Pro DP21’s case prioritizes functionality over form, measuring a mere 2.2 by 8 by 8.2 inches (HWD), resulting in a compact volume of just 2.3 liters. This is significantly smaller compared to the typical 30-liter size of a mid-tower case.

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Furthermore, the MSI Pro DP21 offers VESA mounting support, enabling flexible installation behind a monitor, on a wall, or even underneath a desk. Alternatively, it can be placed horizontally or vertically using the included stand.

#4 – Dell XPS Desktop (8950)

Dell XPS Desktop (8950)
Dell XPS Desktop (8950)
Amazon Buy Now
PROSCONS
Flexible configurations, from entry-level to top-endProprietary power supply
Chic designLacks removable dust filters
Easy to upgrade
Good port selection
DELL XPS DESKTOP (8950) SPECS
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested)512
Boot Drive TypeSSD
Desktop ClassGaming
Graphics CardNvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
Operating SystemWindows 11 Home
Optical DriveDVD Writer
ProcessorIntel Core i5-12600K
Processor Speed3.7
RAM (as Tested)16
Secondary Drive Capacity (as Tested)2
Secondary Drive TypeHard Drive

The Dell XPS Desktop is a premium Desktop Computer that has undergone a redesign, featuring an upgraded chassis and the latest Intel 12th Generation “Alder Lake” processors for enhanced performance. While the Dell Inspiron Desktop offers better value at its base configuration, the XPS Desktop stands out with its extensive customization options, including high-end components like the liquid-cooled Core i9-12900K CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 GPU. As a versatile tower desktop, it earns our Editors’ Choice award for users seeking exceptional performance beyond gaming or business needs.

The XPS Desktop Computers boasts an impressive range of configuration possibilities, allowing users to optimize it for productivity, gaming, or creative work. In our review unit, we equipped it with a powerful 10-core Core i5-12600K CPU, an 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti graphics card, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD with Windows 11 Home, and a spacious 2TB hard drive. The standard warranty covers one year.

Performance

Thanks to its remarkable configurability, direct comparisons with other desktops become elementary. Dell even provides the option to order the highest power supply (750 watts) with integrated graphics, enabling users to install their own graphics card. In terms of price, our review unit competes favorably with gaming desktops offered by other brands. For instance, the HP Omen 25L, priced at $2,028, features a non-K series CPU (Core i7-12700), while NZXT’s Streaming PC, priced at $1,699, comes with a slightly less powerful AMD Ryzen 5 5600X CPU but a faster GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card. Overall, the XPS Desktop offers a fair price for the performance it delivers.

While the base model priced at $749 is less recommended, as Dell’s Inspiron Desktop at $599 offers similar specifications with its six-core Core i5-12400, 8GB of RAM, small 256GB SSD, and integrated graphics, the XPS Desktop becomes the go-to choice for those seeking a home PC that goes beyond basic computing needs.

Despite our review unit being configured for gaming, the XPS Desktop doesn’t resemble a traditional gaming tower, which adds to its appeal. It is available in Platinum Silver or Night Sky, with the former featuring special aluminum feet that slightly increase its height compared to the rubber feet of the Night Sky chassis.

#5 – Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3i

Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3i
Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3i
Amazon Buy Now
PROSSolid screen for the money
Bundled mouse and keyboard
Decent speakers
Plenty of ports
CONSNo USB-C ports
Lackluster CPU performance
LENOVO IDEACENTRE AIO 3I SPECS
All-in-One Screen Native Resolution1920 by 1080
All-in-One Screen Size22
All-in-One Screen TypeNon-Touch Screen
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested)1
Boot Drive TypeSSD
Desktop ClassAll-in-one
Graphics CardIntel UHD Graphics
Operating SystemWindows 11
Optical DriveDVD+/-RW (Plus Minus)
ProcessorIntel Pentium Gold 7505
Processor Speed2
RAM (as Tested)16

In today’s dynamic market influenced by fluctuating component costs, all-in-one computers (AIOs) continue to be a practical choice. Lenovo’s IdeaCentre AIO 3i (starting at $529; $599 as tested) follows the design principles of its renowned laptop lineup, focusing on productivity with notable features like a DVD drive, which has become a rarity in many devices. Under the hood, it incorporates typical characteristics of a budget machine, such as a modest Pentium processor with integrated graphics. However, the AIO surprises with a generous 16GB of memory and a spacious 1TB SSD, making it an appealing option in its price range. Lenovo offers various configurations with different specifications, but the tested model stands out, earning it our Editors’ Choice award for budget AIOs.

Impressive Features in a Compact Package

The IdeaCentre AIO 3i boasts a sleek all-black design, featuring a compact 22-inch display mounted on a small stand. The stand even includes a convenient indentation for keeping small items like a mouse, keys, or office supplies organized.

The computer delivers a commendable display with remarkably thin bezels on all sides, effectively maximizing the screen real estate. While it lacks swivel or height adjustment capabilities, the monitor allows for a decent tilt to accommodate vertical adjustments.

Most of the AIO’s ports are located at the back, including four USB ports (two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.2 Gen 2, all Type-A), an Ethernet jack, a power connector, and an HDMI output. Additionally, the top of the monitor houses a webcam that can be easily pulled in and out, reminiscent of a cartridge on a Sega Genesis console.

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Towards the left, you’ll find a nostalgic DVD optical disc drive, and slightly lower, a small rubber cover concealing a 3.5mm headphone port. While a higher-resolution webcam, a Blu-ray drive, or USB-C ports would have been desirable additions, the AIO’s existing port selection is satisfactory for a budget-friendly choice.

Final Remarks for buying desktop computers

When it comes to finding the best budget desktop computers in 2023, affordability and high performance go hand in hand. The Acer Aspire TC-1760-UA92, HP Pavilion Desktop TP01-2060, MSI Pro DP21, Dell XPS Desktop (8950), and Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3i offer impressive features and value for their respective price points. Whether you’re a student, professional, or casual user, these desktops provide the perfect balance of cost-effectiveness and reliable performance. Upgrade your home office or gaming setup without breaking the bank by choosing one of these top-rated budget desktop computers. Experience the power, versatility, and efficiency you need, all while staying within your budget.

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