For anybody who wants to get into gaming but doesn’t want to go through the tedium of building their own PC, a prebuilt is a good option. It’s not something that most gamers, like myself, would recommend because you wouldn’t have the freedom to optimize each and every component that goes into your build.
It is also much more expensive to spend money on pre-builts than if you were to build one yourself. The labor cost being one of the more obvious along with the selection of improper parts. There could be used or refurbished parts inside these builds and you wouldn’t have the ability to vet these parts individually until you buy the whole thing.
More often than not, the parts in these pre-builts are paired up with other convenient parts they could find, without taking into consideration the effect it might have on performance and durability. For example, a prebuilt PC might come with a cheaper PSU (see the best PSU Brands here), and because of this, you might face issues down the line, especially when you start to upgrade individual components.
So prebuilt PCs are not what they are all cracked up to be. However, there can be some good choices out there, if you know what to look for. So in this lineup I’ve gathered up the best gaming PC under $700 and I’ll review each, including one prebuilt which I believe is the best option and provides the most bang for you buck.
For our situation, we would have to categorize $700 as an entry-level gaming PC which is along the lines of a true “budget” gaming rig.
To ensure that we are getting the proper components fit for a budget PC in the range of $700 I’m going to list out what sort of parts we could expect from these pre-builds along with some key examples, this guide will help you size up if any other pre-builts you come across (ones that may not be included in this lineup) are upto the $700 budget gamer standard. So, let’s get started with our favorite component: The GPU.
GPU fit for a $700 build
Most GPUs that are fit for a $700 build would be the famous (or infamous) GTX 1650 Super. This is the absolute highest, I’d recommend you go for. On the other hand, the lowest acceptable option (in my opinion) is a GTX 770. Although some pre-builds can go lower than that and some have no dedicated GPU at all. It depends on what sort of games you are hoping to play on it. Understanding this range of difference between two such GPUs can help you identify if the prebuilt in question is worth your time.
CPU fit for a $700 build
In terms of CPU we have a lot of options. If we’re talking Intel, the recent Intel Core i3-10100F would be a clear cut winner. You could also go for the slightly expensive Core i3-10100 which has in-built graphics, just in case your GPU decides to off itself.
On the AMD side you’ve got the Ryzen 5 3600 as a somewhat high-end option for these types of builds or a Ryzen 3 3100 to take care of the low end. For some reason, the Ryzen CPUs are a little hot right now (higher prices) and I personally do not prefer team red, even though I understand the advantage of having a second option.
There’s a ton of motherboards out there, and it all depends on the CPU you’re gonna get with these prebuilds. Something to look out for in these motherboards is the overclocking (learn how to check if your CPU is overclocked here) potential and the upgradability of these motherboards.
Most prebuilts come with lower generation Intel Processors or older Ryzen CPUs (older as in they were released a long time ago) and because of this they use the cheapest available motherboard that has the compatible CPU socket. Most of these prebuilts do not disclose their motherboards and this can be a big concern, especially with low rated prebuilts.
Even though you shouldn’t trust every review out there, sometimes, these reviews might mention the motherboard and any other issues that they had with the product. So be patient and do some research before you start shelling out on a prebuilt.
If you manage to find out which motherboard they are using, take note of the chipset and check if the chipset in question supports overclocking. This could make a ton of difference when you start to get serious about your rig’s performance. For more info on the various chipsets, check out any of our motherboard related articles such as the best motherboard for i5-11400.
So cheaping out on the PSU can be disastrous for your PC build. In our case of the $700 Gaming PC, we don’t need a lot of power, but whenever you’re thinking of upgrading an individual component, it can become an issue. Most of these pre-builts won’t have future-proof PSUs anyway because it doesn’t make sense on their part.
It’s better to know this beforehand (Most prebuilts aren’t built to be the most upgrade-friendly) when you start considering a prebuilt PC. There’s going to be a pattern here in every prebuilt PC: the lack of upgradability and future-proofing features. This may be okay for a casual gamer but it is a concern because you won’t be using this same old gaming PC forever.
First rule of thumb when picking out PSUs: always make sure you don’t get those cheap looking metal housing PSUs with rainbow cables in them. If you have already bought a prebuilt PC with a PSU of this nature, try to replace it with a more genuine modular PSU that’s got a good 80 plus rating, your motherboard will thank you for it.
When it comes to pre-builts there’s a lot of stuff that you won’t know about until you actually resort to buying one. There’s issues with a lot of other components like storage, memory, cooling, case and so on. When in doubt, try to gather what you can from the reviews. Normally, I wouldn’t recommend a pre-built PC, but I realize that everyone doesn’t have the ability or the time to build their own.
So hopefully you realize what you’re getting into. With this new “knowledge” you have just gathered, you will be able to have an inkling of what goes inside most pre built PCs. To make things easier I’ve listed out ten of the most common $700 gaming PCs out there in the market along with the best one that I highly recommend.
If you don’t mind the obvious word-play, the CUK Continuum Micro Gaming PC is a pretty intermediate prebuilt for all you gamer Alphas out there. It’s got some good components, ones that you can expect from a $700 PC. A very good choice, if you have an extra GPU, HDD and a higher capacity PSU just hanging around, because you’re gonna need those, if you want to get deep in on this bad boy.
I can see the rainbow PSU cables from a mile away, it smells like a cheap generic non-modular PSU. The CUK Continuum Micro Gaming PC is one of the cheaper entries in this list and now I’m starting to realize why.
Starting off with our most important component, the GPU: there is no dedicated GPU and the AMD Ryzen 3 3200G is going to have to pick up the slack. The lack of a dedicated GPU is one of the main reasons why it is cheaper than most of the other entries out there.
If you happen to have an old GPU lying around, you could easily install that into this PC. The Vega 8 APU is not horrible and you could play some decent low-end games such as CS:GO and Minecraft without any issue. If you are into low-graphic indie games right now (I’m currently a big fan of darkest dungeon) this build would be more than enough.
The motherboard is a cheap Micro-ATX ASRock A320M-HDV. Although they claim there’s Wi-Fi for this prebuilt, the motherboard only supports Realtek Gigabit LAN as it is a very bare-bones affordable mobo that you can expect to see in most AM4 compatible prebuilds. There are only 2 DIMM slots and the motherboard is capable of handling only 2400 MHz of memory, so those 3000 MHz RAM sticks are severely underutilized. This motherboard has no future-proofing whatsoever.
What We Like
Price - One of the more “cheap” pre-builts out there, this PC will easily get you started with some small games. You will need a serious dedicated GPU, if you hope to get started with 1080p gaming. Nonetheless, this PC is a perfect gift for somebody who’s looking for some light gaming sessions with something like Minecraft or Fortnite.
Extra Peripherals - This prebuilt does provide a free keyboard and mouse combo. Now for somebody who doesn’t have peripherals this might be a good deal, but keep in mind that these are one of their tactics to bump up the price of this product, they are useful for basic tasks and casual gaming but not so much if you want to get serious about your aim.
Know Before Buying
Versatility - This prebuilt does not come with a dedicated GPU, so you will need to find one if you hope to play more serious games. Along with that I’d recommend a good PSU and some higher storage. The provided 256GB NVMe SSD can only hold the OS and some supporting software, so don’t expect to be gaming right off the bat, try to get an HDD if you can so that you will be able to install Fortnite. (maybe a couple more smaller video games if you’re lucky)
A Prebuilt PC that looks good and consists of some decent specs to back it up. The Alarco brand of gaming PC tower offers a great introduction for budget builders to get into without going through all that time and effort in building a brand new budget PC. Looking to play some solid fortnite and GTA V at 30+ FPS on low settings? This prebuilt has got you covered.
B75 LGA 1151 motherboard (something along the lines of a GA-B75M-D3V)
8 GB DDR3 generic
1 TB HDD, generic
Generic 500W PSU
Another low-budget entry on display. The Gaming PC by Alarco looks amazing on the outside, but when we take a closer look, things start to fall apart. For starters, there is no SSD but instead we have a 1TB HDD. Depending on the person who’s going to be using this PC, the HDD can have a slight advantage over a 256GB SSD in terms of storage space if they are patient enough to read the loading screen tips.
The PSU is a cheap generic 500W power supply, so you might have to get it replaced one way or another. I suppose it’s okay for casual gamers who have no hope of upgrading anytime soon and just want to relax with some Mein Kampf or League of Legends, but these generic PSUs are highly inefficient and there can be no guarantee regarding its safety features.
The GTX 650 might sound good on paper, but it’s performance is actually the equivalent of a Vega 8 integrated APU. So, in that manner, you are not getting a higher performance out of it, despite it being a dedicated GPU. I suppose it’s good enough to get you started until you could move up to something like a GTX 1650 or better, but that would require other upgrades leading to larger holes in your wallet.
Speaking of upgrades, the 2nd generation i5 is not the best of CPUs. It is very old and when trying to upgrade this CPU you would have to swap out a new motherboard as well (because of the socket compatibility). Also if you have plans to upgrade to a GTX 1650 this CPU can bottleneck the system.
And the other complaint regarding the motherboard: you have a micro ATX mobo with only 2 DIMM slots attached to 2 generic 4 GB DDR3 RAM sticks, there is no room for upgrades and you might have to make do with only two RAM sticks instead of four.
The case looks nice though, I can’t attest to the quality of the case but it has some cool looking RGB integrated into the case with the fans having some cool RGB as well. Unfortunately the RGB isn’t programmable and only controlled by an IR remote.
Even though the case looks cheap you have a lot of space and therefore, you won’t have to upgrade your case anytime soon. Even if you want to move on to a DIY water cooling build, this case will be able to provide. (Make sure it supports the radiators though)
What We Like
Price - One of the cheapest prebuilts I’ve come across so far. Great for a quick fix or as a quick gift for a loved one (that you hate).
Aesthetics - The RGB case and the fans are good enough. You can fool anyone into thinking that this prebuilt is a high-end rig just by the aesthetics alone.
Know Before Buying
Versatility - Don’t panic buy this PC if you think you could keep upgrading-piece-by piece until you reach a high-end build. That's going to cost you a lot more money in the long run, than if you were to upgrade at once.
The walls are getting thin for $700 gaming PCs and this GPU crisis has made it harder and harder to find any good budget prebuilds. With the Periphio Hydra Gaming PC you might have to lower your standards. If you are desperate enough to start gaming, you might be able to make some small games work, but don’t expect a rich 1080p experience with this prebuilt.
This is a very weird prebuilt, everything is just all over the place. The components don’t make sense as there’s a seventh generation i5 coupled to a GT 1030, this PC is definitely refurbished.
Along with the obvious mismatch of CPU and GPU there is a 128 GB SSD and a 1TB HDD, that is just weird. However this is a good opportunity to identify the type of prebuilds that you would want to avoid.
From the photos, the PC case looks great, (that’s how they draw them in) but a seasoned veteran could probably spot a cheap-looking case when they see one. This is the same situation with the RGB fans as well. If you want to know how many fans should a gaming PC have, check this article.
The CPU is the only component that makes sense here, an Intel Core i5-7500 at 3.4 GHz is a good option for a budget-range gaming PC. You won’t have any future-proofing but this CPU is good enough for most games. However in this particular build: this CPU has no business being here, it’s so out of place.
The GPU is also not very attractive at all, a GT 1030, is okay for old games like Farcry 3 and GTA IV (Remember I didn’t recommend this for GTA V), but this is not a good fit for modern-day gaming. The Vega 8 has better graphical performance than this one, so do not be persuaded by the four-digit number of the GPU, it’s a GT 1030, not a GTX 1050. (The GTX 1050 is 80% faster. Always look out for the ‘X’ folks)
The 16GB RAM also looks appealing but it’s probably a generic brand with a lower frequency. So if the RAM brand matters to you, you can replace this. The motherboard is also a generic brand, as you can probably tell by the green PCB. The PSU is also probably another generic trinket or a refurbished non-modular 80 plus PSU, either way, you will have to replace it.
This build is something I do not highly recommend, a perfect example of what to avoid. But if you want to get your nephew a cool-looking PC that will get him playing Minecraft or Fortnite, then by all means, but I hope you know what you are getting into.
Know Before Buying
Versatility - Despite the low price, the components on this PC are not fit for any sort of future-proofing. You will have to upgrade the entire thing and not one-by-one. I do not recommend this build as this is a perfect example of what to avoid, especially if you are serious about gaming.
Another Gaming rig with an APU and no dedicated graphics card. Seems like this is the best we can do under $700 these days. The Ryzen 3 4300G helps keep this build under $700 while providing a lot of other good components. The aesthetic is not directly aimed at gamers but the Ryzen APU makes it very versatile for gaming as well. Highly recommend it if you can find a good external GPU lying around.
Generic AM4 socket motherboard (No direct mention)
8 GB DDR4 generic (No direct mention)
512GB NVMe M.2 SSD
Generic PSU (no mention)
Gaming PCs such as these are not surprising, for most people struggling through these times to find a decent gaming PC, this is a viable option. It will keep them engaged until they can buy a proper external GPU. So if you don’t mind this situation, then it is a good option.
The CPU is an AMD Ryzen 3 4300G, it’s not as powerful as an i3-10100F but the APU makes it more appealing due to the reasons I mentioned above. You could play some decent Valorant, GTA V and Minecraft with this build, but don’t expect something like 1080p 60+ FPS on Red Dead Redemption 2.
The outer case is not for gamers, it’s probably built to be more of a workstation type PC. Despite its more conventional appearance, this case is very well designed. I’m sure both gamers and “normal” people would come to appreciate it.
The storage options are not half bad, you’ve got a 512 GB NVMe M.2 SSD which is good enough for the OS and a handful of smaller games like Valorant and Minecraft. You won’t have enough space for Call of Duty Games though. In the future, you might need to add a HDD depending on what you use it for, but for casual gamers this is good enough.
Again, I have no idea about the PSU. I recommend you take a sneak peek inside and check for those infamous rainbow wires. You don’t want to take chances as this is a good setup.
What We Like
Price - This is very affordable, mostly due to the fact that it doesn’t have an external GPU. I suppose you could get one later and keep using the APU to play some smaller games. The good thing with this prebuild is that you actually have some disk space to install some games as soon as you set it up.
Know Before Buying
Aesthetics - The “gamer” look is missing from this PC, mostly because it is meant to be a more “versatile” PC. For “gamers” more interested in looks: this might not be a good fit for you. But there’s always the chance to swap out a new case later, so maybe, buying this one now could be a safe bet.
Performance - The lack of a GPU is a big downer for me. I understand that they are trying to minimize the price and having an APU is a whole lot better than having a GTX 650 taking up space and doing nothing. For those gamers playing the long-game this is a good option.
Finally a good gaming PC that is under $700. It’s got the CPU and the GPU to make your 1080p dreams come true. Although you might need to be a little concerned about the upgradability of this PC along with the storage and PSU it could run most of today’s games with little to no issues. Highly recommend this for an entry-level gamer that’s too preoccupied to build their own PC but not busy enough to start gaming on it.
The HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop for the 1650 Super is a rare find. It’s got the exact GPU and CPU that I recommended in my guide (Coincidence or conspiracy? You decide) along with the other features that I would expect from an affordable pre-built. (Such as a generic PSU and lower storage options)
Since I had plenty to say about the GPU and CPU during the guide, let’s get down to the PC case. The aesthetics, in this case, aren’t the most gamer-friendly, but HP did a great balancing act of making sure that this case appeals to both gamers and “normal” people.
They (“normal” people) may talk all they want about the aesthetics of the case, but the true gamers know that HP designed the specs for gaming. It’s just that they had to make sure that it appealed to a wider audience so they could have more sales.
The storage options are not good enough for anybody though, you can’t do anything with a 256GB SSD these days. The OS is going to take up a more significant chunk and you might be left with no space for your other applications.
I recommend getting a 1TB HDD if you are strapped for cash or another higher capacity SATA SSD. (I specified SATA just in case you would happen to find no other M.2 ports on the mobo)
Price - This is a good bargain, friends. There aren’t a lot of good PCs out there with these specs, and under this price point. A very good deal if you are willing to shell out $700. However you might need to spend more on peripherals, monitor and storage if you didn’t have those already. I’d recommend that you get a 1TB HDD and a good PSU first.
Know Before Buying
Aesthetics - I don’t necessarily “hate” the aesthetics but, it is not something that you would expect from a “gamer” PC. I understand that this is a branded PC from HP and they are not a manufacturer dedicated to gamers. (unlike ROG or Razer) So there’s not a lot of creative freedom provided by this case. Maybe swap out the parts for another case if you decide to buy it and end up hating the case.
The GPU crisis has made it almost impossible to find good GPUs at an affordable price. GTX 1650s that used to be $150 are now almost three times that amount.
Sometime in the future, about the second or third quarter of 2022, we can expect things to return back to normal. But I advise you all to take that prediction with a grain of salt as things could get even worse instead.
We’ve faced many unprecedented events such as the pandemic and the crypto rush. The situation is very unclear but, if you can’t wait any longer I suggest getting a $700 gaming PC would be a smart decision.
I do not recommend getting prebuilts (but if you insist, we have here prebuilt gaming PCs under 800) as true gamers build their own PC, piece by piece. But like I mentioned before: not everybody has the good fortune to build one themselves, so whenever you are considering a pre-built one, always check the reviews and specs.
Do the proper research and avoid making impulse buys. You will always have to spend more on stuff you never anticipated, so keep some one eye on your bank account and the other on those GTX 1650 prices.
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