Do you want to have your own PC? As much as we want to splurge in getting the best PC parts, not a lot of people have the luxury to do so.
Most of us are content with having a modest desktop PC that is able to run almost anything we throw at it.
If you only have a few hundred dollars to spend, read further to find out our picks for the best budget desktop PCs this August 2020. These are definitely great for budget-conscious consumers.
Things to Consider
So, what are the things that need to be considered when buying a budget desktop PC? The first thing that you have to do is ask yourself what you’re going to use the PC for. Do you intend to use it as a media hub? Do you want to use it for work? Or are you planning to play your favorite games? Answering these questions can help narrow down your options considerably.
The next thing would be the components. Depending on your use-case, the most important components to consider are the CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage solution. Everything else should be chosen at the discretion of the user (such as how many IO ports you need, connectivity options, and so on).
Another thing worth considering is the form factor. While this isn’t as important as the others, getting a compact form factor PC makes it easier for you to place inside a cabinet or anywhere you want.
With all of those things out of the way, here are the best pre-built PCs for August 2020:
Best Desktop PCs August 2020
1.HP ProDesk 600 G5
If you want the best mini PC out there, then I can highly recommend the HP ProDesk 600 G5. It has some of the best components that are offered at a relatively affordable price.
It is equipped with the Intel Core i5-9500T which is a six-core chip, Intel UHD Graphics 630 (onboard), 8GB of RAM, and 256GB NVMe SSD.
What I love about this PC is that aside from its compact form factor, it does have the right number ports. You will find a USB Type-C port at the front, as well as USB Type-A Gen 3.1 ports for your other USB-powered devices.
At the back, you will find a total of three DisplayPort connectors which means that you can plug up to three different displays at once.
For its connectivity, you are getting an onboard WiFi AC solution, as well as Bluetooth 5.1 support which should help future-proof this device nicely.
Although the storage could have been improved and its onboard graphics solution be replaced with a dedicated graphics card, the HP ProDEsk 600 G5 is still quite a good solution for a media streaming center, as well as for productivity workloads.
2.Acer Gaming Desktop Nitro 50 (N50-600-UR1)
The next recommendation is an appealing budget gaming PC. In fact, it is touted to be one of the best out there thanks to its price-to-performance ratio.
The Acer Nitro 50 has all of the right specs for gaming with medium to high settings. It is equipped with the Intel Core i5-9400F, an Nvidia Geforce GTX 1660Ti, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD for its storage solution.
Although it doesn’t offer much in other aspects, the components on this machine will allow you to play your favorite games at considerable frame rates.
When you get this machine, you will still have enough money to buy one of the best budget gaming monitors on the market as well.
3.HP Omen 25L
Another budget gaming desktop, the HP Omen 25L comes with all of the right specs for a pre-built gaming machine under $1,000.
You have two options to choose from at this price point. You can either go with a configuration that uses an AMD Ryzen 5 processor and the AMD Radeon RX5500 graphics card or you can opt for the 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor with an Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 graphics solution.
Both of them come with 8GB of memory and 256GB of NVMe SSD storage. To be honest, no matter what configuration you will ultimately choose, both of them offer considerable performance across the board.
While its storage solution might not be enough for most users, you do have the option to get yourself a budget hard drive, though you have to be knowledgeable enough to install it yourself.
This is one of the only budget desktop pre-builts that come with an AMD processor. The Ryzen 5 processors, in particular, are hailed as some of the best gaming processors on the market. Although they do not rival some of Intel’s chips, they certainly provide the most bang-for-the-buck in terms of performance and reliability.
4.Intel NUC (NUC10i5FNHCA)
The Intel NUC PCs have more compact form factors that make them ideal from a productivity and media consumption standpoint. That being said, the NUC10i5FNHCA is one of the best small form factor pre-built PCs on the market and it will certainly be popular this August 2020.
Now, what does this have to offer compared to the previous recommendation? Well, instead of a six-core chip, this one only has a Quad-core processor in the form of the Intel Core i5-10210U.
It does have 8GB of RAM and instead of only a 256GB SSD, it is also coupled with a 1TB hard drive as well.
Its main appeal is its small form factor which makes it ideal to place anywhere you want. It doesn’t have a lot of ports, but it does have a WiFi 6 card, as well as Bluetooth 5.1 support.
If you have some extra cash in the future, you do have some upgrade paths to choose from. You can either buy more RAM, one more storage drive, and perhaps even invest in an M.2 NVMe SSD as well.
For quite some time, Intel takes the crown for gaming performance and strictly just for that. AMD processors are great at multi-threaded workloads, but Intel is still king when it comes to overall gaming prowess.
That being said, the Dell G5 is quite an appealing gaming desktop pre-built simply because it comes with the Intel Core i7-9700 processor. Although it is a bit dated at this point, it is still a gaming powerhouse nonetheless.
The processor is complemented with the inclusion of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 graphics card, along with 16GB of RAM, and 512 GB of M.2 SSD storage. You cannot find this amazing performance package in others at this price point.
It has a bevy of ports both at the front IO and at the back so you will have no problem plugging in your favorite gaming keyboard or mouse.
While I do appreciate what Dell did with this gaming desktop, I certainly do not like the company’s use of a proprietary motherboard and power supply unit.
But other than that, the Dell G5 is certainly one of the most affordable yet powerful gaming desktops on the market.
6.Acer Predator Orion 3000
If you want a pre-built desktop PC that can handle any games, then the Acer Predator Orion 3000 is one that I would recommend. It is priced just a dollar under $1,000 but it still fits in the ‘budget’ category nonetheless.
Anyway, this is a great mid-range performer as it comes with the right specs that can handle any workload.
For its processor, Acer went with the Intel Core i5-9400F. It is a modest processor that can handle even the most demanding games with considerable processing power.
The GPU is the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1660Ti coupled with 12GB of RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, and you also get a DVD-RW optical drive which is quite rare in this day and age.
Its onboard audio is also quite good thanks to the Creative Sound BlasterX 720. Whether you intend to use some dedicated speakers or your favorite gaming headset, its sound output should be pretty worth it.
Although this PC is a bit on the pricier side, you do get Acer’s own gaming keyboard and gaming mouse which I think are nice additions. All you need to do is get yourself a good monitor and you should be all set.
7.iBuyPOWER Element 9260
The last budget pre-built PC happens to be a gaming desktop as well. The iBuyPOWER Element 9260 is equipped with the right specs that make it ideal for use in office work, as well as playing your favorite games.
It is equipped with the Intel Core i7-9700F processor, an Nvidia Geforce GTX 1660Ti graphics card, 16GB of RAM, and 240GB SSD plus 1TB HDD storage solution. It also comes with Windows 10 Home with an OEM license so you do not have to worry about its operating system when you receive the product.
What you are getting here is actually a package that consists of the pre-built desktop PC itself, as well as a gaming keyboard and mouse. Sadly, you will not get a monitor with this setup, but for the price, it is still quite a good deal nonetheless.
Everything is assembled in the USA and you get a 1-year warranty for both parts and services which I think is a nice touch.
August seems to be a great month to be getting desktop pre-builts. Whether you are finding one mostly for your online work or you are getting one as a means of playing your favorite games in your spare time, this article has got you covered.
Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service
It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.
Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.
Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.
Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.
Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.
It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).
That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).
With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.
Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.
Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.
1080p and 4K Gaming
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.
Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.
Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.
You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.
NVIDIA Hardware Use
According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.
That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).
Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.
Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites
Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.
The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.
This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.
New Controller with Alexa Support
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.
What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.
According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.
Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.
Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99
If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.
Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.
Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500
Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.
Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.
Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively.
Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.
The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.
Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.
It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.
I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.
The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.
For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.
The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.
You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.
Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.
However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.
It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.
I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.
Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.
Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.
How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.
It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.
This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.
With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.
Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.
Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.
HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.
In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.
Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.
I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.
Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.
There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.
This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup.
While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.
All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.
The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.
There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.
Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.
That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.
I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.
Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.
As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.
Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.
Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.
There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.
Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.
The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.
For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.
I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.
I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.
Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.
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