The 4 Best $400 to $1,000 Desktop PCs in 2021

Find the top desktop computers in the $400 to 1,000 range

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The Rundown
A fantastic combination that meets right in the middle of performance, price and brand name reliability.
HP’s latest Pavilion desktop might not look like much, but when it comes to office work, it’s a must own.
With a striking chrome design, Acer’s latest model is a testament to why mid-range prices can equal high-end appearances.
Best for Creatives:
HP Pavilion 24 at Amazon
Getting an all-in-one from HP’s Pavilion line ensures that your screen is as in-tune with the computer as possible

Desktops don't have to cost an arm and a leg, our collection of the best $400 to $1000 desktops are solid workstations that won't break the bank.

All of the same rules for buying a PC apply here, a solid CPU and a good amount of RAM are a must for multi-tasking. and If you plan to do any gaming, you'll want a good GPU as well. Form factor is also something to pay attention to, if real estate is at a premium you may want to invest in an AIO.

If you're buying one of these workstations for a newly established home office, make sure to add our guide to home office layout ideas to your reading list before taking a look at our picks for the best $400 to $1000 desktops.

Best Budget: Lenovo IdeaCentre 5i

Lenovo IdeaCentre 5i

Finding the right combination of price and performance in a budget desktop is no easy task. You’re likely to find items that are too cheap and underpowered or overpowered and too expensive. Fortunately, the Lenovo Ideacentre 5i is a fantastic combination that meets right in the middle of performance, price and brand name reliability. Powered by a 10th generation Intel i5 4.3GHz processor, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB hard drive, it has more than enough computing power for everyday tasks, all at a wallet-friendly price.

The desktop feels perfect for either the home or office, with plenty of storage and memory all at a value price. Unfortunately, at budget pricing levels you don’t always get as much room for expansion in the future in terms of additional RAM or extra hard drives. What it lacks in expansion, it more than makes up for with daily use that is perfect for the budget category.

Best for Offices: HP Pavilion Desktop 2020

HP Pavilion

HP’s latest Pavilion desktop might not look like much, but when it comes to office work, it’s a must own. It offers an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 2TB hard drive. You’ll typically find plenty of space available in computers that fit in the office desktop world, but the 2TB hard drive offers ample space for the inevitable buildup of files, documents and PowerPoints that will accrue over the years. Beyond the hard drive, there’s a DVD burner, multi-display support for both HDMI and VA output as well as two USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports.

Sizing up at 6 x 13 x 12 inches, the 15-pound Pavilion is no lightweight, but it’s small enough to fit underneath a desktop and be completely out of sight. The inclusion of 802.11ac offers a higher-speed connection, which is ideal for computers in an office environment where faster speeds are essential for downloading and uploading large files.

With a striking chrome design, Acer’s latest model is a testament to why mid-range prices can equal high-end appearances. With an Intel Core i5-1035G1, it might not be the most powerful desktop on the market, but the 12GB of RAM is still significant, and it differentiates itself with a super-slim, futuristic design.

While its insides are pretty mainstream for the price bracket — although the Qi built-in charging pad is a nice surprise — the outside matters quite a bit, too. The 27-inch full HD display measures a slim 0.3 inches, creating a statement piece for your home or office, though 4K and touchscreen options are not available. The bezel is equally thin at 0.12 inches, resulting in a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio, and the display can tilt between -5 and 25 degrees. Though its UHD graphics are best just for casual use, Acer has included features like Acer ExaColor to increase color saturation and Bluelight Shield to diminish blue light at night. 

"It’s very easy to adjust the display, which tilts up and down with minimal effort between -5 degrees and 25 degrees." — Yoona Wagener, Product Tester

Acer Aspire C27

Lifewire / Yoona Wagener

Best for Creatives: HP Pavilion 24

HP Pavilion 24

If you're using your computer for any sort of visual work, it's extremely important to consider how the screen looks, behaves, and how it interacts with the computer itself. Getting an all-in-one from HP’s Pavilion line ensures that your screen is as in-tune with the computer as possible — because it’s built in. For just under $1,000, this machine gives you an Intel Core i5 quad-core processor that delivers the power required for basic video editing. Plus, you have the option to increase up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM (actually pretty impressive for such a slim machine).

The 1TB SATA hard drive can store high volumes of media files, and there’s an HD Graphics 630 card for decent visual rendering. Of course, that screen we mentioned gives you 24 diagonal inches of real estate, and even though it is only full HD, the bright IPS display tech gives you great viewing angles for the pixels you have. There are a ton of USB ports, HDMI, Ethernet, etc. HP even includes a wireless keyboard and optical mouse to get you started right out of the box. This sleek powerhouse will give you plenty of features and will be a welcome addition to any creator’s desk.

Final Verdict

If space is at a premium and you prefer something of a "set it and forget it" approach, the Acer C27 (view at Amazon) is an excellent all-in-one option.

FAQs

Do desktop PCs have Wi-Fi?
Most prebuilt desktop PCs will come with Wi-Fi out of the box. They may either have a Wi-Fi chip built into their motherboard, or they come with a Wi-Fi adapter you can use. If they don't, you can easily pick up a Wi-Fi adapter that's high speed and a reasonable price.

Are desktop PCs a dying market?
The reputed death of the desktop PC market has been overstated, especially with the big recent boost of work-from-home across the world. In addition to having uses for office work and productivity, desktop PCs continue to be popular among gamers with gaming PCs, both custom-built parts and prebuilts selling well. A desktop can often be more affordable than a similarly specced laptops while offering more port, storage, expansion, and upgrade options, as well as multi-monitor setups.

What is an all-in-one desktop PC?
An all-in-one desktop PC is a relatively compact PC that incorporates a screen, motherboard, GPU, storage, and ports all into one form factor. One such example is the ever-popular iMac 21.5-inch 4K. It's a classic AIO that's popular among professionals and creatives, but you also have Windows and Chrome-powered versions from companies like Acer, Lenovo, HP, Dell, and others.

HP Pavilion Wave

Lifewire / Emily Ramirez 

What to Look For in a $400 to $1,000 Desktop PC

Value

The price of PCs on this list may be capped at $1,000, but there’s still a huge difference between a $400 PC and a $1,000 one. It’s important to get the most bang for your buck here, but that doesn’t mean only focusing on price. Look at balancing the features you get (and what you need versus what you don’t) with quality and price when you’re looking for a machine.

Monitor

If you have an extra external computer monitor lying around the house, then you don’t need to think about this. Otherwise, you might want to buy a system that includes one. If you don’t, you should factor a separate monitor into the price you’re paying.

Acer Aspire C27 Desktop PC

Lifewire / Yoona Wagener

Specs

When you’re buying a new machine, it’s always important to look at hard drive space, RAM, and processor power. If you’re planning on using the computer to check email and browse the web, you can get away with much less power than if you want to play resource-heavy computer games or edit video.

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