Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but there is light on the horizon in this age of ridiculously priced graphics cards. HP is currently throwing a sale that gets you an AMD-based desktop entry-level gaming rig for $500, down from $650. Yes, you can finally buy a gaming PC for under $500 again! The downside, however, is that you’re going to have to wait a while for this rig, with shipping not starting until the end of March.
HP classifies this particular Windows 11 rig as appropriate for the casual gamer. That means it’ll have acceptable performance for esports enthusiasts and folks willing to dial down graphics settings in triple-A games for faster performance. If you’ve been hunting for a solid Fortnite or League of Legends PC that won’t break the bank, here it (finally) is.
This desktop has a Ryzen 3 5300G APU, which has four cores, eight threads and a max boost to 4.2GHz. As this is an APU it has onboard graphics, but they won’t get you very far for gaming. That’s why HP’s also saddled this rig with an AMD Radeon RX 5500. This is a prebuilt-only part that is designed to offer acceptable 1080p performance at a reasonable price for PC buyers.
The Radeon RX 5500 is okay, but if you want to add an extra $20, HP will swap out that graphics card for an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super. That promises much better performance than the RX 5500, though this is still decidedly a 1080p machine. Still, given that the GTX 1650 Super itself sells for anywhere from $300 to $500 these days (it was originally a sub-$200 card), this is a solid deal.
The rest of the rig includes 8GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard SSD storage. That’s not a ton, but again you can add 1TB of hard drive storage for another $49 if you need it. If you already have a PC, a better option would be to take whatever hard drives and 2.5-inch SSDs you have in your current desktop and migrate them over.
This is a good deal even with the low amount of onboard storage—again, it’s a sub-$500 gaming PC in an era when many graphics cards alone are selling for nearly that amount—and if you’re willing to add that extra $20 to upgrade to the GTX 1650 Super you’ll have an especially nice entry-level gaming machine. Radeon or GeForce, you don’t want to miss out on this.
[Today’s deal: HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop for $500 at HP.com.]
Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn’t like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he’s not covering the news he’s working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.