Skip to main content

Best budget PCs less than $500 in 2022

Acer TC-895
(Image credit: Acer)

Not everyone has the time, budget, or know-how to build a PC, but the best budget PCs less than $500 have you covered. Dell's Inspiron 3910 Desktop is our new top pick thanks to offering 12th Gen Intel Core processors (CPU), plenty of RAM and storage, and even an optional discrete GPU. If you're on a tight budget, it's a great device to get you going on Windows, and it will have enough power to tackle daily productivity tasks. However, there are more best budget PCs that we've included here if the Dell option isn't quite what you're looking for.

Dell Inspiron 3910 Desktop

(Image credit: Dell)

Dell Inspiron 3910 Desktop

Best overall

Reasons to buy

+
Plenty of configurations to choose from
+
12th Gen Intel Core CPUs
+
Optional discrete GTX 1650 Super GPU
+
Up to 16GB DDR4 RAM
+
Up to 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD

Reasons to avoid

-
Adding hardware quickly bumps it above $500

Dell's refreshed Inspiron 3910 Desktop has taken over the top spot in our collection of the best PCs less than $500, and for good reason. It's available with Intel's latest 12th Gen Core CPUs, including a Core i3-12100, Core i5-12400, and a Core i7-12700. 

The modern CPUs are accompanied by up to 16GB of DDR4-3200MHz RAM and up to a 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. While integrated Intel UHD graphics are standard, you can also opt for a NVIDIA GTX 1650 Super discrete GPU if you'd like to use the PC for a bit of gaming.

Of course, adding that extra hardware will take prices above $500. As it stands now, introductory models with a Core i3-12100 chip, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD start at about $460. If you'd like to step that up to a 1TB HDD, you're looking at about $480. The jump up to a Core i5 CPU is only about $70, and you'll still only be at $530 total. All models come with Windows 11.

The front of the PC has one USB-C 3.2 (Gen 1) port, one USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1), two USB-A 2.0 ports, and a 3.5mm audio jack. On the back there are four more USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet, and a Kensington lock slot.

If you'd like to buy your budget PC without being stuck into one configuration, this is a great place to look.

Acer Aspire XC-830

(Image credit: Acer)

Acer Aspire XC-830

Truly budget

Reasons to buy

+
Hard to beat the price
+
Comes with a keyboard and mouse
+
256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
+
8GB of RAM is nice
+
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

Reasons to avoid

-
No dedicated GPU
-
Intel Celeron CPU is good for light work only

Acer's Aspire TC-895 was our top pick of all best budget PCs for a long time, but it's no longer an option due to rising prices and new models that also come in well above $500. That's where Dell's Inspiron 3910 Desktop comes in; if you want a full-fledged PC with 12th Gen Intel Core CPUs, it's the way to go.

The Aspire XC-830 highlighted here is also a standard desktop PC, though it comes in at a much lower price (usually around $330). Its Intel Celeron J4125 quad-core CPU won't match up with Intel's Core lineup, but it'll still handle productivity work and homework for the kids. Its 8GB of RAM and 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD will definitely help its performance remain snappy.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 5 are included so you don't have to run cables through your house for internet, though there is also an Ethernet port. The front of the PC has otherwise two USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1) ports and an optical drive. The back has two more USB-A 2.0 ports, HDMI, and VGA. The Aspire XC-830 comes with Windows 10 installed, and you get a keyboard and mouse in the package.

Aioexpc Pc Stick

(Image credit: AIOEXPC)

AIOEXPC Atom PC

Best PC stick

Reasons to buy

+
Cost-effective PC solution
+
Can expand storage with microSD
+
Two USB-A ports for accessories
+
Enough performance for light productivity work

Reasons to avoid

-
Don't expect Intel Core performance
-
Won't really replace a full-size PC

The best Windows 10 PC sticks allow you to carry around what appears to be a pint-sized USB drive in your pocket. All you need to do is add a screen with an HDMI port and you have a Windows 10 Pro PC ready to go. The AIOEXPC model is an excellent low-cost option with enough performance for streaming, web browsing, word processing, and any other light work you might need to take care of while you're on the move.

The base model has an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 CPU with 4 cores, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage. For not a whole lot more money, you can upgrade to 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. This is recommended for most people.

There's also a microSD card reader if you're looking to expand storage (it will handle up to 128GB). It has Wi-Fi 5 boosted by an attached antenna, and Bluetooth 4.2 allows you to connect your favorite wireless accessories. There are also a couple of USB-A ports on the side of the stick for extra accessories.

Source: HP (Image credit: Source: HP)

HP AiO 22

Best all-in-one

Reasons to buy

+
Monitor included in the price
+
Enough performance for most general tasks
+
Clean look
+
Tons of storage

Reasons to avoid

-
21.5-inch display might be too small

Those who don't have a lot of space in an office, kitchen, or living room might be looking to combine all the different parts of a desktop PC into one package. The best All-in-One PCs answer the call, putting the performance hardware behind a built-in monitor. You end up with a desktop display (hiding the PC hardware), keyboard, mouse, and not much else. And if you're sticking to a budget, the HP AiO 22 should be a top choice.

It's built into a 21.5-inch chassis, with 1920x1080 screen resolution and IPS panel. Above the display is a 720p webcam, and below is a grille that holds dual 2W speakers. Inside is an AMD Athlon 3150U CPU, 4GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM, and 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD. It comes pre-installed with Windows 11 Home.

Ports include an SD card reader, four USB-A, HDMI, Ethernet, and 3.5mm audio. Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5 are standing by for wireless connectivity, and a mouse and keyboard are included for a bit of extra value.

Bottom line

Sticking to a tight budget and finding a pre-built desktop PC that's right for you can be challenging. The pros and cons of pre-built PCs might sway you one way or the other; however, the Dell Inspiron 3910 Desktop checks the most boxes for most people, making it our top pick out of all the best budget PCs.

It has your choice of 12th Gen Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 CPUs, up to 16GB of DDR4-3200MHz RAM, and up to a 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. You can even add an NVIDIA GTX 1650 Super discrete GPU if budget allows. You're still probably better off checking out one of our picks for best gaming desktop PC in that case if you want a true gaming PC.

Cale Hunt
Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

With contributions from