Here’s a plain and simple truth: PC gaming isn’t as cheap a hobby as it used to be. And here’s another: times are tough out there, and money for many of us is tight. The holidays are approaching, the cost of living is on the rise, and generally most of us are watching our wallets and trying to save a bit of cash wherever we can. So how do you upgrade your gaming setup, or treat yourself to a little something PC gaming during these challenging times?
Well, if you’re planning on spending a little, this Black Friday season is the time you’re likely to get the best prices on hardware that might otherwise be out of your reach. Of course we’re going to be keeping our many Black Friday deal pages updated throughout the sales, but we thought we’d put together a list of all the best deals on a budget for everything PC gaming right now, to help you find the best discounts on surprisingly good hardware.
The bang for your buck starts here folks, so let’s get going!
Best wireless gaming mouse under $20: EVGA X20 Wireless
How much? While a little bit more cash does get you something from one of the bigger peripheral brands, it’s not like EVGA isn’t known for making good gaming accessories, and this EVGA mouse has a hell of a lot going for it. It’s got 10 buttons, triple sensors, 3 zone RGB lighting, 2.4Ghz wireless and Bluetooth connection options…all for well under $20? Bit of a no-brainer if you’re looking for a very cheap mouse this one, even if you thought you could only afford wired options.
✅ Lots and lots of customisable buttons
✅ Multiple connection options
✅ RGB lighting
❌ Chunky techy focussed looks won’t be for everyone
Best headset under $40: Razer BlackShark V2 X
A wired gaming headset favorite this, and while it might be at a budget price point at the moment nothing about it says cheap. It’s light and comfy to wear, looks nice and professional (minus the green cable I suppose, but I quite like it personally) and when it comes to audio it’s got features you traditionally only see on much pricier models, including 7.1 surround sound, a warm yet reasonably accurate sound profile and a very good detachable cardioid mic. Need more? I doubt it.
✅ Much better sound overall than the price suggests
✅ Lightweight and comfortable
✅ 7.1 surround support
✅ Very good microphone for a gaming headset
❌ Green cable is a bit of a love it or hate it affair
❌ A warm bass-heavy sound profile won’t please everyone
Best mechanical keyboard under $45: Redragon K552
While you can get cheaper keyboards of the membrane variety, we’re big fans of mechanical switches wherever possible, and as someone who types all day for a living I can attest to the clicky clacky goodness of a good mechanical keyboard just feeling, well, nicer. Traditionally good ones don’t come cheap, but this little tenkeyless is here to buck the trend. Proper metal and ABS construction, Outemu red switches and customisable RGB means this little keyboard hits all the right notes for less, and it’s even splash resistant to boot.
✅ All the features you could reasonably want in a mechanical board
✅ Solid durable construction
✅ A mechanical keyboard without the traditional price premium
❌ Some would feel more comfortable with Cherry brand switches
Best SSD under $100: Nextorage Japan 2TB
You might be able to find slightly cheaper 2TB SSDs for this budget, but at just under the $100 mark I reckon it’s the speed and capacity combination on offer here that makes this an excellent buy. It also comes with a chunky heatsink, and would make a fantastic all-in-one SSD solution for even the most high-end of systems.
✅ Excellent read/write speeds
✅ Large amount of storage for the money
❌ Chunky heatsink means it might limit your installation options in some motherboard/case combinations
Best CPU under $150: Intel Core i5 12600KF
While this CPU might be a couple of years old it’s still a bit of a screamer for modern gaming, and overall is only around 12% slower than our current best gaming CPU recommendation, the 13600K. It’s a big ol’ discount on a very fast chip, and well worth a look if you’re building something Intel based on a budget, or simply looking to upgrade on the LGA1700 socket.
✅ Still a very fast gaming CPU
✅ Overclock ready
✅ Good core count
❌ A little power hungry
❌ Needs a good cooler, particularly for overclocking
Best ultrawide under $250: LG UltraGear 34GP63A
Ultrawides are expensive, right? Not necessarily so, as this LG curved 34-inch proves. Yes it’s a VA panel, but with a 3440 x 1440 resolution and a 160Hz refresh rate it’s a great entry point to ultrawide gaming for less than you might have expected. It’s not the brightest panel out there with a peak rating of 300 nits, but given the rest of the specs I reckon this is an excellent deal at this price.
✅ It’s an ultrawide for regular monitor money
✅ Good resolution/refresh rate combination
❌ VA panels might experience ghosting/black smearing issues
❌ 300 nits may be a little on the dark side
Best GPU under $400: XFX Speedster RX 6800
While GPU pricing remains, well, an issue for gaming on a budget, I don’t think you’re going to find much more GPU grunt for under $400 than this RX 6800. While it’s not the faster XT model it’s still got pretty great 1080/1440p gaming performance, and while it’s tempting to up the budget to get a lot more muscle, $400 seems reasonable for a cheaper option that actually gives you the sort of performance you’re probably looking for in a modern gaming system.
✅ Genuinely good 1080p/1440p performance
✅ Beats the much newer 4060 Ti in raw raster benchmarks
✅ Excellent amount of VRAM
❌ Limited to FSR for upscaling performance gains
❌ Starting to get a little long in the tooth
Best gaming laptop under $750: Asus TUF A16
Gaming laptops are sometimes touted as one of the best budget ways to get a gaming-ready system in one easy purchase, and long gone are the days when a mobile gaming machine was a gigantic red-hot slab of overly expensive kit. This Asus uses the RX 7600S mobile GPU, and for those that aren’t familiar it handily beats the much more common RTX 4050 and comes close to the more expensive RTX 4060 in gaming performance. It’s also got a good CPU, a decent amount of RAM and is a good looking machine to boot.
✅ Excellent performance for the money
✅ Office ready good looks
✅ Good GPU/CPU combination
❌ 512GB SSD is somewhat miserly
❌ AMD GPU, so no DLSS goodness
Best gaming PC under $800: MSI Aegis R
Best gaming PC under $800: MSI Aegis R
Those of you looking for a budget pre-built are often limited to system builders with names you might never have heard of, but this is a fully-fledged MSI machine with all the pedigree that brand brings. It’s got a speedy little Core i5 12400F, a good sized SSD, an RTX 4060 and rather surprisingly, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, which is rather unusual at this price bracket. It’s an honest to goodness well-specced gaming PC for well under a grand, and I’m a big fan of that handsome case too.
✅ A budget pre-built from a trusted brand
✅ Genuinely good specs for 1080p/1440p gaming
✅ Good sized SSD and modern DDR5 RAM
✅ Very difficult to get better hardware for this sort of price
❌ Upping the budget by $100 or so would get you into 4060Ti territory
❌ Errr….not great if you don’t like black?