Oct 4 2012 - With margins for manufacturers getting so slim and laptops being priced so close to a desktop, there are very few low cost desktops left in the market. Still, if you want a basic desktop PC to use around the house or office that costs under $400 you have a few options to choose from. Check out my various selections for the best budget desktops for a variety of different tasks or prices.
With a list price of $350 and often priced less thanks to specials, the HP 110-010xt is one of the most affordable desktop PCs on the market. The basic configuration is pretty typical including a Pentium G2020T dual core processor, 4GB of memory, 500GB hard drive, dual layer DVD burner and even wireless networking. The system is also fully customizable with a number of upgrades options at the time of order. The best options are an upgraded hard drive which will bring the price up to around $400 but you can always keep them off if you want to spend as little as possible.
Dell's Inspiron 660s is a solid overall choice for those looking at a low cost system. The base price for the system is just $400 but can often be found for around $350. The system is pretty typical of most desktop at this price point including a Pentium G2030 dual core processor, 4GB DDR3 memory, 500GB hard drive, dual layer DVD burner and 802.11b/g/n wireless networking. The best part is that the system features USB 3.0 which is lacking on most at this price point. This is a slim desktop computer system meaning that it can fit in more places within a house but it also does restrict some of the internal upgrade options.
Pricing under $400 make finding systems with some performance hard. Thankfully, Gateway's SX2865 can be found with a Intel Core i3 processor. While it is still a dual core processor, it does feature Hyper Threading and faster clock speeds that make it preferential to the Pentium processor. The system also features a one terabyte hard drive to provide it with more storage space than some others in this price range. It does lack wireless networking like much of the competition but this is still a minor feature for many buyers. Pricing is around $380. My real choice for this was going to be the Lenovo Essential H535 as it was available for $400 but prices climbed back up on it. If you can find it for under $400, that is the preferred option thanks to its quad core processor and extra memory.