Desktops for gaming cheap: The best budget gaming PC 2023: top cheap gaming desktops

Acer Predator Orion 3000 (2022)

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works.

Quality desktop gaming has never been so affordable

Great Value

(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The latest line of Acer Predator Orion 3000 desktop computers is one of the best and most affordable entryways into the world of PC gaming. Although its mid-range configuration may not appeal to high-end gamers, the PC’s hardware can still easily reach well over 60 fps on most AAA games.


Why you can trust TechRadar
We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Acer Predator Orion 3000: One-Minute Review

The Acer Predator Orion 3000 desktop PC presents newer players with one of the best and most affordable opportunities to make their mark in the PC gaming scene. After all, there’s a reason why it sits comfortably at the top of TechRadar’s list of the best budget gaming PCs

Acer’s latest Predator Orion 3000 line-up offers gamers the ability to choose from several mid-tier configurations that now include a 12th Gen Intel processor, an Nvidia RTX 30-series graphics card, and up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM, all packed neatly into a compact micro ATX case. 

Understandably, this PC series makes a few compromises in terms of its components that can only be described as cost-saving measures. For example, although the Orion 3000 features both HDD and SSD storage, the most basic configurations tend to include just 256GB of the latter. Similarly, the Predator Orion 3000 series also features DDR4 RAM as opposed to the newer industry standard of DDR5. 

Still, minor shortcomings aside, the hardware featured as part of the Acer Predator Orion 3000 series lends itself well to the average gamer. Plus, the PC is relatively easy to upgrade, should the need or desire to do so ever arise.  

(Image credit: Future)

  • Acer Predator Orion 3000 (Black) at Walmart for $788.38

Acer Predator Orion 3000: Price and Availability

  • Starting at $1,449 / £1,099
  • Available now from the Acer store and third-party retailers
  • You can buy it in the US, UK and worldwide

Spec Sheet

Here is the Acer Predator Orion 3000 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

CPU: 12th Gen Intel Core i5-12400F (2.50 GHz)
Graphics: Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti 
Storage: 256GB M.2 SSD + 1TB HDD
Optical drive: N/A
Ports front: 1 x USB-A 3.1, 1 x USB-C, 1 x headphone jack and 1 x microphone jack
Ports back: 2 x USB-A 3.1, 4 x USB-A 3.0, 3 x analog audio jacks, 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, Ethernet
Operating system: Windows 11 Home
Connectivity: Intel Killer E2600 Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5. 0
Weight: 21 pounds (9.5 kg)
Size: 15.4 x 15.2 x 6.9 inches (392 x 386 x 175 mm) 

The Acer Predator Orion 3000 gaming PC series can be found on sale in the US, UK, and worldwide, with a range of slightly varying configurations available depending on each gamer’s individual needs. 

The latest iteration of the Orion 3000 series features the new Intel Alder Lake chipsets. The starting configuration is priced at $1,449 / £1,199 and includes a 12th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, an Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU and 16GB of RAM, as well as 256GB of SSD and 1TB of HDD storage. Pricier variations allow users to opt for either an Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti or 3070 for the GPU and a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor for the CPU. 

The configuration that TechRadar reviewed is a slightly more powerful model available in the UK for £1,299 (approximately $1,600 in the US). The Predator Orion 3000 arguably presents one of the best values for money especially when you take into account its decent gaming performance and esports-ready hardware.  It could be even better value if any currently available Acer promo codes bring the price down more.

  • Price and Availability: 5/5

(Image credit: Future)

  • Neat, compact design
  • Configurable RGB lighting
  • Loud cooling fans

The Acer Predator Orion 3000 features the classic gaming black-and-RGB design within the confines of a compact micro ATX chassis. 

At the front of the case, you’ll find a single USB Type-C port, alongside a Type-A USB 3.1 and two 3.5mm headphone and microphone ports. The PC’s back panel contains all the basic ports you can expect from your average gaming computer: four 3.0 USB Type-As, two 3.1 USB Type-As, and three analog audio ports. The back of the Nvidia RTX 30-series GPU allows gamers to connect their favorite display through either HDMI or DisplayPort.

In terms of software, the PC comes with a pre-installed version of Acer’s PredatorSense, which gamers can use to monitor internal temperatures, control the cooling fans and configure the RGB lighting system. It should be noted that on full blast, the PC’s cooling fans are extremely loud almost to the point of being distracting, even when using headphones on near-full volume. 

In terms of hardware and affordability, the Acer Predator Orion 3000’s closest competitor would likely be the latest HP Omen product range, which can typically be found on offer for a similar price. However, it should be noted that in terms of design, the Predator Orion 3000 is the likely winner in the match-up. 

The HP Omen comes equipped with a full ATX case, which – despite its slight upgradability advantage – will wind up taking up much more desk space. Another key aspect within the match-up is that the HP Omen series often receives criticism for its uninspiring design – something the Predator Orion 3000 excels at with its sleek appearance.

  • Design: 4/5

(Image credit: Future)

Acer Predator Orion 3000: Performance

  • Great gaming performance
  • Decent CPU benchmarking results
  • Minimal SSD storage on cheapest configurations


 Here is how the Acer Predator Orion 3000 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Night Raid: 50,215; Fire Strike: 22,948; Time Spy: 10,381
Cinebench R23 multi-core: 11,164 points
GeekBench 5: 1,436 (single-core); 7,537 (multi-core)
PCMark 10 (Modern Office):
7,160 points
Total War: Warhammer III (1080p, Ultra): 78 fps; (1080p, Low): 246 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p, Ultra): 76 fps; (1080p, Low): 115 fps
Dirt 5 (1080p, Ultra): 98 fps; (1080p, Low): 219 fps 

Although the Acer Predator Orion 3000 can be considered an affordable option, this certainly doesn’t mean that it compromises on gaming performance as much as you would expect from a budget PC. Thanks to the inclusion of an Nvidia 30-series graphics card, the Predator Orion 3000 is capable of coasting through even the most graphically intensive games such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Total War: Warhammer III, consistently hitting over 70 fps on both titles on Ultra settings. 

The Acer Predator Orion 3000’s performance in our usual benchmarking tests exceeded expectations too. For example, our review unit’s duo of Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and Intel Core i5 processor achieved 7,160 points in the PCMark 10 test. This meant that the Predator Orion 3000’s hardware scored higher than 93% of other PCs and placed higher than the average premium gaming PC from two years ago. 

Overall, given the wide range of configurations available for purchase, the Acer Predator Orion 3000 line-up is perfectly capable of catering to most players looking to break into the world of PC gaming. Despite its lack of DDR5 RAM across the series and its base models including just 256GB of SSD storage, both are arguably minor shortcomings and can be easily overlooked considering the product’s reasonable price.  

Although those on the lookout for more premium hardware would likely benefit from exploring other options, this gaming computer is a solid choice for those looking to balance a decent gaming performance with a more than palatable price range. 

  • Performance: 4/5

Buy it if…

You’re just getting into PC gaming

If you’re looking to get into PC gaming, then look no further. With a perfectly reasonable price and good gaming performance, you may struggle to find a better option than the Acer Predator Orion 3000.

You’re looking to save money

As an affordable and easily upgradable mid-tier gaming PC, the Acer Predator Orion 3000 will serve you well in the long-term future, with special thanks to its 12th Gen Intel Core CPU and Nvidia RTX 30-series GPU.

Don’t buy it if…

You want cutting-edge hardware

Simply put, the Acer Predator Orion 3000 is an entry-level gaming PC. While it certainly does the job for most, if not all, modern games, players looking to maximize their setup’s processing and graphics output should explore other pricier options. 

You want a full-size gaming PC

One of the best selling points for the Acer Predator Orion 3000 is its neat and compact micro ATX design. However, if you’re more accustomed to full-size PCs that come with slightly easier upgrading options, then you may find better luck with our alternatives below. 

Also consider…

HP Omen

The decently priced HP Omen desktop PC is a good choice for those looking for a powerful, easily upgradable and very accessible gaming computer. 

Check out our HP Omen review 

MSI Trident 3

If you’re looking for an affordable gaming PC that carries a console-like aesthetic, this is the one for you. With a great price and good hardware, the MSI Trident 3 is a good alternative to the Acer Predator Orion 3000.  

Check out our MSI Trident 3 10th review 

Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (2021)

Although it certainly falls short of the best hardware available on the market, the Lenovo Legion Tower 5i is one of the most affordable budget PCs available, armed with a six-core Intel Core i5 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super graphics card.

Check out our Lenovo Legion Tower 5i (2021) review 

First reviewed July 2022.

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained – regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it’s on our radar.

Read more about how we test

Acer Predator Orion 3000: Price Comparison

47 Amazon customer reviews





$899. 99






Show More Deals

powered by

Ilyas is a freelance writer and technology communications specialist based in London, United Kingdom. On the rare occasion that he’s not working, you can find him either binge-watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe or doom-scrolling on Twitter. You can reach him anytime at [email protected].

MSI Trident 3 10th review

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works.

Is it a PC or a console?

Great Value

(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The MSI Trident 3 10th is an excellent value if you need a small form-factor gaming PC that will fit right at home with your TV and consoles. However, the entry-level model’s hard drive may be frustrating if you’re used to that SSD life.


Why you can trust TechRadar
We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Two minute review


Here is the MSI Trident 3 10th configuration sent to TechRadar for review: 

CPU: Intel Core i5-10400F (2.9GHz base, 4.3GHz boost, 12MB cache)
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super
RAM: 8GB @ 2,466MHz
1TB Seagate Barracude @ 7,200RPM
Ports (front):
2 x USB-A; 1 x USB-C; 2 x 3.5mm Audio
Ports (rear): 1
x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI, 1 x LAN, 4 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 3 x Audio jack
Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6 2×2, Bluetooth 5.0

Gaming PCs are magical things, aren’t they? They come in all shapes and sizes and can be some of the most powerful pieces of technology on the market, or just scrape by with the minimum. The fact that you can pick up an entry-level prebuilt gaming PC like the MSI Trident 3 10th and upgrade it at a later date with more powerful hardware means that you can continually keep up to date – but sometimes the “entry level” is a bit too low.

The MSI Trident 3 10th that was sent to TechRadar for review is the bare minimum spec, packed with an Intel Core i5-10400F, an Nvidia GTX 1650 Super, and just a 1TB hard drive. We can’t find this model listed anywhere, but once it does make its way to stores, it will start at $879 (about £690, AU$1,240).  Considering the version with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super, the same processor, but paired with a way faster 512GB SSD will set you back $999 (about £780, AU$1,406), that’s the model we’d recommend. It is $120 (about £90, AU$170) more, but the experience will be so much better with that SSD. 

(Image credit: Future)

Fortunately, this is also one of the smallest gaming PCs we’ve ever used. When you lay the computer down on its side, similar to a console, it’s only a bit taller than the PS4 Pro, not as deep and just a bit wider. All told, it’s just 2.83 inches tall and has a similar footprint to any console other than the Nintendo Switch. The days where you need a giant tower to partake in a bit of PC gaming are over with the MSI Trident 3 10th.  

The computer has this all-black, angular design that is way less edgy and “gamer-y” than we’d expect an entry-level gaming PC to have. The only lighting here is a red LED near the power button that, well, indicates that the thing is turned on. 

At the front of the device, there is a healthy amount of ports, with two USB-A, a USB-C and separate 3.5mm audio jacks for audio in and out. 

(Image credit: Future)


Here’s how the Corsair One a100 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
Cinebench R20: 3,131 points
3DMark Time Spy: 4,815| Fire Strike: 10,594 | Night Raid: 34,560
Geekbench 5 Single Core: 1,140
Multi Core: 5,027
PCMark 10 Home: 4,407
Total War: Three Kingdoms: 141 fps (1080p, low); 31 fps (1080p, ultra)
Metro Last Light: 110 fps (1080p, low) 37 fps (1080p, ultra)

However, with this small form factor you lose out a bit one of the best parts of PC gaming: upgrade-ability. You can technically crack this chassis open, but it’s not the easiest thing in the world. Once you pop off the bottom panel, remove the screws and then slide the top of the chassis off, you can then access the internals. 

However, with how complex and compact the MSI Trident 3 10th chassis is, we wouldn’t recommend novice PC users even try – which further makes it harder to recommend the entry level model. That version with a 1660 Super and a 512GB SSD keeps looking more and more tempting.

Which of course leads us to performance. If you pick up the entry level model of the MSI Trident 3 10th, you’re going to have a bit of an exercise in patience. At this point, Windows 10 is clearly designed with SSDs in mind, as the flash-based drives get cheaper and cheaper seemingly by the day. As such, once you boot into Windows, you’re going to have to sit and wait for a couple minutes, while the startup tasks finish up in the background. We find that the disk is pinned at 100% for the first two minutes or so as the computer starts up.  

That’s just the hard drive life, however, but it’s something to be aware of going in, especially if you’re accustomed to using something like a modern laptop. 

Once the system warms up a bit, however, the desktop performs exactly how we would expect it to. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super in this device is perfect for medium-high settings in the latest AAA games, but where this GPU really excels is in esports. This graphics card will absolutely cut through the likes of Overwatch, Valorant, League of Legends or whatever your multiplayer poison is – just don’t go in expecting miraculous frame rates in Call of Duty: Warzone or Battlefield V. 

(Image credit: Future)

For the most part, our gaming benchmarks line up with the Surface Book 3 of all things, with the MSI Trident 3 10th coming in with a Time Spy score of 4,815 to the Surface Book 3’s 4,840. Microsoft’s pro-level laptop is similarly suited mainly for lightweight casual and esports games at 1080p, so that tracks.  

The Intel Core i5-10400F, is only a bit weaker than the full-fat Core i5-10600K. In Cinebench R20, you’re getting a score of 3,131 points to the 10600K’s 3,548. Combined with the Geekbench 5 single-core score of 1,140, you’re losing about 10-15% performance, but way less temperature and fan noise than a full overclockable chip would bring. 

Essentially, the MSI Trident 3 10th is ideal if your idea of a good time is sitting back and playing some League of Legends or World of Warcraft with friends, and you’re not too concerned about maxing out all the graphics settings. And, with how popular esports are, that’s probably a ton of people – and the MSI Trident 3 10th will work wonders for them.  

Or, you can just use it as a media PC, as that GPU can easily handle 4K video, and the capacious hard drive is much more than something like the Apple TV offers. 

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…

You don’t have a lot of space
The MSI Trident 3 10th is one of the smallest gaming PCs we’ve ever seen, not much larger than a gaming laptop – while being cheaper for equivalent hardware. If you don’t have a ton of space, this is an easy choice. 

You’re into esports
There’s a massive amount of gamers out there that only really want to play League of Legends or Counter-Strike. For people like this, the hardware on offer will be more than enough to ensure an excellent experience, without draining your wallet. 

You’re trying to save some cash
There are other gaming PCs with a similar footprint – MSI makes one itself – that are far more expensive for the hardware on offer. This is thanks in large part to flashy RGB lighting and liquid cooling, none of which this desktop offers. If you’re looking for bang-for-the-buck, this is it. 

(Image credit: Future)

Don’t buy it if…

You care about upgrade-ability
Because of how compact this PC is, it’s kind of a pain to tear apart to service or upgrade. For that reason alone, it’s probably best to get a higher-end version of the device, but if you want a PC that you can upgrade later, you may want to look elsewhere.  

You need an SSD at the entry level
The entry level model of the MSI Trident 3 10th only has a hard drive and 8GB of RAM. For the money and considering the small form factor that’s not really a bad deal, but Windows 10 with an SSD is a much better experience. If you can afford it, we’d recommend going with the $999 model. 

MSI Trident 3 10th: Price Comparison

No price information

Check Amazon

powered by

Jackie Thomas is Deputy Editor at Decisionary. Previously, she was TechRadar’s US computing editor. She is fat, queer and extremely online. Computers are the devil, but she just happens to be a satanist. If you need to know anything about computing components, PC gaming or the best laptop on the market, don’t be afraid to drop her a line on Twitter or through email.

20 most famous retro PCs ideal for gaming and programming / Habr

All PCs from the list below at one time looked like guests from the future. Perhaps they are, because they were the beginning of the modern computer industry. In total, the list contains 20 models of different years, arranged by the author of the article in ascending order of importance. The list is subjective, but it really turned out to be those models that became history. If the list seems incorrect, it can be corrected. At the end of the article – a vote that will determine the significance of each computer from the list, according to Habr.

20. Dragon 32 (1982)

The computer, developed by the British company from Swansea, was equipped with an MC6809E processor, a comfortable keyboard and excellent analog joysticks. The PC had a feature – the graphics subsystem gave each program a bright green tint. The iconic playable character of the most popular PC game was a schoolboy named Cuthbert.

I put the Dragon 32 on this list instead of another Swansea made PC, the Sam Coupe. The fact is that it was for Dragon that I developed two popular games, Impossiball and Utopia.

Unfortunately, Dragon Data went bankrupt in 1984.

19. Atari ST (1985)

The first home PC with a color image and great hardware features, including a 16-bit Motorola 68000 processor and 512 KB of RAM. It was a breakthrough…until two months later the Commodore Amiga came along with its Midi interface. Atari was unable to compete with this machine for long as a gaming PC. But he left his mark on history.

18. Acorn Electron (1983)

Designed as a competitor for the ZX Spectrum, the Electron was a budget version of the BBX Micro, with a Synertek 6502A processor, operating system, and Basic on board. A wide range of games were compatible with it, and as a gaming PC the machine was good. Unfortunately, the production of this model was quite expensive and difficult, so that the Acorn Electron did not become a real competitor to the ZX Spectrum.

17. Sinclair ZX81 (1981)

The successor to the ZX80, the Sinclair ZX81 has become truly accessible to almost everyone. Inexpensive and reliable, it became a bestseller. Many veterans of the computer industry started their journey with the Sinclair ZX81, developing various BASIC programs on this comfortable keyboard. Games like 3D Monster Maze and Mazogs have been a real eye opener.

16. Texas Instruments TI-99/4A (1981)

With a 16-bit processor, 16 KB of RAM, and the advanced TMS9918 video chip (its legacy would be used in the Sega Mega Drive), the TI-99/4A was one of the most powerful PCs of its time.

The original price of $525 did not last long. As a result of price wars, it quickly dropped to $100. But unfortunately, the manufacturer, Texas Instruments, decided to tightly control the software for this computer. So the attractiveness of the system has declined sharply in the eyes of buyers (especially gamers).

15. Altair 8800 (1975)

At one time, this PC cost only $400 (professional personal computers of that time cost an order of magnitude more). It is based on the Intel 8080 2 MHz processor. The PC literally burst into the market, becoming the forerunner of most portable computers. It was possible to program using the switches on the front panel, so it did not become truly massive. However, he caught the attention of young geeks (like Bill Gates and Paul Allen). The addition of a terminal and monitor made development a much simpler process.

14. Amstrad CPC 464 (1984)

Amstrad has been recognized for its performance and design. A keyboard and a tape recorder fit in one case, which made using the Amstrad very convenient. The graphics and sound were top notch, overall the computer was a workhorse that never fails.

13. Sharp X68000 (1987)

A Japanese computer with a 16-bit Motorola 68000 processor, the Sharp X68000, also received an excellent graphics subsystem with support for hardware sprites and scrolling. In general, it can be called an arcade machine disguised as a PC.

12. Apple Macintosh (1984-)

Despite the fact that the Mac 128k had a monochrome display, plus the IBM PC became much more common, this model can be considered one of the pioneers of the era of computer games. It was on it that Myst appeared, and Halo developer Bungie started with Marathon and Myth. The same model has become one of the incentives for the development of the indie industry.

11. MSX (1983)

Developed by Microsoft Japan, this computer has become the hardware standard for VHS video computers. It was supported by a number of manufacturers including Sony and Toshiba. The PC was based on the Z80 processor and the Texas Instruments TMS9 video chip918. MSX has become the ultimate gaming platform. By the way, MSX2 came with Metal Gear.

10. Tandy TRS-80 (1977)

The case of this PC contained a monochrome monitor (it was an inexpensive television kinescope) and a standard cassette deck. The computer was renamed by Apple II and Commodore PET users to Trash-80. But it was a great car, available to a wide range of users. The computer was sold throughout America through the RadioShack chain of stores. He also became one of the founders of text adventure games, for example, Zork.

9. Commodore Vic-20 (1981)

This computer was positioned by the manufacturer as “user friendly”. It was designed to be a mass product. This was facilitated by a low price (only $300), a good graphics system, a port for a ROM cartridge, and a large number of accessories. Despite 5KB of memory, Sword of Fargoal, Metagalactic Llamas Battle and Edge of Time could be played on it.

8. NEC PC-88 (1981)

The Japanese personal computer faced stiff competition from the Sharp X1 and Fujitsu FM7, but retained its lead with more powerful next-generation models. But this model was good too. The PC-88 boasts titles from every major arcade and console developer of the day, including Sega, Namco, Square, Hudson, and even Nintendo, which released the obscure Super Mario Bros Special for the machine.

7. Atari 800 (1979)

Released alongside the weaker Atari 400, the 800 was a real breakthrough. It was a great home PC with graphics and audio co-processors plus four joystick ports. The latter made it possible to play multiplayer games including MULE, Airline and Dandy.

Atari has attracted an entire team of experienced developers for the classic Star Raiders and Missile Command games, as well as a community of programmers through the Atari Program Exchange (APX) initiative. In fact, the company began to set the tone for the entire indie scene of that time.

6. BBC Micro (1981)

This computer, developed by Acorn and the BBC Computer Literacy Project, was widely used in schools in the UK. Yes, and it was created to popularize programming. It was a high quality and expensive PC. The BBC Micro was expensive for the home, but it was available to any schoolchild in the UK. The model will remain famous thanks to Elite, Repton and Granny’s Garden.

5. Apple II (1977)

The UK had the BBC Micro and the US had the Apple II, a fairly powerful, expandable multi-purpose PC. It was the first computer with Basic in ROM, color graphics, and up to 48 KB of RAM. In addition to programming, it allowed you to run a lot of games. Many of the most famous series and gaming hits, including Lode Runner, Choplifter, Prince of Persia, Castle Wolfenstein, Ultima, John Madden Football, debuted on the Apple II.

4. ZX Spectrum 48K (1982)

A truly “people’s computer”, the ZX Spectrum 48K became one of the most popular PCs of the time. Programmers and gamers were very pleased. Thanks to him, Jet Set Willy, Horace Goes Skiing, Knight Lore and Lords of Midnight were born.

3. Commodore 64 (1982)

With a whopping 64KB of RAM, color graphics, hardware-assisted sprites and scrolling, the C64 was one of the most powerful and desirable PCs of its time. And part of it was a revolutionary sound SID chip. You could play anything on it, including Bubble Bobble, Green Beret, Sentinel, Hacker, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, simulations from Epyx Games. The developers also doted on this PC. Its sales amounted to 20 million, at not the lowest price.