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With the chip shortage going on, the market for GPU deals is kind of a dumpster fire at the moment. That means that if you’re lusting after a new gaming battle station and have been toying with the idea of building a PC, you’re probably out of luck on the GPU front — but don’t give up just yet. You have another option: Buying a pre-built gaming desktop. In fact, that’s about the only way you’re going to find a good graphics card at anything even approaching a reasonable price, and to help you out, we’ve already rounded up the five best gaming PC deals available this week.

Our budget limit for most of these is $1,000 (although most are much cheaper than that), but we’ve also included one high-end pick for the enthusiasts out there. If you just need a solid gaming PC and aren’t married to a desktop, consider checking out these gaming laptop deals as well.

Today’s Best Cheap Gaming PC Deals

  • Alarco GTX 650 Gaming PC$500
  • iBuyPower Element Mini RX 550 Gaming PC$617
  • HP Pavilion GTX 1650 Super Gaming PC$700, was $800
  • HP Omen GTX 1660 Super Gaming PC$900
  • ABS Master RTX 2060 Gaming PC$1,200

Alarco GTX 650 Gaming PC — $500

AMD’s CPU-integrated Radeon Vega graphics are a fine entry point for basic gaming, but if your needs are modest and you still want a dedicated graphics card (perhaps for tasks like video editing along with light gaming), this Alarco gaming desktop is a cost-effective and very attractive option. This tower features an Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 graphics card, which, while a very basic GPU with 1GB VRAM, is one of the cheapest discrete GPUs on the market right now. That card works with a Core i5 CPU and 8GB of RAM to deliver sufficient performance for work and for less resource-heavy games like Fornite and Minecraft.

For storage, you’ve got a 1TB HDD, which is a nice amount of space for your games and other digital goodies. Its mod-friendly case design allows you to upgrade components in the future, as well. You can grab this high-value gaming PC for a cheap $500 right now.

iBuyPower Element Mini RX 550 Gaming PC — $617

The iBuyPower brand has some very nice desktops for folks on a budget, and this Element gaming PC offers a lot of bang for the buck. While not the beefiest tower on our list, it’s still got a respectable AMD Ryzen 3 CPU, 8GB DDR4 RAM, and a Radeon RX 550 dedicated GPU for some added graphical juice. That isn’t quite as muscular as newer video cards, but with 2GB of VRAM it’ll get the job done for basic gaming while also making this the perfect budget workstation for things like video editing and graphic design.

You’ve also got a nice fast 240GB solid-state drive for storage. A gaming mouse and keyboard are included as well. This gaming PC deal rings in at $617, hitting our budget limit well below the mark.

HP Pavilion GTX 1650 Super Gaming PC — $700, was $800

HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop PC (new model)

HP may not be as well-known for gaming as brands like Alienware or MSI, but it makes some surprisingly solid PCs and you’ll see its name frequently when shopping around for gaming systems. This Pavilion desktop tower runs on a 10th-gen Core i5 CPU paired with a GeForce GTX 1650 Super graphics card, which are very capable specs for a cheap gaming PC in this price bracket. For memory, you’ve got 8GB of RAM (which can be upgraded even further if need be) along with a 256GB solid-state drive for storage.

This desktop tower rings in at just $700, and it’s one of the best pre-built gaming PC deals with a dedicated GPU that you’ll find for around this price at the moment. And, like most of our other picks, it also comes bundled with a mouse and keyboard.

HP Omen GTX 1660 Super Gaming PC — $900

HP Omen 25L Gaming Desktop PC (white background)

Moving closer to our $1,000 budget limit brings us to the Nvidia GTX 1660-series graphics cards, which is in the upper range of mid-level GPUs that you should be looking for if you’re paying more than $800. This HP Omengaming desktop checks all the boxes: A Core i5-10400F CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a GTX 1660 Super GPU are capable of easily handling 1080p gaming at 60 frames per second, so if 30 fps isn’t cutting it for you in 2021, this PC is a worthy upgrade over most other cheap gaming PCs.

A 512GB SSD gives you enough high-speed storage for installing your games and loading things quickly. It’s also got a nice-looking case that adds some modern style to your setup without being too loud or gaudy. This gaming PC rig comes in at $900 (including a mouse and keyboard), fitting nicely within our budget.

ABS Master RTX 2060 Gaming PC — $1,200

ABS Master Gaming Desktop PC

And now for our special “money is no object” pick: ABS builds some surprisingly good gaming computers for a lesser-known brand, and the Master gaming desktop doesn’t disappoint if you want a serious GPU upgrade over our previous selections. It packs an Intel Core i5-10400F CPU and a GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, which is easily one of the best processor/graphics card combos for 1440p or even 4K gaming in 2021, along with a boosted 16GB of RAM. It comes with a generous 512GB of high-speed solid-state storage as well.

The PC tower’s LED-accented case also looks striking on any desk and comes with included case fans to keep things running cool. At $1,200, this is a great enthusiast-tier gaming PC with some nice future-proofing — meaning you won’t have to upgrade it any time soon. At this price, you may want to consider upgrading to a mechanical keyboard and gaming mouse to get the most out of that hardware.

How To Choose A Cheap Gaming PC

As with any big purchase, make sure you know exactly what you want when buying a gaming computer. It’s not a bad idea to write down a checklist. It’s also important when looking specifically at cheap gaming PCs (i.e. those coming in at less than $1,000) to have realistic expectations — you’re not going to get multi-monitor 4K gaming at this price point. That said, it’s easy to achieve great results with 1080p/60fps gaming at high settings even for modern releases, and even for 1440p gaming when you move towards the upper end of our $1,000 price limit.

If playing at 1080p/60fps on one or two monitors is good enough, then you won’t have a hard time finding a good cheap gaming PC to meet your needs. If your demands are a bit higher, though, then expect to have to shop around a bit for the right deal. Also, be sure to bring yourself up to speed with the latest hardware — don’t just jump on the first attractive deal you find that meets your budget only to end up with a last-gen GPU that will feel long in the tooth in 2021. Know what you want and what to expect from a cheap gaming PC that’s within your set budget and you won’t be disappointed, and for a more detailed breakdown of the sort of hardware you should look for, read on.

What Makes A Good Cheap Gaming PC?

The short answer is that a good price-to-performance ratio is what makes a cheap gaming PC “good,” and the good news here is that desktop computers already provide this sort of value by their very nature — it’s simply easier to fit all that beefy hardware into a desktop tower, whereas the scaled-down components of laptops (not to mention their built-in displays and keyboards) make those mobile PCs more expensive. That said, it’s still important to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck if you’re buying a pre-assembled desktop computer, as some are built better than others.

The three main hardware components that drive performance are the CPU, GPU (or graphics card), and RAM. Our recommendations: For your CPU, stick with a 9th, 10th, or 11th-gen Intel Core or one of the newer AMD Ryzen (sometimes called “Zen”) processors. For RAM, a minimum of 8GB is recommended for all but the cheapest gaming PCs, and 16GB is even better — but remember you can almost always add more RAM and this is one of the easiest (if not the easiest) components to. GPUs are arguably the heart of a gaming computer; modern models include AMD’s Radeon 500, 5000, and 6000 series as well as Nvidia’s GTX 16-series and RTX 20- and 30-series GPUs.

Nvidia replaced their older 10-series GPUs in recent years, but there are still cheap gaming PCs floating around with these cards. Our advice: Avoid them unless your needs are modest and you can snag one for a seriously good deal. Even the entry-level 16-series Nvidia cards are faster and are ideal for 1080p gaming. For 1440p gaming, you’ll be better served with one of the 20-series cards such as the GTX 2060 or 2070. If anything bottlenecks your gaming PC’s performance, it will be an underpowered GPU, so this is the one component you don’t want to skimp on. One final thing to consider is upgradeability: If you plan to keep your chosen PC tower for a while, look at what sort of case and motherboard it’s using to determine if you can easily add and swap parts in the future. Some desktop PCs from brands like HP use proprietary components which will limit what parts you can add and can be costly to replace.

Are Cheap Gaming PCs Good For Work?

It’s safe to say that running modern video games at good settings is generally a much more demanding job than most work tasks you’d normally need a computer for, so any gaming computer — even a cheap gaming PC — will be as well-suited for work and study as it is for play. The faster processors and high-speed RAM will make short work of simple tasks like web browsing, word processing, making spreadsheets, and so on, and the discrete GPU is also nice to have for graphical tasks such as video rendering. Another advantage of a desktop PC, particularly one with a graphics card, is the option to create a multi-monitor setup that can increase your productivity (and even a single monitor will still give you more screen real estate than a laptop display).

Looking for more great stuff? Find tech discounts and much more on our curated deals page.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

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Naabiae Nenu-B is a Medical Health Student and an SEO Specialist dedicated to flushing the web off fake news and scam scandals. He aims at being "Africa's Best Leak and Review Blogger" and that's the unwavering stand of Xycinews Media.

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Technology

Facebook is making glasses with Ray-Ban — but don’t expect AR features

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Over the past few days, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have talked about building an all-encompassing virtual world,  a ‘Metaverse‘ if you will. The hypothetical universe will live across AR, VR, PC, consoles, phones, and more.

While we don’t know what kind of devices the company will release under the program, it told The Verge that it’s planning to launch a pair of smart glasses in partnership with Ray-Ban. However, there won’t be any integrated display, so don’t expect any AR shenanigans.

Facebook told the publication that these glasses would be a step in its overall AR work. The company’s VP of reality labs, Andrew Bosworth, gave a statement describing a vision of the smart glasses, but it doesn’t tell us much: 

We’re passionate about exploring devices that can give people better ways to connect with those closest to them. Wearables have the potential to do that. With EssilorLuxottica we have an equally ambitious partner who’ll lend their expertise and world-class brand catalogue to the first truly fashionable smart glasses

Last year, Facebook gave us a glimpse into its AR vision through prototype hardware called Project Aria. However, because of the lack of a display, the firm called it a “sensor platform,” instead of calling it a pair of AR glasses.

Project Aria hardware prototype
Facebook Project Aria hardware prototype

In contrast, the new Facebook and Ray-Ban glasses are unlikely to host too many sensors. My hunch is that they might have only as many functions as Snap Spectacles, which capture video and take images. These glasses could be the first step for Facebook to gauge how people react to smart glasses and their features, and tune their first AR glasses product accordingly. 

Did you know we have a newsletter all about consumer tech? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.

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How to create an activity trail for your school

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Want to transform your tired schoolyard into a play haven?

With the school holidays approaching, now is the perfect time to start looking at new school playground equipment and asking your pupils what apparatus they’d like to see, come September.

Whilst you could choose a challenging climbing frame with a slide to whizz down, more and more primary schools are opting for adventure trails. Perhaps you could do the same?

These trails can be tailored to suit your exact specifications and allow pupils to practice a broad range of skills. For example, Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) can develop low-level balancing and coordination skills whilst Key Stages 1 and 2 can challenge their physical and mental strength with climbing activities.

In this article, you can get some pointers on how to create a fun-filled activity trail for your school children.

Four factors to think about when designing an activity trail

  1. Space

Though trails can be linear in shape, they are great for joining irregular spaces in the playground. That means, if you have any unused spaces, you can transform them with exciting new school playground equipment.

How much available space you have can also determine what type of components your trail consists of, which leads us on to the next point.

  • Activities

From balancing beams and stepping logs to scrambling nets, rope bridges, monkey bars, climbing walls, and tunnels, you can make your activity trail as challenging as you like.

Of course, you want to encourage youngsters to set themselves targets – but you need to be realistic, so keep in mind their ages and abilities to ensure they can use the activity trail safely.

When investing in any new playground apparatus, you need to think carefully about how much you can afford to spend.

It’s worth arranging a meeting with the board of governors to explain your ideas and to explore your fundraising options. Alternatively, you may consider applying for a grant.

  • Safety surfacing

Although it’s perfectly possible to install an adventure trail directly onto grass, it’s advised that you opt for some type of safety surfacing – i.e. rubber mulch, synthetic grass, rubber bark, mats, or matting.

In doing so, you can relax knowing that your students can play safely in wet weather, without the play area becoming flooded or waterlogged.

Seek expert advice

By far the best thing you can do when investing in new play equipment for your school – be it a single unit or an activity trail – is to arrange a consultation with playground specialists, like Setter Play.

They have been designing, manufacturing and installing playground equipment for schools in Bedfordshire and the surrounding area for more than 20 years, and consider no job too big or too small.

During the consultation, you can share your initial ideas with their design team, and they will create a plan – taking into consideration you and your pupils’ requests. They can even offer tips and recommendations in this appointment to ensure that you create the most exciting activity trail for your students.

So, why not get in touch with them today?

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This is the Marvel-DC crossover movie that James Gunn wants to make

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There’s a new Suicide Squad movie coming out next week, and people seem to love it. Many reviews are praising James Gunn’s work on the famous team of DC villains. Now that Gunn is done with his Suicide Squad reboot, he’s returning to the Marvel universe, where he will end his Guardians trilogy with Vol. 3, which is set to launch in May 2023. Gunn might work on other comic book projects in the future. We have no idea what his schedule entails. But the writer/director just revealed that he would love to do a Marvel-DC crossover movie. That might sound impossible right now, as these are two separate universes belonging to two different corporations. But Gunn already knows what his Marvel-DC film would be. And he even pitched the idea.

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There’s no question that Marvel’s MCU is the more exciting superhero ecosystem right now. Warner Bros. stumbled along the way, rushing out its own superhero team-up movie before it even introduced all of the heroes. But DC still has plenty of potential, as Gunn’s The Suicide Squad seemingly shows. And Warner has several DC movies in the works, including its own big multiverse story that might rival Marvel’s.

Bridging the two worlds with a Marvel-DC film or a series of movies would give fans the kind of event that we’d never expect. Marvel and DC superhero teams could fight teams of Marvel and DC supervillains. The sky is the limit. Bu the red tape makes it sound nearly impossible.

Gunn’s Marvel-DC movie pitch

Talking to YouTube channel Jake’s Takes, Gunn explained that he pitched a Marvel-DC film to the heads of the two studios. He said that he would love to do a Harley Quinn and Groot movie:

Well, I would be really happy to do a Harley Quinn and Groot movie. That would be exciting for me. And not only have I thought about that but I’ve actually talked about that to the heads of both Marvel and DC. But, you know, it’s like, they… you know, everybody’s open to everything, but whether anything would ever happen, who knows? But the idea of being able to bring Marvel and DC together in a movie is, that would be really fun for me.

Gunn acknowledged the “Berlin wall of lawyers” that he and other people partial to the idea of connecting Marvel and DC heroes via films:

And I know it’s exciting for even the heads of Marvel and DC to think about. Kevin Feige over at Marvel and Toby Emmerich over at Warner Bros. You know, it’s something we all like to dream about. Whether we could ever get through the barrage, the Berlin Wall of lawyers we would need to get through to ever make something like that happen, I don’t know, but it would be a blast.

Gunn also put forward a second idea that he could get behind for a Marvel-DC movie: A team-up between Rocket and Groot for Marvel and King Shark and Weasel for DC.

While we wait for these pipe dreams to come true, The Suicide Squad launches in theaters and HBO Max next week. Gunn’s interview with Jake’s Takes follows below:

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