In the prebuilt gaming PC market, $1200 is the price at which most of the offers include hardware powerful enough for more than a decent 1440p gaming experience. Of course, numerous listings are selling dated, overpriced PCs with GPUs one tier below what you can find in the best deals at this price point.
So, if you don’t have the time or patience (we totally understand you) to sift through the offerings on Amazon, check out our list of the best gaming PCs under $1200. Below you’ll find great PCs even we didn’t expect to sell for less than $1200. All the PCs on this list will allow you to play AAA games with ultra settings and a smooth framerate of at least 60 frames per second, either in 1080p or 1440p. And some even come packed inside cases that actually have decent airflow!
The Allied Gaming Patriot is the absolute best prebuilt gaming PC for $1200 or less. It has the best GPU, features a great-looking case with a mesh front panel and three front-mounted fans, and is a perfect choice for 1440p gaming.
The CPU here is the 10400F, which is on the lower side of what you can get in a prebuilt PC at this price. However, in 1440p, the differences between it and faster CPUs will be minimal, especially since it’s paired with an RTX 3060 Ti and not a faster GPU. The RTX 3060 Ti found here is the Eagle version from Gigabyte that includes two fans and can be a bit on the louder side. Luckily, the well-ventilated case here will keep thermals in check.
As we already said, the RTX 3060 Ti can achieve higher than 60 frames per second performance in any game with high or ultra details in 1440p resolution. Even the 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 2666 memory won’t hurt the performance in any noticeable way. You might get up to five percent slower performance in titles that prefer faster memory, but that’s pretty much it.
Of course, we’re talking about 1440p gaming here. In 1080p, the differences will be higher, but if you game in 1080p, we recommend skipping this one and getting one of RTX 3060-powered PCs, which you can find below. The RTX 3060 Ti is too powerful for 1080p gaming unless you’re a semi-pro esports gamer and require the highest framerates possible.
The storage situation’s solid but not great. A 512GB SSD is expected at this price point, and that’s fine. But a 1TB hard drive in addition to the SSD would’ve been even better. Finally, the 750W power supply is overkill for this build, and it will be powerful enough for any upgrade you might think of in the future.
2. HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop: Best value prebuilt gaming PC under $1200
Moving on to our pick for the best value prebuilt gaming PC under $1200, we have the HP Pavilion gaming PC that features superb internals for the price. This PC includes the Core i5-10400F CPU, an RTX 3060 GPU, and 32GB of memory. It also features a zero-airflow case, so do check thermals from time to time. And get one of the housings featured on our list of the best airflow PC cases if temperatures prove to be too high for comfort.
The CPU is a perfect match for the RTX 3060, and together they can achieve 60fps+ performance in 1080p with all details pushed to the max. At 1440p, you can expect 60fps experience with high details. DLSS support is essential for 1440p gaming since some system hogs such as Cyberpunk 2077 will only work at 60fps and high visuals if you turn on DLSS. As for esports games, they will run at 100+ frames per second, both in 1080p and 1440p.
The storage situation’s pretty good. You’ve got a 256GB SSD for the OS and your favorite games with a 2TB hard drive reserved for storing everything else. Finally, this configuration comes with a free Razer Mamba wireless gaming mouse. Not the absolute best in class but still one of the best mid-range wireless gaming mice on the market. Overall, this is an absolute banger at this price and an easy value recommendation.
3. SkyTech Blaze 3.0: Excellent all-around prebuilt gaming PC under $1200
Now, the SkyTech Blaze 3.0 doesn’t excel in any category, but as a whole, this is one of the best prebuilt gaming PCs under $1200 you can get right now. The CPU & GPU combo is made of the Ryzen 5 3600 and an RTX 3060. Overall, noticeably better for serious, CPU-intensive work and about the same in games as a 10400F/11400F & RTX 3060 combo.
In other words, expect flawless 1080p performance in AAA games no matter the level of details and about 60 frames per second at 1440p in the latest and greatest games with all settings set to max. This setup comes with 16GB of DDR4 3200 memory, perfect for a CPU such as the Ryzen 3600. You’ve also got a 1TB SSD, which is an ideal choice for a ~$1200 prebuilt PC. Certainly better than a 500GB SSD + 1TB HDD combo if you ask us.
We also like the case used here. The Metallic Gear is a Phanteks subsidiary specializing in affordable yet quality cases, and the Neo Air is an excellent airflow case for the money. The case features three preinstalled RGB fans for maximum airflow. The cherry on top is the fact that you can replace the CPU with any Ryzen 5000 part in the future since all AM4 motherboards now support Ryzen 5000 CPUs. Just don’t forget to update the BIOS before swapping the CPU.
4. Skytech Blaze II: Best compact prebuilt gaming PC under $1200
If you’re tight on free space and need a PC housed in a compact case that won’t take as much space as a regular mid-tower design, check out the Skytech Blaze II. This PC is housed inside an mATX case and is our choice for the best compact prebuilt gaming PC for $1200 or less. The system’s heart are the Ryzen 5600G and the RTX 3060.
The first is a pretty solid gaming CPU with gaming performance in line with the Core i5-10400F and the Ryzen 3600. In other words, the 5600G is as powerful as the CPUs found in most other builds on this list. The RTX 3060 is, as we already said multiple times here, an excellent 1080p choice. The card also has enough oomph to run the latest AAA titles with max details and around 60fps in 1440p resolution.
The rest of the specs include a 500GB SSD, 16GB of DDR4 3200 memory, a 600W PSU, and a compact, mATX chassis that looks nice but doesn’t have the greatest airflow. Overall, this is an excellent build for the money. The only thing we don’t like, aside from the case, is a sole 500GB SSD for storage. A 1TB SSD or a 1TB hard drive on top of the SSD would be even better.
5. iBUYPOWER SlateMono 230A: Prebuilt gaming PC under $1200 with best CPU
The last PC on this list doesn’t stand out from the crowd when it comes to its GPU, but it does have a CPU that’s step above the choices seen in our other picks. The Ryzen 5600X found in the iBUYPOWER SlateMono 230A is a perfect gaming CPU for most users. It’s fast, cool, only uses 65W of power, and it’s perfect for any current GPU, even at 1080p. The RX 6600 XT from AMD achieves virtually the same gaming performance as the RTX 3060, both in 1080p and 1440p.
The card does come with 8GB of video memory instead of 12GB, but that shouldn’t be an issue at 1080p and 1440p resolutions. Gaming performance is fast enough to allow playing any current game at 60fps or higher with ultra details in 1080p. Moving up to 1440p, the card should allow most games to run at 60fps and high or ultra details. And yeah, esports titles will run without issues and with high frame rates, even in 1440p resolution.
The only major downside is that the AMD card doesn’t have DLSS support. Sure, you can use FSR 2.0 in games that support it, but the sheer number of titles that support DLSS gives the RTX 3060 an edge over the RX 6600 XT. The RX 6600 XT also has much weaker ray tracing performance on average. However, that shouldn’t be such a serious issue since even the RTX 3060 will struggle to achieve playable frame rates in most games with ray tracing effects turned on.
Storage situation’s par for the course. A 480GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive are just enough for most users. You’ve also got 16GB of DDR4 32000 memory, which is the optimal frequency for the Ryzen 5600X. As for the chassis, it does looks quite lovely and comes with four RGB case fans. On the flip side, the glass covers most of the front side with only a comically narrow side intake that should “increase” airflow. It won’t, but considering the rest of the specs, you shouldn’t worry about thermals anyway.