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The Best Desktop Deals for March 2023

Want to upgrade your PC? No need to wait; you can save a bundle on Dell, Acer, and Alienware machines, among others, right now.

(Credit: Jade Chung-Lee/Dell/HP/Pixlr)

We’ve slogged through January, fought through February, and now here we are in March, and spring has sprung. If you’re closing out the quarter on the same creaky desktop you've been using for years, that hard drive may be struggling a bit as it pulls up video files, opens big presentations, or crunches numbers in a complex PivotTable. Now’s the time to make a change, and we can help you save money while you do so. 

Here’s some more good news: If you primarily do your job from a desktop setup, chances are you’ve been locked into a Windows machine, but Apple machines can now officially run Windows 11. This means if you’ve been itching to upgrade to a shiny new M1 or M2-powered Mac mini but felt trapped in the world of Dell, HP, and Lenovo, you’re now free to enter the Apple ecosphere courtesy of Parallels Desktop. Still love your Windows device? Not a problem; we found deals on high-powered gaming towers and office machines too.

The Best Home and Office Desktop Deals for March

Our current best value deal pick is the Lenovo IdeaCentre AMD Ryzen 7 desktop that also includes 16GB of RAM and dual storage (256GB SSD + 1TB HDD). At $549.99, the Apple Mac mini M2 desktop is discounted by $20 and it's a great option for those looking for a low-cost, small-form-factor macOS computer. Speaking of small, the configurable Dell Optiplex 3000 or 5000 micro configs are worth taking a look at if you need a Windows Professional business desktop.

The Best Gaming Desktop Deals for March

Budget gamers should check out the Lenovo IdeaCentre Gaming 5i with an Intel i5 CPU and an RTX 3050 GPU. If you need more power, the Alienware Aurora R14 has a Ryzen 5 processor and an RX 6600 XT graphics card. Our premium deal pick is the HP Envy, which has an Intel i9 CPU, an RTX 3080 GPU, a 1TB SSD, and 16GB RAM.

When it comes to desktops, many are no longer the massive plastic brick towers of yesteryear. Oftentimes they sit snugly on a bookshelf or even in a drawer if you’ve got enough airflow to keep it cool. Whether you tuck it away or sit it next to your monitor, these devices offer a flexibility that’s hard to equal with a laptop.

Want to swap your old creaky HDD for an 8TB solid-state drive? Go for it! Add in some more RAM? Plug it in. Want a wall of monitors, be they curved, vertical, or extra-wide? Still need that CD burner drive? Add away. All of these are much easier options to trick out on a desktop device.

If your desktop upgrades include a high-powered graphics processor, the best way to see those impressive graphics is with a sharp monitor. Max out your brightness and refresh rate for the strongest, sharpest response (and save a few dollars with our roundup of discounted monitors).

Home and Office Desktop Deals

Dell OptiPlex 3000 Micro 12th Gen

Dell OptiPlex 3000 Micro 12th Generation Intel i5

Think of this tiny OptiPlex as a response to the Mac mini. Dell packed a high-powered PC into a desktop box just about 7 inches square. For most work-from-home tasks, web browsing, and video streaming, the latest 12th Generation Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and the 256GB hard drive should be enough for most users. Unlike most OptiPlex deals we see, this configuration includes a Wi-Fi card. You can save some extra cash by declining the keyboard or mouse options on the page.

Apple Mac Mini M2 Chip Desktop

Apple Mac Mini M2 Chip Desktop

At $20 off retail, the Mac Mini M2 base desktop is still a good deal and offers a good balance between affordability and power compared to other desktops at its price-point. The new base M2 chip offers 8 CPU cores and 10 GPU cores with 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD storage. This is a great choice if you just need an everyday desktop to stream content, check emails, or browse the web. Please note, Mac mini desktops do not come with a keyboard or mouse. You will need to buy those separately.

Dell Inspiron 3910

Dell Inspiron 3910 Intel i7 512GB SSD 16GB RAM Desktop

This Inspiron 3910 series desktop features a 12th Generation Intel Core i7 processor and includes a 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM, making it powerful enough to multitask programs and browser tabs with a little streaming on the side. This will make a great daily-use configuration and won’t break the bank. Plus, if you wanted a gaming PC down the line, you could easily add a suitable GPU and more storage.

Lenovo IdeaCentre 5

Lenovo IdeaCentre 5 Ryzen 7 16GB RAM Dual Drive Desktop

The price is right for this entry-level desktop. The IdeaCentre 5 has an AMD Ryzen 7 5700G processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, so while it may not blow you out of the water it will do a serviceable job on apps like Word and PowerPoint, sending and receiving emails, and browsing the Web. 

HP All-in-One 27-cb1177z

HP All-in-One 24 Intel i7 Dual Storage 16GB RAM Desktop

Save desktop space with a sleek all-in-one. This 24-inch FHD display by HP houses everything you need: an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and dual storage (1TB HDD + 512GB SSD). It also has a built-in 1080p webcam for video chatting, built-in speakers, and Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.3 capability. Included with your purchase is the HP 310 Black Wired Keyboard and mouse combo.

Gaming Desktop Deals

Alienware Aurora R14

Alienware Aurora R14 Ryzen 7 RTX 3080 1TB SSD 16GB RAM Desktop

Featuring an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X processor, an RTX 3080, a 1TB SSD, and 16GB of RAM, the Alienware Aurora R14 can handle all your gaming needs—and look good doing it. The robust thermal design enables up to four system fans or a liquid-cooling option to keep your rig from overheating during even the most intense play sessions. The option of a clear side panel gives you near-limitless RGB customization. And if you’re the type who enjoys tinkering with your machine, the easy access doors on either side of the chassis and toolless approach to replacing internal parts makes DIY a breeze. This configuration actually costs the same as the Ryzen 7 RTX 3070 512GB SSD/16GB RAM that we posted about last week, so it’s a very good deal.

Lenovo Legion IdeaCentre

Lenovo IdeaCentre Gaming 5i Intel i5 RTX 3060 Dual Storage Desktop

A 12th Generation Intel Core i5 processor, RTX 3060 graphics card, 16GB RAM, and dual storage in the form of a 512GB SSD and 1TB HDD make this configuration a formidable gaming desktop. Lenovo Vantage for Gaming enables you to personalize your gaming experience, whether that’s overclocking your CPU/GPU or adjusting your thermal settings so that your PC runs cool even when the action heats up on screen. Plus, get three months of Xbox Game Pass for free with your purchase.

SkyTech Shadow 3.0

SkyTech Shadow 3.0 Ryzen 5 RTX 3060

Inside this PC is an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-core CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. SkyTech also provides an 80 Plus Gold Certified 600 Watt power supply with a heatsink and three RGB fans. All of this is encased in a SkyTech Shadow gaming case with tempered glass.

HP Omen

HP Omen 25L Ryzen 5 RTX 3050

This HP Omen 25L has a AMD Ryzen 5 processor, an RTX 3050 graphics card, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. The glass side panel allows you to see the components and fully customizable RGB lighting. The tower features tool-less access to internals and easy upgradability for further customization.


How much should I pay for a desktop computer?

Your money goes further with desktop PCs and their components versus laptops. You can find complete mini PCs for very light work or display-signage duty for less than $400, and perfectly serviceable small towers for $400 to $600. Gaming desktops with dedicated graphics cards start at around $500 to $600. You can also find all-in-one (AIO) desktops, with the display and all of the computing components built into a single device, starting at around $400. The sky's the limit once you get into high-end gaming PCs and business-workstation power desktops, but the prices above are the right range for most mainstream buyers.

Is it better to get an all-in-one computer or desktop?

Traditional tower desktops offer the most upgrade and power flexibility, at the cost of bulk. Most towers have generous interior space and full-size motherboards, so you can install one or more (sometimes, many more) secondary storage drives, more RAM in empty slots on the motherboard, and a video card (if the PC doesn't come with one). PC gamers will want to stick with a traditional tower.

An all-in-one desktop's big appeal is saving you lots of space, since the PC is built right in, with the components living behind the display. It comes down to how much you care about the desk area your PC uses up, and whether you happen to be shopping for a desktop monitor at the same time. Budget AIOs with basic feature sets are common, but spending more can gain you some combination of a touch-enabled screen, a panel with high native resolution, roomier storage, and a more muscular processor. Higher-end AIO desktops tend to cater, though, to content creators and productivity-app power users, not gamers,

Is it cheaper to build a PC or buy one right now?

It depends, largely, on the kind of desktop you are looking to buy or build. At the low end, economies of scale for the components, plus the cost of single Windows 10 or 11 licenses, tend to make buying a prebuilt PC a better deal. It's when you get into the $1,000-and-up zone that building your own starts to make more sense, especially if you can reuse parts from an existing PC build. For the last few years, the inflated cost of graphics cards made building your own PC a lot less attractive. That price pressure has relented in 2022, though.

How much does a good budget PC cost?

Expect to pay a solid $400 to $500 for a basic, competent small tower for day-in/day-out productivity and web work. You'll find plenty of models below $400, especially in the mini PC class, but you should insist on at least 8GB of system memory for any Windows machine, and, for anything beyond very basic productivity work, a Core i3 or Ryzen 3 processor.

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About Karl Klockars

Karl Klockars

Even after testing dating apps for PCMag, Karl Klockars remains happily married to his wonderfully understanding and awesome wife, Nora, and lives in Chicago. He is the author of Beer Lovers Chicago, runs the guysdrinkingbeer.com site, writes for outlets including AskMen, Chicago Magazine, and Thrillist, and recently entered the world of voice-over artistry.

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About Jade Chung-Lee

Merchandising Associate

When she isn't perusing online stores for deals, Jade enjoys playing video games (mostly JRPGs and roguelikes) from an ever-growing library on her PS5 and building Gundam models. She has a host of hobbies from amateur photography to collecting way too many scale figures and geeky merch. Her love of electronics has persisted through her youth—in particular for computers and video game consoles. Jade lives in blissful harmony with her wife, cat, dog, two chinchillas, and a Shark Robot vacuum named Bruce (a la Finding Nemo). And, yes, he has a little fin.

Read Jade's full bio

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