What is a good price to pay for a computer?

When looking to purchase a new computer, one of the most important factors to consider is how much you should expect to pay. With computer prices ranging from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand, it can be tricky to determine what constitutes a “good” price for your particular needs and budget.

How do you determine a fair price for a computer?

There are a few key things to think about when deciding if a computer is reasonably priced:

  • The computer’s specs and capabilities – More powerful processors, more RAM, larger solid-state drives, better graphics cards, high-resolution displays, etc. will raise the price.
  • Brand name – Major manufacturers like Dell, HP, Lenovo, Apple, etc. will come with a brand name premium.
  • Form factor – Desktops tend to be cheaper than laptops, which are cheaper than tablets.
  • New vs. used/refurbished – You’ll pay more for a brand new computer versus a used or manufacturer refurbished model.
  • Individual components vs. pre-built – Building your own PC from individual components is often cheaper than buying a pre-built desktop.
  • Operating system – Computers with Windows tend to be cheaper than Macs.

You’ll want to balance the computer’s capabilities and specs with your own budget and needs. Paying for top-of-the-line performance when you only plan to browse the web is probably overkill. But opting for a really basic, cheap computer that doesn’t meet your storage, speed, software/app needs, or future-proofing goals won’t be cost-effective in the long run either.

What is the average price for a desktop computer?

The average cost of a desktop computer typically ranges from about $300 to $1,000 based on the hardware specifications. Here’s a rough breakdown of average desktop prices:

  • Entry-level desktop – $300-$500
  • Mid-range desktop – $500-$800
  • High-end desktop – $800-$1,500+

On the lower end, $300-$500 will get you a desktop with enough power for basic functions like internet browsing, simple multi-tasking, HD video playback, and light gaming. Step up to the $500-$800 range for mid-tier desktops capable of more demanding tasks like photo and video editing, AAA gaming, VR, and high-res streaming.

If your work or entertainment needs high-end components like the latest processors, lots of RAM and storage, premium graphics cards for 4K gaming or video editing, and multiple monitors, expect to pay $800 or more for a high-performance desktop.

Entry-level desktops ($300-$500)

Here are some typical specs and features found in entry-level desktops priced between $300 and $500:

  • CPU: Intel Celeron, Core i3, AMD Athlon or Ryzen 3
  • RAM: 4-8GB
  • Storage: 128-256GB SSD or 500GB+ HDD
  • Graphics: Integrated
  • Ports: USB, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet
  • WiFi and Bluetooth
  • 720p webcam, speakers, and microphone
  • DVD/CD drive
  • Keyboard and mouse included
  • 19-24 inch LCD at 1080p
  • Windows 10 or 11 Home

Expect staple brands like Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Acer in the $300-500 range. Look for refurbished options to maximize value on a budget.

Mid-range desktops ($500-$800)

Stepping up to the $500-$800 desktops provides more power for photos, videos, high-quality gaming, and graphics/CAD work:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5, AMD Ryzen 5
  • RAM: 8-16GB
  • Storage: 256GB-512GB SSD
  • Graphics: Entry-level discrete GPU
  • Ports: More USB, USB-C, SD card reader
  • WiFi 5 and Bluetooth
  • 1080p webcam, improved speakers
  • 24-27 inch 1080p display, some 2K options
  • Windows 10 or 11 Home

Popular mid-range models include the Dell XPS series, HP Pavilion series, and Lenovo IdeaCentre. Target at least 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD.

High-end desktops ($800+)

Performance-focused high-end desktops start around $800 and can go up to several thousand dollars. Specs may include:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7/i9, AMD Ryzen 7/9
  • RAM: 16GB+
  • Storage: 512GB+ SSD + HDD storage
  • Graphics: High-end NVIDIA RTX/GTX or AMD Radeon RX
  • Ports: USB 2.0/3.0/C, USB-A/C, Thunderbolt 3/4, SD/microSD
  • WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5
  • 1080p or 4K webcam
  • 27-inch+ 2K/4K high color accuracy displays
  • Windows 10 Pro or 11 Pro

Leading brands include Alienware, MSI, ASUS ROG, iBUYPOWER, CLX, Corsair, and custom builders like Origin PC and Digital Storm. Liquid cooling, customizable RGB lighting, and tempered glass cases add premium flair.

What is the average price for a laptop computer?

Laptops encompass an even wider range of prices ranging from budget $200 Chromebooks to high-end gaming and business laptops over $3,000. The average cost for a mainstream, mid-range Windows laptop is around $500-$1,000.

Here is a rough breakdown for the major laptop categories:

  • Entry-level laptop – $200-$400
  • Mid-range laptop – $500-$1,000
  • High-end laptop – $1,000-$2,000+
  • Gaming laptop – $800-$3,000+
  • Business/workstation laptop – $1,000-$2,000+

Keep in mind ultraportable designs like ultrabooks and 2-in-1 hybrid tablets tend to be more expensive than traditional clamshell laptops, often $200-$400 more for similar specs.

Entry-level laptops ($200-$400)

Inexpensive entry-level laptops around the $200-$400 range work well for light general use like web browsing, media viewing, and document editing. Just don’t expect premium build quality or performance.

Typical specs include:

  • CPU: Intel Celeron/Pentium, AMD A6/A9 APU
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB eMMC or 128GB SSD
  • Display: 11.6-15.6 inch, HD (1366 x 768) TN panel
  • 720p webcam, mono speaker, combo audio jack
  • Ports: 1-2 USB, HDMI, headphone jack
  • Chrome OS or Windows 10 in S Mode
  • Plastic build, minimal design

Look to ASUS, Lenovo, HP, Acer for budget Windows laptops. The Chromebook market is dominated by Acer, ASUS, Samsung, and Google Pixelbooks.

Mid-range laptops ($500-$1,000)

Hitting the sweet spot between price and performance, mid-range laptops offer better specs for work, school, entertainment, and light creative uses. Expect:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5, AMD Ryzen 5
  • RAM: 8-16GB
  • Storage: 256-512GB SSD
  • Display: 1080p, IPS panel
  • Improved HD webcam, speakers, and battery life
  • Discrete GPU optional
  • More premium materials and design

Major brands like Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, ASUS and more compete in the popular mid-range price tier.

High-end laptops ($1,000+)

If you need maximum power and premium build quality, expect to spend $1,000 or more for high-end laptop performance:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7/i9, AMD Ryzen 7/9
  • RAM: 16GB+
  • Storage: 1TB SSD or 512GB+ NVMe SSD
  • Display: 2K or 4K resolution, 120Hz+ refresh rate
  • Discrete GPU: NVIDIA RTX or GTX, AMD Radeon RX
  • Sleek, portable metal design
  • Per-key RGB backlit keyboard
  • Lots of connectivity like Thunderbolt 3/4 and HDMI 2.1

Top brands for high-performance laptops include Apple, Dell XPS, Razer Blade, MSI, ASUS ROG, Lenovo Legion, Acer Predator, and Alienware.

How can you find computer deals and save money?

If those average computer prices seem high for your budget, not to worry. There are lots of ways to find discounted computers and save money:

  • Refurbished models – Buying refurbished directly from the manufacturer can knock 25-40% off retail prices.
  • Used computers – Search classified ads or eBay for steeply discounted used desktops and laptops.
  • Open box deals – Brick-and-mortar retailers like Best Buy offer open box specials at 20-30% off.
  • Previous generation models – Older generation tech like Intel 10th gen CPUs see price drops.
  • Manufacturer sales and coupons – Check for any current sales directly from Dell, Lenovo, HP, or Apple.
  • Retailer sales – Holiday sales events from Amazon, Newegg, and more can offer big savings.
  • Bundle discounts – Choose a pre-configured bundle with monitor and accessories.
  • Used business off-lease – Businesses regularly retire lease computers after 2-3 years.

Timing your purchase around major sales events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, back-to-school, and holiday sales can net you major savings from $50 up to several hundred dollars off.

Manufacturers and retailers usually offer the deepest discounts on older models when new generations launch too. So shopping previous generation Intel Core or AMD Ryzen chips can be a smart budget move if you don’t need the very latest components.

Is it better to buy a desktop, laptop, or tablet?

Deciding between a desktop, laptop, and tablet comes down to a few key factors:

  • Portability – Laptops offer the best compromise between power and portability. Tablets are the most portable.
  • Computing power – Desktops generally provide the most processing, graphics, and memory capabilities.
  • Price – Desktops are the most affordable on average, followed by laptops and tablets.
  • Components – Desktops make upgrading individual components like graphics cards, RAM, and storage easier.
  • Ergonomics – Desktops easily pair with large external monitors, full keyboards and mice that are more ergonomic.

Here is a basic comparison between the three form factors:

Desktop Laptop Tablet
Power High Medium Low
Portability None Medium High
Initial Cost Low Medium High
Flexibility High Low Low
Uses Gaming, office work, heavy computing Productivity, home use, travel Reading, media, light work

If your budget is tight, a desktop gives you the most power for the price. Need something portable? Choose a laptop. Only need basic functions? A budget tablet can work.


Finding the right computer comes down to knowing your budget, being realistic about your performance needs, and understanding what tech specs impact daily use. While flagship desktops and laptops can run over $1,000, you can definitely find quality affordable options in that $300-$800 range if you look for sales and previous generation closeouts. Refurbished and used computers offer even more value. Matching your needs to the right form factor is also important – desktops provide computing muscle, laptops convenience and portability, and tablets optimized on-the-go functionality.