The 30 Best PC Games Under $20


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PC gaming has a plethora of benefits: customizability, absurdly high frame rates, enormous variety, and – most importantly – low prices. If you’re not looking for brand new AAA releases, you can stock up on loads of games without spending much.

At any given moment, there are surely thousands of cheap PC gamesSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce available, but where do you even begin? To narrow down the selection, we’ve put together a list of 30 of our favorite PC games that cost $20 or less. Whether you’re looking for an updated, modern rogue-like, discounted AAA titles from a few years back that you haven’t played before, story-driven titles, indie platformers, quirky games, or far-off lands, we’ve got games for you.

 

Note: Prices and stock may fluctuate.

[Image credit: Respective Developers]

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At a Glance: 8Bitdo SN30 Pro+ Review


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In the last few years, nostalgic video game devices like Nintendo’s NES Classic and Sony’s PlayStation Classic have been all the rage. It’s clear that many adult gamers today want to recreate the gaming experience they had as children, but buying a shrunken down game system isn’t the only way to do this. 8Bitdo’s SN30 Pro+ gaming controller ($49.99) was designed to mimic the look and color scheme of the class SNES controller, but with a few modern additions to make it easier to use on today’s games.

Design

If you used to own a Super Nintendo back in the 1990s, then the SN30 Pro+SEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce will instantly look familiar with you, and yet distinctively unfamiliar. It’s almost as though someone took the original and glued handles and a couple of thumbsticks onto it. This gives it the appearance of something halfway between an NES controller and one of Sony’s DualShock controllers. The controller also has two trigger buttons that the original SNES model lacked.

These added buttons and thumbsticks are key to the success of this gamepad. The original SNES controller worked well for its time, but modern games simply utilize more buttons and multiple thumbsticks are essentially a must for 3D games.

Usage and Gameplay

Despite having a similar configuration to Sony’s DualShock controller, the SN30 Pro+ is not compatible with any of Sony’s game consoles. It is compatible with Nintendo’s Switch, however, and it also can connect to PCs, Macs, and Android devices using Bluetooth or a USB cable.

8Bitdo includes a software utility that allows you to remap the buttons to support various games. It also supports a somewhat rare feature that gives you granular control over the triggers and analog sticks.

PCMag reported in their review of this device that its the first time they have seen a sub-$100 controller that has this feature. The reviewer at PCMag also indicated that the controller worked nearly perfect in the games that he tested and that the direction buttons on the SN30 Pro+ were superior to the ones on Nintendo’s Joy-Cons. The controller’s vibration is apparently weaker than the Joy-Cons, but the reviewer went on to say that the controller worked perfectly with solid vibration when used on a PC.

Conclusion

8Bitdo retails the SN30 Pro+ for $49.99. At this price point and with its reportedly excellent performance, the SN30 Pro+ is well worth considering if you need a new controller for your PC or Nintendo Switch. It’s significantly less expensive than buying a new set of Joy-Cons, which retail for $69.99. Nintendo’s Switch Pro Controller also retails for $69.99, and while it is on sale for $62.06, it’s simply can’t stand up against the $49.99 SN30 Pro+.

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At a Glance: Dell UltraSharp U3419W Curved USB-C Monitor Review


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Product titles are like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get. Sometimes you can figure out exactly what a product’s special features are just from the product’s name, and other times it takes a bit more research. Dell’s UltraSharp U3419W Curved USB-C display falls into the former of these two categories. This indicates that this display utilizes a curved panel that measures 34 inches diagonally, that it was created in 2019, and that it is part of Dell’s UltraSharp business-oriented product line. The USB Type-C reference in the product name, however, takes a bit more thought.

Design & Features

Many business-oriented displays today come with built-in USB ports, but not many monitors feature a USB-C port due to its relatively recent introduction. At first, you may think this isn’t a big deal, but USB-C is more than just another USB port. In addition to transferring data relatively quickly, this port can also be used as a video connection and as a charging port for systems that need up to 90W of power.

This is a standard feature of the USB-C interface and it’s likely to become more widely used in the future as more devices are designed to take advantage of it. But as of now, relatively few products do. Still, it’s nice to see companies starting to implement USB-C as a display option.

As mentioned in the intro the display uses a curved panel, which helps to create a more immersive gaming and work environment. This panel has a resolution of 3440×1440, and as an IPS panel it offers excellent viewing angles up to 178 degrees in all directions. Dell factory-calibrates these displays to cover 99 percent of the sRGB color spectrum, which would mean it has superior overall color accuracy than the majority of displays on the market today. Our sister site, PCMag, tested the color accuracy of an UltraSharp U3419W Curved USB-C display first-hand using a Klein K10-A colorimeter and the SpectraCal CalMAN 5 software, which returned results that exceeded Dell’s specifications by covering 100 percent of the sRGB color space.

This display also features a pair of 2W built-in speakers for basic audio playback. The reviewer at PCMag reported that these speakers sounded a little soft but otherwise sounded decent.

Conclusion

Dell set its UltraSharp U3419W Curved USB-C monitor with an MSRP of $1,099.99, but it’s commercially available today from Dell for $849.99. Considering this price tag and the display’s features, the monitor comes off as a little overpriced for its features. Competing displays such as Dell’s own UltraSharp U3219Q and Acer’s Nitro XV3 offer superior color accuracy and a higher resolution at similar price points. I’d still recommend the UltraSharp U3419W Curved USB-C as a solid display for business use, but at its current price point, you will need to do a little research ensure it’s the best option available when you go to buy.

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At A Glance: Asus ProArt PA34VC Professional Curved Monitor Review


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As its name suggests, Asus’s ProArt PA34VC Professional Curved display was primarily designed as a solution for professional image editors and designers. But the company went a bit further and also equipped it with several gaming-oriented features that make it a true jack-of-all-trades.

Design

This display uses an ultra-wide IPS panel with a resolution of 3440×1440. The panel has a curvature of 1900R and measures 34-inches diagonally.  In addition to the immersive allusion created by the curved panel, gamers will also appreciate the panel’s 100Hz refresh rate and its support for AMD’s FreeSync technology. It’s also worth noting that this display features two USB Type-C ports, one of which can be used as a video input and as a charging port for supported devices.

Asus ships its ProArt PA34VC displays pre-calibrated, and it supports a 14-bit color look-up table that makes it easy to save custom color profiles and restore the factory calibrated settings if you alter the settings. According to Asus’s specs, the display should be capable of replicating 100 percent of the sRGB color spectrum.

Our sister site, PCMag, tested the color accuracy of the ProArt PA34VC. These tests resulted in the ProArt falling just short of its goal with just 99.9 percent of the sRGB color space being displayed. This makes the display suitable for high-end image editing. It lacks support for the full Adobe RGB color gamut, however, which places it a few steps behind many competing displays that are able to replicate this larger color space accurately.

Conclusion

Asus’s ProArt PA34VC display is a rather versatile solution for those that want a monitor for both work and play that sells for $999.00. But designing a display to meet both sets of criteria appears to have detracted somewhat from the monitor’s primary role as a business solution. Similarly priced displays such as Dell’s UltraSharp U3219Q offers superior color accuracy and would be a better option if your only concern is professional image editing. Acer’s Nitro XV3 XV273K offers tougher competition against Asus’s ProArt PA34VC, as it features a higher resolution, faster refresh rate, lower price and higher color accuracy. Acer’s Nitro XV3 XV273K uses a flat 27-inch  panel, and it has a notable light bleeding issue, but its feature set and price make it a strong alternative to the Asus ProArt PA34VC.

All things considered, I’d still recommend the Asus ProArt PA34VC for those that want to use one display for both work and gaming, but if you just want to do one of the two you should think about purchasing a different monitor.

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At a Glance: Origin Neuron (2019) Review


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Origin’s Neuron desktops target the high-end of the boutique gaming computer market. These deceptive systems have a fairly plain appearance, but they come packed with the fastest CPUs and GPUs available and compete with the likes of MSI’s Trident X and Corsair’s One i160 gaming desktops. Although the Neuron is well made and offers excellent performance, its may tag may be a bit more than you bargained for.

Case Design and Features

As mentioned in the intro, the Origin Neuron isn’t particularly impressive-looking. Shown in this review is the white case, but the system is available in several other colors including blue, purple, pink, green, and black. A tempered glass side panel mounted on hinges improves the overall aesthetics by giving you a view of your internal components, which are illuminated by two dim white LEDs. There is also a prominent Origin logo on the case’s front panel, but nothing else really stands out. You can pay an extra $249 to have the glass UV-etched to add a little something extra to the case, though.

What this case lacks in looks, however, it makes up for in airflow. The rear and top sides are riddled with ventilation holes, and there are obvious locations around the front panel that permit air to flow freely. This is far more important than appearance, as it means the system is less likely to suffer from heat-related issues. But a bit more flair aesthetically would have been nice.

A key selling point that Origin PC is pushing with this system is its overall size, which comes in at 16 x 6.75 x 15.25-inches (L x W x H). In general, this is a little smaller than the average ATX case and its the smallest of the cases we will discuss in this article by roughly 25 percent, but it’s still a mid-tower design with full support for ATX motherboards. This smaller size makes it easier to fit in a compact office or gaming room, and the system has movable rubber feet that will allow you to set the system in either a horizontal or vertical layout.

System Build and Testing

Our sister site PCMag received one of these systems for review. It came configured with a MicroATX MSI B450M Bazooka motherboard, a Ryzen 7 2700X CPU, and 16GB of RAM. It also featured one of Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 2080 graphics cards. As configured, this system retails for $2,399.

PCMag ran this system through a series of benchmarks and compared the results against the systems listed in the chart above. Before diving into the results, we should note that these tests need to be taken with a grain of salt as all of the systems feature different hardware configurations. This gives the Corsair One i160 a clear advantage in GPU performance, as it features the more powerful Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card.

PCMark’s productivity and storage tests place the Origin Neuron in fourth, but it almost ties the similarly equipped Corsair Vengeance Gaming PC 5180.

Testing with Cinebench R15 sees the Origin Neuron pull into third place, but it then falls into last when running Photoshop.

Turning our attention to gaming-oriented benchmarks, we see the Origin Neuron start to really struggle against the competition. It almost ties with the Corsair Vengeance Gaming PC 5180 when tested with 3DMark, and it turns in admirable results when put through Unigine’s Superposition 1.0 test with high graphics presets. Its low graphics preset results on the Unigine benchmark were far behind, though.

  

We see similar results when looking at real-world graphics tests. PCMag tested the system with both Far Cry 5 and Rise of the Tomb Raider, at three different resolutions. At 1080p and 2560×1440 resolutions the Neuron lags far behind the other four systems, but it pulls ahead when the resolution is cranked up to 3840×2160.

Conclusion

As I mentioned before, these test results need to be considered carefully. You can order all of these PCs, except the Overpowered gaming desktop, configured with various hardware components to fit your budget and performance needs. This data is best used to compare each system exactly as configured against each other, which shows in terms of performance that the Origin Neuron is competitive against all of these systems except the Corsair One i160, which came in first in almost every test.

Limiting our focus to these systems, however, the situation for Origin’s Neuron is still rather mixed. MSI’s Trident X beats the Neuron in many of these tests and the configuration tested sells for $2,499. The Overpowered DTW3 system that was tested trades places with the Neuron and it frequently appears on our deals page for $1,499. The Neuron does feature a water-cooled CPU, which the DTW3 lacks, and its smaller size and ability to lay horizontal is a useful feature the other systems lack.

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