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This i7 Alder Lake gaming PC with an RTX 3060 is down to just $1,130

Lenovo IdeaCentre 5i Gaming
(Image credit: Future)
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Lenovo IdeaCentre Gaming 5i Tower | Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 | Intel Core i7 12700 | 16GB DDR4 | 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD | $1,449.99 $1,129.99 at Lenovo (save $320) (opens in new tab)
This is the cheapest we've seen an Alder Lake Core i7 CPU in a machine alongside a decent graphics card. The RTX 3060 dominates 1080p gaming and won't balk at some 1440p action either. Throw in the 16GB of DDR4-3200 and a healthy 1TB SSD and there's a lot of PC here for the money.

This Lenovo IdeaCentre PC doesn't assault the eyes the way most gaming machines do. In fact, you could have this on your desk and a passer-by could be fooled into thinking it doesn't pack the latest hardware from Intel and Nvidia. Stealth gaming, that's what we like to see. Not all the time maybe, but it's good to have the option. Especially when you're saving $320 on this $1,130 RTX 3060 gaming PC (opens in new tab) at the same time.

Below that austere surface, you'll find the impressive combo of Intel Alder Lake CPU and Nvidia RTX 30-series GPU. You'd usually find a Core i5 chip for this sort of cash, but that's not the case here, and in fact, you're looking at an Intel Core i7 12700 CPU, which is a 12-core, 20-thread processor with a maximum turbo on the P-Cores of 4.80GHz, which is seriously speedy. This is a great chip for serious work, but absolutely relishes gaming as well, and will keep the GPU well fed.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 (opens in new tab) is a strong GPU for 1080p gaming and 1440p is doable with some massaging of the settings. As this is an RTX chip it also means you have access to the best ray tracing hardware around at the moment and also support for DLSS 2.0, which itself works wonders at improving frame rates without sacrificing visual fidelity.

There's no obvious corner cutting to hit this price either, with 16GB of DDR4-3200 and a spacious 1TB NVMe SSD giving you plenty of space for your games. You could make an argument for going down the DDR5 route with Alder Lake, but the newer memory standard still commands a price premium, and when it comes to gaming the benefit is not so obvious anyway. 

You do only get a 500W PSU for your money, which is absolutely fine for this build, but it is going to limit which GPUs you can upgrade to further down the line. The CPU cooling is nothing to get excited about either but again is completely fine for what is needed here. The fact you shouldn't need to upgrade this for a while anyway is certainly worth bearing in mind.

Overall, this is a solid system at a great price. It does lack that normal gamer aesthetic though, so if you like your games to be bathed in RGB, then you're probably better off looking elsewhere. If you don't care about such things, then is a decent saving on an up-to-date gaming PC.

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.