What could be better than picking out one of the best gaming PCs, for you? Buying a pre-made, preoptimized, ‘warranty-d’ machine and with all the cable management and fitting done is an incredibly exciting way into PC gaming, or to upgrade your machine. Plus, you’ll still get the much-coveted option to tinker and upgrade down the line – you’re only removing that first build step, which, while it can be very satisfying, might not be right for everyone at the very beginning of a new gaming PC purchase.
However. You will need to come prepared with a secure idea of your needs, desires, and wants in order to address a few important factors. If you’re after an absolute beast of a machine to drive the resolution of one of the best gaming monitors, then your expectations are going to be wildly different compared to someone who is eyeing up a lower-end, budget pre-built machine that will be ideal for good gaming, and for taking to college or university, but that won’t break the bank. Either way, and of course, you always should aim high, and you always want to aim to get the most bang for your buck. So, you’re in the right place for one of the best gaming computers.
The price of pre-built gaming PCs is, thankfully, getting closer to that of DIYs, and given the rising level of competition, the quality and value for money is increasing everywhere too. And the advantages of getting one of the best gaming PCs pre-built for you are clear, at first: it saves you the headaches (potentially) and labor (definitely) of the build; and you’ll pick up a retailer or manufacturer warranty by default. And you might even get some benefits of their design solutions that the DIY route might not provide, like unique cooling solutions, cable management, or parts that aren’t available anywhere else. Plus, simply put, and on top of all of those, you are allowed to not want to build one yourself, despite what some may say about it being the only ‘true’ way to enjoy PC gaming. This is not the case, buy a pre-built if you fancy taking a slightly simpler route, and get one of the best gaming computers at the same time. And if you do – you’re on this page after all – don’t forget to check out the best antivirus software going to make sure you’re brand new gaming powerhouse is well protected.
The attraction is fair and clear, but how do you go about picking out the best gaming computer? Well, you’ll want to distill your thinking -as much as is possible down to the factors of budget and use. You’ll have more success being a bit flexible with your budget and if you know it’s going to be a gaming-focused machine (primarily) then you’ll be able to prioritize certain components more.
While you’ll find more info below on our favorite models, here some links directly to some retailers’ gaming PC pages: Dell | Amazon
Alternatively, if you’d like to check out the portable options, we’ve compared the finest models over on our guide to the best gaming laptops.
The Alienware Aurora R11 is leading Alienware into the next generation of gaming; as well as 10th-gen Intel processors and the possibility of liquid-cooled graphics cards, it offers a variety of builds to suit most budgets. If you want to get into PC gaming for the first time or would like to upgrade your existing setup – perhaps to soak up all the joyous ray tracing games – this is the most cost-effective way to do it.
Ranging from affordable starter rigs to pimped-out super PCs, the Aurora R11 strikes a good balance of choice. Better still, these desktops can be easily opened and upgraded with different parts as and when you see fit. Want more RAM or a larger SSD? No problem. Because the power supply unit swings out on a metal arm, you get more room to fiddle with the PC’s insides.
The R11’s design builds on the already-attractive R9, too. Although it sticks with the distinctive case and scooped-out front of its predecessor, this update enriches that formula with new lighting around the central strip in some cases. It’s an addition that turns heads and makes the design feel even more futuristic than it did before.
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Best gaming chair | Best graphics card | Best CPU for gaming
This is a tremendous machine and one that really harnesses a great power to performance to price balance. It’s a great new design from ASUS and is a welcome addition to the pre-built gaming PC market. I use this PC every day so I am a bit biased perhaps, I’d argue, it’s well-placed bias! It’s a joy to use as a work PC that seamlessly changes to a monster. The components of my build, particularly, demonstrate the GA15’s successful inhabiting of a place of balance between performance and value. Inside is a 3700X processor, a 2060 Super graphics card (itself probably the best bang for buck GPU in the ray-tracing category), 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD + 2TB HDD combo. It’s got a sweet design, plenty of ports, runs quiet, and has some RGB fun too on the front – with ASUS making so many of the best gaming laptops right now, it’s no wonder they’ve come out with an excellent new desktop range.
Just for clarity and to reassure you if you’re following links, you might see this machine listed as a G15DH or G15 – do not worry, it’s the same one as the GA15. Your options of specs might also slightly differ depending on you’re location: the above list is taken straight from ASUS itself in terms of what the machine can house, but I have seen some slightly different builds – including the odd Intel CPU build – crop up at some retailers. Regardless, this is still a PC build that is extremely easy to recommend and each variant will have that ASUS stamp of quality and pedigree within that you can have confidence in.
There’s something sort of mystical about the Obelisk that encapsulates some of the most exciting facets of our hobby. The sleek, hard angles of this HP rig mirror the object it’s named after, a dense black cube of potentiality ready to unleash the most beautiful and intense games of this generation.
True to that design, the Obelisk is trim and compact and powerful. It cuts away the fat, eschewing overblown RGB lighting or the elaborate tentacles of a liquid cooling setup, focusing instead on delivering sheer performance at a very attractive price. It’s also highly customizable, with a range of builds that start at the very affordable and peak up near some truly dizzying heights. For around the $2,000 mark, the Obelisk comes packed with a very nice 8th gen Core i7-8700 and a high-end RTX 2080, only one step down from Nvidia’s most powerful 20-series, ray tracing focused graphics powerhouse. It also boasts a speedy 256GB SSD and a generous 2TB standard HDD, so you’ll have plenty of room to load your most demanding games onto the faster storage and tons of leftover room for everything else.
While the Obelisk’s case is smaller than the similarly specced Vengeance, it’s not tiny by any means, and the air cooling solution the Obelisk provides has been more than sufficient during testing to handle even heavy gaming loads. It does make swapping out components slightly trickier than the Vengeance’s massive dual-chamber case, of course, but that also means it’ll fit more easily into smaller spaces. The Obelisk tucks neatly under a desk, or can even slide into a larger entertainment center if you want it to be the central unit in your living room media showcase.
Away for Dell’s Alienware gaming nutters, the PC-maker’s own brand G-series desktop PCs are underrated machines. They often provide a great budget or entry-level route into gaming PCs and are not an afterthought: they get updates as much as any of the other desktops or laptops available at Dell. The really entry-level ones won’t do gang-busting numbers or levels of graphical fidelity but they’ll be great PCs to have at home for work and play.
Now that the baseline is the 10th-generation of Intel chips this is another factor to work in their favor. Particularly as the baseline is the 16-series of Nvidia cards which will handle anything just fine, and you can choose one well into the ray-tracing range including the 2070 Super. Their compact form is also a plus side, while Dell’s aftercare – should you need it – is pretty good too. A value-busting quality entry in this list.
This offers great bang for buck value. The Cyberpower Gamer Xtreme – housing an Intel Core i5 9400F and Nvidia’s GTX 1660 – is a great PC to rock the current generation of games and do it all for well under the four-figure mark.
Even beyond that and branching into the increasingly large world of VR, this machine will get you there on a shoestring: it’s VR-ready right out of the box (just) and will be easy to upgrade when newer, more fancy headsets become more available.
The Xtreme is also great for anyone looking for a PC to match the capabilities of current-gen consoles, something that will bridge the gap between the PS4 and Xbox One era of games and the next console generation. And the Gamer Xtreme is also modular and upgradeable enough to allow you to quickly adapt when specs for the next generation are finally, properly announced. On that note, we’d probably aim to get another 8GB of RAM into this upgrade-friendly rig as soon as you can, though.
The Aurora Ryzen R10 series is a Ryzen-build entry into the Aurora series, all sporting third-gen AMD Ryzen processors rather than the usual Intel processors. The former have massively closed the gap on the latter in recent years and months, so it’s no real surprise to see an Alienware PC range specifically offering that kind of CPU.
Focused around that Ryzen CPU, though, you can fully customize your Aurora R10 however you want, which means that whether you’re a console gamer looking to break into PC gaming or a die-hard veteran who wants the ultimate build, you’ll find it here. The Alienware brand name comes with the usual price premium that most Alienware products have, but if you can overcome that, and want the respective premium quality that also comes with the name, then the spaceship-inspired R10 design is for you, especially since the Alienware Command Center is a useful bit of kit packed in. The main downsides are that it can get somewhat loud, almost as if it is a spaceship engine trying to take off, and accessing the components within isn’t an easy task thanks to the placement of the PSU cage. You can definitely do much worse when buying a pre-built PC though, and that Ryzen-Nvidia blend is a brilliant one that offers exquisite performance.
The Corsair One series is incredibly small and lightweight (at least considering how much power it’s packing), and has an attractive form factor. As a step-up option from Corsair’s flashier but more modestly outfitted Vengeance model, the Corsair has a few advantages that will primarily appeal to those looking for more workload capability and who are focused on gaming as a more secondary concern. The Corsair One is decidedly a workstation focused rig, though it certainly doesn’t slouch in the gaming department either.
The One comes in a few flavors, but the best dollars-to-performance value is in the package around the $3,000 mark. It’s built around an RTX 2080Ti, and contains a 960GB SSD and a 2TB HDD. It also has the impressive i9-9900K intel processor which is still offers some mega gaming chops despite the new 10th gen CPUs now going. And also, in a nod to megatasking workload scenarios, it packs a lot of RAM, at 32GB of DDR4-2666. It will manhandle modern games at 4K with ease, and it’s also suitable for heavy rendering, CAD, or other workstation style applications.
It’s sort of the ultimate gaming/workstation hybrid, though if you find your bank balance is absolutely bursting with discretionary income, first, call me, but second you might also want to consider the top option in the Corsair family. The ridiculous $5,000 option includes the wildly overpowered i9-9920X CPU, which Intel insists on describing (and probably rightly so) as the “best processor for gaming.”
Another example of iBuyPower managing prices (helped in part, no doubt, by the fact that they share a building with the manufacturer of some of the parts they pack into their machines) to sell a machine at close to or even less than DIY prices. This time it’s their RDY SLIIBG213, a rig designed to be plug and play and ready to manhandle the latest crop of triple-A titles at 1440p.
For close to the $1,000 mark, this little beauty packs an RTX 2060, so it’s also prepped with dedicated hardware to handle ray tracing and the resource saving DLSS deep learning, anti-aliasing technology. It’s also got a Core i5-9400F tucked inside it’s attractive gunmetal chassis, so it’s ready and able to cope with your productivity tasks, as well. The icing on this particular affordable cake is a gorgeous tempered glass side panel that shows off all those pretty internal performance parts, and a front panel with a couple of vivid slashes of customizable RGB.
If you want excellent QHD performance and dedicated hardware for ray tracing, all in a sleek package with a beautiful glass panel and brilliant RGB lighting, the CLX Set Gaming is an excellent deal. Packing a Ryzen 7 2700, plenty of CPU for gaming and multitasking, and a Geforce RTX 2070, Nvidia’s mid 20-series card loaded with hardware to support ray tracing as well as DLSS, the Set Gaming from CLX is a fantastic machine that’s priced very competitively (as of this writing it’s discounted even further down to $1,255 at Walmart from it’s normally excellent starting price).
Being right in the middle of the RTX pack means the 2070 is easily capable of handling the current pool of games that feature ray tracing at solid frame rates at 1440p (or even 4K, depending on the game and your settings). And the Set Gaming also packs a speedy SSD you can use as a boot drive, while saving the 1TB HDD for games and storage. For the specs, you won’t find a machine close to this price point, so the Set Gaming is an easy recommend, especially if you can grab it during the current sale.