The popularity of gaming PCs has exploded in recent years. Sure, there are plenty of people who won’t abandoned their beloved consoles. But a large number of gaming enthusiasts have been shifting their attention. And with good reason.
For starters, the games are cheaper and the breadth available is truly astounding. After all, console exclusives are (mostly) a thing of the past. You can use your PC to play the latest strategy and simulation games as well as the top offerings in eSports and first person shooters. Additionally, thanks to the PC’s open platform, you also have access to a wide array of wildly inventive independent games. No matter your penchant and preferences, you’re always guaranteed to find something that matches your mood, skill and desires.
Perhaps just as critical, PCs themselves are sleeker and more affordable. No longer do you have loud, clunky towers overtaking large swaths of space. They are now relatively quiet, power conscious machines that are small enough to remain unobtrusive.
Moreover, gaming PCs also deliver impressive graphics that certainly rival those of Xbox and Playstation. And they’re even compatible with a variety of controller options; you can use anything from a keyboard and mouse to steering wheel and joystick. Hence you can kick butt with whatever equipment you prefer. Best of all, PCs can easily be modified. That’s right, you have the power to continually alter your computer to ensure the perfect gaming experience.
We assume that you’re now in desperate need of a . Well, as you shop around, you’ll definitely want to pay attention to these facets:
Games You Play: We beseech (yes, beseech!) you to consider the games you play when purchasing a PC. That’s because they’ll dictate the components you’ll need or want — be it super fast processors, high-end graphics, etc. If possible, try and think about additional games you may play in the future. That way you’ll have a system that’s ready to go.
CPU and Cooling: You’ll find that a lot of higher end gaming computers are equipped with six-core processors. This is great if you plan on using the machine for additional tasks such as photo and video editing. However, if you are strictly purchasing your PC for gaming, you don’t actually need six cores. Many gamers suggest cutting back and putting your resources towards improved graphics or better solid state drives.
Storage: When it comes to storage, you have two major options — solid state or hard drive. Ever since their prices have dropped, solid state drives have understandably grown in popularity. After all, they have a faster boot time, load games quickly and have a minimal noise level. Solid state drives also tend to require less power. However, if you’re using your PC for work or activities beyond gaming, you’ll likely want to opt for a hard drive. And it’s definitely the way to go if you need archival storage for video and photos.
Memory: RAM is certainly another important component of your gaming PC. That’s because games can actually be taxing on memory. Therefore, it’s recommended that you purchase a PC that has a minimum of 8GB of RAM. If you can kick it up to 16GB, even better. This will help improve your computer’s overall performance and curbs any potential bottleneck.
Graphics Card: There’s no denying that good graphics are essential to the gaming experience. More expensive computers typically come with higher end cards. But don’t worry if you can’t afford a pricier model. Most PCs still provide mid-range graphic cards. And if you’re a person who never changes the default settings on your computer, it shouldn’t matter too much. Plus, you can always swap out your card for a better one in the future.
Audio and Communications: Many of today’s most popular games are designed with surround sound. Thankfully, the vast majority of PCs are made with on-board, multi-channel audio codecs that deliver a fully immersive experience. Of course, you may also want to consider purchasing a quality headset and microphone as well.
Accessories/External Components: We understand that when it comes to purchasing gaming equipment, the computer is the star of the show. However, don’t underestimate the value of good accessories. These also have a big impact on your gaming experience. You’ll want a keyboard, mouse, headset, and other accessories that are comfortable and guaranteed to run well.
Ability to Upgrade: When buying a gaming PC, your ability to upgrade is key. After all, it’s common for gamers to swap out a component or two as new games and products emerge. And it’s a whole lot cheaper to do this than purchase an entirely new computer. Therefore, you’ll want to buy a PC that allows you to access parts like the motherboard, GPU and RAM.
Budget/Price: Unless you have unlimited funds, the price tag will also play a role in your decision. If you’re looking for a decent computer with basic to mid-level specs, you can expect to pay around $699. If you are willing to spend $1,000 or so, you can certainly find a solid tower with mid-to-high level specs. And if you’re feeling flush and ready to drop $1,500 or more, you’ll be able to buy a very high-end system with top-notch specs like multiple GPUs and a minimum of two drives (either hard or solid state).
Now that you know what to look out for, you’re ready to peep our top picks. If you’re in the market for a Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Prime Day deal, these are the computers to look out for. Be sure to hit the grey arrow in the top right to expand each of the cards below.
Super sleek and compact design
Difficult to upgrade
If you’re tight on space but crave the HD and 4K power of a larger machine, consider the Corsair.
If you’re tight on space but crave the HD and 4K power of a larger machine, consider the Corsair.
Are you (or your roommates) tired of the excess white noise spewed by other, lesser PCs? Then you’ll definitely want to check out the Corsair One Pro. Barely audible, it operates at 20 dBA when idle. And that’s just the tip of its appeal. Indeed, this sleek and sexy PC is manufactured with aircraft grade aluminium and features customizable LED detailing. And thanks to its extraordinarily compact size, it’s virtually guaranteed to fit within (and complement) any room. The Corsair is also smartly designed with custom CPU and GPU liquid cooling technology for a high-end performance. And it provides amazing streaming, 4K and VR experiences. Additionally, the One Pro is built with amazing components like an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card, INTEL Core i7-7700K processor and CORSAIR’s award-winning DDR4 memory. Honestly, it’s so good even your grandparents will be begging to play with it. Amazon reviewer writes:
“In the past week or so, I’ve been running games flawlessly in 4k resolution and even at full load for hours at a time, I’ve not heard the fan get noticeably louder (a sharp contrast to the gaming laptop this is replacing). Despite being pretty heavy (almost 25 pounds), the footprint size is very reasonable, and there is a nice selection of ports on the back. Heat from the machine does vent straight up, so I would not recommend putting it directly under your house’s thermostat, but otherwise that should be fine and I never found it to get much more than ‘warm’…After [an] initial rocky start and concerns, everything has been smooth sailing with this Corsair ONE, and I’m very pleased with my purchase.”
Subpar software support
The eye-popping iBuyPower definitely enhances you gaming experience.
We realize this might be an odd comment to make about a computer. But the iBuyPower Snowblind is likely to turn heads. That’s because the tower’s side panel is a translucent, fully-functioning LCD display. You have to admit that’s pretty cool. Even better, you can use the panel to monitor the performance of your PC and show off animated wallpaper. The display connects to your graphics card (via DVI) and therefore can almost function as a second monitor. You could even technically use it to play games, though that’s not recommended. Fortunately, the PC itself is great for your gaming needs. After all, it features top-notch components such as an Intel Core i7-8700X processor, a Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti GPU graphics card and a 500 GB solid state drive. What more could you want really?
You really get bang for your buck
No solid-state drive
Runs great right out of the gate but can also be upgraded at a future date.
Runs great right out of the gate but can also be upgraded at a future date.
If you want a machine packed with power but don’t have a ton of disposable income, think about getting the CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme. This fantastic computer can easily run any mainstream game you like — and at high settings to boot. What’s more, it’s also able to handle virtual reality. More specifically, the PC is armed with a Radeon RX 580 graphics card, an Intel Core i5-7400 processor and a 1TB hard drive. If after reading all of these sweet details you’re still pining for a higher end machine, you’re in luck. That’s because the Xtreme is a breeze to open up, making it ideal for future upgrades. Amazon reviewer writes:
“This is the one guys. I am so happy to be able to write a positive review for this PC as it has (so far) met all my expectations. I will do my best to cover possible doubts about it, specially Warcraft related. it may seems a bit biased but I am being completely honest about the item I paid for and also i am NOT being compensated for a good review… If you’re looking into investing in a gaming rig without breaking your pocket too much, this is what you need. Whatever people say about WoWs low requirements, you know this has changed. Maybe not as much as shooters or sandbox open worlds, but graphics and features have improved a lot during the years and now PCs do require decent specs to even run wow at 50+ fps on Normal settings.”
Highly portable • Outstanding audio
Doesn’t perform as well as higher priced machines
Powerful gaming system in a smartly designed, movable cube.
Have you always dreamed of taking your gaming on the road but dreaded the idea of dragging around a cumbersome desktop? Well, Lenovo has the answer to your gaming prayers. The Legion C530 Cube is a unique system that’s designed with portability in mind. A mere 24 pounds and replete with an integrated carrying handle, the C530 can easily be moved across the room or the country. And don’t be fooled by its diminutive size. Its 8th generation Intel processor and 128 GB SSD is packed with the power of a larger PC. Even better you have the ability to choose whether you want a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, 1050 Ti or 1050 graphics card. And should you want to upgrade your Legion in the future, you’re promised ease of access with its one press, tool-free upgrade system.
Affordable • Upgradable
No solid-state drive
A great brand with even greater support.
Are you toying with the idea of getting into gaming? Well then, we have the PC for you! The Acer Aspire GX-281 is a great machine for any novice. For starters, it has a fairly affordable price tag. What’s more, Acer offers great customer support. Trust us — this really comes in handy as you familiarize yourself with all facets of gaming. And while it’s definitely not the most high end option around, you’ll still be privy to a decent gaming experience. That’s all thanks to the AMD Ryzen 5 1400 Quad-Core Processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. Finally, similar to the computers listed above, the GX-281 can easily be upgraded in the future. Amazon reviewer writes:
“Best bang for the buck of any computer I’ve owned. I had bought games that I couldn’t even launch on my older computers (The Door, Obduction, Quern, Fear for Sale, etc.) and they all run fine (Quern has a bit of video break-up). You hear the fan at start-up for one second and then absolute quite. The DVD is a bit funky (push the button and it opens about 1/2 inch so you have to pull it out (not a deal breaker). Unit is quick and quiet. Doesn’t come with a lot of software you have to disable (Norton—Gone!). All-in-all, it’s a nice little machine for the money and casual gamer!”
Great HD gaming experience • Decent amount of storage
Less power than other machines
Perfect price point for those who simply want to plug and play.
If you have a keen need to game but a low balance in you bank account, fear not. The good folks at Dell have your back. Their Inspiron Gaming Desktop mixes a modest price tag with a smooth gaming experience. This particular PC is designed with an 8th generation Intel Core processor, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card, a 1TB hard drive and low-key case lighting (so it’s easy on the eyes). Importantly, the Inspiron is also configurable. Therefore, when you get some more coin, you can kick your rig up a notch (if you so desire). Dell customer writes on the Dell website:
“For such an affordable gaming desktop, you can play some graphically intensive games with the NVIDIA GTX 1060 and 8GB of DDR4 Ram(With expansion slots). At first I thought the price was too good to be true. but DELL has made an amazing product! The Dell Inspiron 5680 is an amazing gaming desktop if you ask me!”
Another Dell customer writes:
“It took me the longest time to find what gaming and office pc would be right for me, and I took a chance with the Dell Inspiron and it was the right choice. It’s fast, quiet and powerful. A true gaming experience for all new and veteran pc gamers. If you are on a budget and want something that’ll not only get the job done but meet all your demands for quality and value then this is the pc for you. I made the right choice, now so can you. 10/10.”
Stunning graphics • Never overheats
Slightly small SSD
You’re looking for a gaming system with power and pop? Well then you’re looking for a CyberPowerPC Panzer.
We’re not going to mince words. If you want a high-powered machine that provides a wholly immersive experience, we recommend the CyberPowerPC Gamer Panzer. It’s built with the NVIDIA GTX 1080, arguably one of the best graphic cards on the market. As if that wasn’t enough, it has an Intel i7-770K 3.8 Ghz quad-core processor to help ensure a smooth gaming experience from start to finish. The Panzer also features a tempered side glass panel along with a liquid cooling system; there’s no fear of overheating with this PC. Oh, and if you’re still on the fence, CyberPowerPC provides free lifetime tech support. What a find! Amazon reviewer writes:
“My first purchased desktop instead of building my own, and I really like it! It worked absolutely perfectly right out of the box with no loose cables and was very well packed. Lots of ventilation and clean wiring plus water cooling and included lights in the case and on the keyboard to pick your favorite scheme. Boots super fast, no bloatware, includes the manual and driver CDs if you want them (you’ll need a USB optical drive if you do). I LOVE playing whatever I want with the graphics settings turned all the way up! I paired it with a new expensive ViewSonic G-Sync monitor that has had no issues either or dead pixels. I can’t wait to try VR soon. Only issue was a rattle at the exhaust fan for the liquid cooling one time, and that was resolved with a quick tap to the back of the case. Also, the display port cable was too short – you’ll probably want to buy your own as most of the reviews say. I also had to wait a few weeks for these to be available after the i7-7700K chip came out.”
High upgradability • Sleek aesthetic
Noticeable fan sound
A solid choice if you’re in the market for a gaming PC with impressive accessibility and function, thanks to its tool-less design.
If you’re in the market for a gaming PC with impressive accessibility and function, the Alienware Aurora R7 is a solid choice. Its tool-less design allows for upgrades to ensure a future-proof system.
When searching for a gaming PC, you want to invest in a future-proof system, meaning the PC will be able to adapt to any new gaming developments that may pop up in the future. One way to make sure you’re getting as much bang for your buck, is to opt for a gaming PC with high upgradability. Alienware’s Aurora R7 boasts an impressive accessible design, to give you plenty of space for new and extra components down the line. The Aurora R7 is designed with a chassis equipped with a tool-less design, so removing the lid off for upgrades is a breeze. Aside from being highly-upgradable, Alienware’s Aurora R7 comes powered by a Intel Core i7 8700 processor faster than previous versions of the gaming PC. With all these factors combined, the Aurora R7 amounts to an impressive gaming PC. Amazon reviewer, David, writes:
“Quiet, blazing fast, should last for years, so far I consider it well worth the price. I have it hooked to my HDTV (via HDMI) and my monitor(DVI to HDMI) so I can work on it if I need to and play games with it hooked to my 55 inch tv. Been playing prey, graphics are great on both. I’m also a software developer, this handles Visual Studio development very easily. Strongly recommend!”
Highly upgradable • Sleek, tool-less design
Limited additional storage bay
You’ll get a smooth gaming experience, customizable features, and an impressive amount of storage.
The OMEN Obelisk by HP provides a smooth gaming experience, customizable features, and an impressive amount of storage.
Processor Speed: 3.2 GHz
You know what’s fun? Color customization. Especially when it’s the impressively-built display of the HP OMEN Obelisk. You can change the system’s RGB lighting, patterns, or turn it off entirely by storing your customized preferences in the Omen Command Center. All performance stats aside, this function stands out. Thanks to a top-level Intel Core i7-9700 processor, the Omen Obelisk handles resource-intensive programs efficiently, keeps gaming going, and powers through any task. With 16 GB of memory for effective multitasking, the OMEN Obelisk boasts an impressive system for a pretty decent price tag. It should be noted that serious gamers will want to opt for another keyboard and mouse, since the pair that comes with the OMEN Obelisk aren’t exactly top-notch. Don’t get us wrong, they’ll get the job done, but for a gaming PC this powerful, you’ll want to upgrade for something that matches. Best Buy Tech Insider reviewer, Keyan, had this to say:
“This PC is hitting a sweet spot for gamers who want a good value and solid performance in most of today’s games at full HD but don’t want to build their own PC or spend hours tweaking settings. If you are into overclocking the CPU and memory to get every ounce of performance out of your PC, you are still better off doing a custom build. If you want a relatively compact PC at a fair price that is very capable for gaming today and has components that can be easily upgraded for the future this PC should be on your list.”
Impressive graphics • Small price tag, but big on power
Not much personalization • Not very future-proof
A good pre-built PC option if you’re looking to play in the now and not worry about future-proofing.
Coming through with a light-up LED design and an impressive amount of RAM, the SkyTech Blaze II is a solid pre-built option.
Processor speed :
Despite its small size — and relatively small price tag — SkyTech’s Blaze II comes packed with a powerful punch. The mid-range gaming PC with a 6-Core Ryzen 5 2600 makes it possible to play your favorite games at impressive speeds. With an 8 GB gaming memory and heat spreader, you’ll avoid delay and power through programs. For the price, the SkyTech Blaze II offers an impressive system, but it’s not the most accessible for upgrading on your own. But with the money you’re saving on the powerful system, you won’t be breaking the bank completely and can get the most use out of it before it’s time for the latest-and-greatest. Here’s what Amazon reviewer, Coltan, had to say of the PC:
“This is a good mid range pc. So far it has performed very well on the games that I have tested. It can handle sea of thieves on max graphic settings at 1440p 70 fps and around 120fps at 1080p. On the back of the pc there is a switch to turn on “silent mode” that makes the pc run very quietly, making a huge difference in sound. The set up process was very simple and straightforward. With that being said the experience has been great so far.”