I reviewed a lot of PC gaming hardware in 2023, but only some of it truly stood out. This year, we saw the introduction of AMD’s second-gen 3D V-Cache CPUs, the full lineup of Nvidia’s RTX 40-series GPUs, and plenty of gaming peripherals that pushed the market forward.
As we approach the end of the year, it’s time to look back at the best PC hardware I reviewed this year. If you’re trying to build the ultimate PC gaming setup, these are the products you should pick up from this year.
Best graphics card: Nvidia RTX 4070
The RTX 4070 is a great graphics card, as you can read in our RTX 4070 review. It doesn’t make this list based on raw power alone, though. It’s the perfect representation of Nvidia’s current-gen GPUs, showcasing what RTX 40-series GPUs have to offer in terms of features while nailing the balance of price and performance that so many of Nvidia’s current-gen cards have missed.
It’s a card that hangs its hat on DLSS 3.5, but that’s not a bad thing. DLSS 3.5 provides upscaling, frame generation, and ray reconstruction, each of which work in tandem to improve performance and image quality in demanding titles like Alan Wake 2 and Cyberpunk 2077. Unlike more disappointing GPUs like the RTX 4060 Ti, the RTX 4070 balances these features with solid performance for the price. It’s a good value at its list price of $600, but you can commonly find it for $550 and sometimes close to $520 these days.
The card is most comfortable at 1440p, but it has enough grunt with DLSS 3 to scale up to 4K as well. It’s the Swiss Army knife of GPUs for Nvidia this generation, offering a solid value at its core while being able to scale up to a high-end PC gaming experience.
Best CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D
There’s really only one CPU choice if you want peak gaming performance in 2023: AMD’s Ryzen 7 7800X3D. It’s the best CPU for gaming, full stop, as you can read in our AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D review. That’s also taking into account the more powerful CPUs AMD has released this year, including its flagship Ryzen 9 7950X3D.
It posted the highest gaming results out of any CPU we’ve ever tested, which doesn’t come as a surprise. This CPU represents AMD’s second attempt at its impressive 3D V-Cache tech, which has already proven itself as a huge asset for PC gamers. Combine that with the boost in performance the Zen 4 architecture already provides, and the Ryzen 7 7800X3D is by far the fastest gaming CPU you can buy.
It’s not too expensive, either. It launched at $450, but you can commonly find it now for between $350 and $370. That’s a great deal considering it can often beats newer flagships like Intel’s Core i9-14900K in gaming performance.
Best PC case: Hyte Y40
From the moment it launched, the Hyte Y60 has been the go-to PC case for those Instagram-worthy PC builds. But Hyte still went back to the drawing board to create something better, and that PC case is the Hyte Y40. It takes everything that made the Y60 so great and pushes it further, creating a smaller PC case that somehow has more room inside.
It sounds counterintuitive, but the Y40 ditches the fish tank-like design of the Y60 while maintaining the vertical GPU mount and dual chamber design. Hyte finds space savings elsewhere, trimming down the second chamber and the height of the case overall. It gives you more room in the front chamber where your components live, all while providing the same seamless build experience that the Y60 nailed.
Hyte took the opportunity to enhance this design, too. The Y40 is completely toolless, and it features specific cutouts for problems areas like the 8-pin CPU header. It’s the best PC case to build your next gaming rig in, as you can read about in our Hyte Y40 review.
Best monitor: Samsung Odyssey OLED G9
Samsung’s Odyssey OLED G9 isn’t for most people, but there isn’t another monitor that left an impression on us quite like Samsung’s behemoth did. It boasts the 49-inch 32:9 format that Samsung has carved out for itself with previous versions of the G9, but this year, it’s bolstered by QD-OLED.
That does a couple of things. First, OLED looks stunning. The Odyssey OLED G9 comes with the perfect black levels OLED is known for, offering the best HDR experience you can get out of a gaming monitor. Combined with the immersive 32:9 aspect ratio and scorching 240Hz refresh rate, the Odyssey OLED G9 provides the most immersive gaming experience money can buy.
OLED is also very thin, making the Odyssey OLED G9 feel much more manageable compared to previous versions. It’s razor-thin, giving you some room to actually place the monitor on a desk. It’s still huge, but it’s much easier to justify compared to the previous versions with their chunky plastic backs.
Best gaming laptop: Lenovo Legion 9i
We very rarely see a gaming laptop that is absolutely stunning. We see updates from the old guard each year that swap components and make minor changes to design. The Lenovo Legion 9i is one of those monumental leaps for portable gaming, though. It earned a perfect score in our Lenovo Legion 9i review, and for good reason.
It’s an expensive laptop, but Lenovo makes the price feel justified. You’re getting desktop-replacement levels of performance, but the Legion 9i isn’t built like a desktop replacement. It’s a 16-inch laptop that’s surprisingly portable, due in no small part to the integrated liquid cooling system Lenovo employs. That portability is bolstered by an included USB-C charger that allows you to top off the laptop without lugging around the massive power brick.
If you have the money to spare, the Lenovo Legion 9i is the laptop to buy. However, we also reviewed the Lenovo Legion Pro 5 this year, which is a midrange laptop that also deserves a nod in this roundup.
Best keyboard: Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96
Asus is doing something special with its gaming keyboards. There’s an audible cringe among mechanical keyboard enthusiasts when gaming keyboards are brought up in conversation, but Asus has been rewriting that narrative with keyboards like the ROG Strix Scope II 96.
It comes with the trimmings of a gaming keyboard — three connection modes and per-key RGB among them — but Asus builds on that foundation with hot-swappable switches and board foam. A little bit of foam in the board is inexpensive and does wonders to enhance the sound and feel of a keyboard. Most gaming keyboard brands haven’t realized that, but Asus sure has.
It’s a pricey option at $180, but compared to the keyboards its competing with, the ROG Strix Scope II 96 is the clear frontrunner. If you’re shopping sales or willing to spend a bit more, the ROG Azoth is an enhanced version of the Strix Scope II 96 that’s even more impressive.
Best headphones: Sony InZone Buds
We’ve seen half a dozen sets of gaming earbuds this year, but none of them are as impressive as Sony’s InZone Buds. They’re true wireless earbuds tuned for gaming and fit with a low latency 2.4GHz connection, but that’s not what makes them special. It’s that the InZone Buds come from Sony, which already makes some of the best wireless earbuds money can buy.
Sound quality is excellent, which is only furthered by Sony’s world-class active noise cancellation (ANC). It’s some of the best we’ve tested, and that’s compared to mainstream wireless earbuds. Sony’s are just tuned for gaming, offering that critical low-latency connection to keep you in the game.