The mainstream popularity of gaming PCs has exploded in recent years. Sure, gaming desktop there are plenty of people who won’t abandon their beloved consoles, but a large number of gaming enthusiasts have been shifting their attention. Why, though?
For starters, PC games are normally cheaper and the breadth of available titles is truly astounding. 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 unique independent games and VR titles. No matter your penchant and preferences, you’re always guaranteed to find something that matches your mood.
Gaming PCs also deliver impressive graphics that easily rival those of next-gen Xbox and Playstation consoles (and can even outperform them with the right parts). They’re even compatible with a variety of controller options; you can use anything from a keyboard and mouse to a steering wheel and joystick. Best of all, PCs can easily be modified. That’s right, you have the power to continually alter your computer to ensure an up-to-date, industry-standard gaming experience.
One of the pain points of buying a gaming PC is building it, though. It can get expensive and confusing once you realize how many different parts you have to pick out. Luckily, you can buy ones that are pre-built, and we want to help you find the best one for you.
You’ll still have to get familiar with which parts make for a great PC setup though, The games
You’ll want to consider the games you play when purchasing a pre-built gaming PC. That’s because they’ll dictate the components you’ll need or want — be it a super-fast processor, high-end graphics card, etcetera. If possible, try to think about additional games you may play in the future. That way you’ll have a system that’s as future-proof as you need it to be. CPU and cooling
You’ll find that a lot of higher-end gaming computers are equipped with multiple-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 pre-built PC for gaming, cores aren’t the only thing to prioritize. Many gamers suggest cutting back a little and putting your resources towards improved graphics or better solid-state drives to ensure a more balanced gaming PC. A good cooling system is also crucial, as it’ll keep your computer from overheating when pushed to its limits. 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 more quickly, and typically run more quietly. 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. Ideally, a mixture of both is best, with a smaller SSD complemented by a chunky HDD. Memory
RAM is certainly another important component of your gaming PC. That’s because games can actually be taxing on memory. Therefore, 8GB of RAM is the absolute minimum you want in a pre-built gaming PC. We say aim for around 16GB, but the more the merrier. This will help improve your computer’s overall performance and curb any potential bottleneck. Graphics
There’s no denying that good graphics are essential to the gaming experience. More expensive computers typically come with higher-end graphics cards, but don’t worry if you can’t afford a pricier model. Most pre-built gaming PCs still provide mid-range graphic cards, and allow for the ability to upgrade to a better one in the future. And if you’re a person who never changes the default settings on your computer, it shouldn’t matter too much. Audio and communications
Many of today’s most popular games are designed with surround sound. Thankfully, the vast majority of pre-built 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 and 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 work well. Ability to upgrade
When buying a pre-built 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 that than purchase an entirely new computer. Therefore, you’ll want to buy a PC that allows you to access parts like the motherboard, CPU, GPU, and RAM. Budget
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 relatively high-end system with top-notch specs like multi-core GPUs and a minimum of two drives (either hard or solid-state).
Now that you know what to look out for, it’s time to take a look at our picks.
Credit: Corsair / mashable photo composite
SpecsCPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900XGPU: GeForce RTX 3080Storage: 2TB SSDRAM: 32GB
While some gaming PCs look a little over the top, the Corsair One a200(Opens in a new tab) is sleek, classy yet super powerful. It offers an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X processor, a GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card, 2TB of storage, and 32GB of RAM. The 3080 GPU combined with the processor and RAM quantity, won’t have any issues running your favorite games, even at high settings. It’ll easily play VR games, too, if you have a relevant VR headset.
Thanks to Corsair’s well-designed tower, it’s whisper-quiet, so you won’t be distracted by loud fans while you play. With support for up to four 4K displays, it’s the ideal centerpiece for a fantastic gaming setup.
Credit: Lenovo / mashable photo composite
SpecsCPU: Intel Core i9-11900KGPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTXStorage: 1 TB SSDRAM: 64GB
If you want a solid spec setup from the jump without having to upgrade right away, the Lenovo Legion 5i(Opens in a new tab) is a tower you’re going to want to consider. It offers great internals for the price point — an Intel Core i9-11900K processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics card, 1 TB of SSD storage space, and 64GB of RAM. You won’t have trouble running demanding games, especially if you go through the trouble of optimizing your settings when you boot up (which you should always do, anyway).
While the value is already great out of the box, the Legion 5i is prime for upgrading and keeping up to date as new components come out. As an added bonus, the tower comes with customizable RGB lighting, and runs relatively quietly.
Credit: asus / mashable photo composite
SpecsCPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3000 SeriesGPU: GeForce RTX 2080 TiStorage: 2TBRAM: 16GB
If your budget is virtually limitless, then the Asus ROG Strix G35DX(Opens in a new tab) is the system for you. It has an incredibly powerful and fast AMD Ryzen 9 3000 series processor, 16GB of RAM, and 2TB of storage. It also has a very powerful graphics card in the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, That’s not the latest card anymore but while the GeForce RTX 30-series isn’t yet widely available in gaming PCs, it’s still a fantastic alternative and will serve you well for many years (plus, you can upgrade your tower if you happen to get your hands on a coveted 3080).
Throw in a top-tier cooling system, plenty of RGB lighting, a carry handle for LAN play, and hot-swappable SSD bays, and you’ve got a system ideal for the hardcore gamer with a hefty budget.
Credit: Hp / mashable photo composite
SpecsCPU: AMD Ryzen 7GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060Storage: 512GB SSDRAM: 16GB
If all you care about is resolution and graphics, the HP Omen 45L(Opens in a new tab) is a beast of a machine that’ll have all of your games looking in tip-top shape. That’s thanks to what’s under the hood — an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card, an AMD Ryzen 7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a speedy 512GB SSD. At this price, it puts you in a great position to not only upgrade in the future, but start running demanding games right away.