The best gaming PCs that have gone through our labs are pre-builts that impressed.
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When shopping for a new gaming PC, it’s important to have a goal in mind. If you need your system to provide excellent framerates in AAA games at 1920 x 1080, you won’t need the absolute best (and most expensive) GPU and/or processor on the market. But if you want to play at 2560 x 1440 or 4K, then you need to start thinking about saving more for your rig. CPU horsepower is also similarly tied to gaming acumen but branching out into anything over a quad-core processor will primarily see performance gains in multi-threaded workloads such as video processing, rendering, and encoding, not games.
Storage and memory capacity are also prime considerations that can push the price of a gaming PC high rather quickly. Solid-state storage devices (SSDs) offer huge strides in performance and load times in games, especially when compared to older hard disk drives (HDDs) with mechanical parts, but they also cost more money for less storage capacity. If you’re a gamer, having a moderate-sized SSD as a primary partition (512GB or so) with a sizable HDD (two or more terabytes) is a good place to start.
Power is also an important factor when choosing a PC. Does the PSU offer enough juice to cover the hardware inside? (In most cases, the answer is yes, but there are some exceptions, particularly if you intend to overclock.) Additionally, note if the PSU will offer enough power for future upgrades to GPUs and other components. Case size and expansion options vary drastically between our picks.
Aesthetic value and form factor should also be considered when buying. If you want your case to shine as bright as the sun or to fit in your living room entertainment center, there are options out there for either scenario–or both. Most boutique PC builders offer overclocking services to get the most possible performance out of your hardware, and if you aren’t versed in the art of overclocking these services are extremely helpful.
For most people though, budget plays the biggest role in a desktop buying decision. You can sometimes find good deals on big-box desktops when they go on sale, but you’ll be stuck with the components chosen by the likes of HP, Lenovo, or Dell. The beauty of a custom-built PC is that you can adjust the component configuration until it suits your needs and budget. We are happy, though, to see more builds coming with standardized parts than ever before, so you can upgrade them later on.
Gaming PC Configuration Tip
Most pre-built gaming PCs, including those on our list of the best, come in multiple configurations. While we list the ones we reviewed, others may be better for you.
Best Gaming PCs You Can Buy Today
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1. MSI MEG Trident X
The Best Mainstream Gaming PC
CPU: Intel Core i7-10700K | GPU: MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Ventus OC | RAM: 32GB Samsung DDR4-2933 | Storage: 1TB Western Digital PC SN730 PCIe NVMe SSD