Best Gaming Desktops

Last Update: September 9, 2021

Best Gaming Desktops

Although many people like gaming laptops, if you are a game enthusiast, you must buy a gaming desktop!

Whether it’s sound, color, or gaming experience, it’s even better. And its price is more affordable.

With the advent of exciting new games such as Doom Eternal and Outer Worlds, it’s important to get the best gaming desktops with the latest and greatest components.

If you want to assemble a gaming desktop, you have more options, whether it’s Intel, AMD or Nvidia.

The only question is how to assemble a gaming desktop that suits you?

So we made this guide, and you can give you more choices whether you want to spend or save.

How We Test The Best Gaming Desktops

In our search to find the best gaming PC, we run every model we review through a standardized gauntlet of real-world and benchmark tests, in order to measure how each desktop stacks up as both a gaming machine and as an everyday computer.

As far as hard numbers go, we currently run the framerate benchmark utilities for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Far Cry: New Dawn, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Middle-earth: Shadow of War at 1920 x 1080 with graphics maxed out, as well as at 2560 x 1440 and 4K if a system allows for it. On top of that, we play tons of graphics-intensive games in order to give you a sense of how these gaming desktops hold up anecdotally.

In terms of synthetic tests, we run a gamut of benchmarks that include 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra (for graphics) and Geekbench 4 and 5 (for processor performance). We also run the SteamVR Performance Test on all of our machines to evaluate how ready they are for virtual reality. To test a system’s hard drive, we measure how fast each PC can copy 4.97GB worth of multimedia files.

Things to Know Before Choosing The Gaming Desktops

To ensure you’re queueing up for the best gaming PC possible, we’ve tested the latest gaming PCs from most major brands and builders to see who’s is the fastest, offers the best build quality, and delivers the best service.

All you need to be concerned about in deciding on a pre-built rig below is making sure the spec sheet touts a perfect balance of price and performance. Ideally, your gaming PC will have one of the best graphics cards and the best CPUs for gaming, but there’s something for everyone out there.

Most Important: Consider the Graphics Card

Most gaming systems will come preinstalled with a single midrange or high-end graphics card; higher-priced systems will naturally have better cards, since purchase price typically correlates with animation performance and visual quality. AMD and Nvidia make the graphics processors, or GPUs, that go into these cards, which are made by third parties such as Asus, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, PowerColor, Sapphire, and XFX (to name just a few).

Our gaming-desktop reviews will let you know if there is room in the system’s case for adding more graphics cards, in case you want to improve your gaming performance in the future. Most boutique manufacturers, however, will sell systems equipped with multiple-card arrays if you want to run games at their best right away. AMD calls its multiple-card technology CrossFireX, and Nvidia calls its solution Scalable Link Interface (SLI).

Power And Speed

The lifeforce of your gaming desktop is its processor. How powerful it is determines how well your machine performs. Technology advances every year, so you’ll want to find a machine with a processor that meets your needs now … and one that could be upgraded later as needed.

  • Power: You’re going to want a CPU with at least a dual-core processor. Multi-tasking and competitive gaming shouldn’t be a problem here. That said, keep in mind that intensive games require more power and that a user running a dual-core processor would likely need to upgrade sooner than later. Buying a machine packaged with a quad-core processor or higher will set you up with a much more robust gaming experience.
  • Speed: The faster the processor, the more processes it can run at any given time. High processing speeds (measured in GHz) translate to quicker access to memory and better multitasking capabilities, both of which can improve your gaming experience.

Gaming Desktops Memory

There are two types of memory you’ll need to look at when choosing a gaming desktop; both types play a role in the performance of the machine.

  • Storage (HDD or SSD): This is basically how much space your computer has to store games and files. If you’re a serious gamer and plan on downloading lots and lots of games, think big here. Increasing HDD storage is straightforward, and it can be built internally and externally.
  • RAM: Random access memory refers to how much space your machine has to store files for short-term use. Essentially, your computer will store files it thinks it needs in the near future, so when it’s time to access a file, it can do so instantly. This is important for short load times as well as speedy gameplay.

Our Top Picks:

1. Alienware Aurora R10

Alienware Aurora R10

It took a while to come, but Alienware finally listened and created an AMD-focused line of its popular Aurora machines. The latest edition, the Aurora Ryzen Edition R10, delivers the latest AMD Zen 3, Ryzen 5000-series CPUs, and Nvidia’s high-performance RTX 30-series graphics cards.

This is also one of the few places you might be able to find yourself an AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT, too—the red team GPU actually capable of going toe-to-toe with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080.

The latest AMD Ryzen processors are exemplary in terms of both performance and price, with the Ryzen 9 5900X, in particular, being a spectacular chip not just for productivity but for gaming too.

The different configurations start at $1,080, for which you get a six-core Ryzen 5 5600X alongside a Radeon RX 5300. We’d recommend upgrading the graphics to a GeForce GTX 1660 Super for less than $30 extra so that you can nail 1080p gaming in that sleek Alienware chassis.

Like the other Aurora cases, it’s not necessarily the easiest to upgrade due to its bespoke design, but as a first machine, the R10 will not do you wrong. And given the general component drought right now, the fact that you can bag an all-AMD Alienware machine with just a month lead time is actually pretty great.

Pros /Cons
  • AMD CPU + Nvidia GPU combo
  • Ton of USB ports
  • After sales care
  • Noisy
  • Divisive case design

2. Corsair Vengeance i7200

Corsair Vengeance i7200

The Corsair Vengeance i7200 doesn’t cost nearly as much as some of its competitors, but it still gives you access to some of the most powerful hardware on the market. That’s because the Vengeance i7200 comes in a plain-looking case, and doesn’t include any peripherals. But if you prefer substance to style, this is probably the right gaming PC for you. With CPUs up to an Intel Core i9-10850K and GPUs up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090, you can make a beast of a machine — if you can pay for it.

Apart from that, the Vengeance i7200 features beautiful RGB lighting, a tasteful glass side panel and extremely quiet fans. That makes it a good productivity tool in addition to a gaming powerhouse. Whether you game in QHD or 4K, there’s almost certainly a Vengeance i7200 build that will work with your setup.

Pros /Cons
  • Powerful, gaming-oriented hardware
  • Flashy, customizable lighting effects
  • Relatively low price
  • Boxy, old-fashioned case design
  • Doesn’t include peripherals

3. MSI Trident 3 10th

MSI Trident 3 10th

Gaming PCs are magical things, aren’t they? They come in all shapes and sizes and can be some of the most powerful pieces of technology on the market, or just scrape by with the minimum. The fact that you can pick up an entry-level prebuilt gaming PC like the MSI Trident 3 10th and upgrade it at a later date with more powerful hardware means that you can continually keep up to date – but sometimes the “entry level” is a bit too low.

The MSI Trident 3 10th that was sent to TechRadar for review is the bare minimum spec, packed with an Intel Core i5-10400F, an Nvidia GTX 1650 Super, and just a 1TB hard drive. We can’t find this model listed anywhere, but once it does make its way to stores, it will start at $879 (about £690, AU$1,240). Considering the version with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super, the same processor, but paired with a way faster 512GB SSD will set you back $999 (about £780, AU$1,406), that’s the model we’d recommend. It is $120 (about £90, AU$170) more, but the experience will be so much better with that SSD.

Fortunately, this is also one of the smallest gaming PCs we’ve ever used. When you lay the computer down on its side, similar to a console, it’s only a bit taller than the PS4 Pro, not as deep and just a bit wider. All told, it’s just 2.83 inches tall and has a similar footprint to any console other than the Nintendo Switch. The days where you need a giant tower to partake in a bit of PC gaming are over with the MSI Trident 3 10th.

Pros /Cons
  • Esports-ready performance
  • Small form-factor
  • Subdued design
  • Plenty of front-facing ports
  • Entry level model runs off a hard drive
  • Not easily user-serviceable

4. Maingear Vybe 2020

Maingear Vybe 2020

Do you strictly need to spend more than $5,000 on a gaming PC? No, but you can, and you’ll get a luxurious experience. The Maingear Vybe is a gorgeous desktop thanks to options for automotive paint and a minimalistic design. And with its Apex liquid cooling, it’s stunningly quiet.

That’s even when running an overclocked Intel Core i9-10900K at 5.3 GHz. Between that chip and an RTX 2080 Ti, the system provides incredible gaming performance.

One big area you may want to configure differently is our review unit, which used a budget Intel 665P SSD, but you can make this thing to order, including AMD Ryzen options.

If you prefer something a bit smaller that’s still a splurge, the Maingear Turbo has the same build quality, though you can only get it with Ryzen CPUs.

Pros /Cons
  • Extremely quiet operation
  • Stunning aesthetics
  • Ample front-panel connectivity
  • Expensive as configured
  • Odd choice of boot drive

5. Dell G5 Gaming Desktop

Dell G5 Gaming Desktop

Away from 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.

Pros /Cons
  • Incredibly affordable
  • Compact form
  • Great entry-to-mid level builds
  • Reliable manufacturer
  • Base models are a bit light touch

6. Corsair One i160

Corsair One i160

  • CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Storage: 480GB SSD + 2TB HDD

Our highest pre-installed gaming desktop is the new Corsair One i160.

It’s still a small computer, but with the latest hardware, improved internal layout, and other minor changes.

As before, its CPU and GPU still use a separate liquid cooling solution, and all hot air is still exhausted through a single 140 mm magnetic suspension fan.

But now its PSU is located under the motherboard, and some USB ports have been relocated on the front of the chassis.

In addition, it has two other configurations, the i140 model and the i180 model, which are available in different configurations and at different prices. You can buy it according to your needs.

All in all, the latest Corsair One is a stylish, powerful gaming desktop.

Pros /Cons
  • Slim, minimalist footprint
  • Extremely powerful
  • Outstanding performance
  • Beautiful design
  • Upgradable, but tricky to access some components
  • Very expensive

7. CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme

CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-9400F | GPU: GTX 1660 6GB | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB HDD 7200RPM + 128GB SSD

If you want to buy a powerful gaming desktop with a limited budget, don’t miss the CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme, which sells for less than $1000.

It is equipped with Intel Core i5-9400F and Nvidia GTX 1660, it is an excellent PC, although its configuration is not comparable to other competing products, but considering its low price, it is still worth the money.

In addition, it is an excellent office tool that can handle a large number of files and run a variety of complex graphics software.

You spend less money, but you can buy a business office, entertainment and leisure PC, why not?

Pros /Cons
  • Affordable
  • Runs very cool out of the box
  • Cost-effective
  • Limited SSD storage

8. HP Omen Desktops

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  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8700 – i7-9700K | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti – RTX 2080 Ti | RAM: Up to 64GB | Storage: 1TB HDD – 512GB SSD + 2TB HDD

In the field of electronic technology, HP has a long history and professional knowledge. Omen Desktop has given us a lot of surprises in the field of games.

It has a high-end RTX card and has a rugged CPU (and 16GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD and 2TB of HDD), but it still costs less than $2,000.

This also reflects the pragmatic nature of HP’s unpretentious nature!

You won’t find a well-designed liquid cooling system or a huge RGB lighting kit, but its quality and performance are definitely worthy of recognition.

In addition, the HP Omen desktop computer is designed to be tool-free and upgradeable. There is no doubt that this is one of our best gaming desktops.

Pros /Cons
  • Powerful components
  • Highly upgradable
  • Designed to remove needless frills and keep costs low
  • Not the best looking PC

9. ASRock Deskmini GTX Z370

ASRock Deskmini GTX Z370

  • CPU: Support for Intel 8th Generation (Coffee Lake) LGA 1151 Celeron, Pentium, and Core Processors | GPU: Up to Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (MXM) | RAM: Up to 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-2666 SODIMM | Storage: Varying M.2 and SATA options

This is a PC based on the Z370 platform, one of the most powerful and versatile systems in its class.

It supports the eighth generation (Coffee Lake) Intel desktop processor, GTX 1060 or GTX 1080 graphics card option, which is the largest storage PC with the highest capacity ratio we have ever seen.

In addition, its black steel and aluminum structure base and clean and tidy appearance have become a miracle.

If you need a small computer with a very small size and like to build your own PC, the new Z370 Deskmini is definitely worth the money.

Pros /Cons
  • Incredibly small
  • Ample storage capabilities
  • DIY friendly
  • Limited USB connectivity

10. Dell XPS Tower Special Edition

Dell XPS Tower Special Edition

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-9400 – i9-9900 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti – RTX 2080 | RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4-2666 | Storage: 256GB – 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD + 1TB – 2TB 7200 RPM HDD

Like most pre-built PCs from Dell (and its subsidiary Alienware), XPS Tower Special Edition can be configured in a variety of ways depending on your needs and budget.

However, even the lowest configuration is a VR-enabled PC with enough features to guide you through the dawn of the next generation of games.

Its minimum configuration is the Core i5-9400 and GTX 1050 Ti, which, despite its amazing power consumption, is capable of handling most modern games at 1080p mid-high settings.

We tested the Special Edition, which is built on the 9th generation processor and is not only great for games, but also increases productivity.

If you want a simple-looking gaming desktop, then the XPS Special Edition is definitely our first choice.

Pros /Cons
  • Highly configurable
  • Sleek minimal look
  • SD reader + USB Type-C on front panel
  • LIght on frills

TIPS

  • When it comes to ports, USB Type-C and Thunderbolt ports are the way to go with a gaming desktop. These allow users to benefit from faster transfer speeds, and both are compatible with 4K or 5K monitoring.
  • If you want the best gaming experience, connect your gaming desktop to a large monitor, not a TV. Though a television would work, it’s not the optimal choice due to refresh rates and latency issues.
  • If you’re serious about PC gaming, you should consider having a multi-monitor setup. With more than one monitor, you enjoy a wider viewing range, and you can also use the setup to monitor important information like gaming maps (if the game allows), walkthrough information, and chat rooms while streaming.

FAQs

Can gaming PCs be used for work?

Most definitely. Manufacturers like HP recognize that gamers don’t just play games — office workers want to stay entertained during their downtime, too. All that’s needed to play games is a capable processor, a strong enough discrete graphics card, and enough memory to keep the entire system running smoothly.

If you’re looking to save money by using one desktop for gaming and for your productivity tasks, you’ll want to choose a PC or one of the best laptops with more understated aesthetics that will blend in better with your office decor. Once you have the right PC selected, just pick out a few games and have fun.

Is PC gaming dying?

Absolutely not. With sales of general-purpose desktops stagnating in recent years, manufacturers like HP and Lenovo are investing more resources into their gaming brands to fuel growth.

With new hardware features supported on gaming PCs — from VR and augmented reality to real-time ray tracing — developers will have plenty of new technologies to leverage in order to tell visually engaging stories through their games. According to market research from Newzoo, $1 of every $4 spent on games was done on a PC.

Do gaming desktops play DVDs or Blu-ray?

Many, but not all, gaming PCs come with a DVD read/write drive. Since games today are often downloaded directly to the machine from the internet, however, you might not need this feature. If it turns out you want something like a Blu-ray player, you could always purchase it separately and install it yourself.