While gaming desktops might be a bit more complicated than the Xbox Series X and the PS5, buying a pre-built desktop computer isn’t too different from buying a new console especially with us to help guide you. Whether you’re looking for a low-power rig for DoTA or the most powerful machine on the market, there’s a PC out there for you. If you’re not ready for the time commitment and frustration that comes with building a rig yourself, plus the headache of build components coming in and out of stock, buying a pre-built can give you a great starting point. There’s always the option to further upgrade with a new processor, memory, or storage.
If you want the best possible looking games, there are still reasons to buy a gaming PC. The gaming consoles currently on the market may offer some of the best in 4K gaming, but you can just get more raw graphical power packed into a gaming desktop. If you opt for a machine with a graphics card from Nvidia’s RTX 30 lineup like the RTX 3080 Ti or RTX 3090 this power can really be seen. – and click here to find our picks in the UK.
TL;DR – These are the Best Gaming PCs
1. Asus ROG Strix GA15 G15
Best Gaming PC
This pre-built Asus gaming PC is going to help you forget there’s been an absurd barrier to getting graphics cards in the last year. That’s because this $1,900 PC comes packed with some seriously solid components on top of an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card–that would probably account for more than half the cost of this build if you were to buy it on the secondhand market.
Humming along right beside that RTX 3070 is an Intel Core i7-11700F processor with 16GB of RAM. In other words, you’re going to have plenty of muscle to handle whatever kind of gaming you want to throw at this system. Whether you’re targeting high framerates at 1080p or even some 4K play, this rig is well built for the task. Asus even fitted the rig with plenty of storage, giving you 512GB of high-speed NVMe storage to run the OS and your favorite games as well as a 1TB hard drive for your expanded library
2. HP Omen Gaming Desktop
Best Budget Gaming PC
HP has brought some compelling value thanks to the Omen Gaming Desktop. If you’re on the AMD side of the market, this is the gaming PC you’ll want to snag. It’s actually just slightly cheaper than the Asus ROG Strix GA15 G15 we’ve recommended, so if you don’t care about platforms, then stick with that one for the upgraded graphics card. But, if you want serious processing cores at a great price, then this is the machine for you.
The HP Omen Gaming Desktop comes kitted out with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X octa-core processor that’s paired with an Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti. There’s a great deal of performance potential in these components. With a 1TB NVMe SSD drive inside this rig, you’ll get to have all of your games loading at the fastest speeds. Plus, the super solid liquid cooling system should protect the desktop from overheating and keep everything running smoothly. At just 6.5 inches wide, this PC also doesn’t have to take up a huge chunk of space on your desk either.
3. Zotac Zbox Magnus One
Best Compact Gaming PC
Making a gaming PC isn’t as hard as it might seem, but building a compact gaming PC is a serious challenge. Even veteran builders can struggle with getting everything to fit right while keeping an eye on important details like airflow. Somehow, Zotac has been able to do just that. The Zotac Zbox Magnus One delivers an incredibly compact gaming PC that’s loaded with all the performance you need for competitive gaming.
The Zotac Zbox Magnus One comes with an Intel Core i7-10700 processor with 16GB of RAM and pairs that with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070. Whether you’re trying to game at 1080p and 1440p with high frame rates or 4K with stunning graphics, you’ll find this rig up the task. Plus, it’s got plenty of storage for your favorite games. All of that comes in a chassis that takes up less than a third of a cubic foot. It’s perfect if you’re looking to pack a ton of power within a small space.
4. Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10
Best High-End Gaming PC
If you’re ready to throw down some serious cash for one of the most capable gaming desktops money can buy, there isn’t really a much better option than the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Editon R10. This rig comes loaded with an octa-core AMD processor and Nvidia’s RTX 3080 graphics. Not only will you be able to enjoy true 4K 60fps PC gaming, but you’ll also be able to squeeze out quality ray tracing effects from this gaming desktop’s GPU without having to greatly sacrifice frame rate.
Of course, those are just the base specs. Dell allows for some seriously impressive upgrades, including a bump to the 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X and up to 128GB of memory. With all this graphical and processing power, the Alienware Aurora is easily capable of providing a solid gaming experience and could also serve as a solid video production machine. Alternatively, this gaming desktop could easily serve as a streaming PC without any noticeable hit on its gaming prowess if you max it out. High-end gamers will be able to get a lot out of this highly customizable machine.
5. Dell XPS Tower Special Edition
Best Sleeper Gaming PC
If you prefer a gaming PC with a more unassuming design, the Dell XPS Tower Special Edition puts powerful gaming hardware into a sleek-but-simple chassis, so no one will know you’re not using it for work. It comes kitted with a plenty powerful Intel Core i7-10700 CPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti. That means it’ll handle even high-end gaming just fine, but Dell also lets you customize your rig to include up to an i9-10900K and RTX 3070.
The case is surprisingly compact, but it still boasts four USB 3.1 ports (including one Type-C) on the front panel, six USB ports around the back, as well as a full-size SD card reader and an optical disk drive. What’s more, you get a tool-less design similar to the Alienware Aurora for super easy upgrades. There are 3 PCIe slots to add graphics cards, sound cards, and more to even further customize your machine. If you want a rig that doesn’t look like a typical gaming PC, the reserved Dell XPS Tower line is a great option.
6. Maingear Turbo
Best Mini Gaming PC
Want a gaming PC that will make people do a double-take? The Maingear Turbo might be the one to do just that. This compact PC may look fairly unassuming given its small stature and muted design, but a quick peek through the tempered glass side panel will show off what makes this machine purr.
Inside, you’ll find an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X processor with a 240mm liquid cooler mounted onto it. Therefore, you’ll have tons of performance potential with 12 cores and little worry over overheating. Also, you’ll be getting 32GB of RAM running at a fast 3,600MHz. And, the coup de grâce is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics processor inside. This combination of hardware will let your compact PC handle just about any gaming demands you have for it, including smooth 4K gaming. This machine is also customizable, so you can pick and choose what it comes loaded with.
7. MSI Trident 3
Best Console-Style Prebuilt PC for Your Living Room
Consoles have had the advantage over gaming PCs for their ability to easily slot into media centers and TV stands. This has made them an easy addition to living rooms for gaming, but the MSI Trident 3 turns the tables. This compact gaming PC is built to be your living room’s new best friend. The MSI Trident 3 comes in at just 3.8 inches thick, 13.9 inches tall, and 9.9 inches deep. What’s that smaller than? A PlayStation 5.
You’ll find a hefty dose of high-performance hardware inside this PC as well. There’s the capable, six-core Intel Core i5-11400F processor paired with 16GB of DDR4 memory to readily handle most games. Meanwhile, the RTX 3060 inside will offer up great visuals. If you’re using an older 1080p TV, you’ll be golden, but you can still use this with 4K TVs, switch to ultra-wide modes on TVs that support it to lower the resolution and get higher speeds or rely on the DLSS that the RTX 3060 can support. This experience is nearly indistinguishable from native 4K without the same performance hit of that higher resolution.
8. Corsair Vengeance a7200 Series Gaming PC
Best Streaming Gaming PC
If you’re planning to game and stream on the same machine, you’re going to need a lot of horsepower under the hood. The Corsair Vengeance a7200 Series brings it. Like the Intel-based Vengeance i7200, this model comes built into a Corsair 4000D Airflow case for phenomenal airflow to keep your system cool even under pressure, not to mention the computer comes with a bunch of fans.
In this configuration, Corsair is including a water-cooler AMD Ryzen 9 5900X with plenty of cores to handle your gaming and streaming at the same time. Meanwhile, the RTX 3080 Ti can deliver exceptional graphics in your games and even help facilitate your streaming with Nvidia ShadowPlay. There’s plenty of storage and memory on board as well, letting you keep a large game library and run a handful of background programs while you game.
Where to Get the Best Gaming PC in the UK
Getting your gaming PC prebuilt can save a lot of time and hassle for you, and this is still the case no matter where you are in the world. We’ve cheated a little bit with this, as plenty of the options on our list are available to purchase and shipped to the UK. Newegg, for example, will ship several brilliant pre-builds, all the way from the US to the UK. Costs for shipping, and the PCs in general, are low, so you shouldn’t have any worries going forward.
What to Look For in a Gaming PC
Below we go over the basic specifications you should prioritize when buying a gaming PC and how to get the most of your purchase of a prebuilt rig. We also explain a few alternative options you might find of interest as well.
Prebuilts are the most surefire way of getting into gaming and arguably the most cost-effective hardware you can buy. When buying a system, you’re not only getting the hardware inside but time savings of having to track down the best processor to best RAM for your system and putting it all together yourself and praying it actually boots up correctly.
That said, just like building your own PC you want to make sure you’re spending your money where it’s needed most. Firstly, you should prioritize you’re getting the graphics card you need for the gaming monitor or the 4K TV you’re gaming on. There’s no need for anything better than an Nvidia GTX 1660 if you’re just playing games on a 1080p display.
Likewise, you should only need an Intel Core i5 or Ryzen 5 processor with at least four cores to play most modern games comfortably at any resolution.
System memory and solid-state drives can be the biggest money sink for any system. Those comfortable with upgrading their system after it arrives should choose a configuration with the smallest storage and RAM capacities possible, as buying these components yourself can often be more cost-effective.
If that last suggestion resonates with you, perhaps a barebones system is what you seek. Barebones PCs can be much cheaper since they come with all the major hardware—such as the CPU, GPU, and power supply—installed, but they usually lack storage, memory, and an operating system as a trade-off.
Lastly, if you want more control over what exactly is going into your build, go with a boutique PC builder. Origin, Maingear, DigitalStorm, Falcon Northwest, PC Specialist, and many more companies offer excellent PC building services that let you pick exactly which components go into your gaming PC. From there, they build your system with the sort of cable management some can only dream of while ensuring it all works properly out of the box.
In case this all sounds a little overwhelming to you, NZXT has its own PC building service called BLD. Instead of picking every part that will go into your PC, you chose the games you’ll actually play and the service gives you several configuration options that will be able to run the games for a smooth experience.
Similarly, iBuyPower offers an Easy Builder service that operates in very much the same fashion. Users can select games that they play from a small pool that includes Fortnite, GTA V, Apex Legends, WoW, League of Legends, Overwatch, and Battlefield V. From there, users can select whether they play at a 1080p or 1440p resolution, as well as their budget and the system, will spit back a few configurations to choose from.
Beyond choosing the components you need, prebuilt PC’s come with several features and pieces of software you might find convenient. Many gaming PCs in this category come with some sort of overclocking support and even a one-click button to boost your system’s performance. Of course, it’s easy enough to download a piece of overclocking software like MSI Afterburner or EVGA Precision X. Additionally, your machine may come with system monitoring software that makes downloading and updating drivers a breeze.
Life after purchase
Another important thing you’ll want to keep in mind when buying a prebuilt desktop is how easy is it to upgrade down the line.
Most PC manufacturers have figured out users absolutely hate proprietary parts. While you might still find no-name motherboards installed into the hearth of your PC, they should all at least fall in line with the standard size and layout of Mini ITX or Micro ATX motherboards. The best gaming PCs should allow you to easily swap out the CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage on your system with just a few simple tools or just a screwdriver.
Better yet, systems that tout tool-less upgradability don’t require you to undo screws or anything to replace any of the major components. One of the things you’ll likely find on most modern chassis are thumbscrews, which can be removed after a few quick twists with your fingers rather than a screwdriver. Additionally, tool-less SSD and hard drive caddies make expanding and replacing your storage just a little bit easier.
Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam
Mark Knapp is a regular contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark