Picking up the best gaming PC saves you the time and hassle of building your own. While it is satisfying to build your gaming rig with your own hands with parts you sourced on your own, DIYers has had a rough year seeing that key hardware components like CPUs and GPUs are nearly impossible to track due to the global tech supply crisis.
These days the best way to get a hold of a discrete graphics card is by ordering yourself a pre-built online. This beats standing in line outside of a Best Buy at seven in the morning for an RTX 30-series GPU. System builders like Corsair, Alienware, and Lenovo will have an easier time securing these much sought-after parts. Though, it would be best if you prepared yourself for some pretty long lead times (with some exceptions), around 3-4 weeks on average.
The systems below have all of the specs that strike the perfect balance of price and performance. Ideally, your gaming PC will have one of the best graphics cards and the best CPUs for gaming. Whether it’s 4K gaming or a decent 1080p system that’ll spit out a high frame rate for competitive gaming, there’s something for everyone.
We are currently putting Alienware’s Aurora desktops at the top because you can find a configuration for just about any budget while still being impressed by its overall performance. The sci-fi engine aesthetic isn’t for everyone, but we are big fans of it along with the bountiful amount of USB ports.
Corsair is another OEM that’s really stepped up its game as far prebuilts are concerned, offering desktops with pre-installed capture cards which are great for streamers and content creators.
To keep you up-to-date with the latest updates and products, we’re constantly testing the newest gaming PCs from most major brands and builders to see whose is the fastest, offers the best build quality, and delivers the best service.
Best gaming PCs
Our favorite Aurora R10 config:
Ryzen 7 5800 | Radeon RX 6800 XT | 16GB DDR4-3200
If you thought Nvidia GPUs were tough to find, AMD’s GPUs are even rarer. But this config delivers both the latest 8-core Zen 3 CPU and the Radeon RX 6800 XT. That’s one of the best gaming processors around and probably the best graphics card AMD has ever created. Quite a combo.
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 Ryzen 5000-series CPUs and either Nvidia’s high-performance RTX 30-series or AMD’s RX 6000-series graphics cards.
This is one of the few places you might be able to find yourself an AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT, too—the red team GPU is 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, is a spectacular chip not just for productivity but also for gaming.
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 pretty great.
Our favorite Aurora R12 config:
Core i5 11400F | RTX 3060 Ti | 16GB DDR4-3200
This specific configuration of the new Alienware gaming PC will get you the impressive RTX 3060 Ti for a sub $2,000 price tag. You’ll also get a new Rocket Lake Core i5 11400F; that’s an impressively speedy gaming chip that doesn’t demand either crazy cooling or a heap of power. This pairing will deliver seriously high-end gaming performance without breaking the bank.
While the extra-terrestrial styling may not appeal to everyone, their performance remains undeniable. The freshly minted Aurora R12 uses the same compact design as its R9 and R10 forebears and gives the new Intel 11th Gen processors. Nvidia RTX 30-series GPUs have a home in Alienware’s Aurora chassis.
There are six different configurations of Comet Lake CPU to choose from: the Core i5 11400F, Core i5 11600KF, Core i7 11700F, Core i7 11700KF, Core i9 10900F, and Core i9 11900KF. They’re paired with Nvidia GPUs from the GTX 1650 Super up to the unfeasibly expensive RTX 3090. That gives you a range of Alienware gaming machines from reasonably affordable 1080p gaming right up to blistering 4K workload-smashing performance, and the Alienware AIO cooling system will help keep the cozy interior of the case at a reasonable temperature too.
Now, we’re not entirely sold on the high-end Rocket Lake 11th Gen CPUs, but the fact that Alienware is now offering the Core i5 11600KF in its Intel range is a great shout. Thanks to their Cypress Cove core architecture, the new Intel Core i5 chips make great gaming CPUs and would probably be our pick for a new Aurora R12 build.
We have played with the RTX 3090 version of the last-gen Aurora R10, sans liquid chilled GPU, and in gaming terms, you’re not going to get a lot higher frame rates than you would with the RTX 3080 build. That’s not a massive surprise given our testing of the RTX 3090 at launch; it only makes sense if you need that 24GB frame buffer for creative work.
The unconventional design of the case exploits every inch of its limited space but initially feels a bit awkward to tinker with. However, access to nearly every part of the PC without tools is a definite plus and expedites upgrades and maintenance. There’s an obvious priority on providing a convenient, premium product with some potential for upgrades, and the Aurora design accomplishes that goal.
The issue with all gaming PCs and parts right now is availability. And that’s currently hitting Alienware as hard as the rest. Picking up a new Aurora R12 rig today means you’re not going actually to receive it for a month at least.
Our favorite Corsair Vengeance config:
Ryzen 5 5600X | RTX 3070
The Vengeance a7200 machine comes with the latest hardware from AMD and Nvidia and will make for one supremely powerful gaming PC straight out of the box. This configuration comes with the outstanding hex-core Ryzen CPU, and Nvidia’s outstanding RTX 3070. You’ll also find 16GB of DDR4-3200 RAM and a 1TB SSD.
If you’re looking to kick start your career as the next big Twitch streamer, the last thing you need to worry about is letting down your audience because your broadcast crapped out in the middle of your epic Call of Duty: Warzone match. Enter the latest range of Corsair Vengeance gaming PCs.
This powerful AMD/RTX combo means that you’ll be able to play and stream most games without much trouble. What makes this system stand out is the optional inclusion of an Elgato 4K60 Pro capture card in the specific ‘Streaming’ machines. This allows for delay-free 4K gameplay footage capture from your gaming PC, consoles, or 4K camera via HDMI.
Since Corsair acquired Elgato, it now has access to some of the world’s best streaming hardware for its Vengeance rigs. Pair that with Corsair’s classic component quality, and you have a recipe for not only great gaming PCs but fantastic streaming rigs too. You’ve got to hand it to Corsair; it sure knows how to build a fine PC.
Read our full Corsair Vengeance A4100 review.
Our favorite HP Omen config:
Core i5 11400 | Nvidia RTX 3060
For under $1,200 you can grab this six-core, 12-thread Rocket Lake gaming PC, one that comes with a robust little Nvidia RTX 3060 with 12GB GDDR6 memory. The standard config comes with 8GB dual-channel memory, and a 256GB SSD, but there are configuration options galore to tweak, and we’d recommend taking a look at a 16GB memory spec with a larger SSD if you can afford it.
Hewlett Packard has been around since before the Second World War, and that historical expertise is evident in the design and construction of the Omen Obelisk. The Obelisk is highly customizable, starting with a GTX 1660 Super and Ryzen 5 3600 and reaching some top-class parts, including the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080. We received the original review unit packed an RTX 2080 and an 8th Gen Core i7 8700, but we’ve come a long way since then.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the Obelisk is the price tag. Despite the high-end RTX card and that rock-solid CPU (as well as 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and 2TB HDD), the Obelisks comes in just under $2,000. This is primarily due to HP trimming off all the non-essential frills that tend to pad out the price of several similarly specced machines.
You won’t find an over-elaborate liquid cooling system or a massive suite of spectacular RGB lighting; the Obelisk is an appropriately named dense black block of computing power. If you value smooth lines and compact design over the flash and spectacle of RGB, you’ll appreciate the dark, slightly brooding aesthetic of the Obelisk.
It’s similarly configured to the slightly more expensive Corsair Vengeance, but it comes in a much smaller frame. While on the one hand, there’s less space to muck around in the case if you do decide to upgrade in the future, the Obelisk can slip easily into much tighter spaces than a larger case and is easier to transport. It’s the epitome of function over form and is available at a great price.
Read our full HP Omen Obelisk review.
Our favorite Origin Chronos config:
Ryzen 9 5900X | RTX 3080
Configure the Chronos with our favorite Zen 3 CPU from AMD and the mighty RTX 3080 GPU from Nvidia, and this small form factor Chronos v2 machine can be both a stunning gaming rig and a hell of a workstation machine too. Especially if you’re after something that isn’t the size of a house too.
Origin PC’s Chronos machine is a slight form factor build that can house the most powerful gaming components around. And, to be honest, the fact you can squeeze a 12-core Ryzen 9 5900X and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 in there means you could have yourself one hell of a powerful workstation too. That next-gen hardware is now available in the Chronos V2 design.
But that way lies supreme expense. Origin PCs aren’t cheap, but they are well-built, super customizable, and you could still create a far more affordable gaming machine from a Ryzen 5 5600X and an RTX 3060 pairing. If you’re not sold on the actual Origin Chronos chassis and maybe fancy a little more Perspex in your build, you can go for the lovely Fractal Define Nano S instead. There’s also the Fractal ERA if you’re the serious type.
That will negate any potential thermal issues you might encounter, dropping super high-end components into the smaller confines of the Chronos case.
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Our favorite Corsair One config:
Corsair One A200 | RTX 3080 + Ryzen 9 5900X
While we do love an overpowered machine, the savvy combination of Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 and Ryzen 9 5900X means this machines runs quietly and still offers extreme gaming and creative performance.
Corsair has overhauled its compact One gaming PCs with the latest parts from both AMD and Nvidia—and we’re here for it.
The Corsair One A200 delivers top-of-the-line gaming performance, which is perhaps unsurprisingly considering its credentials: up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti and AMD Ryzen 9 5950X. It’s wild what you can stuff into such a small chassis nowadays and have it run reasonably cool and quiet too.
If you prefer gaming on-the-go, you’ll want to take a look at our best gaming laptop guide.
The Corsair One achieves this by using two compact liquid coolers, one for the CPU and one for the GPU. You’ll have to adjust your expectations for CPU temperatures perhaps a little above your comfort zone during intense operations, but nothing these chips aren’t built to handle day in, day out.
It’s an impressive PC given its small stature—you could happily sit this PC on your desktop and still leave plenty of room for your gamer drinks and tinted glasses.
Read our full Corsair One A200 review.
Best Gaming PC FAQ
Why buy a pre-built gaming PC?
One of the most significant advantages of building your PC is the ability to hand-pick every single component in the system. This allows you to take your time shopping around for deals and finding the perfect combination of parts to fit your budget and performance needs. The downside for most inexperienced builders is that this process can take some time and cause quite a headache if something goes wrong. You only get warranties on the individual components, not your finished build, and this is where the best pre-built gaming PCs shine.
What do you get for your money in a pre-built PC?
When you pay the premium to configure or purchase a pre-built PC, you pay for more than just the parts. You pay for warranty service, support, and peace of mind that professionals put your system together. These are some of the things we value highly when considering what the best gaming PC is. We also look at other unique selling points like design, upgradability, and anything you wouldn’t be able to do when building it yourself.
What sets a pre-built machine apart from a DIY build?
One of the most significant factors that make PCs stand apart from the competition is the design. Pre-built systems like the Alienware Aurora R11 or Corsair One use unique in-house chassis designs you wouldn’t be able to purchase when building it yourself. You can take some comfort in knowing that these systems were designed and built specially to house your configuration, though that can make upgrading more awkward later on down the line.
When we set out to choose our top choices of pre-built gaming PCs, we look at almost every major manufacturer and system integrator to find the best combination of value, reliability, customer feedback, design, and performance for various budgets and needs.