The best PCs in PC games

Our buying guide for the finest PCs inside PC games.

Whether you're a protagonist, anti-hero, astronaut, hacker, adventurer, NPC, or just some random technician who only appears in a cutscene, we all have one thing in common: we love using PCs. Be it for ordering missile launches, reading people's emails and diary entries, finding four-digit codes for safes, attempting to hack into a mainframe, or—occasionally—even to play games, PCs (the ones we operate inside games) are plentiful, useful, and at times utterly essential.

But which PC is the best for your many important tasks? We've field tested a long list of computers while dodging bullets, monsters, aliens, guards, and the moral implications of high-stakes tech heists.

Here's what we found:

Best all-around PC in PC games: RobCo Industries UOS Desktop Terminal

Fallout 4

Pros

  • Continues working even in the post-apocalypse
  • Great for keeping a diary of extremely pertinent info
  • Doesn't need to be plugged in, apparently

Cons

  • Text crawl is irritatingly slow
  • Probably shouldn't allow people to just guess the fucking password
  • Hope you like green

From barbaric raider to organized Overseer, everyone can use a RoboCo Industries terminal, even if you've been in suspended animation for hundreds of years and are now just awakening in the post-apocalypse on a murderous mission of vengeance. These desktop computers can be found almost anywhere and have many uses, like disabling security turrets and bots, opening floor safes, launching nuclear strikes, and even simply snooping around in the sordid lives of the long-dead.

Post-apocalyptic gaming

 The world coming to an end is a bummer, but it doesn't mean the end of gaming. If you survive the  How to keep playing PC games in the post-apocalypse

If you decide to purchase one of these terminals for yourself, it's a great PC for journal-keeping, provided you're willing to limit yourself to a few brief, foreboding entries hinting at an impending disaster, and as long as you include incredibly specific and pertinent information for anyone who comes along hundreds of years later needing to open a particular door. Try not to waste some future adventurer's time with a long rambling diary about your feelings, okay? Just stick to the facts.

This PC is far from perfect, however: while it's nice that time stops when you're using it, that doesn't excuse the slow and weirdly pointless text-crawl, which will have you impatiently clicking—well, the terminal doesn't come with a mouse, but you'll be clicking something—to reveal all the text at once. Though it can be used for gaming via holotape, there's not much to speak of in the way of graphics, and the simple password security feature is a bit of a two-way street. Sure, it's easy to break into other people's PCs, but your own password will be guessable as well. We'd suggest making sure your own password only contains letters that do not appear in any other word, if you can manage it.

Best PC for buying a bunch of guns: The Hock King 486 DX50

Far Cry 2

Pros

  • Gun delivery is faster than Amazon Prime
  • Makes a cool bleeping noise when you're done
  • Will briefly stop everyone in the world from shooting at you

Cons

  • No WebMD access to look up malaria cures
  • No email, either. It's pretty much just for guns
  • Only takes uncut diamonds as payment

Some PCs are great for all-around uses, but others focus on a specialty, like computers built specifically for gaming, those designed for editing video, and others that are useful for ordering guns, rocket launchers, grenades, bigger pockets for carrying more grenades, and other instruments of death. The Hock King definitely falls into the latter camp: in fact, it can't really be used for anything but buying guns and gun-related accessories, which will instantly be delivered into a nearby shed.

While you might occasionally wish to check your email, order malaria medicine (in bulk!), or report out-of-control grass fires to the authorities, well, you can't. At least this PC shines in its singular purpose, however. Paying for the weapons might be challenging, as the Hock King doesn't accept credit cards, PayPal, or even bitcion. It only takes uncut diamonds, which you... shove... into the... diamond hole? We're really not sure how it works, honestly, but we're glad it does. The guns you find anywhere else are rusty garbage.

Best PC for slowly piecing together a woman's mysterious past: The Siefert InvestiMagic 6600

Her Story

Pros

  • Comes with a game
  • Buy one and they'll send you a second identical one
  • Provides insight on what the hell this woman's deal is

Cons

  • No streaming video, only plays small saved clips
  • Keyword search feature waaaay too specific
  • Occasional glimpse of your reflection in monitor is startling

Typically used in police stations in the 1990's, the Siefert InvestiMagic 6600 is a great PC for housing a scattered database of video clips that are text-searchable, though you need to be very specific with your searches. Like, really specific. If you don't guess the right word, you ain't gonna find shit.

Still, if you're looking to slowly uncover the mysterious past of a woman by piecing together brief interview clips of her—clips that have completely edited out the questions she's being asked—it's hard to recommend a better PC. The display is ample if a bit low-res, and very occasionally you may see your own reflection in the monitor and screech"JESUS! Goddammit, that... that freaked me out." 

It also comes with a text-chat utility that a friend can contact you with when you've sort of solved the case.

Best PC to become friends with: Kaizen-85

Event(0)

Pros

  • Enough memory space for your entire brain, if needed
  • Can ask it anything

Cons

  • Sometimes it talks complete gibberish
  • Thin-skinned

We all love the amazing things our PCs can do, but if you're anything like us you sometimes wish your computer wasn't just an electronic box to type things into or watch pornography on. You wish it was a friend, a companion, someone you could actually talk to, and someone who will talk back.

That's why the Kaizen-85 is so great. You're not just typing: you're talking, asking fully formed questions and getting fully formed responses back. At least sometimes, when you're not getting complete gibberish. It's a wonderful realization that Kaizen-85 isn't just a PC but is aware of you and can talk to you, and that's a real comfort especially when you're in an alternate 2012 timeline and the apparent the sole survivor of a catastrophic mission failure to Europa. Sometimes, it's the small comforts.

Just be nice, or there may be... consequences. As a bonus, if you've ever wanted to upload your entire personality into a computer and don't mind that this will technically kill you, there's memory to spare.

Best PC to use while hunched over for hours in an effort to hide from an unkillable alien: Karnak XOM

Alien Isolation

Pros

  • Easy to use if you're always squatting
  • Good source of access codes

Cons

  • You're going to die
  • You're going to die, again

There's still some debate over whether it's healthier to use a PC while sitting down or standing up, but precious little ergonomic research has gone into studying the effect of using a computer while crouching for thirty to forty hours as you're being pursued through a ruined space station by an unrelenting indestructible xenomorph.

Sometimes you simply don't have a choice: you might prefer a standing desk setup but one isn't available, or you might enjoy a great gaming chair when you're doing your computing, but there may come a time when you have to crouch, because crouching makes you harder to see. Ever try to look at someone crouching? Can't do it. It's like an invisibility cloak.

So, if you're looking for a PC to use while experiencing the nerve-shattering pursuit of an acid-blooded murder machine and simply can't take the risk of standing or sitting—or, if you simply to do the majority of your personal computing while squatting for any other reason—we'd suggest this PC.

Best desktop for simulating a laptop: Bienjensu Simulator KDR-7

Quadrilateral Cowboy

Pros

  • Simulates the coolest laptop ever
  • Easy to build yourself

Cons

  • May require robbing a train while riding a motorcycle
  • It's a bit blocky

Have you ever wondered what it's like to use a computer somewhere other than at a desk? I'm talking about a portable computer that you can bring with you and use anywhere: in coffee shops, at the library, on a plane, on the couch, or on a stealthy high-risk heists in secure locations. You might even call it a laptop computer, though technically you can put in anywhere—on counters, desks, and the floor—but not actually in your lap.

Who cares, though? The laptop is amazing, especially if you love coding and consider yourself something of a hacker. It can open locked doors and grates, disable lasers and other security features, and allow you access deep into restricted areas to pull off exciting heists. 

Of course, the laptop isn't real, it's virtual, simulated by the Bienjensu. And the heists are also simulated. So... wait, was that train heist just a simulation too? I'm confused.

Best PC for keeping your email manageable: TranStar Corp NeuroQuad

Prey

Pros

  • Clutter-free workspace
  • No clunky case
  • Is probably not a monster in disguise

Cons

  • Might be a monster in disguise, though
  • Did that garbage can just move?
  • I need to get the hell out of here

I don't  know about you, but my email inbox is a damn mess, constantly filled with hundreds of unread and never-to-be read missives from people I just can't bother to care about. If you find yourself feeling a deep sense of dread each time you check your inbox, you might need to simplify a bit to allow yourself to focus your dread on other things, like the fact that the coffee mug on desk might be a goddamn monster. 

The NeuroQuad is perfect for that, keeping your inbox down to a completely manageable handful of highly-relevant emails. With only a few in your inbox, and no sent box, or drafts folder, or promotions tab, or even the ability to send your own emails with the subject line GOD WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING I HATE THIS, it will really cut down on your stress levels. Your email-related stress levels, I mean. The stress about other things, like that lamp positioned oddly in the hallway, will continue to rise.