We spend a lot of time talking about how to build the best gaming PC, but sometimes you just want to buy one and call it a day. Yes, building your PC is a point of pride for some, and a way to save money for others, but not everyone feels that way and that shouldn’t be a barrier to getting into PC gaming.
It still can be, though. Here’s the thing: Getting a good deal on pre-built gaming PC can take just as much research as putting together a great high-end PC build. There are just as many factors to consider and balance when comparing pre-build models. If you’re buying something custom-made from purveyors like iBuyPower or Falcon Northwest, it’s easy to go ham and overpower your system. Plus, many of them try to saddle you with a bundle that charges a premium for things you may not need like a monitor or a keyboard and mouse. Even if you need these things, there’s often a good chance that you get something better for less if you play your cards right.
So how do you pick out one of the best pre-built gaming PCs from the rest? Performance is, of course, our top priority. Ideally, they’re using one the best graphics cards and the best CPU for gaming, but we also want to see balance between the two: An Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti isn't worth having if it isn’t paired with a top-flight CPU that can take advantage of its power. Of course, we all want to see quality specs from top to bottom, along with a great warranty and customer support. After all, the whole point of buying instead of building is that you shouldn’t have to crack your PC open.
Last but not least, we want to see value. Yes, it goes without saying that a pre-built PC will cost more than something you build yourself, but there’s a limit to how much you can charge before the price negates the craftsmanship. To get on this list, you need to have it all—great parts, great value, and great support.
The best overall gaming PC
CPU: Intel Core i5-9400 - i9-9900 | GPU: RTX 2080 | RAM: (2) 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD + 2TB SATA HDD
Alienware is a bit of household name when it comes to desktops that share a shall we say, unique aesthetic. While the extraterrestrial curb appeal of their desktops may not appeal to everyone, their performance remains undeniable. The Aurora R8 is a compact design that punches well above its weight as long as the price is right. The RTX 2080 paired with an Intel i7-9700K ensures quality framerates at 4K and the Alienware AIO cooling system will help keep the cozy interior of the case at a reasonable temperature.
The Aurora R8 does come with a variety of configurations based on your needs but unfortunately remains quite expensive regardless of which options you choose to go with. However, the higher than average price point provides you with solid build quality, exceptional customer service, and warranties. The numerous pre-fab options offered by Alienware also help eliminate much of the guesswork associated with customizing your own system. There are options that provide a better value for the parts they use, but for hassle-free PC gaming out of the box, it's tough to beat the ease of use that Alienware provides.
The unconventional design of the case exploits every inch of its limited space and is initially a bit awkward. However, the ability to access nearly every part of the PC without tools is a definite plus and expedites upgrades and maintenance. There's an obvious priority here on providing a convenient, premium product with some potential for upgrades and the Aurora R8 accomplishes just that.
The best gaming PC for control freaks
CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti | RAM: 16GB DDR4-3200 | Storage: 1TB SATA SSD
The ELIBG207 is the best gaming PC we've tested for a number of reasons, not least of which is the incredible performance provided by the mighty 2080 Ti and i9-9900K that are its beating heart. This setup is one of few that are actually able to consistently run modern, triple-A titles at 4K Ultra at anything approaching a smooth 60 FPS. But perhaps even more impressive than that is the price tag; at $2,599, the ELIBG207 actually costs about $200 less than it would to put this machine together yourself, and costs about the same as rigs with much more modest specs.
It also comes with some handy quality of life features, like easy, toolless access to the case's interior (the panels pop off after removing a handful of thumb screws) and a three year warranty. And it's a beautiful looking, compact case, with tempered glass panels on the front and left side, showing off an array of RGB lit components to great effect. It's also festooned with connections, including eight USB ports, which given the massive number of peripherals you can attach to a modern PC is very welcome.
Read our review: iBuyPower RDY ELIBG207
3. CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme
The best budget gaming PC right now
CPU: Intel Core i5-9400F | GPU: GTX 1660 6GB | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB HDD 7200RPM + 128GB SSD
If you want a fantastic value for a prebuilt gaming PC look no further than Cyberpower's Gamer Xtreme. Featuring an Intel Core i5-9400F and Nvidia's Turing-in-Pascal-clothing GTX 1660, it's a great PC to rock the current generation of games for well under $1,000. It can also be readily upgraded, something we'd recommend immediately to add at least another 8GB of RAM.
If you're looking for a machine to get you into the exciting (and ever expanding) world of VR quickly and cheaply, the Gamer Xtreme is an excellent introductory option. It's specced to be VR ready right away, and the ease with which it can be upgraded means it can be modified to suit the headsets and hardware demands of the future (assuming all the manufacturers don't follow in the footsteps of Oculus' Go and Quest standalone offerings).
The Xtreme is also great for anyone looking for a PC to match the capabilities of current gen consoles, something that will bridge the gap between the PS4 and Xbox One era of games and the next console generation. Since, for better or worse, consoles largely dictate how much stress triple-A developers are willing to put on hardware when designing their games, having a PC that's specced in line with consoles means you'll be able to keep pace with the current crop of games at least until another console refresh appears on the horizon. And the Gamer Xtreme is also modular and upgradeable enough to allow you to quickly adapt when specs for the next generation are finally, properly announced.
4. Corsair Vengeance 6182
The best gaming PC for RGB spectacle and high performance
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X (8-cores/16 threads, up to 4.4GHz) | GPU: AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB GDDR6 | RAM: 16GB DDR4-3200 | Storage: Corsair Force MP600 1TB PCIe 4.0; 2TB 3.5” 7200RPM
If you need a robust system that truly appreciates your love of RGB lighting, the 6180 series of the Corsair Vengeance gaming desktops are great overclockable, upgrade-friendly machines that'll give respectable frames framerates on 1080p and 1440p on ultra. In our recent review of the desktop, we said that Corsair has "finally given gamers real choices when it comes to high-end power," thanks to its 3rd-gen Ryzen CPU and RX 5700-series GPU.
The Vengeance uses some of the better components than you'd find in other prebuilt systems, and it uses the same case as Origin's Big O, the Crystal Series 280X—a dual-chamber case that showcases your flashy RGB lighting and components on one side, but keeps your ugly power supply neatly tucked away on the other.
The fact that the AMD-powered Vengeance 6180 series is priced the same as the 5181 Intel model is a little strange, but where you get better RAM, a better motherboard, and a faster and larger SSD in the AMD models, you get ray-tracing in the Intel model with an RTX 2070 Super. So long as you're not super invested in ray-tracing, the $1,999 price point is excellent when you consider the retail cost of all the components separately—and not having to build it yourself.
Read our review: Corsair Vengeance 6182
The best gaming PC under $2,000
CPU: Intel Core i7-8700 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 | RAM: 16GB DDR4-2666 | Storage: 256GB M.2 SSD, 2TB HDD
Hewlett Packard has existed since before the advent of the second World War, and that long history and expertise is evident in the design and construction of the Omen Obelisk, their new gaming desktop model. The Obelisk is highly customizable on the HP storefront, starting at a GTX 1060 and Ryzen 5 2500X and reaching up some top in class parts—the review unit we received packs an RTX 2080 and an 8th Gen Core i7-8700, so you'll be well ahead of the curve in terms of the next generation of PC gaming, and ready for the moment when ray tracing stops being a buzzword and starts being an essential part of graphics rendering.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the Obelisk offering is the price tag. Despite a new, 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 largely due to HP trimming off all the non-essential frills that tend to pad out the price of a number of similarly specced machines from other manufacturers. 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, which isn't to imply it's unattractive. As someone who values smooth lines and compact design over the flash and spectacle of RGB, I appreciate the dark, slightly brooding aesthetic of the Obelisk, and it does have a clear side panel to let you see the red-lit interior of the machine.
It's similarly configured to the slightly more expensive Corsair Vengeance, but it comes in a much smaller frame, which is a double edged sword. While on the one hand, there's less space to muck around in the case if you do decide in the future to upgrade, the Obelisk can slip easily into much smaller spaces than larger cases and is easier to transport. It's the epitome of function over form and available at a nearly unbeatable price point.
The best compact form factor gaming PC
CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti | RAM: 32GB DDR4-2666 | Storage: 960GB NVMe M.2 SSD, 2TB HDD
One of our highest rated prebuilt gaming PCs is back in a brand new model, the Corsair One i164. It’s still the same, small form factor PC, but with updated hardware, a revamped internal layout, and a few other slight changes. The case design it still looks like something straight out of a Tron film. The CPU and GPU both still use independent liquid cooling solutions, and all the hot air is still pumped out by a single 140mm maglev fan. The PSU now sits below the motherboard, and some of the USB ports have been re-positioned on the front of the case, but that’s the extent of the non-hardware related changes.
Like a number of the prebuilts on this list, the i164 isn't the only configuration the One comes in. In fact, with an Intel Core i9-9900K and an RTX 2080 Ti, the i160 is the mid-range model. The lower i140 model comes with a Core i7-9700K and an RTX 2080, while the higher i180 workstation model comes with a Core i9-9920X and an RTX 2080. The price varies based on the specs, of course, so if $3,599.99 for the i160 is a little too rich for your blood, the i140 is $600 less at $2,999.99. If you are in the market for a compact workstation, the i180 will zap $4,999.99 from your bank account. All three models come with 32GB of RAM, so you won't need to worry about upgrading that aspect of the One for years to come.
But regardless of the configuration, the newest Corsair One is a sleek, potent little machine designed for anyone wrestling with space considerations, or for those who want a powerful PC but don't want to listen to it whine every time it's stressed with a graphically intensive game.
7. Falcon Northwest Talon 20th Anniversary
The best gaming PC for custom aesthetics
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X | Graphics: (2) RTX 2080 Super | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB SSD
Falcon Northwest has come a long way in the past 20 years. Their original iteration of the talon gaming PC featured excellent performance but was perhaps the polar opposite of aesthetics. FNW's devotion to performance remains a hallmark of their brand but has managed to pair awesome aesthetics with their uncompromising build quality. The 20th Anniversary edition of FNW's Talon gaming PC features all of the customization options you'd expect from a premium vendor, but they've also included the option for UV printed side panels that can accept images in excess of 4K, giving you the option for a true, one of a kind PC.
The top and front panels of the case are composed of either glossy or matte finished aluminum and an optional tempered glass side panel exposes the inside of the build. The side panels swing open, making access to the insides of the desktop a breeze and nearly all the closures are magnetic, reducing the number of screws you need. The Talon supports ATX motherboards and dual graphics cards if you're looking for a bit of overkill.
Furthermore, Falcon has some of the best customer service I've encountered and features 3-year warranties on its systems along with a year of overnight shipping to get you back up and running should anything go wrong. With configurations starting at around $3,000, It may not be the least expensive PC out there, but the Talon still costs less than similar configurations from other competitors.
If you're interested in some of Falcon's other configurations, check them out here.
8. CLX Set Gaming
A superb mid-range gaming PC packing a potent RTX 2070
CPU: Ryzen 7 2700 | Graphics: RTX 2070 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB HDD + 120GB SSD
If you're craving the dedicated ray tracing and DLSS hardware packed into an RTX card, matched with a significant performance bump from the 1060/2060 range, the Gaming Set is a fantastic option. It's priced aggressively (on sale at the time of this writing for $1,255 at Walmart, well below it's already low starting price), and that Tensor/RT Core goodness is paired with a Ryzen 7 2700, a robust CPU for productivity/multitasking.
It also has the advantage of coming in a slick looking case, it's glowing, RGB-lit internals showcased by a beautiful glass side panel. It also features a 120GB SSD, which is a little slight for packing games or storage, but plenty of room for a boot disk (and comes standard with a 1TB HDD for traditional storage). Being a CLX prebuilt, there's also full system warranty coverage, with a one year parts warranty and a lifetime labor warranty. For less than $1,300 it's almost impossible to find a similarly specced, intelligently constructed machine.
An excellent PC that sits between high and extreme performance
CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 | RAM: 32GB DDR4-2666 | Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD + 2TB HDD
The Maingear Vybe is an excellent prebuilt that combines a sleek aesthetic with commanding power in one very compelling machine. It runs cool as well, an efficient machine that, as Joanna noted in her review, is always cool to the touch and whisper quiet. Currently priced at $2,799 for a model slightly upgraded from the one specced out in the review, it's a touch above the cost of building it yourself but also comes with top shelf warranty coverage and a handful of other quality of life extras (beyond saving you the labor of choosing components and assembling them on your own time).
The understated design of the Vybe, with just a few muted strips of RGB lighting, belies the horsepower packed into its guts, the core of which are the RTX 2080 GPU and Core i9-9900 processor. That means it's not only a beast for standard gaming but equipped with dedicated RT cores for the ray traced games of the future (and, increasingly, the present) as well as Tensor cores for deep learning applications, most notably Nvidia's DLSS antialiasing solution. And that mighty Coffee Lake Refresh processor is a beast for productivity tasks as well, supplemented by 32GB of respectable DDR4 (up 16GB from the package in the review machine). The Vybe is a fantastic machine perched just under the precipice of extreme performance but priced very reasonably for what's on offer.
10. SkyTech Supremacy
A pure aesthetics gaming PC
CPU: Core i9-8700K | Graphics: Graphics: RTX 2080 Ti 11GB | RAM: 32GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
If you're looking for a machine with some impressive wow factor (but that's also no slouch in the pure performance department), SkyTech's Supremacy is right up your alley. As arresting prebuilts that will grab the attention of your guests go the Supremacy is practically unmatched, an open design with a beautiful panel of unblemished tempered glass showcasing a Z370 mobo packed with high end parts. The star of the show is the RTX 2080 Ti, the most powerful consumer-grade GPU on the market, and while the CPU is from Intel's last gen Coffee Lake stack it's still plenty powerful for most productivity needs.
The Supremacy is half art piece, half top of the line PC, and while there's definitely a markup as compared to DIY pricing, you also won't find a case like this on the shelf. Of course, because this is a modern gaming PC, the visual effect is complemented by a suite of RGB lighting, and the open case combined with robust cooling means this is a chilly, quiet, efficient build.
Choosing the best gaming PCs
One of the biggest advantages to building your own PC is the ability to essentially 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 whole process can take some time and has the potential to cause quite a headache if something goes wrong. This is where prebuilt gaming PCs really shine.
When you pay the premium to configure or purchase a prebuilt PC you are paying for more than just the parts. You are paying for warranty service, support and the peace of mind that your system was put together by professionals. These are some of the things we value highly when considering the best prebuilt gaming PCs. We also look at other unique selling points like design, upgradability and anything you wouldn't be able to do when building it yourself.
One of the biggest factors that make our choices stand apart from the competition is the design. Prebuilts like the Alienware Aurora R7 or Corsair One use completely unique in-house chassis 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.
When we set out to choose our top ten choices of prebuilt gaming PCs, we took a 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.