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The best gaming PC in 2021

Included in this guide:

PC Gamer's best gaming PC buying guide header with two Dell Alienware PCs featured alongside recommended badge
(Image credit: Future)

The best gaming PC will put the latest and greatest hardware in your hands faster than if you tried to build a new system, or even update an existing rig, and there are deals to be had even though Cyber Monday has passed. The sad truth is that, though we love DIY PC builds, they're one of the many casualties of the chip supply crisis. System builders simply have a better chance of getting hold of CPUs and GPUs than we do of bagging one at the local Best Buy, however early you get in line.

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, around 3-4 weeks on average. There are exceptions, with the likes of iBuyPower offering its RDY prebuilt systems for same day shipping meaning you can get a whole new PC, with a GeForce RTX 3080 inside it, in your hands within a couple of days.

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.

Our favorite Cyber Monday gaming PC deals still live

iBuyPower Trace MR | Nvidia RTX 3080 | Intel Core i7 11700KF |16GB RAM | 500GB NVMe SSD + 1TB HDD | $2,399.99 at Best Buy

iBuyPower Trace MR | Nvidia RTX 3080 | Intel Core i7 11700KF |16GB RAM | 500GB NVMe SSD + 1TB HDD | $2,399.99 at Best Buy
At a decent price, you're getting a solid computer draped around a powerful (and elusive) graphics card. With a strong Rocket Lake CPU and a super-speedy NVMe SSD this machine will be a nice upgrade for most. At the very least you're getting a new GPU, and in the last 12 months, that's a win.

Alienware Aurora R12

CyberPower Gamer Supreme | AMD Ryzen 9 5900X| AMD RX 6700 XT | 16GB RAM | 1TB SSD + 1TB HDD | $2,289.99 $2,099.99 at Microsoft (Save $190.00)
Here's a juicy, all AMD gaming PC with a decent chunk of money off. It's not the greatest deal, as that graphics card isn't quite up to par with others at this price range, but certainly worth a look if you're wanting to get the full AMD experience and a high core count CPU. Plus, that's a nice chunk of storage to keep you going.

iBuyPower TraceMR | RTX 3060 Ti | Core i7 11700F | 16GB RAM | 480GB SSD + 1TB HDD | $1,599.99

iBuyPower TraceMR | RTX 3060 Ti | Core i7 11700F | 16GB RAM | 480GB SSD + 1TB HDD | $1,599.99 $1,399.99 at Best Buy (save $200)
This is bang-on what we think is the right deal price for an RTX 3060 Ti gaming desktop, and it's not just giving you the GPU and skimping on the rest of the spec. The Intel Core i7 is a capable eight-core chip, the 16GB memory is exactly what you want from a modern gaming PC, and the 480GB SSD is just about big enough for Windows and a few key games. I would doubt it's an NVMe SSD, but even a SATA drive is far quicker than a standard hard drive.

Best gaming PCs

Alienware Aurora R10 gaming PC pictured front-on

(Image credit: Alienware)

1. Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition

The best AMD gaming PC

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X–Ryzen 9 5950X
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660 Super–Nvidia RTX 3090
RAM: 8GB–32GB DDR4
Storage: 1TB–1TB HDD + 1TB SSD
Warranty: 1 year (onsite)
Reasons to buy
+AMD CPU + Nvidia GPU combo+Ton of USB ports+After sales care
Reasons to avoid
-Sounds like it'll take off-Divisive case design

Our favorite Aurora R10 config:

Ryzen 7 5800 | Radeon RX 6800 XT | 16GB DDR4-3200

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 if you're aiming to grab a brand new gaming PC during the chip crisis.

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 Zen 3-powered 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 themselves 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. That 12-core, 24-thread CPU shows just how far AMD has managed to push its smart chiplet-based Zen 3 architecture to deliver an actually affordable, seriously high core-count processor for a gaming PC. 

Those used to purely be server-side specs.

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Alienware Aurora R12 gaming PC pictured front-on

(Image credit: Alienware)
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Alienware Aurora R12 gaming PC

(Image credit: Alienware)
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Alienware Aurora R12 gaming PC

(Image credit: Alienware)

2. Alienware Aurora R12

The best Intel gaming PC

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i5 11400F–Core i9 11900KF
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1650 Super–RTX 3090
RAM: 8GB DDR4-3200–128GB DDR4-3400
Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD + 2TB SATA HDD
Warranty: 1 Year (onsite)
Reasons to buy
+Toolless access+Upgradeable+Solid after-sale support
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey higher end configs-Case starting to show its age

Our favorite Aurora R12 config:

Core i5 11600KF | RTX 3060 Ti | 16GB DDR4-3200

Core i5 11600KF | RTX 3060 Ti | 16GB DDR4-3200
This specific configuration of the Alienware gaming PC will get you the impressive RTX 3060 Ti for a sub $2,000 price tag. You'll also get a Rocket Lake Core i5 11600KF; 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, the performance of Alienware's Aurora R12 gaming PCs remains undeniable. The latest Aurora R12 uses the same compact design as its R9 and R10 forebears and gives the current Intel 11th Gen processors and Nvidia RTX 30-series GPUs a home in Alienware's classic chassis. 

Like the Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition, Alienware offers the choice of both Nvidia and AMD graphics cards, but you have to dig into the customization options if you want to pick from either the Radeon RX 6800 XT or RX 6900 XT cards. Outside of that, Alienware offers eight discrete configurations on its site, from low-end gaming rigs, sporting the GTX 1650 Super and Core i5 11400F, all the way up to RTX 3090 gaming monsters.

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.

Corsair Vengeance gaming PC pictured from the side on a grey background

(Image credit: Corsair)

The best PC for streaming

Specifications
CPU: Up to AMD 5900X | Intel 10850K
GPU: Up to AMD RX 6800 XT | Nvidia RTX 3090
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4-3200
Storage: 2x 2TB SSD
Warranty: 2 year
Reasons to buy
+Solid Performance+4K Capture Card+Cool Case
Reasons to avoid
-No such thing as an entry-level offering-Desperately needs a larger SSD

Our favorite Corsair Vengeance config:

Ryzen 5 5600X | RTX 3070

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, properly configured in dual channel mode, and a 1TB SSD.

There's a reason Razer is desperate to follow Corsair's lead; it's one of the biggest names in PC gaming hardware right now. Through continual product expansion, and some super smart acquisitions, Corsair now has its fingers in pretty much every facet of our hobby. 

In fact, CPUs, motherboards, and GPUs are the only places you won't find a Corsair logo, but with its impressive line of premium gaming PCs that logo will still contain all three; the very finest of all that technical jazz.

And, if you're looking to kick start your career as the next big Twitch streamer, Corsair's integration of Elgato streaming tech in its PCs means they're a great option for the budding stream-star.

Likewise the powerful AMD CPU/Nvidia GPU 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.

Sure, you can just use OBS Studio, or Nvidia's Shadowplay (or whatever it's calling itself these days) but there will always be some overhead to deal with. Using a professional capture card can really take the load off. And that's especially good for broadcasting a live stream.

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HP Omen 30L gaming PC

(Image credit: HP)
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HP Omen 30L gaming PC

(Image credit: HP)
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HP Omen 30L gaming PC

(Image credit: HP)

4. HP Omen

The best gaming PC around $1,500

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i9 10900K or Ryzen 9 5900X
GPU: Up to Nvidia RTX 3080
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4-3200
Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 SSD and extra HDD storage
Warranty: 1 year
Reasons to buy
+Powerful components +Designed to remove needless frills and keep costs low
Reasons to avoid
-Limited Software -Not the most optimal airflow

Our favorite HP Omen config:

Core i7 10700 | Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti

Core i7 10700 | Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti
Configure the system with the mighty RTX 3060 Ti, 16GB dual channel memory, and a healthy 512GB SSD, and you've got the makings of a seriously powerful gaming PC for a pretty decent price. There are further configuration options available, too, should you wish to bump it up to a 1TB SSD for another $100.

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 line of gaming PCs. HP Omen offers a wide range of customisation options with its Omen 25L and Omen 30L systems, allowing you to take your pick of AMD, Intel, and Nvidia component CPU and GPU options.

You can also take that configuration to the memory and storage requirements, too, allowing you to really tailor your system. HP Omen rigs are on the more restrained side of PC gaming, so you won't find an over-elaborate liquid cooling system or a massive suite of spectacular RGB lighting; the Omen systems are appropriately named dense black blocks 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 HP lineup.

We haven't specifically reviewed the latest range of gaming systems from HP, but we've been testing its gaming PCs since the Obelisk range, and have always been impressed by its no-unnecessary-frills approach to system building and the value proposition of its rigs.

Origin Chronos gaming PC from the front

(Image credit: Origin)

5. Origin Chronos

The best AMD-powered small form factor PC

Specifications
CPU: Up to AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
GPU: Up to RTX 3080 Ti
RAM: Up to 32GB 3,000MHz
Storage: Gen4 PCIe SSD up to 2TB
Warranty: 1 year
Reasons to buy
+Powerful Micro gaming rig+Vertical or horizontal positioning+Huge choice of components
Reasons to avoid
-Wifi not great-Limited storage options

Our favorite Origin Chronos config:

Ryzen 9 5900X | RTX 3080

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.

Best gaming keyboard | Best gaming mouse | Best gaming chair
Best VR headset | Best wireless gaming mouse | Best CPU for gaming

Corsair a200 compact gaming PC for three angles on a grey background

(Image credit: Corsair)

6. Corsair One A200

Our special pick

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 / Intel Core i7–i9
GPU: Up to RTX 3080 Ti
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4 3200
Storage: Gen4 PCIe SSD up to 2TB
Warranty: 2 year
Reasons to buy
+Unfettered performance for 4K gaming+Simple and easy to use+Surprisingly quiet
Reasons to avoid
-CPU runs a little hot-Not easily upgradeable

Our favorite Corsair One config:

Corsair One A200 | RTX 3080 + Ryzen 9 5900X

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. 

Best gaming laptops

best gaming laptop guide header

(Image credit: Future)

If you prefer gaming on-the-go, you'll want to take a look at our best gaming laptop guide.

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.

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.

Jorge Jimenez

Jorge is a hardware writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, he's reviewing all sorts of gaming hardware from headsets to game pads. He's been covering games and tech for nearly ten years and has written for Dualshockers, WCCFtech, and Tom's Guide.