Best gaming PCs in 2024: these are the builds and brands I recommend

The best gaming PC is about finding the right system that matches your needs and your budget. It's entirely possible to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a gaming rig if you want; there's almost no upper limit. But spending your money wisely is a tougher task when you're working to a tight budget, as most of us are these days.

In my near twenty-year tenure as a tech journalist, I've reviewed countless gaming PCs. I've gained insights into where you should be investing the bulk of your budget and where compromises can be made. This knowledge is crucial, especially for systems where every penny counts. Yet, even when considering a $3,000 PC, you should still want to ensure your investment in the hardware is sound. Below, I cover the specs you should expect at any given price point and also, given my experience testing PCs built by many different companies over the years, which gaming PCs I believe are the best for your budget. 

Testing every system at every configuration in the rich tapestry of gaming PCs is impossible. But we've had experience with all the main system builders' work and have extensively tested the core parts in each. We are well-versed in identifying which is the best graphics card at each price point and the processor you'll need to make the most of it. So whether you've got a tight $1,000 budget or are willing to spend up to $5,000 on your dream machine, we've got a great recommendation for the best gaming PC for you.

Curated by
Dave James
Curated by
Dave James

Ever since building my first gaming PC as a teen I've been fascinated by their guts and have turned poking, prodding, and testing systems into a profession. Over the last 20 years or so I've been testing gaming PCs and have always been more interested in how a manufacturer squeezes the best parts and the best performance out of their budget. But I can't lie, I do love an over-the-top big rig, too.

The quick list

Recent updates

Updated February 20th to change the recommendations of the best gaming PC and best high-end machines.

The best gaming PC $1,000 - $2,000

ABS Stratos Aqua gaming PC

(Image credit: ABS)

1. Best gaming PC: ABS Stratos Aqua

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ABS Stratos Aqua | Intel Core i5 14400F | RTX 4060 Ti | 32GB DDR5-6000 | 1TB SSD | $1,599.99 $1,099.99 at Newegg (save $300)
ABS often puts together great prebuilt bundles, but this one in particular stands out as ticking all the right boxes. You've got a very swift Core i5 14400F, an RTX 4060 Ti with all the DLSS goodies that brings, a 1TB NVMe drive for storage and even 32GB of very fast DDR5-6000. Most prebuilts in this price range stick you with 16GB, but the full-fat 32GB here in combination with some other great components makes this a chunky little gaming machine with serious credentials.

My thoughts on...
Dave James
My thoughts on...

ABS is Newegg's gaming PC subsidiary and as such comes with a wealth of history and expertise behind it. And that's shone through in the machines we've tested ourselves, which have offered both great specs and great value. And there are almost always offers available on ABS systems, too, which makes them a great shout when you're looking for a bargain buy. Like a lot of the other builders, though, I'd prefer better than a one year warranty as standard, but that's my only real issue.

Buy if...

✅ You want to hit 1440p frame rates: The RTX 4060 Ti is able to nail excellent 1080p numbers, but you will also be able to power a 1440p gaming monitor to an impressive extent, especially with DLSS 3.0 and Frame Generation.

You want a ton of RAM: There's nothing in this system that screams 'upgrade me!' and the 32GB of fast DDR5 will see you right for the lifetime of your rig.

You want seriously secure shipping: The ABS rigs we've tested have come so well packaged that it's almost overkill. But a safe PC is a worthy investment in recycled packaging.

Don't buy if:

You need high-end productivity: The Core i5 14400F is a gaming chip first and foremost. It does have six full performance cores, but it's not a productivity beast. It's certainly no slouch, and has decent multithreaded performance, but it is primarily a gaming chip.

The $1,000 to $2,000 price point is arguably the most important one for PC gaming; this is where the majority of PC gamers will be aiming to spend their budget and for us that's where the best gaming PC really lives. It's a crowded market, but the positive part of that is there are a lot of options to choose from. But this is where it's no longer okay to be going with a last-gen graphics card, because the RTX 4070 and RTX 4070 Ti have now launched and are the best GPUs around this price point.

With RTX 3080 performance from the RTX 4070, and systems on sale for under the $1,500 mark with the Nvidia GPU inside it, there's no longer a case to be made for RTX 3080 or RX 6800 XT machines that cost more. And they generally do. The RTX 4070 Ti itself, which you'll find just below the top end of the $2,000 budget, offers RTX 3090-level gaming performance, and considering that was a $1,500 graphics card of the last generation which you'd never find close to this price.

I don't think you need to worry so much about last-gen CPUs, as 12th Gen Intel and AMD Ryzen 5000-series CPUs will still carry an RTX 4070 Ti in gaming terms, but that will limit you in terms of memory. The latest generations from both chip makers come with DDR5 memory, which is much quicker for actual memory intensive productivity tasks. You should also not consider less than 1TB of SSD storage, and ideally 2TB at today's prices.

The specs to expect in a gaming PC between $1,000 and $2,000:

  • Graphics card: Nvidia RTX 4070 | RTX 4070 Super | RTX 4070 Ti  | RTX 4070 Ti Super
  • CPU: Intel Gen Core i7 12th Gen | 13th Gen | 14th Gen | AMD Ryzen 7 5000-series | 7000-series 
  • Memory: 16GB or 32GB DDR5
  • SSD: 1TB PCIe  
  • PSU: 700W+ 

The best alternatives:

Skytech Siege | Core i5 12600k | RTX 4070 Ti | 16GB DDR4-3200 | 1TB NVMe SSD | $1,599.99 at Newegg

Skytech Siege | Core i5 12600k | RTX 4070 Ti | 16GB DDR4-3200 | 1TB NVMe SSD | $1,599.99 at Newegg
Another banger for Skytech, with a decent Alder Lake CPU paired up with Nvidia's RTX 4070 Ti. The back-up spec of 16GB DDR4 and a 1TB SSD is about minimum for a build these days, but at $1,600 this is a good setup for the money.

The best gaming PC around $1,000 or less

Yeyian Yumi gaming PC

(Image credit: Yeyian)

2. Best budget gaming PC: Yeyian Yumi

Intel Core i5 12400F | Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 | 16GB DDR4-3200 | 1TB SSD | $1,199.99 $799.99 at Newegg (save $400)
This Yeyian machine will make for a great entry level 1080p gaming PC, that will really deliver for the money. It might be classed budget, but it will easily get you quality frame rates even at the highest 1080p settings. Yeyian has been around in the US for many years now, consistently making good-value gaming PCs, and it always pops up with well-specced budget rigs.

My thoughts on...
Dave James
My thoughts on...

Yeyian is a California-based gaming PC builder that's been around for the last five years. But, I'll be honest, when I first came across its rigs on US retailers I foolishly presumed it was a brand shipping units in from outside North America. We've seen it providing both well-specced budget gaming PCs at heavy discounts around sales events, as well as high-end machines coming out with the latest and greatest hardware, too. More importantly it has a pretty good basic warranty, offering three years labor, two years parts, and one year's shipping, as well as lifetime tech support. 

Buy if...

You're just after a pure gaming PC: That RTX 4060 will deliver excellent 1080p frame rates and good 1440p numbers, too. 

$1,000 is your limit: At well under $1,000 the Yeyian gives you a bit of breathing room when it comes to your budget.

Don't buy if:

You need raw CPU power: The Core i5 12400F is a decent gaming CPU, but its six cores won't deliver much in the way of processing power for streaming or content creation.

You really want to push that budget: There are RTX 4060 Ti gaming rigs just under the $1,000 mark if you're happy going to the very top of your budget.

When you're looking for a gaming PC under $1,000 then it's all about the spec and the price, regardless of who or where it's from. Well, within reason. So long as the company you're purchasing from has actually successfully sold gaming PCs before, and doesn't have a host of poor reviews, you just want to make sure you're getting the parts you would hope for at this price point.

At the moment that would ideally be an RTX 3060 Ti, which was one of the best graphics cards of the last generation. It's a powerful GPU, not that far off an RTX 3070, and still has no equivalent from within the new generation of AMD and Nvidia cards. But given the RTX 4070 has now dropped, we are expecting an RTX 4060 Ti soon. But that should mean prices on the RTX 30-series should keep dropping with abundant stock. There are still a lot of RTX 3060 GPUs out there, however, so if you can bag a PC with one of those for $700 or less you're doing well.

Alongside that you'll want either a Core i5 or Ryzen 5 processor, but anything from the Intel 11th Gen or AMD 5000-series will be more than enough, and 16GB of RAM. You'll probably only find a ~500GB SSD in these builds, but that's the most affordable upgrade down the line.

The specs to expect in a gaming PC under $1,000:

  • Graphics card: Nvidia RTX 4060 | RTX 4060 Ti | Radeon RX 7600
  • CPU: Intel Gen Core i5 12th Gen | AMD Ryzen 5000-series 
  • Memory: 16GB DDR4-3200 
  • SSD: 1TB PCIe 
  • PSU: 500W

The best alternatives:

Ipason gaming desktop | AMD Ryzen 5 5600G | 16GB DDR4-3200 | 1TB NVMe SSD | $849.99 $499 at Newegg (save $350.99)

Ipason gaming desktop | AMD Ryzen 5 5600G | 16GB DDR4-3200 | 1TB NVMe SSD | $849.99 $499 at Newegg (save $350.99)
You can game on this machine to a certain extent—the integrated Vega GPU on the Ryzen chip will certainly support 720p gaming at lower settings. But we're listing it here as a good base from which to add your own graphics card for a quick, powerful new gaming PC. The AMD CPU is a good six-core, 12-thread job, and the 16GB RAM will run everything you need.

Ipason gaming desktop | Ryzen 5 5600 | Radeon RX 7600 | 16GB DDR4-3200 | 1TB SSD | $1,399 $849 at Newegg (save $550)

Ipason gaming desktop | Ryzen 5 5600 | Radeon RX 7600 | 16GB DDR4-3200 | 1TB SSD | $1,399 $849 at Newegg (save $550)
If you don't want to get busy with a screwdriver, Ipason has another budget offering, this time with an RX 7600 GPU at its heart. That offers sometimes better than RTX 4060 gaming performance, and the full system comes with a solid back-up spec, too.

The best gaming PC $2,000 - $3,000

iBuyPower gaming PC

(Image credit: iBuyPower)

3. Best high-end gaming PC: iBuyPower Creator RDY

iBuyPower Creator RDY LCMRG210 | Ryzen 9 7950X3D | RX 7900 XTX | 32GB RAM | 2TB SSD | $2,999 $2,649 at iBuyPower (save $350)
This all-powerful, all-AMD machine is monster build for under the $3,000 limit. That 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen chip is a serious productivity chip, and one of the fastest gaming CPUs thanks to its 3D V-Cache tech. Oh, and the RX 7900 XTX is the first chiplet GPU, and a genuine rival for the RTX 4080 outside of ray tracing. Though it will be worth checking with iBuyPower if/when you're buying to ensure you're not getting the AMD-built version of the RX 7900 XTX. They look good, but we've had bad experiences with hot spots.

My thoughts on...
Dave James
My thoughts on...

iBuyPower is a classic name in PC building, and has a whole lot of history when it comes to making machines. We've checked out a number of them ourselves, and while they're not always the most exciting-looking rigs (though the one above actuallly is), they're always well built and well put together. And, if you're after a new gaming PC quickly, these RDY PCs don't have the extra customizations of its more bespoke builds, but will ship in a couple of days.

Buy if...

You want a smart, clean PC: iBuyPower isn't always the most exciting of builders, but the chassis it's used here makes the PC look great.

You want it fast: Speedy delivery on iBuyPower machines means you should get your new PC in around three days.

You want to go AMD: This all-AMD rig delivers the best the red team has to offer all in one impressively affordable package.

Don't buy if:

You're super into ray tracing: The Radeon RX 7900 XTX is a great straight raster gaming GPU, but it's not the finest graphics card when it comes to running the latest ray traced gaming pretties.

When you're getting to the rarified heights of the $2,000 - $3,000 price point you're really getting into the elite of gaming PC systems. This is where you can start to pull in some really high spec components. Given that you can get RTX 4070 Ti gaming PCs for less than two grand, you really ought to be targeting either the RTX 4080 or the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX at this level.

You can also start to think about high-end CPUs here, too, with Core i7 and Ryzen 7, even Ryzen 9 chips all available within this price range. And that means you're looking at PCs that won't just be fantastic gaming systems, but with effectively workstation-level computational power, too. In this market you should be looking at systems that will make excellent creator machines.

You will arguably see PCs with very similar specs lists at this price point, which means your choice of machine often comes down to secondary considerations, such as shipping time, which brand of components are being used, and such things as warranties and returns. We like iBuyPower RDY machines because of their rapid turnaround from sales which could see you ordering a new rig on Monday and be gaming by Wednesday evening. I also like Corsair's Vengeance machines, because it makes excellent, reliable chassis, SSDs, memory, and cooling itself. Which means it can put high-end supporting parts in your new PC.

This is also where you want to be able to trust the system builders more than just taking a punt on saving $100 on a similar spec, but from a brand you maybe don't know so well. 

The specs to expect in a gaming PC between $2,000 and $3,000:

  •  Graphics card: Nvidia RTX 4080 | AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT/XTX
  •  CPU: Intel Gen Core i7 12th Gen | 13th Gen | AMD Ryzen 7 5000-series | 7000-series  
  •  Memory: 32GB DDR5-5600  
  •  SSD: 2TB PCIe 
  •  PSU: 850W+ 

The best alternatives:

Corsair Vengeance a7300 | Ryzen 7 7700X | RTX 4080 | 32GB RAM | 2TB SSD | $3,299.99 at Corsair

Corsair Vengeance a7300 | Ryzen 7 7700X | RTX 4080 | 32GB RAM | 2TB SSD | $3,299.99 at Corsair
Not as good value as the cheaper Lenovo with the Core i7 inside it, but with the Corsair machine you are paying for the reassuring knowledge that you're getting genuine Corsair memory, SSDs, cooling, and chassis with its machines. With other brands you might not know what manufacturers' parts you're getting until it arrives. 

iBuyPower Creator RDY LCMRG210 | Ryzen 9 7950X3D | RX 7900 XTX | 32GB RAM | 2TB SSD | $2,999

iBuyPower Creator RDY LCMRG210 | Ryzen 9 7950X3D | RX 7900 XTX | 32GB RAM | 2TB SSD | $2,999 $2,649 at iBuyPower (save $350)
This all-powerful, all-AMD machine is monster build for under the $3,000 limit. That 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen chip is a serious productivity chip, and one of the fastest gaming CPUs thanks to its 3D V-Cache tech. Oh, and the RX 7900 XTX is the first chiplet GPU, and a genuine rival for the RTX 4080 outside of ray tracing. Though it will be worth checking with iBuyPower if/when you're buying to ensure you're not getting the AMD-built version of the RX 7900 XTX. They look good, but we've had bad experiences with hot spots.

The best gaming PC $3,000 - $5,000

Corsair Vengeance gaming PC

(Image credit: Corsair)

4. Best ultra-enthusiast gaming PC: Corsair Vengeance i7400

Intel Core i9 13900K | Nvidia RTX 4090 | 64GB RAM | 2TB SSD | $3,949.99 at Corsair 
The Vengeance gaming PCs combine rock-solid build quality with high-end component choice, and ultimately a decent price for an RTX 4090 system. That's obviously the star of this system, sporting more video memory than you can shake a pair of RTX 3080s at, and a monstrous slice of GPU silicon at its heart that can tear through games at 4K and render scenes like a pro graphics card. It's also arguably the only RTX 40-series GPU that actually feels like a proper generational upgrade over the previous generation. Where Corsair's Vengeance machines stand out is in the fact it can build around the core components with its own supporting cast of kit. From memory to SSD to cooling and chassis, Corsair make some of the best kit around, and putting it all together in one quiet, cool, and stylish package is where its systems shine. 

My thoughts on...
Dave James
My thoughts on...

Corsair has been quietly—and sometimes not so quietly—making some of the best PC parts for years, with only the core componentry of GPUs, CPUs, and motherboards a place it hasn't touched. So, with the best PC cases around, it stands to reason they would make some great full systems. Again, the use of standard components makes upgrading down the line easier, and as it's Corsair you're getting some of the best memory and power supplies around, too. They do generally come in a lot more expensive than the competition, but at this level you really do pay for what you get.

Buy if...

You want the best CPU/GPU combo around: The Corsair machine comes with the best Intel processor and Nvidia graphics card, but doesn't surround it with unnecessary extras simply to hike up the price.

You want a cool and quiet rig: The chassis and cooler combo means you're getting an setup that's able to keep those high-end components running at top speed without getting too shouty. We love the black monolith of a chassis, and Corsair's AIO coolers are some of the best.

Don't buy if:

You want a statement piece: This isn't some fully water-cooled setup, with hard tubing and multiple radiators, and RGB'd to within an inch of its life. Those can be gorgeous machines, great for a tradeshow floor, but you're paying for a tubed setup that locks you out of system upgrades down the road. 

Although $5,000 is a lot of money to spend on a gaming PC, this isn't money-no-object territory and you still want to make sure you're getting the performance you're paying for. That means making sure you're not spending over the odds on useless extras thrown into a build just to hike up the price to make it seem more 'premium' than it really is.

What this budget does mean, though, is you getting your hands on the finest gaming graphics card ever made by humankind. The RTX 4090 is the top of the stack, and the only GPU from Nvidia's RTX 40-series that really does feel like a whole new generation of graphics silicon. It's expensive, but it's genuinely delivering gaming performance you can't get anywhere else. 

What you then need to decide is whether you want to go AMD or Intel for the supporting cast. The Intel 13th Gen Core i9 chips are excellent gaming processors, and deliver a huge amount of multi-threaded performance for any kind of productivity workload you'd care to throw its way. But, on the flip side, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D delivers the highest potential gaming performance you can get from a CPU thanks to its 3D V-cache chiplet.

That extra cache will mean your high-end GPU has the best chance to shine, and the 16 full cores of Zen 4 processing means you still get workstation-level productivity chops, too. All that said, there are really only a few frame per second in it between the Intel and AMD options when you're talking about the sorts of high resolutions you're going to be pushing the RTX 4090 through.

When you're spending this much you could consider going all out on a full closed-loop liquid cooling array. Such systems look spectacular, and genuinely give off that dream machine vibe. Though how effective such arrays are is more debatable. If you're spending big on a system because you want someone else to build you a top-end rig and don't ever want to touch it, such a rig would be great. But if you ever want to get involved with upgrading your core components a closed loop is a real pain in the butt to maintain. Given the diminishing returns of overclocking modern components, such extreme cooling is also not entirely necessary, either.

The specs to expect in a gaming PC  between $3,000 and $5,000:

  • Graphics card: Nvidia RTX 4090
  • CPU: Intel Core i9 13900K/F | AMD Ryzen 9 7950X/3D
  • Memory: 32GB DDR5-5600 minimum
  • SSD: 2TB SSD
  • PSU: 1KW

The best alternatives:

iBuyPower Element Hybrid Max II | Core i9 13900KF | RTX 4090 | 32GB DDR5-6000 | 2TB SSD | $4,899 $4,499 at iBuyPower (save $400)

iBuyPower Element Hybrid Max II | Core i9 13900KF | RTX 4090 | 32GB DDR5-6000 | 2TB SSD | $4,899 $4,499 at iBuyPower (save $400)
I called the Hyte Y60 a techie terrarium, and I stand by that. But that's not to denigrate the look of the three-sided tempered glass chassis at all—when it's all built it looks rather stunning. And with an RTX 4090 inside it this powerful machine will really stand out. I'd have preferred to have the full 64GB of RAM, but you are at least getting a 6000MHz kit here.

DigitalStorm Aventum X | Core i9 13900K | RTX 4090 | 64GB DDR5-5200 | 1TB SSD | $5,596 $5,346 at DigitalStorm (save $250)

DigitalStorm Aventum X | Core i9 13900K | RTX 4090 | 64GB DDR5-5200 | 1TB SSD | $5,596 $5,346 at DigitalStorm (save $250)
Okay, yes, we are topping the $5K mark here, but if you want a stunning liquid cooling setup then the Aventum X will deliver. Though you are paying a hefty premium for that loop, and it's only for the CPU. And it does mean if you want more storage or faster memory the price will creep up.


Alienware Aurora R16

(Image credit: Alienware)

5. Best Alienware gaming PC: Alienware Aurora R16

Alienware Aurora R16 | Intel Core i7 13700F | Nvidia RTX 4080 | 1TB SSD | 16GB DDR5-5600 | $2,499.99 $1,949.99 at Dell (save $550)
It's not often that an Alienware gaming rig will pop up that actually has a hell of a lot of tech inside it for a surprisingly competitive price, but here we are. This Aurora R16 comes with the second-tier Ada GPU, the RTX 4080. It's an RTX 3090-beating card with 16GB VRAM, and with the latent power of DLSS and Frame Generation. The 24-thread Raptor Lake CPU is great if you're talking about productivity, and you do get 16GB of relatively speedy DDR5. The 1TB SSD is a bit weak in terms of storage—I'd much rather have a full 2TB SSD at this price. Our major issue with recommending Alienware PCs now, however, is the bespoke hardware inside either locking you out of future upgrades, or locking you into an unnecessarily expensive upgrade path.

My thoughts on...
Dave James
My thoughts on...

When I was a whelp I used to hanker after Alienware PCs and laptops, but as I've gotten older, so Alienware has changed. It's become more and more like its corporate Dell overlord, and far less tantalising a prospect. My biggest issue is the use of proprietary components, which would be fine if they were the finest, and beyond reproach, but you will find other equivalently priced builds with superior motherboards and power supplies that you can also upgrade in the future. And price is definitely an issue, too, with the Alienware premium not really buying you anything tangible for the extra. I will reiterate my mantra, never buy a full price Alienware, because they only become worthwhile with a hefty discount.

Buy if...

✅ You just want plug and play: Alienware machines will just work out of the box and with the might of Dell behind it you can be relatively confident that you'll be looked after if something goes awry.

You're into the aesthetic: Alienware rigs look good, and unlike any other machine on this list. The curvy chassis are a world away from the boxy towers otherwise used. But they certainly are big...

Don't buy if...

You want peak performance: We've not had great experiences with recent Alienware machines delivering the performance their parts ought to. That's often down to the bespoke nature of the components and sometimes ineffective cooling.

You want to upgrade your PC in the future: No PC is truly future proof, no matter how much you spend, so either you upgrade your rig, or you buy a new one. With Alienware, you're largely locked into the latter by its use of bespoke motherboards, chassis, and PSUs.

You want value for money: The deal above is a rarity for Alienware PCs. More often than not you'll be paying well over the odds for a machine that performs notably worse than an equivalently priced system from pretty much anyone else.

Alienware is one of the biggest names in gaming PCs, with a heritage stretching back to the dawn of time. Well, 1996 anyway. With a penchant for stylish designs and high-performance hardware it cemented its place in the burgeoning sphere of gaming-focused PCs. In 2006 it was bought wholesale by corporate PC giant, Dell, and that helped bring an economy of scale to the brand that previously it didn't have access to.

But that hasn't necessarily meant those economies of scale have been passed on to the consumer, as Alienware has always kept itself as a premium tier brand within the Dell portfolio. Which was fine when it was offering a premium experience to the people who bought its PCs.

For years we have had Alienware on the top of our best gaming PC lists, because historically its systems could be relied upon to deliver a top-tier experience and premium performance. In recent times, however, we've reviewed different Alienware gaming PCs and have found they fall short of our expectations. Given some performance issues, cooling problems, and concerns around bespoke components, we would categorically say you shouldn't buy a full price Alienware PC and only look to pick one up when they are heavily discounted. 

The bespoke components used inside them sometimes fall short of the sort of performance you'll get out of motherboards, coolers, and power supplies you can buy from other named brands, such as Corsair, Asus, or MSI. They are also generally designed specifically for use exclusively inside Alienware's own chassis, which means those cases don't allow for third-party upgrades down the line. At least not without some serious modifications. At best that locks you into the Alienware/Dell ecosystem of high-priced hardware, and at worst locks you out of upgrading your expensive rig at all in the future.

GPU hierarchy: How do the GPUs stack up?

The most important component for any gaming PC build will always be the graphics card. That will give you the best idea about how one machine matches up with another just in terms of raw gaming performance.

Below, we've listed the slew of GPUs we've had over the past couple of years listed in terms of their Time Spy Extreme index score as a way to put them in some consistent hierarchy. This doesn't cover the performance difference between graphics card in every instance, as differences in how they handle ray tracing other graphical effects can play a part. But this is a handy one-shot method of getting a rough idea of how the various cards from these various generations of GPU stack up against each other.

Click the button in the top right to enhance!

How we test gaming PCs

The NZXT prebuild gaming PC side on.

(Image credit: Future)

We spend a lot of time testing gaming PCs to ensure that we know what sort of experience you would get should you spend your hard earned cash on one. Experience is an important factor—you want to know that pulling your new rig from its box that it's going to work as soon as you plug it in, and let you get up and gaming as soon as you can download your favourite games.

But the general feel of using a PC is one part of it, it's also important to get the relative performance numbers to be able to see how a given machine performs in games compared with other systems. We run a selection of benchmarks to gauge CPU performance, storage performance, and of course gaming performance.

We are now using Cinebench R23 and X264 to test the processor—which will tell you both how good the CPU is, as well as how good its cooling is—and Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers and 3DMark to test the storage inside a PC. For the gaming side, we use 3DMark Time Spy, Hitman 3, Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition, F1 22, Far Cry 6 and Warhammer III to give us 1440p frame rate metrics.

We will get inside the machine to see how well built it is, and how well the builder has tidied up the mass of cabling that always lurks inside a gaming PC. It's also important to know how much of an upgrade path a system might have, whether there is space inside for a extra storage, or more memory, etc.

Value is also a key concern for us. A gaming PC represents a large outlay, and no matter whether it's a $900 or a $5,000 machine, it still needs to be able to justify its cost by the quality of the build and the components inside it.

Gaming PC reviews

Velocity Micro Raptor Z55

Velocity Micro Raptor Z55

The Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 delivers monster gaming performance for a massive amount of money. It's hardly a value proposition. But if you're totally price insensitive and you favour engineering depth over snazzy styling, this could be your kind of machine.

PC Gamer score: 75%

MSI MEG Trident X2

MSI MEG Trident X2

I just can't get over its ludicrous price. In fairness to MSI, pricing is variable. We're still early in the RTX 40-series and 13th Gen product cycles. That means the Trident X2 is sure to have a long shelf life. If MSI were to drop pricing to more palatable levels, my conclusion would be different, but at this price there's simply no way I can recommend the Trident X2. Shop around. You'll find something just as good and have enough money left over for a game or ten, a decent monitor or… you get the picture.

PC Gamer score: 52%