The best gaming PC in 2019

(Image credit: Corsair)

It's an amazing time to be in the market for the best gaming PC. Increasingly, desktop manufacturers are getting closer to the price it costs to build a machine yourself, and sweetening the deal with quality of life features like comprehensive warranties, parts you can't find off the shelf, and little extras like cable management solutions. And while you might not get the total control over every single component you stash in a machine that you would going the DIY route, prebuilts are increasingly customizable, with most models offering a number of different SKUs and configurations to suit your needs (and budget).

So where should you start if one of the best gaming PCs is on your wish list? If you've already invested a bunch of your money in one of the best 4K monitors for gaming, or are aiming for a living room setup with one of the best 4K TVs for gaming, you'll need a powerful machine to push that resolution. This likely means a rig built around one of Nvidia's RTX cards or, if you're an AMD diehard, maybe a Radeon VII. For 4K Ultra, and especially if you want to enable ray tracing, you're going to need something on the order of an RTX 2080 Super or RTX 2080 Ti. On the other hand, if you're happy with FHD or QHD, you can save some money on your GPU and opt for something in the 16-series range from Nvidia or one of AMD's new Navi cards, like the RX 5700 XT or base 5700. 

On the other end of the spectrum, if you prioritize taking your games on the road, take a peek at our best gaming laptop roundup.

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1. iBuyPower RDY ELIBG207

The best gaming PC

CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti | RAM: 16GB DDR4-3200 | Storage: 1TB SATA SSD

Built around powerful components
Costs significantly less than it would to build it yourself
Toolless case access
HDD bay on the small side

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

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2. CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme

The best gaming PC for the budget conscious

CPU: Intel Core i5-9400F | GPU: GTX 1660 6GB | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB HDD 7200RPM + 128GB SSD

Fantastic performance per dollar
Runs very cool out of the box
Limited SSD storage

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. 

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3. Corsair Vengeance 5185

The best gaming PC for RGB spectacle and high performance

CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 | RAM: 16GB DDR4-2666 | Storage: 480GB M.2 SSD + 2TB HDD

Stylish RGB lighting
Separate component chambers
RTX graphics
Bulky

We've tested a number of RTX-powered systems since those graphics cards released in September 2018, and Corsair's Vengeance 5180 is one of our favorites.  The 5185 is a very iterative upgrade on the original, largely just accounting for the inclusion of a new 9th Gen processor from Intel. Unlike many chassis that opt for plexiglass or another type of clear paneling, the 5185 has tempered glass along the side, front, and top, creating a modern-looking aesthetic and elegantly showing off the system's innards. 

To help with both aesthetics and heat management, the case rocks a dual-chambered design that separates the power supply from the GPU, RAM, and motherboard. All the shiny, RGB components are displayed front and center, while the more modest parts are tucked away out of sight. 

One of the main downsides of the original Vengeance 5180 was that it featured a B360 chipset and non-K Intel CPU, so the Core i7-8700 can't be overclocked. The 5185 corrects that issue with i7-9700K, a full overclockable Coffee Lake chip.

MSRP for this stylish and powerful system is $2,399.99, a reasonable price considering the cost of components separately. You’ll pay around the same amount to build it yourself compared to buying this pre-built, so it all depends on your budget, time, and how much you value extras like warranty coverage that a prebuilt packs. With that mighty CPU and RTX 2080, this is a machine ready to dominate games at 1440p and even dip into 4K at respectable frame rates. 

Read our review: Corsair Vengeance 5180

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

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4. HP Omen Obelisk

The best gaming PC for amazing power under $2,000

CPU: Intel Core i7-8700 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 | RAM: 16GB DDR4-2666 | Storage: 256GB M.2 SSD, 2TB HDD

Powerful components 
Designed to remove needless frills and keep costs low
Minimalist design might not appeal to some

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.

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5. Corsair One i160

The best gaming PC with a compact form factor

CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K - i9-9920X | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 - RTX 2080 Ti | RAM: 32GB DDR4-2666 | Storage: up to 960GB NVMe M.2 SSD, 2TB HDD

Slim, minimalist footprint
Outstanding performance
Upgradable, but tricky to access some components

One of our highest rated prebuilt gaming PCs is back in a brand new model, the Corsair One i160. 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 is 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 i160 isn't the only configuration the One comes in. In fact, with a Intel Core i9-9900K and a RTX 2080 Ti, the i160 is the mid-range model. The lower i140 model comes with a Core i7-9700K and a RTX 2080, while the higher i180 workstation model comes with a Core i9-9920X and a RTX 2080. The price various 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.

Read the full review: Corsair One i160

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6. iBuyPower RDY SLIIBG213

The best gaming PC for QHD at a reasonable price

CPU: i5-9400F | Graphics: RTX 2060 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 500GB SSD

Intelligently specced
Extremely capable at 1440p
Understated, attractive design
Not particularly future proofed

iBuyPower is creating a trend of producing thoughtfully specced machines at prices near or lower than DIY costs, helped in large part by their use of parts from partner NZXT with whom they share a building. The RDY SLIIBG213 is another excellent example of this trend, a machine crafted to manhandle games at QHD Ultra at rock solid frame rates.

The core of that performance is Nvidia's new(ish) RTX 2060, an affordable card built around Turing architecture that packs dedicated cores for ray tracing and DLSS. While not as mighty as its 2070 and 2080 counterparts, its still a powerful graphics card and allows iBuyPower to offer the SLIIBG213 for around the magic $1,000 mark. Similarly, the Core i5-9400F (the indicating that the processor lacks integrated graphics, clearly not an issue in this build) is a mid-tier CPU whose inclusion ensures that the chip won't be a bottleneck and that the SLIIBG213 is prepared to deal with your day to day productivity tasks without issue. And the entire package is sheathed in a lovely gunmetal case with a vivid accent of RGB slashing the front panel and a beautiful side panel crafted from tempered glass.

Best for... Those who want a capable PC at a great price to dive deep into the world of QHD gaming

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7. Dell XPS Tower Special Edition

The best gaming PC for those who prefer a minimalist presentation

CPU: Intel Core i5-9400 - i9-9900 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti - RTX 2080 | RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4-2666 | Storage: 256GB - 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD + 1TB - 2TB 7200 RPM HDD

Highly configurable
Sleek minimal look
SD reader + USB Type-C on front panel
LIght on frills

Like most of Dell's (and their subsidiary Alienware's) prebuilt PCs, the XPS Tower Special Edition can be configured in multiple ways depending on your needs and budget.  But even the lowest config, which starts at a mere $899.99, is a VR ready PC (though just at the minimum GPU spec recommended for the Rift and Rift S) with enough horsepower to see you through until the dawn of the next generation of gaming, after which point it's upgrade-ready and can be modified to keep pace. This lowest spec features a Core i5-9400 and a GTX 1050 Ti, not a staggering amount of power but enough to handle most modern games at medium to high settings in 1080p. Built around 9th Gen processors, the XPS Special Edition is not only great for gaming but for productivity as well, and features an SD card reader on the front panel as well as a Type-C USB 3.1 port. If you want a gaming PC with a simple minimalistic look, the XPS Special Edition is definitely our top choice.

The starter spec is a great choice if you want an inexpensive PC to play Fortnite or PUBG on, or if you're craving PC exclusives but don't want to get too deep into the PC gaming rabbit hole. It's also got a cool, understated look that won't embarrass you with a rainbow spectrum of RGB lighting, and if you decide you do have a little more in the budget to allocate to a new machine,  you can select some higher end components before purchase (or as an upgrade later) to bulk the XPS up a bit. 

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8. CLX Set Gaming

The best gaming PC packing a potent RTX 2070

CPU: Ryzen 7 2700 | Graphics: RTX 2070 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB HDD + 120GB SSD

Full 2070 PC for around the price of 2080 Ti
Robust DXR support for under $1,300
120GB SSD ideal for boot drive
Mobo only packs two DIMMs

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.

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9. Maingear Vybe

The best gaming PC sitting just between high end and extreme performance

CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 | RAM: 32GB DDR4-2666 | Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD + 2TB HDD

Quiet and efficient
Sleek design that avoids garish lighting
Competitive price for the build...
...but still priced above DIY

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.

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10. SkyTech Supremacy

The best gaming PC for pure aesthetics

CPU: Core i9-8700K | Graphics: Graphics: RTX 2080 Ti 11GB | RAM: 32GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD

Extremely powerful GPU
Beautiful glass case
32GB of 3200Mhz DDR4
Last generation CPU

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 prebuilt 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.

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Alan's been a journalist for over a decade, covering news, games, and hardware. He loves new technology, Formula 1 race cars, and the glitter of C-beams in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. Find him @chapelzero on Twitter for lengthy conversation about CRPGs of the early 90s and to debate the merits of the serial comma.