Newegg's new gaming PC finder wants to make buying a PC easier and it does. Sort of

A Scan 3XS Z370 Vengeance Ti gaming PC, taken on February 21, 2018.
(Image credit: Future)

Newegg has just announced a new tool on the PC hardware store for recommending a prebuilt gaming PC to its customers based on a selection of today's top games. It sounds like a neat idea, but is its recommendation engine up to standard? In some ways, it does a decent enough job giving potential buyers a ballpark idea of what to buy, though I wouldn't rush to the checkout off its recommendations alone.

The Gaming PC Finder lives on Newegg's homepage, and it works like this: you enter your target resolution (1080p, 2K, 4K), select up to four games from a collection of popular picks, and then hit 'view results'.

You'll then be shown three PC recommendations: starter, mainstream, and enthusiast.

The starter PC is, you guessed it, a more entry-level machine. So you're looking at a low-end modern CPU and probably an RTX 3060, but maybe something lower. Then there's the mainstream PC, which has a more powerful CPU and an RTX 3060 Ti or RTX 3070. And finally, the enthusiast PC, which tends to come with a high-end CPU and an RTX 3080 Ti, or something around that mark.

That's the rough idea, anyways. The PCs it ultimately recommends depend on the games you pick and appear to be based on the sales at Newegg at the time, so results may vary. This is where it slips up most, in fact. It's great that the Finder will show you PCs that are on offer at the moment, but it's not quite clever enough to sniff out the best deal for every scenario.

Here's an example from a search I carried out earlier. I chose four fairly low-rent games as my go-to titles: Apex Legends, League of Legends, World of Warcraft, and Valorant. Mostly titles that run pretty well on entry-level hardware. Then I selected that I'd like to run these at 1080p.

Newegg Gaming PC Finder

(Image credit: Newegg)

Now the base recommended PC that Newegg offers actually sounds like a decent machine for the money. For $1,200, you get an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, Intel Core i5 12400F, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB SSD. That's actually down 17% in the sale, which appears to now have ended.

It's a little on the pricey side for an RTX 3060 compared to some we've found in recent sales, but it's not altogether a terrible price by today's standards for that sort of kit. Customer reviews for this PC seem decent enough, though I haven't tested a machine from ABS so couldn't tell you if they hold up.

Now, where I disagree with Newegg's sentient PC hound is in choosing this PC over one it recommended to me a little earlier in the day, which also costs $1,200 but instead features one of my favourite graphics cards from this generation, the RTX 3060 Ti.

This RTX 3060 Ti PC from MSI comes with an 11th Gen 11400F, a 500GB SSD, and requires a $50 rebate to hit that same price point. So it's not quite a match in some ways. But the RTX 3060 Ti is a much more powerful graphics card than the RTX 3060. The GPU isn't the only part of your PC that will have an impact on your fps, but it does have the biggest, and the RTX 3060 Ti is around 20−40% faster than the RTX 3060 in our testing.

For the same money, then, I'd take the faster graphics card.

There's a lot to consider when buying a PC, and that's why it's a good idea to shop around to make sure you're getting the best deal of the bunch.

If I put more demanding games in the Finder, it recommends the RTX 3060 Ti machine instead. Okay, that makes sense. But if I then ask the system to find a PC to let me play those demanding games, but instead of at 1080p, I want to play at 2K (1440p), it recommends a different PC altogether: one with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X and RTX 3060 for $1,259.

That's definitely not a better deal, nor is it better for my selection either.

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(Image credit: Future)

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As such, this is not a system you should wholly trust to make your PC purchasing decisions for you. It's varied, which is good, but there's too much variation from result to result to nail down the absolute best PC for your money. Even if you don't leave Newegg you can often find a better deal, or at least some other options. Of course, other sites and PC builders do exist. 

I can see the Gaming PC Finger being a handy tool for, say, a parent that wants to buy their kid a gaming PC but doesn't know RTX from RX, or Ryzen 5 from i5—wait, is this stuff meant to be dense as heck? The recommendations it makes are a decent enough baseline of what to look out for, and what performance to expect. That's valuable information for anyone that's not well versed in today's PC gaming hardware, but it's just not quite all you need to go on to actually hit the checkout knowing you saved the most money.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.