Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. How we test gear.
It’s time to enjoy unmatched power and user control.
While they may seem old-fashioned compared to the latest laptops and gaming consoles, desktop computers have never been better. In fact, these large PCs offer unmatched performance, customization, and flexibility when compared to consoles and laptops. Not to mention that PCs have the most expansive library of games out there, with thousands of classic and new titles available to download.
But amid global supply shortages and sky-high demand, it can be hard to find a great pre-built PC without paying a premium. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best gaming desktops for first-time and veteran PC gamers alike.
Buying a computer of any kind can be scary. The sheer volume of technical specifications can overwhelm even tech-savvy shoppers. This is even more true for gaming computers. While there are too many considerations to list here, keep your eye on these key specs when shopping.
The brain of the machine, a strong CPU is crucial for any computer. We recommend a CPU capable of a 3.0GHz base clock speed. Be aware that clock speed is not an all-encompassing metric.
The main way to get great gaming graphics. For a gaming desktop, we recommend at least an NVIDIA GTX 2060 or AMD Radeon RX 6600XT.
For gaming desktops, we recommend at least 16GB of RAM.
We highly recommend a build with at least 500GB of SSD storage and 1TB of total storage capacity. We also recommend saving and running your Windows operating system from an SSD, not HDD.
Many of these recommendations are based on extensive personal use. For the products we couldn’t test ourselves, we performed intensive research, reviewing content from expert sources like PC Gamer, PCMag, CNET, Tom’s Guide, DigitalTrends, and others, as well as thousands of consumer reviews from online storefronts like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. As for the products themselves, we evaluated them on performance, design, build quality, and price.
One of the easiest gaming desktops to recommend is the OMEN 30L series. Coming in a wide variety of configurations, the OMEN distinguishes itself by offering powerful, name-brand components without few proprietary parts.
We particularly love this desktop for its case design, an understated tower with a glass side panel, RGB lighting, and ample room for airflow and additional customization. Our recommended configuration packs a stellar Intel CPU with an RTX 3070, meaning VR and 1440p gaming is easily within this rig’s grasp.
If it’s your first time using a dedicated gaming desktop, Acer’s Predator Orion 3000 will make the process simple. This midsized desktop is simple to understand, has strong internal components, and features plenty of ports, both in the front and back. Our recommended configuration is excellent for 1440p gaming and any other daily tasks.
While this desktop does not have many options for people looking to customize, it’s well-suited for first-time users looking for powerful desktop performance.
For veteran gamers looking for great 4K gaming in a standout package, check out Alienware’s Aurora R14. The latest in the long line of Aurora desktops, the R14 showcases a gorgeous and unique design full of smooth curves and customizable RGB lighting.
The case also features plenty of front and rear USB and audio port options. Inside, the R14 sports a powerful Ryzen 9 CPU, an RTX 3080 GPU, 32GB of RAM, and tons of storage. Put together, this machine runs games in 4K smoothly and beautifully.
If you are working with a tighter budget, Cyberpowerpc’s Gamer Extreme PC offers great entry-level performance at a little over $1,000.
While this desktop won’t be running games at 1440p or 4K resolutions, it can handle all the latest and greatest titles at 1080p without issue, thanks to its midtier CPU and GPU. At this price point, we were particularly impressed by the inclusion of three front intake fans, ensuring internals stay cool.
Not all gaming desktops have to be huge towers that take up most of your under-desk space. Once incredibly niche and hard to find, compact gaming desktops have made a comeback, and offer great performance you can place on top of your desk or around the house.
The best compact gaming desktop is undoubtedly Corsair’s One i300. 4K gaming is no problem for this machine, thanks to strong CPU, GPU, and RAM performance. The massive 2TB SSD also ensures you can store all your favorite games without issue.
The Corsair One i300 is one of the best compact PCs, but it is expensive. For folks on a smaller budget seeking a small form factor, we recommend HP’s Pavilion Gaming desktop series instead.
While not as compact as the One i300, the Pavilion series is much smaller than your average gaming desktop, and comes in dozens of different configurations and at multiple price points. We recommend this great 1080p build equipped with plenty of RAM and an efficient AMD CPU and GPU combo.
Fans of Alienware’s Aurora series and AMD’s (generally) thermal-efficient components should consider the Aurora R10 Ryzen edition desktop. With a distinct design full of curves and customizable RGB lighting, the R10 looks stunning if you have the desk space to showcase it topside.
Inside, the strong AMD CPU and GPU, plus 32GB of RAM, make 4K gaming a breeze. It’s also typically more affordable than Aurora configurations using Intel or NVIDIA components.
Most gaming desktop computers have a certain shared aesthetic. Large, all black, RGB lit, clear-side panel cases are synonymous with the “gaming” look. If you want a gaming desktop with a more modern style, Dell’s XPS 8940 special edition deserves a look. The design is minimal and all white, with a subtle front intake panel and excellent front-facing ports.
While it may look like a business computer on the outside, inside, our recommended configuration can handle any game at 1080p and some titles at 1440p, thanks to an RTX 3060 GPU and ample RAM.
Speaking of great designs, MSI’s MEG Trident series is beloved for putting high-end gaming components inside thin, console-like cases. The Trident X is no exception, able to handle all types of games at a beautiful 1440p resolution.
The real reason to choose the Trident X is its small, thin design and wide-ranging connectivity options. Anyone looking to put a PC in their living room will enjoy the Trident X’s light weight, great port selection, and onboard Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity.
When considering long-term PC health, cooling is one of the most important factors at play. PC components can get very hot, especially when gaming. A great case design is one way to help combat thermal wear and tear, and keep your computer running smoothly for years to come.
That’s exactly why we recommend Thermaltake’s Glacier 360 PC, a well-priced, well-cooled system fit for 1080p and light 1440p gaming. The Glacier 360 uses a liquid-cooling setup for the CPU, a rarity for desktops outside premium price ranges. Anyone prioritizing long-term use should take note of this affordable desktop.