The Best Gaming PCs, No Assembly Required – Forbes

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The best gaming PCs give you all of the high-performance hardware you need to play the most demanding PC video games without the hassle of actually building a system yourself. Pre-built systems cost a small premium over the do-it-yourself approach, but the convenience can be worth it if you’re short on time or expertise.

If you just want to start gaming at higher frame rates, resolutions and detail settings straight away, a pre-built gaming PC is a great way to upgrade your gaming experience today. While you’re upping your PC gaming gear game, also consider one of the best gaming headsets. Here are some of the best pre-built gaming PCs you can buy today.

Best Gaming PC Overall

Quality And Performance At A Fair Price

CPU: Intel Core i7-12700K | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB HDD, 512GB SSD

Best for: Gamers who want to balance performance with price.

The HP Omen 40L continues the Omen line’s tradition of clean design coupled with powerful components. This configuration is a boost over a prior pick, and upgrades the processor to a Core i7-12700K and includes a GeForce RTX 3070 Ti graphics card. (HP has other configurations up to the more powerful RTX 3080 graphics card at its site.)  This component matchup gives you all the power you need for high frame rate gaming at 1080p or 1440p, with ray tracing and every other setting enabled. You can dabble in 4K, but you’ll need to lower some settings (or enable DLSS) to get comfortable frame rates in AAA games.

The redesigned cooling system is much more effective, leading to overall lower component temperatures and a much quieter system. No more gaming with headphones on as a necessity. Just because this PC is ultra powerful, doesn’t mean it’s not upgradeable, though. With an Intel 12th generation CPU and 600 series motherboard, you can upgrade to a Raptor Lake CPU later this year when they debut, and there’s always the option of switching up to DDR5 memory if you want to really push it.

Pros:

  • Great gaming performance at 1080p and 1440p
  • Some 4K gaming ability in lighter titles
  • Much improved cooling for quieter gaming

Cons:

  • Not quite a full 4K gaming PC
  • No DDR5

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Best Small Form Factor Gaming PC

A Console-like Gaming PC

CPU: Intel Core i7-12700F | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 1 TB SSD

Best for: Gamers who want PC performance in a compact, console-like chassis.

Gaming PCs don’t only come in massive towers. The MSI MPG Trident AS proves that as the flagship of MSI’s console-styled PC range, and it is absolutely the best of both worlds. The MPG Trident AS has a stylish, narrow design whose compact shape easily fits among your living room electronics. Inside sits the kind of performance that only a high-end gaming PC can provide. This PC’s combination of fast CPU and upper tier Nvidia graphics card make it capable of playing any game at any settings (though you’ll need to juggle some settings if you enable ray tracing, or play at 4K, to maintain steady frame rates). And with 1TB of fast NVMe SSD storage, you get plenty of space to store your game adventures.

The system stays quiet with a well-tuned air cooling system that keeps the hot air flowing out at a respectable rate without ramping up the fans. It also currently comes with a free gaming mouse and keyboard, which while not stellar, does help bring down the overall price for getting going with a fully operational gaming system. The step-up model, the MSI MEG Trident X is worth a look as well, but is currently in and out of stock. That model is pricier, but has faster DDR5 memory, double the storage and better graphics.

Pros:

  • High-performance components let you play anything
  • Impressive cooling for quiet operation
  • Compact chassis fits in anywhere

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Only has DDR4 memory

An Honorable Mention For A Super Compact Option

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5600X| Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: 512GB SSD

Best for: Ultra compact gaming with a boutique design.

If you’re willing to pay for it, there’s no compact PC quite like the Maingear Turbo. Its base configuration isn’t much to write home about, but if you’re willing to expand your budget, you can fit just about any component in this tiny chassis and still have everything perform well without overheating. It’s all packed inside this attractive, understated Mini-ITX case with full steel construction for a sturdy design and a tempered glass side panel to show off all your fancy internal hardware.

Maingear makes a number of high-end machines, but the Turbo is its most compact and impressive, delivering boutique-grade construction in a customizable, pre-built design. The only real downside to the hardware on offer is that you’re limited to AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs, which does mean you can’t benefit from the added multi-threaded and gaming performance of Intel’s 12th generation CPUs. You aren’t missing much though, and with the wealth of other high-end gaming components on offer, this gaming PC can easily rival some of the fastest gaming PCs in the world. Just be ready to open your wallet, as it is rather expensive.

Pros:

  • Impressive array of component options
  • Super compact design

Cons:

  • High price tag
  • Limited to AMD CPUs

Best High-End Gaming PC

Cutting Edge Performance

CPU: Intel Core i9-12900K | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 | RAM: 32GB DDR5 | Storage: 2TB SSD

Best for: Gamers who want the best of the best available today, and are willing to pay for it.

If you want a gaming PC that lets you turn everything up to 11 without compromise, then you need to pay for it. What you get for your money though, is truly special in the gaming space: This Corsair PC combines cutting-edge components with an airy and quiet-chassis, a potent combination that delivers high-powered gaming performance without any of the usual drawbacks.

Inside you also get pleasing lighting effects on all of your RGB fans and a quiet CPU watercooling system, all visible through your a clear, tempered glass side panel. This model has Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity for attaching all of your favorite wireless accessories and peripherals.

Worried about spending this kind of money? Don’t be. This model carries a two year warranty for a replacement or refund, as well as lifetime 24/7 technical support from Corsair’s team of specialists.

Pros:

  • Flagship-level gaming performance
  • Quiet operation with a great looking case
  • Access to 24/7 support team for life

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Lacks Wi-Fi 6E support

Best Gaming PC Under $1,000

Easily Outclassing The Competition

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5600G | Graphics: AMD RX 6500 XT | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: 512GB SSD

Best for: Maximizing your gaming performance on a controlled budget.

If you have $1,000 to spend on a gaming PC, you could do a lot worse than the Lenovo Legion Tower 5. It has the kind of components which will deliver excellent 1080p gaming performance in esports games and—if you play with the settings—in some AAA games too. The AMD Ryzen 5600G CPU isn’t a powerhouse, but it’s roughly comparable to AMD’s other mid-range CPUs, and with the onboard graphics, you have a great troubleshooting solution if you ever run into problems with your GPU. The 6500 XT is a modest graphics card that isn’t going to blow you away, but it’s more than powerful enough to get you up and running and there’s always plenty of scope for upgrading in the future.

The only real hardware weak point with this build is the 8GB of RAM, but you can buy a 16GB kit for around $50, so upgrading that down the line is easy and affordable. Elsewhere, you get a good looking, compact case, a strong selection of USB-A and USB-C ports, built-in support for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1, and a pre-installed copy of Windows 11.

Pros:

  • Solid performance in all games at 1080p
  • Compact and attractive design
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • This configuration is limited to 8GB of RAM

Best Gaming PC Under $1,500

Save Big On This Super Powered PC

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X | Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 6700XT | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB SSD

Best for: Gamers who want to target 1440p (2K) gaming on a modest budget.

With GPU prices crashing, you can now get this amazing all-AMD gaming PC with an eight core CPU and graphics card that together can easily deliver excellent 1440p (2K) gaming performance across a wide breadth of games. The processor is considered mid-grade, meaning it falls below AMD’s highest performing option, but strikes a good balance for high frame rates per second gaming and everyday tasks. The graphics card, though, is among AMD’s high-end options and a great choice for intense gaming sessions. The combination of these two components makes this PC stand out, since it can be a gaming performer without hitting the same price heights as other models.

The case has an attractive design with heaps of RGB lighting, and the inside is roomy enough that upgrades and tinkering are a breeze. The AMD system doesn’t have quite the same upgrade paths as an Intel 12th gen design, but it will be fully compatible with next-generation graphics cards, and the Ryzen 7 5800X3D offers a modest CPU performance bump if you want to go down that route in the future.

Pros:

  • Very affordable with recent price cuts
  • Solid cooling in a great-looking case
  • Bundled peripherals add additional value

Cons:


Best Beginner Gaming PC

Affordable Quality

CPU: Intel Core i5-12400F | Graphics: Nvidia RTX 3060 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 512GB SSD, 1TB HDD

Best for: Gamers who want a great all-round system with bundled peripherals.

The Acer Nitro 50 is a solid gaming PC that provides capable hardware in an attractive, if slightly dated, chassis, alongside a pair of capable peripherals. If you want a gaming PC that has everything you need to play just about anything and will work right out the box with no additional accessories required, this is the PC for you. You’ll still need a monitor and a few cables, but with a mouse and keyboard in tow, the Acer Nitro 50 is the best gaming PC for beginners you can buy.

The six-core Intel Core i5-12400F is one of the best CPUs of its generation, offering excellent gaming performance comparable to that of much more expensive hardware. When paired with the Nvidia RTX 3060, this PC has more than enough power to handle all of your favorite esports games, and even most AAA games at max settings when sticking to 1080p resolution. With half a terabyte of SSD storage you have plenty of space for an expansive game library, but if you run out of space you can always store games and other important data on the additional 1TB hard drive and move them over to the SSD when you’re ready to play them.

Pros:

  • Solid hardware for a beginner gaming machine
  • Additional 1TB of hard drive space for longer term storage
  • Bundled peripherals are useful

Cons:

  • Case is getting a bit long in the tooth

Best Budget Gaming PC

Powerful Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Graphics At A Low Price

CPU: Intel Core i5-12400 | Graphics: Nvidia GTX 1660 Super | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: 256GB SSD

Best for: Playing esports games and older AAA games at 1080p.

You don’t need an ultra powerful gaming PC to enjoy your favorite esports games, and the HP Victus 15L is a great example of that. With an Intel Core i5-12400f and Nvidia GTX 1660 Super, there’s plenty of power here for all of the top competitive games and then some. You’ll be able to play them at 1080p and great framerates with all the settings maxed out, ensuring that you stay fast and competitive with your teammates and enemies alike. This attractive build has a healthy discount. giving buyers a compact and attractive entry-level gaming system at a very affordable price. You might want to upgrade the storage down the line, but 256GB is enough to install quite a few older games.

The unique look of this system really helps it stand out from the crowd, and it’s especially good if you don’t care about looking at your internals. The lack of a glass side panel saves on cost and weight, and it gives the build a more professional, grown-up look. The front “V” logo is made to look like an infinite mirror, giving this chassis a very different aesthetic, but it stays functional, with plenty of front and rear I/O for USB-A and USB-C, as well as a readily accessible headphone jack. It also comes with support for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2, helping you stay connected to your network and wireless devices at the fastest possible speeds.

Pros:

  • Good hardware for 1080p and esports play
  • An attractive chassis with a unique look
  • Very affordable price

Cons:

  • Limited storage in default configuration
  • Default price isn’t as good value

What To Consider When Buying A Pre-Built Gaming PC

When you buy a pre-built gaming PC from one of the major brands, the focus is on the convenience of buying ready-to-go out of the box. You don’t need to worry as much about all the intricacies of how the system is put together, but you do need to factor in important specifications and features. For this story, we looked at pre-built systems sold as a pre-configured package. Some manufacturers also sell directly, and have self-configure options if you know the specific set of components you want in your pre-built gaming system.

CPU

The heart of any gaming PC is the processor, or CPU. It’s not the linchpin of gaming performance it once was, but it’s still important. You want a recent CPU—Intel 10th, 11th or 12th generation CPUs, or AMD Ryzen 3000 or 5000—and something with at least four cores. That’s typically Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 and up.

Great mid-range CPU options include the Ryzen 5 5600X and the Intel Core i5-12600K, with high-end systems targeting the Intel Core i7-12700K and Core i9-12900K, or the AMD Ryzen 5 5800X and Ryzen 7 5800X3D.

Graphics Card

This is the most important component for any gaming PC. Graphics cards can get expensive, though, and it helps to target a card that best matches your use.

If you’re looking to run esports games at 1080p, you can get away with a budget GPU or at least top out at the mid-range. Higher-end cards are better for 2K (also referred to as 1440p) and 4K resolutions in AAA games. Look for budget options like the AMD Radeon RX 6400, or the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super, or more mid-range cards like the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, and Radeon RX 6600.

For higher-end systems where you want to hit those higher detail settings and frame rates, look for at least an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 or AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT, but you’ll get better 4K performance out of top cards like the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, and Radeon RX 6850 XT. The best performance can be had with the RTX 3090 and 3090 Ti, but know that they are very expensive.

RAM

RAM is something that can really hamstring your system if you don’t have enough of it. Make sure you have at least 8GB, and better yet 16GB for mid-range gaming and everyday tasks both. For maximum performance, look for systems with 32GB of RAM, best for the latest and most demanding games at the highest resolution.

As far as speed goes, your memory should be at least 3,000MHz or faster; below that you’ll really see a drop off in performance. If you want cutting edge performance and you’re buying a compatible Intel 12th generation system, then consider the newer DDR5 memory too. While DDR5 memory is faster than DDR4, but note the performance uplift isn’t huge and the price increase can be dramatic.

Storage

The only absolute must with gaming PC storage is that you need an SSD. Look for an NVMe SSD for your boot drive and game drive. NVMe is significantly faster than a SATA SSD; NVMe drives typically maintain 3.5GBps sustained read/write throughput, as compared with SATA’s 600MBps. You want at least 256GB, but you’ll have more space for larger games if you target at least 512GB.

If you want to store a lot of photos, video, or audio, consider a secondary external hard drive for a more affordable long-term storage solution.

Case

The computer’s chassis is important in gaming, and not just because you might want to make a statement with the case’s aesthetic touches. Case design takes on more importance for pre-built gaming PCs, because system cooling becomes imperative when running CPUs and graphics cards at max for hours on end. Make sure the case has at least one intake fan and one exhaust fan, and ideally has dust filters on the intakes. Cable management, expansion bays and RGB lighting will vary dramatically from PC to PC, so be sure to check individual reviews for specific recommendations.

Are Pre-Built Gaming PCs Worth It?

Definitely. A pre-built gaming PC is a great way to start playing your favorite games straight away without having to build the system yourself. You’ll still have to install some games and your favorite programs, but it’s a much quicker way to get gaming, and you can often get a more powerful mix of components for the price in a gaming desktop than a gaming laptop.

You also get more support, extra warranty coverage and guarantees that mean if your new PC fails for whatever reason in the first year (or more, depending on the manufacturer and warranty you select on purchase) you can have someone fix it for you, rather than having to troubleshoot it yourself. Pre-built gaming PCs are great for those who just want to game and don’t care about learning how it all works themselves.

Can You Upgrade Pre-Built Gaming PCs?

Typically, yes, so long as the system’s motherboard has available internal connectors to support adding additional RAM or storage. Beyond that, pre-built gaming PCs and gaming PCs you put together yourself are the same. Some cases are more difficult to navigate and aren’t as easy to open as others, a factor to dig deeper on if upgrade potential is important to you.

Is It Cheaper To Build Your Own Gaming PC?

Almost always. Since you aren’t paying for someone’s time to build it for you or give a warranty, you can typically save money by building your own gaming PC. You’ll also be able to maximize your budget to focus on the components most important to you. All of the pre-built gaming PC picks above are selected for their mix of components at a given price. One gotcha with pre-built PCs: Manufacturers might skimp on one component in favor of another to hit a specific price.

When you build your own gaming PC, you can make sure that the GPU matches your needs and you’re not overspending on the case or unnecessary extras, and that you have enough storage and memory for what you want to do with it. The only caveat to all of this is that many graphics card prices are still sky high. If you want a high-end GPU for your next PC build, buying a pre-built can sometimes be cheaper.


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