The best gaming PC 2024: Take the pre-built route to greatness

The best gaming PCs are becoming more and more tempting if you've always played on a console. Exclusivity is dying out, first-party games are lacking, and on top of that, "pro" models that'll demand more money from you will only bring you closer to what you could have on a PC anyway. Whether you're looking to make the full switch to desktop or get a dual setup going, the PCs we recommend below could make a world of difference for you. 

Whether you're looking for the latest and greatest Alienware gaming PC, or you're a seasoned pro looking for something to modify as you go, we'd just recommend that you think about futureproofing if you invest a large sum in a gaming PC. There are loads of viable GPUs and CPUs out there just now, and there's never been so many options for DDR5-compatible parts. More than that, PCIe Gen 5 SSDs are emerging, and while you might not need their lighting-quick speeds just yet, it might be worth thinking about compatibility if you don't want to buy again further down the line.

Just keep in mind that the best graphics cards still aren't the cheapest to buy separately, so getting them in a prebuilt gaming PC can actually be surprisingly good value. Of course, there is the option to assemble newer components and build your own gaming PC from scratch. While there are definitely benefits to doing this, we'd recommend a prebuilt rig for folks who don't have the time and know-how to build. If you're looking for your first rig, a prebuild can definitely save you a lot of bother.

The Quick List

The best 13th gen gaming PC

The best 13th Gen gaming PC

Specifications

CPU: Up to Intel Core i9-13900KF
GPU: Up to Nvidia RTX 4090
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR5
Storage: Up to 2x 1TB NVMe Gen 4 SSDs; 2x 3TB HDD

Reasons to buy

+
Top-drawer new-gen components
+
RTX 4090 does a lot of heavy lifting
+
Beautiful design

Reasons to avoid

-
No XMP compatibility
-
Disgustingly loud fans
-
CPU runs hot
-
Pricey

Our favorite configuration: 

Image

Acer Predator Orion 7000 | Intel Core i7-12700F | RTX 3080
While not quite as tanked out as our review unit, this Acer Predator Orion 7000 configuration marries up price and power at $1,949.99, with specs that are ready for the future. This machine is utilizing 16GB DDR5 RAM so it will be technologically relevant for years to come. Features: Intel Core i7-12700K, RTX 3080, 32GB RAM, 1TB NVMe SSD + 2TB HDD.

The Acer Predator Orion 7000 has been one of the top dogs of the prebuilt gaming PC market for a while now. With the Orion 7000 of 2022 releasing just before the launch of new-gen CPUs, GPUs, and more widespread adoption of DDR5 RAM, Acer made the wise decision to refresh its flagship gaming PC with a new motherboard that could handle the power of these 13th Gen Intel processors.

Now fully compatible with 13th Gen CPUs, DDR5, and wielding the Lovelace power of Nvidia's RTX 40 series, Acer has futureproofed its flagship's innards for the new generation. 

There's barely any game you could throw at the refreshed Acer Predator Orion 7000 that it won't crunch up and spit out with ease.

Acer Predator Orion 7000 (2023) review

The version we tested was crammed full of power, housing an unlocked 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900KF CPU and an RTX 4090. Although that rig, in particular, is pricey, and probably one of the most powerful gaming PCs you can get your hands on at the moment, the Predator Orion 7000 can be found in more configurations than ever before, and we're sure as time goes on we'll begin to see a wider spread of builds up and down the price range.

Should you buy one of the priciest big-name pre-built gaming PCs on the market? On paper, and when it comes to in-game performances, the answer's a pretty simple yes. There's barely any game you could throw at the refreshed Acer Predator Orion 7000 that it won't crunch up and spit out with ease. If you have the money for it, this is a cracking PC to play games on.

Having said that, if you're going to buy this monster of a gaming PC, I would strongly, strongly urge you to take a look at the best PC headset for gaming, because by golly are you going to need it. The fans in this rig seem louder than they've ever been, and in all honesty, don't do a great job of keeping the components cool. 13th Gen CPUs are known to run hot, but no one should have to suffer this much noise pollution for temperatures that are still this high.

Finally, I'm a bit baffled by the fact that these newly refreshed motherboards don't have any XMP compatibility. Either way, as simple plug-and-play gaming PCs go, this is one of the very best you'll find. 

The best budget brand gaming PC

The best budget brand gaming PC

Specifications

CPU: up to Intel Core i7-12700KF
GPU: up to RTX 3070
Memory: up to 32GB DDR4-3600 RAM
Storage: up to 1TB NVMe SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Eye-catching, RGB and liquid-cooled design
+
Incredible pre-built, pre-cooled system for price
+
Simple access for making adjustments
+
Excellent performance

Reasons to avoid

-
May be hard to find specific models 

iBUYPOWER is one of the best names in the biz for creating affordable gaming PCs without losing an ounce of quality in terms of components. The iBUYPOWER Element CL Pro deftly handles one of the more difficult challenges in the creation of the best gaming PCs: custom liquid-cooling. Normally reserved for only the priciest machines due to expensive shipping costs, the Element CL Pro offers a gorgeous, custom loop liquid-cooled rig at a reasonable price - you can get this beauty for less than $2K. 

If you're looking for a pre-built, custom liquid-cooled desktop PC, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything better at the price point

iBuyPower Element CL Pro review

The Element CL Pro is a step above the previous Element CL Plus models because it can now support RTX 3070 cards, and the numbers it churns out prove it handles 4K gaming well. It can't quite hit 4K 60fps for Metro Exodus, but it can easily reach that with Red Dead Redemption 2 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider on the highest graphical settings. The rig reaches 60fps across multiple games at lower resolutions (1440p and 1080p). Simply put - it produces excellent and consistently amazing gameplay. 

If you're someone who loves to tinker with your PCs, the Element CL Pro offers incredibly easy access for upgrades and maintenance. An all-glass side panel lets you get to the GPU and CPU with ease and refilling the liquid cooling system is a breeze as it's located outside of the system so there's no need to worry about accidental spillage. The iBUYPOWER Element CL Pro is a gorgeous machine that offers excellent performance at a price that won't hurt your wallet.

The best lower-end gaming PC

3. HP Omen 25L

The best for lower-end configurations

Specifications

CPU: Up to Intel Core i5-13400F / AMD Ryzen 7 5600G
GPU: Up to RTX 3060 Ti
Memory: 16GB of DDR5
Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Affordably priced configurations
+
Benefits from stellar build quality 
+
Easy enough to upgrade

Reasons to avoid

-
Can get hot under stress
-
Limited case room for larger component upgrades
-
Most configs use older-gen components
  • Our favorite configuration: 
HP Omen 25L | RTX 3060 | Intel Core i5-13400F at Best Buy

HP Omen 25L | RTX 3060 | Intel Core i5-13400F at Best Buy
Currently reduced to $949.99, this HP Omen 25L has everything you need to experience 1080p and 1440P in the latest games without breaking a sweat. As far as budget builds go, you're benefitting from the manufacturer's build quality, and you get some excellent storage for your money here too.
Comes with 1-month of Xbox Game Pass

The HP Omen 25L line is the most accessible price-wise of the entire Omen division, which currently features support for the latest Intel 12th gen and Ryzen 5000 CPUs. At around the $1,200 mark, and below, you can expect high performance for both 1080p and 1440p all built inside a sleek chassis. What's more, the HP Omen 25L is easy to upgrade making it easy to swap out parts, such as graphics cards and RAM in the near future. 

The one negative that has circulated around the HP Omen 25L, and likely implemented as a cost-saving measure, are small issues with airflow due to the chassis' small size. This could be down to the fact that the Omen 25L lacks the same front intake fan of the larger Omen 30L. If you're aiming for modest components here then thermal throttling is unlikely to be a problem, but it's something to keep in mind all the same. 

The best mid-range gaming PC

The best mid-range gaming PC

Specifications

CPU:: Up to Intel Core i9 10th-gen
GPU: : Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090
Memory:: Up to 64GB
Storage: : Up to 2TB SSD + 2TB HDD

Reasons to buy

+
Available in many different configurations
+
Reasonable pricing for a pre-built system
+
Fantastic aesthetic 

Reasons to avoid

-
Somewhat messy interior
-
Harder to find with newer components
-
No DDR5

Our favorite configuration: 

Image

HP Omen 30L | AMD Radeon RX 6600XT | AMD Ryzen 5 5600G at Amazon
A lovely, and affordable last-gen AMD build here. 32GB of DDR4 is hardly going to be an issue for you, especially when you get a combined 3TB of storage to use. The 6600 XT is a fairly entry-level GPU, but it's more than capable of riding you over until you can afford a more up-to-date model.

If you’re not out to build your own PC (or you’ve had no luck with the current GPU market) but still want a powerhouse desktop for some next-gen gaming, check out HP’s Omen 30L line. Custom-built inside a slick Omen chassis, this PC offers a larger platform than the 25L (also on this list) to harness some larger components.

It’s hard to deny that this is an exceptional pre-built gaming system

HP Omen 30L

The HP Omen 30L we’ve reviewed came with some slick, understated RGB lighting, as well as a 10th-gen Intel processor and RTX 2080 Super GPU. This version cost $1,999 (with a year’s warranty included), but pricier models are available with RTX 3000-series cards (though be prepared for all kinds of stock fluctuation given it is the year 2023). The case has two tempered glass panels to showcase your system, with easy access for adjustments and excellent ventilation to prevent overheating.

While the interior isn’t the tidiest we’ve seen amongst the best gaming PCs, the performance speaks for itself. The RTX 2080 Super GPU is still a beast at 1440p and respectable in 4K, too, with its liquid-cooled processor never getting too hot even playing the most demanding titles. HP has proven that it is taking pre-built machines seriously, so the Omen 30L gets a thumbs up from us.

The best Alienware gaming PC

The best Alienware gaming PC

Specifications

CPU: Up to Intel Core i9
GPU: Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090
RAM: Up to 64GB
Storage: Up to 4TB SSD + 2TB HDD

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible RTX 4090 performance
+
Effective RGB lighting
+
Plenty of ports List

Reasons to avoid

-
Not so upgradable
-
Questionable case choices
-
Makes strange sounds

The Alienware Aurora R15 is an out-of-this-world powerhouse PC with exceptional gaming capabilities, and it builds upon what made the R13 and R14 so great. While it’s not a perfect system, and Dell’s dedication to using proprietary parts persists, the company’s rig is both reliable and sets itself apart with unique aesthetics. If you’re not into odd-looking PC cases, this system might not be for you, but you’ll want to read on if you’re looking for an eccentric boutique build. 

Armed with a monstrous RTX 4090, an Intel Core i9-13600K, and 32GB DDR5 RAM, the Alienware Aurora R15 we reviewed didn't remotely skimp on specs. During benchmarking, the rig made short work of demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Total War: Warhammer 3, and it consistently rolled natural 20s while powering numerous Baldur’s Gate 3 settings. We’re taking frame rates that are consistently within the realm of triple digits, and even ray tracing can’t thwart this cosmic system’s ability to boost fps.

As much as we loved the R15’s cutting-edge performance, there are a few quirks to consider before investing in this interstellar system. For starters, its shell won’t be for everyone, as it uses a lot of plastic to give it an unconventional look. As a result, you’ll sometimes hear some weird noises occur as temperatures rise and drop, which is eerie if you’re expecting standard fan acoustics. 

However, one of the R15’s biggest pitfalls is upgradability, as its motherboard isn’t standard. In fact, like a lot of ITX (small form factor) motherboards, it only features two DIMM slots, so your options are limited when it comes to RAM. There’s also not much room to work with inside the case, as Dell has carefully positioned its liquid cooling system amongst other tight-fitting parts. That aside, if you’re more likely to just buy an entirely different rig in the future rather than tinker with one, then the R15 will offer incredible performance long into the future.

Read more: Alienware Aurora R15 review

Alienware Aurora R12

The best mid-range Alienware gaming PC (if you can find it)

Specifications

CPU: Up to Intel Core i9 (11th gens)
GPU: Up to RTX 3090
RAM: Up to 128GB
Storage: Up to 2TB SSD + 2TB HDD

Reasons to buy

+
Stellar aesthetics
+
Supported for the Ampere GPU line
+
Still technologically relevant

Reasons to avoid

-
Superseded by the Aurora R13

Our favorite configuration: 

Image

Alienware Aurora R12 | RTX 3060 Ti | Intel Core i7-11700KF
This Alienware Aurora R12 build packs in some beefy components from previous generations. A 3060 Ti will hardly slow you down, but if you do opt for this model, be aware that an 11th gen Intel CPU motherboard will hamstring you in terms of futureproofing. You'll be locked in with DDR4 RAM, but if you want a cheap route into Alienware gear, this is your bet to take.

Alienware's Aurora R12 is leading Alienware into the next generation of gaming; as well as 10th-gen Intel processors and the possibility of liquid-cooled graphics cards, it offers a variety of builds to suit most budgets. If you want to get into PC gaming for the first time or would like to upgrade your existing setup then this is the most cost-effective way to do it.

Ranging from affordable starter rigs to pimped-out super PCs, the Aurora R12 strikes a good balance of choice. Better still, these desktops can be easily opened and upgraded with different parts as and when you see fit. Want more RAM or a larger SSD? No problem. Because the power supply unit swings out on a metal arm, you get more room to fiddle with the PC's insides.

The R12's design is of a similar form for the last few years and is attractive enough - and unique if nothing else. Although it sticks with the distinctive case and scooped-out front of its predecessor, this update enriches that formula with new lighting around the central strip in some cases. It's an addition that turns heads and makes the design feel even more futuristic than it did before.

The best handheld gaming PC