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The best gaming PC for 2019

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The best gaming PC for 2019
(Image credit: Corsair)

The best gaming PC for you depends largely on your needs - and budget of course. If you're looking for a budget prebuilt to take to college, your expectations are going to be a lot different compared to a shopper who already has a 4K version of one of the best gaming monitors and needs a beast of a machine to drive that resolution. However, you're on this page so you've likely got high aspirations and really want to strive for one of the best gaming PCs money can buy. As luck would have it, the current trend in desktop gaming PCs is that they are becoming more and more aligned with DIY pricing all the time, and the rising level of competition means that quality is increasing everywhere too. The advantages of getting one of the best gaming PCs prebuilt for you are clear in the first instance - it saves you the potential headaches and hard labor of the build - but also go further. Built buy a company and/or sold by a retailer means that your new machine will have warranty coverage and quite possible some extras that the DIY route doesn't always provide (perhaps stuff like unique cooling solutions, cable management, or parts that aren't available anywhere else).

Best deal today

(Image credit: HP)

HP Omen Obelisk | $1129.99 at HP (save $105)
HP does a great job of pricing its machines around what you'd pay for the same components if you built it yourself, and this configuration is no different. It starts with an i5-9400 and a GTX 1060, but you can upgrade (or even downgrade) to your heart's content on HP's site.

The attraction is fair and clear, but how do you go about picking out the best gaming PC? First, and while not totally hard and fast, you'll have to figure out how much you want to spend. Then, very importantly, you'll want to consider (realistically) how you'll use your machine: if you're going to be primarily gaming on it, a powerful CPU is going to be a little less important compared to if you're doing more productivity tasks. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you're going to use your machine for really processor intensive stuff like video rendering or editing, you'll want a mighty CPU, likely something from Intel's 9th Gen, or one of the brand new Ryzen 3000-series parts. Generally, though, if you're buying your machine primarily for PC gaming, you can save yourself some money on the processor and invest it in a better graphics card, which does most of the heavy lifting for gaming applications.

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1. iBuyPower RDY ELIBG207

The best gaming PC in 2019

CPU: i9 9900K | Graphics: RTX 2080 Ti | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB SATA SSD

Incredible performance
Sub-DIY price
Toolless access
Smallish storage bay

The ELIBG207 is the best gaming PC you can get for a number of reasons, the most crucial of which is that it's a ridiculously powerful machine that you can buy from the manufacturer for less than it would cost you to assemble it yourself (by a margin of nearly $200). It's loaded for bear with an RTX 2080 Ti and a scorching hot Core i9-9900K processor, and is one of the only machines we've tested that's capable of realistically handling modern, triple-A titles at 4K Ultra anywhere close to 60 FPS. Even the extremely demanding, GPU devouring Metro Exodus, with its ridiculously gorgeous landscapes and much vaunted ray tracing support, runs smoothly at 30 FPS or more. 

There are also some thoughtful additional features, stuff like toolless case access by removing either side panel, and a ton of USB ports to plug all your peripherals into. It also comes under the aegis of a nice three year warranty, so you can rest assured your investment won't crumble on you a few months into its life cycle. 

Best for... Anyone looking to buy a high-end gaming PC.

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2. SkyTech Legacy Mini

The best gaming PC for ray tracing on a budget

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700 | Graphics: RTX 2060 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 500GB SSD

Great price to board the RTX train
Smaller form factor
Runs cool under load
Case is slightly crowded

As anyone on Nvidia's staff will be happy to tell you, ray tracing is the future of gaming. While the games currently available may not be best equipped to make it clear why that's the case, I actually agree with the GPU manufacturer - manipulating light, shadows, and reflections will be a huge component of getting games right up to the photorealistic threshold.  If you're curious to see it in action for yourself but don't want to sink $1,200 on a top end RTX card, the SkyTech Legacy Mini may be just the answer you're looking for.

Like the above iBuyPower machine, the Legacy Mini packs an affordable but capable RTX 2060 with all its dedicated ray tracing cores (and the Tensor equivalent to handle DLSS computations). Unlike the SLIIBG213, on the other hand, it's loaded up with an AMD Ryzen processor, so if you're one of the Red Team enthusiasts, the Mini may be the prebuilt solution you've been dreaming of. It's also packed into a slightly smaller frame than the standard mid-tower, which means it'll tuck under a desk or into a living room entertainment center with ease (though it does mean you have slightly less real estate to navigate around in inside the chassis).

Best for... AMD processor enthusiasts who want to join the era of ray tracing and DLSS but don't want to pay a premium

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3. Corsair Vengeance 5180

The best gaming PC for those who crave RGB flash paired with performance

CPU: i7 8700 | Graphics: AMD Radeon RX560/ GTX 1050 Ti 4GB/ GTX 1060 6GB/ GTX 1080 8GB | RAM: 8GB DDR4/16GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB - 2TB HDD

Great performance
Thoughtful dual-chambered design
Intense suite of RGB lighting
CPU can't be overclocked

While at first glance the Corsair Vengeance 5180 might seem like a lot of RGB lighting, signifying nothing, the reality is it's packed with powerful hardware and some thoughtful design decisions that elevate above even the other gaming PCs on our list. 

Inside the spacious case you'll find one of Nvidia's mighty new ray tracing cards, the RTX 2080, and a very capable Core i7-8700. It also comes with a very welcome, generous 480GB SSD as well as 2TB of traditional storage. The glass tempered panes of glass on the front, side, and top and massive RGB light-show might be the headline (or at the very least, most eye-catching) feature, but the 5180 is no slouch in performance, either.

One of my favorite features is actually the case design. While it's a pretty massive piece of kit, the space is used extremely well in a dual-chambered design that separates the motherboard, GPU, and RAM into one side and the storage drives and PSU into the other. This makes tinkering a breeze, with no massive cable snakes to navigate around when you're swapping out the graphics card or adding RAM. On the other side, handy removable hard drive bays allow you to easily add additional storage if you're so inclined, and all the PSU cables are wrapped and neatly tucked so they won't interfere. 

Of course, if you do fancy an RGB light show from your desktop, the Corsair can be lit like a Christmas tree and becomes a flashing, 16.8 million color equipped show piece for the easily impressed amongst your friends and families. Even as someone who's not a particular fan of the RGB frenzy currently gripping gaming PC and accessory manufacturers, I don't hate the candy colored display the Corsair presents every time you power it on. 

Best for… Gamers who want a powerful, fully-featured machine that's as capable as it is flashy

Best gaming keyboard | Best gaming mouse | Black Friday gaming PC latest
Best gaming chair | Best graphics card | Best CPU for PC gaming

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4. HP Omen Obelisk

The best gaming PC for high end performance in understated aesthetics

CPU: Intel Core i5-8400 to Core i9-9900 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 to RTX 2080 | RAM: 8GB to 32GB DDR4-2666 | Storage: Up to 1TB NVMe SSD + 3TB HDD

Trim, sleek machine that cuts frills to save money
Performance powerhouse
None of HP's hot swappable storage bays

There's something sort of mystical about the Obelisk that encapsulates some of the most exciting facets of our hobby. The sleek, hard angles of this HP rig mirror the object its named after, a dense black cube of potentiality ready to unleash the most beautiful and intense games of this generation. 

True to that design, the Obelisk is trim and compact and powerful. It cuts away the fat, eschewing overblown RGB lighting or the elaborate tentacles of a liquid cooling setup, focusing instead on delivering sheer performance at a very attractive price. It's also highly customizable, with a range of builds that start at the very affordable and peak up near some truly dizzying heights. For around the $2,000 mark, the Obelisk comes packed with a very nice 8th gen Core i7-8700 and a high end RTX 2080, only one step down from Nvidia's most powerful 20-series, ray tracing focused graphics powerhouse. It also boasts a speedy 256GB SSD and a generous 2TB standard HDD, so you'll have plenty of room to load your most demanding games onto the faster storage and tons of leftover room for everything else. 

While the Obelisk's case is smaller than the similarly specced Vengeance, it's not tiny by any means, and the air cooling solution the Obelisk provides has been more than sufficient during testing to handle even heavy gaming loads. It does make swapping out components slightly trickier than the Vengeance's massive dual-chamber case, of course, but that also means it'll fit more easily into smaller spaces. The Obelisk tucks neatly under a desk, or can even slide into a larger entertainment center if you want it to be the central unit in your living room media showcase.

Best for… power gamers looking for a no-frills machine to anchor their gaming setup

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5. SkyTech Supremacy

The best gaming PC for expansive budgets

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

Extremely powerful GPU
Gorgeous tempered glass case
32GB of speedy RAM
Slightly marked up aesthetics

If you're looking for a mighty gaming machine that impresses visually as much as it does with its under-the-hood performance, the SkyTech supremacy is the machine for you. Coming in right around the $3,000 mark, it packs Nvidia's shiny new RTX 2080 Ti, the top end GPU in its much ballyhooed new raytracing family of cards, and a very competent, overclockable Core-i7-8700K. This beast will easily handle any games or apps you feed it, and perform admirably even under processor intensive workloads.

Perhaps the most arresting element of the Supremacy, however, is the gorgeous panel of tempered glass and open architecture, molded around those powerful internals in what looks like a terrarium for high end PC performance parts. It's a truly beautiful machine and allows you unfettered access to the parts, as well as plenty of access to fresh air to keep the mobo and parts humming along dust free, all perched on a pair of understated feet that elevate it like a piece of modern industrial art.

Best for... Hardcore gamers who value aesthetics almost as much as performance

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6. Corsair One

The best gaming PC for peak performance in a tiny form factor

CPU: i7-9700K | Graphics: RTX 2080 8GB | RAM: 32GB DDR4 | Storage: 2TB HDD + 480GB SSD

High powered RTX GPU for ray tracing
Liquid cooled, overclocking-ready Core i7
You’re going to need a bigger bank balance
No way for users to upgrade without going through Corsair

The Corsair One series is incredibly small and lightweight (at least considering how much power it's packing), and has an attractive form factor. As a step-up option from Corsair's flashier but more modestly outfitted Vengeance model, the Corsair has a few advantages that will primarily appeal to those looking for more workload capability and who are focused on gaming as a more secondary concern. The Corsair One is decidedly a workstation focused rig, though it certainly doesn't slouch in the gaming department either. 

The One comes in a few flavors, but the best dollars-to-performance value is in the package around the $3,000 mark. It's built around the same GPU as the Vengeance, an RTX 2080, and contains the same storage drives, a 480 SSD and a 2 TB HDD. Where it exceeds the Vengeance's specs are in the CPU, an overclockable Core i7-9700K, and also in a nod to megatasking workload scenarios, it packs double the RAM, at 32GB of DDR4-2666. It will manhandle modern games at 4K with ease, and it's also suitable for heavy rendering, CAD, or other workstation style applications. 

If that's not enough horsepower for you, however, for another $600 you can raise the bar all the way up to the most powerful mainstream card Nvidia produces, the RTX 2080 Ti, as well as moving up to a Core i9-9900K, a ridiculously powerful processor. It's sort of the ultimate gaming/workstation hybrid, though if you find your bank balance is absolutely bursting with discretionary income, first, call me, but second you might also want to consider the top option in the Corsair family. The ridiculous $5,000 option includes the $1,200, wildly overpowered 9th gen Core i9-9920X CPU, which Intel insists on describing (and probably rightly so) as the "best processor for gaming." It also throws in a massive 960GB SSD so you can stash practically all of your games and applications all on a speedy static drive.

Best for… Content creators for whom gaming is an important but secondary concern, or professionals who love to game in their spare time but prioritize processing power

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7. iBuyPower RDY SLIIBG213

The best gaming PC for the QHD crowd

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

Thoughtfully specced
Ready to crush 1440p
Smart, appealing design
Limited future proofing

Another example of iBuyPower managing prices (helped in part, no doubt, by the fact that they share a building with the manufacturer of some of the parts they pack into their machines) to sell a machine at close to or even less than DIY prices. This time it's their RDY SLIIBG213, a rig designed to be plug and play and ready to manhandle the latest crop of triple-A titles at 1440p. 

For close to the $1,000 mark, this little beauty packs an RTX 2060, so it's also prepped with dedicated hardware to handle ray tracing and the resource saving DLSS deep learning, anti-aliasing technology. It's also got a Core i5-9400F tucked inside it's attractive gunmetal chassis, so it's ready and able to cope with your productivity tasks, as well. The icing on this particular affordable cake is a gorgeous tempered glass side panel that shows off all those pretty internal performance parts, and a front panel with a couple of vivid slashes of customizable RGB.  

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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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

Excellent mid- to high-tier performance
Ray tracing for under $1,300
Sleek tempered glass design
Only two DIMMs

If you want excellent QHD performance and dedicated hardware for ray tracing, all in a sleek package with a beautiful glass panel and brilliant RGB lighting, the CLX Set Gaming is an excellent deal. Packing a Ryzen 7 2700, plenty of CPU for gaming and multitasking, and a Geforce RTX 2070, Nvidia's mid 20-series card loaded with hardware to support ray tracing as well as DLSS, the Set Gaming from CLX is a fantastic machine that's priced very competitively (as of this writing it's discounted even further down to $1,255 at Walmart from it's normally excellent starting price).

Being right in the middle of the RTX pack means the 2070 is easily capable of handling the current pool of games that feature ray tracing at solid frame rates at 1440p (or even 4K, depending on the game and your settings). And the Set Gaming also packs a speedy SSD you can use as a boot drive, while saving the 1TB HDD for games and storage. For the specs, you won't find a machine close to this price point, so the Set Gaming is an easy recommend, especially if you can grab it during the current sale.

Best for...anyone looking for mid- to high-tier power for less than $1,300

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