The mainstream popularity of gaming PCs has exploded in recent years. Sure, there are plenty of people who won’t abandon their beloved consoles, but a large number of gaming enthusiasts have been shifting their attention. Why, though?
For starters, PC games are normally cheaper and the breadth of available titles is truly astounding. You can use your PC to play the latest strategy and simulation games, as well as the top offerings in eSports and first-person shooters. Additionally, thanks to the PC’s open platform, you also have access to a wide array of unique independent games and VR titles. No matter your penchant and preferences, you’re always guaranteed to find something that matches your mood.
Gaming PCs also deliver impressive graphics that easily rival those of next-gen Xbox and Playstation consoles (and can even outperform them with the right parts). They’re even compatible with a variety of controller options; you can use anything from a keyboard and mouse to a steering wheel and joystick. Best of all, PCs can easily be modified. That’s right, you have the power to continually alter your computer to ensure an up-to-date, industry-standard gaming experience.
One of the pain points of buying a gaming PC is building it, though. It can get expensive and confusing once you realize how many different parts you have to pick out. Luckily, you can buy ones that are pre-built, and we want to help you find the best one for you.
You’ll still have to get familiar with which parts make for a great PC setup though,
You’ll want to consider the games you play when purchasing a pre-built gaming PC. That’s because they’ll dictate the components you’ll need or want — be it a super-fast processor, high-end graphics card, etcetera. If possible, try to think about additional games you may play in the future. That way you’ll have a system that’s as future-proof as you need it to be.
CPU and cooling
You’ll find that a lot of higher-end gaming computers are equipped with multiple-core processors. This is great if you plan on using the machine for additional tasks such as photo and video editing. However, if you are strictly purchasing your pre-built PC for gaming, cores aren’t the only thing to prioritize. Many gamers suggest cutting back a little and putting your resources towards improved graphics or better solid-state drives to ensure a more balanced gaming PC. A good cooling system is also crucial, as it’ll keep your computer from overheating when pushed to its limits.
When it comes to storage, you have two major options — solid-state or hard drive. Ever since their prices have dropped, solid-state drives have understandably grown in popularity. After all, they have a faster boot time, load games more quickly, and typically run more quietly. Solid-state drives also tend to require less power. However, if you’re using your PC for work or activities beyond gaming, you’ll likely want to opt for a hard drive. And it’s definitely the way to go if you need archival storage for video and photos. Ideally, a mixture of both is best, with a smaller SSD complemented by a chunky HDD.
RAM is certainly another important component of your gaming PC. That’s because games can actually be taxing on memory. Therefore, 8GB of RAM is the absolute minimum you want in a pre-built gaming PC. We say aim for around 16GB, but the more the merrier. This will help improve your computer’s overall performance and curb any potential bottleneck.
There’s no denying that good graphics are essential to the gaming experience. More expensive computers typically come with higher-end graphics cards, but don’t worry if you can’t afford a pricier model. Most pre-built gaming PCs still provide mid-range graphic cards, and allow for the ability to upgrade to a better one in the future. And if you’re a person who never changes the default settings on your computer, it shouldn’t matter too much.
Audio and communications
Many of today’s most popular games are designed with surround sound. Thankfully, the vast majority of pre-built PCs are made with on-board, multi-channel audio codecs that deliver a fully immersive experience. Of course, you may also want to consider purchasing a quality headset and microphone as well.
Accessories and external components
We understand that when it comes to purchasing gaming equipment, the computer is the star of the show. However, don’t underestimate the value of good accessories. These also have a big impact on your gaming experience. You’ll want a keyboard, mouse, headset, and other accessories that are comfortable and guaranteed to work well.
Ability to upgrade
When buying a pre-built gaming PC, your ability to upgrade is key. After all, it’s common for gamers to swap out a component or two as new games and products emerge. And it’s a whole lot cheaper to do that than purchase an entirely new computer. Therefore, you’ll want to buy a PC that allows you to access parts like the motherboard, CPU, GPU, and RAM.
Unless you have unlimited funds, the price tag will also play a role in your decision. If you’re looking for a decent computer with basic to mid-level specs, you can expect to pay around $699. If you are willing to spend $1,000 or so, you can certainly find a solid tower with mid-to-high level specs. And if you’re feeling flush and ready to drop $1,500 or more, you’ll be able to buy a relatively high-end system with top-notch specs like multi-core GPUs and a minimum of two drives (either hard or solid-state).
Now that you know what to look out for, it’s time to take a look at our picks.