When desktop computers became commercially available to the masses in the '80s, there were just a few models to choose from and little chance of making upgrades. However, over time, the cases, motherboards and towers shifted toward a more do-it-yourself design.
That resulted in a robust market where users built their own computers at home, buying the individual components they preferred. But not everyone has the technical knowledge, time or budget to do so. In that case, a pre-built computer is an excellent option, such as the Dell Alienware Aurora R 13 Gaming Desktop.
Depending on your affinity for technology, building your own system might seem like the logical way to go about getting a gaming computer. It’s tricky, as you must buy components individually and then place them on the motherboard in the correct slots. But the benefit of DIY is that you aren’t limited to a specific brand, specification or color scheme. Sure, you can only use components that are compatible with each other, but there is a vast range.
On the other hand, a pre-built computer is fully assembled according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Generally, there is nothing else that you must do, and you can happily start gaming straight out of the box. The disadvantage is that you can’t pick the innards.
Computer purists scoff at pre-built machines, seen as run-of-the-mill devices that lack personality or upgradeability. But any computer can be upgraded to suit your needs better — though you can only upgrade a Dell gaming desktop up to a point.
There are several factors that go into upgrading a computer, and just like building your own, the components must be compatible. This often drastically limits what you can upgrade and how up-to-date your system specifications will be in the future.
The most important part of a computer is the central processing unit. It serves as the brain that keeps all the other components working as they should. The CPU’s speed determines how many instructions it can send out and activates other components when needed.
Two CPU manufacturers dominate the industry: Intel and AMD. Each maker’s CPU is only compatible with the corresponding motherboard. Therefore, most of Dell’s gaming desktop computers use an Intel CPU, Intel motherboard and an Nvidia graphics card.
Especially crucial for gaming, the graphics card is the muscle for producing high-quality visuals. Games have minimum system requirements, and if the graphics card isn’t sufficient, the games might not load or might stutter severely.
A graphics card comprises several parts, with the dedicated graphical processing unit and RAM the most important. A good-quality Dell gaming computer has an Nvidia graphics card with at least 4 gigabytes of dedicated RAM.
In addition to the RAM on the graphics card, there must be sufficient RAM on the motherboard. Where the CPU issues the instructions, the RAM remembers what to do. Just like human memory, if there isn’t enough, instructions get lost or take longer to execute — slowing down the gaming experience. A good-quality gaming computer has at least 8GB of RAM, but 16GB is optimal to play most current games.
Since the Dell gaming desktop is pre-built, you don’t have a lot of customization options. That’s why it’s best to look for a machine with multiple connections. This is especially important if you have a dual monitor setup, as the graphics card should have at least two HDMI outputs. For other input devices such as a wired keyboard and mouse, several USB 3.0 ports are a necessity.
The average price largely depends on the computer's age and internal components. An entry-level gaming machine costs $400 to $500, while a powerful computer with an Nvidia graphics card costs $1,100 to $1,400.
A. Yes, all Dell gaming computers come with Microsoft Windows 10 pre-installed, and the license key is valid for that computer only. There might be a small fee if you want to upgrade the edition, but the upgrade is free if the system is compatible with Windows 11.
A. The computer is ready for gaming straight out of the box, but the CPU cooling system is definitely something you should consider upgrading. Most Dell gaming desktops are fitted with a generic fan cooler, which might not prevent the CPU from overheating.
What you need to know: Housed in a sleek Dell PC case, this computer has everything you need for an excellent gaming experience.
What you’ll love: The blue lights on the sides add a cool effect. It offers 16 gigabytes of RAM and runs at around 200 FPS.
What you should consider: Some users said the fan is loud.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This basic computer lets you easily play some of the latest games.
What you’ll love: This PC is powered by an Intel i7 with a 3.4 GHz clock speed. It has 16GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD storage and an Nvidia GeForce GT 730 graphics card.
What you should consider: The case is relatively bland with no options for personalization.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: The case might not seem like much, but the internal components pack a punch.
What you’ll love: With a powerful Nvidia Geforce RTX 3060 Ti 8 GB graphics card, there are no games this PC can’t handle with ease. It has 32GB of RAM, an Intel i7 4.9 GHz CPU and 512GB of internal storage.
What you should consider: The case doesn’t have sufficient cooling for the high-powered components, so you’ll need to add more fans or a liquid cooling system.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.