Reasonable price point for fast performing gaming computer. Includes 1 TB hard disk drive. Uses Core i5 processor. Good audio performance. Includes hardware required for VR. Keyboard and mouse are optimized for gaming needs.
Some issues with quality control may leave the computer unable to boot.
Good audio quality built into system. Extremely fast CPU (Core i7) and GPU for excellent gaming performance. 1 TB hard disk drive and 240 GB SSD included for outstanding performance levels. Ready for VR gaming. Great-looking desktop computer case with plenty of cool LED lighting.
High price point. CPU cooling system should work more efficiently.
Makes use of Core i5 CPU for strong performance level. Good storage options with 1 TB hard disk drive and 120 GB SSD. Very good audio capabilities, which work well for gaming. Strong graphics card performance will yield fast rendering for gaming.
Some problems with graphics card reliability. Could use a faster CPU.
Uses AMD branded gaming chips and CPU. High quality motherboard that includes fast memory option. Features a 1 TB hard drive. Has an affordable price point for a desktop computer aimed at gamers. Graphics performance will impress all levels of gamers.
Doesn't include a monitor. Some problems with power supply reliability.
Full HD laptop display screen is perfect for gaming and movies. High level Core i7 CPU will give you excellent speed and reliability. Good GPU performance and fast graphics memory. Has 1 TB hard drive. Sharp-looking laptop with red backlight on the keyboard. Handy portable gaming PC.
Laptop computer cannot match power and speed of a desktop for gaming.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Gaming computers offer far more power, upgradability, and customization than gaming consoles.
However, they’re usually more of an investment of both time and money than their console counterparts.
Before making that investment, you should be sure you’re getting the right gaming computer to meet your needs.
Consider what type of games you’ll be playing, and think about your priorities.
How important are smooth framerate and fast rendering? Do you need a machine that’s VR-ready? Do you plan to upgrade your computer regularly, or will you buy a new one in four years? What size computer works best for your battlestation? Do you want something that looks flashy and fun?
Avoid paying for more than you need. While maxed-out, high-speed parts are “better,” that doesn’t mean you’ll use them.
When you spend this much money on a gaming machine, there’s no need to pay for more than you need.
At Best Reviews, we purchase and test products ourselves, and we do hands-on research to ensure that we’re giving you relevant and accurate information. We don’t accept manufacturer samples, so our recommendations are completely unbiased.
A gaming PC is an investment, and there’s no such thing as the “perfect” gaming computer. Review these tips, spec considerations, and questions before you make a purchase.
Consider the extra cost of a monitor (or monitors), mouse, keyboard, and headphones — or look for a bundled deal that includes these parts.
A few factors make gaming computers different from regular computers. These are things that most computers have (like a video card, CPU, and RAM), but in a gaming PC, you’ll find maxed-out versions.
You can play games on a standard PC, but you just won’t reach the level of performance that most serious gamers crave. If you want to play the newest games online with your friends, a gaming computer is the only way (though most of the time, you can’t play online games with players on consoles like the Xbox One and PS4).
Below are some of the defining features of a gaming computer.
This is the “processor” — the part of a computer that does the thinking and heavy lifting. The CPU attaches to the motherboard and carries out instructions and processes.
Does the computer you’re looking at have an operating system installed, and is it the operating system you want? You might be surprised when you plug your machine in and realize you have to pay for a license for your OS of choice.
This is the component that renders graphics, performs texture mapping, and maintains a smooth and high frame rate (ideally 60 fps). Graphics cards in most computers will not be able to play games on the highest settings. The main function of the GPU, beyond rendering polygons, is taking work from the CPU.
Distinct from internal storage (i.e., a hard drive), RAM allows for high-speed gameplay and helps your CPU handle a lot of things going on at once. You can’t run out of RAM the same way you run out of storage space — think of it as temporary storage space — but RAM capacity and speed significantly impact how much your computer can handle at once.
More is more when it comes to RAM, but that doesn’t mean you need to max out. 16GB is the most you’ll need for the foreseeable future, and 8GB is often sufficient.
Since most people use their computers primarily for web browsing, or at the very most, graphic design, they aren’t pushing their computers to the limit in terms of processing and rendering. Top-of-the-line GPUs and CPUs generate a lot of heat. Heat is the primary cause of lag (drops in frame rate) and thus should always be dealt with using an efficient, often water-based cooling system. A heatsink can also keep your CPU from slowing, especially when paired with a great cooling system.
Game files are big, so a big hard drive is often necessary. Your hard drive is where your computer stores information — your games, files, and operating system all live here. 512GB or 1TB is usually enough, and if you have free USB ports, external drives are always an option. But as far as performance goes, the question isn’t how much space, but what type of hard drive to get. A solid state hard drive (SSD) is the fastest choice, as it will reduce load times significantly. Traditional hard disk drives (HDD) are cheaper by the GB, but load times will be slower. This choice comes down to your price range and patience.
Don’t overlook the importance of storage space. A big hard drive means you won’t have to make the tough decision of which games to uninstall.
This question is as much about lifestyle as it is about your gaming style. If you travel frequently and need something to distract you on planes or in hotel rooms, you might consider a gaming laptop.
A decent gaming laptop will be able to handle the latest games, albeit not always on the highest settings. But for a flexible, portable gaming experience, a laptop is ideal.
There are two drawbacks to a laptop:
Battery life (a non-issue with desktops) can limit your gaming time.
Laptops offer limited upgradability.
The compact design of laptops makes them naturally more difficult to upgrade, meaning you’re almost guaranteed a shorter life span, assuming you’re playing the latest games. There is also the risk of theft, laptops being easier targets than desktops. If you’re looking for a one-and-done purchase and aren’t worried about maxing out your games, a laptop may be right for you.
You may want a higher-end sound card. These run anywhere from $40 to $250, but if sound quality is important to you, the price can be worth that extra level of immersion.
A desktop will almost always outperform a laptop when it comes to power, longevity, ports, and customization.
There are a few drawbacks to a desktop:
Desktops are an ongoing investment as you upgrade.
Display (and other accessories) is often not included and can add cost.
A desktop can be bulky.
If upgrading your computer and staying on the cutting edge of performance are exciting ideas to you, choose a desktop. It’s often a bigger investment on the whole, but after the initial purchase, replacing your GPU and RAM won’t seem like a big deal, compared to replacing the whole machine.
Many people opt for a dual-RAM channel, allowing them to replace a single stick for a lower price. Quad-RAM channels are also an option.
It’s nice to have options, and you don’t want to plug in your computer only to realize it’s missing a functionality you need. On the other hand, don’t pay for extra features that you’ll never use.
If VR is something you’re interested in, make sure your computer meets the minimum requirements of your VR system of choice. And even if it does, make sure you have a quiet cooling system that can handle the processing power required by VR. Nothing takes you out of an immersive digital experience like buzzing fans.
On the other hand, if VR isn’t for you, don’t get a package deal that includes a VR headset. Put that extra money toward features you care about — or just save it.
Double check monitor compatibility. This largely comes down to the capability of your graphics card. Don’t get a 4K monitor if you don’t have a 4K graphics card, and make sure you have enough ports and the right graphic card for a dual- or triple- monitor setup.
Most towers won’t do much moving around, so WiFi might not be a feature you’re interested in. On the other hand, make sure you’ve got enough USB ports for your accessories.
Admiring the inside of your machine is fun, particularly if you’ve done some customization and cable management. This is a stylistic choice, and if your tower’s going under your desk, fancy visuals might not be worth the extra cost.
Windows and lights are flashy, and they let you see under the hood at all times.
For future-proofing your computer, be sure it’s easy to upgrade. Check to see what tools you need to get in the case, and whether the motherboard has one, two, or four RAM slots. It’s good to have options, if you need them.
In some cases, you’ll pay for just the tower or laptop. In others, the package will include a keyboard, mouse, or monitor. Each of these items deserve as much consideration as your computer, so if they’re part of the deal, do your research. You may not like the style of the keyboard or mouse, or you might want a 4K monitor instead of a 1080p monitor.
Q. How long will my gaming computer last?
A. This depends on how frequently (if at all) you upgrade parts, and whether you’re playing newly released games. You can expect your computer to handle new games for five or six years before you need to consider upgrades.
Q. How do I know if my computer can handle certain games?
A. Most games will list both minimum and recommended specifications on the manufacturer’s website. You don’t have to run every game on max settings, but if you can, go for it! Required specs will include your video card, RAM, CPU, and OS ratings.
Q. How much should a gaming computer cost?
A. Most gaming computers start around $600, with laptops running slightly cheaper. Many will be closer to $1000. This varies, based on brand, accessories, and technical specs. Don’t pay more for features you won’t need.