What matters (and what doesn’t) when buying a gaming desktop. How to buy a gaming desktop

The full tower system may have a small price premium compared to the middle tower. But they are extremely easy to handle as they have enough space for anything you want to put in them, including your hands, which can be of great help if you have large gloves.

Best Gaming PC 2022

While gaming desktops can be a bit more complicated than the Xbox Series X and PS5, buying a finished desktop is not much different than purchasing a new console, especially with us to help guide you. Whether you are looking for a low power DoTA machine or the most powerful machine on the market, there is a computer for you. If you’re not ready to take the time and frustration of building a kit yourself, as well as the headaches of components appearing and depleting, purchasing a pre-made kit can be a great starting point. There is always the possibility of further expansion with a new processor, memory or mass storage.

If you want the best looking games, there are still good reasons to buy a gaming PC. The gaming consoles on the market today may offer some of the best in 4K gaming, but you can just get more raw graphics power in a gaming desktop. If you decide on a machine with a graphics card from the Nvidia RTX 30 offer, such as the RTX 3080 Ti or RTX 3090, this power is really visible. – and click here to find our UK picks.

TL;DR – These are the Best Gaming PCs

Best Gaming PC

Asus ROG Strix GA15 (G15CE-B9)

Processor: Intel Core i7-11700F | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 (8 GB GDDR6 VRAM) | RAM: 16 GB DDR4 | Memory: 512 GB NVMe SSD, 1 TB HDD | Weight: 23.2 pounds | Size: 16.6 “x 7.3″ x 19.6”

This Asus ready-made gaming PC will help you forget that there was a ridiculous barrier to purchasing graphics cards last year. That’s because this 400 900 PC comes with some really solid components on top of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card – it would probably account for more than half the cost of this build if you had bought it in a used market.

Humming right next to the RTX 3070 is an Intel Core i7-11700F processor with 16GB of RAM. In other words, you’ll have plenty of strength to deal with any type of game you want to throw at this system. Whether you’re targeting high frame rates at 1080p or even a 4K game, this platform is well-placed for the job. Asus has even equipped the platform with a large amount of storage, providing 512 GB of fast NVMe storage to run the operating system and your favorite games, as well as a 1 TB hard drive for an extended library

It should be noted that AMD does not have any high-end GPU that can compete with Nvidia at the RTX 2060, 2070 etc. So the options are limited if you want to build a high-powered gaming PC.

One size doesn’t fit all

Tomasz Patlan

Most players start with the hardware inside the computer. We’ll cover it soon, but before we get there, let’s talk about the exterior.

Gaming PCs now come in many shapes and sizes. There are small systems like the Falcon Northwest Tiki, mid-sized towers like the Acer Predator G1, and monoliths like the Origin Millenium.

Small systems are, well, small. They are discreet and fit where larger systems simply can’t. They are perfect for gamers who don’t have a large desk or want to use a PC in a home theater. However, the small footprint may limit future upgrade options, and some small PCs generate a lot of noise due to limited cooling space.

Mid-towers are a good compromise and are perfect for most people. They are small enough to fit under, on or in a typical desk, yet large enough to be expandable and have acceptable cooling. You’ll have to pay a little extra for the glass side panels and fancy color schemes, but you already know if that’s something you care about.

desktop review angle of millennium origin

Dan Baker / digital trends

Finally we come to the monoliths known as full towers. They are often so large that they won’t fit on a desk without hanging in front or behind. Several full towers are so tall that they cannot even fit under a desk.

The full tower system may have a small price premium compared to the middle tower. But they are extremely easy to handle as they have enough space for anything you want to put in them, including your hands, which can be of great help if you have large gloves.

Some custom manufacturers, such as Origin and CyberPower, offer a geocache selection during customization. A full tower is the easiest to grip and operate, but make sure you know its dimensions beforehand. If desk space is important, but you’re not completely comfortable in a confined space, choose a mid-tower.

There are smaller options out there, but more difficult to modify, tend to be louder, and don’t necessarily support all the hardware options you choose. Moreover, small-sized cases get hot, so keep this in mind if you plan on running demanding games or want to venture into overclocking.

Start with the heart: The processor

laptop processor

When you buy a gaming desktop PC, whether it’s one you built yourself, a custom gaming platform, or a finished model from Dell or HP, the processor will be the first spec you see – and for good reason. The processor determines how the system will perform in most programs.

An important point is the number of processor cores. Options range from two to 16 cores in the mainstream space. Unless you’re on an extreme budget, the quad-core chip should be as low as you so you don’t run into performance issues with some programs and games.

However, with current pricing, a good place to start is with a six-core chip like the Intel i5-10600K or AMD Ryzen 5 5600X (they appear in our best Intel CPU and AMD best CPU lineups respectively) – the latest – generation counterparts like the 9600K and 3600X it’s also a great choice.

Those looking to do a lot of high-power work may instead want to aim for eight cores or more, depending on how well the software can use the high number of cores. A six-core or eight-core chip is sufficient for gaming. Besides, the number of cores is more important for applications like Adobe Premiere and AutoCAD.

When it comes to AMD vs Intel, AMD tends to offer better value across the price spectrum, providing more cores and much better multi-threaded performance with each chip that enjoys support for simultaneous multi-threading. The latest Ryzen 5000 processors surpass anything Intel has to offer for gaming and productivity tasks.

However, going back one generation, Intel has a gaming edge. The company’s flagship i9-10900K remains one of the best gaming processors, but it will cost you a lot.

Most modern games are getting better at having multiple cores at once. However, when paired with the same GPU, you will see almost identical performance on all CPUs as the resolution goes up. Therefore, in many cases, you don’t need an advanced processor such as a Core i9 or Ryzen 9 to play.

To delve deeper into the best processors for the price, check out our detailed guide.

CPU coolers and heatsinks can also have backlash issues, so be sure to check this when you buy. Moreover, if you want to increase airflow with fans, check if the case comes with any or how many mounting options are there if you want to buy them.

Determine your budget

aorus gaming laptop gaming computer

This is probably the most important step. If someone asked me to find the best gaming PC available, the answer would be easy. I would pick one with my favorite hardware from my favorite manufacturers, custom liquid cooling and a neat design, and I could find one that would cost over $ 10,000. The answer is easy, but the most common question is, “What’s the best gaming PC for me? ”

This question is a lot harder to ask because while I can look at your goals and find the best of the best things to buy easily, almost everything changes when you delve into how much you can actually spend. Depending on your specific needs, cuts may be made in some areas but perhaps not in others. Even if you need future-proof hardware that can handle big games, you can still do it without breaking the bank, and most people don’t want or can’t afford it.

So think about how much you can spend on this kit and be honest with yourself. The games are fun, but it’s not worth breaking up. Trust me, I have learned from experience.

By using the Newegg search feature, you can easily sort the gaming computers by price. Click above to check out gaming PCs under $ 800, gaming PCs priced between $ 800 to $ 1,500, or gaming PCs over $ 1,500.

Decide on your baseline hardware

Just a little less important than your budget is determining what hardware and types of equipment you need. There are many, many factors to consider when landing on a build to buy, which makes the process even more complicated than before. Luckily for you, we’ve been in the area and we can help you by answering some of the most frequently asked questions and notes. We’ll break them down based on the questions you answered when deciding your gaming PC goals.

To get started, just specify what type of game or games you want to play on your new computer. This helps to narrow down the required hardware quite a bit, and it can make your decision much easier. For example, as an example we used above, if you’re only playing an older game like Overwatch or Rainbow Six Siege, your hardware wouldn’t need to be tweaked a lot to still get the best graphics possible. You can run a modern mid-range GPU such as AMD’s Radeon 5700 or 2060 SUPER from Nvidia. Likewise, a mid-range processor like the Intel i5 9600K or AMD Ryzen 3600. For something like Fortnite, the minimum hardware requirements may be even lower – but you may not have built-in future resilience to your system.

On the other hand, if you plan to dive into a handful or a few new, more demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 or Control while getting the most out of your graphics, you’ll need something really tough to handle them. We are talking about the Nvidia 2080 SUPER GPU, the Intel i9 9900K processor and at least 16 GB of RAM. This will be able to handle most high-end games, but you won’t be able to multitask. Either way, you’ll need RAM with speeds in the range of around 3000 or above.

A useful resource for determining the basic hardware is “Can you get it running?” This site aggregates system requirements for popular and upcoming PC games and announces the minimum and recommended hardware specs for these titles (in addition to scanning your current computer for compatibility if you wish). If you have no idea what hardware you want in your gaming PC, take a look at an upcoming game you’ll want to play, such as Borderlands 3, and take the recommended requirements as a basis for your new gaming PC. This way, you will get a system that should support the games of your choice for many years to come.

evga 2080 compilation abs

Storage is also an issue. I recommend it to anyone looking for a PC with an SSD, but if your budget isn’t too big, you can go for a small Windows-only SSD and one or two games while opting for a cheaper hard drive for your rest of your storage needs. The benefits of using an SSD are obvious and endless. They fail much less, read and write data much faster, you can cut your boot time down to a few seconds, games load much faster, and the list goes on and on.

Obviously, the more games, documents, photos, videos and sound files you have to save, the larger your total storage should be. There are absolutely huge hard drives for little money, so if you need tons of data, don’t be afraid of a high-speed platter. You can just buy this smaller SSD for Windows and your favorite game.

However, it should be noted that the difference is very marginal (less than 10% in different tests) and given the better pricing of AMD processors, AMD can also be considered for its price-performance ratio.


Your PC’s Random Access Memory (RAM) is an essential part of how well your PC runs games without lag. It should be noted that games generally do not require a lot of RAM.

You can run most modern games on a system with 8 GB of RAM, provided you have a good graphics card.

However, depending on the load on the game, you may not be able to run other applications in the background while the game is running.

Anything over 16GB would be overkill unless you are doing something that requires a lot of RAM or trying to secure your PC for the future.

It would be better to allocate this extra cash to other components, such as the graphics card, that have a more direct impact on the game.

We profile some games with the most demanding RAM requirements. Half-Life: Alyx is in the greatest demand so far.

  • Fortnite – 8 GB minimum, 16 GB recommended
  • Doom Eternal – 8 GB minimum, 8 GB recommended
  • Destiny 2 – 6 GB minimum, 8 GB recommended
  • PUBG – minimum 8 GB, 16 GB recommended
  • Overwatch – 4 GB minimum, 6 GB recommended
  • Half-life: Alyx – 12 GB

Note that most games do not need a specific minimum amount of RAM. They will often run with much less RAM if you don’t have other applications running.

Please note that the operating system, background services such as antivirus, and other concurrent applications such as web browser, office applications, all require RAM to run.

Storage Drive – HDD/SSD/NVME

Aside from CPU and RAM, another factor that affects the speed of your gaming hardware is the type of storage you’re using. When it comes to storage types, there are 2 main options – HDD (hard drive) and SSD (solid state drive) and 2 newly available options – M.2 SATA SSD and M.2 NVMe SSDs.

hdd vs ssd vs nvme

1. HDD – Hard drives

The hard drive is the oldest storage technology on the market and was first introduced by IBM in the 1950s. The advantage of the hard drive is greater capacity and lower cost compared to other types of memory.

However, hard drives use more power, take up more space, and are less durable than other storage options. They are also slower, running at transfer rates of around 200 megabytes per second (200 MB / s).

The main thing is to avoid the hard drives in your gaming pc entirely, as they are now an outdated technology compared to the new ssd and nvme flash drives.

2. SSD – semiconductor drives

The SSD has no moving parts, which means it can read and write data at faster speeds – up to 550MB / s. The SSD will also allow you to access data simultaneously, which means faster loading and launching of operating systems and games.

SSDs have gotten quite cheap over the past few years, and you can easily get a 1TB SSD from many reputable brands for around $ 100 or less. For gaming, we recommend a 1TB SSD on your system. If it had enough space to accommodate many of your favorite games.

M.2 is a new format of SSDs that are very small and compact. They look like a pcb card with memory chips soldered to them. Just plug your M.2 drive into the M.2 slot.

M.2 SATA drives generally run at the same speed as regular SATA SSDs, but M.2 SATA drives have M.2 connectors that connect directly to the motherboard, eliminating the need for cables. The M.2 SATA drive offers a reasonable combination of speed, compactness and affordability.

This option is quite similar to an M.2 SATA drive, except that this one uses the Nvme standard which allows for much higher data transfer speeds, up to 3GB / s.

One thing we need to clarify here is that just because the M.2 NVMe drive has such high data transfer speeds doesn’t mean your games will run faster. This means they load faster.

Nevertheless, the M.2 NVMe remains the best option on the market for serious gamers who have the means to buy it.

Ask yourself all of these questions, think carefully about what you want to do with your new computer, and write them all down. Once you have your note list, go to the next step.

The essential accessories you need

Choosing the right system is just one part of creating a great PC gaming setup – finding the right accessories is almost as important.

While many startup computers ship with a standard mouse and keyboard out of the box, you may want to consider a dedicated gaming mouse and gaming keyboard for the best performance and longevity. A mouse and keyboard combo like the Logitech G502 for $ 79 (now $ 39, originally $ 79) and the Corsair K70 MK.2 ($ 89) provides plenty of control, comfort, and customization while gaming, while headsets like the SteelSeries Arctis 1 ($ 49) lets you immerse yourself in the game and chat with your friends.

Perhaps the most important accessory you will buy to set up your computer is a monitor. You’ll want to make sure you get something that matches what your system is capable of – a 1080p display like the ViewSonic VX2452MH ($ 119, originally $ 139) will perform well for an entry-level system, while those with graphics high-end cards should check out monitors like the BenQ EL2870U ($ 299, originally $ 499) for 4K playback. You should also consider features like G-Sync (for Nvidia graphics cards) and FreeSync (for AMD graphics processors). They allow the monitor to synchronize the refresh rate with the frequency of the graphics card, ensuring extremely smooth operation and preventing unpleasant visual problems such as screen tearing.

Should you buy or build?

While there are many great off-the-shelf systems out there, many PC enthusiasts prefer to build their own. You can save some money if you choose to build your own system, and building a computer alone brings a particular level of satisfaction. However, you should also consider whether you want to spend the time it takes to build your computer or prefer to have something you can plug in and start playing out of the box.

“A lot of people will say it’s cheaper to build your own, but that’s a bit of a myth,” says Sebastian. “Yes, it may be minimally cheaper, but unless you put a literal zero value on your time, you could probably just outsource the assembly to someone for less than it will cost you.

“So the real reason to build your own computer is because you think it would be fun. Everything from the study of the parts to the assembly itself is an educational experience that many find very enjoyable – especially when they play games on something they have built with their own hands.”

If you decide to go the DIY route, check out our guide on how to build a gaming PC.

Overall, as the price increases, so does GPU performance. However, not all GPUs offer the best price-performance ratio. So you need to find the best place with the right budget and optimal performance for your needs.

Tools You Need To Build A PC

How to build computer tools

As you can imagine, building a gaming PC takes a lot of components. While some are fairly obvious, there are others that you may have never heard of before. This is especially true if you are a complete newbie to the inner workings of your computer!

So what do you need to build a computer? Here, we walk you through all the components you need, as well as the tools and hardware required to properly assemble your gaming PC.

Tools & Accessories

Setting up your workplace and making sure you have the right tools for the job is a critical part of building a gaming PC. Organization is key here. Think of yourself as a computer surgeon who always has everything he needs at hand.

So you will need the following tools:

  • Working station
  • screwdriver
  • Latex gloves
  • Antistatic bracelet
  • Compressed air
  • Organization buckets


Start by assigning yourself a clean, transparent workspace. It does not have to be a drastic setup in a temperature controlled environment or walls covered with plastic wrap. Simply in a place where you can work without restrictions and without interruptions.

Make sure your workplace has plenty of light so that you can correctly see the more complex work that you will be doing. It is also a good idea to put an antistatic mat on the work area before starting assembly, as this will prevent electrostatic discharge from damaging sensitive computer components.


a screwdriver will be your most needed tool during the entire construction process. However, it’s a good idea to have a variety of screwdrivers in your tool kit that vary in length, size, and head shape.

Screwdrivers come in many different shapes and sizes, but some of the most common you’ll need to assemble your gaming PC are:

  • Phillips (cross) screwdrivers
  • Flat screwdrivers
  • Pozidriv screwdrivers
  • Torx screwdrivers
  • Three-point screwdrivers

Attempting to install any components with a screwdriver that does not fit the screw may result in the computer hardware not being attached securely enough. It can also damage the screw head itself, making hardware removal much more difficult than necessary. If you don’t have a Phillips screwdriver nearby, we recommend the ingenious iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit. That’s more than enough to get you started on your first computer build, including the required Phillips bits and a handy anti-static strap.


Keeping all components free from fingerprints and microscopic dirt while assembling your computer is also essential. The best way to do this is to wear a pair of gloves. They also provide better grip for small screws, reducing the risk of dropping them.

However, you need to make sure the gloves are antistatic. Some materials, such as latex, can create a static charge that can damage computer components. White cotton gloves will work best, because they do not create electrostatic charges.

Antistatic Bracelet

In addition to making sure the gloves are antistatic, it’s also a good idea to wear an antistatic bracelet during the building process. This will prevent static electricity generated by the body from damaging sensitive hardware components.

What Do You Need To Build A PC?

To build a personal computer, you will need components and a small number of tools. First, when selecting the parts to build your PC, make sure all the parts are compatible with each other (CPU, RAM, motherboard) as the last thing you need to find is the CPU bottleneck in the rest of the system.

You have your workspace set up and you know what size you need. Now it’s time to find out what hardware and components you need to bring your gaming PC to life. This is where things get a bit more technical. However, knowing what all these components do on your gaming PC and what their acronyms mean will make building your PC a lot less daunting.

Below, we’ll go over each of them individually and give a bit more detail about what each of them does, while also trying to keep as little jargon as possible.

PC Toolkit Note

If you don’t have a Phillips screwdriver nearby, we recommend the ingenious iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit. That’s more than enough to get you started on your first computer build, including the required Phillips bits and a handy anti-static strap.

How to build a gaming computer

Processor (CPU)

The processor or central processing unit is basically the “brain” of any computer. The processor is considered to be the second most important component of a gaming PC after the graphics card, but the most important in content creation. The processor carries out instructions and is a crucial part of any computer.

DSC08459 scaled 1

The three most important things to know about a CPU are its clock speed, cores, and threads.

Clock speed is a measure of the processing speed in gigahertz (GHz) and it refers to the number of cycles that the core takes every second. Each processor is made up of cores and threads, with the cores typically assigned to different tasks on the system. Moreover, modern processors tend to have multiple cores, allowing them to efficiently multitask. The processor will also be equipped with threads, which are essentially a virtual version of the processor core. Threads can only do one task at a time and correspond to the cores, but if you see a processor with twice the number of threads per cores, this is a so-called “multi-threaded” processor. A multi-threaded processor allows two programs to run simultaneously on a single processor core, as long as they are not of the same type of instruction.

Clock speed and number of cores are really direct measures of performance only with CPUs of the same generation, as the underlying architectures that make up the processor are constantly evolving and improving.

To ensure you get the best performance and future-proof your setup, you’ll always want to buy the most modern CPU your budget can afford.

Intel processors are widely known for their high single-core performance, which means they have always been considered the best gaming processors. While this is true, this is not a factor that should influence your buying decision specifically for games as Intel CPU prices are heavily criticized for inflated prices.

If you don’t have a Phillips screwdriver nearby, we recommend the ingenious iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit. That’s more than enough to get you started on your first computer build, including the required Phillips bits and a handy anti-static strap.

Fan noise

The Legion Tower 5i is generally quieter than the Omen 30L, despite the cooling of the Omen fluid. Neither machine is noisy during normal operation, but Omen’s fans have a slightly rattling tone. The Legion fan noise faded much better into the background – I actually pressed my ear against the case the first time I turned it on to make sure it boots up.

Alienware Aurora R11

The full launch of the Cinebench R20 turns the normally well-mannered Lenovo and HP platforms into rampant beasts that seem to lift off your desk under sheer fan pressure. But both machines remain silent until the final third of Cinebench, and go back to what one Ars reader described as “silent decoy hunting” seconds later, even when using single-threaded Cinebench. Neither machine increased fan noise at all during the 3DMark Time Spy tests at 1440p, which is much more demanding than most AAA games.

I didn’t have the Alienware Aurora R11 on hand, so I can’t compare it directly. Tom’s Guide described it as loud and hot, which I wouldn’t call either Lenovo or HP platforms. I asked Jeff Dunn, senior editor of Ars Sales, to put his i9-10900K / RTX 3090 Aurora R11 to the same tests. During Time Spy, Dunn said his R11’s fan speed had increased significantly. He described it as being easily audible from four feet away without being “brutal.” He never entered raging beast mode like the Omen and Legion during the Cinebench R20.

By accelerating earlier and more aggressively than the Omen or the Legion, the R11 manages to avoid building up enough heat to later require emergency high fan speeds. With less cooling capacity, there probably isn’t much choice in this regard. Omen and Legion, with much larger capacity, are playing that extreme temperature spikes won’t last long enough to require increased fan speed and noise. The fact that they don’t spin all the way in Cinebench – and then quickly revert to idle – makes them right.

Users who prefer the “a little more fans now, a lot less fans later” style tweak can adjust the fan curves on one of the larger systems to match – which would be a really very good idea if you plan on using your gaming system for long-term 100% CPU performance such as folding proteins, hourly compilation tasks, etc.

The bling

HP Omen 30L is a treat for disco fever – RAM, fans, GPU and everything that did not defend itself actively and vigorously was highlighted.

Check the LED “rope” lighting around the coolant radiator mounted on the top of the chassis.

The Legion 5i is much more subdued than the Omen 30L. The Legion icon on the front is not even lit, is that true?

The Legion 5i has a saffron tinted glass side panel and quite a radioactive green light for the RTX 2070 Super GPU.

Remember when we said the Legion 5i logo is off? It turns out we were wrong. When the device goes into Windows sleep mode, this gigantic icon flashes light blue in a cycle of roughly six seconds. Um. #dislike.

An LED ring on the front panel – and a slightly weird overall shape – is all you have on the Aurora R11.

Unlike the HP and Lenovo gaming platforms, the Aurora R11 doesn’t have a glass side panel – just a few hexagonal clusters of perforation through the plastic shell.

If you like to shine, the Omen 30L HP mid-tower is ready to become your favorite gear. HP hasn’t missed an opportunity to light up any single part of this system, and the result is a flashy yet pleasant disco vibe that only requires adding a little bass. The HyperX RGB RAM loops softly on the rainbow in a loop, the case’s intake fan and the diamond Omen logo on the front shed a pearly light into the room, the GPU announces itself with more LEDs, and even the cooling system’s heatsink has LEDs wrapped around it.

This level of ostentation does not suit my taste, but the overall effect is well done. The light from the various elements of the system blends nicely together to create a soft, cool glow that feels like a cool science fiction movie.

Next to the Omen 30L, the Lenovo Legion 5i seems quite restrained. The Legion 5i has a yellow tinted glass side panel, but the only illuminated piece inside is a custom GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU overlay. The large Legion logo on the front of the case appears white and unlit – that is, until the machine goes to sleep. While the 5i is in sleep mode, the large Legion logo flashes light blue on a roughly six second on / off cycle which I found both pointless and obnoxious.

I suspect there’s a control somewhere to change the behavior of that LED-backlit Legion logo. But it didn’t show up by accidentally searching a pre-installed Lenovo application in the system tray, and I didn’t spend any more time looking for it.

The Alienware Aurora R11 is the simplest system in the series. The only highlights on the R11 are the slim LED trim ring on the front and the “Alienware” logo on the right; there is no side panel and the entire outer shell is made of plastic, available in “Dark Side of the Moon” (dark graphite) or “Lunar Light” (somewhere between light gray and pearl). It’s also the smallest internally – the R11 is a micro-ATX system while the other two are full-size ATX.

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