The Best Desktop Gaming PCs We’ve Played With

Consoles like the Nintendo Switch or PlayStation 5 may be great for gaming, but they’re hard to come by. Fortunately, a good old fashioned gaming PC is always an option. If you want to get access to the massive library of games on stores like Steam and Epic, we’ve got some of the best gaming PCs collected here.

Since gaming desktops can be upgraded more frequently than consoles, they can deliver high-fidelity visuals unrivaled by most other systems. Paired with the right peripherals—a quick and responsive mouse, a mechanical keyboard, and a good headset—a gaming PC can quickly become the place you spend most of your free time.

Choosing a gaming desktop can be incredibly complex, though. There are several specs and factors to consider, including specs, what kinds of games you’re going to play, and how many thousand RGB lights you want on it. Building your own PC is also a great option if you want to make it yourself and upgrade it over time, but for everyone else, these are the best gaming desktops we’ve tested at WIRED.

Updated November 2021: We’ve removed the HP Omen and Dell G5 desktops because those models have been discontinued. We also added the NZXT BLD custom build system.

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  • Photograph: MSI

    Best Compact Desktop

    MSI Trident X

    Sometimes you just need something small and speedy. For anyone who doesn’t have the extra space for a gaming setup or the desire to dedicate a corner of your hangar bay to housing a big old desk, look no further than the MSI Trident X. The Trident is about the size of a standard game console, like an Xbox Series X or the PlayStation 5 (OK, maybe not that big.) It’s the perfect size to slip beside your TV or into an entertainment center. Despite its compactness, the Trident X is a powerful gaming machine that can play most anything without trouble.

    As listed on Amazon, the Trident comes with a GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card and 32 gigabytes of RAM which should be enough horsepower for most of the latest games.

  • Photograph: Dell 

    Sleek and Stylish

    Alienware Aurora R11

    Alienware’s design language used to be all about making computers look like angular space artifacts; cursed objects half-hidden beneath the sands of Mars, humming with indescribable power. More recent Alienware products, like the Aurora R12, embrace a smoother, more organic-looking exterior design, and I couldn’t be happier.

    The Aurora R12 is a powerful gaming desktop, but it’s also a conversation piece. It’s smooth, rounded exterior makes it look like a big speaker or some kind of air purifier, and I mean that in the best way. Those design flourishes aren’t just for show—that sleek chassis is designed to maximize heat distribution and ensure that cool air is well distributed among internal components.

    Going through the configuration tool, you’ll want to choose at least an Intel Core i7 processor (i3 and i5 are weaker), which will also come with a graphics card from the RTX 30XX lineup, which will give you ample power for your money.

  • Photograph: Origin

    Bespoke Beauty

    Origin PC Millennium

    Visiting Origin’s website to shop for a PC is like walking into a sleek spaceport with merchants from all over the galaxy. There is a wealth of customization options at your fingertips, and each PC is built to order, so you can be sure you’re getting exactly what you want. On top of that, the Origin Millennium is a remarkably solid machine that’s built to last. It arrives at your doorstep in a crate worthy of the Ark of the Covenant. Origin’s attention to detail makes it one of the best gaming rigs money can buy.

    The Origin configuration tool can be a little intimidating but it’s super comprehensive. You get more options here than you do for any other desktop on this list. AMD Ryzen builds will go far, starting with a Ryzen 5 5600X processor and GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card. Don’t worry too much about the motherboard and fan options, if you’re unsure, just go with the defaults.

Source: The Best Desktop Gaming PCs We’ve Played With

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