Gaming is evolving rapidly, and if you want to play gorgeous, expansive titles like Fallout 4 and Metal Gear Solid V at their maximum graphical potential, you'll want a gaming desktop.
We've tested more than a dozen of the most popular gaming PCs available, running our rigorous suite of benchmarks and playing several demanding games on each system. Our current overall favorite is the Digital Storm Bolt 3, thanks to its impressive design, strong performance and flexible pricing options.
There are plenty of great choices aimed at specific types of gamers. For example, the inviting Alienware X51 is ideal for those making the transition from consoles, while the superpremium Maingear Shift will satisfy those looking for insane power and tons of customization options.
No matter how you game, here are our favorite gaming PCs for every type of player.
How We Test
Every gaming desktop we review endures a standardized gauntlet of real-world and benchmark tests, in order to measure how each PC stacks up as both a gaming machine and as an everyday computer.
As far as hard numbers go, we currently run the framerate benchmark utilities for BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light on Ultra settings at 1080p, 2560 x 1600, and, when the hardware allows for it, 3840 x 2160 (more commonly known as 4K). We also simply play a ton of games, such as Grand Theft Auto V, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Metal Gear Solid V, at various graphic and resolution settings in order to give you a more anecdotal report on what gaming on these PCs feels like.
To better put each system's performance in perspective, we run a gamut of 3DMark graphics tests, including Ice Storm Unlimited and Fire Strike Extreme. To test the CPU's muscle, we run Geekbench 3, as well as a spreadsheet macro test that measures how fast a system can match 20,000 names to their addresses. To test the hard drive, we measure how fast each PC can copy 4.97GB worth of multimedia files.
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