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The best gaming PCs in 2020

Best gaming PC
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The best gaming PCs are the most powerful tool at your disposal for both video games and productivity software. Blasting through hordes of foes at rapid frame rates and high resolutions is fun, but you can just as easily use a gaming rig for graphic design, animation or simply streaming movies and TV in beautiful 4K.

While the PS5 and Xbox Series X will deliver more power than console gamers currently enjoy, they're still no match for one of the best gaming PCs. If you want fast-loading SSDs, gorgeous ray tracing, massive quantities of RAM, 4K resolution and 60+ fps frame rate, you don't have to wait until holiday 2020; you can have them right now. And, unlike a console, you can upgrade PCs as better tech becomes available.

You can build your own PC, of course, but this process is daunting for newcomers, and it's not always the best value, depending on the particular parts and setup you're looking for. (Don't forget: The time you spend researching, ordering and assembling parts is also a cost.) If you'd rather hit the ground running, our list of the best gaming PCs will direct you toward pre-built systems from a variety of trusted manufacturers.

We test new PCs regularly to see if they pass muster for this list, and update the page as systems become available. Read on, and we'll help you find your next great gaming machine.

What are the best gaming PCs right now?

The best gaming PC right now is the the Alienware Aurora R10, thanks to its sleek, stylish design, blistering gaming performance and painless upgradability. If you want to be able to swap in newer graphics cards over time and don't want to deal with a bunch of screws and tools, the Aurora is for you.

If you're looking for the best cheap gaming PC, the CyberPower Gamer Xtreme VR is our top budget pick. One of our favorite mid-range options is the Dell G5 5090, which starts at a reasonable entry level, price, has an attractive design, and, like its bigger Alienware brother, is fairly easy to upgrade.

The Corsair One i160 is a good choice for folks seeking the most compact gaming PC around without sacrificing power, while boutique machines such as the Origin Neuron and Maingear Rush are worth checking out if you want to customize every aspect of your PC at the point of purchase.

There are plenty of other great gaming PCs out there, from ultra-compact desktops that are perfect for living room gaming to massive, customizable mammoths that are ideal for 4K gaming as well as virtual reality. 

Now that 10th-generation Intel processors are available, a variety of companies are about to put out new gaming PCs, including Dell, HP, Corsair and MSI. Tom's Guide will review many of these gaming rigs once they come out, so keep an eye on this page for additional information over the next month or two.

Ready to find the ultimate tower for your command center? Here are the best gaming PCs to buy right now.

The best gaming PCs you can buy

Best gaming PC - Alienware Aurora R10

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

1. Alienware Aurora R10

The best gaming PC overall

VR Ready: Yes | Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 / 7 / 9 or 9th Gen Intel Core i5 / i7 / i9 | RAM: Up to 64GB | Graphics Card: Up to Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti | Storage: Up to 2TB | Accessories: N/A

Attractive design
Very easy to upgrade graphics
Sleek, customizable RGB lighting
Blistering gaming and CPU performance
Can get expensive

The Alienware Aurora R10 delivers big on every front: it's stylish; it's powerful; it's customizable and it's easy to upgrade regardless of whether or not you're a PC enthusiast. The R10 model sports Alienware's latest Legend design language, delivering a sleek, curvy chassis that looks great in both white and black and sports three fully customizable RGB zones.

But the real magic lies inside, where you can outfit the Aurora R10 with up to an Intel Core i9 or Ryzen 9 processor and multiple Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards for handling the best VR games without a sweat. And even if you start small, the Aurora's smartly designed chassis lets you open the machine up and swap out the GPU and RAM without the need for any tools. No matter how you configure it, the Aurora is the best gaming PC you can buy.

Read our full Alienware Aurora R10 review.

CyberPowerPC Gamer Extreme VR

(Image credit: CyberPowerPC)

2. CyberPowerPC Gamer Extreme VR

A killer value

VR Ready: Yes | Processor: Intel Core i5-8400 | RAM: 8GB | Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX 1660 | Storage: 1TB hard drive | Accessories: Cyberpower

Great performance for price
Upgradable
Included accessories
Bulky design

The CyberPower Gamer Xtreme VR is one of the best gaming PCs for folks who want to spend $800 without sacrificing much in the way of power. Packing a Core i5 processor and an Nvidia GTX 1660 graphics card, this desktop can run mainstream games at high settings and even handle virtual reality without much of a sweat. Better yet, the Gamer Xtreme VR is very easy to open up, making it a great starting point for gamers who eventually want to upgrade to more powerful parts. 

The Gamer Xtreme VR has long been a favorite at top online retailers, and for good reason. On top of its strong performance and low starting price, this machine has a fairly sleek and flashy design, complete with custom RGB lighting both on the fans and within the case. You also get a CyberPower keyboard and mouse right out of the box, so you can spend less time fetching extra accessories and more time fragging your friends online. 

Dell G5 5090

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

3. Dell G5 Gaming Desktop 5090

Entry-level and easy to upgrade

VR Ready: Yes | Processor: Up to 9th Gen Intel Core i7 9700 | RAM: Up to 64GB | Graphics Card: Up to Nvidia RTX 2080 | Storage: Up to 1TB SSD + 2TB hard drive | Accessories: Dell optical mouse and multimedia keyboard

Good productivity and gaming performance
Reasonably priced
Great chassis
Preinstalled software can be a pain
Not ideal for QHD/UHD gaming

The Dell G5 5090 is one of the best gaming PCs for folks who want a solid entry level machine that's very easy to upgrade. This fairy affordable desktop starts with a modest Core i3 processor and Nvidia GTX 1650 card, but can be outfitted with up to a Core i7 CPU and RTX 2080 GPU for more intensive gaming.

One of the G5's biggest selling points is its sleek, foolproof chassis, which is incredibly easy to open up should you want to swap out components over time. We found Dell's desktop to be reliable for playing AAA games at 1080p and 60 frames per second, and like that the machine comes mostly free of bloatware. Overall, if you need a good, affordable desktop that you can make more powerful over time, the Dell G5 5090 is a great choice.

Read our full Dell G5 5090 review

Corsair One i160

4. Corsair One i160

Big power in a compact chassis

VR Ready: Yes | Processor: Intel Core i9-9900K | RAM: 32GB | Graphics Card: Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti | Storage: 480GB SSD, 2TB | Accessories: N/A

Wonderfully compact design
Slick, customizable RGB lighting
Strong overall performance
Expensive
Still-limited upgradability

Who says you need a gigantic tower for high-end gaming PC power? The Corsair One i160 hones the compact gaming PC concept to near perfection, cramming an Intel Core i9 processor and Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti GPU into a stunningly sleek chassis that can blend into offices and command centers equally well. 

The Corsair One's slick RGB lighting offers a ton of customization options, and its liquid-cooled internal design keeps this small machine quiet even during heated 4K showdowns. It's worth noting that the Corsair One isn't the most upgrade-friendly machine, so you'll need to pick a configuration you'll want to stick with or have some decent technical know-how to swap out parts. But if you're limited on space but don't want to sacrifice performance, the Corsair One is one of the best gaming PCs for fans of compact machines. 

Read our full Corsair One i160 review.

iBuyPower Snowblind

5. iBuyPower Snowblind

One of a kind design

VR Ready: Yes | Processor: Intel Core i7-7800X | RAM: 16GB | Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti | Storage: 500GB SSD | Accessories: Interactive LCD Panel

Unique LCD side panel
Impressive overall performance
Reasonable price
Relatively slow SSD

There's no gaming PC that quite catches the eye like the iBuyPower Snowblind. The best gaming PC design we've seen, this desktop's side panel is a translucent, fully-functioning LCD display. You can use this panel to show off cool animated wallpapers, monitor your PC performance, or even play games (though we don't recommend that last part). 

It's also simply a great gaming machine, with lots of reasonably priced configuration options that support such high-end components as an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti GPU. If you're the type of gaming PC enthusiast who values aesthetics as much as strong performance, the iBuyPower Snowblind is one of the most unique and impressive desktops out there. 

Read our full iBuyPower Snowblind review.

Maingear F131

6. Maingear F131

High-end greatness for a premium price

VR Ready: Yes | Processor: Up to Intel Core i9 7980XE | RAM: Up to 64GB | Graphics Card: Up to Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti (2) | Storage: Up to 4TB SSD | Accessories: N/A

Drool-worthy looks
Innovative cooling system
Impressively powerful gaming and overall performance
Tons of customization options
Extremely expensive

Maingear has a knack for crafting extravagant, customizable showpieces for folks willing to shed a few thousand bucks, and the F131 is no exception. This stunning tower packs Maingear's new APEX liquid cooling system, which is expertly crafted to keep your system from overheating while also being a marvel to look at. 

Factor in a ton of droolworthy paint and lighting options and support for up to two Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti cards, and you've got one of the best gaming PCs for players looking to go all-out. Naturally, the Maingear F131's high price tag means it's more ideal for hardcore enthusiasts than gamers looking for something basic to get started with. But if you have the cash to spend and want to be able to customize every single aspect of your battle station, few manufacturers do it better than Maingear. 

Read our full Maingear F131 review.

How to choose the best gaming PC for you

Price: If affordability is your concern, most decent gaming PCs start around $700 to $1,000. For that price, you're looking at specs such as Intel Core i3 and Core i5 processors, Nvidia 1660 and 1660 Ti GPUs and 8GB to 16GB of RAM.

Performance: Think about the type of gaming experience you're after. If its solid 1080p/60fps gaming you want, a machine with a decent Core i5 processor and GeForce 2060 or AMD Radeon RX 5600 GPU will get you there. Cards such as the Radeon RX 5700 and GeForce 2080 hit a nice sweet spot for dependable 1440p gaming. Going 4K? You'll want to spring for hardware such as an RTX 2080 Ti or AMD Radeon VII.

Upgradability: Gaming PC components are always evolving, and the best gaming PCs can be easily upgraded with new parts over time. Machines such as the Alienware Aurora and Dell G5 are easy to open up and tinker with, even for the less tech-savvy. Compact machines, such as the Corsair One, can be a bit harder to open up. So if you plan on upgrading your investment over time, keep this in mind.

VR-readiness: Want to game in VR? Requirements for headsets such as the Oculus Rift S and HTC Vive start at an Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti / AMD Radeon RX 470 GPU, an Intel Core i3 or Ryzen 3 processor, 8GB of RAM and a DisplayPort 1.2 or mini DisplayPort. Make sure your machine meets this requirements before you plunk down cash for one. 

How we test the best gaming PCs

In our search to find the best gaming PC, we run every model we review through a standardized gauntlet of real-world and benchmark tests, in order to measure how each desktop 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 Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Far Cry: New Dawn, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Middle-earth: Shadow of War at 1920 x 1080 with graphics maxed out, as well as at 2560 x 1440 and 4K if a system allows for it. On top of that, we play tons of graphics-intensive games in order to give you a sense of how these gaming desktops hold up anecdotally.

In terms of synthetic tests, we run a gamut of benchmarks that include 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra (for graphics) and Geekbench 4 and 5 (for processor performance). We also run the SteamVR Performance Test on all of our machines to evaluate how ready they are for virtual reality. To test a system's hard drive, we measure how fast each PC can copy 4.97GB worth of multimedia files.

  • seoguy
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomsguide.com/forum/id-2196090/gaming-desktops-2015.html
    Reply
  • bballbm
    Funny how you click the link for the Maingear Shift SuperStock and the $2199 price you quote in the article now STARTS at $2499 - I guess your recommendation gave them the opportunity to jack up the price. Guess I will be purchasing a Digital Storm after all - can't stand companies that pull this type of crap.
    Reply
  • Troy46
    The Alienware system you show for under a grand can't be configured at their site that low. It does start at 699 but with a considerably older video card and with an i3 processor, not i5.
    Reply
  • Tewlman
    I bought the Acer Predator G6 on your recommendation...playing fallout 4 and it runs 0ver 130 degrees F on normal no over-clocking. What can I do to cool this machine down. I put the fans on maximum and they are annoying even with noise cancelling headphones. I would not tell a friend to buy ths PC.
    Reply
  • MikeAndronico
    @tewlman sorry to hear that! What config of the G6 did you buy and what settings are you playing Fallout on?
    Reply
  • hardrockr1979
    Anyone have any comments on Lenovo Y700 with i7 processor?
    Reply
  • asauterChicago
    Geez pre-builts are expensive. For $2000.00 you could easily configure a PC with two 980 ti's running in SLI. The $2,000 computer here only has a single GTX 970, a non-ssd hard drive, and only 8gb of ram.

    I thought I overspent at $1,500, and I have a water-cooled i7-6700, a 512gb SSD, and a Zotak 980 ti Amp Extreme, and 16gb of ram. So for the same price as the pre-built one listed, I could add a second 980ti, run them in SLI and still come out under the price listed as the pre-built and have like 10 times the power. I guess don't regret the frustration that came with building my own. A few hours of troubleshooting was worth it by a wide margin.
    Reply
  • BrunoFunny
    Of course these are very good choices considering the cost/benefit but, still very overpriced comparing if you build your own setup. And nowadays you don't need to be a genius to build a PC. But you always have people who really don't want to spend time thinking and doesn't care spend more even if it's getting less. Even Terry Crews that is a not a tech area guy built his own PC.
    Reply
  • BlakePE
    wow doesn't really answer the question though
    Reply
  • meme_lord
    how the hell is alienware area 51 not here? it has 64 GB of ram
    Reply