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Best Gaming PCs 2019

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When shopping for a new gaming desktop, it's important to have a goal in mind. If you need your system to provide excellent framerates in AAA games at 1920 x 1080, you won't need the absolute best (and most expensive) GPU and/or processor on the market. But if you want to play at 2560 x 1440 or 4K, then you need to start think about saving more for your rig. CPU horsepower is also similarly tied to gaming acumen but branching out into anything over a quad-core processor will primarily see performance gains in multi-threaded workloads such as video processing, rendering and encoding, not games.

As it's the holiday season, be sure to check out the best Black Friday deals for laptops, desktops and more.

AMD just announced its new Radeon RX 5500 graphics cards, and new AMD versions of Dell's Alienware Aurora, Lenovo's Legion and IdeaCentre ineups, Acer's Nitro 50 and HP's Omen and Pavilion gaming desktops should be coming soon. 

Storage and memory capacity are also prime considerations that can push the price of a gaming desktop high rather quickly. Solid-state storage devices (SSDs) offer huge strides in performance and load times in games, especially when compared to older hard disk drives (HDDs) with mechanical parts, but they also cost more money for less storage capacity. If you’re a gamer, having a moderate-sized SSD as a primary partition (512GB or so) with a sizable HDD (two or more terabytes) is a good place to start.

Power is also an important factor when choosing a PC. Does the PSU offer enough juice to cover the hardware inside? (In most cases, the answer is yes, but there are some exceptions, particularly if you intend to overclock.) Additionally, note if the PSU will offer enough power for future upgrades to GPUs and other components. Case size and expansion options vary drastically between our picks.

Aesthetic value and form factor should also be considered when buying. If you want your case to shine as bright as the sun or to fit in your living room entertainment center, there are options out there for either scenario--or both. Most boutique PC builders offer overclocking services to get the most possible performance out of your hardware, and if you aren't versed in the art of overclocking these services are extremely helpful.

For most people though, budget plays the biggest role in a desktop buying decision. You can sometimes find good deals on big-box desktops when they go on sale, but you’ll be stuck with the components chosen by the likes of HP, Lenovo or Dell. The beauty of a custom-built PC is that you can adjust the component configuration until it suits your needs and budget. We are happy, though, to see more builds coming with standardized parts than ever before, so you can upgrade them later on.

Cyber Monday Deals

We're in the midst  of the holiday shopping season and there are plenty of desktop deals, which we're documenting on our best Cyber Monday tech deals page. Our favorite prebuilt desktop deal right now is an HP Omen Obelisk, our top pick on this page, with RTX 2080 Super card and Core i9-9900K CPU for $1,649.

HP Omen Obelisk was $2,129.99 now $1,649.99 @ Amazon
One of our favorite pre-built gaming desktops, the HP Omen Obelisk uses standardized parts. This one comes with an Intel Core i9-9900K, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super, 1TB PCIe SSD storage and 32GB of HyperX Fury RAM.View Deal

Gaming Desktop Shopping Tips

  • Bigger isn't always better: You don’t need a huge tower to get a system with high-end components. Only buy a big desktop tower if you like the look of it and want lots of room to install future upgrades.
  • Get an SSD if at all possible: This will make your computer far more faster than loading off of a traditional HDD, and has no moving parts. Look for at least a 256GB SSD boot drive, ideally paired with a larger hard drive for storage.
  • You can't lose with Intel or AMD: As long as you opt for a current-generation chip, both companies offer comparable overall performance. Intel’s CPUs tend to perform a bit better when running games at lower resolutions (1080p and below), while AMD’s Ryzen processors often handle tasks like video editing better, thanks to their extra cores and threads

The Ryzen 3000-series processors recently launched, as have the Radeon 5700 and 5700XT GPUs. We will likely see those in pre-built desktops soon.

  • Don’t buy more RAM than you need: 8GB is OK in a pitch, but 16GB is ideal for most users. Serious game streamers and those doing high-end media creation working with large files will want more, but will have to pay a lot for options going as high as 64GB. 
  • Don’t buy a multi-card gaming rig unless you have to. If you’re a serious gamer, get a system with the best-performing single graphics card you can afford. Many games don’t perform significantly better with two or more cards in Crossfire or SLI, and some perform worse, forcing you to disable an expensive piece of hardware to get the best experience possible. Because of these complications, you should only consider a multi-card desktop if you are after more performance than can be achieved with the best high-end consumer graphics card.
  • Ports matter. Beyond the connections necessary to plug in your monitor(s), you’ll want plenty of USB ports for plugging in other peripherals and external storage. Front-facing ports are very handy for flash drives, card readers, and other frequently used devices. For added future-proofing, look for a system with USB 3.1 Gen 2 and USB-C ports.

Best Gaming Desktops

The Best Mainstream Gaming Desktop

HP Omen Obelisk 2019

HP Omen Obelisk 2019

The Best Mainstream Gaming Desktop

CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti | RAM: 32 GB DDR4-2666 | Storage: 2x 512 GB M.2 NVMe SSD RAID0 and 1 TB 7,200-rpm SATA HDD

Sleek design
Standard parts
Top-end part options
Needs better airflow
Right-side panel can be difficult to remove

HP’s Omen Obelisk is a sleek gaming desktop. And with the addition of a high-end Z390 motherboard and watercooling among its configurations, it can be a serious workhorse and gaming rig.

It also uses standardized parts for upgrades and has a relatively small case to free up space on your desk.

Read Review: HP Omen Obelisk 2019

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The Best Small Form Factor Performance PC

Corsair One i160/i164

The Best Small Form Factor Performance PC

CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K | GPU: Liquid-cooled Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti | RAM: 32 GB DDR4-2666 | Storage: 480GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD and 2 TB SATA HDD chipset

Top-end components and performance in a sleek, compact shell
Surprisingly quiet operation
Limited (and complicated) upgradability
Expensive
Uses older Z370

Corsair took its original One desktop, redesigned its internals and dropped in today’s top-end components while keeping temperatures and fan speed under control. It’s super quiet with noise levels we’d be pleased with from a similar system in a significantly larger case.

The price is steep, but once you add up the cost of the components, including a liquid cooled RTX 2080 Ti, you’ll find you’d pay roughly the same amount if you built yourself a much larger system.

We tested the i160, though another configuration, the i164, is slightly cheaper with more storage and an RTX 2080.

If you're looking for even more power, you can opt for the more expensive Corsair One Pro i180, with an Intel Core i9-9920X CPU.  

Read Review: Corsair One i160

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Best PC Builds

The Best Splurge Gaming PC

Maingear F131 (2018)

Maingear F131 (2018)

The Best Splurge Gaming PC

CPU: Intel Core i9-7980XE | GPU: 2x Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti | RAM: 32 GB DDR4-3600 | Storage: 1 TB M.2 NVMe SSD and 6 TB, 7,200-rpm HDD

Incredible performance
Breathtaking custom paint job
Custom Apex cooling
High price

The Maingear F131 isn't for a tepid PC gamer looking to dip their toe into a personalized boutique build for the first time. This is where a real enthusiast turns when they have money to burn. Maingear’s Apex cooling adds considerable cost to the build, but it’s a unique setup you can’t get from other vendors.

Much of the price also comes down to Maingear’s craftsmanship, with impeccable paint application, fine tuning, and innovative design.

Read Review: Maingear F131 (2018)

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The Best Budget PC

Dell G5 (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Dell G5

The Best Budget PC

CPU: Intel Core i7-9700 | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 (6GB GDDR5) | RAM: 16GB DDR4-2666MHz | Storage: 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD

Compact size
Lots of ports on the front
Affordable
Limited cooling solutions
Proprietary motherboard and server PSU

The Dell G5 Gaming Desktop is small for a mid-tower, and can play most games at mid or high settings at an affordable price. a compact rig that can play most games at an affordable price. If you want to get into PC gaming and don’t care to focus on tinkering too much, though there are ton of configuration options.

It also has a lot of ports, making it easy to expand with peripherals and external storage.

Read Review: Dell G5

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