The 10 Best Gaming PCs to Buy in 2018

Buy the top budget, graphics, compact and design gaming PCs

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When it comes to gaming, there’s plenty of attention focused on consoles and mobile, but PC gaming is still an enthusiast’s dream. Whether you’re looking for a budget option or the crème-de-la-crème, there’s something to suit the fancy of “newbie” gamers and pros alike. Some models are best suited to those looking to shift from the Xbox or PS4, while others will offer an almost infinite amount of customization. Need help deciding which is right for you? Read on to see our picks for the best gaming desktops of 2018.

Best Overall: Lenovo Y900

Lenovo Y900
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Lenovo is a household name most computer buyers are already familiar with, but likely not in the context of gaming. The good news is the Lenovo Y900 comes ready to “play” in the gaming world. There’s plenty of reason to like this machine, including strong enough performance that’s virtual reality ready with a keyboard and mouse you’ll love right out of the box.

The Lenovo isn’t going to win any design awards, but when it comes to gaming, design is not nearly as important as how well it holds up in today’s standards. The processor/graphics combo has an Intel Core i7 paired with 8 GB of RAM, and it offers more than enough power for a robust gaming experience. It features a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 graphics coprocessor, 2 TB hard drive, 7200 RPM and has four USB 2.0 ports and six USB 3.0 ports.

The design allows quick and easy access to the internals allowing upgrades down the line, which is a huge bonus for anyone who wants to start modest and add expensive parts as time goes on. And it's proof that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a premium feel. You can even jump to 16 GB of RAM for an extra $700, offering even more performance at a still relatively inexpensive price tag for a dedicated gaming machine.

Best Design: iBUYPOWER Pro Gaming PC Desktop 9200

Get ready to raid with the iBUYPOWER Slate 9200. Equipped with a super-fast processor and a high-performance NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB graphics card (which can handle even the most graphics-intensive games out there) this PC was made with gaming in mind. In fact, it's even VR-ready if you want to take the next step into the future of gaming.

Compared to the 7th Gen Intel Core, the included 8th Gen Intel Core processor provides up to 25 percent more frames per second on popular, demanding games. This system also includes ample 16GB DDR4 RAM memory, a huge 1TB hard drive storage and 240GB SSD that allows for quick boot-ups and stellar in-game performance.

As for design, the flashy 25 x 12.5 x 21.4-inch machine features liquid cooling, tempered side glass and a 16-color RGB remote controlled case. Amazon five-star reviewers note that the PC operates quickly and quietly. 

Best Budget: CyberpowerPC Gamer Ultra 3400A

CyberpowerPC Gamer Ultra 3400A
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Relatively unknown in the gaming world, the CyberpowerPC Gamer Ultra 3400A provides a mainstream gaming experience at a fraction of the price. This gaming machine, priced at less than $600, will likely attract gamers still on the fence about switching from a game console to a gaming PC that won’t break the bank. Gamers looking to get the latest and greatest will probably find themselves disappointed by specs that can’t match more feature-rich gaming PCs, but this one offers blazing-fast performance for a price tag that’s easy to stomach.

Powered by a 2.6 GHz AMD FX-6300 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 7200 RPM and a 1 TB SATA III hard drive, there’s more than enough power to play most of today’s popular games as well as handle any of your regular computing needs. A solid 4.5-star rating on Amazon is filled with reviews that highlight its cool-run functionality as well as the comfortable keyboard and mouse.

Best for Graphics: CyberPowerPC Gamer Panzer PVP3020LQ

An absolute beast of a machine that can run every modern PC game, the CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Panzer PVP3020LQ is packed with one of the best graphics card on the market; the NVIDIA GTX 1080 with 8GB. The high powered desktop PC is able to play the most graphic demanding games at the highest settings, like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Project Cars.

Equipped with an Intel i7-770K 4.2 Ghz quad-core processor and 32GB of DDR4 RAM, you’ll never experience any lag or hiccup with your gaming experience. The gaming PC includes six USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports and a RJ-45 Network Ethernet input that delivers an assured and stable connection to the Internet. Its casing is made with a tempered glass side panel and includes a liquid cooling system for its processor, making sure the unit never overheats with demanding softwares. It comes with a one-year parts and labor warranty and free lifetime tech support.

Best Compact: Alienware Aurora R5

Alienware Aurora R5
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Gaming giant Alienware updated its iconic Aurora line of desktop PCs to be VR-ready. The result is a powerful and fairly priced machine with a distinct no-fat design. While many gaming desktops go for big, loud towers, the Aurora R5 has a dynamic slim silver frame with just a small customizable LED accent. It has a PSU swing door that gives easy access to the inside for any upgrades you want to make (it can hold up to 5 SSDs) without the need to unscrew any panels. And while not exactly lightweight, the compact design makes this desktop easy to slip into a backpack or carry underarm to a friends house.

Of course, the real prize is under the hood, with uncompromising performance benchmarked at UHD 4K for the latest and greatest games. This unit comes with an Intel Core i7-6700 processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 2TB 7200RPM SATA storage and a beastly NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GPU. That’s enough to blow through even the most demanding games on the market. But it can also be configured for Oculus or HTC Vive virtual reality configurations, meaning this desktop will last you long into the future.

Runner-Up, Best Budget: SkyTech ArchAngel

SkyTech ArchAngel
Courtesy of Amazon.com

SkyTech is another newer company offering well-equipped gaming PCs for under $600. Their ArchAngel features a distinctive arctic white tower with a black chevron revealing blue LEDs inside. It comes ready to play right out the box with Windows 10, and even includes a keyboard and mouse.

Hit over 60fps on today’s most demanding games with a 3.5 GHz FX-6120 processor with 8GB of RAM and a 1 TB 7200 RPM hard drive. Graphics are top-notch for the price, thanks to a GTX750 TI 2GB Video Card. It can play most titles on full frame rate, and runs AAA titles on medium settings. The build also includes Windows 10 and a WiFi adapter.

Best Splurge: CUK Trion Custom Gaming PC

The CUK Trion Custom Gaming PC is super powerful and is a testament as a gaming PC for gamers who cannot settle for anything less. The whopping gaming PC comes with not one, but two GTX 1090 TI graphics cards with 11GB each and a solid-state 512GB PCIe drive, plus 4TB storage. Its already futureproof to play the next PC games for up to five years.

Equipped with an Intel Core i7-7700K Quad Core Processor (with 8MB cache, 4.2-4.5 Ghz) and 32GB of DDR4-2400 RAM, the CUK Trion Custom Gaming PC is able to run five instances of the latest Adobe Photoshop and play Rainbow Six Siege on the highest settings without a hiccup in its performance. Built in the USA, the Cuk Trion is VR-ready, so you can plug in your Oculus Rift device. The mega machine weighs 30 pounds and measures 8.66 x 20.39 x 18.66 inches. It includes five 120mm fans to cool it down and it comes pre-installed with Windows 10 x64.

Best Quiet Performance: Corsair ONE Pro

Fast, small, and quiet are not generally words we associate with desktop gaming computers, but in the case of the Corsair ONE Pro, that’s exactly the right description. Corsair’s adoption of a custom manufactured liquid-cooling system and their custom GPU and CPUs help the desktop produce just 20 dBa while idle which makes it quieter than a whisper and almost inaudible. Fortunately, running quiet doesn’t mean running slow as the Intel Core i7 processor — paired with 16GB of RAM and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card — can more than handle 4K and VR gaming.

With all that power inside, it’s a little disappointing to see the Corsair isn't super upgradeable, but, there is even more performance power to be derived from the internal components which should continue to make the Corsair a smart buy for years to come. At just 15 inches tall and less than eight inches deep, the Corsair is a compact desktop whose size belies the power inside and, with its cylindrical style, it should fit neatly on or under your desk. 

Best Upgradeable: Dell Alienware Aurora R7

Desktop gamers should take a long, hard look at the Dell Alienware Aurora R7 when it comes to time to make their next purchase. With high scores for upgradeability, the Dell impresses with good looks for desktop placement, a bevy of upgrade options including support for the latest 8th generation Intel Core i7 4.6GHz processors, up to 64GB of RAM, a whopping five solid-state drives, and ExtremeRange Wi-Fi technology that allows for dual external 5GHz signal amplifiers for an increased signal range. Perhaps best yet, Dell can support dual 300W graphics cards for 600W of total graphics power which is enough to support 12K gameplay. The outside is just as fantastic as the inside with more USB connections than you could ever need including six total USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.1 ports, and an added USB-C port for future proofing. A bevy of audio ports, Ethernet, HDMI, and a trifecta of DisplayPorts also ensure that you can hook the Dell up to multiple monitors for enhanced gameplay or multitasking.  

Best Build-it-Yourself: Intel NUC 8 VR Machine Mini

Don’t let its diminutive size fool you — the Intel NUC 8 VR Machine Mini can run all of the latest gaming titles at more than acceptable frame rates in a package that’s just one-third the size of traditional gaming desktops. While its small size is its own selling point, this is also a build-it-yourself gaming machine through and through with buyers required to provide their own RAM, storage, and operating system to make everything come together.

That said, Intel does include a Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics card with 4GB of RAM and support for up to six displays with a bevy of HDMI, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, and USB port options in the back. An 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor keeps everything moving smoothly with support for 4K, 360-degree video editing, 3D rendering, and VR gaming. Additionally, Intel's option of adding up to 32GB of RAM to the NUC 8 is highly attractive for maximum performance. The glowing skull design on the exterior might look mean, but inside the NUC 8 is a quiet design that runs well and sips power which keeps things cooler, longer.