The Best Gaming Setups in 2021

Everything you need for your ideal gaming setup

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Maybe you’re moving into a new house, maybe your current gear is just so old and decrepit it’s just not worth hanging onto, or maybe you’re just getting into gaming for the first time. Whatever the case, putting together the ideal gaming setup can be an exciting, but daunting task.

 If you go at it piecemeal, you might well end up with a hodgepodge of gear, with a disorganized collection of tech, half of which you might not even need. You might find the perfect desk, spend a pile on it, and then pair it with a wobbly and uncomfortable stool. You might splurge on that super-powered desktop PC, but end up playing games with a half-broken bargain-basement keyboard and mouse. It’s not a good idea to invest in one or two pieces of high-end gear and neglect other vital components of your setup.

What you want is a well-rounded gaming setup that will serve you well for years to come. In this guide, you will find three such setups at different price points to deliver the optimum gaming experience to fit your wallet.

Best Budget Setup

Budget Setup
What We Like
  • Affordable total price

  • 165-Hz refresh rate monitor

  • Desktop PC good for 1080p gaming

  • Ideal for League of Legends or DOTA 2

What We Don't Like
  • Desktop will struggle with modern AAA games

  • Not for 4k gaming

  • Keyboard uses membrane rather than mechanical switches

$1400 may seem like a lot of money, but if you’re starting from scratch, this is a bare minimum if you want quality gear that will stand up to heavy, long-term use.

Starting with the desk, the Inbox Zero Ergonomic PC Gaming Desk offers a good compromise between quality and affordability and provides an attractive gaming aesthetic. It comes equipped with a full desktop mouse pad surface and includes a cup holder, headset holder, and controller, and a game box rack.

You want a chair with adequate support for hours of gaming, and the OFM Essentials Collection Racing Style Chair is a comfortable, cushioned companion suitable for serious gamers who dig its fluorescent green aesthetic. Both its height and tilt are adjustable, though you may want to consider upgrading to a better gaming chair if you need more adjustments, lumbar support, or more durable material than the bonded leather of this OFM chair.

With the furniture out of the way, we next need to consider the heart of our budget gaming battle station - the desktop PC itself. This is always going to be the single most expensive part of a gaming setup, and also the most important. If you’re trying to save money here, the Dell G5 is a good pick. Its tenth gen Intel Core i3, 8 GB of RAM, and AMD Radeon RX 5300 make it far from the most powerful gaming rig, though, and while its 1 TB hard drive has plenty of capacity, it’s not going to offer the same lightning-quick load times as an SSD. However, this is a great system for 1080p gaming, particularly for competitive arena games such as DOTA 2 and League of Legends.

Taking this budget-oriented desktop into account, you shouldn’t look to pair it with a 4k display. Instead, aim for a 1080p monitor with a high refresh rate that will give you an advantage in online multiplayer games. The MSI 32” 1500R curved screen has a blisteringly fast 165Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time. It also features Freesync compatibility to reduce screen tearing. It’s not the cheapest display out there, but your screen may very well last longer than any other part of your gaming setup, so it's worth the investment.

Of no less importance are the mouse and keyboard. I highly recommend the Logitech G502 Hero, which I use myself on a daily basis. It’s a reliable, high quality wired mouse with programmable buttons, a 16,000 DPI sensor, and even an adjustable weight system. Your keyboard is going to be the Razer Cynosa V2, which has fully customizable RGB backlighting, media controls, and built-in cable routing options. However, it does use membrane switches, so you might prefer to spend a bit more for a mechanical keyboard.

“Though unlikely to blow any hardcore PC enthusiasts away with its looks, components or upgradeability, the G5 is one of the better low-cost prebuilt PCs around for those looking to get into the vast world of PC gaming.” — Zach Sweat

Best Mid-Tier Setup

Mid-Tier
What We Like
  • High quality peripherals

  • PC capable of high quality 1080p gaming

  • Well rounded overall setup

What We Don't Like
  • Higher price for the complete setup

  • Graphics card could be better

This mid-tier setup offers a big step up in some key regards over those in the budget setup, and if its $2400 total price tag seems a bit steep, you might consider mixing and matching between these two setups.

The most important upgrade is in the desktop PC. The HP Omen 30l packs enough power to handle the latest games with its AMD Ryzen 7 series 3700x processor, 16GB of RAM, and most importantly, its Nvidia RTX 2060. Though this is still a relatively low-end graphics card, the RTX 2060 is no lightweight, and can easily handle modern games such as Star Wars: Squadrons at high settings in 1080p, and you’ll be able to run less graphically intensive games at greater resolutions. Also, in addition to its 1 TB hard drive, the Omen 30l includes a 256GB SSD, which speeds it up considerably.

That extra oomph can be put to good use with the ASUS 31.5” Curved 1440p monitor, which gives a bump of resolution over 1080p while still boasting a fast 144-hz refresh rate. It also features customizable RGB lighting on the back and a light projection on its base. Also designed to last through multiple system upgrades is the Razer Basilisk V2 mouse with its optical switches rated for up to 70 million clicks, making it an ideal part of a mid-range gaming system.

I can definitely vouch for the durability and quality of the Logitech G910 Orion keyboard, which has occupied pride of place in my own gaming setup for years. Its Romer-G key switches are long lasting, quiet, and tactile with sculpted keycaps for a top-notch gaming and typing experience. It also features fully programmable RGB backlighting, plenty of macro keys, dedicated media controls, and an Arx control dock for your smartphone or tablet.

For a place to park your new gear and your rear, you’ll need a high quality desk and chair to complete your setup. The Arozzi Arena Gaming Desk is expansive, stylish, and as with our budget pick comes with a desktop size mouse mat. It’s height is also adjustable, and a clever under-side cable management system keeps your setup looking sleek. For a chair the Respawn 205 is highly adjustable, features lumbar support, and has a cutout back design to help prevent overheating.

Best High-End Setup

High-end Setup
What We Like
  • No compromises in terms of quality

  • 4K capable setup

  • VR ready

  • Ideal for experiencing the latest games at maximum settings

What We Don't Like
  • Very expensive

If you want the best gaming experience possible, you are going to be playing a game of diminishing returns moving up from mid-range to high-end. $5400 is a steep total price, but it gets you a setup with as close to zero compromises as possible. The Alienware Aurora R10 Ryzen Edition with its Nvidia RTX 2080 Super, AMD Ryzen 9 3900 XT, 32 GB of RAM, and 1 TB SSD is capable of running most games at max quality at 4k resolution and is ideal for powering a high-end VR headset such as the Valve Index.

To take advantage of such a beastly gaming PC, you’ll want to pick up the Acer Predator Z35P, which is a crazy 35-inch curved 4k monitor with a 100-hertz refresh rate. For input, you’ll want the most over-the-top keyboard you can find, the Corsair K100 with its vibrant programmable RGB backlighting and solid, premium design. Pair this with Razer’s Deathadder V2 Pro, which features hyperspeed wireless technology that makes this mouse lightning quick. It also has a 120-hour battery life, so you’ll never have to worry about running out of juice.

For an ultimate dose of in-your-face gamer style and the comfort serious gamers demand, there’s no beating the Razer Iskur. This chair has an outrageous design with ergonomics as crazy as its looks. It’s built from high-quality synthetic leather and features fully sculpted lumbar support, high-density foam cushions, and an incredible number of adjustable components.

To complete this high-end setup you will want the ApexDesk Elite Series, which is built from sturdy steel with an attractive walnut finish top. It’s also motorized, so you can effortlessly adjust it to the perfect height.

Nice to Have

Nice to Have

Flight stick: Logitech G X56 H.O.T.A.S.

If you’re looking to play Flight Simulator 2020, Star Wars: Squadrons, or other games that have you flying through the skies or outer space, then you’re going to want a flight stick and throttle for a truly immersive experience. The Logitech G x56 H.O.T.A.S. controller is just about the best of the best, but there are great flight sticks available for any budget.

Audio Headset: Steelseries Arctis Pro

One of the key joys of PC gaming is being able to participate in well-coordinated online multiplayer matches, and for that, you need a gaming headset. The Steelseries Arctis Pro offers fantastic quality, wireless capability, and style, making it an excellent choice for any gamer.

Webcam: Razer Kiyo

If you need video chat capability, you’re going to need a webcam. The Razer Kiyo is an obvious pick for gamers and features a bright ring light to ensure a crisp image even in darkened rooms, the natural habitat of gamers.

About our Trusted experts:

Andy Zahn has been writing for Lifewire for the past two years, and is as enthusiastic about video games as he is about the latest cutting edge tech. When he’s not testing the latest gadgets he can be found diving into virtual worlds on his home built PC.

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