The best gaming PC 2018: 10 of the top gaming desktops you can buy

Best gaming PC

With a steady stream of the best PC games, the PC continues to be the best platform to play your games on. From best-in-class RPGs like Dark Souls: Remastered to intense shooters like Far Cry 5, having the best gaming PC for your budget can make a world of difference for your gaming experience.

It doesn’t matter whether you prefer Intel, AMD or Nvidia – most PC makers will let you choose the best processors and best graphics card for your needs anyway. And, now that cryptocurrency mining has died down a bit, the prices of the best gaming PCs will inevitably fall as well.

You’ll find the best gaming PCs from manufacturers you’ll know like Alienware and Lenovo to those you’ve likely never heard of like Corsair and Zotac. We went ahead and collected all the best gaming PCs we could find – after putting through an ultimate test to decide which ones provide the most bang for your buck. So, let’s dive into the 10 best gaming PCs you can buy today, so you can get to pushing your pixels.

1. Alienware Aurora R7

Ease of use meets a pretty chassis

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti – 1080; AMD Radeon RX 580 – Vega 64 | RAM: 8GB – 64GB | Storage: 1TB HDD – 1TB NVMe SSD, 2TB HDD

Plays games smooth as butter
Attractive, not over the top design
Chassis lid a bit finicky
Noticeable fan sound

As is custom with pre-built gaming PCs, the Alienware Aurora R7 isn’t just a computer. It’s a whole menu of computers that you can choose from and personalize based on the specs of your liking combined with a set budget. It’s important, then, for it to be easily upgradeable and attractive to look at considering its awfully high price tag. Fortunately, the Alienware Aurora R7 is both of those things and will impress those unconvinced that they should build their own rig.

Read the full review: Alienware Aurora R7

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the MSI Aegis 3 

2. MSI Infinite A

This VR-ready machine is built to last

CPU: Intel Core i7-7700 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – 1080 Ti | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 2TB HDD; 128GB SSD – 2TB HDD; 512GB SSD

Very powerful gaming system
Whisper quiet fans
Variety of ports can be confusing
High specs mean high price tag

It’s not uncommon anymore for PC makers to brandish their pre-built desktop rigs as VR-ready. What is unusual is to do so with a computer that’s also ready to conquer any game you throw at it at well over 60 frames per second and for under two grand. That’s exactly what MSI has accomplished with the Infinite A, a tower whose graphical efforts aren’t thwarted by its preparedness for VR, nor is it so expensive that it would see your head turn the other way.

Read the full review: MSI Infinite A

  • This product is only available in the US at the time of this writing. Australian and UK readers: check out a fine alternative in the Overclockers 8Pack Asteroid 

3. Intel Hades Canyon NUC

Small, but deadly

CPU: Intel Core i7-8809G | Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics (4GB HBM2 VRAM), Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: N/A | Storage: N/A

 Lots of ports 
 Easy to upgrade 
 Expensive 

If you’re looking for one of the best gaming PCs, but want something that doesn’t look like, well, a gaming PC – you’re in luck. While the Intel Hades Canyon NUC isn’t as powerful as some of the other gaming PCs on this list, it’s also much smaller – looking more like a set-top box than any PC. And, even with its small form-factor it still packs just as much power as the best gaming laptops with its beefy 8th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU and discrete-class Radeon graphics. Just keep in mind you’ll have to supply your own RAM, storage and OS.

Read the full review: Intel Hades Canyon NUC 

4. MSI Trident 3

A slimline console-sized mini PC for your living room

CPU: Intel Core i5-7400 – i7-7700 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti – 1060 | RAM: 8GB – 32GB DDR4 (2,400MHz) | Storage: 2TB HDD; 120GB SSD – 2TB HDD; 1TB SSD

Compact size
Silent and cool running
External 330W power brick

Positioned as a ’console killer,’ the MSI Trident 3 looks a lot like an Xbox One S and is more powerful than a PS4 Pro, but at the end of the day, it’s a PC that feels just right in your living room. Complete with all the ports you could ever dream of, the MSI Trident 3’s advantages are clear. Still, in trying to be as thin and light as possible, the MSI Trident 3 comes equipped with a 330W external power supply brick, resembling some of the most less attractive console designs.

Read the full review: MSI Trident 3

best gaming pc

5. Lenovo Ideacentre Y900

PC gaming on the high-end, no tools required

CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K – i7-6700K | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 – 1080 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB DDR4 (2,133MHz) | Storage: 1TB HDD – 2TB HDD, 256GB SSD

Available GTX 1080 GPU
Looks awesome
Included mouse and keyboard stink
Limited store upgrade options

If you’re buying a pre-built PC, upgrades should be simple, right? That’s the philosophy behind the Lenovo IdeaCentre Y900. Embellished with red lights all over, the front of its chassis is bespeckled with textured patterns that’ll no doubt make your friends jealous. On top of offering support for a VR-ready GTX 1080, the Lenovo IdeaCentre boasts SLI support and room for up to 64GB of RAM, which are thankfully complemented by a convenient tool-less design.

Read the full review: Lenovo IdeaCentre Y900

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Corsair One.

6. Dell XPS Tower Special Edition

It doesn’t look the part, but plays it well

CPU: Intel Core i5-8400 – Core i7-8700K | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti – Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB DDR4 (2,666MHz) | Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD – 256GB SSD; 2TB HDD

Compact, minimalistic design 
Affordably priced 
Non-K, locked processor 

The Dell XPS Tower, much like the sublime XPS 13 is a lesson in packing beefy specs into a subtle chassis. This inconspicuous gaming rig looks like something you’d find in your dad’s office, rather than something powering the latest PC games. But, beneath that quiet exterior, the Dell XPS Tower is one of the best gaming PCs, packing an Intel 8th-generation Coffee Lake processor and an Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti at the lowest configuration option. With the Dell XPS Tower Special Edition, you’re getting one of the best gaming PCs you can buy in 2018, without any of the off-putting ‘gamer aesthetic’. 

Read the full review: Dell XPS Tower Special Edition 

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Corsair One.

7. Origin Millennium

The ultimate power is freedom to choose

CPU: Intel Core i3 – i9; AMD Ryzen 3 – Threadripper | Graphics: Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 Ti – 1080 Ti; AMD Radeon Vega 64 | RAM: 8GB – 64GB DDR4 (3,000MHz) | Storage: 128GB – 2TB SSD; 1TB – 8TB HDD

Sharp and solid new design
Stealthy PC case elements
More expensive than a DIY PC

When you buy a computer from Origin, it’s almost like you’re building it on your own. You have to be familiar enough with PC components to decide for yourself what goes into the rig and how much money you’re going to spend on it. So, of course, our only real criticism of the Origin Millennium is that you can build a similar model for cheaper. However, because of its subtle design and flexible specs, we’re willing to bet you won’t want to.

Read the full review: Origin Millennium 

  • This product is only available in the US as of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Overclockers 8Pack Asteroid.

8. Alienware Area 51 Threadripper Edition

Top-notch power comes at a cost

CPU: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – 1080 Ti | RAM: 8GB – 32GB | Storage: 2TB HDD – 1TB SSD; 2TB HDD

So much space for activities
Record-breaking benchmark results
Absolutely massive
Absurdly expensive

In classic Alienware fashion, the Area 51 Threadripper Edition pushes the limits of both technology and your wallet. It’s wildly powerful, markedly featuring the latest AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X across all of its configurations. The Area 51’s triad-design hasn’t changed much since its introduction back in 2014, but on the inside this machine is essentially tool-less to upgrade, not that you would even need to.

Read the full review: Alienware Area 51 Threadripper Edition 

  • This product is only available in the US at the time of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Corsair One  

9. MSI Aegis 3

Finally, a true contender to building it yourself

CPU: Intel Core i5-7400 – i7-7700 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – 1080 | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Storage: 2TB HDD; 256GB SSD – 2TB HDD; 512GB SSD

Tons of ports
So very, very quiet
Surprisingly heavy
Difficult to open chassis 

Looking like something out of a sci-fi film, the MSI Aegis 3 is an example of a gaming PC that’s way cooler pre-built than what you could possibly assemble on your own. Not only does the case look amazing, but it also features customizable, interactive lighting and top-of-the-line cooling. What’s more, it’s similar in size to the Alienware Aurora, but with a 7th-generation Kaby Lake processor rather than a Skylake. 

Read the full review: MSI Aegis 3

10. Corsair One Elite

Power without the bulk

CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 1080 Ti | RAM: 16GB – 32GB DDR4 (2,666MHz) | Storage: 480GB M.2 NVMe SSD; 2TB HDD

Unbelievable gaming performance 
Compact, near-silent design 
More expensive than competition 

Corsair has made a name for itself in pretty much every category of PC components, so it’s only natural that it would eventually create one of the best gaming PCs you can buy today. Enter the Corsair One Elite, a high-spec PC in a compact and quiet case that, while expensive, blows the competition out of the water. The Elite is a huge improvement over the original Corsair One, packed with an 8th-generation Core i7 processor, a Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti and more water cooling than you can shake a stick at. If you can afford its high price tag, the Corsair One Elite is one of the best gaming PCs you can buy today. 

Read the full review: Corsair One Elite 

Joe Osborne and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article