When you want to play games, you can stick with a dedicated gaming console. Plenty of really strong gaming consoles exist. But when you want to be able to fine-tune your hardware's performance, you'll want to consider a gaming desktop computer.
These gaming PCs are powerful units that can handle any type of gaming software, new or old. They have the latest components, and they're easily upgradeable. When configured correctly, gaming on a computer will provide an amazing experience that consoles can't quite match.
Our favorite gaming desktop computer is the CyberpowerPC Gamer Extreme, which delivers excellent performance at a low price.
Considerations when choosing gaming desktops
As with any computer purchase, you need to understand the jargon associated with gaming desktops. And you need to pay attention to a few items that are more important to gaming PCs than general PCs.
Processing power: To ensure you have plenty of power now and in the future, seek a machine with at least a quad-core processor. Dual-core processors will handle some current games, but quad-core CPUs provide longevity. The processor is the one component that's nearly impossible to upgrade down the road, so pick the best one that fits in your budget.
Graphics card: Graphics rendering is especially important for a gaming computer. For successful gameplay, you need to be able to see all of the players' movements instantly on the screen. Even a small delay in rendering the graphics can cause issues when gaming.
Cooling system: Because processors and other components inside the gaming computer run at higher-than-normal speeds, they generate extra heat. Gaming desktop computers need an effective cooling system to allow for maximum performance and longevity.
Power supply: For a gaming computer, the power supply is a more important component than it is with general desktop computers. The gaming computer's components, such as a cooling system and high-end graphics card, require quite a bit of power to operate.
Once you've figured out the core components, you can zero in on the features that will give you the best gaming experience.
RAM: Random access memory is the area of the computer that holds data and software currently in use. To run intensive software, like gaming software, you'll want as much RAM in the gaming desktop PC as possible.
Storage space: Gaming desktops will have either hard disk drives (HDD) or solid state drives (SSD). An SSD delivers better reliability and faster access to data than an HDD. But the SSD costs more per GB of storage than an HDD.
Upgrade potential: A tower case configuration in the gaming desktop is desirable. It allows players to upgrade individual components in the system down the road. Before upgrading, be certain the power supply can accommodate the new items as well as the existing items.
Gaming desktop prices
Entry-level gaming desktops cost $400 to $700. These will be simple machines with basic components, so they may not run the latest games satisfactorily. Mid-range gaming PCs cost between $700 and $1,100. They have reasonable processing speed and will meet the needs of average gamers. High-end gaming desktops cost $1,100 to $2,500. These machines can run any modern game successfully. They may even have liquid cooling systems.
Q. Can I connect my gaming desktop computer to a television?
A. As long as the TV and computer both have HDMI ports, you can connect the two. However, TVs typically don't have the refresh rates and low latency rates needed for optimal gameplay. Dedicated computer monitors are built for this purpose.
Q. Will I need to purchase add-ons to my gaming desktop?
A. Some gaming computers will ship with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, but some will not. Depending on the model you select, you may have to purchase these items separately. If you need a DVD drive or Blu-ray drive to play certain games, you may have to purchase this drive separately, too.
Gaming desktops we recommend
Our take: A tower configuration that's offered at a reasonable price point, allowing for easy upgrades and repairs.
What we like: Has the processing power required to run any game. Ships with a keyboard and mouse for a good value.
What we dislike: Only 8GB of RAM included. Keyboard keys are noisy.
Best bang for your buck: Skytech Gaming Archangel GTX 1050
Our take: Better features than you'd expect to find in a gaming computer at such a low price.
What we like: Includes 1TB of hard-drive storage space. Easy-to-upgrade tower case design.
What we dislike: Build quality is not as reliable as some pricier options.
Choice 3: iBuyPower Pro Gaming Desktop
Our take: Uses a powerful graphics card to deliver excellent gaming performance.
What we like: Has strong built-in cooling system. Includes 16GB of RAM for excellent gaming speed.
What we dislike: Expensive. Tower case's lighting accents can be difficult to control.
Kyle Schurman is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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