Looking for the best gaming PC in 2019? We can help. But first, I have to reveal that for all my decades of advice on buying desktop recommendations for Windows, I have always been one of the most difficult, at least beyond the major streaming video and surfing systems on the Internet. And gaming PCs are one of the toughest of the toughest, at least if you're at 99%, for whom value is important. There are too many options with too many permutations.
We have reached a rather large transition period for the choice of two major components of the system, processor and video card. Intel has just announced the first wave of its eagerly anticipated ; Although it was the leader in mobile parts, desktop ads usually follow in late August.
While I don't expect a huge performance boost to typical processor tasks, the updated Ice Lake graphics engine can affect how much an important discrete graphics card for you; we will not know until some systems are tested. The 10th generation also adds support for Thunderbolt 3 – no driver required – which will hopefully speed it up on Windows desktops. At least a faster transfer can potentially make storing or replacing games much less painful.
In addition, AMD recently launched its first line of major game cards, theseries. Nvidia countered ; it does not provide new performance thresholds, but price changes affect the choice of head in the gaming experience with AMD.
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Choosing a PC is all about compromises. Each game uses system resources – processor (CPU), graphics processor (GPU), memory (RAM), storage – in different ways, and often terribly inefficient. You can't even count on the consistency of using basic resources in a particular game genre, such as a first person shooter (FPS) or platformer, as the levels of optimization can vary greatly. Gaming computers () are angry kids of consumer electronics: they are loud, mischievous, need constant surveillance, and when you think they are in control, they move into a crazy city.
I admit, I wave my hands here: These are not specific system recommendations, but more for Ballpark configurations, and honorable mentions of manufacturers or builders of systems with specific body designs that should be considered in different scenarios. (And when it's time to look at the details, User Benchmark is a great site for understanding the key features and performance delta between the various components.)
If you want a little more guidance than these recommendations, skip to the end of the story. And note that this is not my final word; this story will evolve over time.
HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop is a compact, budget-friendly, “casual” model geared toward the same “casual” gamer as in Dell Inspiron Gaming or Acer Nitro lines, but far too low. This $ 750 base model should provide at least the minimum that you need to play relatively demanding 1080p games without sticking your eye out: the i5-8400 with Optane free upgrade to speed up 1 TB hard drive operations, GTX 1050 Ti and 8GB of RAM. Here's what you get with budget gaming laptops. There are many connections on the front – four USB-A's, one USB-C and an SD card slot.
Another option that is a little more powerful with just a little more dough is the CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR (GXiVR8060A7) for this component aggressively priced – for $ 800 you get a GTX 160 and an additional 120GB SSD for HP. This slight boost in performance may be enough to connect performance to an acceptable range for some games.
For less than a hefty sum, you won't get stunning performance from this mid-sized desktop – well, the average size for a gaming system – but you should be able to get more than 60 frames per second at 1080p for action oriented (ie not full of large textures, detailed graphics) games. Not only does the chassis have many connectors, it has a relatively large number of USB ports up front – one USB-C and three USB-A.
The $ 800 basic configuration includes the i5-9400, 8GB of RAM, a Radeon RX 560X and 1TB hard drive. If you can afford it, I highly recommend installing a solid state drive (SSD) instead, even if it's a much smaller capacity; Windows reallly runs faster. You can always buy an inexpensive external hard disk for storage online. You can also spend a little more on a 2×2 Wi-Fi network card.
However, if you're just looking to burst through 1080p and can spend more, upgrade to a GTX 1660 Ti (a regular 1660 fine too, but that's not an option), 16GB of RAM, and / or a 512GB SSD. They also need to increase your performance level to decent 1440p performance in some games.
Although HD (1,920×1,080) is still the most popular gaming resolution, 1440p (also called 2K at 2,560×1,440 resolution) – this sl-ooh-will is gaining in popularity. The 1440p-enabled system has a side benefit of allowing you to seamlessly reproduce 1080p and higher quality, so even if you're not ready to play 1440p, you can count it as reliability in the future.
The GTX 1660 Ti is a weighty choice here, and combining it with the collapsible i5-9600K, 16GB 3 200MHz RAM and SSD 1 TB should deliver a high frame rate of 1080p and decent 1440p at high quality. It's not cheap – about $ 1800 for customization, but reasonable for the components, as well as the beautiful and compact Bolt X Digital Storm body (though not as small as the never-materialized Project Spark), as well as moral support in a relatively active company site forum .
Falcon Northwest specializes in extremely fast systems wrapped in their own paint. Tiki is the most compact system, but you can climb to the top of the i9-9900K and GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.
The Talon, on the other hand, has the design of a daily midsize tower, but that means it can pack in many high-end components, including 18-core i9-9980XE and dual RTX 2080 Ti cards (or dual Quadro P6000s). And when you set up the chassis, it's not so down to earth.
Unfortunately, you're stuck with built-in audio and networking for some configurations, like the i9-9900K / dual RTX 2080 Ti we just tested, and of course, get ready to throw a ton of money at it. You get personalized service, although the website is noticeably devoid of support information – all you get is paper documentation and media covered – and FNW does not have its own command center software.
Sarah Tew / CNET
If you are going to achieve maximum productivity or maximum customization, then go to the boutique. You can get fast systems at the same exciting price from companies like Alienware, but they are little more than cutting out cookies (though strange to call anything that looks like Area-51's culinary cut) is usually more conservative, and when you dump $ 10,000 into the system, you're still just a drop of the bucket for Dell's business.
In addition to the worry, boutique sites like Falcon Northwest, Origin PC, Digital Storm and more. much more transparent about the components you choose – no more extreme than Origin PC, where your choice becomes very detailed. In addition to selecting the brand and memory speed and power source that is typical, you choose what kind of motherboard you want and what color the power cable cover should be.
It may be important to choose the motherboard, not just the chipset; They all have their whims, lighting schemes (I love the MSI Z390 visual image of God, we've had millennia tested) and connectors, such as
And if you want reliable, seamless 4K games, especially with HDRs rollover in, you'll need at least the i9-9900K and RTX 2080 Ti. Probably two 2080s if you want to follow the beam.
Origin PC cases are not the most beautiful outside, although you can get your own paint and laser etching tasks to knock them off, but they are well designed – easy to open and work inside – and what you see through the transparent side panels looks great. And you can get them big: The Millennium is the second-largest option, and it has still intimidated all other desktop desks.
Digital Storm also thought through the case. I like the Aventum X, which has advantages such as quick-release fittings on the cooling pipes so you can actually get your hands on replacement parts. Plus it is a smooth standing plate with cool lighting schemes that really gives the Tron vibe.
There are some aspects to keep in mind when setting up a game installation:
- Get the latest generation available for any processor you buy. This is usually indicated by the first digit of the CPU model name; in this case, this means the eighth or ninth generation for Intel Core i (e.g., i7-9700K, processor ) and the third generation for (for example, Ryzen 7 3700X). This may or may not be true when we see the next generation of any, but productivity gains from previous generations are still noticeable.
- The "gaming system" is effectively defined by the use of discrete graphics processor, which at least means the graphics of AMD Radeon or Nvidia GeForce. So, no doubt, you should avoid cheap configurations with integrated GPUs (iGPUs). However, if the best is being able to afford an iGPU based system right now, make sure it has enough slot and power to upgrade your GPU. Unfortunately, Thunderbolt 3 ports on desktop are quite scarce, so connecting an external GPU (eGPU) at some point in the future may not be an option.
- Find out which technical support you are. You're wasting your hours on a problem, clean online help, and don't contact the company – it's your fault! – do you want the people available to you to help you smooth out the rough spots quickly? Large vendors usually have active user forums scattered around the Internet to help the user-user and knowledge bases with some troubleshooting help; boutique builders, not so much because you pay a premium for more personalized help and because the configurations are very customized.
- Before you set up, think about what your games play most often, and browse through the forums to determine if their performance depends on the processor's gazillion kernels or whether they have GPU cycles. Can they enjoy the distinctive 4K resolution advantage, or do they look just like HD just with an unprecedented large frame rate drop?
- On the other hand, don't focus on frame rates for a certain moment: if you look at the numbers in different tests and game types, you will feel the relative power of one configuration over the other. But your goal – smooth gameplay – depends on the game and the capabilities of your monitor, which can range from a minimum of 60 frames to 240 frames per second or more – at the level of quality you like and fits your budget. The Falcon Northwest and Origin system computers I tested recently gave me more than 200 frames per second in 4K Doom, as this game takes advantage of dual graphics processors in it. But I'm dying just as impressive at 120 frames per second at 1440p (2,560×1,440), and I've learned that I'm happy to share those frames for more stability in Adobe applications.
- Intel vs AMD Processors: Unless you are buying your own build or doing it yourself, you really can't choose comparable configurations for mixing and matching. Manufacturers tend to choose configurations based on what they think will be popular at these price levels. Choose the graphics card you want and see what CPU options are available within your budget. AMDs tend to have lower clock speeds – they have higher base and lower clock speeds, but improve multi-core performance for the same money. If your favorite games are old, they probably don't use more than four cores (if any), and will probably give you the power you need from fast individual Intel cores.
|Area Alienware-51m||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 3.6GHz Intel Core i9-9900K; 32 GB DDR4 SDRAM 2400 MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080; (2) 512GB SSD RAID 0 + 1TB HDD|
|Digital storm trot (2019)||Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 3.2 GHz AMD Ryzen 7 2700; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060; ADATA SU650 SATA600 240GB SSD + Toshiba HDW120 SATA600 2TB 7200rpm HDD|
|Northwest Coupon Falcon (2018)||Windows 10 Professional (64-bit); 3.6 GHz Intel Core i9-9900K (OC to 4.7 GHz); 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000MHz; 2 x 11 264 MB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti; Samsung SSD EVO 970 2TB|
|Origin PC Eon-17X (2019)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 3.6GHz Intel Core i9-9900K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM3GHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080; 500 GB SSD + 2 TB hard drive|
|Origin PC Millennium (2019)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 3.6GHz Intel Core i9-9900K; 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM 3 200 MHz; 2 x 11 264 MB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti; 512GB SSD + 3TB Hard Drive|
Posted April 11, 2019.
Updated April 30, : Added information about processors and performance data.