With far more power, upgradeability and generally cheaper titles, PCs remain the best option for serious gamers. The latest wave feature high-speed processors, GPUs that give super-sharp HD and 3D graphics – with frame rates like butter – plus all the usual delights of Windows 7 and, soon, Windows 8.
So if the Xbox or PS3 is not for you, we've picked five of the best gaming PCs and laptops to invest in instead.
Chillblast Fusion Firestorm
The most powerful rig on test packs twin 4GB Nvidia GTX 680 graphics cards and an Intel Core i5 that hits 4.8Ghz when overclocked. There’s also a Blu-ray drive tucked out of sight and storage runs to both a 240GB SSD and 2TB hard drive – you can pack a game or two on that. Twin fans and a Corsair H100 liquid cooling system prevent burnout, while a side window allows jealous visitors to ogle the wealth of tech crammed inside. Battlefield 3 becomes as near as you want to get to an actual war, with tangos dispatched at a fast and fluid 60fps, with superlative graphics on the full resolution setting. Worth the price, we’d say.
Price: £1,699 | Chillblast.co.uk
Vanquish Eclipse 670 MKII
Another sub-£1,000 PC that serves up powerful specs at a price that isn’t too harrowing, this boasts a Core i5 overclocked to 4.6ghz – only the Chillblast tops that – and benefits from 16GB of ram. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 adds 2GB of video memory for heavyweight gaming and the 120GB SSD works with the 1TB hard drive to provide both speedy operation and more than adequate storage. It’s all wrapped in a rugged Coolermaster HAF 912 chassis with room for expansion, four internal fans and a Spire Gemini v2 CPU cooler.
Price: £999 | PCspecialist.co.uk
Medion Erazer X7382 D
More like a tank than a desktop PC, the Erazer includes three expansion bays for easy upgrading. The basic spec is nothing to be sniffed at, though: 3.2GHz Core i7, 16GB RAM and Nvidia GeForce GT X680 graphics with 2GB of dedicated RAM. Right above the main power switch is a giant overclocking button which boosts the processor to 3.2GHz while water cooling keeps the heat down. The gaming muscle here is beyond anything your Xbox or PS 3 can muster – it doesn’t flinch running Battlefield 3 at 60fps. If you can make room in your gaming den for this super-sized PC, you’re golden.
Price: £1,599 | Medion.com
Alienware M17X R3
Now a couple of years older but still a worthy portable PC play area, the R3 comes with a variety of GPU and processor options but a Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M setup with a Core i7 2GHz processor should be suitable innards to cater for your high performance gaming. There’s 4 USBs offering plenty of connectivity and a HDMI –in means you plug a games console to use the 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. It can handle 3D gaming at 32fps and while it’s not packed with RAM, there should be more than enough to keep your sessions lag-free.
Price: £1,199 | Alienware.co.uk
Razer’s Blade sharpens your skills The Blade is a different breed of gaming laptop and it should be considering how much it costs. The 17.3-inch monster hosts a stunning LCD touchscreen that offers 1080p resolution quality, 3D support and customisable keys from Razer's Switchblade concept. Revolutionary controls aside, there’s also top-notch Nvidia GeForce graphics, Intel’s Core i7 processor, which runs at up to 3.5GHz in turbo mode, and 8GB of RAM. There's an integrated battery that offers 60 watt-hours but we wouldn't suggest leaving the AC adapter at home as this is clearly one power-hungry beast.
Price: £2,000 | Razerzone.com