The best desktop gaming PC 2020: T3's top picks for high-end gaming

T3 picks the top pixel pushers on the PC gaming market in 2019

Included in this guide:

Best gaming PC

PC gaming is serious business, and the best gaming PC can be the difference between success and failure – so we're here to give you a complete rundown of the top rigs on the market right now.

Whether you want the best gaming PC on a budget or you're willing to spend well over £1,000 on your purchase, you'll find some essential buying advice here. We've got choices to suit all spending plans and gaming requirements.

Currently, the Corsair ONE Pro is our pick of the best gaming PCs that money can buy in 2019. It's not cheap, but it's incredibly strong for its compact size, and it's portable enough to go anywhere.

The Nvidia GeForce 1080 Ti inside means it's going to last into the next generation of games too, covering 4K frame rates, VR experiences and more. The ONE Pro will set you back in the region of £2,500 – but we've got much more expensive rigs as well.

How to choose the best desktop gaming PC for you

The desktop gaming PC market continues to be in a bit of a weird place, with the after-effects of the RAM manufacturing crisis still being felt. Cryptocurrency mining continues to impact the graphics card market too, and building your own gaming PC is no longer always the best value option.

Buying an off-the-shelf desktop offers a great way to get top-notch gaming power without the complexity and potential for disaster that building your own brings with it. Picking one isn't easy though, and you'll need to do a bit of cost/benefit analysis based on what you want to do with it.

Buying for VR? Get multiple HDMI outputs for a little breathing room for the next generation of headsets. Want to game in 4K? Push up your budget to nab a top-end graphics card. Want something you can upgrade later on? Avoid unusual cases and veer towards a more traditional form factor.

Everything considered, set your budget and buy the best gaming PC combination you can afford: focus on storage, memory and GPU power ahead of CPU speeds, even though they're important too (there'll always be a newer, faster PC configuration coming down the tracks).

Best desktop gaming PCs

Corsair One

Corsair One i160

A compact machine that doesn't skimp on the specs or style

CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K @ 5GHz
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
Storage: 480GB SSD, 2TB 7200rpm
PSU: 500 Watt
Reasons to buy
+Stylish, tightly designed case+Compact cooling solution+Extreme muscle

About the most power you'll find in a space as small as this, Corsair's cleverly engineered compact PC contains a market-leading GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, a screaming-fast Intel Core i9-9900K, a good chunk of the company's super-fast DDR4 RAM, and a host of speedy storage options. It's a no-brainer for our best desktop gaming PC list.

Aside from admiring the excellent engineering going on inside, you have to appreciate the sheer power and performance this machine manages to output, too. As well as how damn good the i160 looks no matter where it is placed. This is the third incarnation of Corsair's compact gaming desktop and it shows.

You get oodles of ports and display options as well, from HDMI to USB-C to DisplayPort, so whatever your setup is, the Corsair One i160 can slot right into it. Whether you've got it up on the desk or hidden away underneath, it's going to be capable of powering your 4K and VR experiences and then some.

Best gaming PC

Alienware Area 51 Threadripper

Top processor, massive graphics potential, and liquid-cooled style

CPU: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X @ 3.6GHz
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 8GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Storage: 2TB, 7,200rpm
PSU: 850 Watt
Reasons to buy
+Outrageous CPU power+Unique case design+4K-capable

Alienware's obvious penchant for odd-looking cases is on display in the second-generation Triad enclosure of its monstrous Area 51, a triangular oddity that twists key hardware on a 45-degree angle for ease of access and better airflow. 

Strange case or not, this is a powerful package, particularly at the Threadripper 1950X tier, which packs in an absolutely incredible overclocked 16-core CPU, super-quiet liquid cooling on its Geforce 1080 GPU (with an option to double up your 1080s or jump to 1080Ti cards if you're feeling extra flush) and a whole lot more. 

We're not going to argue that it's cheap. It isn't, and the upgrade tiers could potentially send you upwards of five grand in a couple of clicks. But for an unashamed luxury machine that can throw out 4K with the best of them, it's a solid and unique build.

Best gaming PC

OMEN by HP 875-009na

Old-school styling but plenty of power inside

CPU: Intel Core i7 8700K @ 3.2GHz
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
RAM: 8GB DDR4 2666MHz
Storage: 2TB 7,200rpm, 128GB SSD
PSU: 300 Watt
Reasons to buy
+Great package for the price+Powerful i7 CPU+Plenty of storage

Aside from a little of that ubiquitous hard-edged gamer styling, HP hasn't gone too crazy with the appearance of the liquid-cooled Omen desktop line – and it's held back a little on the price too, which earns it a place in our best gaming PC list. 

For not that much cash you get an excellent 8th-gen Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 2TB spinning drive plus 128GB of super-fast SSD storage, as well as a very respectable GTX 1060 Ti taking care of the graphics side of the show.

This is a box that won't flinch at anything, and it's traditional enough in construction that you shouldn't struggle to upgrade it when the time comes, although we might have put in slightly more than the bare-minimum 300W power supply.

Best gaming PC

Overclockers UK 8-Pack OrionX

A PC builder's fever dream made real

MAIN UNIT: **CPU:** Intel Core i9 7980XE @ 4.6GHz
Graphics: 3x Nvidia Titan X 13GB
RAM: 64GB DDR4 2666MHz
Storage: 1TB SSD (boot), 2x 1TB RAID 0 SSD (secondary), 10TB 7,200rpm (tertiary)
SECOND UNIT: **CPU:** Intel Core i7 7700K @ 5.1GHz
Graphics: Nvidia Titan X 13GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz
Storage: 2x 512GB RAID 0 SSD (boot), 10TB 7,200rpm (secondary)
PSU: 2,000 Watt (shared)
Reasons to buy
+Absolutely insane power+Immense storage+Two PCs in one

If money really is no object, the latest generation of OrionX designed by OCUK's in-house Dr Frankenstein, world record overclocker Ian '8-Pack' Parry may be worth selling a kidney for. It's more expensive than a new car, it's stuffed with LEDs, custom watercooling loops and more cabling than a BT junction box, and that glass-sided case contains not one but two distinct PCS. One is a complete overkill 18-core Intel Core i9 machine, somehow packed with three Nvidia Titan X GPUs running in SLI, 64GB RAM, and a swathe of SSD storage.

Alongside it a second machine, still more powerful than most of the hardware on this list, with its own Titan X, to be used as a server, a streaming host, or just on weekends whatever you fancy. The whole lot comes bundled in its own custom flight case for safe storage. Absolutely ridiculous, and you'll have to endure a 42 working day lead time to secure the services of the mad scientist himself, but the OrionX is a real indicator of what's possible in the PC world. 

And if a rummage around under the sofa cushions doesn't quite turn up the requisite funds, check out OCUK's Infin8 range of slightly more restrained pre-overclocked hardware.

Best gaming PC

Zotac Magnus EN1070

A tiny yet tremendous PC perfect for the living room

CPU: Intel Core i5 6400T @ 2.2GHz
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 8GB
RAM: None included
Storage: None included
PSU: 180 Watt
Reasons to buy
+Tiny size+Perfectly portable+Decent performance

There's big, flashy and ostentatious, and there's the other end of the scale, the sort of PC that's so small and unassuming you barely know it's even there. Zotac's Magnus series is a prime example, packing a stack of power into a space not much larger than its own power brick.

Don't be fooled by the slightly scaled down specs of the EN1070's Core i5 and a GTX 1070 are, in tandem, more than capable of pushing out a quality VR signal, and the pair of HDMI and DisplayPort outputs on the back of this specced-up Magnus mean you can drive up to four displays at once.

There's some advanced thermal engineering on board, meaning the Magnus stays pretty quiet, dissipating its heat through a massive heatsink, the fans only really get tested when it really gets cooking. One tiny blip, though: Zotac's packaged up all the processing, but buying and installing storage, memory, and your own copy of Windows is up to you.

Best gaming PC

Asus ROG Strix GD30

A battle-armoured beast with 4K chops

CPU: Intel Core i7 7700 @ 3.6GHz
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB 7200rpm
PSU: 500 Watt
Reasons to buy
+Traditional setup+Beautiful lighting+Great speed for the price

Styled precisely to fit in a Stormtrooper's office, the 7th-generation i7 CPU and three-steps-down 1060 GPU of the GD30 means it is, we'll admit, looking a little long in the tooth but such is the nature of the ever-advancing PC market. If you're less concerned about cutting your feet on the bleeding edge than you are about getting rock-solid gaming performance for a reasonably decent price, then the GD30 has you covered.

It's packed with customisation options, from the LED light show inside to the replaceable front and side panels, and there's room inside the case to add a liquid cooling solution (or just swap out the components) when you're looking for that next boost. A proper desktop PC, well made, practical, and reasonably affordable.

Best gaming PC

Chillblast Fusion Imp

The best gaming PC under £500

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 2200G 3.7GHz
Graphics: Radeon RX Vega 8
RAM: 8GB DDR4 2666MHz
Storage: 1TB SSHD
PSU: 500 Watt
Reasons to buy
+Very affordable+Capable enough+Room for expansion

Not everyone has thousands of pounds to throw at a gaming PC system of course, and if you're looking for the best gaming PC for under £500, you might well have found it with the Chillblast Fusion Imp.

As well as the recognised brand name, you get an excellent value-for-money AMD Ryzen processor, as well as plenty of high-speed RAM and hard drive storage. The looks aren't the most innovative we've ever seen, but this gets the job done.

The most attractive part of the whole Fusion Imp package is the price – think of all the money you'll have over to spend on some actual games, even if you're not going to hit the top frame rates.

Best gaming PC

Alienware Aurora R7

Gaming heaven, bottled

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
Reasons to buy
+Runs even the most demanding of games+Subdued chassis design

Alienware’s latest addition to its gargantuan gaming PC roster is the highly impressive Aurora R7, offering up a powerful combination of components that will ensure even the most demanding of games runs smooth as butter. 

The ‘low-end’ is just over £1,000 and comes with an Inten i5-8400 processor and an Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU. The top-end features an i7-8700 and a GTX 1080TI. With a much more subdued and attractive design than previous models, the Aurora R7 is a beast of a machine that won’t stand out in your office/gaming setup like a neon sore thumb.

It's not for those looking for the best gaming PC on the cheap, but if you've got the funds to afford it then this comes with the Alienware heritage behind it and is a very solid choice.

Best gaming PC

Lenovo Ideacentre Y900

VR proof your gaming setup

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
Reasons to buy
+Robust GPU/CPU combo+No VR game is too demanding

Lenovo’s Ideacentre Y900 might not have the sexiest of names, but it more than makes up for it with a) an impressively reliable choice of GPU and processor combos and b) all the neon-coloured aesthetics you could ask for (if that’s your thing). 

It boasts an Intel Core i7-6700K processor and not one, but two NVidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics cards so you’ll be hitting ultra settings while keeping every Oculus Rift or HTC Vive game running just as God intended. 

Lenovo has also included its ongoing 'tool-free access' design ethos to the Y900, so you can easily pop the chassis open (making this an attractive option for users that are new to PC customisation and upgrades).

Best gaming PC

MSI Trident 3

PC power, console looks

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
Reasons to buy
+As small as an Xbox One console+Very attractive design

The new, soon-to-be-released update of the MSI Trident 3 isn’t messing around. Designed to look just like a regular current-gen console, this slim yet beastly gaming PC can easily fit in your living room just as easily as it would at your desk. It's an excellent entry in our best gaming PC list.

Wherever you end up placing it, you're getting an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU so it’s going to run all your favourite beefy games on ultra, no problem. Its thin design does have some caveats – it runs so silently you’ll probably forget it’s there, but that also means you need to use an external power back (much like an Xbox One) in order to keep this gaming powerhouse running.

David Nield
David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.