Pay, Plug, and Play.
Building a gaming PC will almost always get you the most bang for your buck – not to mention teach you a lot about PCs in the process. But as someone who has built and bought countless PCs—not just for myself, but for family and friends—I know that building a rig isn’t for everyone. Sometimes you’d rather have something that works right out of the box, with a number you can call if something goes wrong. Not to mention when you go with a respected PC builder you usually get quality craftsmanship, an interesting and/or unique chassis, and warranty support too. If this is what you’re looking for, then here is my list of the best prebuilt PCs you can buy right now.
*Psst: This would also be a good place to remind you that you’re in the market for a prebuilt rig, IGN’s Daily Deals typically includes quite a few pre-made PCs, often at extreme discounts.
Best Compact Prebuilt PC – Corsair One
Corsair has been manufacturing PC components for years, and its first foray into prebuilt PCs is surprisingly good. The Corsair One isn’t the smallest PC on the market, but its power-to-size ratio is as good as it gets from a PC with this footprint. And while it isn’t cheap, it’s actually a decent value, considering the parts inside and how compact it is. The $2200 One Pro comes with an Intel Core i7-7700K quad-core processor, an NVIDIA GTX 1080, 16GB of RAM, and storage from a 480GB SSD and 2TB HDD.
Corsair has multiple models with varying hardware, going all the way up to a $3000 One Elite model rocking a six-core i7-8700K CPU, GTX 1080 Ti, 32GB of RAM, and a 960GB PCIe SSD for out-of-this-world performance. The design of this prebuilt PC is cool without being too flashy, as it sports some subtle lighting and small triangular vents along the side.
The CPU and GPU are liquid cooled for cool and quiet performance, and it comes with six USB ports, four of which are USB 3.1. Even the base model can handle VR like a champ and 4K gaming at playable framerates, and while it isn’t as upgradeable as a larger PC, it’s a solid contender for any gamer’s looking for a compact, quiet, and powerful rig.
Best Prebuilt PC for Upgradeability – Alienware Aurora R7
Alienware likes to promote its lavish Area 51 PC, but the more subdued Aurora line is affordable and has something for everybody. Models range from basic to burly, with the base model packing a six-core Intel Core i5-8400 CPU, an AMD Radeon RX 560 graphics card, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. That’s a pretty basic system, but you can customize a PC all the way up to a six-core i7-8700K, dual GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards, 64GB of RAM, a 2TB NVMe SSD, and everything in between.
Finally, though it uses a Micro-ATX motherboard the chassis is a mid-tower, and it’s one of the best features of this lineup. It offers a pretty understated design that looks surprisingly non-alien, but some flair is added via customizable lighting with 20 colors to choose from. However, the main reason this is on our list is Alienware has designed the entire chassis to be tool-less, so upgrades or hardware swaps are literally just plug-and-play. That’s a very handy feature to have for anyone who likes fiddling inside their PCs, and though you won’t need to upgrade for awhile, when you do it’ll be a cake walk.
Best Prebuilt PC for a Classic Look – Dell XPS Tower Special Edition
If you prefer a more unassuming style in a prebuilt PC needs, the Dell XPS Tower Special Edition puts powerful gaming hardware in a sleek-but-plain chassis, so no one will know you’re not using it for work. The base model come with a six-core Intel i5-8400 CPU, NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD with a 1TB hard drive for data storage. That’ll handle basic gaming just fine, but Dell also lets you customize your rig to include a heck of a lot more—up to an i7-8700K, GTX 1080, 64GB RAM, and a 2TB SSD with a 2TB HDD. That version will run you around $3,000 but there’s a lot of options in between including 4K and VR-ready configurations.
The case is surprisingly compact, but still boasts four USB 3.1 ports on the front and seven USB ports in the back, not to mention the same tool-less design as the Alienware Aurora for super easy upgrades. If you want a gaming PC that doesn’t look like a typical gaming PC, the reserved Dell XPS Tower line is a great option.
Best Prebuilt PC for Customization – Origin Millennium
For maximum customizability with minimal effort, boutique builder Origin PC’s Millenium Full-tower can’t be beat. In addition to the typical selection of CPUs and GPUs, Origin lets you customize every little aspect of this system including things you didn’t even know were variable, like which side the widowed panel is on, and the orientation of the motherboard. You can tweak the colors of the chassis, add individually-sleeved PSU cables, change the color of the tubing for the CPU’s liquid cooler, and you can even have the system overclocked too, naturally.
In fact, if you end up wanting to make the chassis itself even bigger, at some point, you can ship it to Origin and they will literally bolt on another case to the bottom, upgrading it from a Millenium to a Genesis super tower. Talk about options. Of course, all that awesomeness comes at a hefty price, though: a full-tower Origin Millennium prebuilt PC will run you almost $1,000 more than a comparable Alienware Aurora, and that’s without the custom paint job, overclocking, and other juicy extras. With all of Origin’s sweet customizations in tow, you’re looking at a multi-thousand dollar beast of a gaming PC. It won’t be cheap, but it’ll be truly yours.
Best Console-Style Prebuilt PC for Your Living Room – MSI Trident 3
Let’s say you’re a big fan of PC gaming, but you like the couch-friendly experience of consoles. There’s something to say for kicking back with a gamepad at the end of the day, but consoles still can’t beat the PC’s do-anything nature, high level of configurability, and cheap Steam Sale games. Enter the The MSI Trident 3, which is smaller than an Xbox One and designed to fit perfectly in your media center cabinet.
It only comes in a few configurations, offering either an Intel Core i5-7400 or i7-7700 with an NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti or GTX 1060 (although there’s a GTX 1070-equipped version on Amazon that’s curiously missing from MSI’s website). The cost ranges from $900 to $1300, which isn’t bad for what you get, especially considering the compact form factor. It’s designed for VR as well, though 4K gaming is going to iffy at best on this machine. I wish there were some higher end, more future-proof configurations—especially since the Trident isn’t super easy to upgrade—but if you really want a console-alternative PC for your living room, the Trident will serve you well.
Best Cheap Prebuilt PC – CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR
We get it; PC gaming is expensive. Not everyone has the budget for a balls-to-the-wall gaming monstrosity, and that’s okay—because there are some decent budget-friendly prebuilt PC options out there. At the time of this writing, I think the CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR is a tough option to beat, with a six-core Intel Core i5-8400 CPU, an AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics card, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive, all for only $730. (I doubt I could even build a comparable PC for that price) It won’t play everything maxed out at 4K, but for 1080p gaming at medium to high settings, it’ll do the job—and it comes with a mouse and keyboard to boot.
There’s also no SSD in the $730 base model, but you can always check out more powerful versions of this model. Also, since CyberPowerPC’s rigs tend to use lots of off-the-shelf parts and tool-less components, you can swap in better parts down the line.
Whitson Gordon is a writer, gamer, and tech nerd who has been building PCs for 10 years. He eats potato chips with chopsticks so he doesn’t get grease on his mechanical keyboard.