Best Prebuilt Gaming PCs for the Money (2023 Guide)

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Finding the Best Value Gaming Desktops Under $800, $1200, $2000 (US Dollars)

Last Updated: August 13, 2023
In this guide we’ll cover some of the best prebuilt gaming PCs for the money on the US market right now. In PC hardware communities, prebuilt PCs are insulted more often than R2D2 was by C3PO. Makes sense though, seeing as R2 was built by a mass-production droid manufacturer (AKA a prebuilt PC company), while smug C3PO was proudly custom built by some whiz kid using spare parts. But I quite dramatically digress. Besides the fact that building your own PC is typically more cost-effective (most prebuilts are overpriced relative to buying each component individually), there are other reasons why prebuilts get a bad name. The convenience of buying a pre-assembled, 100% ready-to-go computer is tempting, but there are various pitfalls you must be aware of in order to avoid buying a dud of a droid.

For example, if it’s a particularly bad prebuilt – the type that would get a deserved roasting from Steve from Gamer’s Nexus – it may include an obscure branded, unreliable, low-quality ticking-timebomb of a power supply that you wouldn’t want any half-decent gaming PC to have to rely over multiple years. Or, it could have poor, restricted airflow that could lead to excessive noise, high temperatures, overheating, or worse (big bada boom). But besides companies cutting corners on component quality, there are other potential downsides to buying a prebuilt. If you’re interested, see building vs buying a gaming PC for more detail. 

But not all prebuilt PCs are horrible piles of steaming scrap metal, and if you do your research there are options worth considering out there. Especially if you stick to the more trusted prebuilt brands. Despite the advantages of building your own PC, perhaps you don’t have the patience to learn how to do so, and to spend the extra time needed to pick and choose each individual part. And that’s okay. But if you do go down the prebuilt PC route, you absolutely must keep your wits about you, meaning do your research. Many, perhaps most prebuilt PCs are either way overpriced for what you get, or they are systems that cut a little too many corners in terms of component quality as mentioned, but also in features (eg low storage, limited upgrade flexibility, inadequate airflow, and so on).

Be skeptical and keep your wits about you when shopping for a prebuilt PC as they’re not always as they seem (look past flashy exteriors or clever marketing)
If you want my opinion on some of the best prebuilt gaming PCs out there right now, let’s cut the ranting and get into my recommendations after having analyzed the current minefield of a market with its many overpriced systems, ticking time-bomb abominations, and the occasional diamond in the rough that represents good value that I can stick my neck out for and recommend. Also please note:
Prices mentioned are in USD (US Dollars)At the time of writing, all models below fit into their respective price categories, but if prices change and a certain model no longer fits into its category, it’s safe to assume I no longer recommend that model

Best Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $800 (2023)

Skytech Nebula RTX 3050 (Amazon)

Before getting into the best prebuilt gaming desktop for $800 and under, just a heads up that if your budget is less than this I recommend checking out the guide on the best refurbished gaming PCs for cheaper options.So, if your budget is around $800 this prebuilt is a decent option with its GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card and its 12th gen Intel i3 processor. It’s obviously an entry-level gaming desktop but it is enough firepower to produce a smooth 50-60FPS on high graphics settings in many titles, so long as you stick to 1080p resolution monitors (1440p resolution is too demanding for a RTX 3050).Same goes if using the best VR headsets – give this one a miss as you want a stronger GPU for virtual reality gaming. But for the right type of gamer, one without high demands, this computer might be all you need for a solid experience.You also get a fast NVMe SSD, albeit only a 500GB one which can fill up quickly if you plan to download a bunch of big modern games (as explained in the SSD buyer’s guide for gamers). You get 16GB of RAM too, which is highly recommended for modern games. Not all prebuilt PCs around this price have 16GB, as 8GB is still pretty common in this price range.To top off this decent value system you get four RGB fans for good cooling (and nice looks), WiFi built-in, a 600 watt gold-rated power supply, and a fairly nice looking case with a see-through side. Of all the options on Amazon US right now, if $800 is your limit then I can comfortably recommend this one, so long as you’re aware of its suitability for casual gamers only.

Model Number: ST-NEBULA-0515-B-AMCPU: Intel Core i3-12100F (4 Core)CPU Cooler: Intel Stock CoolerGPU: NVidia GeForce RTX 3050 (8GB)RAM: 1x16GB DDR4 3200MHzMotherboard: Intel B660Storage: 500GB PCIe NVMe SSDPower Supply: 600 Watt GoldCase: Skytech Nebula BlackCase Fans: 4xRGBOS: Windows 11 HomeWiFi: WiFi 5 (802.11ac)Other: Included Keyboard and MouseWarranty: 1 Year

Honorable Mentions (Best Prebuilt Desktop Under $800 US)

Skytech Chronos Mini (Amazon)

Model: ‎ST-CHRONOSM-0326-B-AM
GTX 1650 4GB, Intel Core i3 10100F, 16GB 3200MHz DDR4, 500GB SSD, WiFi 5

Best Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $1200 (2023)

CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme VR RTX 3060 (Amazon)

At the time of writing, this particular CyberPowerPC gaming PC with a fast 12th-gen i7 processor and RTX 3060 is quite decent value at around $1100. It’s also got a healthy 16GB of RAM, though you should expect to see that at this price: if you see a prebuilt desktop with 8GB of RAM in this price range, avoid it because you can find plenty of computers that do have 16GB (which is the ideal amount these days for modern games as well as for fast multitasking performance).The speed of the RAM isn’t specified, so you’d assume it’s an average DDR4 speed like 2666MHz which is okay. The system looks nice, and is adequately cooled with 4 pre installed 120mm fans (3 up front, 1 in the back). Storage capacity is good, with a fairly large 1TB NVMe SSD. You also get Windows 11, though it’s not the end of the world if you buy a prebuilt PC with Windows 10 as you can simply upgrade for free by clicking a few buttons when you want to.In terms of CyberPowerPC as a brand, and whether you can rely on them, I’d rate them as middle of the road. Not the best, but there’s definitely a lot worse out there. The internal components you get are basic, but they’ll get the job done, and you’re free to upgrade your system fairly easily with their machines. So overall, if you want the fastest gaming performance for the money, I can recommend their systems, but only if you strategically choose the best value model – a lot of their systems are overpriced, so you have to pick and choose carefully.This particular model with the RTX 3060 for under $1200 is the best overall value I could find from within their range at the time of writing (and also when comparing other brands, most of which are selling RTX 3060 systems for a lot more). It’s well suited for a range of different gaming use cases, whether that’s 1080p 60Hz, 1080p 144Hz, 1440p 60Hz, and VR. That said, there are some solid options listed below that include the slightly faster RTX 3060 Ti graphics card that are worth considering.

Model Number: GXiVR8040A12CPU: Intel Core i7 12700F (8+4 Cores)CPU Cooler: Intel Stock CoolerGPU: NVidia GeForce RTX 3060 (12GB GDDR6)RAM: 16GB DDR4Motherboard: Intel B660 (LGA 1700)Storage: 1TB NVMe SSDPower Supply: 600 WattsCase: Tempered Glass Mid-TowerCase Fans: 4 x 120mm RGBOS: Windows 11 HomeWiFi: Yes (802.11AC WiFi 5)Other: Included Keyboard and MouseWarranty: 1 Year

Honorable Mentions (Best Prebuilt Desktop Under $1200 US)

Skytech Shadow 3.0 (Amazon)

Model: ‎ST-SHADOW-0226
RTX 3060 Ti 8GB, AMD Ryzen 5 3600, 16GB 3000MHz DDR4, 1TB NVMe SSD, WiFi 5

Skytech Shiva (Amazon)

Model: ‎ST-SHIVA-0127
RTX 3060 Ti 8GB, AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, 16GB 3200MHz DDR4, 1TB SSD, WiFi 5

Skytech Archangel (Amazon)

Model: ‎ST-ARCH4-0557-W-AM
RTX 3060 Ti 8GB, AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, 16GB 3200MHz DDR4, 1TB NVMe SSD, WiFi 5

HP Pavilion (Amazon)

Model: TG01-2070
RX 6600 XT 8GB, AMD Ryzen 7 5700G, 16GB 3200MHz DDR4, 512GB NVMe SSD, WiFi 5

Skytech Blaze 3.0 (Amazon)

Model: ST-BLAZE3-0304-W-AM
RX 6600 XT 8GB, Intel Core i5 10400F, 16GB 3200MHz DDR4, 1TB NVMe SSD, WiFi 5

Skytech Archangel 3.0 (Amazon)

Model: ‎ST-Arch3.0-0180
RTX 3060 12GB, AMD Ryzen 5 3600, 16GB 3200MHz DDR4, 1TB SSD, WiFi 5

Alienware Aurora R10 (Amazon)

Model: ‎AWAUR10-A188BLK-PUS
RX 6600 XT 8GB, AMD Ryzen 7 5800, 16GB 3466MHz DDR4, 1TB SSD, WiFi 6

Best Prebuilt Gaming PC Under $2000 (2023)
Skytech Azure RTX 4070 Ti (Amazon)

Model Number: ‎ST-AZURE2-0608-B-AMCPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X (8-Core)CPU Cooler: 360mm AiO (Liquid)GPU: NVidia GeForce RTX 4070 Ti (12GB)RAM: 16GB DDR4 (3200MHz)Motherboard: UnspecifiedStorage: 1TB NVMe PCIe (SSD)Power Supply: 850 Watt (Gold)Case: Skytech Azure BlackCase Fans: 4 x RGBOS: Windows 10 Home (Free Upgrade to Win 11)WiFi: Yes (802.11AC WiFi 5)Other: Included Keyboard and MouseWarranty: 1 Year
If you want the best prebuilt gaming PC with a powerful gaming CPU and GPU from an affordable and generally reliable manufacturer who typically include decent quality components, the Skytech Azure gets my pick based on current pricing and availability. With this setup you can expect excellent performance for 1440p, 4K, or VR gaming.Skytech have taken the prebuilt PC market by storm in the past couple of years, and by that I simply mean they’re selling like hot cakes, especially on Amazon. Popularity doesn’t necessarily equate to quality, but in this instance it is warranted in my opinion, as they currently offer some of the best value gaming desktops on the market whilst importantly not cutting too many corners to make that happen.But of course, they still do that to an extent, just as any prebuilt PC company does if they want to compete, but from the many Skytech systems I’ve now researched over recent times (I started recommending them roughly a year ago), and having kept a close critical eye on them for a while now, they genuinely seem better than most prebuilt PCs in terms of the components they use, the overall flexibility of their builds (they’re mostly easily upgradeable), and the gaming performance you get for the money. Their customer support also seems decent from my research.See Also: The Best Gaming Monitors

Honorable Mentions (Best Prebuilt Desktop Under $2000 US)

MSI Aegis RS (Amazon)

Model: ST-AZURE2-0670-B-AM
RTX 4070 12GB, Intel Core i7 13700KF, 32GB DDR5, 2TB NVMe SSD, WiFi 6E

Skytech Blaze 3.0 (Amazon)

Model: ST-BLAZE3.0W-0211
RTX 4070 12GB, AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, 16GB 3200MHz DDR4, 1TB NVMe SSD, WiFi 5

Skytech Azure (Amazon)

Model: ST-AZURE2-0670-B-AM
RTX 4070 Ti 12GB, Intel Core i7 12700F, 16GB 3200MHz DDR4, 1TB NVMe SSD, WiFi 5

Skytech Siege (Amazon)

Model: ST-SIEGE4-0607-B-AM
RTX 4070 Ti 12GB, Intel Core i7 12700F, 16GB 3200MHz DDR4, 1TB NVMe SSD, WiFi 5

Specs to Look for When Choosing a Prebuilt PC
If you’re new to PC hardware, here are some basic things to keep in mind about choosing a good prebuilt desktop for gaming in terms of their parts-list. There are tons of specs and features that make up a computer, but these are the key things to know if you’re a gamer.
Look at Graphics Card FirstFor gaming and VR, the most important component of the computer by far is the graphics card (also called the GPU) since it has a huge say in what performance you’ll experience. So, when choosing and comparing prebuilt desktops, first look at the GPU in the specs to quickly weed out PCs that aren’t worth your time. If you want to make a smart purchase, before your hunt you should have at least a basic general idea of the modern GPU hierarchy – in other words, which cards are fastest right now, which are mid-range cards, and so on. Even computers marketed as “gaming PCs” may not necessarily have a good GPU inside, and oftentimes they include considerably less powerful GPUs than they could have included for that price. Stay on your toes and compare different prebuilt PCs around your price range to get a sense of the best GPU/s you could get in a system around that budget. See the gaming GPU buyer’s guide for more.
Check the CPUThe CPU also determines the gaming performance that your new system will offer you, but not anywhere near as much as the graphics card. Most prebuilt PCs with a good graphics card will have a sufficient CPU, so unless you have extra requirements other than gaming (eg very demanding non-gaming applications such as heavy video editing, or seriously heavy multitasking) then you often won’t have to worry too much about which CPU is included if you’re getting the graphics card that you want. But of course, do get a basic understanding of what CPU you’re getting and what sort of tier it is in terms of gaming performance. Oh and in general, you can’t go wrong with either Intel or AMD these days. In the past Intel was clearly better for gaming, but in recent years AMD caught up nicely and has even overtaken Intel in certain aspects. See the gaming CPU buyer’s guide for full details if interested. 

16GB RAM is IdealFor modern gaming, 8GB of RAM is the absolute minimum to shoot for, so don’t buy a prebuilt PC that doesn’t have at least this amount. However, 16GB of RAM is ideal, especially for VR gaming which are typically more demanding than flatscreen titles. 16GB will also make for a super fast multitasking machine. If you want to leave nothing to chance for the absolute most demanding games on the market now and over the coming few years, 32GB would be amazing but is a luxury and not a requirement. As for the speed of RAM, it doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as the amount of RAM, but the ideal these days is having RAM with a speed of 3000MHz or faster. On a cheaper PC, if the speed is only 2666MHz, don’t worry about it. Last but not least, DDR5 is the latest and greatest type of memory, but it’s so new that it’s just not necessary for a modern gaming PC at the moment (DDR5 isn’t much faster than DDR4 in today’s games). Getting tried and true (and cheaper) DDR4 memory is absolutely fine, and still will be for at least a couple years to come. If you do want the absolute most cutting-edge tech though, and you’re willing to pay extra for it, then and only then should you really care about choosing a prebuilt PC that has DDR5 memory.
Ensure it Has An SSDThese days there’s no excuse to not get a SSD as your main storage drive (where your operating system and other key programs/games will be stored). SSD are much more affordable these days, so if a prebuilt PC doesn’t include even a small 120GB-240GB one, then avoid that system at all costs. Any half decent prebuilt PC will have an SSD though. If you’re downloading a bunch of modern games, they can be quite large so you’ll ideally want a 1TB drive (500GB at the minimum). That said, you can always easily add a secondary drive to any prebuilt PC by either installing it inside the case (if there’s room) or by just using it externally (sitting on your desk). Lastly, if you’re spending a good amount on a gaming desktop, you’ll want to ensure the SSD it includes is a NVMe drive, which are faster than SATA drives. See the SSD buyer’s guide for more on SSDs.
Check the Power SupplyOne very common downside to buying a prebuilt PC is the fact you’ll often be getting an average quality power supply (PSU) from a less than desirable brand. Do your research on the particular PSU that’s included in the system, especially if you are buying a more powerful system. For example, you really don’t want a cheap no-name PSU in a high-end RTX 3080 desktop for instance. You should also consider how much wattage the PSU has if you’re considering a future upgrade of your GPU, to ensure you have enough headroom. See the PSU buyer’s guide for full details.
Check WiFi and Bluetooth SupportMost higher-end desktops will have wireless functionality, but some cheaper prebuilt PCs may not. So, if you need WiFi, check the specs. If it doesn’t have WiFi, you can always buy a WiFi card or USB adapter. Also, most prebuilts will have WiFi 5 (“AC”), but some have next-gen WiFi 6 (“AX”) for use with next-gen WiFi 6 routers. If you have one of these latest WiFi 6 routers, you’ll want a prebuilt with WiFi 6 in the spec sheet. Same goes for Bluetooth functionality: the best gaming desktops will almost definitely have Bluetooth, but some cheaper computers may not, so if that’s important to you then make sure to check the specs for Bluetooth to be listed somewhere.
Consider CoolingLast but definitely not least, if the gaming desktop you’re looking at is quite powerful, as in one that has a mid to high-end graphics card and a fast CPU, you want to ensure the system has good enough cooling for those particular parts. Especially if you want the system to run cool and/or quiet – some prebuilts don’t have very effective cooling out of the box and can run hot or loud. To gauge how good the cooling is before buying, it’s a good idea to read multiple customer (and professional if possible) reviews to get a sense, but never rely on just one review as gospel. If you are a bit more tech savvy, you can get a sense of how well the system is cooled in various ways such as looking into the specific case used in the build (and how well that case is designed for airflow, eg does it have a front mesh design that allows for air to easily get sucked into the case, or is it closed off?). How many fans are included is another way to assess the cooling, as well as how good the air or liquid cooler is relative to the CPU used.Related: How to Check GPU Temperatures (& Safe Ranges)

Trusted VPNs
VPN software is quite important in this day and age and will improve the security and privacy of your PC when online. There are also benefits to using VPNs for gaming.
There’s lots of VPNs out there but the ones I recommend most to gamers is ExpressVPN (special link that gets you 3 months off. they also offer a free trial here) and NordVPN which are both highly rated gaming VPNs because they’re the fastest and most secure.

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About the Author

Indie game dev currently working on my first public release after years of hobby projects, a story-driven VR FPS built with Unreal Engine (to be announced soon here for anyone into VR FPS’s). Also likes writing about tech, which also helps fund development of the game.My favs of all time are OOT, Perfect Dark, MGS1, MGS2, GE007, DKC2, THPS3, HL1, and HL2, with the most recent addition to my list of immortals being the VR masterpiece Alyx. If you want help with a new build feel free to ask on the main PC builds guide. If you found the site extra helpful and wish to support the work I do here, sharing an article with a friend helps a lot and is much appreciated. – Julz

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