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Best pre-built gaming PC 2022

If you thought you had to build a gaming PC to get the best performance, you'd be wrong. There are amazing pre-built rigs out there for whatever your gaming needs are. The HP Omen 45L, our top pick, is one such desktop, giving you all the fun without any of the fuss of putting together (and ruining) one of the best gaming PCs.

(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

HP Omen 45L

Best overall

Reasons to buy

+
User upgradeable
+
Powerful
+
Innovative Cryo Chamber cooling
+
AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA options

Reasons to avoid

-
MicroATX motherboard limits expansion
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No Thunderbolt

The HP Omen 45L is larger than its predecessor, but that's mostly down to an innovative new "Cryo Chamber" cooling solution. In an era where building your PC is so common, many manufacturers are trying to think outside the box with their desktop rigs, and HP certainly did that. Being external to the rest of the PC, temperatures can be up to 6 degrees lower thanks to the lack of heated air from inside the machine.

On the one hand, you might say the design is a little uninspiring, but to the PC gamer, this is a machine where the function is the primary concern, and ease of access is paramount. You simply pull the glass side panel off, and you have free access to all internal components, all of which can be upgraded over time. It supports a full ATX motherboard, though out of the box HP used a microATX, which does limit both built-in functions a little as well as how much you can expand.

The Omen 45L boasts the latest high-end of the NVIDIA RTX GPU lineup with the RTX 3090 as the top-end solution or AMD Radeon graphics, CPUs from Intel's 12th Gen desktop lineup or AMD's Ryzen 5000 Series, DDR4 RAM from HyperX, SSD storage; it ticks all the boxes.

Literally, everything is replaceable, including the radiator in the Cryo Chamber, and the bottom line is that this is a PC any enthusiast would be happy with. HP did the hard work for you, though.

Dell Alienware Aurora R13

(Image credit: Dell)

Alienware Aurora R13

Runner-up

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of configurations
+
User upgradeable
+
Powerful
+
Fairly compact
+
Inexpensive entry point

Reasons to avoid

-
Questionable build quality record
-
Design is pretty polarizing

Just like its parent Dell brand, Alienware has been making some amazing hardware recently. The Alienware Aurora R13 is one such example, revived and reborn with a whole new design that's both striking and clever.

Thanks to a more traditional internal design on the R13 compared to its predecessor, you get plenty of space to work in and upgrade parts yourself. You can squeeze in a pair of graphics cards as well as a liquid cooler for the CPU. You also get plenty of space for additional drive bays.

It isn't even that expensive at the entry level. While you're not getting the most powerful parts on the cheaper models, the ease of upgrade means you're not limited by what you can initially afford. Adding more RAM or a new graphics card is completely tool-free and takes just a couple of minutes. And the R13 is one of the first desktop PCs to be sold with Intel's new barnstorming 12th Gen processors.

The Aurora offers something for everyone: those on a tighter budget, those looking for ridiculous power, those hoping to upgrade in the future, and everyone else in between.

HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop

(Image credit: HP)

HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop

Best budget gaming desktop

Reasons to buy

+
Standard components
+
Good performance
+
Great price
+
Lots of ports

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for today's heavier titles

A more affordable choice from HP, this gaming PC is equipped with an Intel Core i5-11400F, which is more than enough to handle the latest PC games released today. There's also a choice of GPUS, but the most budget-focused model comes with an NVIDIA GTX 1650. While not designed for the heaviest titles, at 1080p you'll still be able to play a huge range of today's most popular titles with ease.

Accompanying the CPU and graphics card are 8GB of DDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD for your operating system (Windows 10 in this case), and plenty of ports. And thanks to the standard design you have some scope to upgrade down the line as your needs and budget grow.

Alienware Aurora R14 with AMD

(Image credit: Dell)

Dell Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14

Best AMD gaming rig

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful configurations available
+
Can be upgraded
+
Up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090
+
Attractive futuristic design

Reasons to avoid

-
Can get real expensive
-
Entry-level a little underpowered

While the entry-level configuration may not be worth shouting about, only coming with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X and AMD Radeon RX 5300, the choice available is perfect for anyone looking for an AMD-powered gaming PC. You can configure the R14 with up to an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X CPU, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 GPU, and 128GB of RAM.

This PC is very similar to the older Intel-powered R12 from Dell, allowing you to upgrade components like the RAM and GPU at a later date if you wish to bump the performance up a little.

The R14 caters to a number of price points, allowing anyone to pick up a configuration that matches their needs, display, and budget.

Dell XPS Desktop 8950

(Image credit: Dell)

Dell XPS 8940 PC

Best for work and play

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of configurations
+
Easy to upgrade
+
Powerful
+
Optical drive

Reasons to avoid

-
Can get expensive
-
Entry-level a little underpowered

While RGB is all the rage these days in gaming PCs, such a thing isn't suited to an office environment, home, or work. Some just want a powerful PC that can game without it screaming, "I'm a gamer." That's where the superb Dell XPS tower comes in, which has been a sleeping gamer hit for some time.

It's pretty stylish to look at, although it's a bit boring by the standard of most gaming PCs. XPS is Dell's professional brand, and the 8950 fits right into that, except it's also packing some serious horsepower for gaming.

Dell has a whole host of configurations from which to choose, all of which offer dedicated graphics from NVIDIA, including the RTX 2060 or now even the RTX 3070. It has also been updated to offer 12th Gen Intel processors with DDR5 RAM, and since it uses standard parts, much is upgradeable. Dell also uses superfast NVMe SSD storage, so this is a desktop PC that can hang with the best of them.

MSI Trident compact gaming desktop

(Image credit: MSI)

MSI Trident 3

Best compact gaming desktop

Reasons to buy

+
Compact build
+
Lots of gaming power
+
Good price
+
Lots of ports

Reasons to avoid

-
Tough to upgrade
-
Can get pricey

The current fashion for large gaming PCs includes mad cases and more RGB lights than a Vegas hotel, but not everyone wants or has the space for a colossal rig. It's also not necessary anymore, with some truly amazing and small gaming PCs like the MSI Trident 3 making the most of their compact forms.

It's about the same size as a game console and yet can still have up to an Intel 12th Gen Core i7 processor and up to an NVIDIA RTX 3060 GPU inside. That's pretty remarkable, and when you add 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, you wonder why you'd ever want a large PC again. If you often take your PC on the go to LAN parties, this is a perfect option.

Parts are upgradeable, though due to the unique design of the Trident 3, you'll have to put in a little work. But even if you're not down for that, what you get out of the box is plenty to keep you gaming for years to come, and the entry-level model is both capable and affordable.

Bottom line

There are a lot of great pre-built gaming PCs out there, but it's hard to do better than the HP Omen 45L right now. It's pricey, but it's supremely powerful, and the Cryo Chamber is a unique addition that adds real benefit.

What's also very apparent right now is that there's a good selection of affordable gaming PCs, too. It's no longer necessary to build your PC to get the best deals.

And the Omen 45L is so well designed that beginners and enthusiasts alike will fall in love with it. It can be all the PC you need for many years to come. And if you need something a bit more custom, boutique manufacturers like Falcon Northwest, Origin PC, and Digital Storm offer highly customizable systems with insane levels of performance that span a variety of budgets, like our performance-packed Talon and Tiki