Hp Omen 30l RtxSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

Best Gaming Desktop PC Windows Central 2021

If you thought you had to build a gaming PC to get the most out of it, you'd be wrong. There are amazing pre-built rigs out there whatever your gaming needs, like the HP Omen Obelisk, that give you all the fun without any of the fuss. And you're not excluded from upgrading it yourself, either.

Best Overall - HP Omen 30L

Hp Omen 30l LeadSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

HP's Omen Obelisk is more compact than its predecessors but still powerful and ultra-impressive. In an era where building your PC is so common, many manufacturers are trying to think outside the box with their desktop rigs. However, HP just grabbed the box, made it look like the sort of PC you might put together yourself, then proceeded to stuff it with LED lighting and all the hardware you can shake a stick at.

On the one hand, you might say the design is a little uninspiring, but to the PC gamer, this is a machine where 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.

The Obelisk boasts the high-end of the NVIDIA RTX GPU lineup with the new RTX 3080 as the top-end solution, CPUs from Intel's 10th Gen desktop lineup, DDR4 RAM from HyperX, SSD storage, and Intel's Optane memory if you wish. Literally, everything is replaceable, including the case fans, and the bottom line is that this is a PC any enthusiast would be happy with. HP did the work for you, though.

Reasons to buy

  • User upgradeable
  • Powerful
  • Straightforward design
  • Affordable entry model

Reasons not to buy

  • A little noisy
  • Lacklustre cabling

Best Overall

HP OMEN 30L

HP Omen 30L

A no-fuss rig enthusiasts will love

The 30L does away with needless fancy design and simply packs powerful parts into an easy-to-access case that makes it easy to live with and upgrade for any PC gamer.

Runner-Up - Alienware Aurora R11

Aurora R11 Source: Alienware

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

Thanks to touches like the swing-out vertically mounted power supply, you get more space for other goodies. 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's a little awkward to work in, but there's still a significant opportunity for user upgrades. Or, if you prefer, spec up an entry-level or beast mode build from the factory.

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. 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. This PC also sits atop our list of the very best desktop PCs for VR.

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons not to buy

  • No optical drive
  • Awkward internal design

Runner-Up

Alienware Aurora R11

The latest Alienware Aurora is an incredible thing

The latest Aurora now comes with 10th Gen Intel processors and up to an RTX 3090 GPU inside for insane power in a stylish and fairly compact body.

Best Small Form - MSI Trident 3

Msi Trident 3Source: MSi

There is a fashion for large gaming PCs with 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.

It's about the same size as a games console and yet can still have up to an eight-core i7 processor and up to an NVIDIA RTX 2060 Super GPU inside it. 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.

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons not to buy

  • Tough to upgrade

Best small form

Trident 3

MSI Trident 3

Despite its tiny size, this PC still packs a punch

The form factor means it's a fraction of a regular gaming rig's size while still packing up to an RTX 2060 Super and 8-core Intel Core i7 processor.

Best Budget - HP Pavilion Desktop

PC gaming can get expensive but worry no longer if you were worried that you couldn't engage without spending a fortune. For not a lot of money, you can get this excellent desktop PC from HP that serves as both a solid entry point to gaming as well as keeping your budget firmly in check.

With a combination of a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 and a GTX 1650 GPU, you're well placed for 1080p gaming, and while the power won't blow you away, it's a lot of PC to get for this kind of money. The case is compact and quite stylish, and despite being marketed as a gaming box, it doesn't go over the top with colors and aggressive styling.

The Pavilion also serves well as a workhorse, with a whole bundle of ports for connecting additional hardware and displays. It's also fairly easy to upgrade, though you won't be able to cram the largest graphics cards inside. Still, it's a great starting point with a path to adding to it in the future.

Reasons to buy

  • Amazing price
  • Excellent options
  • Stylish and compact
  • Plenty of ports

Reasons not to buy

  • No optical drive on latest refresh
  • Longer graphics cards might not fit

Best budget

HP Pavilion Desktop

Spending a little can still get you a lot

Not all PC gamers want to spend thousands or need the power from the top-of-the-line GPUs, and this affordable box from HP is a perfect starting point.

Best for Work - Dell XPS 8940

Xps 8940Source: Dell

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 8940 fits right into that, except it's also packing some serious horsepower for gaming.

Dell has a whole host of configurations to choose from, 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 10th Gen Intel processors up to a Core i9, 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.

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons not to buy

  • Can get expensive
  • Entry-level a little underpowered

Best for Work

Xps 8940

Dell XPS 8940

Looks like an office PC, games like a champion

If you want a PC to game on that doesn't look like a teenager designed it, here it is. The Dell XPS tower is sleek and powerful.

Conclusion

There are a lot of great pre-built gaming PCs out there but it's hard to do better than the HP Omen 30L right now. You can either save money now and upgrade it down the line or spec it up out of the box with all the power you could ever want. It's easy to live with and trades wild design for user-friendliness.

What's also very apparent right now is that there's a good selection of affordable gaming PCs, too. Even the Omen 30L can be had for a very attractive entry-level price. It's no longer necessary to build your PC to get the best deals.

And the Omen 30L 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.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author:

Richard Devine Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming.

Author:

Rich Edmonds is a staff reviewer at Windows Central, which means he tests out more software and hardware than he cares to remember. Joining Mobile Nations in 2010, you can usually find him inside a PC case tinkering around when not at a screen fighting with Grammarly to use British words. Hit him up on Twitter: @RichEdmonds.

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