Best PCs for sim racing 2023: pre-built desktop options

Thrustmaster TX leather edition
Thrustmaster TX leather edition (Image credit: Ben Wilson | Windows Central)

Realistic sim racing games have an enormous following on PC, thanks to the extra layer of customization and flexibility for spending budgets. Consoles have their fair share of driving titles, with some serious simulators on offer, but a desktop computer opens up a whole new world of possibilities for race fans. Not everyone has the knowledge or patience to build their rig, so what are your options?

Pre-built gaming PCs cut down on the effort needed to enter the sim racing scene, skipping the component shopping list and checking for compatibility. Almost any competent desktop aimed at gamers should be able to play racing games at varying levels of quality. Still, some of my favorite ready-made PC vendors like iBuyPower and Dell will get you onto the virtual racetrack as fast as possible, so here are my best picks.

iBuyPower Hyte Y40 case (Image credit: Hyte)

iBuyPower Intel 13th Gen Elite

Best overall pre-built PC for sim racing

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-13700KF
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Ti 12GB
RAM: 32GB DDR5-5200MHz
Storage: 1TB WD SN570 M.2 NVMe SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Vast customization options
+
2x front USB-A 3.0 + 1x USB-C 3.2
+
Onboard Wi-Fi + Bluetooth
+
Easy to upgrade

Reasons to avoid

-
Mandatory operating system

My favorite iBuyPower config:

Intel Core i7-13700KF | RTX 4070 Ti 12GB | 32GB DDR5-5200MHz (opens in new tab)

Intel Core i7-13700KF | RTX 4070 Ti 12GB | 32GB DDR5-5200MHz (opens in new tab)
No adjustments are needed on this ready-made machine. Featuring the latest Intel 13th Gen Core CPU paired with an RTX 4070 Ti means it's about as cutting-edge as it gets without going overboard, and 32GB of RAM is plenty for intense simulation titles.

iBuyPower offers an almost unparalleled level of customization on its pre-built gaming desktop PCs, and this ready-made spec is an excellent balance of high-performance components versus cost. Simulation racing titles naturally aim for realism, which demands powerful hardware to keep up with physics calculations and fancy visuals. Some games might seem like only a handful of vehicles on a track, but serious calculations are happening under the hood, and this Elite rig is ready for action.

Offering a variant of the Intel i7-13700K CPU, which is still our absolute favorite processor for gaming, the KF model drops the need for integrated graphics. If you keep the Elite at its default spec, you'll bag the latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Ti GPU, which is essentially a re-released RTX 4080 with a lower price. Both are installed into a Gigabyte Z790 UD AC motherboard which supports onboard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, perfect for connecting wireless peripherals if you're using a racing cockpit and don't want to reach over to a desk.

Check the recommended hardware specifications for your favorite sim racing title, and you'll likely be able to configure a 1:1 match with this vastly customizable rig from iBuyPower. It might initially feel like a high price, but the parts included in this pre-built desktop make sense for the cost. If it fits your budget, the basic picks on the Elite rig are future-proof for practically any racer, and the Hyte Y40 case has enough front-facing USB ports for easy access to peripherals. Perfect.

Aurora R15 (Image credit: Dell)

Alienware Aurora R15

Stylish performance

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-13700KF
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 16GB
RAM: 16GB DDR5-4800MHz
Storage: 512GB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Customizable components
+
3 front USB-A 3.2 + 1x USB-C 3.2
+
Onboard Wi-Fi + Bluetooth

Reasons to avoid

-
Styling won't be to every taste
-
Tight space to work inside

My favorite Aurora R15 config:

Intel Core i7-13700KF | RTX 4080 16GB | 32GB DDR5-4800MHz (opens in new tab)

Intel Core i7-13700KF | RTX 4080 16GB | 32GB DDR5-4800MHz (opens in new tab)
The standard setup offered by Alienware on the Aurora R15 is close enough to our top pick to avoid any adjustments. The price might seem steep, but you benefit from gorgeous aesthetics and sublime cable management. Consider the alternative case colors, too.

Dell's Alienware Aurora is a fantastic PC for sim racing. Whether you want to run in VR, on a single monitor, a massive ultrawide, or triples, the Aurora can be kitted out to deliver high-quality graphics and high frame rates. What also helps set it apart is that it's fairly compact, considering how much is inside.

There are quite a few configuration options available for the Aurora, with a max-spec model potentially sporting the beefy RTX 4090 24GB GPU, a 13th Gen Intel i9-13900K processor (CPU), 64GB of DDR5-5200MHz RAM, and a 4TB M.2 PCIe solid-state drive. You can add Alienware's Cryo-tech cooling instead of the standard liquid variant, and there's a choice of case styles. Equally, the base-level model is still well-suited to sim racing, with the RTX 4080 16GB GPU perfectly capable of running titles like iRacing.

The hardware is all contained in a sleek and compact case available in two colors. It features 5x 120mm case fans regardless of your CPU cooling choice, keeping thermals under control during gameplay. There's a boatload of ports for easy connectivity, mainly for sim racing when you've got multiple devices that all want a USB connection to your PC.

HP Omen 45L (Image credit: Future)

HP Omen 45L

Innovative rig enthusiasts will love

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-13700K
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Ti 12GB
RAM: 32GB DDR5-4000MHz
Storage: 1 TB WD Black PCIe 4x4 NVMe TLC M.2 SSD

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons to avoid

-
MicroATX motherboard limits expansion
-
No Thunderbolt

My favorite Omen 45L config:

Intel Core i7-13700K | RTX 4070 Ti 12GB | 32GB DDR5-4000MHz (opens in new tab)

Intel Core i7-13700K | RTX 4070 Ti 12GB | 32GB DDR5-4000MHz (opens in new tab)
Not every Omen 45L machine is customizable, but the latest models include one 13th Gen Intel rig with personalized components. You can aim for the same specs and enjoy the newest CPU and GPUs.

The HP Omen 45L (opens in new tab) 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 try to think outside the box with their desktop rigs, and HP certainly did that. The chamber is separated from other components so that internal temperatures can be up to 6 degrees lower, thanks to the lack of heated air 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 function is the primary concern, and ease of access is paramount. 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 limits both built-in functions a little and how much you can expand.

The Omen 45L boasts the latest high-end NVIDIA RTX GPU lineup with the RTX 4090 as the top-end solution or AMD Radeon graphics, CPUs from Intel's 13th Gen desktop lineup, or AMD's Ryzen 5000 Series, DDR5 RAM from Kingston, SSD storage — it ticks all the boxes.

Absolutely 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 to use. HP did the hard work for you, though.

HP Omen 15 (Image credit: Future)

HP Omen 15 gaming laptop

Awesome redesign

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i9-12900H
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB
RAM: 32GB DDR5-4800MHz
Storage: 2 TB PCIe NVMe TLC M.2 SSD

Reasons to buy

+
AMD and Intel hardware available
+
Competitive price
+
Up to a 300Hz FHD display
+
NVIDIA RTX GPU options
+
Great connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite chunky
-
AMD models more limited

My favorite Omen laptop config:

Intel Core i9-12900H | RTX 3080 Ti 16GB | 32GB DDR5-4800MHz (opens in new tab)

Intel Core i9-12900H | RTX 3080 Ti 16GB | 32GB DDR5-4800MHz (opens in new tab)
It's from the previous 12th Gen of the Intel Core i9 processor family, but the RTX 3080 Ti GPU pairs with 32GB of modern DDR5 RAM to provide plenty of horsepower for sim racing on the go. Keep an eye out for discounts.

HP offers the Omen 15 as a laptop variant of its desktop range as a portable option for simulation racing or something more compact to attach to a cockpit rig with pedals and a wheel. Up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 or Ryzen 7 CPU can be paired with a mobile version of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics chip. 32GB of DDR5 SDRAM clocked at 4,800MHz will handle most racing games just fine, even with plenty of cars on screen, AI-controlled or otherwise.

You can choose up to a 2TB M.2 solid-state drive, which might be a little overkill if you're planning to use this laptop solely for racing games, but the extra space is handy should you consider user-made modifications to add extra tracks and cars, etc. Onboard Wi-Fi 6E tech supports high-speed wireless networking, which is ideal if you want to keep your setup as cable-free as possible and still play online.

Display options include up to a 17.3-inch QHD display at a 165Hz refresh rate and 300 nits brightness. The display is arguably less important if you're looking at powering a sim racing rig, but it's still good to have a quality panel. You also get all the connectivity you need with multiple ports, including USB, HDMI, and Thunderbolt, for attaching all your racing hardware.

HP Pavilion (Image credit: HP)

HP Pavilion gaming desktop (GTX 1650 SUPER)

Entry-level racing

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i3-10100
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER 4GB
RAM: 8GB DDR4-2666MHz
Storage: 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Entry-level 1080p gaming
+
Easy to upgrade

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacking storage space
-
No ultra graphics settings here

An entry-level machine can be capable enough for an absolute beginner to get you up and running (or driving) with simulation racing. This HP Pavilion is about as low as you want for a starter computer. Easy to upgrade, this tower comes with the capable NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card that'll sit you somewhere between the minimum and recommended specs for iRacing. You can upgrade any component you like since it uses all standard parts, but this plucky GPU is a great starting place.

The 10th Gen Intel Core i3 CPU and 8GB of DDR4 RAM will handle basic simulation racing, but if you're planning to join giant races with more players, you will need to upgrade. 256GB of storage will be acceptable if you stick to a handful of games, but venturing into games like Forza Horizon 5 (opens in new tab) will require much more since they take up a hefty amount of space. HP generously includes a mouse and keyboard with the Pavilion gaming desktop, so the setup is ready to go straight out of the box.

It won't provide you with a hyper-realistic 4K gaming experience, but the HP Pavilion gaming desktop is a decent way to enter PC gaming. You'll either have to stick with low-to-mid graphics settings or play more basic titles at first, but upgrades are easy enough with a bit of research. It's a decent way to test the waters of sim racing on PC if you're unsure.

Choosing the best sim racing pre-built PC for you

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Getting started in sim racing is pretty straightforward, and though you can't engage without a decent PC and racing setup, it's easy enough to get going. You need a solid PC at the heart of your setup, and the HP Omen 45L is a perfect choice. It doesn't take up masses of space; it's easily upgradeable if your budget doesn't stretch to the higher-spec models right now, and it's got plenty of ports to connect all your assorted racing hardware, including the best racing wheels (opens in new tab). You really can't go wrong.

Suppose you're approaching the scene as an absolute beginner and have never owned a PC. In that case, the HP Pavilion gaming desktop is a great way to get started without dropping specs to the point that racing games are unplayable. All of the PCs here are capable of handling all the virtual racing you can throw at them with multiple monitors or even VR for high-spec models.

Ben Wilson
Channel Editor

Ben is the channel editor for all things tech-related at Windows Central. That includes PCs, the components inside, and any accessory you can connect to a Windows desktop or Xbox console. Not restricted to one platform, he also has a keen interest in Valve's Steam Deck handheld and the Linux-based operating system inside. Fueling this career with coffee since 2021, you can usually find him behind one screen or another. Find him on Mastodon @trzomb@mastodon.online to ask questions or share opinions.

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