Best small gaming PCs 2023: Mini, compact, and small form factor
Finding a pre-built computer on the smaller side isn't as easy as it should be. Packing high-end components into a case not much larger than a modern console isn't so common in the desktop world, so where do you start? We've rounded up the best small gaming PCs to help you find a compact solution.
The Trident X is a compact beauty, packed with an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11700K processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU for modern gaming in a discreet package. Onboard Wi-Fi 6E, USB-C, and Thunderbolt 4 ports join the feature list in this fantastic small form PC.
Famed graphics card manufacturer Zotac offers their pre-built mini PC, the Magnus One. It features an Intel Core i7-10700 CPU with 16GB DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD, plus the fantastic RTX 3070 GPU.
A powerhouse on a tiny scale, the NUC 11 Enthusiast model houses an RTX 2060 6GB GPU and an Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU. Our selection of the 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD model fits nicely in the middle of its range.
The NUC 9 Ghost Canyon features an Intel Core i7-9750H Coffee Lake processor and 32GB of DDR4 RAM clocked at 2666MHz. The onboard Intel UHD Graphics 630 chip comes as standard, but you can install an appropriately sized GPU via PCIe.
If you're looking to save money as well as space, the HP Pavilion TG01-1020 is a compact tower desktop PC with entry-level hardware. Its Intel Core i5-10400F pairs with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a GTX 1650 4GB GPU.
Choosing the best small gaming PC
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Getting into PC gaming doesn't mean you need to have a monstrous tower on your desk, flooding the room with RGB neon lights. You can pack a lot of power into some seriously compact pre-built computers these days, with the Trident X from MSI being a shining example. It's packed to the gills with features, and that's reflected in its price. If you'd prefer to cut some costs, you can step down to the Zotac Magnus One without sacrificing much gaming power.
For the seriously small, the NUC series from Intel are some of the best mini PCs available. Whether you choose the NUC 11 Enthusiast for an out-of-the-box PC ready for action or the barebones NUC 9 kit to build yourself, they're impressive little space savers. If you want it tiny and portable, the Steam Deck can act as a mini gaming PC when using the official dock and connected to a screen of your choice, but anything outside of games will need a replacement OS.
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Tyler Colp is a freelance writer for Windows Central. He's written about tech, games, and the culture around them across the internet. Ask him anything about Dark Souls or just follow him on Twitter.