Consoles offer a stellar gaming experience and come with a load of perks, but if you're not at least dabbling in PC gaming at the same time, you're seriously missing out. And Cyber Monday is the perfect time to save on the PC hardware needed to make the switch. Whether you'd like a portable gaming laptop, a convenient pre-built gaming desktop, or you want to try your hand at building your own gaming PC, we've put together a list of what you need (and need to know) to reap the benefits of Cyber Monday 2019 deals.
Get yourself a portable gaming laptop
Gaming laptops have come a LONG way over the last few years, and you can find desktop-grade performance inside a portable chassis that's stylish and functional. HP's Omen 15t, for example, has a ton of configuration options available so that you can get exactly what you want, and it's discounted by a flat $300 for Cyber Monday.
The base model includes a 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H processor (CPU), 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256GB M.2 PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) for fast load times, and a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650 graphics card (GPU) with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. This isn't a particularly powerful model in the grand scope of gaming hardware, but part of the beauty of PC gaming is that you can have a great time without getting anywhere near AAA games with powerful hardware needs. There are thousands of beloved, low-impact games only playable on PC, and this laptop will handle them easily.
If you do, however, want to stay portable and push high framerates, HP's Omen 15t can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, NVIDIA RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM and 32GB of DDR4 RAM. There are many storage options available, and you can choose from a standard FHD display, FHD with 144Hz pr 240Hz refresh rate, or even 4K. You'll save a flat $300 off no matter the model you choose.
Budget gaming laptop
Save $300 for Cyber MondayGo with the basic model for a great price and still have enough performance to play many of the best PC games out there. Or upgrade to something truly powerful to tackle all content available.
If you want to just jump headfirst into a premium portable gaming experience, the Razer Blade 15 is a better option. It's long been our top choice for a gaming laptop, and it recently took home one of our Best of 2019 awards. Why? It's one of the most well-designed laptops on the market, with a body that's just 0.70 inches thin. The FHD display with 144Hz refresh rate has thin bezel and outstanding color, and you get the ports needed for your gaming accessories.
The model on sale for Cyber Monday (one day only) includes hardware that allows you to play any game with high settings and a high framerate. This includes an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a NVIDIA RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM. This model usually hits $3,000, but you can today save $600 for a total price of $2,400. It's expensive, but it's totally worth the money if your budget allows.
Premium gaming laptop
Save $600 for Cyber MondayIf you're making a foray into PC gaming and want to play ALL games on high settings right from the start, this Razer Blade 15 is your ticket.
Invest in a pre-built desktop gaming PC
Gaming laptops offer portability, but you're going to pay way more for the convenience. It's not easy cramming powerful hardware into a slim chassis. A pre-built desktop PC is going to mostly keep you at a desk, but you'll be able to get a lot of performance for a lower price. Desktop PCs are also much easier to upgrade in the future, keeping your hardware relevant for years to come.
A solid budget option from CyberPowerPC includes a keyboard and mouse alongside the desktop PC, meaning all you have to do is add a quality gaming monitor. It's discounted at Best Buy by $120 for Cyber Monday, bringing the total price down to $480. Included is an AMD Ryzen 3 2300X CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 1TB HDD coupled with a 240GB SSD, and an AMD Radeon RX 570 dedicated GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. You get here the performance needed for smooth 1080p action in hundreds of awesome indie games, and you can always upgrade in the future as you see fit.
The case includes a ton of ports for accessories, and there's a clear pane on the side to show off the customizable RGB lighting inside.
Budget pre-built gaming
Save $120 for Cyber MondayThis is a smart choice if you're looking to dabble in PC gaming and don't want to blow your budget on hardware.
Like the Razer Blade 15, Dell's Aurora pre-built desktop is best for anyone who wants the full PC gaming experience right off the bat. You can go with a baseline model starting at about $800, but you're also going to see a great deal on higher-end models.
A configuration with 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9700 CPU, 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM, a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD, and NVIDIA RTX 2070 dedicated GPU with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM is discounted by $430 for a total price of $1,550. Modern AAA games with high requirements will be handled at 1080p or 1440p with this hardware, and it's all contained in a unique case that makes future upgrades a snap.
High-end pre-built gaming
Save up to $480Get the Aurora R8 in a ton of different configurations, and enjoy easy upgrades for years to come.
Building your own PC
If you'd rather take things into your hands and build a gaming PC from the ground up, you'll likely save some money and get an awesome sense of accomplishment when it boots for the first time. PC building is a lot of fun, and once you get started it's tough to stop upgrading.
Cyber Monday is not only a great time to find sales on pre-built laptops and desktops, you can also save on individual components. We've rounded up the best deals you'll find on graphics cards, and we've also rounded up a ton of great deals on other PC components you need for a stellar rig.
Why upgrade to a gaming PC?
The gaming community is best when it is united, and I consider myself a multi-platform gamer. My Nintendo Switch gets heavy use, and I love the exclusives only available on Xbox and PlayStation. However, if I wasn't also a PC gamer, I would be missing out on a ton of content and perks.
Not only are there thousands of PC-exclusive games waiting to be picked up from online stores like GOG and GreenManGaming, many of the most popular options don't require powerful hardware to run smoothly. You can buy a budget laptop or pre-built PC and still have more games to play than you have free time. A lot of these games are far more affordable on PC than they are on console, with deep sales happening throughout the year. And if you do choose to spend big on a high-end PC, your games are going to look and run better than on any console available.
There are no worries about backwards compatibility with your older games — I still regularly play my favorite 20+ year old games without issue — and you can keep your PC upgraded with individual components instead of shelling out a lump sum every time a new generation console is released. You're going to pay more for a gaming PC than a console upfront, but you will save a ton of money in the years to come.
The fact that you're also getting a PC for productivity work is often overlooked. Just because your rig or laptop has some sweet RGB lighting and a display with high refresh rate doesn't mean it's not going to handle Office apps when you need to get some work done.
If you've been considering joining the fun we're having on PC, Cyber Monday is an ideal time to invest in a laptop, pre-built desktop, or components at a big discount.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.