Gaming PC Buyers Guide
With PC gaming getting stronger day by day, enthusiasts know that nothing beats the quality of gameplay you can get with a desktop built for gaming, despite the simplicity that comes with gaming consoles and handheld devices. Today, every gaming PC buyer desires to get a PC with the graphics power necessary to drive the latest games on a full HD of 1080 pixels monitor at exquisite detail settings. Regardless of your gaming here is a list of the best gaming PCs of 2018 for every type of gamer.
Renowned for its powerful performance, the Alienware Aurora R7 tops the charts among the best gaming PCs in 2018. Apart from its aesthetic attractive look, it’s well known to be upgradable without the need for tools or much technical know-how. If you’re looking for a future-proof gaming PC with configurations able to handle 4K and VR, then the Aurora R7 will definitely suit you. It’s currently priced between $999-$4279.
Being one of the most attractive desktops one can buy, Alienware’s Aurora R7 boasts of sleek gray panels and three-way LED lights that have become a common norm of just about every Alienware machine. The design also features vented middle panels and ergonomic handles for ease of lifting.
Weighing 32 pounds and measuring 18.6 x 14.2 x 8.35-inch, the Aurora R7 is pretty hefty but its carry-handle up top makes it convenient and easy to lug the computer around.
With the PC’s Alienware Command Center app, one is able to customize the desktop’s left panel, right panel and front-facing power button to glow a myriad of different colors, either by picking your own colors for each zone or from one of the several available presets.
Ports and Upgradability
With a new addition of a USB-C port right up front in the new Aurora’s port layout, it makes it easy to quickly charge up or connect any of your USB-C gadgets. In addition, there’s the normal array of three USB 3.1 ports and headphone and mic jacks in the front.
The back of the Aurora is loaded with more USB connections, including six USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.1 ports, and an additional USB-C port. There’s also a full suite of audio ports, an S/PDIF jack for optical audio gadgets and an Ethernet port. The system’s Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti graphics card sports its usual HDMI port and trio of DisplayPort connections, giving you plenty of options for connecting your monitors.
As with previous iterations, Aurora’s key feature is upgradability. The desktop’s side panel pops off with a quick pull of a lever, and once you’re inside, you can slide out the power supply and remove the graphics card, storage drives and RAM, all without using a single tool.
Sporting a Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti graphics card alongside Intel’s new 8th-Gen Core i7-8700K processor, Aurora R7 handles every game you throw at it with confidence, noticing every little detail when playing with all settings turned up.
Moreover, Aurora’s powerful guts top the SteamVR Performance Test with a score of 11, making the Alienware machine more than ready for high-fidelity virtual reality.
In addition, thanks to its 8th-Gen Core i7-8700K and 32GB of RAM, the Aurora proves to be as beastly at everyday multitasking as it is at gaming. The system never slows down when several activities are piled.
The MSI Infinite A manages to stand out among the best gaming PCs as a result of its massive, alien-inspired chassis and tons of flashy lights. Loaded with smart design touches from stunning, customizable LED strip to a variety of front-facing ports that make connecting VR headsets and USB-C gadgets easy, this gaming monster is definitely outstanding.
With the customizable lighting on the GPU and motherboard, the MSI Infinite can quickly turn into a dizzying display of LED action that should please folks who like loud color combinations. For folks who care about looks above all else, the MSI Infinite A is a great premium PC, priced at $1,799.
The Infinite’s handy port selection and easy upgradability make it a pretty future-proof gaming machine. It features the usual headphone/mic jacks and two USB ports (2.0 and 3.0) right up front. Furthermore, there’s also a front-facing HDMI port for VR headsets in addition to a USB-C port for newer gadgets.
In the back, there are two USB 2.0 ports, three USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port, and line-in, line-out and mic jacks for audio, enough to cover the rest of your needs. There are even two PS/2 ports in the rear, in case you’re clinging to an older mouse or keyboard. The Infinite’s Nvidia GTX 1080 GPU sports three Display Ports, an HDMI port and a VGA port for easy multimonitor connectivity.
Users have some flexibility with the storage options, going with SSD and HDD combinations or they can boost HDD-only performance over time using an Intel Optane cache drive if they can’t afford SSDs.
When you get down to it, the MSI Infinite A offers outstanding performance without going too far overboard, getting you in games quickly with no hitch or glitch. With an Intel Core i7 processor and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card that can handle VR and high-end games without breaking a sweat, it doesn’t skimp on performance either.
Featuring an Intel Core i7-7700 processor and 16GB of RAM, the Infinite is just as apt at multitasking as it is at playing games. The desktop never slows down or gets noticeably noisy no matter what combination of tasks one throws at it.
The Infinite is absolutely stuffed with first-party apps, many of which seem like they could have been combined. There’s the MSI Command Center, which lets you monitor CPU and RAM usage, as well as a somewhat similar MSI Gaming App that allows you to overclock the CPU, activate Gaming and Silent modes that prioritize performance and low noise, respectively, and navigate a few messy-looking menus.
With Intel’s NUC (Next Unit of Computing) hardware platform always on the move showcasing some of the chipmakers most interesting silicon concepts, 2018’s Hades Canyon NUC represents a partnership that no one ever expected, a partnership between Intel and AMD.
Being the smallest VR-capable PC that marries together an Intel quad-core processor with integrated, ‘discrete-class’ AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics into a single chip, this gaming PC easily smashes through full HD gaming with most modern titles and performs like a productivity that was meant to be.
The Intel Hades Canyon NUC earns top marks for packing so much performance into a small package despite all the caveats that come along with it. The starting price is at $999.
In terms of design, the Hades Canyon NUC is a neat-and-tidy evolution on the previous Skull Canyon gaming NUC. The biggest change here is that the Hades opts for a cleaner, slightly-translucent top cover with a backlight illumination sketching out the NUC’s trademark skull iconography.
Intel’s design has also seen some improvements. The old interchangeable plastic panels have been replaced by a much slicker light-up skull fashioned after the silicon that resides within. The lighting on this part of the case and all the little hard drive and power indicators are fully customizable – or you could just turn them all off for a stealthy unit.
Despite this PC’s small size, it packs an impressive amount of ports. Along the backside alone you’ll find four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two mini Display Ports, HDMI 2.0 and even two Gigabit Ethernet ports. That’s more connectivity than you’ll even find on some full-size desktops.
The Radeon RX Vega graphics are every bit impressive as you can play all your favorite games at a steady 60 frames per second (fps) with high-quality graphical settings and a 1080p resolution.
Outside of gaming, the Intel Hades Canyon NUC runs like a champ through all your regular web browsing and word processing, as well as your image and video editing needs. For those multi-monitor fans, the Intel Hades Canyon NUC can also drive up to six screens.
While most modern PCs are either built to immerse you in virtual reality or are fighting for a spot in your entertainment center, the MSI Trident 3 is a wonderful combination of both. The Trident’s custom Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card and convenient port layout make enjoying virtual reality in your living room easy. Although limited configurations and a lack of easy upgradability hamper this machine, the MSI Trident is the best attempt at luring console fans into the world of PC gaming. It is currently priced at $1,599.
The MSI Trident 3 has sleek angles and a mix of glossy and matte black plastic. In addition, it’s glowing LED lights and exposed GPU fan is what clearly identify this machine as a beast of its own.
Weighing 7 pounds and measuring 13.6 x 3.8 x 2.8 inches, the Trident should be compatible with your entertainment center and just light enough to carry in a backpack. Moreover, for those who prefer propping the PC up vertically, there’s an included stand.
On the Trident’s left edge is an eye-catching mystic light LED strip that spills over the desktop’s left edge. With this strip highly customizable, you can have it glow a single color statically, run through all the colors of the rainbow or pulsate in and out or even have the strip glow dynamically based on the audio emanating from the PC.
With the most essential ports placed front and center, the Trident is definitely perfectly suited for living rooms as a gaming PC. It comes with easy plug and plays access to two USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C port, headphone jacks, and even a front-facing HDMI port made specifically for connecting a VR headset.
At the rear end, you’ll find four USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port, an ethernet jack, line in/out connections, a microphone jack and another VR-optimized HDMI port should you prefer to connect your headset to the rear end of the PC.
The Trident’s Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU sports HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI ports, giving you a few options for connecting to your monitor.
With no easy upgradability, the Trident’s pleasantly small size and user-friendliness definitely come with a cost. However, you can open the PC’s case to replace components such as the RAM, storage and CPU.
Despite its tiny size, the Trident can play most modern games at high settings, and it’s one of the smallest VR-ready desktops out there thanks to its Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card. The GPU has a custom design built specifically for the Trident’s small frame, which stays whisper quiet during gaming.
Packing an Intel Core i7-6700K with 8GB of RAM, the Trident proved to be just as valuable a productivity workhorse as it was a small gaming system. The PC never falters while multitasking.
The Lenovo IdeaCentre Y900 is an ideal choice for first-time PC gamers as it packs the power necessary to play the latest games, all within a sleek design that’s easily upgradable with new parts over time. However, while the Y900 is a satisfying gaming desktop, you can get even more gaming goodness for less money if you look elsewhere due to it's monster price.
The Lenovo Y900 comes with all that you’d expect from a modern gaming PC. It’s black, it has glowing red lights. In addition, it pulls the look off well, with beastly looking scales on the top and a transparent side panel that lets you gaze at its graphics card and components under warm red lights. The panel is plastic, though, with a feel of chintzy.
The Y900’s 19.8 x 18.8 x 8.1-inch chassis towers high thus you’ll still need a decent amount of desk or floor space. The PC weighs a hefty 33 pounds, though there’s a convenient enclave on the top panel that makes lugging it around a bit easier.
The Y900 sports three USB 3.0 ports, a 7-in-1 card reader, and headphone and microphone jacks right above its front panel, making it easy to plug in your gear and get right to gaming. Just below, there’s a flap that flips open to reveal the PC’s DVD-RAM reader/writer drive.
There’s an additional four USB 3.0 ports in the back, as well as two USB ports, an Ethernet port, a PS/2 port for older mice and keyboards, and your typical suite of audio inputs (line in/out, subwoofer, center, microphone, and S/PDIF). The motherboard itself hosts HDMI, DVI and VGA ports, while the system’s Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics card features three Display Ports and an HDMI port for easy multimonitor gaming.
The Y900 is an absolute beast, beating the Alienware in 3DMark tests and utterly destroying the XPS Tower. Sporting a Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics card with 4GB of VRAM, the Y900 can tear through the latest mainstream games at high settings without breaking a sweat.
If for some reason, you decide to take a break from playing games, the Y900 is perfectly cable at juggling whichever combination of tasks you throw at it, with no slow-down issues, thanks to the machine’s 6th-gen Intel Core i7-6700K processor and 16GB of RAM.