The best gaming PCs of 2017

Matt Sayer 10 August 2017

gaming-pc-header_Shutterstock

Whether you're looking for an entry-level gaming computer, a cheap VR-ready rig or a 4K-capable monster, these are the PCs you've been looking for.

The world of PC gaming can seem pretty daunting. From software drivers to graphics settings to hardware compatibility, buying into the PC ecosystem often costs as much time and effort as it does cold, hard cash. There are countless factors to consider when shopping for a gaming rig and just as many ways for it all to go wrong.

Thankfully, you don't need to know the difference between an LGA 1151 and an LGA 1155 socket to find the right PC for you. We've taken care of the hard work, putting together a list of the best gaming PCs your money can buy. Whether you just want something better than the current generation of consoles or you're after a beastly machine capable of handling 4K without flinching, these are the rigs you've been looking for.

Please note: The systems listed here come with no peripherals, meaning you'll need to purchase a monitor, mouse and keyboard, speakers, and any other extras separately. Similarly, unless explicitly mentioned, these systems do not include operating system software either, so take that into consideration when planning your purchase.

Budget PCs (<$1000)

$1000 is hardly chump change, but when it comes to buying a gaming PC, you'll need to accept a few compromises to play at that price point. If you're dreaming of running The Witcher 3 at 4K or you want to jump on the virtual reality bandwagon, you should probably recalibrate your expectations. But if all you're after is a rig capable of playing the latest games at 1080p with visuals and performance to put the current consoles to shame, these are the systems for you.

msy-gaming-pack-1

MSY - Gaming Pack 1: Intel Edition

$949

MSYGaming Pack 1: Intel Edition
CPUIntel G4560 3.50GHz
GPU4GB ASUS GTX 1050 Ti STRIX
MotherboardASUS Prime B250-A

  • 4 DDR4 slots, up to 2400MHz OC
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 3 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
  • 6 SATA 3 ports
Memory8GB DDR4 2133MHz Corsair Vengeance LPX
SSD120GB Transcend SSD220 SATA 3
HDD1TB Seagate
Optical DriveDVD-RW
CaseThermaltake Versa V3 Plus
Power Supply500W Thermaltake PSU

MSY serves up a ripper of a deal with this rig. The GTX 1050 Ti is more than enough to hit 60fps in games like Battlefield 1 at 1080p and high graphics settings, and the 120GB SSD will ensure your boot and load times are practically instantaneous. It's worth noting that the Dual core G4560 might be something of a sticking point in certain CPU-intensive games, especially in the years to come. If you want to future-proof yourself a little more, spending a couple hundred bucks extra to upgrade the CPU to a quad-core i5 processor is a good investment.

MSY also offers an AMD version of this system, with the only major differences being an AMD Ryzen 5 1400 CPU and a slightly higher $1069 price point. If you're bully for AMD, it's still a decent deal, but the Intel version above wins out in our minds.


mwave-firecuda

mwave - Firecuda Gaming PC

$882.98

mwaveFirecuda
CPUIntel i3 7100 3.9GHz
GPU2GB Gigabyte Radeon RX 460 Windforce OC
MotherboardASRock B250M-Pro4 mATX

  • 4 DDR4 slots, up to 2400MHz
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 3 USB 3.0 Type-A ports
  • 1 USB 3.0 Type-C port
Memory8GB G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4 2400MHz
HDD2TB Seagate FireCuda
Optical DriveDVD-RW
CaseCooler Master MasterBox Lite 3 w/ clear window
Power Supply450W Thermaltake TR2 PSU

The default configuration for mwave's Firecuda gaming PC is slightly less powerful than MSY's offering, but it's a capable little system nonetheless. The RX 460 lacks the raw performance of the GTX 1050 Ti, but it'll reach the coveted 60fps in most games if you're happy to dial a few settings down to medium. However, the absence of an SSD means more time spent staring at loading screens, although nowhere near as much as on a console.

Mid-tier ($1000 - $1500)

An extra $500 can make a big difference when buying a PC as the systems below prove. If you're looking for a basic VR-ready rig, this is a good place to start.

msy-gaming-pack-2

MSY - Gaming Pack 2: Intel Edition + i5 7500 CPU upgrade

$1299

MSYGaming Pack 2: Intel Edition + i5 7500 CPU upgrade
CPUIntel i5 7500 3.40GHz
GPU6GB nVidia GTX 1060
MotherboardASUS Prime B250-A

  • 4 DDR4 slots, up to 2400MHz
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 3 USB 3.0 Type-A ports
Memory8GB DDR4 2133MHz Corsair Vengeance LPX
SSD240GB Transcend SSD220 SATA 3
HDD1TB Seagate
Optical DriveDVD-RW
CaseThermaltake Versa V3 Plus
Power Supply500W Thermaltake

At a little over $1000, MSY's Gaming Pack 2 isn't a massive upgrade over its cheaper offering, but it provides a good entry point for VR without breaking the bank. A GTX 1060 and an i5 processor are exactly what Oculus and HTC recommend to comfortably run their respective headsets, making this system your best choice for an affordable yet uncompromising VR experience.

Again, there is an AMD version of this system available if you're so inclined, clocking in at $1249. The use of an AMD Ryzen 5 1400 CPU is the only difference to the Intel version.


scorptec-tesseract

Scorptec - Tesseract Blue 1060

$1299

ScorptecTesseract Blue 1060
CPUAMD Ryzen 5 1400 3.5GHz
GPU3GB Gigabyte GTX 1060 Windforce OC
MotherboardGigabyte GA-AB350M-HD3

  • 2 DDR4 slots, up to 32GB at 3200MHz OC
  • 2 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports
  • 6 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
  • 6 USB 2.0 ports
Memory8GB Corsair DDR4 2133MHz
SSD120GB Kingston V400
HDD1TB Seagate BarraCuda
CaseDeepcool Tesseract Blue ATX Case w/ clear window
Power SupplySilverStone Strider 500W

As an alternative to MSY's offering, Scorptec's Tesseract Blue 1060 packs a slightly less powerful 3GB version of the GTX 1060, making up for it with one of AMD's latest CPUs, the Ryzen 5 1400. Compared to equivalent Intel CPUs, the Ryzen is slower in CPU-intensive single-core games, but potentially much faster in games that utilise multiple CPU cores, so bear that in mind.

High-end ($1500 - $2000)

Now we're entering serious PC gaming territory. Here is where the worlds of virtual reality and 4K gaming open up, with systems more than capable of pushing games to their graphical limits. For around $2000, you can be confident these rigs will handle most anything you throw at them for many years to come.

scorptec-redback

Scorptec - Redback 1070 Gaming PC

$1899

ScorptecRedback 1070
CPUIntel i5 7600 3.50GHz
GPU8GB Gigabyte GTX 1070 G1 Gaming
MotherboardGigabyte GA-H270-HD3

  • 4 DDR4 slots, up to 64GB at 2400MHz OC
  • 8 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
  • 6 USB 2.0 ports
Memory8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2400MHz
SSD240GB Kingston V400
HDD2TB Seagate BarraCuda
CaseCorsair Carbide 200R Black ATX case w/ clear window
Power SupplyCorsair CX550M 550W PSU

Scorptec's Redback 1070 Gaming PC is a real beast. The i5 7600 is more than enough CPU to handle the demands of modern games, and the 8GB GTX 1070 will have no problems hitting 60fps on high to ultra settings, even at 1440p. You could even tiptoe into 4K territory, so long as you're happy with 30fps and lowering a few settings here and there.

The Redback's only weak point is its 8GB of RAM, though 8GB is still more than enough for most current games. If you're not averse to getting your hands dirty, installing another 8GB is a simple task and won't set you back more than $100 or so.


msy-performance-pack

MSY: Performance Pack 1700

$1999

MSYPerformance Pack 1700
CPUAMD Ryzen 1700 3.00GHz (Boost to 3.70GHz)
GPU8GB nVidia GTX 1070 OC
Memory16GB DDR4 3200MHz
SSD256GB M.2 SSD
HDD2TB SATA 3
CaseDeepcool D-Shield case w/ clear window
Operating SystemWindows 10

AMD's Ryzen CPUs might trail behind Intel's offerings in terms of raw gaming power, but unless you're planning on playing a lot of CPU-intensive, single-core games (there aren't many out there), you're unlikely to notice. In MSY's Performance Pack 1700, the 8GB GTX 1070 OC will be taking the brunt of the work anyway, making this build more than capable of maintaining a smooth 60fps at 1440p on most modern games. It even comes with an installation of Windows 10 to boot, saving you the trouble of picking up a copy separately.

Extreme performance ($2000+)

If you love to live life on the bleeding edge, whatever the cost, these are the rigs for you. Sporting water-cooled, overclock-ready CPUs, factory-overclocked graphics cards, and, most important of all, neon LED lighting, they make no compromises in offering the best PC gaming experience money can buy.

scorptec-ultimate-esports

Scorptec - Intel Extreme Masters Ultimate eSports Gaming PC

$2599

ScorptecIntel Extreme Masters - Ultimate eSports PC
CPUIntel i7 7700K 4.20GHz
GPU8GB Gigabyte GTX 1080 G1 Gaming
MotherboardGigabyte GA-Z270M-D3H

  • 4 DDR4 slots, up to 64GB at 3866MHz OC
  • 1 USB Type-C port
  • 8 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports
Memory16GB HyperX Fury DDR4 2400MHz
SSD250GB Samsung 960 EVO
HDD2TB Seagate BarraCuda
CaseFractal Design Define Mini C Black w/ clear window
Power SupplySilverstone Strider Essential 600W PSU
CoolingCorsair Hydro Series H60 CPU cooler

Don't let the name fool you: Scorptec's Ultimate eSports Gaming PC is capable of much more than high-speed CS:GO or DOTA 2 play. Not only is the included i7 7700K one of Intel's flagship Kaby Lake processors, the GTX 1080 is one of the best graphics cards money can buy. Only the recently-released GTX 1080 Ti and the ludicrously expensive Titan X top its raw performance. Suffice it to say, this rig will power through any game you feed it without breaking a sweat.


scorptec-battlearena

Scorptec - BattleArena 1080 Ti Gaming PC

$2879

ScorptecBattleArena 1080 Ti
CPUIntel i7 7700K 4.20GHz
GPU11GB nVidia GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition
MotherboardMSI Z270I Gaming Pro Carbon AC

  • 2 DDR4 slots, up to 32GB at 3800MHz OC
  • 6 USB 3.1 ports
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports
Memory16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2400MHz
SSD512GB Intel 600P
CaseSilverstone Milo ML08 Black Mini ITX
Power SupplySilverstone 600W SFX PSU
CoolingNoctua NH-L9i Low profile CPU cooler

If you're looking for uncompromising performance but you'd rather not take out a second mortgage to afford it, Scorptec's BattleArena 1080 Ti Gaming PC is for you. Brushing up against $3000, it's far from cheap, but there's no question you're getting what you paid for. The GTX 1080 Ti is the fastest non-Titan-X graphics card on the market, capable of pumping out all your favourite games in 4K without flinching. Add in the overclockable i7 7700K and the slick, low-profile case, and there's no question the BattleArena is a premium PC worth every penny of its price tag.


scorptec-ryzen-1080

Scorptec - Ryzen 1080 Ti SLI Gaming PC

$5249

ScorptecRyzen 1080 Ti SLI
CPURyzen 7 1800X 3.6GHz
GPU2 x Gigabyte GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition, 11GB total
MotherboardGigabyte GA-AX370-Gaming 5

  • 4 DDR4 slots, up to 3200MHz OC
  • 1 USB Type-C port on back
  • 3 USB 3.1 Type-A ports
  • 6 USB 3.1 ports
Memory32GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2666MHz
SSD512GB Samsung 960 PRO
HDD3TB Seagate BarraCuda
CaseCorsair Obsidian 750D Black ATX case w/ clear window
Power SupplyCorsair RM850x 850W
CoolingCorsair H110i Liquid CPU Cooler, 5 x Thermaltake internal LED fans

Our final rig embodies the bleeding edge, paying no heed to frivolous matters like money and self-restraint. Packing not just one but two GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition cards, 32GB of high-speed RAM, a water-cooled Ryzen CPU, and a price tag that'll leave the average gamer weak at the knees, Scorptec's Ryzen 1080 Ti SLI Gaming PC is guaranteed to obliterate every game on the market.

And yes, it can play Crysis.


All performance benchmarks sourced from PC Gamer and PCWorld

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