Best Gaming PC for 2017 – The Complete Guide


 
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Best Gaming PC
The complete guide to buying the best gaming PC.
Whenever anyone starts their search to find the best gaming PC 2017, the first thing they’ll do is try and compare whether or not it’s better to buy a pre built gaming PC, or simply build one themselves out of a hobgob of parts from Newegg or Amazon.
Right out of the gate; it’s not a secret that if you buy one of the best premade gaming computers rather than building one yourself, the price is going to be a bit higher.  That said, costs have come down by quite a bit compared to when premade boxes, such as Alienware, first hit the scene.  Why?  Wholesale discounts and Chinese suppliers who have closed the gap between the DIY set and those who prefer to pay for everything to come in one plug-and-play package.
But with so many companies out there competing for your dollar, how can you know which is the best gaming desktop for the money? Read on in our guide to find out.

Best Gaming PCs 2017

 Syber Stream Gaming PCOrigin PC Hadron Air Gaming PCVelocity Micro Edge Z55 Gaming PCNorthwest Falcon Tiki Gaming PCDigital Storm Bolt 2 gaming PC
View on AmazonView on OriginView on AmazonView on FalconView on Digital Storm
Syber Steam Machine XOrigin ChronosVelocity Micro Edge Z55Falcon Northwest TikiDigital Storm Bolt II
Rank#1 - Editor's Choice/Best Prebuilt Gaming PC#2 -Best Gaming PC for the Money#3 - Best Budget Gaming PC#4#5
Processor Type/SpeedIntel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHzIntel Core i7 6700K 4.2GHzIntel Core i7 6700K 4.2GHzIntel Core i7 6700K 4.2GHzIntel Core i7 4790K 4.0GHz
Graphics CardNvidia GTX 980Nvidia GTX 980Nvidia GTX 980Nvidia GTX 980Nvidia GTX 980
Available RAM16GB/
1600Mhz
16GB/
2400MHz
16GB/
2400MHz
16GB/
2400MHz
16GB/
2400MHz
Storage (SSD/HDD)None/1TB120GB/1TB256GB/1TB256GB/3TB120GB/1TB
AudioOnboard 7.1 AudioOnboard 8-channelOnboard Realtek AudioOnboard Creative Labs EAXIntegrated 5.1 Dolby Surround
Warranty1 Year Parts/Labor1 Year Parts/Lifetime Labor1 Year Parts/Labor3 Year Parts/Labor3 Years Labor/1 Year Parts
Price (as configured)$1,844.03$2,225$2,299$2,770$2,277

#1 Pick Syber Steam Machine X – Editor’s Choice/Best Prebuilt Gaming PC

Best Gaming PC
Syber Steam Machine X
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Syber is perfect for hardcore console or PC gamers alike.
Unlike other PCs on this list, the Steam Machine X is a living-room based box that’s made to to make its home next to your flatscreen TV or projector.
The Steam Machine X comes with Valve’s long-touted Steam OS, which has been built from the ground up to encourage users to think about their living room as a place where PCs and consoles can live side-by-side without fighting for the dominant spot in gamer’s hearts everywhere.
Of all the Steam Machines out there right now, Syber’s Steam Machine X is among the best. Powerful, yet silent, attractive, yet not overbearing, Syber’s answer to consoles is a welcome addition to anyone’s gaming PC lineup.

#2 Pick Origin Chronos – Best Gaming PC for the Money

Origin Chronos Gaming PC
The Origin Chronos gaming PC has a small frame but packs a serious punch.
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Chronos is compact and fits in any setup.
Origin’s Chronos is a computer that pairs a take-no-prisoners aesthetic with enough power packed inside its tiny frame to back it up.
Reminiscent of Steve Jobs’ cube-shaped flop back in the mid-90’s, the Chronos comes equipped with a chassis that looks good on anyone’s desk, customizable in six different colors or laser etched designs that you can choose yourself from the company’s website.
And despite its compact size, the engineers at Origin have still managed to pack in all the bells and whistles you’ve come to expect, including and Intel Core i7-4770K, 4GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GTX 980 graphics card.

#3 Pick Velocity Micro Z55 – Best Budget Gaming PC

Best Gaming PC 2015
The Velocity Micro Z55 may not be the pretty machine, but it has the raw power to prove its worth
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Z55 is small, but packs tons of power for the price.
When you look at the Velocity Micro Z55, you get the sense that the company who put it together values function over form, but are also somehow reassured that it doesn’t really matter all that much.
Sure the Z55 may not be as pretty as some of the other competition on this list, but what it lacks in sex appeal it more than makes up for in raw, unadulterated power for the price. Without all that focus on chassis design, Velocity Micro was able to make sure owners of the Z55 got the best bang for their buck possible, no extra frills or add-ons required.

#4 Pick Digital Storm Bolt II

Best Gaming PC 2015
Digital Storm Bolt II, a small computer with a ton of power
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Bolt II’s unique cooling system is unlike anything else.
Like the Chronos, Digital Storm’s Bolt II impresses with the immense amount of available power the company has managed to cram into a total package that’s not much bigger than two small encyclopedias stacked side by side.
Using an innovative cooling system that dramatically reduces heat buildup during intense gaming sessions, the Bolt II is able to fill out all the requirements we look for in a fully equipped frag machine without taking up all the spare legroom left underneath your desk.
Add this to the custom-designed case etching service, and you’ve got a PC that looks mean and performs even harder to boot.

#5 Pick Northwest Falcon Tiki

Northwest Falcon Tiki
The Northwest Falcon Tiki made our list of top gaming PCs.
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Tiki Z proves that PC Gaming can be stylish.
Everything about the Tiki, from its subtle use of LED logos to its heavy, handcrafted marble base screams high-class computing. From top to bottom the computer looks like it was made with nothing but love, built by gamers, for gamers who know what they need and want it to look good to boot.
Obviously, this sort of attention to detail doesn’t come cheap. Part for part, the Tiki Z is the priciest PC on this list, but what it lacks in affordability in more than makes up for in performance and pure, unadulterated sex appeal.

Most Important Features

  1. Graphics Cards
    • When shopping for a prebuilt computer, perhaps the biggest indicator of what you should expect from the rest of the package will be evident by what graphics card has been selected to headline the show.
    • If the manufacturer has opted to pack in an Nvidia Titan X, you can be sure the supporting components are going to be at the top of the totem pole to match that card’s massive throughput.
    • But if it’s running something along the lines of an AMD Radeon R7 250, it should be expected that your looking at one of the more cheap gaming PCs, or at least one that will only be scratching the bottom of the barrel or at the baseline of what PC gamers expect from their rig.
    • Aside from the processor it’s the only area where you should do your best not to skimp out.
  2. Processor
    • Intel has been straight up trouncing AMD in this space for years now.
    • But does all that clout amount to a better processor? On the one hand, Intel’s processors are more reliable and generally a bit quicker than AMD’s, but also come at a heftier price tag to boot. Purists will stick by the claim that AMD processors are still perfectly good for gaming (most AAA games rely more on the GPU than CPU), all while costing upwards of 30% less at the checkout for the exact same specs.
    • Overall, you should base your processor decision on what types of programs you plan on running the most. If you only want to run the latest and greatest games, an AMD chip should be able to handle the job just fine. If you’re more into 3D modeling or video rendering, you might need a bit more streamlined power from what Intel has to offer.
  3. RAM
    • When it comes to the issue of RAM, things get quite a bit simpler. On the whole, all you need to know is that currently RAM comes in one variant (DDR3), and four speeds: 1600/1866/2133/and 2400 MHz.
    • For solid gaming performance alone you won’t need anything more than an 8GB DDR3-2400MHz setup, however some more power-hungry applications like film editing and game development could always benefit from configurations that push into 16GB and above.
  4. Storage
    • When looking at the storage of your potential new PC, there are two acronyms that will pop up over and over again: HDD and SSD. The first stands for “hard disk drive”, which are the larger, less expensive storage solutions that rely on disks to store your data.
      • A solid stat lineup for an HDD is anything that runs above 7200 rpm, connects through SATA III (or above), and costs less than $80 per terabyte of available space.
    • SSDs (solid-state drive) on the other hand are the newer, flash-based memory solution which can drastically speed up the rate at which your computer access, stores, and transfers various files.
      • When shopping for an SSD, you’ll want to pay attention to both the connection method it uses (almost all are on the SATA III standard), as well as the amount of space you get for the money.
    • In general, it’s recommended to do what you can to combine the best of both worlds, with the operating system installed on a solid-state drive, while a larger HDD handles storage for the rest of your games, files, and documents.
      • This can be done separately, or through newer “hybrid” drives, which include both technologies in one drive as two independently operated partitions.
    • Better still, if you can afford it you should always have an external hard drive available for backups. This can be a drive which is connected once daily to backup your files, and disconnected after the process completes to keep it safe from infections or attacks over the web.
  5. Design and Form Factor
    • As the age of customers interested in PC gaming has grown up, so has the design aesthetic that manufacturers apply to their desktop cases prebuilt rigs.
    • Though there are still many that rely on the idea that “flashier is better”, with bright LEDs shining everywhere and lines that look more at home on a piece of military hardware
      • For example: Falcon Northwest, who have keeps things minimal.
    • If you plan to keep the desktop in your room and under a desk, how it looks probably won’t matter all that much in the long run.
      • However, if you plan on planting your PC in the living room, you might want something that looks just as good as it plays, without dominating the space.
  6. Loudness and Heat
    • But, no matter how cool a PC looks on the outside; it’s still going to run hot as all hell behind the case. Beholden to the pesky universal laws of thermodynamics, high-powered graphics cards and processors are capable of running up enough heat to replace a small space heater in anyone’s gaming den.
    • With fans strapped to all sides of the case and various coolers whirling away inside, the noise levels of a desktop PC can be a minor annoyance for those who value the ambient silence of their workspace.
    • To combat this, you should opt to go with a liquid cooling system, if it’s available. These units loop cold water or cooling liquid through a series of tubes and radiators, cutting down drastically on the fan power required to keep things at a respectable temperature.
  7. Expansion, Ports and Optical
    • Buying a PC can be a big investment upfront, but it’s also something that pays off in dividends as you can continue to buy new parts and keep your computer running at the top of the performance charts.
    • When grabbing your first gaming PC, keep an eye out for how much expansion capacity it has for things like extra graphics cards in SLI setups, hard drive bays, and USB ports.
      • As time goes on these can become shorter on supply, so be sure that whatever tower you decide on comes with plenty of room for add-ons after all is said and done.
  8. Warranty
    • Lastly, the most important benefit that prebuilt machines hold over a bunch of random parts thrown together in you garage is the warranty.
    • Most major companies (including all those we’ve listed here) will automatically include a one-year warranty as a part of your purchase that covers all defunct or malfunctioning parts.
      • As well as the option to add an extended warranty which can last upwards of five years for just $100 extra.
    • PC parts are notorious for frying or fritzing out unexpectedly, so be sure to go over the warranty policy as thoroughly as possible first.