Sun. Dec 10th, 2023

Pre-built PCs can be as good as custom PCs, as long as you do your diligence and not spend your hard-earned cash on the first pre-built that catches your eye. Check out our best pre-built PC picks below.

What to Look For in a Pre-built PC in 2023

The two most important components of every PC, including pre-built PCs, are the CPU and the graphics card. In other words, you should spend the first part of your research process singling out PCs that pack the right CPU and GPU combo for your particular needs. If you’re a gamer, you probably want the best CPU and GPU combo that fits your budget, but if you don’t play games and don’t require a powerful GPU for productivity purposes, you can get by with a CPU packing an integrated GPU.

Next, you should focus on secondary components that, in some scenarios, can be more important for the overall performance than the CPU and GPU. For example, if you find a pre-built PC that packs the right CPU and GPU combo but features only 8GB of memory, a zero airflow housing, or includes inadequate CPU cooling setup, you might end up with a machine performing worse than a PC with a slower CPU and GPU but with an adequate amount of memory and a capable cooling setup.

Secondary components include the motherboard, memory, storage, case, case fans, CPU cooler, and the power supply unit (PSU). So, once you settle on the CPU and GPU, ensure the PC(s) you’re interested in isn’t seriously lacking in some other department. Just note that pre-built PCs are, in most cases, not the best possible all-around machines and that some compromises had to be made.

Pre-built PC buyers should also pay special attention to the cooling setup. Many pre-built PCs try to get away with including the cheapest cooler possible that, in many scenarios, can lead to noticeable performance drops during CPU-intensive workloads. You should also look for pre-builts with decent PSUs that have some power to spare so that you can upgrade the PC with a more powerful CPU or GPU in the future. And if your workflow includes lots of writes to the storage drive, get a pre-built PC featuring an SSD with DRAM cache since those are much better at writing operations than DRAM-less solid-state drives.

Regarding memory, many pre-built PC brands try to save money by using slow RAM inside the build or including less than ideal amount of memory. For example, if you’re buying a high-end gaming or productivity PC, 16GB of slow—anything below 3000 MT/s—DDR4 memory is insufficient. In the case of a high-end gaming PC, 32GB of memory is optimal nowadays, with 64GB or more being the right choice for powerful productivity-focused machines. If you’re looking for a budget or a mid-range gaming PC, 16GB of memory is a must.

Memory working in dual-channel mode is a must for gaming pre-builts with DDR4 RAM. DDR5 RAM works differently, so a single RAM stick should provide almost the same amount of performance as two sticks working in dual channel. Also, make sure your memory works at its specified overclock speeds—XMP for Intel CPUs, EXPO for AMD CPUs—and not just at default speeds.

An inadequate CPU cooler can drop CPU performance considerably, and lots of gaming-focused pre-builts try to cram the cheapest possible CPU cooler that may be fine for gaming loads, but the moment you try doing something that pushes the CPU to its limits, it will choke and thermal throttle because the cooler can’t keep up. In general, try looking for pre-builts that pack at least 240mm AIO CPU coolers because, while there are loads of quality budget air coolers out there, pre-built PCs usually come with the cheapest possible cooling solution, and those are usually not great for anything other than budget CPUs.

Concerning the motherboard, most brands don’t share the specs of the motherboards they use in pre-built PCs or, like Dell, include proprietary motherboards designed to be serviceable for the CPU in question but not much else. You don’t have much in terms of choice here, so we recommend not focusing on the motherboard and just getting a pre-built that suffices in other aspects. In most cases, a quality pre-built PC comes with at least an adequate motherboard for the included CPU.

For the chassis, most pre-builts come with either proprietary designs or affordable aftermarket housings. Some brands, such as Origin PC, allow users to pick from a list of PC cases, but those usually cost extra. If you plan on upgrading the PC in the future, we recommend skipping pre-built PCs made by Dell, Alienware, HP, and any other pre-built PC that comes with a proprietary motherboard, case, or power supply. Since you won’t be able to replace the motherboard or the PSU, you won’t be able to use the case as the basis for a new machine.

Our last piece of advice is to read user reviews, especially those focusing on overall performance and thermals. A good number of pre-built PCs feature low airflow cases combined with cheap cooling setups, resulting in excessively high thermals that limit CPU and sometimes even GPU performance. You should get a pre-built with decent thermals where the CPU isn’t choking due to an inadequate cooler coupled with a low airflow case.

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Corsair Vengeance 7400 Prebuilt PC on a sky-like background



Great selection of components

A 240mm AIO isn’t enough to tame the 13900K

High airflow case


RTX 4090 + Core i9-13900K

Wi-Fi 6E

64GB of DDR5 memory

Corsair has been making PC peripherals and components for a very long time, and nowadays, you can build an almost all-Corsair custom PC, which is exactly what Corsair did with their own lineup of pre-built PCs. The Corsair Vengeance i7400 is the company’s high-end pre-built PC that’s a great choice for users needing an all-around PC to use for gaming and work.

The components used in the Vengeance i7400 include lots of the company’s bestsellers, including the excellent 4000D Airflow case, four high-end 120mm RGB case fans, the fully modular RM1000X PSU, 64GB of Vengeance RGB Pro DDR5 memory, and one of the best 240mm AIOs around, the H100i RGB Elite. The 2TB solid-state drive (SSD) is also Corsair’s MP600, which is nothing to write home about but still more than a decent choice for the main storage drive.

You’ve also got Intel’s flagship CPU, the Core i9-13900K, paired with the current NVIDIA’s flagship GPU, the RTX 4090. Finally, the Z690 motherboard used is the MSI Pro Z690-A Wi-Fi, one of the best budget Z690 motherboards that features Wi-Fi 6E and a 2.5GBps Ethernet. The overall package is impressive for a pre-built PC, and while Corsair could’ve put a 360mm AIO, the included 240mm unit is more than enough for any gaming scenario, and it shouldn’t noticeably limit the 13900K during CPU-intensive workloads.

The Corsair Vengeance i7400 presents one of the best all-round pre-built PCs on the market. The CPU and GPU combo is perfect for any game or productivity task you might have in mind, 64GB of DDR5 memory is great for intensive productivity workloads, and the use of regular aftermarket components along with one of the best PSUs around means you will be able to upgrade the PC in the future or build an almost entirely new PC inside the 4000D Airflow chassis while keeping the RM1000X PSU as the cornerstone of the new build.

The listed price of $3950 presents decent value, considering that building a similar PC on your own would cost only a few hundred dollars less. If you’re a professional looking for a high-end workstation, we recommend checking out Falcon Northwest’s pre-built PCs since you can equip those with NVIDIA RTX professional GPUs. And if you need a workstation specifically made for your specific workflow that also comes with premium customer support, check out workstation offerings from Maingear and Puget Systems. They come at a premium, but the customer support and expert advice you’re getting are worth the extra cash.

Corsair Vengeance 7400 Prebuilt PC

Corsair Vengeance i7400

Best Pre-Built PC Overall

If you’re looking for a high-end pre-built PC for gaming and productivity, get the Corsair Vengeance i7400. It features the RTX 4090 and Core i9-13900K combo, a high airflow case, a 1000W PSU, 64GB of DDR5 memory, and 2TB of PCIe 4.0 storage.

Beelink Mini S12 Pro Mini PC on a grey background



Powerful enough for everyday tasks

Zero USB-C ports

Costs less than $200

Single-channel memory

Compact form factor

Not made for CPU/GPU intensive tasks

Wi-Fi 6 is great to see in such an affordable PC

16GB of memory

If you’re looking for a budget PC that can deliver enough power for browsing, content consumption, working in Microsoft Office/Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace suite, and even some light photo or video editing, we recommend checking the Beelink Mini S12 Pro mini PC. This tiny PC takes less space than a toaster and costs less than $200 while coming with fantastic specs for the price.

You’ve got a 12th Gen Intel N100 CPU, which is a four-core SKU without hyper-threading that’s more than enough for light usage that doesn’t include CPU-heavy tasks or high-end gaming, with the integrated GPU being speedy enough to run 4K videos and 2D pixel art games. The Mini S12 Pro also packs 16GB of memory, a 512GB SSD, Wi-Fi 6, and Gigabit Ethernet, everything a regular user might need in a PC.

We like the inclusion of four USB-A 3.2 10Gbps ports, and while you don’t get a USB-C port, you can use a cheap USB-C to USB-A adapter to connect USB-C devices to the PC. You can even run a multi-monitor setup since the Beelink Mini S12 Pro has two HDMI 2.0 ports. All this is packed inside a tiny, sleek-looking chassis you can tuck anywhere on your desk or even carry around, considering its compact dimensions. You can even hide the case behind your monitor since the selling package includes a VESA mount bracket.

Upgrade options include adding a 2.5-inch HDD/SSD or another M.2 SSD, since the main board features an extra M.2 SSD slot. Not great, but considering this is a mini PC the size of two soda cans, we’ve no issues with limited upgradability. Another potential downside is single-channel memory, but since this isn’t a gaming PC or a high-end workstation, single-channel memory isn’t a major issue.

If you need something beefier, capable of running newer games, and with enough horsepower for CPU-intensive tasks, the Beelink SER5 comes with the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U CPU that’s much more powerful than the Intel N100 and that packs a more capable iGPU, while costing $60 more than the Mini S12 Pro.

Beelink Mini S12 Pro Mini PC 01

Beelink Mini S12 Pro

Best Pre-Built Budget PC

The Beelink Mini S12 Pro packs a lot for less than $200. The CPU is powerful enough for everyday tasks, there is16GB of memory, an iGPU capable of playing 4K videos, a 512GB SSD, Wi-Fi 6, all inside a tiny case that can fit anywhere.

iBuyPower Intel 13th Gen Extreme Gaming PC on a blue and violet background



RTX 4090 + Core i9-13900KF


iBUYPOWER configurator allows replacing every component

The default motherboard option could’ve been better

360mm AIO coupled with a high airflow case

Excellent value, for a pre-built gaming PC

2TB of PCIe 4.0 storage

1000W PCIe 5.0-compatible PSU

Gamers looking for a powerful gaming PC that can run all the latest games in 4K and triple-digit frame rates should seriously consider the Intel 13th Gen Extreme Gaming PC from iBuyPower. This build includes quality components, one of the most powerful CPU and GPU combos around, an excellent cooling setup including a high airflow case, lots of fast storage space, and all that at more than a decent price of $3,349.

The base configuration comes with the Intel Core i9-13900KF CPU—the regular 13900K but without the iGPU— and the NVIDIA RTX 4090 GPU. You’ve also got 32GB of DDR5 memory working at 5200 MT/s, the ASUS Prime Z790-P motherboard with Wi-Fi 6, a 1000W ATX 3.0-compatible PSU (meaning no GPU power adapters), 2TB of PCIe 4.0 storage, a 360mm AIO CPU cooler, and the NZXT H7 Flow case.

Looking at the config, we’d change the motherboard since the ASUS Prime Z790-P isn’t an optimal fit for the 13900KF, and the memory because iBuyPower uses slow DDR5 memory sticks. Luckily, you can tweak the build to your liking, thanks to the excellent configurator offered by iBuyPower. You can swap every component, add extra storage, a standalone sound card, or even select a different thermal paste applied to the CPU.

At the end of the day, the Intel 13th Gen Extreme Gaming PC presents a mighty fine combination of quality components at a decent price for a high-end gaming PC that can run any current AAA title at max settings in 4K without any issues. The best thing about this pre-built PC is that you can tweak it to your liking by replacing every component on the buying page. If you’re looking for something more affordable that’s not far behind this PC in terms of gaming performance, the iBuyPower SlateMR Gaming Desktop featuring the Ryzen 7 7700X CPU and the NVIDIA RTX 4080 GPU is a pretty good alternative.

iBuyPower Intel 13th Gen Extreme Gaming PC

iBUYPOWER Intel 13th Gen Extreme Gaming PC

Best Pre-Built Gaming PC

The RTX 4090 and Core i9-13900KF is one of the most powerful combos you can get in a gaming PC, and the iBUYPOWER’s Gaming PC packs not only that, but also 2TB of PCIe 4.0 storage, a 360mm AIO and a high airflow case, 32GB of DDR5 memory, and a 1000W PCIe 5.0-compatible PSU.

Best Pre-Built Budget Gaming PC: Skytech Shiva

Skytech Shiva Gaming PC on a bluish background



Lots of bang for your buck

CPU cooler isn’t that great

RTX 4060 supports DLSS 3.0

650W PSU is not perfect concerning CPU and GPU upgrades

16GB of dual-channel memory

Pretty basic motherboard

1TB of fast storage

The Core i5-12400F is a great budget gaming CPU

The Skytech Shiva variant that comes with an Intel Core i5-12400F CPU and an NVIDIA RTX 4060 GPU costs $1049 and is one of the best budget pre-built gaming PCs you can get. The Intel Core i5-12400F is still one of the best budget gaming CPUs around, and while the NVIDIA RTX 4060 doesn’t offer tons of value, it’s still almost as fast as the RTX 3060 Ti, one of the best bang-for-buck GPUs from NVIDIA while also supporting DLSS 3.0 frame generation tech found in more and more new titles, which should prolong this graphics card’s usability when it comes to AAA gaming.

Other components include a decent-looking air CPU cooler —not great but more than adequate for the 12400F— 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory working at 3200 MT/s, a 650W 80-Plus Gold PSU, a 1TB NVMe SSD, and a motherboard with Wi-Fi 5 support. The chassis isn’t an airflow champion, but this CPU and GPU combo isn’t a huge heat generator, so thermals should be in check. At least the case looks very nice and packs a ton of RGB.

This config should provide excellent gaming performance at 1080p. You should be able to max or almost max out the details in the latest AAA titles and get 60fps or higher performance, even with ray-tracing effects in some games. At 1440p, the Skytech Shiva should be able to run AAA games at 60fps or higher with medium to high details. eSports titles should run at triple-digit frame rates no matter the resolution, as long as you don’t max out the visual options.

The best thing about this pre-built gaming PC is the price and the overall gaming performance you’re getting for that price. Concerning negatives, the motherboard looks rather basic, but, fortunately, the Core i5-12400F is power efficient and doesn’t require a beast of a motherboard to fully spread its wings. We also believe Skytech should’ve opted for a bit more powerful PSU —let’s say a 750W unit— to allow users to upgrade to a more powerful CPU and GPU in the future. Other than that, the Skytech Shiva presents an excellent pre-built gaming PC deal.

Skytech Shiva Gaming PC

Skytech Shiva

Best Pre-Built Budget Gaming PC

The Core i5-12400F is one of the best budget gaming CPUs and the RTX 4060 is a pretty solid choice for 1080p and 1440p gaming, and you can find both in the Skytech Shiva gaming PC. This budget gaming pre-built also features 16GB of dual channel memory, 1TB of fast storage, and a decent, 650W PSU. Not bad for a budget gaming PC.

Best Pre-Built Small Form Factor PC: EK 150 Battle

EK 150 BATTLE SFX Gaming PC on a yellow and pink background




Brilliant selection of components

A tad bulky for an SFX gaming PC

360mm AIO


32GB of 6000 MT/s DDR5 memory

2TB of PCIe 4.0 storage

RTX 4070 Ti is a good choice for 1440p and 4K gaming

Small form factor pre-built PCs usually come at a quite steep price premium compared to what you’d pay for a similarly specced PC you’d build yourself, but in the case of the EK 150 Battle pre-built PC, the price premium is justified. EKWB is one of the most known names in the liquid cooling community thanks to their superb custom loop, water cooling kit, and AIO designs, and by looking at the components used in the EK 150 Battle PC, we can say the company didn’t make any compromises regarding the quality of said components.

You’ve got the AMD Ryzen 5 7600X CPU and NVIDIA RTX 4070 Ti GPU, with the CPU being cooled by the high-end EK AIO Elite 360mm D-RGB liquid cooler that can tame any CPU on the market. You’ve also got 32GB of dual-channel DDR5 memory working at a snappy 6000 MT/s, an excellent motherboard choice in the form of the Asus TUF Gaming B650M, a 750W Lian-Li SFX PSU, a 2TB TeamGroup PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD, and one of the best SFX cases around, the Lian-Li 011D Mini. The PC also packs six RGB fans for increased airflow and a three-year manufacturer warranty.

The components used here are top-notch and worthy of any custom SFX PC. In fact, we have zero issues with the components used here. The chassis is perfect for any future upgrade, the 750W SFX PSU is one of the most powerful small form factor power supplies you can get, and the flagship 360mm AIO should be enough to cool down any future CPU you might replace the Ryzen 5 7600X with.

The CPU and GPU combo should allow for a high refresh rate 1440p gaming with zero compromises. You should also be able to play any AAA title in 4K if you turn down visuals from ultra to high. Overall, this is a fantastic pre-built SFX gaming PC, with its biggest downside being that it’s on the larger side compared to other SFX PCs.

If you’re looking for something more compact, the Chronos V3 from Origin PC looks stunning, comes with decent base specs, and can be tweaked to your liking if you don’t like the default configuration. If you like the EK 150 Battle but the thing’s out of your budget, the EK 145 BATTLE is a more affordable version of the EK 150 Battle, featuring the RTX 4070 instead of the RTX 4070 Ti.



Best Pre-Built Small Form Factor PC

EKWB made zero compromises regarding parts that went into the EK 150 Battle pre-built PC. The PC features top-notch components, a CPU and GPU combo capable of 1440p and 4K gaming, one of the best SFX cases on the market, a superb CPU cooling solution, and lots of high-end RGB case fans.


Are pre-built PCs any good?

Some aren’t, while others are. As long as you do your research and get a pre-built PC with specs you like that features adequate CPU cooling and quality components, you’ll be fine.

We recommend reading both professional and user reviews and, especially when it comes to builds that feature high-end CPUs and GPUs, focusing on reviews that talk about CPU and GPU thermals.

Are pre-built PCs upgradable?

Most of them are. Some, usually made by big-name brands such as Dell/Alienware or HP, feature custom motherboards, power supplies, and cases you can’t upgrade.

The most common combo includes proprietary motherboard and case designs that aren’t compatible with other cases/motherboards. However, even on those pre-builts, you can upgrade certain components such as the GPU, CPU, CPU cooler, memory, and storage.

What specs are most important for a pre-built PC?

As with any other PC, focus on the CPU, graphics card, and memory. When it comes to pre-built PC-specific specs you should focus on, they include the CPU cooling solution, case airflow, memory running in dual channel —important for builds featuring DDR4 memory, not so much for PCs with DDR5 memory— and the quality and power of the included power supply.

How do I clean my PC tower?

The best way to remove dust from the insides of your PC tower is to disconnect the power cable and then use a can of compressed air to get rid of the dust accrued in and around the components. For more detailed instructions, check our guide on how to thoroughly clean your dirty desktop computer.

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By John P.

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