Ultimate Prebuilt Gaming PC Guide
This guide will help you understand what are the specs for a high-end prebuilt PC for gaming. You’ll learn about the vital components that makes an ultimate gaming desktop computer that has the power for a truly immersive experience.
Get the Most for the Money
Your budget should be the very first thing you decide on. This will outline what the overall specs are and how powerful your ultimate gaming PC will be. Even if you can afford the most expensive gaming computer, you should still consider a top end budget for a prebuilt system because things can get out of control quickly for some custom built units.
Harness the Power
This is perhaps the most important component for an ultra fast gaming computer. The PC should have enough stable and reliable power to keep the PC running under the most extreme gaming sessions. There should be enough wattage to cover all the components at maximum load with enough headroom to cover power spikes or upgrades. This is a lot less complicated than it sounds. Generally the CPU and graphics card will consume the most power and these specifications can be found on the manufacturer’s website.
For instance, the 13th Gen Intel Core i9 13900K specs found on Intel’s website lists the processor using a staggering 253 watts under maximum load. You’ll do the same for the graphics card and for this example, NVIDIA lists the GeForce RTX 4090’s total load as a whopping 315 watts. The two parts alone utilize 568 watts on average at full load. Fortunately the remaining parts won’t consume as much power even if they are high-end. So add an additional 200 watts. Now add another 200 watts for headroom making the ideal power supply to be around 1000 watts. The PC will be able to harness the full power of the components without shutdowns or even worse, a burnout. Beware of marketing gimmicks for 80+ Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Power supplies that are 80+ certified generally has nearly the same efficiency if they have good build quality.
If you’re shopping for an ultra fast VR ready top end gaming PC, then chances are you’ll want to play at a minimum of 120 FPS at 4K and have the ability to run any virtual reality headset if you choose to. To achieve these requirements, it is highly recommended to choose between the top three or four graphics cards on the market. Currently the RTX 4090 dominates the performance charts and is the grand champion for all your gaming needs beyond a shadow of a doubt.
The RTX 4080 is still a beast of its own and will give you that ultra high-end gaming experience in most circumstances. The RTX 4070 Ti and the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX are the more “affordable” enthusiast graphics options and they will significantly reduce the overall cost of an ultra fast gaming PC. It’s entirely up to you if it’s worth the higher price tag to buy a prebuilt PC with the 4090 or 4080 included. If it isn’t, one option is to cut back on the other specs to accommodate the top rated graphics cards. One component where that can be attained is the CPU.
The Best Gaming CPU
For top of the line performance, you can’t go wrong with the top CPU’s. The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X (16-cores), Core i9 13900K (8 P-cores 16 E-cores) and the Ryzen 9 7950X3D (16-cores) are the cream of the crop. If given the choice strictly between these three processors, the clear choice is the 7950X. It provides balanced performance without excessive power consumption or added cost. The Ryzen 9 7950X3D defeats the other processors in gaming (when the game takes advantage of the 3D cache) but suffers in non gaming workloads as a result of the 3D cache. The 13900K is real fast but consumes too much power and only has 8 full performance cores and 16 efficient cores unlike the Ryzen 9’s which are true 16 core processors. What does this mean for the i9 13900K? Well, the PC will have noticeable slowdowns and hiccups which can be annoying especially at this price for a high-end gaming PC. This happens because the operating system needs to assign cores to tasks. If the OS choose to schedule efficient cores instead of performance cores for a demanding task, then a performance slowdown will happen.
If you’re going for a more cost effective solution, then you should look at the Core i7 13700K, Ryzen 7 7700 or the Ryzen 5 7600X. These processors have plenty of processing power to handle the performance of elite graphics cards. You’ve probably heard of “CPU bottleneck” for gaming. If you haven’t, it’s when the CPU can’t keep up with the GPU causing the game to stutter. While this may be true for lower end processors, it’s blown out of proportion for any next-gen, multi-threaded, mid to high-end processor. It predominately comes down to how the software (game) is coded to utilize the threads and if the game just has buggy code in general. This is why the Ryzen X3D processors actually do a lot better in some games than others. This is why games has updates (patches) that boost performance. This is also why Radeon graphics cards gets more performance in time.
The Core i7 13700K offers similar performance in gaming to the i9 13900K but without the excessive power consumption and heat. Out of these more affordable processors, the Ryzen 7 offers excellent performance compared to the 13700K in real world tests. It does this with lower power consumption, a lower cost and without efficient cores which makes it a compelling choice. The Ryzen 5 7600X is the bang for buck winner and will complement the RTX 4090 without issue. It comes down to the platform you prefer and the performance you need outside of gaming.
What to Look for in a Motherboard
This is another opportunity to cut the overall cost of your ultimate gaming rig. Whether it’s a budget board or the most expensive motherboard on the market, they all do the same thing. They all operate the components installed. That is the foundation of any desktop computer system. Gone are the days when a budget board couldn’t handle an enthusiast CPU. It all comes down to built quality of the motherboard especially for the MOSFETS. Premium boards doesn’t necessarily mean good quality.
Premium boards offer more I/O connectivity, next-gen interfaces, overclocking capabilities, on-board diagnostics, addressable RGB lighting, gaming aesthetics and more. If premium features doesn’t fit your use case, you can save a bundle on a top notch gaming PC that utilizes a basic motherboard instead. When you’re trying to figure out what to look for in a motherboard, always start with how you plan to use the system. Are you the type that will go all out customizing it inside and out? Or are you the type that wants the PC to look and work the way you want it right out of the box?
Everything Else that Goes into a Gaming PC
First, you should only be shopping for high-end gaming computers with an NVMe SSD as the primary drive. Anything outside an NVMe SSD will negatively impact the systems performance. After that, there's only a slight difference in performance between low cost and premium NVMe drives under normal operating conditions which includes gaming. You should choose a computer that has at least 1TB of storage to be viewed as an elite gaming PC. Games has became humongous in size and a few games will fill a smaller capacity drive fast.
Next up is the memory. Faster memory will always perform better to an extent. The ideal goal is to get a system with a memory frequency that is at a 1:1 ratio to the CPU’s clock. This ensures that the CPU and the RAM works in harmony. This plays a larger role with AMD processors than Intel. You can search this info by typing the processor series and memory ratio (ex. Ryzen 7000 memory ratio) or processor series and RAM support (ex. Inel 13th Gen memory support). Currently the AMD Ryzen 7000 series processors operates the best with DDR5-6000 and the 13th Gen Intel’s at a minimum of DDR5-5600 for DDR5 and DDR4-3200 for DDR4 motherboards. Finding a gaming PC with RAM configured to work in sync with the processor is a huge bonus and demonstrates the company knows what goes into a gaming PC.
Finally, the cooling. The best prebuilt gaming computers will have beefy air coolers or liquid cooling. The total combined heat generated by the CPU and graphics card can turn a desktop into a space heater. Excessive heat will degrade components so adequate cooling for the CPU and at least one exhaust fan is a fundamental requirement. AMD even recommends using liquid cooling for the Ryzen 9 7950X and 7900X. A gaming rig with an intake fan in the front and the CPU cooler directly exhausting the hot air is a simple but effective configuration to maximize air flow.
Finding the Deal
So there you have it. Use this guide to aid you on your quest to find the best prebuilt gaming PC for your needs. Set a budget around how you intend to use the PC for gaming. Then start your search for a prebuilt that meets those requirements.