PCWorld (USA)

The best prebuilt gaming PCS



At the moment, stock for Nvidia’s RTX 30-series and AMD’S Radeon 6000 graphics cards disappears in seconds— when they’re even available for purchase. Same goes for AMD’S Ryzen 5000 processors. Most people who’ve tried to score one of these recently launched components have struck out, forcing them to wait out the next several months with a placeholde­r part, or making do with an older alternativ­e.

Another option exists if you’re in the market for a whole new PC, however. Prebuilt desktop computers provide a compromise solution: They ship much sooner than supply will improve (likely spring 2021), and while you’ll pay a markup over MSRP, reasonable vendors impose minimal surcharges on the parts themselves.

Expect to pay $150+ more for a prebuilt PC over DIY, as these systems have the cost of marketing and labor folded in. (Between $150 to $300 is what we’d call reasonable.) Price comparison­s assume MSRP for the new RTX, Radeon, and Ryzen parts and are current as of December 2, 2020.

Below is a list of the best online shops to check out, with notes on what to expect from each. These vendors largely use off-the-shelf parts and let you truly customize the configurat­ions, but we’ve also included those that at least allow some flexibilit­y in CPU and GPU selections. Be warned: You’ll still need to pay close attention to your configurat­ion to get the most for your money.


Visit: go.pcworld.com/ibuy

Best for: RTX 3060 Ti; Ryzen 5000 (except 5950X)

Avoid: Radeon 6000; RTX 3080, RTX 3090; Ryzen 5950X

Few other vendors match ibuypower’s freedom of choice—its configurat­or doesn’t skimp. You get nearly the full range of processors and graphics cards from Intel, AMD, and Nvidia to pick from, along with a very healthy selection of other components. This system integrator uses off-the-shelf parts and clearly identifies their manufactur­ers, making it easy to research performanc­e now and then upgrade items in the future. The sample system we configured (the AMD Ryzen 7X Gaming Elite with a 3700X and RTX 3070) costs about $350 more than a comparable DIY build.

For systems using all in-stock parts, expect a shipping date in late December. Any PCS with components marked as “pre-order” will ship based on supply.


Visit: go.pcworld.com/cpwr

Best for: RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070; Radeon 6000; Ryzen 5000 (except 5950X)

Avoid: RTX 3080, RTX 3090; Ryzen 5950X

Cyberpower­pc is ibuypower’s main competitio­n, and for good reason. It also features a wide selection of off-the-shelf components for customizin­g a system, with parts on offer matching those commonly found in DIY builds. Cyberpower even edges out ibuypower slightly in its CPU spread, along with providing one option its rival doesn’t: laser engraving. Compared to a similar DIY build, the sample system we mocked up (the Gamer Ultra 3070 with an 3700X and RTX 3070) will set you back an additional $280.

Of the prebuilt vendors we looked at, Cyberpower­pc alone offered reasonable prices for Radeon 6000 series parts. Currently estimated ship dates fall at the end of December.


Visit: go.pcworld.com/nbld

Best for: RTX 3060 Ti

Avoid: Other RTX 30-series -series cards

Unavailabl­e: Radeon n 6000; all Ryzen processors

NZXT keeps its custom m PC service very simple. You can only choose from its cases and CPU U coolers, and other components ts are limited in their selection— on— currently, no AMD parts rts are available. The company ny is transparen­t in its pricing, ng, charging the MSRP for r off-theshelf parts along with a $99 building and service package, which includes a 2-year ar warranty and a guaranteed teed level of game performanc­e. ance.

When pitted against nst a DIY build, you’ll spend about out $165 more for its $1,500 custom system configured with a 3060 Ti. Shipping for our sample system had an estimated date of December 16.


Visit: go.pcworld.com/alwr

Best for: RTX 3080, RTX 3090

Avoid: RTX 3070

Unavailabl­e: Radeon 6000; Ryzen 5000

Make no mistake, the Alienware name will cost you. Our sample configurat­ion of the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 with a 3700X and 3070 came in at a staggering $500 over a similar DIY configurat­ion ($2,165 vs. $1,617) and offers limited upgradabil­ity. But you’ll pay no surplus outside of the brand’s luxury tax when deciding between RTX 30-series cards: The difference in cost closely matches their list prices.

So believe it or not, our sample Alienware PC still slightly beat other vendors in price for the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090—and more key to this recommenda­tion, had consistent stock. Our estimated delivery date was January 11.


MICRO CENTER Visit: go.pcworld.com/mcen

Best for: RTX 3070 Unavailabl­e: Everything else

Should you be lucky enough to live near a Micro Center—and don’t mind a prebuilt PC with a fixed configurat­ion—you can currently pick up one of the store’s Powerspec systems. The RTX 3070 models come paired with either an Intel Core i7-10700k ( go.pcworld. com/i710) or Ryzen 7 3700X ( go. pcworld.com/ry37), and cost between $100 (3700X) and $200 (10700K) more than a similar DIY build.

The catch, of course, is that these systems must be available for pickup at your local store. But all things considered, if you live reasonably close to a Micro Center location, you can’t get your hands on a 3070 much faster than this.


Maingear ( go.pcworld.com/mngr), Origin PC ( go.pcworld.com/orgn), Falcon Northwest ( go.pcworld.com/flcn), and Digital Storm ( go.pcworld.com/dgst) build beautiful custom computers, but they don’t save any money over scalpers’ prices for new hardware—nor do they ship instantly. Only consider them if you no longer care about price and want a gorgeous, luxurious PC that comes with incredible customer service.

Velocity Micro ( go.pcworld.com/ vlct) has limited new hardware to choose from and also charged an $800 premium over DIY for a no-frills PC with a 5600X, B550M motherboar­d, and RTX 3070.

Puget Systems ( go.pcworld.com/ pgts) is well-known for its expertise, but you pay handsomely for it. Our sample system with a 5800X and RTX 3070 ran up a bill $800 higher than our competing DIY build.

Micro Center’s custom PC build service ( go.pcworld.com/cspc) requires that the parts be in stock at your local store. Sadly, listings for RTX 30-series, Radeon 6000, or Ryzen 5000 components are sold out.

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