Whether you want to dominate Hitman missions or play rounds of Call of Duty with your squad, owning the best gaming PC for your budget and needs is crucial. But which specs are necessary to keep you at the top of your game?
Sometimes you want to go all out, and at other times you need the raging gear for the least coin. Don’t go to pieces, because we’ve done the digging to find the best gaming desktops from HP with the most eye-blistering graphics, colorful displays, lowest latency, and zippiest memory and storage, even while keeping an eye on your budget.
Elements of a top gaming PC: What you should look for
Gaming PCs require different superpowers than those for business pros, students, or general household use. They must have lightning-fast, low-latency displays so you’re the fastest on the draw. They need Ethernet connections and blistering WiFi connectivity to avoid stuttering and lag.
Let’s do a quick overview of what serious gamers should look for in the best gaming computers.
Processor (CPU): To play today’s best triple-A (AAA) games, look for gaming PCs with at least 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 or 3rd Generation AMD Ryzen™ processors.
Graphics (GPU): Dedicated graphics cards are a must for gamers, with cards like the NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2060 and AMD Radeon™ RX500.
Display: High 60 frames per second (fps) frame rates from monitors in the 120 Hz or better range will keep you on top of the action instead of lagging in the swamps.
Memory: Most modern gaming machines have at least 8GB of super-fast, efficient DDR4 RAM, but 16GB is even better.
Storage: A zippy 1TB SSD drive based on flash drive technology will hold your OS and plenty of titles, while giving you rapid boot times.
Keyboard: Gaming keyboards are crucial. Look for durable, mechanical keys with LED backlighting for instant feedback when you press a key to keep you on point.
Accessibility: Tool-free entry and plenty of upgrade capability will keep your gaming PC ready for new titles and new tech as they hit the market.
A note about HP gaming laptops
Looking for the best gaming laptops by HP? Keep reading.
1. HP OMEN 30L gaming desktop computer
SHOP HP OMEN 30L GAMING DESKTOP
The HP OMEN 30L gaming desktop is one of the most beautiful and powerful gaming desktops available today. It features the latest AMD or Intel processors, powerful NVIDIA GeForce GPUs, expandable high-bandwidth memory, and accelerated storage options. With tool-less access to the interior through an easy-to-open side panel, along with a chassis that supports micro-ATX compatible upgradability, the HP OMEN 30L is built for gamers who want the power to upgrade or configure their systems to keep pace with new games.
High-performance CPUs and GPUs
You can configure the HP OMEN 30L with up to a 10th Generation Intel Core i9 processor, cooled by a coveted Cooler Master 120 mm RGB fan, which pumps up airflow and gaming performance in one shot. It has an all-new fan design and updated lighting, and if you’re worried about noise, don’t be. It also boasts 3 user-controlled fan speeds for anything from casual web browsing to full-blown war.
Stock it with up to an Intel Core i9-10900K processor, with 10 cores and 20 threads. It sports a blisteringly-fast 3.7 GHz base speed and 5.3 GHz Turbo Boost. The endgame there is easy processing for heavily multi-threaded applications, video editing, live streaming, and virtually any type of multitasking.
Graphics to the moon
The HP OMEN 30L also comes with cutting-edge graphics of up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 GPU, with TITAN-class performance and DLSS AI acceleration. In plain English, that means 8K HDR gaming with boosted frame rates with latency in the milliseconds. This powerhouse of speed and efficiency has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 10GB of GDDR6 memory.
It’s built on the Turing architecture, which is currently the world’s most advanced GPU architecture and the first GPU capable of real-time ray tracing for immersive, hyper-realistic graphics. Ray tracing is popping up in more and more of the best games, and this card also breezes through graphically demanding AAA games with high resolutions played on ultra settings.
Accelerated memory and storage options
The HP OMEN 30L packs in memory of up to 64GB of incredibly fast HyperX® DDR4-2666 SDRAM in addition to several storage options. Boot up and load games quickly with a PCIe® SSD and store more with optional dual storage.
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X Processor
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 graphics with 24GB of G6X memory
HyperX 16GB DDR4-3200 XMP RGB SDRAM memory
16.61 inches x 6.50 inches x 17.05 inches
5.1 surround sound
2. HP OMEN 25L desktop gaming PC
SHOP HP OMEN 25L DESKTOP GAMING PC
The HP OMEN 25L desktop PC is a revolutionary mini-tower designed for gaming. It offers up to an extremely powerful 10-core, 20-thread Intel Core i7-10700F processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 3070 8GB graphics. It also includes expandable memory and storage options with up to 32GB of RAM. With a unique tempered glass panel design and full RGB control, the HP OMEN 25L also features an innovative large-chamber thermal design and a customizable, upgradable chassis.
Form meets function with a revolutionary design
The HP OMEN 25L blends beauty and practicality into a seamless whole. Not only do its RGB components look cool, but the tool-free access lets you easily customize the interior so you can avoid moving your system or detangling a squid of cables when you install new accessories. Quickly swap out or add storage to your gaming tower without even opening the case.
You’ll blast and blaze with up to HyperX DDR4 RGB RAM in the HP OMEN 25L, with customizable lighting, auto-overclocking, and super-fast speeds with less power consumption than DDR3. For storage, tap into a mind-bending max of 2TB PCIe SSD or up to a pair of 2TB HDDs to sock away a library of titles and still boot up in an eyeblink.
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X Processor
AMD Radeon RX 5700 graphics card with 8GB GDDR6 dedicated memory
HyperX 16GB DDR4-3200 XMP SDRAM memory
15.53 inches x 6.50 inches x 17.05 inches
5.1 surround sound
3. HP Pavilion gaming desktop PC
HP PAVILION GAMING DESKTOP PC
For solid performance from a fantastic midrange gaming desktop at a great price, it’s hard to find a better machine than the HP Pavilion gaming desktop. From powerful NVIDIA and Radeon graphics to high-speed Intel and Ryzen processors, with serious storage and memory options, the HP Pavilion is perfect for titles from Overwatch to Red Dead Redemption 2.
You won’t skimp on performance here, with up to a field-ready 10th Generation Intel Core i7 or 3rd Gen Ryzen processor. An available NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER or RTX 2070 GPU will let you stay on top of hyper-realistic graphics in games like Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing technology. Or keep your options open with a future-ready Radeon RX500 graphics card with high resolutions and smooth frame rates.
Storage, RAM, and options galore
Choose between single or multiple hard drives, blazingly-fast SSD storage, or a mix of both (called a hybrid hard drive) to keep your gaming and work life in the zone. Then, load this beast with up to 32GB of double-data-rate DDR4 RAM, which cuts back on power use as it boosts your data transfer rates. The upshot is a double-dose of gaming performance that keeps your gear cool under pressure.
Speaking of cool, the HP Pavilion gaming desktop flexes enhanced thermal solutions, with a smart mix of fans and heat sinks that keep it quiet even in a full-on firefight. Its compact tower case fits amazingly well in even cramped quarters. Plus, you get a generous selection of external ports (1 USB C, 4 SuperSpeed USB A, and 4 USB 2.0 A) and expansion slots to connect all your peripherals and upgrade in the future.
Ready for tomorrow
When it comes to expansion, you can take the HP Pavilion gaming PC into any future you like, with upgradeable graphics cards, memory, WiFi cards, and additional storage options to fit your gaming and work-life demands. The power supply is even ready for tomorrow, with a higher-wattage PSU to support future components in a smooth transition.
If you like your Outriders sessions to shake the sheetrock, you’ll love the 5.1 surround sound support. All in all, this small but mighty gaming PC handles all the top, new titles in stride, at high/ultra or epic settings at high frame rates and 1080p resolutions. This is a screaming machine for the college gamer or young professional who needs a gaming PC that doubles as a solid work device.
Intel Core i7-10700 Processor
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER graphics card
Up to 32GB DDR4-2933 SDRAM memory
15.53 inches x 6.50 inches x 17.05 inches
5.1 surround sound
4. HP Z4 G4 workstation
SHOP HP Z4 G4 WORKSTATION
When it comes to phenomenal power, it’s hard to beat a workstation as a gaming PC. The HP Z4 G4 workstation can be almost anything you make it, with up to a jaw-dropping Intel Xeon® W-2295 processor, 512GB of DDR4 RAM (that’s RAM, not storage), 12TB of SSD storage, and a max of not one but TWO NVIDIA Quadro GV100 graphics cards.
This is basically a fantasy gaming and work machine, without a bottleneck in sight, thanks to a frighteningly-fast integrated Intel 1219-LM PCIe GbE network or better, and additional networking options like an Intel X550-T2 10 GbE Dual Port NIC network card for Gigabit Ethernet speeds that will blow your shoes off.
Phenomenal cosmic power
This HP gaming workstation has the power to outstrip almost every gaming spec and requirement by a wide margin. Use it first for data science or running multi-threaded apps with massive file sizes, then take down your unwitting opponents with ease in the evening.
This machine’s loadout starts with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and an Intel Xeon W-2123 processor. It blazes with a 3.6 GHz base clock speed that boosts up to 3.9 GHz. Scale up to specs that fit your favorite new titles and workflows, or go all out for enough RAM, processing, and graphics power to approach supercomputer status.
In short strokes, this is a highly configurable machine that you can make into anything you want it to be, with quiet cooling fans and the most powerful performance for the money on the market. Make it as silent as the tomb by adding an optional HP Z Cooler, and use 3D Vapor Chamber tech to dispel heat without game-interrupting noise.
Intel Xeon Processor
NVIDIA Quadro, NVIDIA RTX, or AMD Radeon graphics card
Up to 512GB DDR4-2933 ECC registered memory
15.2 inches x 6.65 inches x 17.5 inches
ENERGY STAR Qualified Configuration
Add a little extra to your gaming setup
To outfit your new desktop with the latest and best gaming accouterments, check out HP OMEN gaming accessories, including keyboards, mice, headsets, and more to help elevate your game to the next level – whether you’re a competitive or casual gamer.
HP gaming desktops: why specs matter
While there are a number of features that go into the best gaming PCs, here’s a deeper dive into the most crucial elements to keep in mind.
The central processing unit (CPU), also called the “processor” or “core,” is an essential part of your computer. It carries out the computer program’s instructions, processes the data, and performs input/output (I/O) operations and logic functions. Considered to be the “brain” or “heart” of the computer, it’s an especially important component of the best gaming desktops.
CPUs have between 2 and 64 cores, and each one performs a specific task. Multi-core processors are single chips that contain at least 2 CPU cores. These multi-core processors are much more powerful and efficient than those with fewer cores. While 2-core (or dual-core) processors are common, gaming applications run best with 6-core processors and higher.
The graphics processing unit (GPU) is also called the graphics card or video card. Like the CPU, it’s an important component of a gaming system. The GPU runs math calculations so that the CPU is free to work on its equally important other jobs.
The GPU speeds the creation and rendering of images, video, and animation. While the CPU utilizes multiple cores for sequential processing, the GPU is a single-chip processor with 100s to 1,000s of cores that operate thousands of instructions simultaneously.
To run a top-performing gaming PC, the GPU should offer at least 8GB of video memory (vRAM) for gaming at 1080p or Full High Definition (FHD) resolution. However, for gaming at 4K, or Ultra High Definition (UHD) with more than 8 million pixels, you’ll need at least 12GB to ensure that your gaming computer is playing at its best.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your GPU should complement your monitor’s resolutions and requirements. For example, if your display has a resolution of Quad HD (1440 pixels) or above, then you’ll need at least a mid-range to high-end card (with a minimum of 8GB) to match that power.
Your gaming system’s monitor, or display, is right up there with the CPU and GPU in terms of its importance to your gaming experience. You need to clearly see the action and graphics that are going on in your game – many of which, nowadays, are beautifully rendered in staggering detail. Your monitor should be able to display those images and videos as smoothly as possible for optimal gameplay.
If you’re gaming at UHD (or 4K) resolutions, then you’ll need a monitor that is at least 27 inches wide. Why? Anything less than 27 inches will not be able to fit those 8-million-plus pixels on the screen without crowding, which would negatively affect the sharpness of the stunningly rendered graphics we mentioned earlier.
With a gaming desktop PC, you are free to choose your ideal display with resolutions that will let you play your games the way they were meant to be played. A gaming laptop, on the other hand, doesn’t leave you much room for later upgrades so it’s important to get the specs right up front.
For laptops, ideally, you’ll want a minimum of either 15-inch or 17-inch diagonals and an FHD display with refresh rates of at least 60 Hz and preferably 120 Hz, which is also the sweet spot for 1080p gaming. Aim to go no wider than 24 inches for crisp graphics.
Like the processor and graphics card, memory (RAM) is an important component of the best gaming computers. Having enough of it is essential for stable, high performance. It will also ensure that your system doesn’t experience lag during gameplay.
A minimum of 8GB of RAM is usually enough for most games, although you can’t go wrong bumping it up to 16GB if you’re able to do so within your budget. That amount is enough to let you play at 4K resolutions.
And you can aim even higher at, say, 32GB if you’re looking to do more than gaming with your gaming PC. For instance, if you want to use video editing applications or 3D modeling software, more RAM is vital. The beauty of going with a gaming desktop is that you can always upgrade the memory later, making these PCs future-proof.
Storage, too, is a critical element of a top-notch gaming PC that can potentially make or break your gaming experience, especially for some of the latest resource-intensive AAA games that consume it quickly. Although you may need even more if you’re doing more than gaming on your computer, look for a hard disk drive (HDD) with at least 1TB of storage capacity or a solid-state drive (SSD) with at least 500GB.
Gaming desktop PCs come with the advantage of having room for larger HDDs as well as the ability to add more storage capacity (both HDD and SSD), when and if you need it, using Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) ports.
The keyboard is an oft-overlooked but nonetheless significant piece of the gaming puzzle. You may be using the one that shipped with your desktop without really giving it any further thought. Since you’ll be spending a significant amount of time using it while gaming, however, it’s definitely something to consider.
Gaming desktops, for instance, offer the chance to choose from high-performing mechanical keyboards that are ideal for gaming. They’re built to last, standing up to continuous pressure and long hours of gaming. Depending on the type of switch they’re using, mechanical keyboards last from 20 to 75 million keystrokes. Membrane keyboards, on the other hand, average about 5 million keystrokes.
If you’re planning to customize or upgrade your gaming PC at some point to allow for future games with more advanced performance requirements, then you’ll need to ensure that your gaming desktop is accessible for upgrades.
Be sure that your gaming computer’s chassis meets industry standards as well. Look for a gaming PC that makes it easy to access internal components without having to contend with annoying, bulky cables and wires.
HP offers an exciting lineup of powerful gaming PCs primed to dominate the most demanding games on the market. In our list, we’ve chosen just a few that will more than meet your most demanding gaming requirements. Use your AAA discount to save up to 35% on select HP products online at AAA.com/hp.
About the Author: Tom Gerencer is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Tom is an ASJA journalist, career expert at Zety.com, and a regular contributor to Boys' Life and Scouting magazines. His work is featured in Costco Connection, FastCompany, and many more.