Gaming PCs are all the rage as of late, despite modern gaming consoles continuing to narrow the gap between them and a modern computer. This is because, in terms of components, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One gaming consoles use very similar hardware and offer increasingly similar functionality to gaming PCs and laptops.
An example would be the current generation of consoles adding SSDs to the mix to power the next generation of game experiences. A strength that game consoles do not possess, however, is the versatility and modularity that most gaming PCs have, thanks to them being upgradeable over time. This allows for gaming PCs to be much better investments over time.
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Prebuilt gaming PCs are ideal for many users without the time or expertise to build a computer from scratch, but they often have component choices that can hinder upgrades or be dead-end products that can not be swapped out for a newer or faster hardware option. This could be something as simple as an entry-level motherboard limiting memory upgrades to a PSU that can not handle a GPU upgrade down the line.
While this is primarily done to reduce overall costs, it can impede upgrades that might be easier to do if some flexibility was permitted by the system builder. Here are some of the best customizable gaming PCs that can easily be upgraded or modified to suit enthusiasts’ and gamers’ needs down the road if they need to get their desired level of performance through more powerful parts.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Customizable Pre-Built Gaming PC
- Specifications: First and foremost, it’s crucial to choose the latest PC hardware that provides upgradeability in the near future. While many pre-built PCs that are also customizable don’t necessarily come with the latest gen CPUs or GPUs, in that case, it is recommended that users should strive to get higher-end parts for future-proofing.
- PC Chassis: Half of the customizability depends on the PC case. If the case can’t support standard-sized components, the path to upgradeability will narrow down. Also, the chassis should provide some modular aspects that can allow re-adjustments of components.
- Power Supply: This is a kinda gray area where some manufacturers may trick users into getting a PC that has a generic power supply. The PC might say that it hosts a 600W PSU, but this doesn’t give enough info about the PSU’s efficiency, brand, and available connectors. A good customizable pre-built gaming PC should come with at least an 80-plus-rated PSU and should have enough capacity for future upgrades or swapping of components.
- Warranty: At least 1 year of warranty on parts and labor is a must. Any pre-built gaming system that doesn’t provide a warranty shouldn’t be considered in the first place. While the 1-year warranty is still lower than what users generally get from buying parts separately, it at least helps users solve crucial problems without having to spend several hundred dollars on upgrades.
Game Rant’s Picks for the Best Customizable Pre-Built Gaming PCs
iBuyPower Pro Y60 Gaming PC
Best Overall Customizable Pre-Built Gaming PC
The iBuyPower Pro Y60 Gaming PC is already a high-end gaming machine with one of the most powerful 24-core CPUs from the Raptor Lake lineup. On top of that, the RTX 4070 will ensure buttery smooth gaming at 1440p resolution and can be installed vertically or horizontally depending on the user’s taste.
- 32GB DDR5 5200MHz
- CPU Speed
- 5.8GHz Max Turbo
- Intel Core i9-13900KF
- Nvidia Geforce RTX 4070
- 802.11AC Wi-Fi
- 1TB NVMe SS
- High-end 24 Cores/32 Threads i9 processor for ultimate gaming and productivity experience
- Nvidia Geforce RTX 4070 for intensive gaming
- Spacious mid-tower with a large tempered glass panels
- AIO cooling and vertical GPU alignment
- Expensive for most users
- Unclear what PSU is used
Not many Pre-Built gaming systems come with a spacious and high-quality chassis that allows the installation of larger components. The Pro Y60 has it all. From a very customizable design that can hold graphics cards in vertical and horizontal positions to the specifications that offer the horsepower to run games at 1440p resolution. The Pro Y60 comes with one of the fastest gaming CPUs, i.e., the Core i9 13900KF which boasts 24 real cores and 32 threads to execute users’ productivity and gaming loads.
The CPU is being cooled via a decently sized AIO cooler with RGB fans. The motherboard used also allows overclocking and that’s where this PC shines. Not only can users have the ultimate productivity through overclocking, but they can also max out games at 1440p resolution with the latest RTX 4070 GPU. While expensive, it provides a good path to upgrade and install different types and sizes of components as the spacious interior of the case allows it all. Moreover, the breathtaking view from different angles is surely going to capture people’s attention.
Cooler Master HAF 5 Pro Gaming Desktop
Best Value Customizable Pre-Built Gaming PC
The Cooler Master HAF 5 Pro is a gaming computer designed for high-performance gaming. It houses an Intel Core i7-12700F processor, which can clock up to 4.9 GHz. There’s also an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 12GB graphics card, which makes this machine ready for virtual reality gaming.
Cooler Master components are used throughout the system. These include a high-air-flow HAF 500 Case, a Hyper 212 Halo Tower CPU Cooler, and a G600 600W 80+ Gold Efficiency Power Supply Unit.
- Cooler Master
- 16GB DDR4 memory
- Nvidia RTX 3060
- Intel Core i7 12700F
- 1TB M2 SSD
- Unspecified Intel 6XX or 7XX Series Motherboard
- Cooler Master Case
- Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth
- CPU Cooler
- Cooler Master Hyper 212 Halo
- CM 600W Gold Rated PSU
- Well-Priced for what it offers, especially when factoring in an $100 coupon
- Comes with a well-balanced 12th generation Intel Core i7 processor and mid-range RTX 3060 GPU
- Has an excellent air-flow focused case
- The 600W PSU means that most GPU/CPU upgrades may include a PSU upgrade cost
- The bundled Intel Core i7 CPU is locked but uses a custom cooler which is somewhat self-defeating given its lower clock speeds
- Uses DDR4 memory which might make upgrades costlier down the line
The Cooler Master HAF 5 Pro Gaming Desktop is a well-priced and customizable entry when it comes to prebuilt gaming PCs. It houses a capable locked Intel Core i7 12700F and a middle-of-the-road RTX 3060, both of which can be swapped out for more powerful counterparts with ease. The case happens to have excellent airflow and supports a top-mounted liquid cooler for users intending to go that route while offering 2 large in the front.
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It does have some cost additions for upgrades, however, thanks to it using an air cooler for the locked 12700F CPU, which means that any meaningful CPU upgrade would also need a cooler upgrade. While the 600W PSU is excellent for the PC in question, it has very limited leeway when it comes to upgrades, making it a mandatory overhaul consideration whenever gamers plan to make any significant CPU or GPU upgrades.
Skytech Nebula Desktop PC
Best Budget Customizable Pre-Built Gaming PC
$1000 $1250 Save $250
The Skytech Nebula gaming computer is powered by an Intel Core i5-12400F processor with a base clock of 2.5GHz. The processor can also turbo boost to offer clock speeds of up to 4.4GHz. The unit comes with a 1 TB NVMe SSD, which offers super-fast start-up speeds. It’s equipped with an RTX 3050 graphics card that supports ray-tracing graphics and 16GB of fast DDR4 memory.
This desktop offers a host of connectivity options, including USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.2 Gen1. It supports Wi-Fi out of the box and provides HDMI and Display Port outputs for multi-display setups
- 16GB DDR4
- Nvidia RTX 3050 8GB
- Intel Core i5 12400F
- 1TB NVME SSD
- Skytech Nebula Black
- Ethernet, WiFi
- CPU Cooler
- Unspecified Air Cooler
- Comes with an entry-level 12th-generation Intel Core i5 CPU
- Offers 16GB of DDR4 memory for gaming
- Has plenty of RGB lighting options
- Offers Wi-Fi out of the box in addition to plenty of USB ports in the front
- Has a number of unspecified parts as part of its build, meaning that components could vary
- Some users report heavier cost-cutting in component selection compared to other competitors
The RTX 4060 Ti and Ryzen 5 equipped version of the Skytech Nebula gaming PC is selling during the holiday sale at Amazon for $999.99.
The Skytech Nebula Desktop PC is an excellent budget gaming PC offering that does offer decent value for money to gamers on a budget looking for a decent RGB-lit gaming PC with possible upgrades down the line. It does sport a fairly recent 12th gen Intel Core i5 12400F chip, 16GB of DDR4 memory and an RTX 3050, making it an ideal esports partner for most gamers.
It does, however, suffer from a lack of clarity for users looking to upgrade down the line, thanks to Skytech not publishing any information regarding the PSU, motherboard, or air cooler choices it uses for the Nebula Desktop. This may make both user experience and upgrade potential differ from build to build, and while the Nebula seems like an excellent starting point, it might be a bit of a gamble for users who plan to swap parts out over time or add new ones to the mix such as an additional SSD, more RAM or even a better CPU.
Thermaltake Shadow 370 v2 AIO Gaming PC
Best Modular Customizable Pre-Built Gaming PC
The Thermaltake Shadow 370 v2 AIO gaming PC features a closed-loop liquid-cooled system with a 360 mm radiator. The performance is delivered by an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X six-core processor and Nvidia GeForce 3070 graphics card with improved ray-tracing performance. The system also has 16 gigabytes of RGB-lit DDR4 memory with a 3600 MHz speed and one terabyte of fast NVMe M.2 SSD storage. The system supports Wi-Fi and comes with a Windows 10 Home license.
- Liquid Cooled, 360MM radiator
- ThermalTake 16GB DDR4 3600MHz
- MSI RTX 3070 8GB
- AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 6-Core 12-Thread
- MSI 1TB NVME SSD
- MSI Pro B550
- Thermaltake Core P3 ATX Tempered Glass Chassis
- Thermaltake 650W Toughpower GF1
- Highly modular case with 3-way placement layout
- Comes with a large 360mm liquid cooler as part of its offerings
- Has an upgrade path to the Ryzen 7 5800X3D for even better gaming
- Arguably one of the best-looking cases with plenty of customization potential thanks to its open design
- AMD”s socket AM4 no longer receives new CPU upgrades, impeding upgradability compared to other options
- Somewhat pricier than the competition for similar specs
The Thermaltake Shadow 370 v2 AIO Gaming PC uses Thermaltake’s components wherever possible to offer one of the best-looking gaming PCs in its price range. The stylish design extends to its PSU, AIO cooler, RAM, and case, all of which use mid-range or high-end parts, a rarity for prebuilt gaming PCs. Not only does it look fantastic, but it is also one of the most modular PCs out there, thanks to the Thermaltake P3 open chassis that offers a groundbreaking design that can be wall-mounted, kept vertical, or even horizontal.
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If powerhouse CPUs and GPUs are turning a gaming rig into an oven, these cases can combat the most dangerous temperatures.
It also allows users to add or upgrade to better and bigger GPUs, and AIO coolers, and all the cable clutter goes to the back, totally hidden from the sight of the users. The good thing is that users don’t need to assemble a dozen parts of the case before they can start building their gaming PC as it’s a pre-built system that comes assembled by the manufacturer.
The Shadow 370 v2 employs a capable Ryzen 5 5600X, along with an Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU to power its gaming experiences, bundling them with a 1TB SSD and 16GB of fast DDR4 memory. It does, however, have its drawbacks, demanding a significantly higher price for its looks compared to PCs offering much more in the performance department. For gamers considering upgrades down the line, it does have a somewhat straightforward upgrade path to the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D down the line. With a GPU upgrade possible with a potential PSU upgrade, it does have an upgrade path.
It must be noted that the socket AM4-based PC might need both a memory and motherboard replacement in the future. If users wish to move to AMD’s Ryzen 7000 series, which requires a newer AM5 socket-based motherboard and DDR5 memory to work, it could make later upgrades an expensive endeavor.
Skytech Gaming Prism II Lian Li O11 PC Desktop
Best High-End Pre-Built Gaming PC
Skytech Gaming Prism II brings a superb Lian Li O11 chassis that brings dual tempered glass panel design with neatly done assembly of parts. The case is not only spacious but provides a 360mm radiator cooling for the CPU. Moreover, the combination of i9 13900K and RTX 4070 Ti will ensure intensive gaming at higher resolutions.
- Processor Type
- Intel Core i9 13900K
- 32GB DDR5
- 1TB NVMe
- Included Accessories
- Gaming keyboard and mous
- VR Compatible?
- Nvidia Geforce RTX 4070 Ti
- Lian Li O11 case with excellent design and support for large components
- Pre-installed 360mm AIO for the CPU
- i9 13900K and RTX 4060 Ti for intensive gaming sessions
- A 1000W Gold rated PSU to upgrade without fear
- Costs nearly $2500
- Storage capacity could have been bigger
Users who don’t have a budget constraint can get the Skytech Gaming Prism II which offers fantastic specifications inside the gorgeous Lian Li O11 PC case. Lian Li doesn’t need an introduction in the world of PC cases and this one is one of the most spacious ones that offers a neat cable management system and pre-installed RGB fans at the top. Moreover, users also get a 360mm AIO for the Core i9 13900K processor that can easily run at higher clock speeds and the RTX 4070 Ti is ready to max out games at 1440 resolution.
With a big capacity of 1000W of power supply that is also rated 80 Plus Gold in efficiency, the PC will not only allow adding multiple power-hungry components or upgrades in the future, but will also provide power efficiency close to 90% at typical loads. This is perhaps one of the reasons why Prism II stands out among all and can be customized or upgraded as per users’ wishes.
Thermaltake Reactor 380 Liquid-Cooled PC
Best Compact Customizable Pre-Built Gaming PC
$1407 $2800 Save $1393
Thermaltake Reactor 380 Liquid-Cooled PC brings one of the top-performing Zen 3-based CPUs that powers the RTX 3080 for superb 1440p gaming performance. The excellent mini-ITX Thermaltake chassis provides users with ample ventilation and helps the CPU cool down rapidly with the AIO cooler. It has sufficient memory, built-in WiFi, and Windows 10 pre-installed so that gamers can start their gaming journey right away.
- 16GB DDR4 3600MHz
- 1TB NVMe
- Processor Type
- Ryzen 7 5800X
- VR Compatible?
- Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080
- Highly versatile ITX tower with a vertical layout
- Pre-installed AIO cooler for the CPU
- Ryzen 5800X + RTX 3080 for intensive gaming
- Easy cable management
- Mini-ITX motherboard doesn’t allow much upgrades
- AM4 platform isn’t future proof
Customizing or upgrading a compact gaming PC is typically the most difficult thing. The reason is less space and inferior compatibility for the components. However, the Thermaltake Reactor 380 uses one of the most versatile Mini-ITX chassis that allows installing AIO, big air coolers, and even large GPUs. It already comes with a pre-installed 120mm AIO cooler, but users are free to upgrade to a massive CPU cooler that can reach as high as 190mm in height.
The case has ample ventilation on all sides, which allows the intake of cool air and dissipation of the hot air in a great balance. Even after being so spacious at the front, the case has a dedicated power supply chamber that hides the PSU and multiple cables pretty neatly. Users, therefore, can install GPUs measuring up to 330mm in length, which is insanely impressive and makes it the best compact customizable pre-built system on the market.
Q: What Can I Customize In a Gaming PC?
Most prebuilt gaming PCs do allow for RAM and SSD upgrades. They may also allow for upgrades to the cooling, CPU and GPU as well as PSU offerings as prebuilt gaming PCs grow increasingly modular and similar to custom-built solutions at home in terms of standardized parts.
Q: What is the fastest CPU Upgrade I can get for my gaming PC?
AMD’s fastest CPU for gaming is the Ryzen 7 7800X3D which currently also doubles as the fastest overall CPU for gamers. The fastest gaming Intel CPU currently available as an upgrade is the Core i9 13900K/KF processor.