For gamers who wish to play the latest AAA titles on maximum graphics at 60+ fps, we have carefully selected 3 of the most powerful prebuilt gaming desktop PCs in the 1000 to 1500-dollar price range. These gaming desktops are equipped with the finest hardware so that you can install and run any game in existence at ultra-high graphics settings. Currently, NVIDIA makes the fastest and most power- efficient graphics cards so we decided to only include machines that were powered by RTX 2070s/ GTX 1080s. This enables you to play games at 1440p or even 4k resolution, without compromising on graphical fidelity. All 3 of these beastly gaming rigs feature liquid-cooled CPUs for ultimate overclocking potential and ultra-silent gaming.
Every one of these gaming desktops also comes with customizable lighting and transparent side panels, so you can proudly flaunt your brand-new gaming station. You will also notice that all 3 prebuilt gaming PCs in this article are covered by a 1-year warranty on both parts and labor, along with free lifetime tech support. They also have Windows 10 Home 64-bit preloaded and can be upgraded with more RAM or storage. So, without further ado, let’s get into the product reviews.
iBUYPOWER has quite a large presence in the prebuilt custom gaming PC market, and they make systems for everyone- from casual gamers with a lot budget, to hardcore PC enthusiasts who only want the best. The Trace 9220 is equipped with awesome processing power and looks really nice with the unique chassis and RGB lighting.
iBUYPOWER gaming PCs are also used by several esports teams, and we definitely recommend them if you have never purchased or built a gaming PC before. Their customer support is excellent and from our own experience, we have found that they use quality parts and assemble everything together nicely. Thousands of customers across the world will agree, and the Trace 9220 is one of the most popular prebuilt gaming PCs for a reason. Currently it is available in two versions- one with a Core i7 8700k processor, and the other with a Core i7 9700k. Which one should you buy, and is the Trace 9220 worth your money? What is the difference between an 8700k and 9700k? We are here to answer all of that, so let’s get started.
First off, we need to clarify the differences between a Core i7 8700k and Core i7 9700k processor. Both are based on Intel’s 14nm+ lithography process and utilize a similar microarchitecture. The 8700k and 9700k are both products of the Coffee Lake lineup and are priced quite similarly on the market with the 9700k being a tad bit costlier. Both have 12MB of L3 cache, and the exact same TDP (95W). But that is where the similarities end- the 9700k is an 8 core CPU with no hyperthreading, while the 8700k is a 6 core CPU with hyperthreading. The extra physical cores combined with higher clock speeds make up for the lack of hyperthreading and the two perform at a similar level in games, but certain applications exist which can utilize the extra threads of the 8700k and thus it may be the better choice in those cases. The 9700k is the first “K” SKU desktop Core i7 to lack hyperthreading and marks a departure from Intel’s traditional product lineup as it is more similar to a Core i5 than a traditional Core i7.
But don’t let the lack of hyperthreading fool you into believing it is any less potent in games, in fact we have noticed that the 9700k actually performs slightly better in a lot of games which rely more on clock speed and physical core count. Since most games can’t utilize more than 8 threads, it makes sense for the 9700k to be a gaming oriented processor while the 8700k was more of an all- rounder. One of the workloads in which you will notice the lack of threads on the 9700k is in Blender, which is optimized to use more threads even if they are not based on actual physical cores but are instead pseudo threads like the ones in SMT/ hyperthreading enabled CPUs. And if you purchase the i7 9700k version of the Trace 9220 gaming PC, you will also be able to overclock it better for higher performance in games such as DOTA 2 or CS GO which use the Source engine. A lack of hyperthreading allows the 9700k to generate less heat across the same area which means it will clock higher than the 8700k. In conclusion, for most games the 9700k will give you an extra 2 or 3 FPS compared to the 8700k but in certain professional workloads like Blender it falls behind the 8700k because of lower thread count.
- You get to choose from two excellent CPUs- the Core i7 8700k and the Core i7 9700k, the former is a better all rounder while the latter is a marginally better if your primary workload is gaming
- RTX 2070 graphics
- Z370 chipset based motherboard for extensive overclocking and lots of expandability in terms of storage
- Up to 64GB of DDR4 memory support, comes with 2 8GB sticks of 2666 MHz RAM installed in dual channel config
- Dual M.2 expansion slots
- 11ac WiFi + Bluetooth adapter preinstalled
- Tempered glass side panel with remote controlled RGB case lighting
- 120mm AIO liquid cooler for the CPU
- The remote control for RGB case lighting is cheaply built, sometimes you have to literally hold it right next to the side panel in order for it work
- Included keyboard + mouse combo feels poorly built and will probably break down within 6 months
- The power supply brand has not been specified, and we are unsure if it has enough headroom to support future upgrades like a new GPU or processor
With the way graphics card prices are right now, you will find it very hard to build any custom gaming rig with a top of the line graphics card + processor combo. But thankfully, CYBERPOWERPC has made things a lot easier for people who don’t want to scourge the internet for weeks in search of the perfect PC components at the right prices. The Gamer Master GMA1394A is built well, looks attractive, and most importantly- it performs like the high end gaming PC it is meant to be.
Our first impression when we looked at this system was that it is designed to provide high- end gaming performance to PC enthusiasts at a reasonable price point. Now, we are fully aware that this isn’t exactly a cheap gaming PC. But something doesn’t have to be cheap in order to be reasonably priced. For instance, take one look at the way graphics card prices are right now and you will understand how hard it is to build your own gaming system from scratch. There are GTX 1080s retailing for nearly 40 to 50 percent more than their intended MSRP, and it is almost impossible to find a brand new GTX 1080ti. The only option you have right now if you want the best graphical performance is to purchase a RTX series GPU, and those are pretty expensive too. NVIDIA recently announced their RTX 2060, but it will take a while before those can be found on store shelves and the performance is very similar to a 1070ti from nearly 2.5 years ago.
With the Gamer Master GMA1394A, you are getting a liquid cooled Ryzen 7 2700 processor that is paired with a Gigabyte RTX 2070 8GB graphics card for maximum gaming performance in any modern AAA title. You can easily pair this system with a 144Hz 1080p monitor, and enjoy 100+ FPS in most modern titles such as Rainbow 6 Siege, Final Fantasy XV, Battlefield V, etc. And since the RTX 2070 features raytracing cores, you will also get superior lighting and reflection effects in lots of games. There are very few games right now that support RTX, but we are sure there will be plenty more in the future since NVIDIA is working closely with game developers and publishers to make this technology mainstream.
The Ryzen 7 2700 is an octa- core 16 thread CPU which can easily hit 4.2 GHz with a decent cooling solution. And the GMA1394A has more than just a decent cooling solution- it uses a 120mm AIO liquid cooler with RGB lighting. So not only does it run cool, but it also looks cool. And the cool factor doesn’t end there, you get RGB lighting on the two intake case fans as well which are mounted in a unique side facing configuration. We believe this system uses the CYBERPOWERPC ONYXIA Mid Tower case, with an aluminum frame and tempered glass panels on both the front and side. There are 2 USB3.0 ports on the top, along with separate 3.5mm mic in and mic out jacks. Overall build quality seems fairly decent for a custom prebuilt gaming rig at this price point, although they could have done a better job with the chassis choice. It only supports a maximum of 2HDDs and 2 SSDs, although you get a free M.2 slot on the mini ATX motherboard.
- Ryzen 7 2700 processor, 8 CPU cores and SMT for 16 threads. Amazing for gaming and productivity workloads that can utilize high core counts.
- AIO liquid cooler for processor, 120mm
- GIGABYTE RTX 2070 graphics card, 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM and raytracing + DLSS support
- Dual channel 16GB 2400 MHz DDR4 RAM
- 240GB SSD with Genuine Windows 10 Home 64 bit preloaded
- 2TB HDD for game storage
- 11AC dual band wireless card
- RGB case fans, tempered glass side panel
- Free keyboard and mouse are of cheap quality
- No display cable included
- Only supports 2HDDs and 2SSDs
- The case looks great, but doesn’t breathe very well
Computer Upgrade King is best known for providing amazing hardware at affordable prices, and their Mantis Gaming PC is a great example of that. It costs a fair bit less than the Gamer Master 1394A but offers the exact same gaming performance because instead of spending money on RGB lighting and a tempered glass side panel CUK put it into a GTX 1080 graphics card. Most custom gaming PCs at this price point will either give you a GTX 1060 6GB, or at the most a GTX 1070. But did CUK cut too many corners in order to accommodate a more powerful GPU? Let’s find out.
They say this PC was inspired by the praying mantis, which is one of the apex predators of the insect world. And it certainly looks the part, with those green accents and elegant yet sharp lines on the body. Performance is almost as good as the CYBERPOWERPC GMA1394A, and we say “almost” because this system uses a GTX 1080 instead of an RTX 2070 which means that you lose the raytracing and DLSS support. But the number of games that support raytracing right now can be counted on one hand, and if you are into esports titles such as Overwatch, CS GO, Dota 2, all you care about is FPS and smooth gameplay which this system can deliver beyond your expectations.
Fortnite will easily run at 100+ FPS on epic settings and 1080p resolution, even during intense fights with multiple players in the same area. And all new AAA games such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Call of Duty Black Ops IV, Monster Hunter: World, Assassins Creed Odyssey, Forza Horizon 4, etc. will run at a smooth 60+ fps on ultra settings. You can’t go wrong with a Ryzen 7 2700 + GTX 1080 combo, and this will last you for at least another 2 to 3 years. While the GTX 1080 is from an older generation of NVIDIA graphics cards, released back in mid- 2016, it certainly holds it own even today against the RTX 2070 which is basically a GTX 1080 with raytracing and tensor cores added on top, and GDDR6 memory instead of GDDR5X.
So, in any game that doesn’t have raytracing support (which means 99 percent of games), the GTX 1080 will perform identically to an RTX 2070 when all other system components are the same (processor, memory, etc.). And the CPU is a beast too, it can handle itself very well in games that use more than 6 or 8 CPU threads. If you are into video editing or game streaming, we highly recommend the Ryzen 7 2700 processor, and it pairs up perfectly with the GTX 1080 graphics card. The Ryzen 7 2700 also handles certain 3D modelling and animation software like Blender very well. While the Mantis costs less than the GMA1394A from CyberpowerPC, it doesn’t perform any worse in gaming and certainly not in daily tasks like web browsing or content streaming. The 500GB SSD is a nice thing to have since you can load both the OS and a few games that you play on a regular basis. But unlike the CyberpowerPC Gamer Master GMA1394A, the Mantis lacks a hard disk drive which means you have to purchase one yourself if you want some sort of mass storage drive in the system. It also lacks a 802.11ac wireless card, and the CPU is cooled by a stock fan and heatsink.
- Ryzen 2700 8- core CPU (stock cooler)
- GTX 1080 8GB graphics card
- 16GB Dual Channel DDR4 3000Mhz memory
- 500GB SATA III SSD
- Windows 10 Home 64 bit preloaded
- 6 Green LED cooling fans for the case
- 500- watt 80+ Bronze PSU
- Mini ATX motherboard, less upgradeability
- No liquid cooling for the CPU
- No tempered glass side panel
- Only a 500GB SSD for storage
- No wireless LAN card preinstalled
Now that you have taken a look at each of the three gaming desktops on our list, we suggest that you review the core specifications and decide which configuration would be the best for your specific needs. For example, the Core i7 9700k version of the Trace 9220 is great for games that are more dependent on CPU speed, such as DOTA 2 or CS GO. We believe it is definitely worth spending the extra money on the 9700k model if you are serious about esports and don’t do a whole lot of content creation.
You can also choose the iBUYPOWER Trace 9220 if you are into competitive shooters and wish to achieve ultra-high framerates in Fortnite, PUBG, Rainbow 6 Siege, etc. All three of the gaming PCs are equipped with high- end NVIDIA graphics cards, so you will experience super smooth gameplay in AAA games that are very graphically intensive, such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Fallout 76, Far Cry 5, Black Ops IV, etc. And things get even smoother if you own a G-Sync monitor, which will prevent frame tearing and occasional stuttering.
We recommend the last two gaming desktops for a combination of gaming and productivity since they feature Ryzen 7 2700 processors. The CyberpowerPC Gamer Master GMA1394A is an optimum AAA gaming + streaming/ content creation platform. You can play and stream at 1080p, 60 fps without dropping a single frame, the 16 threads of the Ryzen 7 2700 are perfect for heavy duty multitasking. You can also use it for content creation- video editing in Premier Pro, photo editing in Lightroom and Photoshop, 3D modelling in Blender/ Maya/ 3DS Max.