HP® has a full lineup of power-packed gaming PCs primed to handle even the most demanding games on the market. Whether you’re looking for a gaming desktop or laptop, here are our five best gaming PCs for you. But first, let’s do a quick overview of what you should be looking for in your gaming computer.
Elements of a top gaming PC: What you should look for
While there are a number of features that go into a top gaming PC, we’ve highlighted a few of the most important elements to keep in mind.
The central processing unit (CPU), also called the “processor” or “core,” is an essential part of the 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 a top gaming desktop or laptop PC.
CPUs have between 2 and 28 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. While 2-core (or dual-core) processors are common, gaming applications run best with at least 4 or quad-core processors and higher.
The graphics processing unit
(GPU) is also called the graphics card or video card. Like the CPU, it’s an exceedingly important component of a gaming system; the GPU runs math calculations so that the CPU is free to work on its equally important 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 4GB 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 8GB 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 midrange to high-end card (with a minimum of 8GB) to match that power.
Your gaming system’s monitor, or display, is up there with the CPU and GPU in terms of importance to the gaming experience. It goes without saying that you need to be able to clearly see the action and graphics that are going on in your game - many of which nowadays are beautifully rendered with staggering detail. And your monitor should be able to display those images and videos as smoothly as possible for optimal gameplay.
With a gaming desktop PC, you have the option 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.
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 which is also the sweet spot for 1080p gaming. Aim to go no wider than 24 inches for crisp graphics.
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, thus negatively affecting the sharpness of those stunningly rendered graphics we mentioned earlier.
Like the processor and graphics card, memory (RAM) is an important component of a top gaming PC. Having enough of it is essential for stable, high performance, as well as ensuring that your system doesn’t experience lag
during your gameplay.
A minimum of 8GB of RAM is usually enough for most games, although you can’t go wrong with bumping it up to 16GB if you’re able within your budget, as that amount is more than 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 amount of memory might be something to keep in mind especially if you’re looking to buy a gaming laptop rather than a desktop PC, as the latter’s memory can more easily be customized and upgraded later.
Storage, too, is an element of a top-notch gaming PC that can potentially make or break your gaming experience, especially for some of the latest resource-intensive triple-A (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 do 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. Gaming laptops, though, have SSDs that are smaller in size, making the laptop lighter and therefore easier to transport as well as quicker to run applications and boot up than HDDs.
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, an older one, or the default keyboard on your laptop, 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 among high-performing mechanical keyboards
that are ideal for gaming. They’re built to last and stand up to continuous pressure and long hours of gaming. Depending on the type of switch they’re using, mechanical keyboards last within a range of 20 to 75 million keystrokes. Membrane keyboards, on the other hand, average about 5 million keystrokes.
Gaming laptops typically feature membrane keyboards whose low-profile keys are quieter than mechanical keyboards because of their silicone/rubber cushioning. That can be advantageous for stealth games in particular.
Some laptops do feature mechanical keyboards as well as optical/photo-optical keyboards, which are very fast, that use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and photo sensors to detect when keys are activated optically. And you can always add an external mechanical keyboard to your gaming laptop if you’d like.
If you’re planning on customizing or upgrading 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 PC is accessible for upgrades.
Be sure that your gaming PC’s chassis meets industry standards as well. You’ll also want to look for a gaming PC that makes it easy to access internal components without having to contend with annoying, bulky cables and wires.
Top gaming PCs from HP
While HP® has an extensive lineup of high-performing gaming PCs, we’ve chosen just a few that will more than meet your powerful gaming requirements. The following five top gaming PCs from HP are a mix of both desktop and laptop gaming PCs.
1. HP OMEN Obelisk gaming desktop computer
The HP OMEN Obelisk
is one of the best gaming desktops available today. It features the latest Intel® and AMD® CPUs, powerful NVIDIA® GeForce GPUs, 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 Obelisk is built for gamers who want to be able to upgrade or configure their systems for future requirements.
High-performance CPUs and GPUs
With the HP OMEN Obelisk, you can configure up to a 9th Generation Intel Core™ i9-9900K processor with liquid cooling
or up to a 2nd Generation AMD Ryzen™ CPU (Ryzen 7 2700). Both of these 8-core, 16-thread CPUs are fast and powerful, so you can easily process heavily multi-threaded applications, video editing, livestreaming, and virtually any type of multi-tasking.
The HP OMEN Obelisk also features cutting-edge graphics of up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card. This powerhouse of speed and efficiency has incredibly fast 14 Gbps memory speed, memory bandwidth of 616 GB/s, and 11GB 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. While ray tracing may not be used right now in many games, it helps make this graphics card future-proof as well as able to handle graphically demanding AAA games with high resolutions and on ultra settings.
Accelerated memory and storage options
The HP OMEN Obelisk features memory of up to 64GB of 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. The HP Obelisk has space for up to three storage devices to let you mix up to 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD, up to 3TB SATA, dual HDDs, or HDDs plus 16GB Intel Optane™ memory on select models to accelerate your storage without sacrificing HDD storage.
2. The HP OMEN X desktop PC
The HP OMEN X desktop PC
is a revolutionary tower that’s designed for gaming. It offers up to an extremely powerful 12-core, 24-thread Intel Core i9-7920X processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 2080 Ti 11GB graphics. It also includes enormous memory and storage options with up to 64GB of RAM and four separate storage bays that can hold up to 3TB each for a massive 12TB of potential storage. Designed at a unique 45-degree angle, the HP OMEN X also features an innovative tri-chamber thermal design and a customizable, upgradable chassis.
Form meets function with a revolutionary design
The HP OMEN X marries form and function. Not only does it look cool, but the 45-degree angle also lets you easily access the interior so you can avoid having to move your system or detangle a mess of wires or cables when you install new accessories. And tool-less access to the four storage bays lets you quickly swap out or add storage to your gaming tower without even opening the case. If you do need to switch other components, you’ll find a cleverly hidden toolkit behind the HP OMEN logo.
An inventive tri-chamber design in the HP OMEN X separates hot internal components including GPU, HDDs, and power supply into their own thermal zones. There is even dedicated cooling in each for optimal thermal management and safe, easy access. All the while, top-mounted, angled exhaust vents keep your gaming PC running cool.
Customizing and overclocking
The HP OMEN X desktop has a black cubic chassis that’s highlighted by vivid red accent lighting along with a customizable RGB lighting system to control 9 lighting zones. And using HP OMEN Command Center software, you can fine-tune your system and optimize your gaming network via an intuitive interface for safely overclocking the CPU.
3. The HP OMEN desktop computer
A top-performing gaming PC, the HP OMEN Desktop
is outfitted with the industry’s latest hardware, a trailblazing design, and extremely easy upgradability to meet maximum performance demands and beat the newest AAA games. It features up to an Intel Core i7-9700K processor with liquid cooling, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, 64GB RAM, and numerous storage options.
Enormous internal storage options
The HP OMEN Desktop supports up to four 3.5-inch HDDs of up to 3TB each, including two optional 3.5-inch hard drive bays at the top of the case. An optional PCIe SSD lets you optimize your storage with speeds up to 17 times faster than traditional HDDs so you can quickly boot up your system to load and install games.
Tool-less access and an integrated carrying handle
With tool-less access, you can upgrade hardware components whenever you need to. And if you select a model with the transparent door, you’ll be able to see (and show off) those internal components highlighted by stylish red internal lighting. If you need to move your HP OMEN desktop, you’ll find a convenient integrated carrying handle located right at the top.
Thermal engineering is a crucial component of the HP OMEN’s design. It has up to two 120 mm fans, liquid cooling options, and all-around edge vents on the left and right sides. These are designed to efficiently pull in cool air to help offset heat from the desktop's crucial components and keep temps down while you’re in the middle of your game.
4. HP OMEN X 2S laptop
Looking for a dual-monitor setup without actually having to buy another monitor? The HP OMEN X 2S Laptop
is the world’s first dual-screen gaming laptop, with an integrated, industry-first 6-inch 1080p resolution touch screen that’s mounted right on the keyboard.
This groundbreaking laptop lets you choose from the latest high-performance CPUs ranging from a 6-core, 12-thread Intel Core i7-9750H up to the 8-core 16-thread Intel Core i9-9880H, which furnishes the horsepower needed for gaming, streaming, and multi-tasking. Choose from the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 or 2080, both with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, and memory up to 32GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM.
Revolutionary dual-screen design
The ultra-cool second screen on the HP OMEN X 2S is positioned directly under the laptop’s primary screen and right above the keyboard. It’s ideal for instant messaging with friends, watching livestreams, interacting with applications like Spotify or Twitch, and viewing instructional videos while you’re in the middle of your game.
It also has a functional real-time screen mirroring feature that lets you cut and magnify images from your laptop’s primary screen - for instance, copying a map or commands from a game - to the secondary display.
First overclockable laptop, innovative cooling solutions
The HP OMEN X 2S is the first overclockable laptop in the HP OMEN
lineup, which lets you adjust your gaming PC’s power, core, and memory for enhanced performance and gameplay. It also features the all-new OMEN Tempest Cooling Technology, with 4-sided venting for 5-way airflow.
HP OMEN partnered with Thermal Grizzly and its Conductonaut liquid metal compound to improve heat transfer to the heat sink and increase thermal conductivity by up to 10 times compared to thermal grease, boosting performance overall.
A desktop-like mechanical keyboard
Inspired by eSports competitors
, the mechanical keyboard on the HP OMEN X 2S laptop is designed for precise, competitive gameplay. Its blue mechanical switches, 1.5 mm fast-action key travel, height, and location mimic the responsiveness of a desktop setup.
5. HP OMEN 17 laptop
The stunning desktop-grade HP OMEN 17 laptop
, which weighs just under 6.5 pounds, provides tons of power in a sleek, ultra-thin, and portable design. Take on the most demanding AAA games with up to an Intel Core i9 9880H and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080, and choose from 8GB up to 32GB RAM. Load games at lightning-fast speeds with accelerated storage options that include PCIe SSD, RAID 0, and Intel Optane memory with SSD. And easily upgrade and maintain your system with single-panel access to HDD, SDD, and RAM.
Display, thermal, and connectivity solutions
The 17.3-inch diagonal 1080p FHD display with a narrow bezel gives you edge-to-edge immersion, a larger viewing area, and 120 Hz refresh rates to play smoothly without experiencing lag or image ghosting.
Inspired by the intake of high-performance racing cars, the grids and vents of the HP OMEN 17 are strategically located on the bottom and sides to provide internal components with continual airflow. HP OMEN laptops
offer a generous port selection, as well, including external ports like HDMI, Thunderbolt, USB, and Mini DisplayPort to plug in all your gaming peripherals and monitors.
Add a little extra to your gaming setup
To outfit your new desktop or laptop with the latest and greatest gaming accoutrements, 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.
About the Author: Jolene Dobbin is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Jolene is an East Coast-based writer with experience creating strategic messaging, marketing, and sales content for companies in the high-tech industry.