5 Best Desktops for Game Development 2023

By Puja Chatterjee on April 21, 2021

With passing time, newer games have emerged for either entertainment or professional purposes. For an average game developer, choosing a PC for his purpose could be troublesome, and to make things a bit easier, here are the best desktops for game development.

Minimum & Recommended System Requirements for Game Development

Game developers need a powerful and speedy system to do their projects.

The students of this genre can go with slightly low-end systems with configurations like Intel Core i5-10400F or equivalent, 8GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super graphics card, and 500GB of NVMe SSD storage.

But professionals need a more powerful PC to do their tasks.

Those professionals can choose a PC that is equipped with powerful and updated configurations like AMD Ryzen 9 5900X or better, 32GB of RAM or more, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 or better graphics card, and 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD and 1TB HDD or more storage.

Minimum System Requirements: Intel Core i5-10400F | 8GB RAM | NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super | 500GB NVMe SSD.

Recommended System Requirements: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X or better processor | 32GB RAM or more | NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 or better GPU | 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD and 1TB HDD or more storage.

5 Best Desktops for Game Development:

1. CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Supreme SLC8306A – Best Overall

CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Supreme SLC8306A

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Bottom Line: The desktop stands true to its name and indeed provides supreme performance, and is a complete package for a skilled game developer. Not just the top-end components, but overall, it offers other conveniences too that you can use when working with complex projects.

Key Features:

Pros

Cons

This is the best desktop on this list and deserves the top spot. Being a very powerful device, the CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Supreme can be the ideal choice if you require a desktop for serious game development.

The desktop has got the typical looks that you’d expect from a gaming PC, a glass side panel, flaunting RGB, and such. And we must say, it looks quite good.

The CPU used is a liquid-cooled Ryzen 9 5900X, which has 12 working cores, 24 threads, and a 64 MB cache.

The more cores and PCIe gen 4.0 capabilities surely give it an edge over other devices. There’s also an RTX 3070 GPU fitted in this, but with 16 GB of system RAM.

The desktop has the latest components, be it the processor, GPU, or anything else, which means that it is future-proof enough. However, we are slightly disappointed that there isn’t a USB Type-C port on this.

But this too is on the expensive side, even though costs are lower than other devices in this segment. The performance you get is for the premium user only, who has extensive usage.

As for the others, you can utilize only half of what the PC offers if you would be working with average projects.

2. SkyTech Chronos – Runner Up

SkyTech Chronos

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Bottom Line: If you’re not inclined at reaching the limit of consumer hardware, the SkyTech Chronos seems to be one of the best options for game development that also goes lighter on your bank account. It does have a few typical drawbacks, but as long as performance is concerned, it delivers as expected.

Key Features:

Pros

Cons

The Skytech Chronos Gaming desktop comes second on our list and is suitable for those who need power but on a lower budget.

The PC has got a Ryzen 7 3700X CPU from AMD, an NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super GPU, 16 gigs of RAM, AIO cooling, and other attractive features at a price just around $2000. But it isn’t free of flaws either.

The Ryzen 7 3700X CPU is one with 8 cores and 16 threads and hence the processing power you get on this is plenty.

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With a maximum clock rate of 4.4 GHz, the CPU can handle both intensive single and multi-threaded tasks, so that you can finish up your projects effortlessly.

The two RAM sticks that are installed provide a total of 16 GB of memory, and there are 2 more free slots too, providing a good speed and performance.

There’s RGB lighting on these too, adding to the already present lighting flair on the rig.

The PC has got the right set of ports, including video ports for adding more monitors to your setup, and efficient cooling.

However, the absence of even a single USB Type-C port remains to be a concern. Also, the WIFI you get on this is still an old one.

Having said so, this is one of the PC’s that you must consider for game development.

Not just because of the performance, but also for the overclocking abilities as well that come with it.

3. Thermaltake Avalanche i370T – Great Cooling

Thermaltake Avalanche i370T

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Bottom Line: This desktop is packed with a decent amount of specifications with great cooling technology. The users can expect very smooth processing speed from this processor and it has classy snow edition side panels for the extra cooling facility.

Key Features:

Pros

Cons

This is a great option for game developers due to its powerful Intel Core i7-12700KF processor and 32GB of DDR4 RAM. The 1 TB NVMe M.2 solid-state drive provides fast data access.

As a result, you can experience smooth performance while developing any game.

The desktop also comes with a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti graphics card, which can handle heavy graphics rendering and video editing tasks.

Additionally, the Z690-37T-LCS motherboard is compatible with high-end peripherals and expansion cards, providing flexibility for future upgrades.

Having a great cooling section, you can run this device for a long time, without facing any hanging issues.

4. Dell Aurora R11 – Capable of Handling Incredible Graphics

Dell Aurora R11

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Bottom Line: The Aurora R11 is the one with radical graphics and hence the right choice if you develop games that have intensive graphical elements. The GPU present in it is one of the best as of now, but not as expensive as the RTX 3090s.

Key Features:

Pros

Cons

Being a leading manufacturer, Dell has provided a little scope of criticism for their top-of-the-line offering, the Dell Aurora R11. It might not be placed at the top, but it surely packs a punch.

The desktop has an 8 core Intel Core i7-10700KF that is one of the best that Intel offers in terms of clock rate, overclocking, and multi-core performance.

With this, you get 16 GB of RAM, an RTX 3080 GPU with 10 gigs of GDDR6X VRAM, and dual storage as well.

For future upgrades, there are expansion options, and all of this is packed inside a case that looks plenty futuristic already.

It isn’t too big either, and the GPU offers more video ports on top of the display port which the PC has by default. There are a good number of ports divided between the front and the backsides.

But so many good things come at a price, and in this scenario, it is a high one.

This PC here is reserved for either those who have the luxury of spending this much money on a pre-built system or for those game developers who need the kind of performance the PC would offer on its best day.

As a developer, this is currently one of the best machines that you may choose.

It can handle 4K editing, VR projects and render results comfortably at 60 fps on 1440p, while other applications are running in the background.

5. CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme GXiVR8060A10 – Value for Money

CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme GXiVR8060A10

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Bottom Line: This could be a favorite option for you if you’re an average game developer, both in terms of budget and performance. And even though it doesn’t have robust specs as such, it can be upgraded to a great extent which is always an advantage.

Key Features:

Pros

Cons

The CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme GXiVR8060A10 is a desktop that you may pick if you are looking for a further affordable PC.

This is built for the budget-concerned buyer, and hence the specs are not as good as the other three desktops that we have mentioned above.

Nevertheless, it has got a Core i5 CPU and a GTX 1660 Super GPU with 6 GB of VRAM. Then there is 8 GB of RAM as well, and as you can see these are all entry-level specs.

With a few upgrades, you might get to see some better mid-range performance, but the processor is going to be the limiting factor as you demand more.

For editing and rendering purposes, the best this PC can give is at 1080p, but if you try 4K or 1440p even, the results would not be very smooth.

But at a price tag like this, the PC is just right for the most intense 2D games, and some 3D game creation as well.

If you are starting your career as a developer, the CYBERPOWER VR Xtreme won’t disappoint. Also, for most basic to mid-range game development, the desktop is great.

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Moreover, there are other variants as well with slightly different specs that are going to make a bit of a difference regarding performance.

Things to Know Before Buying Best Desktops for Game Development

Best Desktops for Game Development

The games that are being played right now weren’t created in a day, it takes days and even months of coding and designing to create the final output.

Game development, much like any other software development profession, is a very interesting subject.

At the same time, it requires patience, creativity, and a decent computer that can take input commands and give relevant results as fast as possible.

The entire gaming industry has flourished for one primary reason, good computers to create or play. This is the case for simple ones, as well as others that are played in a competitive environment.

Things are easier today, but a developer needs to have high knowledge about a variety of things to make something that would be remembered even after years.

High-end game development demands powerful specs from a PC, and there is another aspect here which is Virtual Reality or VR gaming. It is very much in trend now, and these offer a better gaming experience and naturally need more GPU strength.

Creating VR games requires a different set of coding skills, though gaming engines like Unity and Unreal are providing features now that make it easier for developers to work with any sort of project.

Also, whether a game would be played online or offline makes a massive amount of difference in coding since online games (both single and multiplayer) need to be optimized for use under a network and handling so many users at the same time.

What Kind of Games Do You Build?

Some develop games for Android or IOS platforms, while others are rather invested in making games for PCs. There are 2-D developers, VR developers, and several classifications.

You can be either of them, but what sort of games you make is going to have an impact on the kind of specs you need on your desktop and the budget as well.

For example, if you develop games with mild graphics, a mid-range GPU and CPU should be more than enough. But the one who creates those AAA titles has to work with a better system from the very beginning.

It is often seen that owner firms of the games employ a few desktops that are configured well above the consumer level to tackle the heavy workload.

The platform for which you create games is also to be considered here. Games for smartphones for example, no matter how intense, are limited both in size and graphics. PC games, on the other hand, require a lot more potential from both the developer’s and the desktop’s part.

It’s better to evaluate your needs before you make a purchase. Based on this, you can fixate on a budget and decide whether to buy a PC or build one yourself.

Mac or PC

We could make a long, boring discussion about the advantages and problems with using a particular OS for game development, but we choose not to. Coming straight to the point, Windows seems to be better as a primary machine if you are a developer.

The reason is not the OS itself, but the other factors connected to it. At any point, a Windows PC comes cheaper and offers more upgrades than an iMac.

Also, the Macs usually have storage restrictions which makes it difficult to work as a developer. The better hardware compatibility of Windows becomes crucial since a profession like this cannot function with the same set of specs throughout.

Now surely for designing aspects, the Mac OS may take the lead, but that does not make it suitable for everything else related. Programming is also good on a Mac and the software aspect is something that makes more of a difference.

The Mac OS has its advantages, and thus a Mac desktop takes less time to complete the same rendering task on an Unreal engine than a Windows one when other parameters are the same.

The differences are blurred when talking about other simple software. But making games on Windows is better as it uses open-sourced products, and the games created on this platform are usually optimized for any environment.

Also, as a game developer, you must be interested in playing games, which is again a better experience in Windows.

Since we are talking about pre-built options here mostly, the price of the Macs is also a huge concern.

A PC at the same price tag as a Mac usually has a better CPU and GPU, and buying Macs for a team of developers is a concern unless your company earns billions.

Processor

Game development, be it designing or programming, requires you to run multiple tasks at once. For example, the game engine might be running in the background and you have to edit videos, run tests, and so on.

Each of these software has some hardware and software demands which need to be fulfilled before you can run all of these together smoothly.

And some games can take more time to be coded than others, which means that without a good CPU you’d have to wait until that is finished before doing anything else on the PC.

This can be harmful to your overall productivity, which is worse especially if you have a busy schedule.

Now in game development, there is one term that you are surely aware of known as light baking, which takes up a considerable amount of what the CPU can offer. The more intense this is, the better CPU would be needed.

And since you are creating a game, it also needs to be tested before it reaches your audience, and most game developers do the testing on the same desktop.

Thus, there is a need for higher clock speeds and more cores. With so many tasks at hand, the computer needs to use hyper-threading to quickly complete the separate tasks, and for that to happen there have to be enough cores present in the first place.

The higher the frequency is of these cores, the more tasks can be finished up quickly.

An AMD or Intel CPU with 4 or more cores is this what you require for even the lightest kind of game development, with processors having 8 or 10 cores being the best choice here.

But those can be expensive, and for moderate workload and everything upwards from there on, you can choose one that has got 6 cores at least.

Graphics

A very important part of a PC for any sort of development is graphics, and for creating games it is more than just important.

Having powerful graphics is a necessity for a variety of purposes that range from rendering, 3D modeling, running simulations, using more monitors and the list goes on. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to spend all that you have on the GPU itself.

There are certain use cases where a basic or a budget GPU can also be useful, and it all depends on the type of games you develop.

For the average indie developer, a GPU having 4-6 GB VRAM should be plenty. For those that need more, the options are in the upper RTX series but are expensive.

You can even consider Quadro GPUs that are very powerful, only if you are engaged in high-end, professional game development. The Radeon Pro graphics also fall into this category.

Also, make sure that the GPU has at least 2 video ports since using multiple monitors is a must. You don’t want to be stuck with a single monitor unless you make a GPU upgrade right?

RAM

The need to have more RAM is because of having more cores on the processor, that being multi-tasking.

But common multi-tasking is far different than what is done in game development, and for that, there has to be enough RAM in the system to make sure that there isn’t a bottleneck.

Anything above 8 GB is what you must be targeting, and there would be times where you’d wish you had more than 32 GB.

Not only the designing and coding software, but you would also have multiple websites running in the background on Google Chrome for example, for research or learning a new tutorial online.

With so many complex tasks running, the system has to be swift enough to tackle all of them without crashing. This is only possible when there is enough RAM in it.

Storage

Every game developer needs lots of storage and you would too since there are lots of things to store.

These include the raw resources for a project you might be working on, along with other footage and graphics that may be needed for the game, as well as personal data.

To make sure that limited storage on your desktop is never an issue, make sure to have large SSDs, internal or external.

We would suggest you ignore Hard Drives, but that is not always possible. Storage consisting of both kinds of storage drives should be better, given that the SSD is fast enough.

The options mentioned above should give you an idea about what you should be looking for, but in the majority of the cases, the more storage you have the better it is.

You might also want to invest in some fast external drives to divert the risk of the internal storage filling up.

Connectivity

The PC to be used for game development does not need to have anything special beyond the basic forms of connectivity that one would have on any other desktop.

But you must have arrangements for more monitors as that would be very important for increasing productivity.

The ports thus include the basic USB ports (both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, the latter would be more preferred) and more importantly, video ports. Video Ports here refer to ports in the likes of HDMI, Display Ports, and such that allow you to add more monitors.

The game developers always prefer more than a single monitor as it increases productivity, and one doesn’t have to deal with complex coding or designing on a small screen.

Also, running simulations or testing the final results are much more convenient when several displays are present in front of you.

Hence arrangements should be kept for 2-4 displays, depending upon your preference and requirements. The number of displays and their quality would largely be controlled by the GPU, so make sure you choose the right one.

Apart from this, good internet speed is mandatory as you would have to download or upload large files.

This is why an Ethernet slot and inbuilt WIFI and Bluetooth are what you should be going for, and those must offer high-speed connectivity.

Questions & Answers:

Are Gaming PCs good for coding?

Gaming PCs usually have very good CPUs and since coding is necessarily all about the processor in most cases, they can be used as a device that you can rely on for coding. However, they are worth it if you also have graphics-related tasks to perform. Game development requires both coding and graphics, and so a good gaming PC can be used for the same.

How much RAM do I need for game development?

The amount of RAM necessary depends on one game developer to the other, but at least 8 GB of it is recommended even for most rookie developers. Many prefer at least 16 GB, but they have much experience and heavier projects. You can start with either 8 or 16 GB, but what matters more is the scope of expansion, if needed later on.

Finishing up

The above were the most important aspects that you need to be concerned about if you were planning to get a new PC to develop games.

You may save time and buy a pre-built one, but building one yourself is sure to save some money and you might get to use both the Mac and Windows operating systems on a single PC.

No matter what you prefer, this article should be useful notwithstanding the kind of a game developer you are.