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What are the best desktops for game development? With passing time, newer games have emerged for either entertainment or professional purposes.
Not just the ones playable on PCs, there are alluring games for smartphones now as well, which are very much in demand. Regardless, games of all kinds are made in such a way that the viewers enjoy playing or watching them.
And games have been there for a long time, first in the form of Arcades, and then in the PCs in the 1990s so that one could play at home.
Those might feel pale and overly simple compared to some of the best AAA titles available today, but given the technological standards of that time, developing them surely was quite complex.
There are a few of the games that might have been launched a long time ago, but are still popular, some for the storyline while others for the overall gaming experience.
For an average game developer, choosing a PC for his purpose could be troublesome, and to make things a bit easier, here are 5 of the best pre-built desktops.
These are all powerful machines that can handle the game you create, while also allowing you to play them without any hiccups.
Since building a PC for game development is still a wiser choice, we have made a buyer’s guide as well which talks about most of the things that one has to look out for.
- Desktops for Game Development – Price
- What is Game Development?
- Minimum and Recommended Desktop Configurations for Game Development
- 5 Best Desktops for Game Development 2021:
- Things to Know Before Buying Best Desktops for Game Development
Desktops for Game Development – Price
What is Game Development?
Game development refers to the creation and development of video games from a mere concept, to an error-free result.
A game with minimum glitch allows the gamer to explore multiple features of the game (depending on the genre and the game itself) for the best experience.
There are game developers all around the globe that work solo or in teams to conceptualize, design, and ultimately create amazing video games.
But creating a game is not just coding and programming. There are game designers as well that handle graphics and other aspects like scenes, storylines, detailing of the characters, and so on.
The programmers, on the other hand, handle the technical parts and combine the work of the designers with their own.
Hence as a game developer, you are going to need a variety of skills, including minute knowledge about coding.
Video game development is primarily of two types. The first kind is the 2-D games that are restricted to only the two axes of coordination and hence are relatively simpler.
These aren’t too large and can be created with decent PCs. The quality of graphics in 2-D games usually depends on its type, and the developer himself.
Next are the 3-D games that pretty much dominate the realm of gaming right now. These are complex and it might take years to create one of these that are rich in graphics and action.
Now every 3-D game doesn’t need to be graphics-intensive, and some are optimized for gaming on an integrated GPU as well.
There are other matters as well, but being an extremely creative concept, the possibilities are endless.
But to explore those possibilities, the need for the right resources is ever constant, since game engines like Unity or Unreal Engine are heavy applications.
Minimum and Recommended Desktop Configurations for Game Development
As we will be talking about in detail, there are a variety of games, and naturally, they are developed in different ways. In the lower end, if we are talking about the absolute minimum, then a quad-core processor, some decent amount of VRAM, say 2-4 GB and at least 8 GB of RAM is mandatory.
The storage disk size would depend on the size of the project(s), but it should be an SSD since the software used in game development would benefit from it.
But these specs are only good as long as lighter games are concerned. Heavier 3D games that constitute more intensive visual elements necessarily need a better GPU, and at least a 6 core CPU alongside it. At this point, the minimum would be 16 GB of RAM, and a 1 TB SSD would be just fine for starters.
So here’s what we think are the minimum and necessary configurations needed in your desktop, should you be engaged in the field of developing games:
Minimum System Requirements: Core i5 or similar AMD CPU or better │ GTX 1660 Super or better Video Card │ 8 GB or more RAM │ 512 GB or bigger SSD
Recommended System Requirements: Core i7/ Ryzen 7 or better CPU │ RTX 2060 or better GPU │ 16 GB or more RAM │ 1 TB SSD or more
5 Best Desktops for Game Development 2021:
1. CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Supreme SLC8306A – Best Overall
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.
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
- Graphics: NVIDIA RTX 3070
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- RAM: 16 GB
- Storage: 1 TB NvMe SSD
- Powerful performance
- Decent Storage
- Good warranty period
- Not always available
- Maintenance can be costly
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
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.
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
- Graphics: NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
- OS: Windows 10
- RAM: 16 GB
- Storage: 1 TB SSD
- Brilliant Performance
- Good cooling features
- No Bloatware is installed
- Type-C Ports are not present
- Not always available
- Limited PSU wattage limits further GPU upgrades
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.
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. Check out Skytech Chronos Review.
3. Dell Aurora R11 – Capable of Handling Incredible Graphics
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.
- Processor: Intel Core i7-10700KF
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
- OS: Windows 10
- RAM: 16 GB
- Storage: 512 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD
- Excellent Performance
- Multiple-monitor support
- Impressive overall specs
- Overclocking may lead to heating issues
- The build quality could have been better
- Lower variants are limited on upgrades
Being a leading manufacturer, Dell has provided a little scope of criticism for their top-of-the-line offering, the 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. Check out Dell Alienware Aurora R11 Review.
4. CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme GXiVR8060A10 – Value for Money
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.
- Processor: Intel Core i5-10400F
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Super
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- RAM: 8 GB
- Storage: 500 GB SSD
- Satisfying entry-level performance
- Affordable Price tag
- VR features
- No USB Type-C port
- 4K performance isn’t much comfortable
- Small RAM capacity out-of-the-box
The CYBERPOWERPC Gamer Xtreme VR 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.
Moreover, there are other variants as well with slightly different specs that are going to make a bit of a difference regarding performance. Check out CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme GXiVR8060A10 PC Review.
5. HP Omen 25L – The Most Reliable Mid-range Choice
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- Processor: Intel Core i7-10700F
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- RAM: 32 GB RAM
- Storage: 512 GB SSD + 1 TB Hard Drive
- Good mid-range specs
- Great chassis design
- Decent connectivity features
- Higher variants can get pricey
- Peripherals could have been better
- Not the latest version of WIFI
You’d see a variety of desktops on this list, but the OMEN 25L is one of the most balanced desktops here.
It has got all the necessary features that a game designer or developer may require and is available in a variety of configurations and price tags that make it all the more attractive.
This is the lighter OMEN with the smaller chassis, and this particular variant gives you an 8 core Intel Core i7 CPU, 32 GB of RAM, and an RTX 2060 GPU to handle the graphical aspects of your projects.
It has also got enough space present in its two storage drives, one SSD and the other a hard drive, while you get the scope of upgrading these in the future too.
The minimalist design is not just about looks, and it makes accessing the internal components very easy. The options for expansions are also present, and the tool-free design makes things much easier.
And not just that, it seems capable in the connectivity department too, providing you with inbuilt WIFI and all the necessary ports and slots, which are useful for any user in general. Check out HP OMEN 25L Review.
Things to Know Before Buying 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
What desktops do game developers use?
There are different kinds of games out there, and hence the kind of developers are also quite many. Typically though, game development requires both CPU and GPU performance with an abundance of RAM, depending on the kind of game being created. Certain games do not need so much graphics, but the CPU and RAM remain important in any case.
Here are some of the pre-built options that can be used as a reference:
CyberPower PC Gamer Supreme
SkyTech Chronos Gaming Desktop
Dell Aurora R11 Desktop
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.
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.