By this point, everyone including John Oliver has touched on the PS5 design. So it may come off as obvious and trite when I say it looks like an Alienware Aurora R9 was bitten by a vampire then crushed on one side by your younger brother when you neglected to let him use the REAL PlayStation controller for a night of Crash Team Racing with the squad. It’s a hideous abomination, and I love it, because at least it’s not another boring plain monochromatic box.
If the PS5 is any indication of what’s to come from the next generation of consoles, count me the fuck in. Showy, ostentatious designs are my jam, and there is no better evidence than my choice in gaming PCs. After years of building and upgrading rigs myself, I finally caved this year and bought an MSI Trident X Plus, complete with obscene amounts of RGB lighting and a dragon on the side. The awful gamer aesthetic I once rejected I now wholly embrace. It’s 2020, if your ironic detachment hasn’t morphed into Sincere Enjoyment of Bad Things, you’re doing it wrong.
The unabashedly uggo PS5 is by no means unprecedented. As the line between console and PC continues to blur, so too do their design principles, which are largely based around airflow above all else. Its custom AMD Zen 2-based CPU boasts high clock speeds and eight cores, and while 10.28 teraflops of raw graphics power may sound like made-up nonsense, it’s a whole lot to keep cool. To account for all that power, of which no one man should have, the PS5 chassis is bigger and weirder-shaped than before.
That same logic applies to gaming PCs, which have been garish for as long as I’ve been gaming. Kitschy appearances come with the territory, to the extent my followers came prepared with apt responses when I called for “the ugliest pre-built gaming PC you’d still keep at your desk if it meant 4K max settings 120fps+ in every game.” Our own Quentyn Kennemer articulated it best when he said—and I’m paraphrasing here—“I’d still put any one of those on my desk.” In case you would too, cut the line and read on for the ugliest gaming PCs you can buy and relish months ahead of the PS5 launch.
Acer Predator Orion 3000 | $1,864
For the price of a used sedan with 100,000 miles on it, you can start fresh with this hunk o’ metal (jk, it’s mostly plastic) and its noisy blue glow. Pop off the side panel and you’ll find a blazing fast eight-core Intel i7-9700K processor, a hardy Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 256GB NVME storage drive combined with 1TB of traditional spinning hard drive space. With 10.1 teraflops of pure graphics rigor, the Acer Predator Orion 3000 is future-proofed for post-PS5 perfection, and it does more than just game.
With Windows 10 Home pre-installed, you can take Zoom calls, download movies, finally learn how to use Excel, apply for jobs, post angry comments on Kinja Deals letting us know our promo codes aren’t working on a deal published yesterday—whatever you want. Because a PC is more than a dedicated gaming machine, buying one often comes at a high premium. Not to mention it’s modular, so you can upgrade it with new parts whenever you’d like. Its walls are tight, but mark my words, the Orion 3000 leaves more room for serviceability than any console that releases this year.
Alienware Aurora R11 | $880+
Aha! Here’s the one I joked about immediately following Sony’s PS5 event last month. To be honest, as far as gaming PCs go, the Alienware Aurora R9 isn’t near as unsightly as some of the cases you all brought to my attention. I mean, remember the HP Omen X AKA The Cube?? Don’t even get me started on the Acer Predator 21 X “laptop.” Compared to those feral abominations, the Alienware Aurora R11 is pretty tame. Better still, unlike the Acer Predator Orion 3000, the R11 comes in multiple configurations.
By default, you’ll find anything from a GTX 1660Ti to an RTX 2080 Super inside. Dig deeper, however, and you’ll discover endless possibilities in the form of built-to-order specs. Sure you could settle for a measly Intel Core i9-10900, 32GB of RAM, and an 11.1-teraflop RTX 2080 Super for $2,500 OR you could totally trick out your rig with dual-wielding GeForce 2080 Ti’s—harness the power of 28.4 teraflops for only $1,666 more! In reality, though, an i7 with 16GB of memory and a 2080 Super is probably your safest bet. Either which way, you’ll have a desktop capable enough to pay Halo Infinite AND file your taxes.
Skytech Archangel | $1,400+
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine: your ideal gaming PC, sitting in front of you, baring it all. Now, as you cordially lock eyes from across the room, what are three words that come to mind? If you answered bright, loud, and AMD, allow me to introduce the Skytech Archangel. This bad boy is decked out in RGB lighting. Everything from the fans to the heatsink to the front panel of the casing is bespeckled with colorful LEDs, and tempered glass side panels make it the center of attention any place you store it.
For the processor, I hope you fancy the Ryzen 3700x because it comes in all three configurations. Curious Intel loyalists should note the silicon is roughly analogous to the Core i7-9700K, albeit with double the threads. In terms of GPU, the Archangel comes outfitted with either an RTX 2060 Super, 2070 Super, or 2080 Super. No matter your preference, the key takeaway is, regardless of what you buy, it’ll be super. A 1-year warranty on the PC as a whole means you won’t have to spend your time troubleshooting should anything go wrong. Instead, you can focus on what REALLY matters: racking up Warzone Victories in Call of Duty until Cyberpunk 2077 comes out.