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Best PC for gaming and HTPC use 2017: Pre-built and DIY options

Acer Predator 17 Gaming laptop

written by Nicholas Brown October 24, 2017

Gaming PCs are just high performance computers that are also suitable for everyday tasks, including home theater use. This article consists of the best gaming desktop, the best low-profile gaming PC, and the best gaming laptop with a DIY desktop option for those who love customizing their computers like us. Check out the best PC for gaming and HTPC use 2017 options.

1. The best PC for gaming and HTPC use 2017 (Mid-sized tower): The Alienware Aurora – $1,779.99

The Alienware Aurora is not Alienware’s most expensive gaming PC. However, its price range is spot on for people who have extra money, but not incredibly deep pockets. The Aurora is the Area-51’s smaller, less extreme brother. It offers a more conventional design, with just a hint of the brand’s exotic styling. Considering that the Aurora is a build-to-order PC, we took the opportunity to customize the perfect one for you. If you like this configuration, just ensure the options below are checked on their website when ordering. This configuration costs $1779.99 at the time it was configured.

Alienware Aurora high-end gaming PC - Best PC for gaming and HTPC use 2017

Alienware Aurora. Image obtained with thanks from Dell.

Ideal Configuration For The Alienware Aurora

CPU: Intel® Core™ i7 8700 (6-Core, 12MB Cache, up to 4.6GHz with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology). This Intel i7 hexa-core processor is equipped with a massive 12MB of cache, a clock speed of up to 4.6 GHZ and 6 cores to handle all your background tasks with ease. This is great for heavy multitaskers who also want to watch movies and play high-end video games.

PSU: Alienware™ 460 Watt Multi-GPU Approved Power Supply. A powerful PSU helps to facilitate future upgrades (especially CPU and video card upgrades). If you think you’ll do major upgrades in the future, there is an 850-Watt power supply option for an extra $100.

Video Card: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1070 with 8GB GDDR5. The GTX 1070 GPU is a top-tier performance video card for avid PC gamers. You won’t have to worry about choppy games with this card (at least not in most cases, as some games have obscenely high video card requirements).

RAM: 16GB, 2666MHz, DDR4 up to 64GB (Additional memory sold separately). RAM remains a critical determining factor of a gaming PC’s performance. Too little will cause your computer to rely excessively on swap memory, which is very slow.

HDD: 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD (Boot) + 2TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s (Storage). This hard drive configuration provides a combined 2.25 TB of storage capacity. 256GB of it is offered by the SSD, which is very fast. Install your OS and games on the 256GB SSD and store large movies, music, zip files, and software installers on the 2TB secondary drive to avoid running out of space on the SSD. This configuration is economical because 2TB of SSDs would cost over $1,000.

OS: Windows 10 Home.

2. The best low-rofile gaming desktop: ASUS GR8 II-T043Z Mini Gaming PC – $1,150

Coming in at a significantly lower price point of $1,150, and with a significantly smaller footprint than the Alienware Aurora, the ASUS ROG GR8 II-T043Z is one of the most powerful low-profile gaming PCs you can get for the price. It has a slim, elaborately styled chassis, but don’t let that fool you. This little gaming PC has an Intel Core i7-7700 4-core processor operating at clock speeds up to 3.6GHZ, and 16GB of DDR4 2400MHZ RAM. This isn’t the cheapest CPU, but it’s worth every penny, as it outperforms even its 8-core competitors in benchmarks.

For the avid gamers and home theater users out there, the GPU is an NVidia GTX 1060 with 3GB of VRAM and a 1506MHZ clock speed. The hard drive arrangement is an equally suitable 512GB PCIe SSD + 1TB HDD combo for fast booting/program load times and the economical storage of large files. PCIe SSDs are even faster than conventional SATA SSDs, so you can get twice the data transfer rates! Going with a 512GB SSD over a 256GB one is especially useful if you have a large collection of games. By going with the larger SSD, you reduce the likelihood of having to install your games on the slower hard drive due to a lack of storage. The slim chassis of the ASUS GR8 won’t take up too much space in your home theater setup.

ASUS GR8 II gaming pc - Best PC for gaming and HTPC use 2017

Image obtained with thanks from ASUS.

3. The best gaming laptop: Acer Predator 17 with dual drives – $1,750

Finally, the laptop. Desktops still offer better bang for buck than laptops from a performance standpoint (although laptops still handle home theater usage quite well), but many of us want laptops for their portability, and it is worth it in some cases. The Acer Predator 17 is a 17.3″ laptop with two drives, an uncommon option. Normally, you’d have to choose between struggling with an SSD’s limited storage capacity, and a conventional hard drive’s poor performance. The Predator 17 is equipped with both a 256GB SSD, and a 1TB HDD, so there’s nothing to worry about. As a user of a 17.3″ laptop, I recommend it because size really does affect your overall viewing experience. Its big screen is backed up with a decent resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Not bad for a laptop!

The $1,750 Acer Predator 17 is equipped with 16GB of RAM, and an NVidia GTX 1070 GPU that has an impressive 8GB of VRAM to play almost any game smoothly.

Acer Predator 17 Gaming laptop - Best PC for gaming and HTPC use 2017

Acer Predator 17 Gaming PC.
Image obtained with thanks from Amazon.

4. Bonus Option: A $569 4K DIY Home Theater PC Build

If you’re willing to make the extra effort required to build your own home theater PC, then you can save a lot of money, as this 4K PC build, created by htpcBeginner is the cheapest one in this compilation by far!

It has a GTX 1050 GPU with 4GB of VRAM, a 4TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive, 8GB of DDR3 1866MHZ RAM, an AMD FX-8320 8-core CPU (up to 4GHZ per core in overdrive), and a very slim Silverstone chassis to fit into that TV/set-top box enclosure in your living room.

We also published a nicer $800 build with an SSD.

Best gaming HTPC 2017 options: Final thoughts

The top media center PC in 2017 will allow you to play high-end games, stream from a variety of sources, as well as watch local videos. Whether you choose to buy a pre-built system or build your own, it’s pretty easy to find the best PC for gaming and home theatre use.

What best gaming HTPC 2017 combo PCs do you suggest?

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2 comments

Paul Nossenko Jr October 30, 2017 - 7:35 am

Why not use a single board computer to make an htpc? Like Odroid or Orange Pii ?
Instead of spending over $100 to use Kodi.

Reply
Nicholas Brown January 4, 2018 - 12:37 pm

They aren’t just for Kodi, but for gaming and entertainment in general.

Reply

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