Good desktop for gaming: The best gaming PCs in 2023

Alienware Aurora R15 review: Cool under pressure

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Alienware improves on a classic with the new Aurora R15, which looks like its predecessors but runs cooler and quieter.

Editor’s Choice

(Image: © Future)

Tom’s Guide Verdict

The Alienware Aurora R15 is an excellent gaming PC that improves upon its predecessors in a few key ways, packing the most powerful components you can afford in an attractive, easy-to-open chassis that stays cool under pressure.

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    Compact, attractive case design

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    Top-tier performance (if you pay for it)

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    Easy to open, plenty of ports

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    Stays cool and quiet under load

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Alienware Aurora R15 specs (as reviewed)

Price: $4,588 as reviewed
Processor: Intel Core i9-13900KF
RAM: 32 GB
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090
Storage: 1 TB SSD, 1 TB HDD
Ports: USB-A, USB-C, 3.5 mm audio, Ethernet, DisplayPort, HDMI, SPDIF, surround sound
Size: 23.2 x 20.1 x 8.86 inches
Weight: Up to 36.4 pounds (depending on config)

The Alienware Aurora R15 ($1,399 to start) is an excellent gaming PC that improves upon its predecessors in a few key ways, packing the most powerful components you can afford in an attractive, easy-to-open chassis.

Though that chassis looks awfully similar to the Legend 2.0 case which debuted last year with the Aurora R13, Alienware claims to have redesigned it to run cooler and quieter, and my experience putting our review unit through its paces bears that out.  

But while case design is a surprisingly important part of choosing the best gaming PC for you given that their internals are typically highly customizable (and thus not a meaningful differentiator between PCs), it’s far from the most exciting aspect of these machines. No, what we get most hyped about is how well a gaming PC plays the latest and greatest games with all the settings cranked to max. 

When Alienware sent us a tricked-out Aurora R15 review unit with an RTX 4090 and a high-end 13th Gen Intel CPU I did everything I could to bring it to its knees, but even when gaming at 4K with every bell and whistle firing it ran whisper-quiet and delivered great framerates. That level of performance is far from cheap, but if you can afford it this is a gaming PC that will last you for years to come. 

Alienware Aurora R15 review: Price and availability

  • Starts at $1,399, but you can easily pay over $5k if you want the best
  • Highly customizable with the latest from AMD, Intel and Nvidia

The Alienware Aurora R15 is available for purchase right now via Dell’s website in either white or black (Lunar Light and Dark Side of the Moon, technically), and you can order a stock config or customize your own. The price tag on this Windows 11 gaming PC starts as low as $1,399 (at time of review), and for that you get a 13th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, 8GB of DDR5 RAM and a 256GB SSD for storage.

That’s a decent machine for the price and it should be able to run many games well enough (though 8GB of RAM really isn’t much, so you should probably add more), but it won’t play the latest and greatest PC games at high resolution with great framerates.

(Image credit: Future)

Of course, Alienware is happy to sell you more power if you can afford it. The company offers at least 7 pre-configured builds of the Aurora R15 on its website, some with Intel CPUs and others with AMD chips. 

The price tag for these builds ranges as high as $4,499, and for that you get a top-of-the-line liquid-cooled R15 with a 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900KF CPU, an Nvidia Geforce RTX 4090 GPU, 32GB of DDR5 RAM and a 1TB SSD for booting plus another 1TB hard disk drive (HDD) spinning at 7,200 RPM for added storage. It’s a beefy rig, as befits a nearly $5k price tag, and it’s what Alienware sent us to review. 

But for true enthusiasts, Alienware offers the option of configuring your own build. In addition to the remarkably powerful Intel Core i9-13900KF CPU and GeForce RTX 4090 GPU, you can configure an Aurora R15 with up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM (at either 4800MHz or the faster, more expensive 5200MHz) and up to a 4TB SSD + a 2TB hard drive.  Such a rig would cost you roughly $5,500, though it could climb even higher if you splurged for a Pro copy of Windows 11 and some of Alienware’s gaming accessories.

Alienware Aurora R15 review: Design

  • Redesigned Legend chassis runs cool and quiet, still looks great
  • Those fins on the back can leave wicked scratches on your wall

The Aurora R15 looks very similar to its predecessor the Alienware Aurora R13 at a glance, from the reclining oval face to the stubby fins on the back that left a few scratches on the wall behind my desk.  

Dig deeper and you’ll see how Alienware has redesigned the case to improve airflow by, among other things, punching some hexagonal holes in the side and expanding the cooling complement for high-end models (those with an Intel CPU ending in “K”, denoting overclock capabilities) to a set of five 120mm case fans.  The company also changed up the motherboard’s design and relocated some things within the case to try and make room for today’s beefy GPUs while ensuring the R15 runs quieter and cooler.

(Image credit: Future)

After spending some time with our review unit I can’t say for sure how much quieter it is than the R13 I reviewed last year, but I can say I barely noticed any fan noise or heat from the R15, even after spending hours playing a game like Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K resolution with all setting maxed. This is a nice change from when I was playing the same game on the older R13, since I can remember that machine getting a bit louder and putting out a noticeable amount of hot air after I’d been playing for an hour or two.

I barely noticed any fan noise or heat from the R15, even after spending hours playing a game like Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K with all setting maxed.”

Like the R13, the new Alienware Aurora R15 has an optional clear glass side panel (not available on all models) which lets you peer inside your PC to watch the components at work. New to the R15 is the afore-mentioned grille of hexagonal cutouts along the bottom half of the panel for improved airflow. If you want to get inside the PC this is the panel you want to remove, and it’s easy to do: simply unscrew one screw on the back of the PC and then (gently) prying it off. You can pull the other side off as well, and even the top of the case if you want to break out a screwdriver, but you can get to most of the PC’s innards just from the left side panel.

You can get around inside to just about anything you need to, but expect it to take a while—the case is tightly organized, and there are more than one or two brackets and stays between you and some areas of the case. This is the trade-off you make for the Aurora R15’s attractive case design and relatively compact size: Limited upgradability.  

Still, it’s not hard to see the appeal of the Aurora R15 at a glance. The oblong case is easy on the eyes and, if not exactly light, at least more convenient to lug around than many full-sized gaming PCs. Not long ago I reviewed the Acer Predator Orion 7000, another great gaming PC that comes in a full tower case, and if I had to pick one to carry up a flight of stairs, I’d go Aurora every time. 

Alienware Aurora R15 review: Ports and upgradability

  • Plenty of ports on front and back, though none up top
  • Case is easy to open, but difficult to work in

That removable side panel is one of the nicer aspects of the Aurora R15’s design because it makes it awfully easy to get into the PC and start mucking around. I really like this ease of access to the case, even if I’m less fond of the way Alienware routes as many cables as possible behind the motherboard and up the right side. This keeps cable clutter minimal in the case (which looks great) but can make it tricky to modify or add your own touches since you’ll need to work within the limits of the case.

This is true for working within the case in general: It’s easy enough to get in there and start fiddling with things, but you’ll be hampered by Alienware’s design work. While swapping in new RAM is easy enough, expect to have to remove brackets and move components around to do more complicated things like swap out a GPU in the case. Since Alienware uses a proprietary motherboard, your options for upgrading it (and by extension the CPU) down the road are limited at best. 

Alienware’s Aurora R15 sports all the ports a PC gaming enthusiast could want, with some on the front and the rest on the rear. However you won’t find any top-mounted ports on this PC, which might be a bummer for those who like to keep their gaming rig on the floor. 

While plugging things into the front of the case does mar the clean lines of the R15 somewhat, you can’t beat the convenience. Up front you get a headphone jack and a vertical lineup of USB-C ports: 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, another USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 with PowerShare (which just means the port delivers power to connected devices even when the PC is switched off) and a USB-C Gen 2 port with PowerShare. 

(Image credit: Future)

But that’s just a teaser. The real port smorgasbord is on the back of the PC, where you get a quartet of classic USB-A 2.0 ports as well as a newer USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port and a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2×2 port. As far as graphics go, your GPU choice will dictate what sorts of port options you have for outputting to monitors, and the 4090 in our review unit offers 3 DisplayPort jacks and one HDMI out.

The Aurora R15 also comes with a detachable cover you can slide over the rear to cut down on visible cable clutter. (Image credit: Future)

If you want to invest in a serious speaker setup to go with your new gaming PC, the Aurora R15 sports the ports you want. In addition to side, rear and center/subwoofer output ports you get line in and line out, a microphone in, and two SPDIF digital outputs: one for Toslink cables and the other for coax.  

You’ll want to plug into a high-speed wired Internet connection for online gaming, of course, so it’s nice to see the Aurora R15 also includes an RJ-45 jack with support for Intel’s Killer E3100G Gigabit Ethernet.

The Aurora R15 also comes with a detachable rear cover you can slide over the back of the PC to help route cables and hide them from view.

Alienware Aurora R15 review: Gaming performance

  • Our ~$5K review unit excels at 4K gaming thanks to Nvidia’s RTX 4090
  • …but you can get nearly as good gaming performance from a PC over $1k less

The Alienware Aurora R15 unit we received for review is an excellent gaming machine thanks to its GeForce RTX 4090 GPU, Core i9 CPU and 32GB of DDR5 RAM. I enjoyed my time reviewing this PC immensely, as it had no trouble running any game I cared to launch. 

At home I have a dual-monitor setup, one 1080p and one 1440p, and our Aurora R15 was able to run everything from Cyberpunk 2077 to Death Stranding to Marvel’s Midnight Suns at 1440p with all the settings maxed out. With most games it had no trouble delivering 60 frames per second or better, especially when I flipped on Nvidia’s DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) in games which support it. 

(Image credit: Future)

Even when I (carefully) dragged the Aurora R15 over to my LG C2 OLED TV and hooked it up to see how well it could spit game at 4K, I was not disappointed. While our Aurora R15 review unit could only manage between 30-40 fps while running Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K with all settings cranked to max, that was before I flipped on Nvidia’s DLSS. 

Nvidia rolled out a new version of the tech (DLSS 3) alongside its GeForce RTX 4000 series, and Cyberpunk 2077 was one of the first games to get updated with support for DLSS 3. Not only does DLSS 3 tap the Tensor Cores in Nvidia GPUs to dynamically enhance image quality while you’re playing, it actually inserts new frames in between frames of gameplay. It can be confusing to understand when you read about it, but once I saw it in action on our Aurora R15 I was impressed by how much it improved my experience of playing Cyberpunk 2077 without any noticeable graphical issues. When I would use older versions of DLSS in times gone by I would often notice graphical distortions cropping up that made it appear as though the image was being smeared or blurred out slightly, especially during scenes of fast action.

If you want a great PC for gaming at 4K, Alienware delivers with the Aurora R15—assuming you’re willing to pay for the privilege.”

Not so with DLSS 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. When I flipped on DLSS 3 in the game’s settings, that 30-40 fps at 4K shot up to 100-120 fps, with no noticeable degradation in image quality. If DLSS 3 can do for every game what it did for my experience playing Cyberpunk at 4K, call me a believer.

Of course, we don’t just rely on or own anecdotal experience when reviewing PCs here at Tom’s Guide. We also run every machine through our testing lab (don’t miss our guide to how we test products), where we subject it to a battery of performance tests to see how it stacks up against the competition.

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Gaming benchmarks in fps @ 1080p/4K
Row 0 – Cell 0 Alienware Aurora R15 Corsair One i300 Origin PC Millennium Origin Chronos V3
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 200/116 122/70 115/62 184/91
Dirt 5 243/183 175/68 171/92 241/127
Far Cry 6 129/109 143/82 112/67 125/89
Grand Theft Auto V 186/53 181/66 178/67 185/56

As you might expect, our nearly $5K review unit achieved high scores across the board in these tests. In fact it significantly outperformed some of the most powerful gaming PCs we’ve tested in the last year, including the Origin PC Millennium (2022) (i9-12900K, GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, 32GB RAM) and the Corsair One i300 (i9-12900K, GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, 64GB RAM). 

(Image credit: Future)

However, keep in mind those are older PCs packing last-gen parts. We haven’t tested a ton of 2023 PCs with the latest and greatest components yet, but we did recently test a cheaper Origin Chronos V3 gaming PC (priced upwards of $3.5K) with only slightly less powerful guts—specifically, it arrived with an Intel Core i9-13900K CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 GPU and 32GB of RAM. Our Aurora R15 review unit still managed to outperform this Origin in nearly every gaming benchmark, but as you can see from the chart of results above, the two were neck-and-neck in many of them. 

So if you want a great PC for gaming at 4K, Alienware delivers with the Aurora R15—assuming you’re willing to pay for the privilege.  

Alienware Aurora R15 review: Overall performance

  • 13th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU blazes through performance benchmarks
  • Excellent ray tracing, but cheaper PCs outperform this monster elsewhere

You shouldn’t need to worry about performance when using a gaming PC for day-to-day work tasks, especially when that PC cost you nearly $5K. The Aurora R15 meets that expectation with flying colors, as it ran whisper-quiet and never hitched or froze  no matter how many browser tabs, productivity applications and streams of data I opened at once.

(Image credit: Future)

Our performance tests reveal that this is an excellent machine for running demanding applications for work like video editing, game development and the like, but you could have guessed that from the smorgasbord of high-powered parts inside. However, it was again neck-and-neck with the new Origin Chronos V3 we just tested, which managed to outperform the Aurora R15 in a few key areas.  

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Row 0 – Cell 0 Alienware Aurora R15 Corsair One i300 Origin PC Millennium Origin Chronos V3
Geekbench 5 22,494 17,965 18,096 24,054
25 GB File Copy (MBps) 1,340 3,006 1,023 1,809
Handbrake (Min:Seconds) 3:12 3:28 3:22 2:48

Notably, our Alienware Aurora R15 review unit was less speedy than the Origin Chronos V3 in terms of CPU performance (22,494 vs 24,054), file transfer speeds (1,340 MBps vs 1,809) and video editing performance (3:12 vs 2:48), which we measure by timing how long it takes the PC to transcode a 4K video down to 1080p using Handbrake.

We also run every PC we review through a few benchmarks designed to evaluate how well it performs at tasks like rendering graphics (3DMark), editing media like photos in Adobe Photoshop Elements (HDXPRT 4), or more esoteric computing tasks like facial recognition (CrossMark).  As you might expect, our Aurora R15 performed quite well in these tests, putting up high scores across the board. 

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Row 0 – Cell 0 Alienware Aurora R15 Corsair One i300 Origin PC Millennium Origin Chronos V3
CrossMark 2,232 2,268 2,286 2,385
HDXPRT 4 140 DNR 156 163
3DMark Port Royal Ray Tracing test 25,695 12,803 12,486 17,522

Here again that Origin Chronos V3 put up better numbers than our Aurora R15 review unit in CrossMark and HDXPRT 4, though the difference between the two is relatively small. However, the power of the RTX 4090 helped the R15 achieve a far better score than the Chronos in 3DMark’s Port Royal test, which evaluates how well a PC handles ray tracing.

Given that this is a machine tuned for gaming it’s nice to see that it excels in the ray tracing department, since ray tracing tech is showing up in more and more games every year.

Alienware Aurora R15 review: Software

  • Minimal bloatware, which is great
  • Alienware Command Center is the MVP 

There wasn’t much installed on our Aurora R15 review unit when it arrived save Windows 11 and a few Dell/Alienware applications you’ll rarely touch, including My Alienware, Alienware Customer Connect and Alienware Update (which you use to do things like update your BIOS).

(Image credit: Future)

The one piece of pre-installed software you’ll likely use a lot is the Alienware Command Center. This is the most feature-rich Alienware app on the system, as it allows you to do things like monitor and manage your system cooling, create and implement system overclock profiles, customize the case’s RGB lighting and more.  

Alienware Aurora R15 review: Verdict

The Alienware Aurora R15 is a great gaming PC that improves upon its predecessors in small but meaningful ways. While how well it plays games will depend on what you can afford to put in it, getting in there is easy thanks to the accessible design of the case. 

The fact that our Aurora R15 review unit never got hot or loud during the review process, even when playing demanding games at 4K for hours with all settings cranked to max, suggest Alienware’s efforts to improve the case design paid off. While ours is admittedly liquid-cooled with Alienware’s Cryo-Tech cooler, which is only available on the higher-end models (the cheapest Aurora R15 units are simply air-cooled), the cost of adding such cooling to an R15 is a few hundred bucks. Not cheap, but certainly not on the level of upgrading the GPU to the 4090 in our review unit.

And really, that’s the main appeal of this PC: You can get one with the latest and greatest components inside, and my experience playing games on one suggests its worth the high cost of entry. Of course, more and more PCs with 13th Gen Intel chips and 40-series Nvidia GPUs are hitting the market every week, some of which (like the Origin Chronos V3 we’re reviewing) might actually outperform the R15 in some areas despite costing less. 

But even the truly flush who are out there scouring storefronts for the perfect RTX 4090-powered gaming PC would be well-served by the Aurora R15 thanks to its easy-to-access case and excellent cooling. Plus, it looks real good on a desk.

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice. 

Build Redux Good gaming PC review

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(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The name may be basic, but this is a quality build that focuses on gaming first and foremost. Shame a bit more attention didn’t go into the storage though.

  • Good part selection and build
  • Great case airflow
  • Strong 1440p gaming performance
  • Unimpressive SSD
  • No USB Type-C ports

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Build Redux sets out to make buying a new gaming PC a much easier affair than normal. The traditional frustrations of wading through nonsense names trying to work out whether they’ll handle your game of choice will be familiar to any PC gamer. This system builder offers three main gaming PCs to choose from and each one can be configured slightly further by throwing a bit more cash at the system if you do want to dig into the details.  

You can also select which games you want to play, and it’ll recommend a system for you. There isn’t an exhaustive list of games to pick from here, but enough to give you an idea of what the overall performance might be. 

The most affordable of these is simply labelled ‘Good’, which starts at $1,305 with a $99 build fee bringing it up to $1,404 for the whole system. The ‘Better’ machine will set you back $1,878, while the ‘Best’ has a $2,228 starting price point and is built around an Intel Core i7 12700F and an Nvidia RTX 3080. 

If you’re feeling flush, then a fourth build has recently appeared, this ‘Ultimate’ build will net you an RTX 4090 machine for $3,644. Gulp.

Build Redux ‘Good’ spec

CPU: Intel Core i5 12400F
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti FE
RAM: 16GB DDR4-3200
Motherboard: Asus B660
Storage: 500GB Kingston NV1
Front I/O: 2x USB 3. 0 Type-A, headphone jack, mic in,
Rear I/O: 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 4x USB 2.0, 1x PS/2, 3x audio
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth, Ethernet
PSU: 700W ATX 80 Plus Gold
Case: Cooler Master TD500 RGB
OS: Windows 11 Home
Warranty: 2 Years parts and labor
Price: $1,504

Back to reality and the machine Build Redux sent for review is based on the ‘Good’ build, but with one important change—instead of featuring the default RTX 3060, the company has instead upgraded this to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti. This is a smart move, as this offers far better performance for your hard-earned cash and should see the machine stay relevant for that much longer. Even ray tracing is possible here, especially if the game in question has support for DLSS 2.

This upgrade means you’re looking at a system price of $1,504, which also nets you an Intel Core i5 12400F, 16GB of Patriot DDR4-3200, and a Kingston NV1 500GB NVMe SSD, all in a big Cooler Master TD500 case festooned with RGB fans. It ain’t subtle, but it runs cool and never gets too loud, even when under serious load, thanks in no small part to the mesh-fronted case not blocking airflow with any silly glass panel. It’s a real shame there are no USB Type-C ports though.

Unfortunately, shipping the machine across the Atlantic for testing didn’t go entirely smoothly, and the graphics card was damaged on the way. Build Redux used foam packing inside the machine to try and prevent such horrors, but it wasn’t quite as snug as we would have liked, and there was no bracing mount included to make sure it didn’t shift in transit. 

Booting resulted in a flickery screen and attempting to game caused a full system crash. Clearly not happy. Reseating the card did momentarily appear to rectify things, but only for it to crash out once any games started running. 

(Image credit: Future)

This is a well-thought-out system that packs a punch where it matters most.

Luckily we had an identical Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti FE on hand so we could put the machine through its paces, and there was no obvious damage elsewhere. It’s also worth noting that shipping across the US shouldn’t be quite so stressful, although it is a big ol’ place, and couriers aren’t renowned for being particularly careful with big boxes. More packaging would be preferable basically, even if we were a little unlucky here.

System performance

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There’s nothing too surprising here in terms of the system performance benchmarks, apart from the SSD performance. The 3DMark Storage Benchmark simulate game loading, and here the Build Redux ‘Good’ doesn’t exactly impress—and that’s when comparing against the not-exactly-stunning SN570 that can be found in the similarly-priced NZXT machine and iBuyPower rigs.

The Core i5 12400F is a capable enough CPU, managing reasonable results in Cinebench R23 and the X264 video encoding benchmark. If you want more raw CPU grunt, you’re going to want to upgrade to a Core i7, as found in the iBuyPower machine, but that would need compromises elsewhere.

Gaming benchmarks

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The good news is that the Build Redux Good is a decent machine when it comes to gaming. The key component here is the RTX 3060 Ti, which can handle anything you can throw at it at 1080p, and as can be seen from the benchmarks is capable enough at 1440p too. There’s not a lot between this machine and the ABS Master, which packs the same GPU. 

Even in the likes of the ray tracing heavy Metro Exodus Enhanced, you’re looking at 55fps at 1440p, and that’s at the ultra setting. You shouldn’t have to compromise much if at all, to hit smooth frame rates in the very latest games. 

The only slight fly in the ointment here is that the NZXT Streaming Plus BLD Kit rolls in at the same price point but comes with the RTX 3070. That’s simply a more capable card, which can be seen in the frame rates, although in some cases the difference is slight—you’re looking at just 3fps difference in Far Cry 6. Most games show a bigger delta though.

(Image credit: Future)

This is a capable gaming system then, although it’s a shame about that Kingston NV1 SSD, which has peak read/write speeds of just 2,100MB/s and 1,700MB/s. It’s better than a SATA drive, sure, but it’s only half as fast as a decent PCIe 3.0 SSD and nearly a quarter the speed of a high-end PCIe 4.0 SSD. 500GB is pretty tight too—we struggled to get all of our benchmark suite on here in one go. 

You can upgrade this to a 1TB drive at the time of purchase for an extra $30, which doesn’t seem bad, but it’ll still be a slow drive. You can upgrade this yourself easily enough down the road, and there’s plenty of room to do so, but for this much cash, I’d prefer to not have to worry about space.

It’s worth highlighting that Build Redux has gone for an air cooler for the Core i5 12400F, specifically the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo. This means the chip can get a little warmer than some machines do under load, but not to dangerous levels, and thanks to the overall airflow through the machine, it’s never a problem. The cable management here is well done too, which helps on this front.

Overall, the Build Redux ‘Good’ is a capable gaming machine representing strong value for money. The component selection is mostly spot on and SSD aside, this should last you a good few years of gaming without worries.

Build Redux Good: Price Comparison

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Build Redux Good

The name may be basic, but this is a quality build that focuses on gaming first and foremost. Shame a bit more attention didn’t go into the storage though.

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He’s very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.

Recording video from desktop and games in OBS Studio

Among the programs for recording video from the screen of a computer or laptop, both paid and free, OBS Studio is probably one of the best utilities: it is available completely free of charge, it works on Windows , Mac OS and Linux, and for most users provides a sufficient set of options for almost any task of screen recording and broadcasting to the Internet.

This review details how to use the main functions of OBS Studio to record video from the desktop, from games and programs, program settings, as well as some additional information that may be useful. If for some reason this program is not suitable for you, check out the best screen recording software.

  • Installation, first run, settings
  • Recording screen video in OBS Studio

Installation, first launch and settings of OBS Studio

Download OBS Studio x64 and 32-bit (in Russian) for Windows 10, 8.1 and Windows 7 and other supported OS you you can from the official page Installation without any special nuances (a portable version of OBS Studio is also available in a Zip archive), but: in the absence of the necessary system libraries on your computer, you will be prompted to install them, providing a download link. Once the libraries are installed, the OBS Studio installer will need to be run again.

After launching OBS Studio for the first time, you will be prompted to launch the program’s automatic configuration wizard depending on your needs: for recording video or for broadcasting.

Auto setup will determine the preferred recording resolution, FPS, codec (hardware or software encoding). Usually, the parameters are determined in an optimal way, but not always, for example:

  1. The program after automatic tuning often sets a lower output resolution, despite quite productive equipment. I recommend changing it in “Settings” – “Video” so that the output resolution is equal to the actual resolution of the material being shot.
  2. If you have problems with video recording (freezes, something else), I recommend experimenting with the settings in the “Output” section. For example, I shoot video in 4K 60 FPS on not the most powerful, but not the slowest computer, and when choosing a hardware encoder, there are problems with recording, but with a software computer, it more than copes (at the same time, I am automatically recommended to choose the hardware one). Here you can also choose the file format, the quality of recording or broadcasting, and where to save the video.
  3. I recommend remembering the item “Settings” – “Hot Keys”. This item may come in handy when you have already dealt with recording video from the screen: for example, right during recording, using the keys, you can switch scenes (with transitions between them), hide individual elements from recorded or broadcast content.
  4. If you plan to record sound from various sources, take a look at the “Audio” section, perhaps the settings will come in handy. Important: if you have Windows 10 and the sound from the microphone is not recorded, go to Start – Settings – Privacy – Microphone and in the “Allow desktop applications to access the microphone” section, enable access for OBS Studio.

Screen recording process in OBS Studio

OBS Studio records scenes (one by default, but you can create more and switch between them in the process), each of which contains the selected sources, and there can be several of them. For example:

  1. In the “Sources” section, click “Plus” and add “Screen Capture”, name the source, apply the settings – our screen is displayed in the window (don’t be confused by the effect of the infinite mirror when we start recording and minimize OBS Studio , the program will stop recording itself and there will be no such effect). Sometimes there is a problem with a black screen in the preview window and on the recording, about the fix: How to fix a black screen when recording in OBS Studio.
  2. If desired, we can add new sources: for example, text for a logo, a picture, video from a webcam, a recording of a specific program window, video from a separate file. The source that is higher in the “Sources” list in the record will be “above” the previous source, that is, it will overlap it. We can select each source with the mouse right in the preview window and move it or resize it. And if necessary, you can record video from multiple monitors at the same time or switch between them.
  3. Different settings are available for different sources. For example, for “Game Capture” there are more of them, and for a simple “Screen Capture” (for desktop recording) – less, you can only enable or disable mouse pointer recording.
  4. As sources are added, separate audio tracks will appear in the Audio Mixer section, for which it is possible to change the volume, completely turn off the source, as well as some audio effects (you can open it in the context menu of the audio source).
  5. If you’re using more than one scene when recording, you can turn on “Studio Mode” to see what’s happening in both the scene being recorded (broadcast) and the one you can switch to.

In other functions, I hope, as the program is used and the need arises, any user will be able to figure it out. I recommend it and personally use only OBS Studio lately. In conclusion, I remembered one more nuance regarding this program: it successfully writes video from the screen in cases where other programs record only a black window (for example, when transferring an image from Android to a computer, playing a video). in Telegram | Subscription methods

8 paid and free analogues of TeamViewer



July 15, 2022

Paid and free applications for remote access and customer support.

1. SupRemo

  • Platforms: Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, macOS .

Remote desktop management and support application. Allows users to access computers over the Web and hold online conferences. SupRemo is quite easy to use: it has only one executable file that does not require installation.

The program also supports AES 256-bit encryption to establish a secure connection. Supremo can be used on local networks for free, but you will need to buy a license if you plan to regularly work remotely with other users and devices.

SupRemo →


Price Free


Price Free

2. TightVNC

  • Platforms: Windows .

Free cross-platform program for remote computer control. It has a server side and a client side. The utility offers security features – it allows you to block access to the device and set a password for it.

TightVNC is able to run in the background, waiting for a connection, which is quite convenient – you do not need to activate the launch manually every time. With this application, you can transfer files from a remote computer to your local computer and vice versa.

TightVNC →

3. Radmin

  • Platforms: Windows .

The program from Russian developers works only on Windows. To connect, you need to install two utilities: one on the local computer, the other on the remote computer. In addition to remote control, the service allows you to communicate via voice and text chats, as well as transfer files.

Radmin →

4. Chrome Remote Desktop

  • Platforms: Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, macOS , Chrome.

Cross-platform program for organizing remote access to a computer. In the desktop version of the system, two sections are available: “Remote Access” and “Remote Support”. In the first case, you need to enter a name and password to connect to the PC. In the second, it is necessary to generate a connection code from the server side, and then enter this cipher on the client device.

Using the Chrome Remote Desktop mobile app, you can also set up remote access to your computer. But it will not be possible to connect from a PC to a smartphone or tablet.

Google Remote Desktop →


Price: 0


Price: Free


Price: Free

5. Zoho Assist

  • Platforms: Windows, Linux, Android , iOS, macOS .

Cloud service primarily for device management in an organization’s IT department or customer support. There is a set of tools that allow you to configure automatic remote access inside and outside the local network.

Zoho Assist can manage laptops, PCs, mobile devices and servers. The system supports multiple monitors and switching between active screen desktops.

The service offers voice and video chat to interact with colleagues or clients during the troubleshooting process. The connected remote desktop, if necessary, can be quickly rebooted and immediately reconnected to it. This feature comes in handy when you need to fix serious problems with the device.

Zoho Assist allows you to send any files to a remote desktop. A 256-bit AES SSL encryption is provided to establish a secure connection.

Zoho Assist →


Price: Free


Price: Free


Platforms: Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, macOS , Chrome.

One of the most popular and powerful tools for remote work, suitable for many tasks. It can both broadcast the screen of another device and share files. The AnyDesk server part has a portable version and is able to function without installation.

The program is quite easy to use – you only need to enter a one-time password on the client device and confirm the connection from the server side. AnyDesk supports recording of remote sessions, as well as communication via audio chat. The free version of the service is only available for personal use; businesses will need to purchase a license.

AnyDesk →


Price: Free


Price: Free

7. Getscreen

  • Platforms: Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOS .

Getscreen cloud software is suitable for administration, technical support and remote work. The service is multiplatform – it works with most common systems. You can use it without installation, directly from the browser. The paid version has a record of remote connection sessions.

The plan is free for two devices. If there are more, you will have to purchase a license. There is a trial period of two weeks.

Getscreen →

8. Ammyy Admin

  • Platforms: Windows .