PC Gamer Hardware Awards 2023: The winners

The winners

(Image credit: Future)

1. Best gaming laptop
    Lenovo Legion 7i Pro
2. Best gaming monitor
    Alienware 34 AW3423DWF
3. Best gaming handheld
    Steam Deck OLED
4. Best CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D
5. Best GPU
    AMD Radeon RX 7800XT
6. Best SSD
    Lexar NM790 4TB
7. Best motherboard
    ASRock Z790 Riptide
8. Best gaming headset
    Audeze Maxwell
9. Best microphone
    Sennheiser Profile
10. Best gaming mouse
      Logitech G Pro X Superlight 2
11. Best gaming keyboard
      Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96
12. The wildcard
      Corsair TC100 Relaxed

Was 2023 a memorable year? Honestly, I don’t know how it just flashed by so quickly. I blinked, it was summer, then once more and I find myself collating the winners of the PC Gamer Hardware Awards 2023. But, while it wasn’t a year that saw major new architectural advances in either gaming processors or graphics cards—it was a year of refreshes in the main—there was still a huge amount of great PC gaming gear released over the past 12 months.

For me, it’s been a year that’s all about mobile hardware. For one thing, Nvidia’s RTX 40-series hitting gaming laptops lead to a whole slew of brilliant, powerful objects of notebook desire. For another, this was the year that handheld gaming PCs really came of age. Sure, the Steam Deck really pushed things forward in earnest last year,  but the AMD APUs at the heart of this year’s devices have given us some incredible handheld gaming PCs.

And then the only real architectural advance of the year came in the form of Intel’s inaugural Intel 4-based chip, Meteor Lake, and that was late in December and purely focused on laptops.

While we might have been hoping, after the excesses of 2022’s graphics card pricing, that we’d get some more reasonable hardware this year. And while we most definitely have gotten cheaper GPUs than the RTX 4090, they’re still not delivering the price/performance uplift over the previous generation we were hoping for. Still, AMD has delivered in both processor and graphics terms, giving us the outstanding Ryzen 7 7800X3D and the Radeon RX 7800 XT. Seriously, an AMD 7800-series PC is going to deliver and do it for a pretty reasonable price, too.

There have also been great monitors—including the best OLED so far—and a host of excellent chairs, keyboards, mice, and more this year. But if there was anything else that made 2023 in terms of PC tech it was that big SSDs are finally affordable, so it’s no surprise to see a 4TB drive representing. So, now you’ve seen the 2023 nominations, here are the winners of the PC Gamer Hardware Awards 2023. 

Best gaming laptop of 2023

(Image credit: Future)


Lenovo Legion Pro 7i
This is the system that really put Lenovo on the map for us in terms of gaming laptops this year. At a time when Razer and MSI were asking us to pay near $4,000 for an RTX 4090 system, Lenovo rocked up with this solid, well-designed and grown up machine that could stand toe-to-toe even with an RTX 4080 at its heart.

The design is pretty classic, showing Lenovo’s ThinkPad origins, but it’s also effective. It runs the hardware inside it at full speed, has all the ports you could want, and even a welcome hardware cut-off switch for the webcam.

The screen may not quite be up there with the Nebula mini-LED panels of the Asus ROG machines, but it’s still bright and crisp and makes the Lenovo a very powerful, pleasant to use, and affordable package.

Read our full Lenovo Legion Pro 7i review.

Honourable mention:

Framework 13 AMD
I’ve long been a fan of the Framework 13 laptop, thanks to its entirely modular design and its passion for complete repairability and upgradeability. Though it’s never been something you could really call a ‘gaming laptop.’

With the latest AMD 7040 mainboard options, however, you have the chance to either buy a full AMD Framework 13 laptop, or else upgrade your existing machine to a Ryzen 7 7840U mainboard. That’s using the same APU as the best handheld gaming PCs on the market, and means you will actually get good 1080p gaming performance out of the 780M integrated graphics.

This makes the Framework 13 an incredibly versatile machine—a smart, good-looking office laptop with a decent battery life, glossy screen, and also now a system that will allow you to play even the latest games with a decent 1080p frame rate.

Read our full Framework 13 AMD mainboard review.

Best gaming monitor of 2023

(Image credit: Future)


Alienware 34 AW3423DWF
It might seem odd that Alienware is going to win the best gaming monitor two years running with almost the same display, and in fact the same essential panel, but the AW3423DWF is even better than the AW3423DW that won last year, because it’s both more affordable and looks better thanks to that glossy, high-contrast coating.

Alienware beat the rest of the world to market last year with the first OLED gaming panel. This slightly cheaper follow up is actually better thanks to a glossy coating over the top of the same Samusng QD-OLED tech, which really lets the panel sing.

Read our Alienware 34 AW3423DWF review.

Honourable mention:

ASRock Phantom PG34WQ15R2B
If 34-inch ultrawide is our favourite panel form factor, the this ASRock shows you can have the best for sensible money. It’s a VA panel, so the response is merely okay rather than amazing. But it’s punchy, bright, contrasty and colorful and run s at 165Hz for nice, low latency. 

We love it for its low-cost and impressive gaming chops.

Read our ASRock Phantom PG34WQ15R2B review.

Best gaming handheld of 2023

(Image credit: Future)


Steam Deck OLED
The Steam Deck launched handheld PC gaming into the mainstream, but Valve wasn’t quite done tinkering with the design. While not quite a Steam Deck 2, the Steam Deck OLED is a revision of the popular handheld that improves upon the original design in oh so many ways.

The screen receives the bulk of the updates with a sparkling new OLED panel. Obviously, hence the name change. Deeper blacks, rich colours, faster refresh rates, and genuine HDR are all on the cards now, and Tyler came away seriously impressed with the new screen during his review.

Beyond a better panel, the Steam Deck OLED also has a bigger battery, a new carry case, and a new 1TB SSD option. All seriously good quality of life updates on an already impressive handheld device.

Read our Steam Deck OLED review.

Honourable mention:

OneXPlayer OneXFly
Coming in smaller and lighter than the Steam Deck, the little OneXPlayer makes for a wonderful halfway house between a larger handheld and something like the Ayaneo Air 1S, which is genuinely quite tiny. The OneXFly doesn’t massively sacrifice screen space, either, as the lack of bezels across the top and bottom help keep things compact while retaining a 7-inch panel.

Despite its small stature, the OneXFly packs a mighty portable punch with AMD’s excellent Ryzen 7 7840U and up to 4TB of storage and 64GB of RAM. That’s clearly overkill, and we prefer the cheaper and far more sensible options, but it’s further proof you don’t need a chunky PC tower to score top specs. It also benefits from loads of connectivity options, including a full Type-A port and two USB4 sockets that come in mighty handy.

The best blend of screen size and specs, the only thing holding this device back is its price, which is higher than some of the more mainstream options.

Read our OneXPlayer OneXFly review.

Best CPU of 2023

(Image credit: Future)


AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D
It was no joke when AMD released this CPU in April, as it was blatantly clear that this was the best gaming processor that the chip giant had ever made. At face value, it was just another eight-core, 16-thread CPU and it even had lower clocks and a higher power consumption that its cousin, the Ryzen 7 7700X.

That ‘3D’ part made all the difference, of course. An extra 64MB slice of L3 cache, bonded to the rest of the die, to give a total cache amount of 96MB. For games, it was like flicking on a turbo switch. Until you’ve tried a CPU with AMD’s 3D V-Cache, it’s a little hard to believe how much difference it actually makes.

Even the high launch price no longer matters, as it’s frequently reduced to around $360. The total focus on gaming means it’s less of an ideal chip for content creation and there are cheaper mid-range CPUs that come pretty close to it in many games.

Read our AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D review.

Honourable mention:

Intel Core i5 13400F
This little gem is routinely under $200 at retailers and you’re getting so much CPU for that money. Six P-cores that can hit 4.6GHz, plus another four E-cores, give a total of 16 threads. Sure, the performance across those threads won’t be identical due to the differences between the cores, but for a budget gaming processor, it won’t matter.

The clock speeds aren’t unlocked, so you won’t be doing any overclocking, and there’s no integrated GPU. But all of that helps keep the power demand under control and compared to other 13th gen Core models, it’s pretty lightweight when it comes to energy demand.

If you’re looking to do budget content creation work, then the similarly priced AMD Ryzen 5 7600 is a better bet. However, if you just want a cheap gaming powerhouse, the Core i5 13400F tops the list. It was an easy choice for the list of nominees.

Read our Intel Core i5 13400F review.

Best GPU of 2023

(Image credit: Future)


AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT
While it might not be the strongest GPU when it comes to ray tracing, if it’s excellent rasterisation performance you’re after the RX 7800 XT certainly delivers the goods. At 1440p this card puts on an impressive display, beating out the RTX 4070 in many benchmarks. More than that, launching at a reference price of $499 meant that it was in serious danger of eating the RTX 4070s lunch, so Nvidia adjusted their pricing in kind. A bit of a mover and shaker then, this GPU, and one that still divides opinion as to where to put your mid-range money in 2023.

Read our full AMD RX 7800 XT review.

Honourable mention:

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070
Utilising a pared back AD104 GPU, the RTX 4070 caught our attention with its RTX 3080-equalling performance and cool, quiet and efficient design. Matching the performance of one of the best graphics cards of the previous generation with the added benefits of DLSS 3 and Frame Generation at a reasonable price means that the RTX 4070 won over the hearts of many gamers this year, and it’s not difficult to see why.  

Read our full Nvidia RTX 4070 review.

Best SSD of 2023

(Image credit: Future)


Lexar NM790 4TB SSD
The Lexar NM790 might use a lesser known controller in the form of the MaxioTech MAP1602A and lack some DRAM, but it nevertheless delivers excellent read/write speeds of 7,400MB/s and 6,500MB/s, and some of the fastest random read and writes we’ve tested. Beyond that it runs cool without the need for an active cooling solution, making it a good candidate for a laptop or small form factor SSD upgrade without any worries about heat. All of this speed and cool, efficient performance is delivered for a very reasonable MSRP, making it a big slab of very fast NVMe storage for less than you might expect.  

Read our Lexar NM790 4TB review.

Honourable mention:

Nextorage NEM-PA 2TB
The name may still be unfamiliar to some, but Nextorage has some pedigree you might not expect. It was originally created by Sony to create SSDs for the PlayStation 5, and since Phison bought a controlling stake in the company and imbued its drives with the mighty E18 controller the results have been very impressive. This particular drive runs extremely cool with its chunky heatsink, and thanks to that speedy Phison chip, 2TB of TLC NAND and 2GB of DDR4 cache the overall performance is excellent, with read/write speeds of 7,300MB/s and 6,900MB/s putting it up there with some of the best performing Gen 4 drives we’ve tested. 4k speeds could be better, but you can’t have everything, can you? 

Read our Nextorage NEM-PA review.

Best motherboard of 2023

(Image credit: Future)


ASRock Z790 Riptide WiFi
ASRock has come a long way in the past few years, creating a motherboard stack that encompasses everything from the very high-end to the very affordable. And with none of the cheapening out that we’ve maybe seen from the brand in times long gone.

This new Riptide board represents the top Intel chipset, ready and waiting for the latest 14th Gen chips, with a level of performance to allow them to hit their full potential.

It’s also one of the few Z790 boards to really have a care for your storage concerns, with plenty of SATA ports and a full five M.2 sockets, too. It’s feature set is strong, the performance right up at the top of the pile, and it’s one of the best value Z790 motherboards you will ever find.

Read our full ASRock Z790 Riptide WiFi review.

Honourable mention:

ASRock B650E PG-ITX WiFi
It’s tough not to find mini-ITX motherboards endlessly endearing. I mean, just look at this, it’s soooo tiny. But judge me by my size, do you? This is another outstanding ASRock board and one that fully delivers as a modern motherboard for one of the latest AMD AM5 platforms.

The B650E is AMD’s second tier Zen 4 chipset, and is a single chip solution, which is why you’ll find more B650/E mini-ITX boards than B670/E versions in the smaller form factor. And yes, you are compromising by picking this tiny design, but not in any way that will really matter to the majority of PC gamers.

You still get one PCIe 5.0 socket in both x16 for graphics and x4 for M.2 SSDs, as well as a further PCIe 4.0 M.2 slot. It will also support up to DDR5-6800 memory and rocks a very impressive VRM. And just look at that back panel; this thing is stacked.

Read our full ASRock B650E PG-ITX WiFi review.

Best gaming headset of 2023

(Image credit: Future)


Audeze Maxwell
There’s no getting away from the fact that the Audeze Maxwell is a very expensive headset, especially outside of the US. But there’s a good reason for this: Outstanding build quality, great features, and planar magnetic drivers.

Rather than use the traditional cone-and-coil arrangement to generate sound waves, the Maxwell pulses a flat sheet of material back and forth between two magnetics. The result is a more fulsome and natural sound, and you’d notice the difference immediately.

The cool tech does make the headset a tad on the heavy side but Audeze has done a great job at making them really comfortable to wear for long periods, and given it a long battery life too. Heck, even the microphone is pretty good!

You’ll be paying top dollar for all this, of course, but it really is worth it.

Read our Audeze Maxwell review.

Honourable mention:

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet
At first glance, this headset might seem to be an odd choice to be a contender for the award. It’s wired (and there’s no wireless alternative), there are no sound controls on the headset itself, and it’s somewhat on the pricey side.

Forget about all of that, though, as everything else about them is top notch. Gaming audio and music are both warm and clear, though the bass can be a little heavy.

The ATH-M50xSTS SteamSet’s feature piece is the microphone. Unlike most gaming headsets which sport fairly weak mics, this one is designed for game streaming and podcasts.  Don’t want to pay a fortune on a standalone microphone and boom? Get this headset instead.

Read our Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet review.

Best microphone of 2023

(Image credit: Future)

The winner

Sennheiser Profile Streaming Set
An excellent all-in-one package for any budding streamer, the Sennheiser Profile Streaming Set gets you a handsome cardioid condenser mic with onboard mix, gain, headphone volume controls and a mute button, along with a sleek looking boom arm. It’s a good looking piece of gear all around, and something you’d likely be happy to show off on cam. The sound profile is warm, with a crisp professional quality that’s rather pleasing to the ear. 

An all-round contender from a well-respected brand, and a great starter kit for professional sounding audio. 

Read our Sennheiser Profile Streaming Set review.

Honourable mention:

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet
A contentious wildcard entry? Us? Never. See, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS (beyond being a bit of a mouthful of a name) might be a headset, but the included microphone was way too good to pass up making it onto this shortlist. Beyond the excellent audio quality and overall accuracy of the headphones themselves, the cardioid condenser microphone here is so good it beats out many desktop mics, and with handy features like flip to mute and built-in monitoring it would make an excellent podcast or streaming companion.

It’s a headset with genuine microphone benefits, and has to be a contender for best mic we’ve heard this year. 

Read our Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS Streamset.

Best gaming mouse of 2023

(Image credit: Future)


Logitech G Pro X Superlight 2
Remember when I said I’ve kept the same shape mouse for a long time? That’s because over the past few years I’ve had a Logitech G Pro and I eventually swapped it for a Superlight. They’re basically the same, except the Superlight is, well, lighter. You could say similar things of the Superlight 2. It’s lighter than its predecessor, for starters, but it also comes with a new and improved sensor.

The Hero 2 sensor handles quick movements, polls wirelessly at 2,000Hz, and only weighs 60g. Perhaps the most important update is one most wouldn’t think about these days: gone is the Micro USB connector and in its stead is a USB Type-C port. That’s almost worth the price of admission alone, and I’m sort of sad I didn’t get to review this mouse myself.

Admittedly, I think you’d get along just fine with the original Superlight, which is often found for less cash, but I would say that since that’s my mouse. No, the Superlight 2 is right up there with the best of the best.

Read our Logitech G Pro X Superlight 2 review.

Honourable mention:

Glorious Model O 2 Wireless
While you won’t find many cheap wireless gaming mice that are actually worth buying, you have the Glorious Model O 2 Wireless offering at least a more reasonably priced competitive wireless gaming mouse.

The BAMF 2.0 sensor is incredibly well equipped to handle all sorts of throwing around at speed, and it can be cranked up to an ungodly 26K DPI. That truly is absurd, but I guess it’s nice to have options for when I have a 16K screen or something.

At 68g, this is a supremely light mouse, and we really rated how it feels to game with. While the battery was a bit rough with the included RGB lighting enabled, this is another impressive challenger from this relatively fresh face in gaming peripherals.

Read our Glorious Model O 2 Wireless review.

Best gaming keyboard of 2023

(Image credit: Future)


Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless
Our Jacob has been a keyboard geek for as long as I’ve known him, and when he raves about a new board you know it’s going to be good. But I never thought I’d hear him rave about an Asus gaming keyboard.

At least not until we had our first taste of the excellent ROG Azoth board, and then realised Asus was filtering all the good stuff from that mighty mini keeb into a far more affordable form with the Strix Scope II 96.

It’s still a compact design, but manages to fit in an entire numpad, and despite its relative affordability compared to the Azoth still features hot-swappable switches, proper sound dampening, and PBT key caps. And yes, it’s still wireless. Though you probably guessed that from its name.

Read our full Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless review.

Honourable mention:

G.Skill KM250 RGB
I love the enthusiast keyboard vibe, but I bristle at the extreme pricing of it all. Which is why I loved G.Skill’s KM250 keyboard. It’s a proper 60% board with hot-swappable switches, per-key RGB lighting, and PBT pudding keycaps, and yet it’s often less than $50.

There’s even a discrete volume wheel in a space where you’re normally lucky to get any sort of media controls whatsoever. 

I won’t pretend that it’s a top-end board out of the box, but while the Kailh switches it ships with aren’t great, you can replace them down the line with ones you prefer and the slightly hollow sound of the chassis could easily be dampened if you wanted to get properly stuck in. And because the board is so cheap, you’re not going to feel bad taking it apart and experimenting.

Read our full G.Skill KM250 RGB review.

The wildcard award 2023

(Image credit: Future)


Corsair TC100 Relaxed
A gaming chair. Yes, it might seem bland or boring next to a VR headset that gobbled up billions in development, but you have to understand something: a cheap gaming chair that’s actually good is a rare thing. A rare thing indeed.

You’ll find an overwhelming number of cheap chairs on the internet, often from brands you’ve never heard of. I’ve come into contact with a few of them, and I’m usually left reeling at the quality. This Corsair, however, is cheap and actually built well.

It might not come with the high-end features of some other premium chairs, and it doesn’t have any gimmicks, but it’s a solid, comfy, and reliable chair from a reputable brand. It’s tough to find that, it really is.

Read our Corsair TC100 Relaxed review.

Honourable mention:

Thrustmaster T128
The T128 delivers a genuinely great feeling wheel that redefines what a budget-friendly racing setup should look like.

The wheel portion shares a surprising amount with this wheel’s more expensive sibling, the T248. The hybrid belt + geared drive offers a lot of force feedback in this price range, and it’s accurate enough to help you build up genuine race craft.

The only let down are the pedals, which are quite measly. There’s only two of them, and they’re really not much fun, but you can upgrade to another set in the Thrustmaster lineup easily enough. Personally, I’d put up with them as long as I could while saving up for the much improved T3PM.

Read our Thrustmaster T128 review.

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