If you’re looking to upgrade your computer, you’re in luck because we have listed here the best desktop computers available this year. From the priciest to the wonderfully affordable, here are the desktop computers that will fit any budget, purpose, or type of user.
What to Look For When Buying a Desktop Computer
When shopping for a new desktop computer, there are a few things that you have to keep in mind. First, you should look at the CPU. This is the brain of the computer, and it will dictate how fast the computer is. A computer can have at least one processor in the CPU. Some have multiple and are labeled accordingly (dual-core, quad-core, etc.). The CPU’s speed is measured in gigahertz. To put it simply, the higher the gigahertz, the faster the CPU is.
Another factor to consider when buying a computer is the RAM (or memory). Random access memory (RAM) holds the data in the computer while you’re using it. Whatever you’re doing on the computer at any given time is stored with RAM. The more RAM you have, the more tabs you can open in a browser, the faster your software will run, and the more documents you can work on at the same time.
If you want to know more about how much RAM you need, check out our guide on everything you need to know about random access memory.
The computer’s hard drive capacity is another thing to consider when buying a desktop unit. The hard drive is where you store all of your photos, documents, videos, and other information.
Just as important for any computer as the features above is the graphics processing unit (GPU). It is also referred to as a graphics or video card. This determines how smooth images or videos are displayed on the computer.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of a good desktop computer, let’s take a look at some of your top choices below:
Apple iMac 5K 27-Inches
What makes the Apple iMac 5K one of the best desktop computers available today is the fact that it comes built-in with a monitor. And what glorious monitor it is, too.
With a 5K retina display, this iMac has support for 1 billion colors and a resolution of 5,120 by 2,880 (or 14.7 million pixels). In other words, it can display better quality images with smooth lines.
But it’s not just the exterior that makes the Apple iMac 5K computer a top-notch choice; it’s also got powerful insides as well. It comes with a multiple-core processor, with speeds ranging from 3.0GHz to 3.7GHz. It only has 8GB of RAM, but you can easily upgrade it to 64GB. As for disk space, your options are 1 terabyte to 2 terabytes. For reference, 1 terabyte of space can house about 500 hours of video.
In terms of graphics, the Apple iMac 5K isn’t on the top of the food chain. If you need a computer for gaming, we suggest one of the models below. But all in all, with its sleek design and equally-cool peripherals (keyboard and mouse) that comes out of the box, this Apple computer is perfect for general computing tasks and late-night movie viewing.
This computer comes with a FaceTime HD camera, stereo speakers, an SD card slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and various USB ports.
Microsoft Surface Studio 2
Another all-in-one desktop option is the Microsoft Surface Studio 2. Just like the iMac 5K above, this one comes with a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and a pen. The major difference between this and the iMac 5K (as far as hardware is concerned), is that the monitor of the Surface Studio 2 is a touchscreen unit. You can use your fingers or the included pen to utilize the monitor like a large-screen tablet. If you’re a digital illustrator or multi-media creator, having a pen-on-surface option is a definite advantage.
The Surface Studio 2 has a 28-inch monitor with 13.5 million pixels. It’s about over 1 million short compared to the iMac 5K, but it’s still more than capable of showing sharp lines and great images. Combined with the NVIDIA GeForce GPU, it is one mighty machine for basic gaming, rendering videos, and editing images. These tasks are also made even smoother with the help of the device’s memory (either 16GB or 32GB). As for saving your edited music videos, you can choose between the 1 terabyte and 2 terabyte options.
This desktop computer comes installed with Windows 10 Pro. It has dual microphones, a camera, and great speakers. It also has five USB ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, an SD card reader, and an Ethernet port.
Corsair One Pro i180
From all-in-one desktop computers, we move to models that don’t come with a monitor or peripherals. And one of the best that you can purchase today is the Corsair One Pro i180. One of the things you will first notice about the Corsair One Pro i180 is its size. Compared to standard computer CPUs, this one is only as tall as a 2-liter bottle of soda.
Despite its small stature, this desktop computer is not lacking in power and features. In fact, it is often touted as one of the best desktops for video editing. The Microsoft Surface Studio 2 is great for multi-media work, but if you have a limited desk space, the Corsair One Pro i180 is for you.
The Corsair One Pro i180 is also ideal for casual home gaming as it comes with a 12-core CPU, a pretty decent graphics card, up to 32GB of RAM, and fantastic storage. It has basic connectivity components, with a pair of USB Gen 1 ports, a headphone jack, and even an HDMI port.
Apple Mac mini
Joining the ranks of standalone compact desktop computers is the Apple Mac mini. This one ships without a monitor, keyboard, or mouse. You will have to buy them all separately.
But what this unit lacks in peripherals, it delivers in performance and speed. This desktop computer comes with a quad-core processor with speeds as high as 3.6GHz. This makes it speedy enough for day-to-day general computer tasks, but it can also be a great workhorse for creative work. It comes with a maximum of 64GB of RAM and up to 2 terabytes of storage. In other words, you can work on large files without worrying about your computer crashing.
The Apple Mac Mini comes with an Ethernet port, a Thunderbolt 3 port, a couple of USB 3 ports, an HDMI port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Thunderbolt 3 port is useful for transferring lots of data fast, connecting an external graphics card for even better performance, or using up to two high-resolution monitors.
Dell XPS Tower
If you want a decent desktop computer for creative work and casual gaming, but you’re not looking to spend several thousand dollars, then the Dell XPS Tower is what we recommend.
While it’s not much to look at, with its classic chassis design, this PC is still a force to be reckoned with. It has a 6-core processor with speeds up to 3.7 gigahertz and either 8GB or 16GB of RAM for fast and heavy tasks.
It’s also got quite a wide array of ports. You can attach peripherals via USB ports, use the SD card reader to transfer images, or use the headphone jack to listen to music. The XPS Tower has HDMI and Ethernet ports as well, making it easy to connect a monitor or to the internet.
And, if your needs change, you can easily upgrade this Dell computer without pains. You can add a sound card, graphics card, or more hard drives without the need for specialized tools.
HP Omen Obelisk
If you’re a gamer, we suggest the HP Omen Obelisk. It’s fast with an 8-core processor and 32GB of RAM that can handle multiple tasks at once. But what makes it an ideal gaming computer is its powerful graphics card. It combines speed, hyper-realistic graphics, and power that simply make fighting foes or exploring fantasy worlds downright fantastic.
It’s virtual reality-ready, too. When more and better VR games are released, you won’t have to buy a different computer in order to enjoy them if you already have the HP Omen Obelisk at home. It even has built-in software that will enable you to prioritize gaming.
Aside from power and speed, what makes the HP Omen Obelisk a good choice for your home desktop computer is the fact that it’s highly customizable. You can upgrade components as your computing demands change.
This desktop computer comes packed with a host of connectivity features, complete with several USB, HDMI, and audio ports, among others. It does not come with a display, headset, keyboard, or mouse.
Dell Inspiron 5680
If you’re looking for a desktop computer that will not break the bank, there is no better choice than the Dell Inspiron 5680. Unlike the previous models that cost between a thousand to several thousand dollars, this one is priced at a little over $600 to over $800.
Dell is marketing this device as a gaming desktop, showcasing a fast CPU and VR-ready graphics. It only comes with 8GB or 16GB of RAM, but you can upgrade it if you need a better-performing tool.
This desktop computer comes packed with a wide variety of ports on the front and back. It is also known for its cooling power. So, even if you spend all day playing games, there is no risk of it overheating. It’s not too noisy either, making it an ideal desktop PC for students living in shared dorm rooms.
These seven options are great places to start for your home or office desktop computer. Alternatively, for more portable options, check out our list of top gaming laptops and hybrid 2-in-1 laptops. The former laptops are ideal for gamers, while the latter will be great options for creative types who may find the Surface Studio 2 too large or too stationary.