Last updated: September 25, 2020

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These are good times for desktop computers. While their sales volume has been affected by the growing popularity of laptops, tablets, and smartphones, there is an increasing variety of options on the market. You can now find anything you can dream of, from powerful gaming models to mini PCs and all-in-one computers.

Given this context of diversity, choosing the best desktop computer for your needs can be challenging at times. One thing is for sure: these electronic devices offer a number of significant advantages. They combine optimal performance, durability, and fantastic value for money.

Key Facts

  • Today, you can find a wide variety of desktop computers, such as home theater PCs, barebones, all-in-ones, gaming models, and touchscreen devices, among others.
  • Their primary uses are browsing the Internet, playing video games, performing office tasks, and playing multimedia content.
  • Before you can purchase your next desktop computer, make sure you are clear about how you want to use it. From there, you can look into the main hardware components like the processor, the RAM, the motherboard, or the graphics card, or the storage drives.

Our Selection: The Best Desktop Computers on the U.S. Market

In the following section, you will discover our very own selection of the most popular models currently available out there. You will notice that we have included very different products tailored to the needs of various user profiles. That way, you’re sure to find the desktop computer for you. In any case, pay attention to their features and technical specs to see what best suits you.

Best Desktop Computer Overall

Acer is a world leader in the computer industry, so it’s not a surprise to see the Aspire TC-885-UA92 be Amazon’s Choice in the category. It’s a perfect combination of versatility, power, and affordability. Integrating 12GB of DDR4 RAM, a 9th-Gen Intel Core i5-9400 processor that can reach 4.1 GHz, and a 512GB SSD, it’s an excellent choice for just about everyone. This model comes with a keyboard and mouse.

Best Desktop Computer for Gamers

The SkyTech Blaze II was specifically designed for players who need a machine that can withstand the heavy demands of today’s games. To do just that, this model features an AMD Ryzen 5 2600 6-Core processor, 8GB of gaming DDR4 RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 dedicated graphics card. It also offers a wide range of connectivity options and comes with a one-year warranty. This computer is pure power.

Best Budget-Friendly Desktop Computer

If you’re looking for the most affordable option and real bang for your buck, the Dell Optiplex 7010 is an excellent choice. Particularly suitable for office automation tasks or students, it has a massive storage capacity with a 2TB HDD. Running Windows 10 Pro, it integrates a quality Dell 7010 Intel I5 Quad-Core processor and 16GB of RAM. Delivered with a keyboard and mouse, it also features a DVW optical drive.

Best All-In-One Desktop Computer

Last but not least, Acer is back with a fairly different proposal this time. The Aspire Z24 is an all-in-one computer that allows you to save space on your desk while giving you the power you need to perform all your tasks. It’s equipped with a 9th-Gen Intel Core i5 9400T processor, 12GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD – hard to believe given its size! This bundle includes a keyboard and mouse, as well as different connectors for all your needs.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Desktop Computers

There are various aspects that you have to take into consideration when you go to purchase a new desktop computer. As we’ve just seen, there are very different models on the market – all of which come with their own sets of characteristics. In the section below, we have answered the most commonly asked questions regarding desktop computers to help you make the right purchase.

Desktop computers can be incredibly powerful devices.
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What are desktop computers exactly?

These electronic devices are intended for use at a fixed location, such as a desk, table, or any other piece of furniture. While they originally included large towers, their design has been dramatically transformed in recent years. In that sense, you can now find much more compact models.

Desktop computers generally require a keyboard, a mouse, and a monitor that must be connected to the central processing unit (CPU). Nowadays, however, touchscreen and all-in-one models are different alternatives. This is why you have to understand the concept of the desktop computer as a constantly evolving reality.

What are the advantages of desktop computers?

Desktop computers have countless benefits that other electronic devices don’t. You can compare their pros and cons in the table below:

Advantages
  • They are the most powerful computers available
  • You can find a great variety of models and designs
  • These devices are very versatile
  • You can upgrade them to increase their durability
  • They offer a better value for money than laptops
  • Working with a larger monitor and keyboard is much more comfortable in the long run
Disadvantages
  • You cannot carry them as easily as laptops
  • They require a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to function

For whom are desktop computers recommended?

These computers are ideal for home, business, and office use. They are the preferred platform for many video game enthusiasts, as well as an excellent alternative for playing multimedia content in your home. Desktop computers genuinely are suited for every type of user.

You can upgrade your desktop computer to increase its performance and durability.
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What types of desktop computers are there?

Nowadays, classifying the different types of models on the market has become relatively challenging. We can start by setting Apple computers (macOS) apart from other PCs, which run Windows-based or GNU/Linux operating systems.

Their primary use is another way to organize desktop computers.

We will find home theaters PCs, gaming computers, workstations, and servers, among others. Their size or structure is another aspect that can differentiate them. In that regard, we have towers, mid-towers, mini PCs, all-in-ones, and barebone computers. Not to mention touchscreen models!

What are the primary uses of desktop computers?

The possibilities they offer are virtually limitless, but you should be familiar with the most common ones:

  • Playing video games: You will need a more or less powerful model, depending on the type of games you want to play. If you want a truly immersive gaming experience, we encourage you to opt for a specialized gaming PC.
  • Media center or HTPC: These small computers present an elegant design and are mainly intended to play multimedia content, although you can also play video games and perform productivity tasks.
  • Productivity: This includes everything from the most basic office automation tasks to much more demanding applications such as graphic design and programming.
  • Servers: In that case, they will provide services and resources to other equipment within a set network. While any type of computer can theoretically do this, manufacturers have developed specific models to operate within networks.

Apple desktop computers run on the macOS operating system.
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Can I build my own desktop computer?

Absolutely, although we don’t recommend it if you are inexperienced. Advanced users generally prefer to design their equipment from scratch by choosing the components that best suit their needs and budget. Others will turn to desktop computers that are ready to be used upon purchase.

If you choose to build your own model, don’t forget to read our complete guides on motherboards, RAM, graphics cards, power supplies, and the different hard drives available. They will be a great starting point to help you understand the importance of each component, its compatibility, and the options you have. If you’re not sure what to do, the table below might guide you:

 Ready-made desktop computers Custom-made desktop computers
Advantages You will not encounter compatibility issues between their different hardware components.

They can be used immediately, saving you time in the process.

You can choose the components that best suit your needs.

They tend to be more affordable.

Disadvantages They can be more expensive. You need advanced skills to assemble a computer from scratch.

Which model do I need to play at 4K resolution?

If you’re an avid gamer, you’ll undoubtedly want a model that allows you to enjoy the latest games at a good resolution and with a high refresh rate. In that sense, 4K resolution is gaining in popularity. Your goal should be to play games to at least 30 frames per second (fps), although 60fps is ideal.

In the end, the minimum and recommended requirements will vary from one game to the next. The following table will give you an idea of what you should shoot for:

Minimum requirements to play 4K @ 30fps Minimum requirements to play 4K @ 60fps Recommended configuration to play 4K @ 60fps
Processor Intel Core i7-6700 to 3.4 GHz, AMD Ryzen 5 1600X at 3.6 GHz Intel Core i7-6700K at 4.0 GHz, AMD Ryzen 7 1700X at 3.4 GHz or higher Intel Core i7-6700K at 4.0 GHz, AMD Ryzen 7 1700X at 3.4 GHz or higher
RAM 8GB or 16GB, depending on the game 8GB or 16GB, depending on the game 12GB to 16GB
Graphics card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB), AMD RX Vega 56 (8GB) or higher NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080, Radeon RX Vega 64, RTX 2060 or higher GTX 1080 TI, RTX 2080, Radeon Vega VII or higher

Shopping Criteria

You will have to consider a series of key shopping criteria before you can purchase your own desktop computer. These aspects generally relate to the hardware components and technical specs of the device. To make your life easier, we have detailed the most important ones in the section below. Pay attention to them, and you’ll know exactly how to get the best bang for your buck!

Use

The first thing you want to ask yourself when purchasing a computer is how you plan on using it. If you’re a gamer, you will need a powerful model with a quality processor, enough RAM, and a dedicated graphics card. To watch multimedia content, on the other hand, home theater PCs are an excellent option.

If the desktop computer is intended for a store, to manage your accounts, or any other business-related program, you can opt for a device with more basic features. In fact, you may be interested in a mini PC, whose compact size and affordability are undeniable advantages.

Working with a large monitor and a keyboard is much more comfortable in the long run.
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Motherboard

Just like the power supply, this piece of hardware is often not given the attention it deserves. All or most computer components are connected to it. This is why it is essential that you purchase a high-quality motherboard. Looking into the future, this will also allow you to upgrade your computer to increase its durability.

Processor

Intel and AMD are the two leading manufacturers, offering very similar performances in their chips. In that sense, pay close attention to the characteristics of the processor. First of all, have a look at the architecture it is based on and its generation. You can then move on to the number of cores and their working frequency.

We identify two different types: the base frequency and the turbo frequency. The latter is the maximum that one or more cores can reach under specific working conditions. Multithreading technology is another exciting feature to have, allowing each core to manage two processes simultaneously.

RAM

Today, the RAM (random-access memory) has become a relatively inexpensive hardware component. However, it plays a major role in the performance of a computer, especially when it comes to gaming and multitasking. Besides, you can easily expand it if need be. This is why we encourage you to choose a model with at least 4GB of RAM.

For intense gaming sessions in optimal conditions, don’t bother with anything inferior to 8GB. But quantity isn’t everything; you have to factor in that not all RAM is the same. The DDR4 SDRAM is the latest version and, therefore, the one that offers the best performance. Nowadays, the most powerful models can work at up to 4600 MHz.

Graphics Card

If you need a device for office automation tasks, browsing the web, or playing multimedia content, a computer with integrated graphics will be plenty enough. If it’s for gaming or graphic design tasks, on the other hand, a model with dedicated graphics – NVIDIA or AMD – is essential.

When you can afford it, high-end, next-gen graphics cards like the GeForce RTX 2070 or the Radeon RX 5700 are incredibly powerful.

If your budget is more limited, you will be interested in devices that integrate cards from previous generations, such as the GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1050 D5 2G.

HDD vs. SSD

A safe bet is always a great bet. So, when it comes to choosing between a traditional hard drive and an SSD, the best thing you can do is purchase a desktop computer that includes both. As you can see in the table below, SSDs offer higher access and data transfer speeds, but they remain more expensive than HDDs today.

HDDs SSDs
Data storage method On mechanical hard disks On flash memories
Sizes They can measure 2.5 or 3.5 inches. They measure 2.5 inches.
Advantages They are much more affordable.

Their storage capacities are higher.

They provide better access and data transfer speeds.

They are more resistant to shocks.

Their noise levels are inferior.

They consume less energy.

Disadvantages  They are more sensitive to shocks. Their price tends to be higher.

The number of times data can be rewritten on them is limited.

Summary

Nowadays, desktop computers have little to do with those big bulky towers that invaded our desks a couple of decades ago. They are much more powerful, boasting elegant and daring designs, but above all, they offer true versatility.

You can find a multitude of models on the market, each tailored to specific user profiles and presenting its own set of features and technical specs. This is why you should always be clear about how you want to use your device before making a decision.

Did our shopping guide on desktop computers help you in your purchasing process? We’d love to hear which model you opted for, so feel free to leave us a comment in the section below. You can also share this article on your social media, so that your friends and family also find the best desktop computer for their needs!

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