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Best Desktop Computers

Liza Brown
Liza Brown Originally published Aug 17, 22, updated Jul 18, 24

The designs of swanky, cutting-edge laptops are always changing. Smartphones are incredibly versatile and

widely used. Where does that leave the desktop PC, a relic of the 1980s? There are still a ton of options

available, and the desktop market is constantly innovating, particularly regarding all-in-one and small-

form-factor devices. But many customers appear to view desktop computers as an antique, since they

immediately walk to the laptop aisle when making their next computer purchase.

Let’s start off!

In this article
  1. How much does a desktop cost
    1. MSI MEG Aegis Ti5
    2. Corsair One i300
    3. Mac Mini (M1, 2020)
    4. Lenovo Yoga A940
    5. Azulle Access4
    6. Alienware Aurora R13
  2. How much CPU power do you need
  3. What graphics card do you need

Part 1. How much does a desktop cost?

The value the desktop offers are among its most attractive claims. With desktop PCs and their components,

your money just goes further. Instead of spending $600 on a laptop with a capable Intel Core i5 processor, you could spend the same amount of money on a desktop with a Core i7 CPU and perhaps even room for a

dedicated graphics card.

For very light labor and display-signage activities, entire micro-PCs are available for about $300, while perfectly functional small towers are available for between $300 and $600. Starting at about $600, gaming desktops with discrete graphics cards are available. All-in-one desktops, which include the display and all of the computer hardware in a single unit, are also available and start at about $450.

With desktops, you don't run some of the same risks that you would with a laptop of comparable price. For

basic computing, a $250 Black Friday deal or a heavily discounted used desktop could work just fine, and you

wouldn't have to worry about the cheap materials wearing out the way you could with a laptop of a comparable price. The whims of daily commuting and the sporadic drop from a coffee table would befall that

cheap laptop. However, the desktop would have to remain stationary and continue to function.

Business workstations, blinged-out gaming rigs, and exquisitely constructed all-in-one PCs that cost several

thousand dollars are available at the top of the market. A $3,000 gaming tower will not only provide enormous

computational capability for today, but it should also have so much room for growth and upgradeability that it will have a considerably longer useful life than any laptop. And that's before you even explore the wacky world of custom PCs, which includes paint jobs that rival those on automobiles, liquid cooling, and extravagant

lighting and wiring.

Business PCs that are IT-manageable and security-conscious—the majority of which are now produced by Dell, HP, and Lenovo—have their own price dynamics and generally cost more. This is due to their expensive

warranty or maintenance packages as well as the potential addition of enterprise-specific silicon with a

manageability or security focus. Sometimes, a portion of the price premium for business desktops reflects the

PC manufacturer's promise to keep extra parts and upgrades in stock for that model of computers for a specific amount of time in the future. As a result, IT professionals may rely on being able to maintain a fleet of a specific business machine for that period.

Part 2. What desktops are recommended?

Choosing a new PC tower might be challenging, but we've outlined the top models for each function, from

gaming powerhouses to small PCs for your home office. You may use this list to locate the finest PC to meet

your demands, whether you're a student, a busy professional, or an avid gamer.

1. MSI MEG Aegis Ti5

Even so, there are times when you just want the best of the best, the absolute cream of the crop. It won't be

for everyone, of course. That, in our opinion, is the MSI MEG Aegis Ti5: a jaw-droppingly distinctive gaming PC with an almost absurdly powerful hardware setup. The front of the computer features a "Gamer Dial" that can be used to adjust system performance settings and display data or amusing animations on a tiny circular


The MEG Aegis Ti5 is available in several versions, all of which have the newest gaming hardware. The

most recent top-spec setup uses an Nvidia RTX 3090 graphics card and an ultra-modern Intel Core i9-12900K

CPU, but there are many other variants available if that isn't precisely what you're looking for. Of course, the

majority of these models will set you back a good coin, but if performance is what you're after, look no further.

2. Corsair One i300

The Corsair One i300 is a brilliantly little workstation computer with top-tier performance in a footprint that is barely any larger than the Lenovo IdeaCentre Mini 5i, which is found higher on this list. It is a genuinely

innovative bit of computer hardware architecture. Due to its single fan positioned on the roof and perforated

side panels, it also operates more quietly than many powerful PCs.

Given its high-end internal components and expensive starting price, the One i300 is probably a little overkill

for the ordinary user. However, there is no doubt that this is the most potent small form factor PC currently on the market, and Corsair provides a choice of variants with AMD and Intel processors.

This is a great option if you're searching for a high-end PC for resource-intensive content creation jobs or 4K

gaming (or both!). Fortunately, the hardware on offer here means that the Corsair One i300 should serve you

for years to come even though the extremely compact design makes it difficult, if not impossible, to pry open

the chassis to replace your components.

3. Mac Mini (M1, 2020)

The arrival of the Apple M1 chip meant new Mac hardware across the board, and naturally this included a

much-needed update to the smallest Apple computer: the Mac Mini. The 2020 M1 edition of this pint-sized

(Well, it's actually smaller than a pint) Mac is more powerful than ever, with the new processor offering solid

performance in video editing, digital art, and even iOS gaming thanks to the new chip.

Despite this, it's still Apple's cheapest Mac ever, with the base model starting at $700 for 8GB of RAM and a

256GB drive. Budget-conscious Apple fans looking for the best computer need look no further; this is the

definitive version of the Mac Mini. It retains the same clean design as its predecessors, with a decent selection

of ports on the rear edge and a thick rubber base that keeps it from sliding around on your desk. The only

significant downside of the new model is that it can no longer use external GPUs, which could limit its potential

for users looking to run demanding graphics-intensive software.

4. Lenovo Yoga A940

For digital artists, the Lenovo Yoga A940 is without a doubt the best desktop computer available. This feature - rich all-in-one PC from Lenovo is the company's response to the iMac and is guaranteed to pique the interest of creative types. A magnificent 27-inch 4K display with outstanding contrast and color richness, a strong 25- degree rotating hinge, and a smart stylus are all included.

The included "content creation dial," a clever addition that offers tactile control to a number of activities, such

as zooming in and out on a virtual canvas or scrolling across pages, may be plugged in on either side of the

screen. On the base of the device, there is also an LED light array and a wireless phone charging pad.

In general, the Yoga A940 outperforms sleek all-in-one laptops like the Apple iMac and Surface Studio 2, both of which choose clean, simple designs over cramming in exciting features like Lenovo has. Naturally, a mouse and keyboard are provided, though you might wish to update as they are a rather common set. The only significant drawback is the Yoga A940's somewhat outdated internal components, which prevent it from

handling intensive tasks like 4K video editing.

5. Azulle Access4

A stick PC can be the best option if you're constantly on the road and would prefer not to lug along a heavy

laptop. These tiny computers, often known as "compute sticks," are made to be plugged into a screen and used right away, making them ideal for professionals who work quickly. The Azulle Access4 may resemble a large flash drive more than a computer, but it can be hooked into any monitor with an HDMI port to turn it into a fully functional Windows or Linux PC.

The Access4 is simple to use and well-equipped for fundamental tasks like word processing or maintaining

spreadsheets thanks to its 4GB of RAM and Intel Celeron processor. Since there are no fans, it won't even emit a whisper of noise and is small enough to put in your jacket pocket. For office workers who may have switched to a "hotdesking" environment, Azulle even sells a Zoom-oriented version that can transform any screen and webcam into an instant videoconferencing tool.

6. Alienware Aurora R13

Since so much of Alienware's business is focused on making you a PC with the particular components you

desire, a judgment of the Aurora R13 is largely a judgment of the new Legend 2.0 chassis. And we can confirm

that the Aurora R13's new appearance is a hit after working, playing, and tinkering with our review device for a few weeks.

Even after playing in 4K for hours, the redesigned chassis is simple to access, has lots of ports, and has enough

ventilation that I didn't detect much more than a gentle hum and a pleasant warmth coming from the PC. The computer is a bit heavy to move about (mind those fins) or set down on a desk because it can weigh up to 35 pounds. However, if your desk has room for it, the futuristic style and programmable RGB lighting are sure to draw attention.

If you can afford it, Alienware will outfit the Aurora R13 with premium parts to turn it into a top-notch gaming

computer. Our review device is not cheap, costing close to $3,000, but it has the capacity to play today's top

games in 1080p for years to come. Just be aware that you shouldn't anticipate getting 4K framerates that are

lightning quick for that price; the Aurora R13 becomes just as pricey as the other PCs on our list when outfitted

with premium components.

Part 3. How much CPU power do you need?

A desktop tower's utilization of a desktop-grade CPU is one of its key advantages. It may seem simple, but that is a crucial distinction.

The two largest PC processor manufacturers, AMD and Intel, provide desktop-class chips and laptop-class chips to system builders, although frequently the CPU model names are identical and difficult to distinguish. For instance, you can find Intel's Core i7 in both laptops and desktops, but a "real" desktop CPU as opposed to one designed for a mobile device performs far better.

For challenging content creation tasks, PC gaming, or math and science projects, a desktop CPU gives you

additional power. Software developed to take advantage of the extra cores will profit from faster processors

with four, six, eight, or perhaps as many as 18 cores. In comparison to variants created for laptops, which must

be integrated into surroundings with less thermal and power-delivery leeway, the desktop version of a given

CPU will use more energy and produce more heat. The ability to multithread, which enables each of the CPU's

cores to address two processing threads simultaneously rather of just one, is another important feature that

can be more easily included into a desktop CPU. When used with appropriate software, multithreading,

sometimes known as "Hyper-Threading" by Intel, can significantly improve performance.

High-end towers with enough of interior room are the only ones that can accommodate liquid cooling systems, which are only necessary for the very highest-end desktop CPUs. These are very specialized and expensive processors, so you should only use them if you have extremely particular software requirements that you are certain can take use of their higher base and peak clock rates as well as all of their addressable cores and threads. These are not only random purchases.

Contrarily, many AIOs and tiny PCs employ the same effective, cooler-running CPU designs as you may find in laptops. While most desktop chips have a "T" or "K" or simply a zero at the end, Intel often marks their mobile- first chip designs with a CPU name that contains "U," "H," or "P." Despite having the same number of

processing cores as its desktop equivalent (four- and six-core CPUs are also frequently found in both), a mobile CPU's maximum power consumption is frequently much lower. The average base and boost clock rates might also be slower, and the processor might not enable multithreading. However, a lot of desktop PC customers will be able to do their daily tasks and a little more with these lower-powered CPUs.

Common users should look for an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 for a typical tower with a true desktop-grade

CPU; the Core i7 and Ryzen 7 are also excellent, powerful options, but overkill for most people who aren't

serious PC gamers, intensive multitaskers, prosumer or pro video or image manipulators. However, if CPU

power is a top priority, these should be adequate.

Only if you are aware that your workflow is being slowed down by insufficient cores or threads or if you have

extremely high internal storage requirements are the Core i9, Ryzen 9, Ryzen Threadripper, and Core X-Series

worth the money (for which the Threadripper and Core X can help with internal resources).

Part 4. What graphics card do you need?

If you want to construct your own PC or purchase the greatest gaming PC, investing in the best graphics card is essential. More crucial than the CPU is the graphics card. Unfortunately, figuring out how to purchase a GPU might be challenging. There are other factors to consider, including the type of monitor you're using (for

suggestions, check our Best Gaming Monitors page, which opens in a new browser), the size of your PC case,

and the game settings you want to use.

The considerations you should make while choosing your next GPU are listed below. To evaluate how today's

GPUs stack up against earlier cards that you might be wanting to replace or upgrade, check out our list of the

best graphics cards available right now. You can also view the GPU Benchmarks Hierarchy.

Thankfully, the supply and GPU costs for AMD's RX 6000 cards and Nvidia's RTX 30-series cards both continue

to rise. After 18 months of exorbitant costs, the majority of cards can now be obtained online for only 20–30%

over MSRP, occasionally even less. However, keep in mind that next-generation GPUs, like as the Nvidia 'Ada'

RTX 40-series and AMD's RDNA3, are soon to be released.

Even though there are several manufacturers and hundreds of graphics cards, only Nvidia and AMD actually

produce the GPUs that power these devices; however, Intel's Xe Graphics has started shipping for laptops and

will likely be available for desktops in the near future as well. AMD is more competitive than it has been in

recent years with Nvidia and its current-generation Ampere cards, including the GeForce RTX 3080, thanks to

its RX 6000 cards.

But real-time ray tracing is the unseen, realistically lit elephant in the room that we have been ignoring up to

this point. "Team Green" is now using its second generation of RTX with 30-series GPUs, which was first

introduced as a significant new feature with Nvidia's then-current-generation RTX 20-series cards. With its RX 6000 cards, AMD ("Team Red") made a significant entry into this market in 2020. However, because real-time ray tracing is still new to AMD, it trails behind Nvidia in this area.

However, the development of games that use ray tracing effectively has lagged behind. There's no denying that more games are adding ray tracing functionality, and there will be a lot more in the future since the Sony

PlayStation 5 and Microsoft Series S|X consoles also support it. There are currently just a select few video

games that make use of ray tracing in a manner that we would consider to be outstanding.

The value for the money will be significantly increased by going down a notch or two. For instance, an RTX 3080 12GB is now available for under $1,000. Those costs half as much as the RTX 3090 Ti and has an average

performance reduction of 15%. The AMD side is the same. The RX 6700 XT (opens in new tab) is available for

half as much as the RX 6900 XT (opens in new tab), which costs approximately $1,050. The 6900 is undoubtedly

speedier, but is it really worth spending twice as much money? You are the only one who can make the choice.


The functioning of your PC and the purposes for which you use it will determine which computer brand is ideal. If you prefer Windows operating systems, Dell and Lenovo offer excellent desktop computers, but Apple also makes excellent desktop computers if you can afford how pricey they may be. On the other hand, if you're searching for the best gaming PC, you should consider brands like MSI, Corsair, or even Dell-owned Alienware if you want a PC with gaming skills. The ideal computer brand for you will ultimately rely on what you want your PC to be able to do as many computer brands offer the highest quality, most reasonably priced PCs.

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Liza Brown
Liza Brown Jul 18, 24
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