The desktop computer landscape has changed in recent years. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones have gained ground on their stationary cousins.
As those devices become more capable, the desktop — our old standby — is too easily forgotten. But whilemanufacturers might lament the decline in desktop sales, it’s all good news for consumers. You’ve always been able to get more bang for your buck out of a desktop computer than you could out of, say, a laptop. Now more than ever, desktop manufacturers are in fierce competitionto provide you with the best value without sacrificing performance.
Here we’ve compiled the best desktop computers currently on the market. Whether you need something for your dorm room, your home office, or your gaming cave, we’ve got you covered with the best desktop PCs on the market today.
Falcon Mach V
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Why you should buy this: You want the best of the best — a grim obelisk,thrumming with dark power.
Who it’s for: Gamers,professionals, overclocking enthusiasts
How much will it cost: Between $2,800 and $9,000+
Why we picked the Falcon Mach V
Like the Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Falcon Mach V is a solid black pillarof immense power. It’s understated, elegant, and expensive.
If you want a desktop that will outperform and outlast any other desktop on the market, and price isn’t too much of an issue, then you can’t do better than the Falcon Mach V. It’s fully configurable, from the processor to the paint job, and while it’s a little pricey you’re going to come away with something tailored to your specific needs.
Compared to some other systems, the Mach V may seem mundane, but that’s to its benefit. It doesn’t call too much attention to itself, so it can work as a high-end workstation, a supercharged gaming PC, or anything in between. You may want to seek another rig if flash is important to you, but we think most users will prefer this monolith’s look. Also, it tends to run quieter than competitors, so it won’t distract you with whirring fans.
The conventional design also makes the Mach V easy to upgrade. It has a large, spacious, logically arranged interior, with plenty of room for new hard drives or a large graphics card. And if it breaks within the first three years (god forbid), you’re covered: Falcon’s standard warranty is among the best in the business.
The best budget desktop
Dell Inspiron 5675
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Why you should buy this: You want good performance on a budget.
Who it’s for: Students, families
How much will it cost: Starts at $600 – $1,250. Tested at $650
Why we picked the Dell Inspiron 5675
The Inspiron 5675 is a quiet desktop PC that just gets the job done. Properly specced it can do pretty much anything you need it to without breaking your budget. It can serve as a solid, reliable workstation, or its intended purpose: a budget gaming rig.
It’s not the most expensive system on this list, but it’s got a couple features that give it a leg up over some of its more expensive competitors. For starters, it’s very quiet. Seriously, it’s whisper quiet even under a heavy load, which makes it a great choice for dorm rooms or living rooms, or anywhere that excessive fan noise wouldn’t be particularly appreciated. It never gets very loud, and it’s practically inaudible under a desk, even under heavy load.
The Inspiron is also surprisingly compact. You can put this thing anywhere; it’d fit comfortably under a desk, on top of it, or even in a small cupboard. It’s just flashy enough to look stylish without looking out of place in a home office.Overall, the Inspiron 5675 is aworkhorse, plain and simple. If you need a new desktop PC, a new all-around workstation that will dutifully serve with only a sensible number of bells and whistles, the Inspiron is your best bet.
The best all-in-one
Apple Mac 27-inch with 5K Display
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Why you should buy this: You want a cord-free, clean setup.
Who it’s for: Students, families, creative professionals, IKEA showrooms
How much will it cost:Starts at $1,800
Why we pickedthe Apple iMac 27-inch with 5K Display
Looking for a more reserved style? Maybe youjust want an all-in-one with a tack-sharp screen? Thenthe iMac with Apple’s 5K display is a solid choice particularly if space is a consideration, or if you just don’t want to deal with all the hassles that come along with a typical desktop PC.
The iMac lives up to the famous Apple promise: it just works. This is a desktop that gets out of your way and gets the job done. The gorgeous, luxurious screen makes the iMac a great choice for multi-purpose use:As a workstation, it’s got a big enough monitor with all the space you could need; as an entertainment center or even a TV replacement, it’s got vivid colors, deep blacks, and unparalleled color clarity.
In addition to all of that, the iMac is surprisingly fast. It’s snappy and responsive, with quick load times, and decent multitasking performance as long as you don’t push it too hard.
Performance, paired with a classic glass-and-aluminum design, make the iMaca good choice for consumers looking for a well-rounded desktop that doesn’t take up too much of the desktop.
The best gaming desktop
Dan Baker/Digital Trends
Why you should buy this: Youwant a carbon-fiber clad jet engine that also runs games.
Who it’s for: Gamers, game players, and anyone into video games
How much will it cost: Starts at $1,704, tested at $4,737
Why we picked the Origin Millennium:
Prebuilt gaming desktops come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but few can even come close to matching the majesty and power of the Origin Millennium. Topping our list of the best gaming desktops, the Origin Millennium might be expensive, but it has top-end performance in a package that is beautiful to look at without being gaudy.
It’s incredibly customizable too, with buyers able to choose from different hardware mounting options, color coding, cooling systems, and tonnes of internal components. You can have an AMD CPU with an Nvidia graphics card, mid-range RAM or the fastest sticks on the planet it’s entirely up to you.
Whatever you pick though, you benefit from Origin’s premier build quality and cable management, so your system will arrive in pristine condition, ready to game. That makes it easy to upgrade too. We loved the Millennium’s easy access, which make it a cinch for even first-timer DIY system builders to open it up and replace a component in the future should you see the need.
Check out our list of the best gaming laptopsfor more options.
Should you buy now, or wait?
That’s the real question here, isn’t it? If you’ve read this far, you probably already have a good idea of what you want out of a new desktop, but when should you pull the trigger on the decision?
Well, now’s as good a time as any. Graphics card prices remain sky high, making pre-built systems a much more attractive option. Additionally, Apple, Microsoft, Dell, and most other major manufacturers have refreshed their flagship desktop lines with Intel’s 8th-generation chips from last year, though if you’re excited by AMD’s Ryzen+ chips, you may want to wait a few more months for those to arrive en masse.
If you buy today, or sometime soon, you’re in a good position to get a reliable desktop at a reasonable price.
How we test
You’ve read our reviews. You’ve read our conclusions. And now you’re wondering how we came to them.
Reviews often lack context. We’ll give out a score and analyze the finer points of desktop performance, but how do we reach those conclusions? How do we test these machines?
Allow us to lift the veil. Here we’ll explain the benchmarks we use for objective testing and the perspective from which we approach subjective topics. We don’t expect everyone to agree with our opinions, but we hope that sharing our process will leave you better equipped to decide what desktopbest fits your needs.
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