Today’s desktops come in a variety of styles, including traditional towers, sleek all-in-ones, and space-saving tiny PCs, and they are more affordable than ever. View our most recent top picks based on in-depth reviews, along with all the helpful purchasing information you require.
Smartphones are incredibly versatile and widely used. Innovative, stylish laptop designs are always changing. What does that mean for the aging desktop PC?
There are a lot of them available for purchase, and the desktop market is always innovating. However, more consumers than ever before view desktop computers as outdated and will only buy laptops as their next PC.
It’s not always a good idea to do that. For at least ten years now, there have been persistent and greatly overblown rumors about the death of the desktop computer.
Desktops are not in danger of going extinct, and they are actively evolving. They are nevertheless worth considering for both consumers and enterprises because they still have the following benefits: They continue to be the most affordable, adaptable, and simple-to-upgrade computers you can own, forty years after sparking the personal computing revolution and the dawn of the internet.
Despite these benefits, a desktop isn’t always preferable to a laptop or tablet for everyone, especially if your primary computing activities involve simple typing and browsing tasks completed while lounging on the couch.
Desktops are frequently the finest option and the best value for many other people, including small businesses, families, creative professionals, gamers, and tech enthusiasts.
Although there aren’t as many different form factors for desktops as there are for laptops, there is still a wide range of computational capability and capacity for upgrades. In this buying a desktop guide, let’s take these into account along with a number of other crucial elements.
The value the desktop offers is among its most attractive claims. With desktop PCs and their components, your money just goes further.
You can purchase a $700 desktop computer with a more potent Core i7 CPU and perhaps even a dedicated graphics card instead of a $700 laptop with a capable Intel Core i5 processor.
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 $500, 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 $400.
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.
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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 particular 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 of time.
We won’t take sides in this particular religious war or attempt to settle it here, but the Mac vs. PC dispute is one of the oldest in contemporary technology. Here’s a fast review of your options if you’re not tied to one or the other by years of habit (or the peripherals and software you own) and are open to switching.
The most recent version of Microsoft’s operating system is called Windows. Most people often use desktops that run it and older versions of the OS, so you can be sure of the finest compatibility and the largest assortment of third-party software.
Windows desktops are also easily accessible for less than $500, which appeals to casual users, households seeking for a second PC, and bargain hunters.
If your household is already heavily influenced by Apple, Macs are a great option because they offer seamless connectivity with iPads and iPhones, allowing you to send and receive messages on any device linked to your iCloud account. However, entry-level costs will be higher than with the most affordable PCs.
Google’s Chrome OS is a competitive alternative to Windows and macOS, although Chromeboxes, the desktops that run it, are uncommon and are best suited for specialized applications like displaying a restaurant menu display.
Purchasing a desktop with no operating system at all and installing an open-source operating system of your choice, such Ubuntu Linux, is a fourth alternative. We don’t advise taking this path unless you’re technically astute, open to trying new things, and comfortable fixing software compatibility problems and other oddities.
The three main desktop form factors—mini PCs that can be stored on a bookshelf, svelte all-in-ones with integrated monitors that are often high-resolution, and traditional desktop towers—are all available in Macs and Windows PCs
Each of these three forms has advantages and disadvantages, and none stands out as the clear best option for everyone. You must make a decision based on how and where you intend to use your PC.
A compact PC might be the greatest option for people who prefer making the most effective use of space, people who have really small spaces, or people who only have light workloads. Small-form-factor (SFF) towers that may be nearly a foot tall but have small footprints range in size from tiny sticks little larger than a USB flash drive to these devices.
The absolute tiniest sizes include a processor, memory, storage, and connectors for connecting keyboards and mice, and they have the advantage of dissipating behind an HDMI-equipped panel or TV.
They can be used as appropriate platforms for online browsing or multimedia viewing because they are cost- and energy-efficient. However, keep in mind that models at the very small end of the range do not allow for the addition of more internal parts, and upgrading their preinstalled components is typically difficult or impossible.
Nevertheless, there is a good variety of tiny PCs available that do allow for component customization or upgrading. Models based on or inspired by Intel’s Next Unit of Computing (NUC) platform can be as small as 5 inches square, but they still permit you to install one or two solid-state drives of your choice and one or two different types of RAM. They are substantially more flexible but larger than PCs in the “stick” form.