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Finding the best desktop computer is no easy task, but there are some great options in 2023. Our top pick for the year is Dell's XPS Desktop 8950 with its powerful Intel and AMD CPU options, as well as discrete Nvidia GPUs. There are still great desktop PCs from HP, Apple, Lenovo, and less-known brands like Falcon Northwest too, though.
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We've extensively tested dozens of desktop computers to find the best PC for gaming, your home office, and everything in between. If you want to score a deal, make sure to keep our roundup of the best cheap desktop deals handy.
The best overall desktop PC is the one that will work for the most people, and that's the Dell XPS 8950. It's understated in all the right ways, reasonably priced considering the power you can pack inside, and comes in a variety of configurations to suit work, gaming, or both. Choosing the highest-rated PC isn't easy, but the Dell XPS 8950 gets rid of that issue.
Regardless of what configuration you choose, you'll find something that matches your needs. That's because Dell builds them custom ordered, which is the best feature of the XPS 8950. The options are nearly endless, with prices ranging from $750 to over $3,000 depending on the parts you choose. Some of the desktops come without a discrete graphics card, meaning they're more suited for work than games. However, you can get one of the more expensive ones that include a discrete graphics card.
Dell is offering this new XPS desktop with Intel Alder Lake and DDR5 RAM for those who are in search of the best gaming PC. You can add up to an RTX 3090 graphics card as well, which is a serious amount of power considering the size of the machine. Powerful hardware means more heat, but the XPS 8950 gets rid of it well with optional liquid cooling and a case with plenty of room for airflow.
Outside of new components, this new version also supports DDR5 memory, which can make a big difference in gaming performance. If you want the best gaming desktop without the fuss, the HP Omen 45L can deliver.
The HP Envy 34 All-in-One packs flagship hardware behind a screen. If you're looking for a Windows iMac alternative, the HP Envy 34 is your best option. It features a beautiful 34-inch ultrawide display, which you can open toolless-ly in the back to upgrade memory and storage.
Desktops aren't the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about ChromeOS. The HP Chromebase 22 makes a strong argument for them, though. It's best described as a family PC, with an intuitive interface and dead-simple usability.
The best thing to do is look at individual desktop reviews rather than relying on what someone says is the "best brand." Some brands come out with excellent PCs one generation and poor desktops the next, so it's important to check in on reviews when you need to upgrade.
The best CPU will depend on how you're using your desktop. Gamers who want the utmost performance will want an overclockable Intel Core i9-11900K found on most high-end systems, while creatives looking at juggling large media files will want something with more cores. That means AMD, which offers 12- and 16-core chips in the form of the AMD Ryzen 5900X and 5950X.
The best time to buy a desktop is when your current computer isn't able to handle the applications you want to use. Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day usually bring the steepest discounts on desktop computers, but the reality is that you can score a deal on a PC almost any time during the year. Make sure to keep our roundup of the best desktop deals handy for when you want to upgrade.
Prices are at an all-time low, while at the same time, computers are becoming incredibly powerful and full of convenient features. But choosing the right computer to match your needs and budget can be an overwhelming task -- especially for tech-shy folks intimidated by geeky terminology and pushy salespeople.
Personal preference and experience dictate the operating system of choice more than anything, making it hard to recommend one over the other. The best way to tell which one is ideal for you is to try both out to see which one feels more intuitive for you to work on, and which one will work with your favorite programs. Mac computers are generally more expensive than Windows-based PCs, though they tend to be a little more secure. With fewer macOS PCs out there, hackers are less interested in making viruses for them. The closed-ecosystem approach Apple employs for its products also makes it harder to distribute malware -- though not impossible.
Outside of that niche, the app ecosystem for both macOS and Windows is very good -- there are so many apps for both platforms so no matter what you need to do, you'll likely be able to find an app to accomplish the task. Ultimately, you need to make the call for yourself, but definitely keep in mind that today's Mac computers can also run the Windows operating system through programs such as Boot Camp, Parallels, or VMWare Fusion.
A graphics card can be the most expensive part of a PC and is only necessary if you're looking to play games. If you are, buy a GPU that fits your needs and budget. There's no point in buying a $1,000 graphics card if all you want to play is Minecraft, but you'll be disappointed if you try to play the latest AAA games on a budget GPU. Check out the specifications of the games you want to play to help decide which graphics card is right for you or check out our list of the best GPUs you can buy.
Today, most computers have at least one SSD, or solid-state drive, for storage. SSDs are much faster than older HDDs (hard disk drives with moving, magnetic parts), which means you can open and find files faster. SSDs are your best bet for a boot drive, with traditional hard drives best suited as additional storage space and secondary drives.
If you're interested in building your own computer, the best place to start compiling a parts list is PCPartPicker. At PCPartPicker you can compile a list of parts from various retail websites including Newegg and Amazon. What's even nicer is if you pick parts that aren't compatible, PCPartPicker will let you know.
With Apple's introduction of the latest M2 MacBook models, it's time to take another look at which is the best MacBook to buy in 2023. Buying the newest MacBook isn't always the right decision since Apple has several tiers of performance, as well as various sizes. There are several MacBook models available, designated MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, with varying memory and storage configurations, as well as four kinds of processors, providing a wide selection to choose from.
Unless otherwise indicated, the products listed below don't include a monitor, keyboard, mouse or webcam. You'll need to bring your own or buy them separately. We'll update this best desktop computer list periodically.
Both Apple and Microsoft have discontinued their bigger-screen all-in-one desktops, so as one of the sole remaining premium big-screen options (as far as I can tell), the HP Envy 34 AIO is almost the best choice in that class by default.
Introduced in 2021, this fully redesigned iMac is still Apple's current go-to all-in-one (note that the larger 27-inch iMac has been discontinued as of March 2022). It's built on the same M1 chip found in many of Apple's computers, with a gorgeous 24-inch screen replacing the previous 21.5-inch version. The 1080p webcam is a big upgrade, and the rainbow of available colors -- hearkening back to the 1999 iMac G3 -- is a welcome addition. Just be prepared to spend up for the myriad storage and accessory upgrades.
If you're dissatisfied with the lack of configuration options available for prebuilt gaming desktops, going with a custom builder is the best way to sate your appetite. The $5,000-plus price of this custom-configured system fully decked out is too rich for, well, most people's blood. And many people don't need everything maxed out, even for gaming. But you can get reasonable configurations for about half the price of my evaluation unit.
The Mac Pro has long been the top dog in Apple's computer lineup, but the current version is an aging Intel model that starts at a whopping $5,000. By comparison, the new-for-2022 Mac Studio is powered by the latest, greatest Apple silicon chips -- the M1 Max or M1 Ultra -- and starts at less than half that price. It's basically a Mac Mini on steroids, and -- for anyone who doesn't want to wait for the eventual Mac Pro revision -- it's your best bet for running creative-centric Mac apps, including animation, graphics, video-editing and audio-editing software.
Compact all-in-one desktops make good centralized family computers. The HP Chromebase takes it a step further by pairing one with the simple and secure Chrome OS -- the same operating system found on the Chromebooks your kids are probably using at school. With a 21.5-inch touchscreen attached to a gray fabric-covered base, the desktop looks like a supersized version of Google's own Nest Hub smart display (and with Google Assistant baked in, you can use it like one, too). Inside, though, is up to an Intel Core i3-10110U processor, up to 16GB of memory and up to a 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD. The full-HD display even rotates vertically, perfect for viewing vertical videos, following recipes or scrolling your favorite sites.
The 24-inchers are good for kids, but adults should probably go for 27 inches and up. Expect to pay at least $800 at that latter size, especially if you want to avoid underpowered Intel Core i3 or AMD Athlon CPUs. The HP Envy 32/34 and Apple iMacs are examples of high end all-in-one computers, but here's a more reasonably priced alternative.
Mini PCs: Following the debut of the Mac Mini in 2005, Windows PC makers experimented with similarly tiny designs. In the wake of likable small models like the Acer Revo One and HP Pavilion Mini, we even saw (woefully underpowered) "PC on a stick" offerings starting in 2015, but interest seems to have ebbed since then. Outside of specialty vendors like Beelink, the best choices in this mini PC size are probably the Intel NUC (Next Unit of Computing), most of which are sold as hobbyist options, requiring some BYO additions like user-supplied storage, RAM and other components -- including the operating system. See more bare-bones Mini PCs at Newegg. 041b061a72