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Desktops & Components

Best Desktop Computers

Desktop computers cover a wide range of various makes and models with many different designs and configurations catering to numerous budgets and performance requirements. You can find great overall options for general desktop computers, all-in-one systems, and even high-end gaming rigs that can run the latest titles at incredible speeds.

If you’re not looking to break the bank, then consider some budget options for basic desktop towers, gaming systems, and all-in-ones that work well at a reasonable price. There are even some desktop computers chosen specifically for multimedia editing, as well as nettops which offer great performance in the smallest package possible.

With so many choices available to you, you should take a look at the desktop computer buyer’s guide below for more product information and explanations of common computer features.

CyberPowerPC Fang Battlebox I-200

CyberPowerPC Fang Battlebox I-200

There is a lot to like about this budget gaming computer, starting with an Intel i5 quad-core processor, which you can upgrade to an i7. You also get 16GB of DDR4 2800MHz RAM, which gives you fantastic performance, especially when playing games optimized to take advantage of fast memory. The default build includes an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 video card with 2GB of GDDR5 memory which is quite good. If you have extra money to pour into your system, then you can upgrade that to something like an NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X. This computer comes with a 2TB hard drive with a second hard drive slot that you can use for more storage or a solid state drive for even faster performance. The only real flaw with this system is the 350W power supply which is weaker than it probably should be, but you can upgrade to a much more powerful PSU at a very low cost.

Maingear Drift Z170 Steam Machine

Maingear Drift Z170 Steam Machine

This is one of the best Steam Machines currently on the market, offering excellent performance and a surprising amount of potential upgrades and improvements to enhance your gameplay experience. It comes with an Intel i5 quad-core processor which you can upgrade to an i7 model for faster performance. Despite its small size there is an option for liquid-cooling, though air cooling is the default.

This Steam Machine comes with 8GB of DDR4 memory which can be upgraded to 16GB and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750ti video card with 2GB of graphics memory which you can upgrade all the way up to a Titan X with 12GB of memory for insane performance. The included hard drive is 1TB in size and comes with the Steam OS installed; however, you can choose a larger drive or solid state drive instead, with two more bays for additional storage. While no optical drive is included you can add a DVD or Blu-ray burner and although this system doesn’t come with a mouse or keyboard, you do get a Steam gaming controller included.

ASUS G20AJ-US023S Desktop

While this isn’t a Steam Machine, its small size and sleek design certainly feel inspired by the new wave of gaming-oriented budget-friendly PCs. This model runs Windows 8.1 and comes with an Intel i5 quad-core processor. You get an NVIDIA GeForce GTX750 video card with 1GB of graphics memory which is a bit underpowered, but should still be adequate for a wide range of gaming needs.

This system delivers 8GB of DDR3 memory which is good, but DDR4 would certainly be preferable. The 1TB hard drive gives you a lot of storage and is a hybrid drive which includes 8GB of solid state storage, perfect for the OS. You also get a DVD burner, mouse, and keyboard with this system, making it a great overall choice not only for gaming but general media use as well.

While ASUS offers several different models of the ROG G20AJ gaming computer, it’s worth noting that you cannot really change or upgrade the video card and other components within this system. If you want to customize your hardware, this might not be the right fit for you.

Digital Storm Vanquish 4 Level 1

Digital Storm Vanquish 4 Level 1

If customization is the most important thing to you in a new gaming unit, then consider a company like CyberPowerPC or Maingear. But for a straightforward gaming computer that requires no additional work to setup, this is a great option. It comes with an Intel i5 quad-core CPU and 8GB of DDR4 RAM. You also get an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 2GB video card and a 1TB hard drive for storage.

While Digital Storm does offer some upgrade options on this computer, most of them are external components like keyboards and monitors. If you want to control every single piece of hardware that goes in the case, then this option really isn't for you, though there is plenty of room in the tower for you to change components or add some yourself. Digital Storm does offer different “Levels” on their computers, with higher levels offering better components (but naturally also cost more). If your budget allows for it, take a look at level two, three, or four of the Vanquish 4 for systems that offer solid state drives, more memory, and more powerful video cards.

Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-4980BLK Desktop Console

There’s a lot to like about this system if you want a Steam Machine, but for general use you can probably find a better option elsewhere. This computer comes with an Intel i7 quad-core processor and 8GB of DDR3 RAM. You also get an NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, so it is definitely designed for gaming with the Steam OS. The 1TB hard drive gives you plenty of space for installing games and save files.

It also includes support for Wireless-AC and Bluetooth 4.0, perfect for downloading new games or connecting to wireless devices.  No mouse or keyboard is included with this model, but it does come with the Steam gaming controller. Alienware doesn’t offer much in the way of upgrades on this system, but there are a few different models available with less processing power and memory if this is more machine than you need for your Steam gaming.

Dell Inspiron 24 5000 i5459 23.8" FHD All-in-One

If you're interested in features like a touchscreen display and solid performance and power, then give this computer a good look. This model has a 6th Generation Intel i5 dual-core processor, which should be powerful enough to run just about anything you throw at it. You get 12GB of RAM with this model and though it has a graphics chip you don't get any dedicated video memory with it. This means you might have a hard time playing some graphically intense PC games, though all the general memory can help with performance.

The 1TB hard drive is quite large for an all-in-one system and should be more than enough for many computer users. The big selling point here is the 23.8 inch display, which is touch sensitive and it comes with the Windows 10 operating system. You get a DVD burner with this computer so you can read and write to DVD and CD. There's also Wireless-AC and Bluetooth connectivity so this computer works with a wide range of wireless networks and devices.

HP Pavilion 23st Touch All-in-One PC

HP Pavilion 23st Touch All-in-One PC

While there are upgrades available for this computer, the starting setup is more than enough to make it a decent system on a budget. It has a 6th Generation Intel i5 quad-core processor for great speed and performance, as well as 8GB of RAM. While this isn't mind-blowing, it's more than enough for common tasks and quite good for this type of all-in-one system, plus you can pay a bit more to upgrade to more memory or an i7 CPU. The integrated graphics chip is decent, though it would be nice if there was an option to upgrade to some dedicated video memory.

This model has a 1TB hard drive, which gives you a good amount of storage, and a DVD burner, plus you can upgrade those to up to 3TB of storage and a Blu-ray player. The 23 inch display on this model is touch-sensitive and it comes loaded with Windows 10. While you get Wireless-N connectivity in this system, you have to pay a bit more if you want Wireless-AC and Bluetooth networking.

Lenovo B40-30 (F0AW00A0US) All-in-One Desktop

Lenovo B40-30 (F0AW00A0US) All-in-One Desktop

There's a lot to like about this all-in-one system, especially if you're trying to save some money on your system. You're not going to be able to run the latest PC games or other demanding software on this computer, but it's a great option for a lot of other, general tasks. It has a 4th Generation Intel i3 processor, which is a pretty good dual-core model with hyperthreading. You only get 4GB of memory in this computer, which makes it fine for navigating the internet, word processing, and similar tasks. However, this isn't a good choice if you want to do much PC gaming or use more memory-intensive programs.

You get a 1TB hard drive and an 8GB solid state drive, plus a DVD burner with this computer, and it has both Wireless-AC and Bluetooth connectivity. The 21.5 inch display looks good but is not touch-sensitive which helps keep the overall cost low; if you really want a touchscreen, then you’ll need to look elsewhere. Overall, you can find other all-in-one systems with better performance, but not at this price point.

Dell OptiPlex 3030 All-in-One with 4th Generation Intel i5 Processor

Dell OptiPlex 3030 All-in-One with 4th Generation Intel i5 Processor

There is a lot to like about this all-in-one from Dell, and while it’s still budget-friendly, you should get a little bit more from an $870 model. This one comes with a 4th Generation Intel i5 processor, which runs great and should work for most computer users. You get just 4GB of RAM in this system which is definitely less than it should be for the price, plus it lacks any dedicated graphics memory.

The 500GB hard drive is decent, and probably enough storage for a lot of people, but a 1TB model really would be preferable. This model does include a DVD burner and it includes Wireless-N connectivity, but there isn't Bluetooth functionality unfortunately. The display looks terrific and is touch-sensitive, which is nice, but at 19.5 inches it’s just a little smaller than it probably should be.

Lenovo C50-30 (F0B100KUUS) All-in-One Desktop

Lenovo C50-30 (F0B100KUUS) All-in-One Desktop

If you find this computer for $850, then it's a pretty good all-in-one computer, but if you find it for a lot lower price than that, then it's probably the best value on the market. You get a 5th Generation Intel i3 dual-core processor and 8GB of memory which gives you very nice performance overall. You're probably not going to be running the latest PC games on this one since it lacks any dedicated video memory. However, it should work well for a wide range of general programs and some games with lower requirements.

The 23 inch display that comes with this computer looks great and though you can pay more for a model with a touchscreen, this is a standard LED display. You also get a DVD burner, 1TB of storage, and this system has both Bluetooth and Wireless-AC compatibility. If you find this model from Lenovo or a retailer at just $550 then it's an incredible value that you should not overlook.

HP Envy Desktop Computer 750-110

You get an AMD quad-core APU with the default setup on this computer, which is excellent, and gives you better graphics performance since there is no video card in this model. It comes with 8GB of RAM, but it can be upgraded to 16GB if you really need more memory. The 2TB hard drive on this one gives you a ton of storage, more than you’ll find in other computers at this price range, and it even has a DVD burner installed in it. This computer has four USB 2.0 and four USB 3.0 ports, which gives you a ton of connectivity, along with an Ethernet port and both Wireless-AC and Bluetooth 4.0 support. If you can find this one on sale and then customize it to be more powerful, then you can build a very good budget desktop computer with this option. However, even its default build is perfect for a wide range of computer users.

Dell XPS 8900 Desktop

This one has a nice, fast 6th Generation Intel i5 quad-core processor, which should keep it running quite effectively no matter what kind of tasks you need to perform. There’s no hyperthreading with this chip, so it runs as a quad-core CPU. The 8GB of DDR4 RAM that comes with this system should be enough for most users, but you can upgrade to up to 16GB if you need more.

This model has a 1TB hard drive, which is pretty good for a budget system, but there aren't any options for upgrades on storage. You get 2GB of DDR3 video memory from an NVIDIA graphics card in this system, so it is an excellent choice for PC gaming and media streaming. It has built-in wireless connectivity through Wireless-N and Bluetooth 4.0 support, plus it comes with a DVD burner. This pick also has four USB 2.0 and six USB 3.0 ports, along with an Ethernet port and both HDMI and Display ports.

Gateway DX4375-UR22 Desktop

This is a very good option if you’re not interested in upgrades and customization, but just looking for a good computer that works well right out of the box. You get an AMD quad-core APU to give you decent general performance general and graphics capability even though this model doesn't have a dedicated video card. This system comes with 4GB of DDR3 memory with support for up to 16GB if you want to upgrade it.

There’s a 1TB hard drive and a DVD burner in this computer although you don’t have any options for a Blu-ray drive or any additional upgrades. This computer includes Wireless-N and Bluetooth 4.0 support, along with two USB 3.0 ports, six USB 2.0 ports, and an HDMI connection. The included 300W power supply is much too weak for any major upgrades, so keep that in mind. Otherwise, this is a nice computer that should work well for a lot of different users.

Velocity Micro Vector Holiday Edition

Velocity Micro Vector Holiday Edition

You get an Intel Pentium dual-core processor in this computer, which is a bit weak compared to similarly priced systems on the market. There is no video card or dedicated graphics memory in this system, though you can add one if you want to pay more to upgrade this computer. There is 8GB of DDR3 RAM included with this computer which isn’t amazing but you can upgrade that to 16GB if you need more.

It comes with a 1TB hard drive and a DVD burner plus you can upgrade to more storage, even a solid state drive and a Blu-ray player if you need it. This computer doesn't come with any wireless networking in the default build, which is one of its major weaknesses compared to similar models, though you can add Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for extra money. You get Windows 10 on this computer and it comes with the original disk which is nice, plus the system has four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, and HDMI connector.

Lenovo ThinkCentre M79 10CN0002US Desktop

What really sets this pick apart from other great budget desktop computers is this one is available for about half the price of something like the Dell XPS 8900 or HP ENVY 750-110. With that in mind, you still get some solid performance thanks to an AMD dual-core APU in this system which you can upgrade to a better chip if you want to spend a bit more. You get 4GB of DDR3 memory in this system with options to upgrade to 8GB or more up to 32GB, but doing so can more than double the price of this computer.

You get integrated video with decent performance thanks to the APU and while you can add 1GB of dedicated graphics memory, this isn't a great choice for PC gaming or streaming HD media. The 500GB hard drive in this model is a bit small but should work well for many setups, and you can upgrade to 1TB or more storage for just a little more money. This pick comes with a DVD burner and offers two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, and an Ethernet port. While it doesn't come with any wireless connectivity, you can add Wireless-N support and Bluetooth 4.0 for a minimal additional cost.

Dell XPS One 27 XPSo27-2945BK 27" All-in-One Desktop

For starters, the 27 inch touchscreen on this all-in-one system looks amazing and gives you an additional input option for your favorite software. Within the case itself, you also get some great components with solid performance. It has a 4th Generation Intel i7 quad-core CPU and 16GB of RAM for terrific speed and power. The NVIDIA graphics card gives you 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 video memory, which makes this a great option for PC gaming, streaming HD media, and running a wide range of applications and programs. There's even a dual-layer Blu-ray drive which legitimizes this as a true multimedia system. The 2TB hard drive is great for storage and it has a 64GB solid state drive for the operating system and other programs, ensuring your receive the best performance possible.

Apple iMac with Retina 5K display

Although the 27 inch screen that comes with this computer might not be touch-sensitive, it features 5K resolution for absolutely amazing picture quality. Not only does this all-in-one give you the best picture quality on the market, but you’re also getting terrific performance as well. It comes with an Intel i5 quad-core processor, though you can upgrade it to an i7 CPU. There’s also 8GB of RAM that you can upgrade to 16GB or 32GB for more memory if needed.

The hard drive in this system offers 2TB of storage with options to upgrade to more storage or Flash memory. It has a 2GB Radeon R9 M395 video chip, which you can upgrade to a 4GB model if you need a lot more video memory. There’s also a wealth of extras included such as an Apple magic mouse, wireless keyboard, a built-in HD camera, and numerous USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports.

HP ENVY 34-a010 34-Inch All-in-One Desktop

If you want an all-in-one computer with a huge screen that really envelops you and pulls you into the action on your computer, then this model is unbeatable. It has a curved, 34-inch HD display that looks excellent. While some other all-in-ones on the market can beat this model in terms of specs, it still offers some very nice performance. It has an Intel i5 quad-core processor and 12GB of memory.

This computer includes an NVIDIA graphics chipset with 2GB of GDDR5 dedicated video memory, so it can handle a wide range of PC games, HD video, and other media. The 1TB hard drive gives you a decent amount of storage though it should be noted there’s not a solid state drive. However, since you’re getting a 3D camera and seven USB ports on the front and back, this is still an excellent system with the bonus of a really big display.

Lenovo A740 27-Inch All-in-One Touchscreen Desktop

The 4th Generation Intel i7 quad-core processor in this computer is quite good and offers tremendous speed and performance. You get 8GB of RAM in this system which is a little less than would be ideal, but it should be more than enough for most tasks. However, there is the addition of an NVIDIA graphics chip with 2GB of dedicated video memory so you'll be able to run a lot of PC games and other demanding software on this system fairly easily.

It has built-in stereo speakers that are pretty good for an all-in-on system and a 27-inch touchscreen for optimal navigation. The 1TB hard drive gives you a good amount of storage and you can pay a bit more for a model with an 8GB solid state drive for your operating system. Although this system comes with an external DVD burner which can’t play Blu-rays, it’s still a valuable tool for reading from/writing to DVDs.

MSi AG240 2PE-003US Gaming All-in-One PC

You get a 24 inch backlit, touch-sensitive widescreen display with this computer, which can't compare with something like the Apple 5K Retina display, but still looks good in general. Packed behind that screen are a lot of great components that keep this system running beautifully. This pick also features an Intel i7 quad-core processor and 16GB of memory.

This computers capability is further enhanced by an NVIDIA Geforce GTX 860M graphics chip along with 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory, expected from an all-in-one computer designed for gaming. You get a 1TB hard drive, a 128GB solid state drive for important programs, and it even includes a Blu-ray burner. But wait, there’s also a 2MP HD webcam and Creative Sound Blaster audio hardware for excellent picture and sound quality whether you're gaming or watching your favorite movies.

Origin Genesis Pro X2 Intel C612 Workstation

Origin Genesis Pro X2 Intel C612 Workstation

If you're doing editing work that requires a lot of power (such as rendering 3D graphics and editing HD video) then this is definitely the computer for you. Keep in mind you're going to pay a lot for this level of performance, so this pick it primarily meant for someone doing professional editing.

This is a dual-CPU setup that has two Intel XEON octa-core processors, though you can upgrade it all the way up to a pair of Intel XEON octadeca-core CPUs for unbelievable performance. While this rig doesn’t come with a video card by default, you can upgrade it with a pair of workstation graphics cards or up to four standard video cards in a Quad setup. It has 32GB of DDR4 memory but can be loaded with up to 128GB of RAM and there are bays for up to seven hard drives, including a hot-swap cage with five bays.

The default hard drive is only 500GB, but it’s a solid state drive which makes it a tremendous deal. If you need to build an insanely powerful computer for editing, with just about every customization option you could want, then this pick is as good as it gets.

HP ENVY Phoenix 860se Desktop PC

HP ENVY Phoenix 860se Desktop PC

Although advertised by HP as a gaming desktop, this model works very well as a computer for editing. It comes with an Intel i7 hexa-core CPU, but you can upgrade that to a faster chip or even an octa-core processor if you need better performance. You get 12GB of DDR4 RAM with this computer and there are options for upgrading to 24GB or 32GB if you run more memory-intensive software. The default hard drive on this system is 2TB which gives you plenty of storage although you can upgrade that to 3TB or add a solid state drive.

This pick includes a DVD burner with the option to upgrade to a Blu-ray reader/writer if you need one. You get a 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 745 video card with this system, but there are options for several more powerful cards as well. This is a great computer for editing if you want some customization choices, but don’t need as many options as you get with a company like Origin.

Apple iMac with Retina 5K display

Although the 27 inch screen that comes with this computer might not be touch-sensitive, it features 5K resolution for absolutely amazing picture quality. Not only does this all-in-one give you the best picture quality on the market, but you’re also getting terrific performance as well. It comes with an Intel i5 quad-core processor, though you can upgrade it to an i7 CPU. There’s also 8GB of RAM that you can upgrade to 16GB or 32GB for more memory if needed.

The hard drive in this system offers 2TB of storage with options to upgrade to more storage or Flash memory. It has a 2GB Radeon R9 M395 video chip, which you can upgrade to a 4GB model if you need a lot more video memory. There’s also a wealth of extras included such as an Apple magic mouse, wireless keyboard, a built-in HD camera, and numerous USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports.

Dell XPS One 27 XPSo27-2945BK 27" All-in-One Desktop

For starters, the 27 inch touchscreen on this all-in-one system looks amazing and gives you an additional input option for your favorite software. Within the case itself, you also get some great components with solid performance. It has a 4th Generation Intel i7 quad-core CPU and 16GB of RAM for terrific speed and power. The NVIDIA graphics card gives you 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 video memory, which makes this a great option for PC gaming, streaming HD media, and running a wide range of applications and programs. There's even a dual-layer Blu-ray drive which legitimizes this as a true multimedia system. The 2TB hard drive is great for storage and it has a 64GB solid state drive for the operating system and other programs, ensuring your receive the best performance possible.

Dell OptiPlex 7440 All-in-One Computer

Dell OptiPlex 7440 All-in-One Computer

While Dell markets this pick for business use, it’s still a great choice for amateur or professional editing. This is a great all-in-one computer for editing thanks in part to a 24 inch display that includes 4K resolution and touch-sensitivity. While the touchscreen might not be the most useful aspect of this computer, the high resolution can help with video and graphics editing, letting you see your work at 4K with excellent color and detail display.

The components within this system are pretty good, with an Intel i5 quad-core processor and 8GB of DDR4 RAM which helps it run fast even when using demanding software. The 1TB hard drive gives you a good amount of storage, though it might not be enough if you’re stockpiling a lot of large files. This computer has an AMD R7 A370 graphics card with 2GB of video memory which makes it ideal for editing graphics or video. While it has eight USB ports and an Ethernet port, this one doesn’t come with any wireless connectivity which is an unfortunate weak spot in an otherwise excellent computer.

Alienware Alpha ASM100-1580 Console

This nettop from Alienware is similar to their new Steam Machine, but runs Windows 10 rather than the Steam OS. If you want a nettop for playing PC games, streaming HD media, and similar tasks, then this is a great choice. It has an Intel i3 dual-core processor, along with 8GB of memory. You get an NVIDIA graphics card in this model that has 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 video memory. The 1TB hard drive gives you plenty of storage for programs and media, plus it comes with a multi-media keyboard and optical mouse from Alienware.

This nettop has both Wireless-AC and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity so it can link to a wide range of wireless networks and devices. It’s also a great option for physical connections since it has two USB 2.0 ports on the front, two USB 3.0 ports on the back, an Ethernet port, and both in and out HDMI connections.

Zotac NEN Steam Machine (ZBOX-SN970-P)

Zotac NEN Steam Machine (ZBOX-SN970-P)

This is a Steam Machine and while it might be designed with gaming primarily in mind, it can work well for a wide range of other applications. It comes with an Intel i5 quad-core processor which is great for this kind of small-form computer. It includes 8GB of memory but it’s capable of handling up to 16GB of total RAM if you’re interested in future upgrades.

This nettop has an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 card that’s great for running games on Steam. You also get a 1TB hard drive for lots of storage space and Wireless-AC/Bluetooth 4.0 support which lets you connect to just about any network and wireless device. A Steam controller is also included for playing PC games, and you’re getting four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and four HDMI ports thanks to the video card.

Apple Mac mini 2.8GHz Dual-Core

In terms of raw performance, this model is one of the best nettops out there.  While there are a few different models offered by Apple, the 2.8GHz model offers the best overall components. It has a dual-core processor featuring an Intel i5 chip, but you can upgrade to an i7 3.0GHz processor if you want faster performance. It also happens to have a 1TB hard drive and 8GB of RAM which can be upgraded to 2TB of storage and 16GB of memory if you really need more power, though that will also raise the cost of this pick quite a bit more.

has an Intel graphics chip, but no dedicated video memory, which is an unfortunate weakness with this model. You get both Wireless-AC and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, along with four USB 3.0 ports and two Thunderbolt 2.0 ports. This model has an Ethernet port and HDMI connection so you can use it with a wide range of networks and devices.

ASUS ROG GR8 Ultra-Compact Computer

ASUS ROG GR8 Ultra-Compact Computer

Here is another excellent nettop with a design inspired by the size and performance of Steam Machines, but it runs the Windows 8.1 operating system. It has an Intel i7 processor and 8GB of DDR3 memory, so it can run a wide range of programs with great performance. You also get an NVIDIA GeForce graphics card with 2GB of dedicated video memory along with a 1TB hard drive.

Thanks to the inclusion of Wireless-AC connectivity and an Ethernet port, this nettop can connect to multiple networks, though it doesn’t have native Bluetooth connectivity. The front of this nettop has two USB 2.0 ports, and the back panel has four USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI connection, and multiple audio jacks, including optical audio. If you are looking for a nettop to run PC games or use as a home theater media center, then this is a great choice.

Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190 57326004 Desktop Computer

This nettop has an Intel Celeron dual-core CPU which is pretty good in a small system like this. It has 4GB of DDR3 RAM, though you can't upgrade it to more which is one of the few negative aspects of this system. The 500GB hard drive in this one is decent, though not stunning, so keep that in mind if you think you might need more space. This nettop has Wireless-N connectivity and an Ethernet port, but not Bluetooth.

Although it has an integrated Intel graphics chip, this nettop lacks any dedicated video memory. This pick does include a USB keyboard and a USB optical mouse which is great for easy input but the internal power is just a bit weak for serious PC gaming. Rounding things out are four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI connection.

Maingear Vybe X99

Maingear Vybe X99

This desktop computer has an Intel i7 six-core CPU with liquid-cooling, and it comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, though you can get up to 64GB if you need more memory in your computer. It also has an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 graphics card with 1GB of video memory, so it works great for playing PC games or viewing HD media. There are also some great upgrade options for the video card, including the ability to have up to three cards working together if you want a much higher level of performance.

There's a 1TB mechanical hard drive for storage of files and programs, with three additional bays for more hard drives and a bay for a solid state drive if you’re interested in one. A DVD burner comes standard in this system although you have the option to upgrade to a Blu-ray player if you need one. You get a 750W power supply, which is great for the default setup, and there’s an option for up to a 1200W model if you plan on adding a lot of upgrades to the system and need more power. Lastly, this unit comes with four USB 2.0 and five USB 3.0 ports.

Dell XPS 8900 Special Edition Desktop Computer

Dell XPS 8900 Special Edition Desktop Computer

This desktop computer has a 6th Generation Intel i7 quad-core processor, and Dell provides 24GB of DDR4 RAM which is quite a bit more than some similarly priced setups. The hard drives on this desktop are terrific since it has both a 2TB mechanical storage drive and a 32GB solid state drive for your operating system. That's a ton of storage and quite a bit more than what you get in the default setup of a lot of other desktop computer models. Dell packages this one with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750Ti video card with 2GB of DDR5 graphics memory which gives you terrific performance for streaming HD media or playing PC games.

This model also has both Wireless-AC and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, plus four USB 2.0 ports and six USB 3.0 ports. Added features include an integrated DVD burner, a mouse, and keyboard. The only real potential weakness with this model is that it lacks in customization compared to systems from a company like Maingear, but if you’re not looking for a ton of upgrades, then it’s a great option.

Origin Millennium X99

Origin Millennium X99

Origin builds some of the best computers out there, but in this instance it just might be more machine and more options than you really need. If you like freedom and total customization, however, then take a good look at what Origin has to offer. This system comes with an Intel i7 six-core CPU standard, as well as 8GB of DDR4 memory. You get a 2GB NVIDIA GTX 950 graphics card in this computer which gives you a good amount of dedicated video memory in addition to a 500GB hard drive.

With this pick, the thing to really keep in mind is that Origin gives you a ton of options for upgrades and customizing the components. If you want a pre-built desktop with four 12GB NVIDIA GTX Titan X video cards and five hard drives in a hot-swap cage, then Origin can make that happen for you. For some people, this type of customization is probably unnecessary, but if it's something you want, then give this desktop a good look.

HP Envy Phoenix 850se Windows 7 Desktop Computer

HP Envy Phoenix 850se Windows 7 Desktop Computer

There are some great components in this system which make it an excellent choice as either a general desktop computer or a gaming rig. This computer has an Intel i7 six-core processor for great speed, and you can upgrade to an eight-core CPU if you need even better performance. It has 12GB of DDR4 memory which you can upgrade to up to 32GB if you need to run some very memory-intensive software. One issue with this computer is that it only comes with a 256GB solid state drive which by itself is great, but there’s no mechanical hard drive for extra storage. You can add one, but doing so will increase the price of this model, though there is an option to swap the solid state drive for a 1TB or 2TB hard drive, which actually lowers the cost slightly. On the other hand, this computer has an NVIDIA GTX 745 video card with 4GB of DDR3 memory, a DVD burner, and support for Wireless-AC and Bluetooth 4.0, along with four USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports. You don’t get a ton of upgrade options for each component in this system but what is available should be more than enough for many computer users.

Velocity Micro Vector Z35 Midsize ATX

Velocity Micro Vector Z35 Midsize ATX

While there are more powerful default systems available from other manufacturers, this is a great option with solid components and just enough upgrades available for most computer users. It starts with an Intel i5 quad-core processor and 8GB of DDR4 memory with options to get an i7 CPU and 16GB or 32GB of RAM. This computer also includes an NVIDIA GeForce GT 730 video card with 1GB of graphics memory, plus a 1TB hard drive and DVD burner.

If you’re willing to pay a bit more for some truly impressive performance, you can get a video card with up to 2GB of memory, up to 3TB of storage, a solid state drive, and even a Blu-ray burner. If you want some freedom in how you set up your computer, but don’t want to be overwhelmed by options, then this is a great choice. However, you will need to upgrade the 500W power supply if you want to add a lot of the optional components listed above.

Origin Genesis X99 Model

Origin Genesis X99 Model

Customization is the name of the game with Origin computers, and the Genesis really shows that off. Not only are there a ton of options for you to choose from when setting up your gaming rig, but you can contact Origin to request components they don't normally carry. You're just not going to find a better level of customization unless you're building the computer yourself. Even if you do just stick with what Origin offers, the Genesis is an absolute powerhouse gaming PC.

The genesis has an Intel i7 hex-core CPU you can upgrade to an eight-core processor if you need even better performance. The default NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 2GB video card is good, but you can upgrade it as well to a number of different setups all the way up to four NVIDIA Titan X cards. It comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, but you can upgrade that to up to 64GB of memory to create one of the most powerful computers you'll find for gaming.

This gaming rig comes with CPU liquid cooling, but you can upgrade to even better cooling solutions and choose a liquid-cooled video card for incredible heat management. The 650W power supply in the baseline build is a bit weak, but you can upgrade to up to a 1.5 kilowatt model. With multiple bays for hard drives and two bays for optical drives, you can build an Origin Genesis capable of taking on any gaming-related task.

XOTIC PC Scourge v2 Stage 4 Desktop Computer

XOTIC PC Scourge v2 Stage 4 Desktop Computer

While Origin is hard to beat for customization and customer service, XOTIC PC certainly gives them some great competition. You get a ton of options for every single component in your computer and you can talk to someone at Origin to request specific components they don't normally offer. While these changes certainly impact the price of your computer, it's hard to argue with that level of customization and freedom in your computer build.

The default setup on this system, however, is pretty impressive and includes custom liquid-cooling with acrylic and copper tubing. It has an Intel i7 six-core CPU and dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN EVGA Black Edition 6GB video cards. You can add a third or fourth card, or change to more powerful graphics cards if you need even better performance, but the default build should be sufficient for most PC gamers.

This computer also has 32GB of DDR4 RAM, which you can upgrade to 64GB, and both a 1TB hard drive and 250GB solid state drive for storage. It comes with a Blu-ray player and DVD burner, plus there are a ton of options for chassis customization such as the paint job and lighting options for both inside and outside of the case.

Maingear Force X99 Best Configuration

Maingear Force X99 Best Configuration

There's a lot to like about this gaming computer, starting with an Intel i7 six-core processor, which you can upgrade to an eight-core CPU if you need even better performance. The processor is liquid cooled with a copper radiator and PVC tubing, plus you can even choose a specific coolant color. It comes with 16GB of DDR4 memory, but you can upgrade that to 32GB or even 64GB if you need incredibly fast performance.

The standard graphics card with this model is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 4GB card, but you can choose from up to four AMD Radeon R9 290X cards or even four NVIDIA Titan X 12GB cards, for a total of 48GB of video memory. The default build doesn't include liquid cooling for the graphics card, but you can add it to any setup if you're concerned about heat buildup. You get a 3TB hard drive and a 250GB solid state drive with this computer, and there are options for additional storage, plus it has a DVD burner with an option to upgrade to a Blu-ray player or burner.

CyberPowerPC Fang III - Black Mamba Desktop

What you get with this system is a powerful computer you can make even better through numerous options provided by CyberPowerPC. This one starts with an Intel i7 eight-core processor, as well as 32GB of DDR4 RAM which you can boost to up to 64GB if you need more memory. You get liquid-cooling with this system and there are great options for adding additional fans to make the system even more heat efficient.

It has two powerful AMD Radeon R9 295X2 graphics cards in its default setup with each card having dual GPUs; essentially, the default build is already a quad-video card setup. While you can upgrade those graphics cards to up to two or three NVIDIA GTX TITAN X 12GB cards, doing so would greatly increase the already rather high cost of this computer. Unless you're doing a lot of 3D computer animation and rendering, you're not going to need that level of performance. This computer also has a 480GB solid state drive and a 4TB hard drive, with additional options for more storage if you need it.

Digital Storm Bolt II Ultimate Battle Box Edition

Digital Storm Bolt II Ultimate Battle Box Edition

There's a lot to like about this gaming computer, and even though the customization options on it aren't exactly mind-blowing, the default setup is already quite good. It comes with an Intel i7 quad-core processor, but there's no option for upgrading to a six or eight core model, so keep that in mind. You get 16GB of DDR3 memory with this computer, which is pretty good but there's no option to upgrade to DDR4 RAM.

This system has custom tubing for CPU liquid cooling, but no option for liquid-cooling on the video card, which is a little disappointing. It comes with an NVIDIA GTX Titan Z 12GB video card, which you can upgrade to a Titan X model if you really need the ultimate level of video performance possible. Although there's no option for adding additional video cards with this system, one Titan card should be sufficient for most builds. While this is already a great gaming computer, it would just be even better if Digital Storm offered more upgrade options when you’re in the process of ordering it.

Buyer's Guide

 


Desktop Computer Buyer’s Guide

Computers are complicated machines with a lot of components and elements to them. As such, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with all the technical specifications and information. However, there are a handful of particular things to look for in a desktop computer. Once you know what to look for and what all the various specs mean, it becomes easy to find the right system for your needs.

Memory

The memory, or RAM, in a desktop computer is responsible for the overall speed of a system. This refers to the active memory used by your computer when you are running a program, not the storage memory used for permanent data retention. When you activate a program or open a file, the memory in your computer is used to run it.

More memory, measured in Gigabytes (GB), generally means your computer can handle multiple programs at once, or run a single program fast. RAM also runs at different speeds, indicated in Megahertz (MHz) or Gigahertz (GHz), and higher numbers indicate faster speeds.

There are different kinds of memory, however, such as DDR3 and DDR5 RAM. A higher number refers to newer and faster memory; a computer with 8GB of DDR4 memory will typically run much faster than one with 12GB of older DDR3 memory, so consider the quantity, speed, and type.

Processor

The processor or CPU is the beating heart of a computer as it basically acts as an internal clock s the pace for all programs running in your system. The faster your processor which is measured in Gigahertz (GHz), the faster all of your applications and software will run.

Cores
Modern CPUs also have multiple cores; each core basically acts as a mini-processor within the larger chip. A quad-core or four-core processor acts like having four CPUs in a single system. Performance isn’t increased in a strictly multiplicative manner, but more cores does equate to better performance. One thing to keep in mind is that AMD and Intel, the two major CPU manufacturers, use different standards for their systems.

Threads
When you compare them, you should look at how many “threads” an Intel chip has in addition to the number of cores. An Intel CPU with four cores and eight threads will probably run faster than an AMD chip with four cores, but it also depends on your overall setup and other components.

For in-depth information on processors, cores, and threads, check out our processor buyer's guide.

Graphics Card and Video Memory

While computers include RAM that provides memory for running general programs and applications, they also frequently include video cards with dedicated graphics memory. These cards are designed to run video applications faster, helping the system display streaming media, render 3D graphics, and load websites with multimedia elements.

Good video cards include dedicated video memory, measured in Gigabytes (GB), which is only used by a computer to run graphics. Some high-end systems even run multiple graphics cards together, providing additional memory, and even higher performance. New computers have GDDR5 memory in their graphics cards which is much faster than older cards with GDDR3 memory. You’re better off with a card that has 2GB of DDR5 memory than one with 3GB of DDR3 video RAM.

For in-depth information, check out our graphics card buyer's guide.

Storage

Storage refers to the type and amount of memory used to save files and programs on a computer. The primary things to consider about storage are the amount and type. The amount of storage indicates just how much data you can save on your system and is measured in either Gigabytes (GB) or Terabytes (TB) for very large hard drives.

Mechanical Drive
Mechanical drives are usually larger and less expensive since they require the disk to physically spin around inside the drive. However, this means data can become corrupted or damaged much more easily.

Solid State Drive
Solid state drives don’t physically move inside the drive, so they can sustain shocks without losing data. However, they’re usually more expensive and typically smaller in terms of data quantity.

If you want both options, there are many prebuilt systems that have a large mechanical drive for file storage, with a smaller solid state drive for your operating system and common programs.

Power Supply

As you look at different desktop computers, there are a few very good reasons to consider the power supply in them. Power supplies connect to a power socket and distribute power throughout your computer, with better models providing higher amounts of maximum power, measured in watts (W). More power in a system allows for better and more components in a system.

While a 500W power supply might be sufficient for a budget system, you’ll want 800W or more in a high-end gaming rig. Make sure you choose a computer with enough power for the components you need, and a power supply that can handle any additional hardware you might want to install in your system.

For in-depth information, check out our power supply buyer's guide.

System Cooling

Computer hardware requires a good deal of power and typically generates a lot of heat because of it. That’s why it’s very important for your system to have adequate cooling to remove and disperse heat from sensitive components that can be damaged otherwise. Most midrange systems include air cooling from a number of fans and it’s important to ensure the computer has at least two, if not more, case fans.

High-end systems usually require four or more fans; conversely they can make use of liquid cooling. Liquid is a better conductor of heat than air, so a liquid-cooling system can handle much more heat than fans alone, which is very important in a computer with multiple hard drives and numerous video cards.

Additional Components and Hardware

A lot of prebuilt systems also have other components either as part of the motherboard or installed in expansion slots in the computer. Consider the type of networking you need, including wireless options like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as well as wired connections via an Ethernet port. You’ll also want to look at the number and types of USB ports on a computer case as well as the availability of DVD or Blu-ray drives

While all-in-one systems include the computer components within a display, there are also desktop systems that come with a separate monitor. Most computers come with a basic mouse and keyboard, and there are some manufacturers provide options for high-end mouse and keyboard sets, audio speakers, and printers.

Customization Options

Even though a prebuilt desktop computer can rarely match building your own computer in terms of customization, many manufacturers do give you options in terms of components and hardware. Consider your needs and then look at and compare the customization options provided by different manufacturers. Companies like Origin let you choose from dozens of different components or even special order a particular piece you want installed into your prebuilt system. Toshiba, on the other hand, usually sells a single build of a computer without options for customization which makes it easy to order a good system without having to consider a range of different components.

Greg Wiesen
With an AA in Computer Animation, I have spent years building computers and playing video games. I learned early on that the best way to figure out a new software program was to just start pushing buttons and see what happens (saving often, of course), and that is still my philosophy. From hard drives and motherboards to graphics cards and "holographic" keyboards, I enjoy checking out and playing with all the tech I can get my hands on. I have written hundreds of informative computer and technology articles in the past, and I believe that anyone can understand and use a computer. I'll worry about research and trying out different hardware, you just enjoy the results.
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